30 Day Lifestyle Challenge Day 5 – Peaks & Valleys; Deep Valleys

January 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

The first Saturday of the challenge and it started off well.

The kids slept comfortably right through the night and as a direct result so did I. Ange slept at her grandmother’s house to keep her company while her grandfather recovers from a stroke at the hospital.

I popped right out of bed and felt energized to get the day rolling. I don’t know if it was just my perspective, but it seemed that we all awoke with smiles all round which is just the best way to start the day.

Ange got home just before I had to leave to take Grace, our eldest to swimming lessons. We tagged off and Grace I left.

As I watched Grace and read my book I found that it was easy to drown out the idle background chatter and to focus my attention. I didn’t feel easily distracted.

After Grace’s swimming class we had to go up to our Duncan store to drop some stuff off and pick up some other stuff that I was supposed to do the day before but could not given that awful accident on the TCH.

We were leaving Duncan at about 11am and I was starting to have my first hunger pangs. Normally, after eating breakfast at around 7am, I would get these around 10:30 and that would usually trigger a visit to our local coffee shop. I fought through the hunger and made all the way until 1pm when we sat down for lunch at Milestones.

Ange and I were idly chatting at she mentioned how exhausted she was, and for good reason. As I thought about this I found that although I didn’t have my mid-morning espresso like I normally do, I still had energy to burn. I wasn’t experiencing the caffiene/sugar crash that would happen every couple of hours. As we finished lunch I felt pretty good about myself and even had the idea that the rest of the challenge would be a breeze, that is until we walked past Cob’s bread in the Millstream Village.

I must have looked like those cartoon characters that are gently lifted and led away by the aromas of something delicious. I deeply inhaled the scent of baking cinnamon buns and that signified the start of the most difficult day, in terms of fighting cravings and sticking to the diet, that I have had yet. I could almost taste the moist cinnamony dough as it lovingly caressed my palate. I could smell every detail of the bun, the butter as it cuddled the raisins. The cream cheese icing as it stuck to my top lip. In the blink of an eye I imagined the whole experience.

From there my mind would turn to how much I wanted bread. We got home for a quiet afternoon of reading and general relaxing and every 2 minutes I was pacing through the kitchen almost breaking and diving into some cookies or even ice cream. I generally don’t like ice cream and told me how close I was to breaking.

In an effort to distract myself I thought I would sit down at the computer and do some of the work that I needed to catch up on. That worked for about 45 minutes, and then I paced through the kitchen. I decided to go have a shower, a  long, hot shower, in hopes that this would calm me. When I got out the kids were finishing up some popcorn. Salty, buttery, popcorn! AAAGH!  I went outside to the back garden and racked some of the leaves and pulled a few weeds and then Ange informed me the her and Grace were heading to the store to pick up a binder for Grace. This meant I had to go back inside.

Chloe wanted me to snuggle her on the couch as she watched a movie and for a little while this worked, in fact I almost fell asleep. Then she asked for her afternoon snack of Cheerios and my mouth started to water. Cheerios for god sake, what next?

Fortunately dinner (and it was great!) soon came and my stomach is full and I am okay right now, but I am already starting to think about what Sunday will be like. I’m thinking the neighbourhood needs pruning, or I could clean all the gutters, maybe paint the house if the sun comes out. Well it seems that I am already making it harder for me to succeed tomorrow, time to turn that around… if I can. Cheers

Note: As I mentioned dinner was excellent. Ange made a spaghetti sauce using fresh spices, ground organic free range Turkey from Slater’s, fresh tomatoes and put it over spaghetti squash. It was great.

30 Day Challenge Day 4- Clarity of Mind

January 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today started off much better than yesterday did. Today’s challenge seems to be the evening. Afterall it is Friday.

I have come to realize that a big part of my Friday has been looking forward to a relaxing evening at home with family and with a couple of glasses of great wine. The process started just around noon when the e-mails and tweets start coming in asking for recommendations for wine with a specific meal. I found myself fantasizing about what we should have for dinner and what wine I should have. I caught myself virtually tasting through dozens of wines.

The moment came when I arrived home. Ange had got some choice steak and made a delicious side dish involving cauliflower, garlic, and a hint of parmesan. That was so cruel. I found myself staring at my wine chest and biting my lip in intense craving. Then the worst of all possible scenarios came to life; dinner was not for another 45 minutes – OH MY GOD!

After telling myself “No! Fight It!” for almost an unbearable amount of time, dinner was ready and we sat down. I have mentioned before and bears mentioning again that making this work is as much a mental challenge as it is doing the physical work. The challenge at dinner was respecting the flavour of the food even though I did not have a glass of wine to enhance it all. I concentrated my attention on conversation and the simple enjoyment of being together to enjoy what turned out to be a fine meal.

As I write this I am noticing something else, something that has been apart of my whole day, and that is clarity of mind. I am now aware that I have a great deal more clarity of mind and that has allowed a greater amount of critical thinking such as the excerpt above. I sure hope that this continues as that would be at the top of my ‘hopes’ list for this challenge.

Well it is time for me to sign off. I am a single parent tonight as Ange has gone to the hospital to spend some time with her grandfather who recently suffered a stroke. Good night!

30 Day Liefstyle Challenge – Day 4 – Breakthrough?

January 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Whew the day did not start out well, but is sure is ending well.

 Today started with a pounding headache at about 4am. It was the type that if you lie down or have your back against anything your head throbs like the worst hangover ever. The funny-ish thing about it is that I remember specifically thing I won’t having that kind of headache during these 30 days. I used to associate it with a general lack of hydration and the wrong food or 1 glass too many wine. Yesterday I had all the so-called ‘right’ foods and drank at least 2 litres of water through out the entire day and wine, beer or spirits did not touch my lips.

What made my reaction ever more curious was what cured it. I finally got out of bed and got some Advil at about 4:45am and went back to bed assuming that I would get relief in just a few minutes and sleep soundly through the rest of the night. I did get some relief but not enough to make me sleep. I dozed for a while and got up around 7am, had a shower and got some breakfast put together. My head was starting to throb again. Before starting in on the over easy eggs with pesto and protein shake, I had my espresso and almost within seconds my headache vanished. Once I was rid of the headache I regained my energy level and headed off to the office.

I didn’t feel the hunger sensation until around 11:30 which is a big step and I had the wonderful sensation that seemed to last all day, of better circulation. My hands and feet felt warm and my mind seemed clearer. I sure hope it had nothing to do with headache as I don’t want to do that again.

Before I was able to go and get some lunch (AJ’s Organic Cafe is a great place for eating strong by the way), I had a rather disturbing conversation with our distributor. Unfortunately for us it was our largest distributor and the only distributor allowed to service the vast majority of products that we and all liquor stores carry. My pulse was racing, face was red, and I am told that the veins on my face and neck were pulsating. I was incredulous as it was like having a conversation with someone refuting the fact that water is 2 parts Hydrogen and 1 part oxygen. It is a physical fact that is irrefutable but that didn’t bother the distributor.

Just prior to the nasty conversation I had a very productive conversation with the majority shareholder and general manager of the company. Recently we had what seemed to differing opinions on some marketing questions, but as we conversed it became clear that we were both going to the same place but using different ‘streets’ to get there. I think from both of our points of view it was very productive.

With the nasty conversation lingering in my mind I decided to take a walk, grab a bite and read my book in hopes of finding some zen-like attitude. As I write this, that decision is an anomaly for me. In the past I likely would written a strongly worded e-mail or developed a strategy that would provide some level of vindication, or, most probably, engaged in a ‘rant’ with my co-workers after which I would feel vindicated and they would likely feel anxious. I wonder if this had anything to do with the diet changes?

The other interesting thing that happened today is that I got better at describing what this challenge really is for me. I was asked what it was about and expressed it thusly: I understand that my diet was not the healthiest and that there is a commonly held beliefs as to what a healthy diet is. A healthy diet so improve my quality and longevity of life. Clearly over 30 days I won’t be able to tell about longevity, but I will be able to measure quality. Do things taste better? Am I more passionate?  Do I treat people better? Do I actually have more energy? Do I deal with negative events better?  Do I get more things done? Am I generally happier? The same measures would be put against a better exercise regime and changing some of my long held habits. Let’s face it, if I can’t answer yes to a least most of the things above then I probably had it pretty good before.

Yesterday I had mentioned that my energy level totally dropped as I was driving home, while my hunger rapidly became intense. I was very curious to see if the same would happen today as I did not snack, had a lighter breakfast and lunch, only took 1 ginseng today and was up at 4am. I am very surprised as I had and still have more energy and did not feel famished at all on the drive home. I felt the need to grab something to eat as I walked in the door, but I resisted as it seemed to be more a habit than real hunger.

I just looked at the number of words Ihave  just written; clearly my mind is a little clearer and I have a little more energy. So with that I am going to a do some reading I have been wanting to do.

Cheers

30 Day Lifestyle Challenge Day 3

January 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

All of your predictions are coming true. My cravings are subsiding as is my intense hunger. That is until the evening arrives.

I usually leave the office by 6pm (no sense in leaving earlier as I would just be sitting in my car on the parking lot referred to as the Colwood Crawl). When I left I was just fine. Within 20 minutes I was famished. I know it was dinner time but the on set of hunger was incredibly fast and intense. My guess is that it must have something to do with relaxing. In the office it is a mile a minute, phones ringing, answering e-mails, developing strategic plans. My mind doesn’t quiet itself all day until I drive home.

As I write this the kids have gone to bed and the evening is slowing down; guess what I am hungry and quickly running out of energy. Is this apart of the mental part of the transition or is it physical? Is it simply my body changing the way it creates energy?

You know it hasn’t been so hard to drop the majority of my coffee intake. I have one shot of espresso in the morning and then 2 ginseng spaced throughout the day.

As for expenditures, I didn’t spend one dime today. That trend is not likely to continue but cutting out my love affair with a Brioche from Bev at Serious Coffee, my espresso’s in the afternoon and talking myself into a couple of cookies has proven an effective budgeting tool.

Oh yeah, I was asked today what food’s am I eating and the answer is pretty much anything except for sugar, processed foods, dairy, and grains which includes all breads. It is a blend of the program suggested in the Paleo diet and that suggested in the New Evolution Diet.

The other thing that I started doing is tracking my sleep. I do this with an app on my iPhone called Sleep Cycle. Once you have set the alarm you place your phone face down under your pillow. The app measures and tracks your sleep patterns throughout the night. The alarm is based on the time you set the alarm for and your sleep patterns. The alarm is relative and will go off anytime 1/2 hour before the set time. This allows you to wake up and the moment that you are ready to. In the morning you can click on the stats and it will you a graph of your sleep patterns. What I am looking for is proof that I get a most restful sleep through a change in my lifestyle. I will report once I get past these first few days.

Cheers

30 Day Lifestyle Challenge – Day 2 – Show Me The Money

January 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Well that was a better day…. until this evening where I am really struggling to 1) stay awake and 2) not feed on every sugary, bread based material on the street.

Today was a better day in the sense that the intensity of the cravings had subsided a little bit. I am told that it will get better with every passing day.

One of the bi products of this product, as I see now, will likely be a reduction in the impulsive, small expenses that can easily kill a budget and long term goals.

As I result of only having a small espresso in the morning at home I estimate that I saved  about $10 today. In addition most of the food that I have purchased will do me for at least a week, which means that I will likely save at least another $30/week. Just multiply $40/week over the year and I have put $2080 in our pockets- that has to be enough for an iPad right honey?

I have to say that the flavours of each meal have been great. The only things that I have really cut out are breads, grains, sugar, dairy, potatoes, coffee, wine, beer, and I have added lots greater quantities of veggies, meat and fruit.

As I said I am tired as it feels like my body is starting to flush a bunch of unmentionables out of my system so I am going to end it here and see you all tomorrow.

Cheers

30 Day Challenge – Day 1

January 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

It seems reasonable to start the challenge with a few measurements. I have to say that this kind of freaks me out. I know that I am driven person and it would be easy to get discouraged or very excited, and this, I found after the first day will be one of the toughest parts of the challenge- the mental game.

I don’t want to get into the mind set of ‘denial’. You know what I mean; the constant reminder of denying myself what I either crave, or simply feel that I deserve.

Anyway to the measurements.

I am 48 years old and stand about 5′ 10″ – neither of these are likely to change.

Weight 195lbs (If I was in shape I would make a pretty strong right winger.)

Neck 16.5″

Right Upper Arm 12.5″

Left Upper Arm 12.5″

Chest 43″

Waist/Abdomen 39″

Hips 43″

and last but not least my Body Mass Index 27.2 I understand from my lovely wife that if you are fit you will likely have an index around 25. You are considered overweight if you are between 25 and 30 and over 30 means obesity.

In terms of food the day started off fine. I have eggs over easy with a tomato paste that I learned to make in Spain. Roma tomatoes, fresh garlic, some basil and a dash of olive oil and salt. Blend it all together and it is great. I followed the eggs up with a big bowl of fruit and I was set.

I was set until I started thinking about it what I couldn’t have. It was anything specific but I was immediately hungry; as I am right now as I write this.

It seemed to take forever until lunch. My usual day is so jammed pack that I have to be reminded to get lunch. I was pretty certain that today was the ideal day to start the challenge as after being away for two weeks I knew there would be  lots to do in a short period of time.

At about 10:30 I relented and grabbed one of the two Vegan Energy Bars that I took to the office and covered the cravings for a while.

Lunch finally came around and I was ravenous. I enjoyed a breast of chicken from the previous nights roast chicken (man that is good) topped with a little of the Spanish sauce and a bucket of fresh cut veggies… although tasty, it really didn’t satisfy.

By the time I was ready to go home I was seriously considering what sauce I would have on my arm as I devoured it. I could not get my mind off food. Again nothing specific, but I simply wanted to feed.

Dinner was a beautifully done fillet of salmon that was baked with spices, some butter and lemon. Accompanying the salmon was bok choy and oyster mushrooms sautéed in coconut oil and with some red chilis. I think it was at least 1/2 a salmon but it was so good and guess what… I’m still hungry.

Day 2 will be focussed on trying to control the mind.

See you tomorrow.

The 30 Day Challenge- Twas the Night Before

January 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

For sometime now I have contended that I am a better person when my blood has sufficient levels of caffeine in it. I have also stated that my quality of life is much greater when I have a glass of wine (or 5 depending on how good the wine is), but I have started to notice that my gut is getting bigger while my wallet is getting smaller. My aches are more pronounced while my attention span is dwindling (wasn’t big to begin with). My knees and joints hurt, I ingest at least 2 extra strength advils a day and feel fatigued by 9pm. If these are indicators, and they are, that my current approach to quality of life is not working, then I have to make some changes.

My wife loves reading all things related to nutrition and healthy eating. She is also steps away from being a certified personal trainer, so with her at my side and acting as partner and coach I am embarking on 30 days of balanced eating and exercise based.

We will be following some of the ideas presented in The New Evolution Diet (Arthur De Vany, PhD 2011 Rodale Inc. $25 at Borders in the US) blended with some of dietary concepts found in the Paleo Diet and I am adding the 100 Pushups (www.hundredpushups.com) to buff up my sagging pecks.

The regime we have decided on will feature at least 3 work outs per week and cutting out all refined sugars, dairy and flour, but most significantly I am going dry for 30 days. I need to find out if cutting out a simple glass of wine is a good thing or not; I doubt it but it is worth testing. The caveat here is that my job involves tasting wine, beer, and spirits almost daily; this I can not give up, but I will give up the lunch and dinner glasses as well as the social drinks on the weekends.

My expectations are simple – my gut gets reduced, my pecks gain in altitude, my aches go away or are at least significantly reduced, and my energy and focus increases. During this period I am also embarking on contributing to a book, drafting a presentation that I will be giving at Ideawave and at Social Media Camp 2011. If you want to follow along I will be posting nightly updates that will include what I ate and drank and did for a work out, my trials, cravings and if I feel that I am approaching any of my goals.

Talk to you all tomorrow.

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