30 Day Challenge – Days 25-27 Cold Effects.

February 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

It has been a few days since I last wrote about my experiences and I have to say that it was not because I didn’t want to, it was because I just didn’t have the energy.

I know that is not supposed to happen when I am taking such good care of myself; alas it did.

I am not sure what came first the scratchy throat of the lack of energy, however I can tell you that it was precipitated by stress… I think.

I now have a cold and the simple explanation could be that it is because I caught the bug from any number of people that I know that have the cold, but let’s consider some facts. I have been constantly getting 6 1/3 to 7 1/2 hours of pretty much uninterrupted sleep a night. I have been eating my veggies, fruit and proteins. I have been religiously taken a multi-vitamin supplement along with a daily dose of fish oil. Added on to all that I have been following my work out routine to the rep, yet I still find myself fighting a cold. How can that be? All of these things are supposed to have my immune system in tip-top condition.

Let’s take a look at other factors that are known to depress one’s immune system; namely stress and stress. In my job I manage our companies Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Gowalla, Yelp) activities, I meet with all the sales reps, I determine the purchasing plans for each store, I write all the signage in the stores, and I am involved in the day-to-day operations of each store. In recent weeks we determined that we will be opening another store in less than two months, I am developing a total and complete marketing plan for our next two fiscal years, and our regulator, which happens to also be our distributor and direct competitor has been doing some pretty wacky stuff that is making the whole industry very uneasy. Oh and I forgot the element of envy pops in; a number of people I know are just embarking on sun drenched no phone vacations- bastards. So yeah I’m a little stressed.

But exercise and a healthy diet were supposed to help control my stress so what is going on? Is it because the end of the 30 days is near and I can almost taste the bread, the wine, the cheese and I am just not in the moment, whereas 3 weeks ago I was totally in the moment with my cravings and awakenings? Or does it have to do with my nature? Am I just the type of person that seems to relish stress as I know I love being the one with the ball rushing to the goal line. Maybe I just don’t want to pass the goal line, feel a moment of intense joy and satisfaction and then have it go away.

Anyway in a couple of days I will have completed the 30 days and I will come back to these questions. Hopefully minus a cold and hopefully in the moment.

30 Day Lifestyle Challenge Day 20, 21 & 22

February 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

The weekends are getting better to deal with, I had some urges but it certainly wasn`t as challenging as the first weekend. In fact I kinda a look forward to next weekend which will be the last weekend of the challenge. Wine and cheese are in sight.

I used to think that I was a better person when my blood caffeine level was sufficiently maintained. I believed that I was more creative, witty, and a better problem solver. Back in the day – 22 days ago – I would have 2-3 triple espresso a day. You may think this is excessive, but the fact of the matter is that there is less caffeine in a shot of espresso than there is in a cup of drip coffee. Armed with little bit of enablement, I happily enjoyed my triples each day.

22 days ago I stopped with all the espresso but 1 single shot in the morning. I have been having the odd cup of green tea or popping a ginseng capsule, regardless my caffeine consumption is down by 75% and I love it. My energy level is balanced and longer lasting. My head is clearer and I am not finding excuses to distract myself from attending to the real important things.

On Sundays we take the kids for a walk on the different trails around Victoria (sometimes it is more like a forced march). This past Sunday we walked around Swan Lake and proceeded to lunch. I was starting to get a scratchy throat, which I completely blame on my colleagues as almost all of them have colds, and was feeling run down. We left the restaurant and I spied a Starbucks. I broke down as it seemed I was not going to make it through the afternoon without at least a little help. I got my triple espresso and its heavenly aromas opened up my senses. My first sip was like a kiss that was deep and long. Within minutes I could feel my spirits brightening; the afternoon was going to be great and a cacophony of fun and enjoyment. Within seconds of me thinking that dark clouds rolled in and my emotional forecast was issuing a ‘Cranky’ warning with periodic bursts of snotty remarks tapering to bouts of antagonism. Yuck!

What made this even weirder is that I could consciously see it happening. The thought was running through my head “this is your brain on caffeine.” It struck me that what I was experiencing was likely similar to what women experience when they are having PMS. You know that you aren’t really made, and you don’t want to be snarky but there it is like a bid pile of dog pooh that you saw on the street in front of you but somehow were not able to avoid.

Now that my habits surrounding caffeine are changing I can honestly say that I will not be adding multiple espresso shots back into my diet after the 30 days.

Tonight is Valentines Day so I will take this opportunity to wish you all a happy Valentines Day- go tell those around you that you love them… unless you are in prison and reading this. Cheers

30 Day Lifestyle Challenge Day 17, 18 & 19.. maybe 19

February 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

My habits must be changing as I have completely lost track of what day of the challenge this is. I know my last post was for Days 15 & 16, but I just counted the days from Day 1 and I count 19 days. You know I could have lost track because I wasn’t posting everyday like I did at the beginning. Funny thing about habits…

Habits have a pace unique to themselves. You can identify that you have a habit, but you can’t really tell when it became a habit. Other than smoking or alcohol abuse the same is true for losing a habit. Take for instance the fact that I sign all my email with the word Cheers. I have the habit of substituting the work ‘cheers’ for thank you. I know I didn’t 10 years ago, but I am not sure when in those ten years it became a habit or even why.

That’s interesting why do some things stick and others don’t. I can want with all my heart to develop better saving habits, and yet I don’t. I know I could be far further ahead financially if I had developed better savings habits as a kid; even with that knowledge I don’t feel the compelling pull to make that change. Something just isn’t sticky about that at this point in my life. On the other hand something about saying Cheers instead of thank you was sticky. If I were to guess the reason why the adhesive quality of saving isn’t as sticky is because I don’t identify with it. I can’t picture me as a saver. I picture Scrooge and all sorts of crusty old figures as rabid savers and I don’t see myself that way. So it would follow that all I have to do it create the picture of the person I would like to be, apply the ‘saver’ ensemble and voila, eventually I would be a saver. That would work right?

I will answer my own question by saying ‘sure’. I mean this post and this challenge was about changing habits. Habits around eating, sleeping, drinking, and exercising. At the beginning I could tell you the hour of the specific day and now I have trouble remembering what day I am on. Let’s speak to eating habits first. I don’t when the change happened, but I am no longer conscious of what I am ordering in a restaurant or preparing for myself. I found myself making my breakfast without worrying about if I could eat a particular morsel or not. I unconsciously chose what I was to eat and it fit within the guidelines. For lunch I met a rep to go over some business. We met at a sushi place around the corner from my office and I promptly ordered the sashimi lunch with a green salad no dressing. Unconsciously no less.

I think the other way you know you have developed a habit is when you instinctively know that you have transgressed the habits barrier. For instance, yesterday I stupidly only had half a breakfast and a quarter of a lunch. By the time I picked up our youngest from school I was ready to eat my arm. We got in the door and she asked for chips. It was her snack time and I am a push over when it comes to my kids so I got her a bowl of chips. What I should have done was to get myself some nuts or a big glass of water before getting her chips as I was done for. After she toddled off with pony tail bounding down the stairs I threw open the cupboard and staring me in the face was a bag of Fudgee-o’s. I swear some ‘god-light’ was shinning on the package and angels were singing, so I did the obedient thing and maunged through an entire row of Fudgee-o’s. The second I swallowed the last crumbs angels singing turned into the devil laughing. I knew I had made a grave mistake. About 1 hour later I had the worst stomach ache, headache and dizziness. I felt hung over and this feeling lingered on this morning. That’s the thing, I knew it was wrong, but not because it was against the ‘challenge’ but because it felt wrong. That has to be a signal that a habit has either formed or is forming; don’t you think?

Anyway it has been a long day and a long week, so I will leave it there and post again tomorrow as it is Hockey Day in Canada and that should present some interesting eating challenges. Cheers… oops I did it again. Bye.

30 Day Lifestyle Challenge Day 15 & 16 Deep Sleep

February 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Time flies when you are having fun. Today was a pretty fun day. I got the chance to see a number of the friends that I have made through twitter. Always good to connect face to face.

It has now been over two weeks since I started this challenge and I believe that it is statistically significant to speak of my sleeping patterns. I tracked my sleep the week before I started and I have been tracking my sleep since. It seems that I am now getting more hours of deep or dream level sleep than before, but what will really be interesting is how my sleep changes when I add back into my diet. What I have eliminated from my diet that I believe affected my sleep the most is Bread, dairy, wine, beer and sugar. My plan is to maintain my fitness regime after the 30 days and introduce, one at a time, each of these things and measure my alertness, energy, and sleep patterns.

The other thing that I noticed to was during my lunch with my twitter friends. I was asked which wines I have been favouring lately and I had to tell everyone what I was doing. I found it curious that the dietary portion seemed to gain blank stares until I labelled the diet. Once I gave it a name everyone nodded and understood. I had said that it was a pretty liberal diet and simply eliminates grains, gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol, but that didn’t seem to register. Have we gotten to a point where a diet that has been carefully consider by a couple of individuals, carries no weight unless it is labelled by a current diet?

Well that is about it for now I will have more on Friday. Cheers

30 Day Lifestyle Challenge Days 13 & 14 – Image to Instinct

February 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Did any of you see the Super Bowl on Sunday. I did and as good as the game was I was constantly thinking beer, pizza, chips, the list goes on. I abstained but it reminded me of the post I did about a week ago.

It is remarkable how powerful the mental associations are when it comes to specific events. If you close your eyes and think of the Super Bowl what images come up? I can see the Budweiser Clydesdales, I picture a pizza being delivered and bowls of chips and munchies. As I was sitting there with my glass of water I was almost feeling guilty about not really being a part of the Super Bowl experience. These images have become instinct. How long and how often does an image have to be seen to be so deeply implanted in the brain that you feel guilt for the doing the ‘right’ thing?

Monday morning came remarkably early as Chloe came to bed at 3am and proceeded to recount her day to us until she finally fell asleep at 4am. By the time my eyes closed, it seemed, my alarm was going off to get up and work out. This work out was really good and I am now looking forward to Wednesday morning when I can do it again. Scratch that, I am looking forward to the point where I am working out almost everyday. Will I feel tired of be on the road to an endorphin addiction?

For those of you tracking this all by the numbers, today marks 14 days. At the beginning I weighed 195 and today I now weigh 184. I can now do 55 push ups in one session with a max of 25 in one set. I have ticked off 119 items of my task list, whereas on a normal week I would hit 65 or 70.

Thanks for reading this and I will see you tomorrow.

30 Day Lifestyle Challenge Day 11 & 12 Smile On My Soul

February 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

It has been 2 days since my last post and I am sorry about that, but I was just so damn tired yesterday.

You know how the new car smell of a new car goes away to you, yet other people get in your new car and they immediately smell it? That is what I am feeling right now.

I have spent the better part of two getting reacquainted with my bodies signals or language. At first my mind was focussed on the cravings and fighting through them as my body detoxed. Then I noticed a clarity of mind that seemed to guide me through the rough patch’s but also make many of the immediate challenges in my work and personal life that much clearer. As I got used to the clarity of mind I had a renewed energy and I harken back to the days where I was more entrepreneurial than I am today. I now find myself diving into tasks with a smile on my soul. However today I seemed to reach a plateau; the new car smell is not as present as it was two days ago. I think this is what made me so tired yesterday and earlier this evening. To continue with the car analogy, if you slow down shifting gears to a 48 hour process, I am in between gears right now and missing the torque of 2nd gear and not knowing what will happen with third gear… if I get there. It will really great if I can remain present 4th gear with out red  lining.

Ange and I had a great discussion today about our eating habits. At the core of the conversation was our long term eating plan, but if flushed out the base assumption of the Paleo diet and that of diets that include the Paleo but with the addition of grains and complex carbs like yams & sweet potatoes. During part of the conversation I mentioned that I felt that my body was giving clear threshold signals. For example I can eat a bunch of carrots, celery, cucumber and grape tomatoes and they taste great and it I hit a threshold where every bite beyond has a bitter flavour. The same goes meats, even wine. Have you ever noticed when you have a few glasses that there is a little signal that goes off in your head and that next glass is not a good idea? I have really only noticed this since being on this challenge, and I really hope the signals I am receiving are my body’s way or balancing my diet and perhaps, controlling portion sizes. Am I nuts or is this just one of the ways that weight falls off and health returns when eating the right diets for you?

From a simple craving point of view this weekend is going a little more smoothly than last weekend, except for the fact that I would have killed for a glass of wine to go with lamb and leeks tonight.

Anyway that is about it for today. I will write again on Day 14 as I am going to take Sunday off.

I would really appreciate any comments that you may have. Cheers

30 Day Lifestyle Challenge Day 9 & 10 – Food Hangover

February 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

Fresh off of Day 8, all I could see in front of me was clear sky for the days ahead.

Day 9 had a tough start as I am a lot more out of shape than I thought I was. Ange had put a functional fitness or interval fitness routine together for me that we set up in the basement. By set up I mean put the medicine ball, physio, and Bosu ball in the main room of the basement.

There routine included 3 ‘warm up’ stations and 10 work out stations. Each station is a pair of exercises. One follows the other every 30 seconds for 2 minutes and then you have a 20 reprieve until the next station. It really doesn’t take much space other than in my lungs, which rapidly found out are a couple of sorry floppy things that don’t seem to hold enough oxygen when I need it most.

I got through most of the first part of the work out fine and then the stamina attained by sitting on my ass for 6 months kicked in and guided the way for me. By the time I hit station 7 & 8 I was gasping for air and experiencing a little nausea. I skipped stations and 9 & 10 and told myself that if I keep plugging away it will get better and better until it is a breeze.

After my stellar performance in the basement I carried on with my day. It was a pretty typical day that was filled with various meetings and telephone calls; really nothing of note. However after 5 o’clock I was in for a treat. Our eldest daughter and I were going to have a Daddy-Daughter night at the Salmon Kings game. I really relish these times as I know that they won’t last forever (she’s nine) and I love hearing the innocence in her voice as she tells about her day, her frustrations with Grade 4 math, and her random thoughts about the greater world. I understand that boys should never ever be naked. Imagine my jolt when she came out with this statement after 5 minutes of silence and as the Salmon Kings scored their 3rd goal of the game.

I composed myself and tried to settle all the horrible thoughts in my head and asked “Uhh what do you mean?” She looked up at me and said “I saw a statue of a sort-of-naked girl and thought girls have more to share than boys and nobody really wants to at look boys – there really isn’t anything to see.” Relief abounded in my heart and I held a chuckle under my breath and said “do you think they have chocolate bars here?”

I had been so good up to now but going to the game was my downfall. We arrived at the arena at about 6:20 and proceeded immediately to the concession as there was no line up and neither of us had much for dinner. Grace got a Hot Dog, lathered with mustard and some ketchup and the scent of it made my mouth water. I hesitated for a few moments but I eventually caved and got myself one to.

After chomping down on the dog and just before the game got started I suggested we get some popcorn. Now the wheels are coming off. We shared a big tub of salty, fake butter popcorn and it was good.

Over the night I had a hot dog, popcorn, a bottle of water, and a chocolate bar and what was strange is I didn’t once feel the need to get a beer. I saw lots of people around enjoying a brew, I could even smell it, but it never even crossed my mind to go all the way and add the beer to a litany of dietary transgressions.

As Day 10 dawned I felt like I had at least 10 beer the night before. My eyes were red and I was desperate for my morning espresso. I truly felt like a hangover with the key exception that it had passed by 9 am whereas most of my hangovers are not knock down, but I am dragging all day the next day.

As I write this I am looking at the stack of work I have to do before tomorrow, so I am going to sign off here and rejoin tomorrow for Day 11. Cheers

30 Day Lifestyle Challenge Day 8 – The Matrix

February 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Now we are groovin’. Day 8 began well and it is finishing well. I even skipped a meal – lunch – today with no ill effects.

I don’t know if there will be much for me to write about today as it was a day without hunger, without cravings, even a good nights rest without any wacky ‘Golfing to the Death’ dreams.

One thing I will say is that the cravings have turned more into wantings. I walk by an espresso place and I want to stop in and have a shot, but it doesn’t take every fibre of my being to keep walking. My cravings had the dual effect of requiring an intense fight with myself, but they also took up a lot of conscious space as I would be thinking of the object almost constantly. Perhaps I feel that I got more done today as I have reclaimed that conscious space for ‘good’ and not evil.

The other thing I have noticed is that my spending remains quite low. It is dumbfounding how many little impulse buys I can make in a week. In my case most of them involved coffee, snacky foods, wine and, of course new apps for my iPhone. Without the sugar and caffeine crashes my body is not screaming out to get a coffee or a snack just to make it through the day. I’m not feeling the strong desire to reward myself with a big glass of goodness with every day. My mind seems clearer and thus I am not finding distractions, I’m finding solutions. It has only been 8 days, but I estimate that I have saved close to $96… sorry if that puts the breaks on the recovering economy.

Hmm.. the economy. Have you seen Food Inc. or Super Size Me, both great films that state how much of the economy is controlled by a few companies whose concept of what constitutes food is formed by perspectives of the industrial revolution- make it cheaper and have it everywhere. How much of the daily economy is built around coffee breaks, meeting for coffee, hitting Tim Hortons or Starbucks? How much of the economy needs us to search out distractions? I’m thinking a big chunk. I was watching the Canucks game tonight (4-1 winners of Dallas – way to go boys!) and there was no less than 30 fast food & sugary snack ads while I watched the game. The vast majority of the ads were trying to trigger the response that says I need to go to X to get my fix… why because I deserve it.

In some ways I feel like Neo in the Matrix, although I look nowhere near as good with a bald head, where he sees the contrast; understands the greater good but also sees how blissfully easy being in the matrix is.

Anyway if you have any thoughts on this I would like to hear them. I going to unwind a bit by watching the best show ever West Wing and then off to bed. Tomorrow morning at 5:30 I do my first circuit as laid by the best personal trainer ever- my wife.


30 Day Lifestyle Challenge – Days 6 & 7 No More Snore

February 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

I didn’t blog yesterday and I probably should have mentioned that I’m going to take Sunday’s off. I need at least one day to re-charge my batteries.

When I left off last I was having a brutal time with cravings and hunger. That was on Saturday so for Sunday we planned to be really busy all day in the hopes, and on the assumption that always be distracted from gorging myself and breaking the integrity of the diet. It worked like a charm until about 4pm when we got home.

The sun was just starting to go down and I put on a fire and then the pangs started. They started out low and then started to grow (to steal a line from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas). By the time Ange informed that she would be skipping dinner (part of the New Evolution Diet; I will say more in a second), I was considering how tasty my quads might taste. Imagine my horror when she suggested that we both skip dinner. No! It wasn’t a good idea for me so she did and I wolfed down some roast chicken leftovers and a big bowl of mango, melon, orange and blueberry. Ahh that felt good.

The premise of the New Evolution Diet is to eat and exercise in a similar way to our ancestors of 10,000 years ago. The idea is that if our DNA stopped evolving then, it seems reasonable to assume that what our bodies most needed was the foods that we ate then and in a cycle by which they ate. Way back in those days we didn’t have 3 squares a day every day and it isn’t likely that we had regular meal times. The authors contention is that by skipping a meal every so often, eating essentially a paleo diet and exercising the way that life would have required then, the body burns and stores energy like it was designed to do. Fair enough, but let’s skip say dinner on Wednesday night or a meal on a day that life is so busy. You know the next time me and the guys go on a 4 day hunt for Mammoth or Sloths; I promise I will skip a meal on one of those days.

I was told by my accupuncturist/Chinese Medicine practitioner, to expect some crazy dreams as my body detoxes. Sunday night was a doozy, better than Avatar and involved me golfing for my life (literally if I lost the rest of my foursome would kill me), with a foursome in which everyone except me could see at night and had the power to change the shafts on my clubs into Willow tree branches. After a few holes and staring death directly in the face, although I couldn’t really see his face and that is how I knew I was dreaming, I decided I should wake myself up as the 19th hole was not shaping up to be the jovial post game show I usually have.

So without a lot of sleep I started my day. All four of us were sitting at the table when Ange blurts out “by the way the snoring has all but vanished.” Now I’m really messed up because I kept denying that I snored and now she has noticed I have stopped doing something that I never did. Trippy. Anyway Ange is sleeping much better and she attributes that to the lack of the heavenly nectar known as wine. We shall see as my plan is to have a great glass of wine on the evening of Feb 23 to celebrate completion of the 30 day challenge and the commencement of the next part- the re-introduction of certain foods.

This week will also see me start on a functional work-out as put together for me by the greatest personal trainer ever- my wife! The total workout is about 30 minutes long and I will do it starting Wednesday morning at 5:30am sharp.

 Tomorrow morning is the first day of week 2 to the 100 PushUps program. I can already feel that I am getting stronger and am able to do about double what I was doing on day 1. The program is 6 weeks in length and at the end of it I will be able to 100 PushUps without stopping- where’s the beach!

One last note before I go. I will weigh myself every Monday morning to see if I have shed any of those unwanted pounds. Last week at the start of the challenge you remember my weight was 195lbs; this morning it was 189. At this rate I will be a lean, mean, gaunt, sickly stick of a thing by the end of the 30 days.

Good night and see you tomorrow.

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