Saturday, March 31, 2012

Quick Update on the Incredible Shrinking Woman

So I'm down almost 30 pounds. I KNOW, right? When I hit the big 30, I'm planning to reward myself. Possibly with a full body massage. And an iTunes gift card. I've told my students that their teacher is actually shrinking this year! They haven't noticed, and my feelings would be hurt, but they're 8. They don't notice much that's not on a video game or television screen. One did say that she could get her arms around me when she hugged me now. I'll take it.

But here are some pics that got me motivated. My phone camera sucks, and I'm too lazy to get the good camera out at this point. When I hit the next goal, I swear I'm totally going to do that. Really.

Before pic, taken in San Francisco with my fabulous writer friends. I felt huge. And I was.

27.4 lbs down from where I started. 2 sizes down. No looking back, no stopping me now!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Update

It's time to do a run down on the checklist of Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness. I mean, this whole thing isn't just about losing weight here, right?

First, I had my yearly "female" doctor's visit this last week. Fun stuff. I usually dread the appointment, not because it's THAT kind of physical, but because he makes me stand on his scale and then writes down the Number of Shame that appears. Not this time. His chart showed me down 30 lbs. from my last physical. Less ass for zombies to munch? Check!

Then he took my blood pressure. This number has been astronomical since I had my first child. It shot up during pregnancy, and then that kid has just kept pushing my buttons ever since. Add her sisters into the mix, and the blood pressure cuff weeps with exhaustion when the nurse finally releases me from its grip. This time, it was normal. I mean, not borderline-we'll-ignore-how-close-it-is-to-heart-attack normal, but honest to God normal. For the first time in thirteen years. The doctor had the nurse check it again. I just grinned like the Cheshire Cat. At this point, my doctor leans over and asks, "What the HELL have you been doing?" Y'all have got to know my doctor. We attend the same church and have sung in the choir together. When I first started going to him, he told me to be sure to keep my pants on when I ran into him in the pews on Sunday mornings. ANYWAY, his eyebrows shot above his hairline when he checked my vitals and lab tests. This fat, unhealthy chick is starting to get her groove back. Not collapsing into a heap when the zombies attack? Check!

I am now able to run. I kinda look like Forrest Gump doing it, but I do it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not signing up for the next marathon in my vicinity, but when Satan says, "Run 400 meters for warm up" I don't have to walk while the rest of the class blows past this sad, round, girl. I still finish huffing and puffing like ol' Big Bad, but I finish. Being able to get this butt moving when they crash through the door looking for brains? Check!

And how are we doing on the Looking Good Naked part? Well....I'm not stripping down for the neighbors any time soon (Which is good, since they're old and have round-the-clock assistance. I'd hate to be responsible for the heart failure that would ensue.), but I did wear shorts for the first time in 8 years. In PUBLIC. Real shorts, not 'walking shorts' or capris. My girls couldn't get over it, and kept commenting on how cute mama looked all afternoon. The two youngest are the best for boosting the ego. I keep them around for this purpose. They also loved the fact that we went to a friend's house to swim, and I actually got into my bathing suit and joined them. Without a t-shirt to cover up with. I enjoyed the sun and the water without fearing someone would see me and think Shamu needed to be rolled back into the pool.

So, three months in and I'm about 1/3 of the way to my goal. I still have days when I want to throw my hands up and say, "I give up! Give me a large Butterfinger Blizzard and a large steak finger basket with fries!" But even if I do, I will climb back up on this horse, because I'm riding this bad boy all the way to the end. I will not be the first one eaten in the event that we're attacked by the walking dead. WIN.

Run, Shanon! Run!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Recipes I've Been Meaning to Post

Okay, it's been a while since I've had the time, energy, or motivation to do some primal chick cooking. However, Spring Break has SPRUNG up in here, yo. I've done a little (read-very little) cleaning, some studying, a tiny bit of writing, and I took a whole afternoon to cook some new things! My tummy is full of primal deliciousness, and I'm a happy girl. Now I'm going to go curl up with a good book somewhere and pretend school doesn't start up again on Monday.


2 1/2 c almond flour
1 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 c plus 1 tbsp coconut milk
1/2 c honey
Topping Ingredients:
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp. melted coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 325F. Mix together all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix well with a whisk. Divide evenly into 12 muffin cups. You can use muffin liners or wipe your silicone muffin pan with melted coconut oil and use that. They pop right out. Mix the topping ingredients together in a separate bowl and drizzle over the tops of the muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Okay, these smell like heaven when they're cooking. They are moist and chewy, and my girls all loved them. Definitely a win.

Original link here

PALEO MAYONNAISE from Everyday Paleo
2 eggs
1 tsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
2 c olive oil (not extra virgin, just plain olive oil)

Use your food processor or blender for this one, and put on your big girl panties and grow some patience. It's easy, but you have to go sloooooowly.
Mix eggs, mustard, and vinegar in the blender until well mixed. Then, leave the blender or processor running and begin adding oil drop by drop or in a slow drizzle. This takes time, but it will begin to come together. I think all told, it took about 15 minutes or so. When all the oil is added and the mayo has the desired consistency, add in the salt and cayenne.

This made enough to fill two small mason jars and still have enough to make my egg salad recipe. They say it keeps up to a week or so in the fridge. It tasted SO much better than any store bought mayonnaise I've ever had, and there is no soybean oil in it. You can also get creative and add all kinds of things to make sauces or dips.

Originally from Sarah Fragoso's Everyday Paleo. This link will show you a demo of her making the mayo. Visuals are good.

12 oz. tuna packed in water
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 c. diced red onion
1/4. c homemade mayo
1/2 c. dried cranberries (no sugar added)
salt/pepper to taste

Mix it up. That's it. It's not neurosurgery up in here or anything here, people.

Originally from The Primal Blueprint cookbook

6 eggs, boiled, peeled, and chopped
1/2 c homemade mayo
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt/pepper to taste

To make the perfect boiled eggs, put raw eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water. Set them on the stove, and turn the heat on medium high. Bring them to a boil, then cover them and turn off the heat. Wait 15 minutes, pour out the hot water and add ice and water to shock them. They peel so easily after this. Seriously. Would I lie?
Again, mix all the ingredients. Voila!

This egg salad isn't overly spicy. It's got a little kick to it, but not mouth-burning. The lemon and jalapeno are a great flavor mix in this. I imagine adding some crumbled bacon into this mixture might be a taste of heaven.

Originally from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook

And if you're wondering what you're going to eat these fabooboo salads on, here's a recipe for a crepe-like wrap that can be used like a tortilla.

12 eggs (yes, a whole dozen. NO. LIE.)
4 tbsp coconut flour
1/8 tsp sea salt
coconut oil for frying

In a blender, mix eggs, flour, and salt. The blender takes out all lumps that coconut flour tends to have, especially since you store it in the fridge. Let it sit for a few minutes so the flour will soak up all the egg it will hold. It will look thin.
Heat a tsp of oil on medium-low heat in a nonstick skillet. I have an 8 in. crepe/omelet pan I got for about $15 and it is the BOMB for making these. Add 1/4 c of the batter to the pan and swirl it to coat the bottom of the pan. Let cook for about 2 minutes until batter sets. Carefully flip and cook for about 2 more minutes. Slide into a plate lined with wax paper, cover with another piece, and you can stack them this way as you go.
Flipping these little buggers takes practice. I broke the first 2, but then got the hang of it. A couple of thin spatulas does the trick.

These taste slightly eggy, and I've found a couple of other paleo/primal crepe recipes that use just egg whites or more coconut/almond flour that I may try. These were pretty yummy, though. You can wrap meat and salad greens, tuna salad, or almond butter with strawberries. It's just like a sandwich. NEW lunch ideas! YAY!

Originally from Keeper of the Home website

I tried a different wrap/crepe recipe and loved it even more. The above recipe is very good, but it is very eggy tasting. This next one is more of a bread/tortilla texture. We had wraps with egg salad last night, and I used them for breakfast burritos this morning. For lunch, girl #3 put leftover pork loin, salad greens, and cheese with some homemade mayo. Fabulous!

8 egg whites (I used the kind from Egg Beaters, but you could scramble the yolks with some butter and use them as a filling.)
2 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 c coconut milk
butter or coconut oil for cooking

These directions looked a lot more complicated, but I just threw the egg whites in the blender and got them frothy before adding all the rest of the ingredients. Heat skillet to medium and put in a little bit of oil or butter. Again, this depends on your pan. I have a nonstick that needs very little. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and swirl it to coat the bottom. Cook until the edges start to curl and it bubbles a bit. Using a wide spatula (or two), flip it and cook about a minute longer. These were tougher and easier to turn than the others. They also didn't break when wrapped around a lot of fillings. You could add vanilla and honey to this and make them sweet, but it isn't necessary. We filled some with almond butter, strawberries, and honey for dessert. Worked just fine for us!

The batter looks very thin and white at first.

Beautiful, aren't they? Recipe came from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

There's No Work Like Rework!

...or, how I sabotage myself.

When I wrote last month, I was On Top of the World.  I was a Double Quarter Pounder away from a 20 pound loss.  And I lost it.  Yay 20 pound loss!  And then the cart sort of went off into the ditch.  But this is not new for me.  It's pretty much my shtick, which means I've done this sort of thing before.

Ummm, yeah.  It's a pattern.

I'd like to blame Valentine's Day, but that wouldn't be accepting responsibility for my poor decisions.  It would be like blaming the Shiner Bock brewery or the Idaho potato farmers who harvested the potatoes that Five Guys uses for their fries.  Not exactly their fault.

It's so much more fun and exciting to write when I'm being successful.  As I have been "off the course" for the last 3 weeks, I've thought to myself, very tongue-in-cheek, it's a good thing I don't have a "real addiction" to anything.  If I were a true addict?  I could see myself being in a very bad position.  Wanna know what I mean?

Last week, Brian was out of town, and I needed to go to the store.  I saw the big bag of the Salt and Vinegar Chips I love.  But I didn't get them.  Unfortunately, they now carry the "snack size" of them at the register and got 2 of those.  (I knew I was doomed if that ever happened.)  I started eating them as I walked out of the store, holding the bag in one hand, as I pushed the basket, refusing to give even one to the kids.  Then I became afraid that Joshua was going to reach his hand into the bag and get one.  As I was pushing the basket, trying to keep my son out of the chips and yet devour them myself, I realized something about myself.  I realized that if I dropped one of my chips on the Wal-Mart sidewalk, I was going to pick it up and eat it.

Yeah.  I know.

So I shoved the open bag in my purse until I could get to the truck, where I waited patiently until I had all the groceries and kids loaded in and ate the rest of that bag before we ever left the parking lot.  (At least I'm not so far gone that humiliation of self has eluded me.)

I've also been drinking Dr Pepper by the gallon.  In fact, I could go for some right now.  My dad hasn't been bringing any cakes by, and it's a good thing.  In my condition, that may well have been the end of me.  And I can't have that.

All I can say is that being successful made me lazy and complacent.  Let down my guard.  "I've lost 20 pounds.  It'll be okay to have this hamburger/piece of cake/Chick-Fil-A goodness/Shiner Bock/Dr Pepper."  And in doing so, I gained 4.5 pounds back.

But I've made progress.  I threw a brownie away the other day.  :)

Maybe you're wondering how you can help me.  Well, when you see me getting close to a milestone, remind me to stay the course.  I'll be looking for a way to reward myself or just an excuse to do what I want.  As I've reported before and Shanon has, too, it's never worth it.  Thankfully, as of this morning, I'm out of the ditch.  I'm down 20.5 pounds.  Now to move forward and press on.    

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Akrasia (There's CRAZY in it!)

I was going to post a long blog about wanting to do one thing, but finding myself doing the complete opposite. I was going to get wordy and weighty on the topic of willpower and my lack thereof. Then I went to The Site and read an article by The Dude that pretty much summed up the science behind why we do the things we know aren't good for us. There's even a term. Akrasia. I know it applies to me, because the word 'crazy' is in there. Here's the link. Go read it. Go on! I'll wait right here for you.

You back? Good. Now then. What do you think about that? There are physical reasons behind the cravings and desires to jump headfirst off the wagon into a vat of ice cream or a truckload of pizza. Our bodies do these things for a reason. And now that we know the physical causes, we can address them in ways that satisfy our needs without ending up looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Of course, as Mark says in his article, this doesn't take the psychological reasons for our cravings into consideration. That's a whole different kind of crazy right there. I'm Queen of that kind of Crazy. But that's a topic for another day, and another blog. I think I'll go eat some bacon. I've been wanting sweets lately.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Choose Your Hard

Hi. How are you? It's been a while, I know. Do we really need to talk about it? Yeah? Ah, crap. Okay then, here it is.

When life gets crazy, this lifestyle changing thing gets hard. I'm not a fan of hard, unless we're talking about Ryan Reynolds' abs. The other kind, the sort that makes you tired and worn down, is not on my list of FAVE things. Take the last two weeks, for example. It's like a study in What Makes Shanon Lose Her Mind. Losing weight got hard.

It's hard when you get sick. Feeling like you've been backed over by a large truck is not helpful in getting to the gym or preparing meals in the kitchen. That stomach virus laid me smooth out. I didn't feel like moving, much less doing the prep work for a week's worth of breakfast meals. Then when I recovered, I felt so hollow I thought I'd never get full. And there were no groceries in the house. Hello, Sonic.

It's hard when your children get sick. For a few days, I couldn't even plan to leave the room for a few minutes, much less make a menu for the week. Going to the grocery store became the impossible dream.

It's hard when you have kids going in all different directions. After recovering from the Creeping Death, we had to get back into the school, dance, drill team, softball routine. I have four kids going to the far corners of the world every afternoon. Last week, a few went to the ends of the earth for tournaments and competitions. I spend my life in the car, I swear. Swinging through the drive-thru seemed to be the only answer to feed these little people who wail that dreaded cry from the back seats, "I'm hungry!". I couldn't send them off to dance or play on empty stomachs, and once again--no groceries. Sense a pattern here?

It's hard when work gets stressful and you just want to come home and sit without SOMEONE needing SOMETHING from you for five minutes. By the time I walk in the door, it's time to get dinner going if we're going to eat before 8 o'clock at night. The strength to drag out the pans and get a healthy meal on the table began to elude me. The restaurants beckoned, with promises of quick, hot meals made by someone who is not me. While it is possible to eat primal at a lot of restaurants, you must be careful. I was not. This mama was tired. I don't always make the best choices when I'm exhausted.

It's hard when the weight isn't coming off as quickly as it was in the beginning. The scale no longer flashes those 3-5 lb. weight losses each week, and the novelty of the new lifestyle began to wear off. Knowing something is good for you doesn't make it easy. After working out and eating that salad while the people around you gnosh on pizza and burgers, you expect to see some numbers going down on that scale. When they don't, you begin to doubt the plan. Yourself. The purpose in skipping that double chocolate shake.

So you can see, life got hard and I got soft. I 'didn't have time' to eat healthy. I just 'couldn't' get to the gym because of the kids' events. I gained three pounds. I felt guilty. I was discouraged and depressed. I started to let it slip more and more, letting the nagging little voices in my head win. And then, I found this on Pinterest.

The truth of this smacked me right between the eyes. Yes, trying to change my lifestyle got hard. Planning and preparing seemed too difficult when I was tired. But what about being overweight?

It's hard when you know you can't even climb the stairs without sucking wind like a Hoover vacuum. Playing with your kids is not an option unless you're sitting your big butt in a chair and observing from a distance. Fun stuff.

It's hard having to pass by all the cute clothes in the fun stores on your way to the fat girl shops. Being in my thirties and having to dress like my grandma doesn't make me feel sexy.

It's hard to be a social person but dread being the fattest woman in the room so much you stay home to avoid the feelings of inadequacy. Seeing all the other women looking so put together and stylish, while I have two pairs of jeans that still button, kind of pokes a hole in my self-confidence. I isolate myself in self-defense.

It's hard to wonder if you'll fit into things like amusement park rides, airplane seats, and theater chairs. The embarrassment of having to step out of line or buy two tickets to accommodate your girth is enough to keep anyone behind the safety of their own door. Fortunately, I never reached this point, but it was on the horizon.

It's hard to feel so ugly and unlovable when you compare yourself to the pictures in magazines and women in movies. To hate what you've become and see the disappointment in your husband's eyes. How demoralizing to think he's with you because he loves you, and he's committed to you, but he's not attracted to you.

So you see, there is a choice here. I can jump back into the fray and fight like hell for the life I want or I can sit back and live in hell in the life I have. Neither is an easy way out. There's not a quick fix or an escape from the hard things. After several weeks of feeling ill and out of sorts, I made a choice. If it's going to be hard, I may as well go with the hard that pays off in the long run. I'm going with the hard that gets me somewhere better.

I'm back. I'm down 21 pounds, and I'm ready to keep going. Bring it.