Thursday, November 17, 2016

Whole30 – Days 15-21: Birthdays and Beasts

Thursday: I have a huge milestone to write about for this day. Some of you may not think this is big, but for me, it's YUUUGE!

Are you ready??

Thursday morning, I drank coffee. Without sugar!! And it didn't taste horrible!! I didn't even make a nasty face when I drank it!! It did, of course, have coconut milk in it, but I am allowed to drink that, and it definitely has no sugar in it.

Also on Thursday, since I am having this completely unprecedented problem of not eating enough food, I was assigned some homework from fitness coach guy. We will call him FCG from now on. He told me to count my carbs for the day, and if I come in at under 120g, then I have problems.

Well, I got problems.

On any given day, I may have about 25g of carbs. And that's being generous.

On this plan, though, it is really hard to get over 100g of carbs in a day. I can't have beans or bread or really anything that would put me at that number without completely stuffing myself full of bell peppers and avocados. And I'm just not that hungry throughout the day.

So I have to figure out how to combat this, because, as FCG said, you will lose weight, but it takes a "shit ton of time" to correct. And, yes, I would like to lose some weight, but I want it to be healthy so that I can get to a maintaining status instead of having to worry about every single thing I put in my body for the rest of my life. And let's be honest, Christmas is coming, and I fully plan on eating more than one Reese's Christmas Tree when it does (Mom!!). I don't want to lose all the hard work I've been putting in the past couple of weeks either.

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Before I begin talking about the rest of the days, I'd just like to know who's ridiculous idea it was to do Whole30 during the month of my birthday?! Despite trying to psych myself up and be strong, I really just set myself up for disappointment. But, life goes on. And so must I.

Friday–Sunday: The beginning of the end. I had a friend in town all weekend, and let's just say it didn't go well. On the food side of things. I'm not going to go into much detail because I am ashamed. Although I definitely didn't have a problem meeting my carb goals. Ugh.

Monday: My friend left town, and I was all excited to get back on track! I did so well for breakfast and lunch. And then I got a call from the office across the street at work. They had a birthday cake for me. Crap.

So sweet, but there went my Monday.

Tuesday: Another new day! I started again and did well. I went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that night because a friend got early passes. FCG met me at my office beforehand, and we went together (2nd date FTW!). He apparently hadn't eaten all day and was starving. He told me he was running to Chipotle before he met me but showed up to the office empty-handed. He said he got lost (he lives out of town) and didn't want to be late, so he was still hungry when we got to the theatre. I had done very well on my Whole30-ness that day and wasn't as hungry as he was. Although, after we started talking about it, Chipotle did sound pretty good. We stood in line at the theatre for a while (still talking about Chipotle off and on), and they finally let us in to sit down. Where someone promptly sat next to us with Chipotle. FCG and I nearly had a meltdown. Jealousy overwhelmed us, and, after that chick whipped a Starbucks drink out of her purse, we started talking about getting popcorn. I told him I wasn't going to eat any. He asked me if I was going to judge him if he did. The fitness and nutrition coach thought I was going to judge him for eating. How cute. We both finally caved, and he came back with a small popcorn and two of the biggest water bottles I've ever seen. We ate half the bag and were done with it.

The fact that he actually went to get it won him tons of points in my book. He may be a health nut, but he's still human. I appreciate that.

Wednesday: Another good day with good choices. It took a couple of days, and I feel super guilty about this weekend, but I'm finally back on track. And I think to make up for the cheat days, I'm going to continue this after Thanksgiving and up until Christmas.

Although I probably won't blog about it. Not sure I want the world knowing my willpower is still subpar.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Whole30 – Days 13-14: Drinking and Denial

Yesterday, I tried to write a post, but it became clear that I was too emotional over the whole election debacle, so I put it off. After sleeping on it and drinking quite a bit of wine last night (I'll get to that later), I feel much better about our state of affairs. I have mostly decided to do what my dogs used to do when I was growing up: look away and pretend there isn't a problem. I'm going to say this last thing, and then I will be done commenting anything to do with the American government's state of affairs: I hope he turns out to be a better president than he was a candidate. I wish him all the success, and I hope he proves all of us nay-sayers wrong.

Now, on to the good stuff.

Tuesday: I have been eating bacon and eggs (with hash browns when I have time–one potato can go a long way) every morning this week, and it has been great! Breakfast has been my favorite meal of the day.

For lunch, I have been eating on the leftovers from Friday's get-together. I had a lot of chipotle chicken left over, and it went great on a salad with Dump Ranch and avocado. Yum! I was disappointed when I ran out of that and will probably make it again.

After work, I had to get the stuff to make dinner, and then I did a barre work out. So by the time I finally got around to making dinner, it was close to 8:30pm. I could have just had a snack in place of dinner, but it occurred to me (well, actually it occurred to the fitness coach guy who is still, for some reason, hanging around–he's out-of-my-league hot) that I have not been eating enough calories lately (go figure). So, since I was really hungry, and I figured I wouldn't be getting any sleep that night anyway with it being election day and all, I went ahead and made the buffalo ranch stuffed peppers again (and ate a Pink Lady apple with Almond Butter while I was cooking – those peppers take forever to make!). They were just as good this time around as last time. I didn't make any guac to top them with because I didn't have enough time or ripe avocados, but I threw some Dump Ranch on them, and that was really good.

Wednesday: Bacon and eggs again for breakfast. Always lovely.

Leftover stuffed pepper for lunch. Wonderful again.

However, dinner is where I had the problem. And this is where writing this blog and being honest gets hard. But that is why I started doing this in the first place, so I'm not going to lie about it.

So here goes: I cheated. Big time. And I didn't even try to stop myself.

A couple of friends and I went to a Single's Mixer at Ruth's Chris that night. I know, I know. But it was for a charity (Cystic Fibrosis), so it was ultimately for a good cause. Now, please understand that one cannot simply go to a "Single's Mixer" and not have some kind of liquid courage. So I had two glasses of wine to help me get through it. I met one guy but did not get his number, so it was probably a waste of alcohol. But hey, I tried.

After the mixer, we were starving. The apps at said mixer were disappointing at best, and I didn't see the point in even trying to eat what they put out. So we went to Chima, another steak house on the next block. Where I had another glass of wine (don't shoot me!!). They had an appetizer in the form of two sliders and fries that, after two and a half glasses of wine on an empty stomach, I could not refuse. So I ate them. Every bit of that app. And it. was. delicious.

I regret nothing.

I also slept through the entire night without a sleep aid, so yay!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Whole30 – Days 9-12: Chocolate Dreaming

Well, apparently I've got quite a few days to catch up on since I seriously slacked off this weekend. In writing, not necessarily the diet itself. Although there were a couple of snags that I will get to.

Thursday: Just another day. Went off without incident. Even got in a barre workout that night after work and felt great all day.

Friday: I had a get-together that night with a few friends, and I made three different Whole30-approved appetizers that turned out pretty good! Sweet potato sliders were my favorite, but we also had spinach meatballs and buffalo chicken stuffed peppers with ranch that weren't terrible either. I also spent the night drinking apple spice tea mixed with sparkling water out of a wine glass.

Other than completely stopping up my garbage disposal cleaning out the fridge for my new roommate who moved in Saturday, the night went very well. I wasn't even tempted to drink any alcohol.

Saturday: I ate lunch out and tried to stick to the diet as much as I could. I'm sure the fries I got weren't exactly fried in Whole30 compliant oil, but there wasn't really a way to get around that, and it seemed like the best side I could order from the menu without getting something full of cheese.

I went on a date with a fitness and nutrition coach Saturday night. He was already aware of my diet because we've spent the past couple of weeks talking about it. He's actually encouraged me a little bit to stay on track. He picked Cabo Fish Taco to eat since the food is somewhat clean. I got a blackened tuna salad without dressing. Not the best-tasting thing I've eaten lately, but it got the job done, I guess. Although I did have a banana with almond butter later that night when I got home.

It was also helpful to get some additional encouragement from him. He told me he's lost 100lbs not once, but twice(!!), which is how he got so into nutrition.

Sunday: I spent most of the day hanging out at home but ate out again at dinner at a place that had a tiny menu. I had no choice but to cheat here because I didn't do my research before going, but the majority of the plate was full of veggies, so I still don't think I did terribly.

Monday: I did fine. Made hash browns today with my bacon and eggs (for dinner). So good!

As of now, I haven't noticed a difference in my sleeping, which was kind of the reason I did this to begin with (that and to be healthier), so it's a little disappointing. I still need my sleep aid at night, and I know this because every now and then, I won't take it, but I still wake up and can't get back to sleep just like I was doing before starting it. But I am going to see this through and keep trying to see if anything changes.

My energy level is great! Even when I know I am getting tired, I still feel fresh. None of the groggy feeling or foggyness I feel when I normally get tired. In fact, the only way I know I am getting tired is when I start yawning, and of course, if it is late and past my bedtime. I am really happy with how I have been feeling lately.

I will also say that before this little challenge, I thought alcohol was going to be the hardest thing I was going to be giving up. But I was wrong. I miss sugar like the fat kid I am. And before I started this, I was never really able to pin down my favorite sweet food. However, Reese's Cups are currently all I think about. Day in and day out. I even had a dream about them. No kidding. An ex kept throwing them at me (unwrapped) and they would land just out of my reach. It also doesn't help that there is an entire drawer full of them at work for the taking. I have not touched that drawer for 13 days now. And I feel like each day is a little bit harder. Whether this challenge changes my relationship with food or not, I am literally counting down the days until I can eat one.

The timeline said this would happen, and I must admit that I did not believe that I would actually dream about chocolate. And I have to admit that I was a little ashamed that it happened to me. But, it is what it is, I guess. I did just see an article where Drew Barrymore admitted that she cried over pizza when she did her latest diet, so at least I'm not actually crying over anything ... yet. That made me feel a little better.

My Saturday date asked me yesterday how I was doing and if I'd had any Reese's cravings since Saturday (we talked all about the one food we would have if it didn't count, so I told him). I told him I was ashamed to say they are fairly constant (I left out the part about dreaming about them). He said, "If you can eat a salad without dressing, you can do anything."

Good point, buddy!

I will be telling myself that from now on.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Whole30 – Days 6-8: Diets and Dating

This post is mix of a diet and a dating story, so it's kind of all over the place, but it's my blog, I can do what I want. Love you all!

Monday: Morning of Day 6 went great. I felt great and, despite not grocery shopping like I should have on Sunday, I still had eggs and Whole30 compliant bacon to tide me over until I got to the store.

My coworkers invited me to lunch that afternoon, and since I just started working here and am trying to make connections, I did not say no. We went to Just Fresh and I got a fruit cup with a bowl of turkey chili. The chili had beans in it, which I know is not compliant, but it was the closest thing on the menu to compliant, so I went with it. It was delicious.

That night, I had a date. We met at a The Gallery in Southend, which is a coffee/wine shop. I was under the impression we'd be getting wine, but he got coffee, and since I didn't want to be the only one drinking, I quickly made a decision to get an iced coffee with no sugar. Not exactly compliant since it had milk in it, but neither was the wine I was planning on drinking instead, so I let it go. After that, we went to Midnight Diner for food where everything I got was pretty much compliant, but I definitely ate a biscuit (huge no-no). The eggs I got were pretty undercooked, so I needed something to eat them with. Otherwise, I wouldn't have eaten any of it and you already know I don't want to be that weird chick on a diet when I go on dates during this time. The Whole30 girls recommend starting over when you eat something off-plan, but since Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I don't have time to start over, I am just going to overlook it for the time being and continue what I have been doing.

Sue me.

Tuesday: Day 7 morning and afternoon were fine, but I had book club that night. Book club is one of my favorite nights of the month, so I told myself before I even walked in the door that I would have my max two glasses of wine. As soon as I walked in the door, I laid eyes on an enormous bowl of chocolate. Caramel Hershey Kisses and the like. Ugh, this was going to be harder than I thought. I spent most of the night trying not to stare at it, but in the end, I didn't touch it or dessert (chocolate cheesecake – I swear all I see is chocolate these days!). I left feeling rather good about the night despite the wine and desperately wanting to cheat "just this once."

Willpower is a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it gets (or so I keep telling myself).

Wednesday: Day 8 was another good one full of compliant foods. I made a latte at work with my coconut milk. Still no good. I really miss sugar. At lunch I made Dump Ranch, which sounds gross, but was oh-so-good! SO good! Tasted almost like the real thing they make in restaurants. I can't believe it took me so long to make. I may never eat another salad dressing again!

That night I had my second date with Monday guy. He invited me to Latin mass and dinner. I'd heard of these masses before but had never had the chance to go, so I thought, why not? Word of advice: even if both of you are Catholic, don't go to mass on your second date. I thought it was really cool that we had this in common and would be able to do that together. Eventually. However, I am well aware that a first-timer at a Catholic mass can be completely weirded out with all the kneeling, praying and chanting in unison, but the latin mass, even for this old-timer was... weird. To say the least. I didn't understand a word of it, the priest kept his back to the congregation the entire time, and Monday guy kept making the sign of the cross and reading silently to himself (except I could hear him).

I'm not sure if he was doing all this because he thought it would impress me ("See? I really am Catholic!!"), but the dude has only recently converted to Catholicism and these are things people who have grown up in the church don't even do (although there are still some who do). I do go to church and am close to my priest, but I like to think of myself as more of a modern Catholic... I take birth control, I hate confession and only go when my mom makes me at Christmastime, and I have my own personal relationship with God. (Which is why I hate confession. Gone are the days of thinking one can only speak to God through a priest. He knows what I've done, no need to spill it to anyone who will listen.) Clearly Monday guy was much more serious about the specifics of the mass than I am, and I have to say it freaked me out a little.

Not to mention I did not feel anything for him when I saw him. Not at all, actually. Which sucked because we had a ton of things in common (he is Catholic, after all), he was tall (6'5"), and had his shit together (working on his PhD). Also handsome. Oh, and did I mention he had a background in counseling?! Which means he probably had the patience to handle all my stupid emotional issues that crop up every time I'm in a relationship as well. He was basically everything I'd been praying for. I knew he could have taken care of me if I had let him. And he seemed to want to. I could tell that he liked me, but I just couldn't make myself attracted to him. Or make myself feel anything about him one way or the other. But honestly, I was hoping (actually praying) that would change once we got to dinner and could talk to each other.

But when we went to dinner after mass, the conversation was still boring. Then he told me he was nervous, and that's when I knew I needed to call it because I wasn't nervous at all. All I could really think about was how it was still early enough for me to get groceries if we got the check soon and how proud I was of the fact that I'd had nothing to eat that was not Whole30 compliant (yay, fajitas! ... or should I say cooked veggies with no rice, beans or tortillas).

And right about that time, I knew God was throwing his hands up in the air and yelling, "That was the guy, Emily!! That was the. guy you dumbass!!" and wondering what he's going to do with me. I'm going to be single forever, God. That's what's going to happen. We should both just accept it now. Probably.

So, I've got over a week in the books, and I feel better than ever. Despite possibly losing my soulmate in the process.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Whole30 – Days 3-5: The Energy and The Emotions

Friday: Day 3, when I woke up, I was worried it would be a continuation of the day before. Headache, foggy vision, etc., but it wasn't! I actually woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go. I did get a slight headache that afternoon, but it passed, and the day went on without incident (i.e. cheating). I even resisted the snack drawer when one of my coworkers was refilling the Reese's Cups section (for those of you who don't know me very well, that was SUPER hard!).

That night, a friend and I squeezed in a Barre workout after work and headed over to another friend's apartment for a girls get-together. We were all to bring something to eat, so I brought guacamole with bell peppers and Justin's Almond Butter with celery hoping to satisfy both the sweet and salty sides of any cravings I may have around the buffalo chicken and spinach dips that I knew would be there.

Everyone was eating and drinking wine all night, but I stayed strong and stuck to what I brought. I drank water out of a wine glass because I thought it would make me feel better (it did). I also ate quite a bit because I hadn't had dinner and was starving by the time we got there, but I didn't feel gross afterwards like I usually did when snacking at one of these get-togethers. I got tired as the night went on, but I still felt refreshed. It's pretty cool what good food can do for the body. Easy to forget as well.

Saturday: The next morning, Day 4, Sarah (you know her from previous posts) and I went to Crowder's Mountain for a hike. I was excited because I had done it the weekend before just fine (maybe stopped once on the way up). I couldn't wait to see how my body handled it now after a few days of eating well. I was disappointed. Sarah probably could have lapped me up that mountain. I was almost immediately out of breath and had to stop a few times on the way up the stairs (the steepest part of the mountain). But eventually, I made it, and we chalked it up to my body needing to get used to relying on the good food for energy versus the crap it usually does for quick energy bursts. This is pretty much confirmed in the Whole30 book I have (there's a pretty helpful timeline on what to expect, and for the most part, has been fairly accurate so far). I probably shouldn't have done such a tough workout so quickly after starting. But five miles later, I was happy we did it anyway. And then we headed to Chipotle, where I can actually find things to eat on the menu.

I guess I didn't realize how terribly I'd been eating before I started this and how much it affected my energy and everything else. This has been quite an awakening already.

I did notice toward the end of Day 4, that my emotions were a little on edge as I spent some time with Gray that night. Everything was fine, our therapy session was going very well until I did something (still have no idea what) to scare him, and he scratched my hand, hissed at me and went to sit out of arm's reach to stare at me with disdain. Usually, I will let a few seconds pass for him to calm down, and we will go back to it, but this time, I got overly emotional about it. Mostly angry (which is what the book said would happen). But I couldn't be angry at him because he's a scared little kitten, so I ended up crying about it in frustration. I was annoyed at him for not making his taming easier/faster/better. Annoyed at myself for taking him in and questioning if I did the right thing for him. I was annoyed at my brain for even questioning whether or not I did the right thing. And I was annoyed that I couldn't go drink a glass of wine and get over the fact that I was so bothered at something so dumb. It was all just so. dumb.

But eventually, the feeling passed, I got over it and went on with my life/night.

Sunday: Day 5 passed pretty much without incident until that night. I had a date, and I told myself before I even started this that I wasn't going to be that chick on a weird diet if I did go on any dates while doing this. I'd allow myself two drinks max, and it would be either red wine or a clear liquor with water. So, I already knew I was going to have wine. I had two glasses and that was that. I felt a little guilty about it, but I don't think it was enough to derail my progress. Besides, they say a glass of red wine every now and then is healthy, right??

Either way, it doesn't matter because I will be having wine occasionally (like on my birthday that is in two weeks), and I now get quite tipsy off two glasses of wine.

So there's that.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Whole30 – Day 2: The Hangover

Morning. I woke up late again because I just completely forgot to set my alarm this morning. I have done this twice now. I'm convinced it's because my new job hardly feels like work. I really like going to the office everyday, so I am no longer in the mindset of "Do I really need this job??" every single night of the week. I guess the saying actually is true: If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Who'd have thought??

Anyway, I woke up late but still made it to work on time. (Because I know you're putting together a lecture in your head for our next phone call, Mom, but you don't have to. I'm reminded every weekend that I'm an adult because sleeping in is impossible for me now. Not with responsibilities all constantly scrambling to the front of the line in my head. Sleep is but a small respite from adulting, and my mind will only allow me small windows of it at a time.)

I grabbed another Blackberry Sausage patty on my way out the door and found myself already looking forward to the chicken salad I was going to have for lunch. My mayo turned out perfectly despite completely ruining my immersion blender in the process of making it.

I did not try the coffee again today. Didn't really need it after all the sleep I got last night anyway, so I didn't bother trying to force it down. I have decided to wait until I get some coconut milk in the hopes that it may taste better than the almond milk before I try it again.

Lunch. My chicken salad was even better than it was when I tried it last night! I was afraid it would be too sweet-tasting, but the lettuce balanced it out perfectly. It was great, and I am glad there is more of it for tomorrow's lunch.

Afternoon. My head started to feel foggy. I believe this is the beginning of a two-to-three day headache thanks to all the crappy food I ate this weekend. They say the "hangover" is directly proportional to the food you ate before starting this little endeavor, so I am nervous for what is to come. It was very hard for me to concentrate at work this afternoon, so my fingers are crossed that it doesn't get any worse. Besides, I have pushed through two-day hangovers before. Just for different reasons.

Dinner. A couple of friends and I saw Band of Horses at the Filmore but met for dinner at La Revolucion, a Mexican place, beforehand. I was starving by the time we got there, but I had done my research and already knew what I was going to order. Unfortunately, my headache was still a thing, and I knew eating something would help at least a little bit. I really wanted those chips, but I didn't touch a single one! Some of you may not think this is a big deal, but it was a pretty large victory to me. I usually can't stop myself from munching on those while waiting for my food, and I'm not usually as hungry as I was last night when I'm eating them.

By the time we got to the Filmore and through the opening act, my head was killing me. It was pounding and everything just seemed foggy. I felt like I watched the entire first show through a daze. I thought part of it was due to hunger earlier, but I had just eaten, so I knew it was just the massive sugar hangover (mixed with the base that was so deep it shook the floors and rattled my teeth every time it hit). It was so bad I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the entire Band of Horses show. But by some act of God (or good music), after about a song's worth of B of H, my head stopped hurting, my vision cleared up and I felt a million times better! Thank the LAWD! Made it through the whole show just fine!

And the headache stayed away for the rest of the night. We shall see what happens tomorrow, though. Fingers crossed that I'm through the worst part.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Whole30 – Day 1

Morning: I got up (late) and got ready for work. On my way out the door, I heated up my Blackberry Sage Sausage patties I'd made the night before. They were wonderful! Then I checked on my homemade mayo I'd also made that night. Big fat nope. I would have to try again tonight, but that put me in a bind for lunch as I was counting on that mayo turning out right for the chicken salad I had prepared the night before (I was rather busy that night). Oh well, I'd figure it out later.

Normally, I don't call myself a coffee drinker. If I drink it at all, I either really need it or it's something to satisfy a sweet craving in the afternoon. But after being up past midnight last night prepping all that food, I knew I was going to need coffee this morning. One problem: no sugar allowed on the Whole30 Plan. And with me being an "I like coffee with my cream and sugar" type of person, I knew this was going to be difficult. However, Whole30 does allow coffee on the plan, so step one was taken care of. They allow you to drink unsweetened coconut or almond milk, and you can add that to your coffee, but nothing else. Last night I thought ahead when I was shopping and picked up some unsweetened almond milk. I knew I liked the vanilla-flavored kind, so how bad could the unsweetened kind be?

I would find out.

I don't make coffee at home, so I poured some of that milk into my Yeti and set off for work. When I got there, I made a cup of coffee and poured as much milk in there as my cup would hold and tasted it. Bitter as hell! So I poured some of the coffee in the sink to make room for more milk and tasted it. Not quite as bitter this time. Gross, but okay, this would have to work.

I stared at it as I spent my morning designing invitations for a trade show, but an hour and a half later, that coffee was still sitting at my desk, cold and only half gone. It would have to be enough to get me through the day because I had already exhausted my milk supply.

Lunch: After my mayo from the night before turned out gross, I found another recipe that I thought I'd try. Basically the same recipe I'd used the night before, but the ingredients went in in a different order and used an immersion blender versus the regular one. So, with chicken salad on the brain, I went home at lunch to make it thinking it would be quick.

Once I started mixing, I realized it was going to be next to impossible to slowly drizzle olive oil with one hand and mix with the other hand at one time. My blender also kept falling apart (thanks, Hamilton Beach!!), so I had to hold the bottom part and the top part together to make sure it stayed in place while I blended. So in order to pour the oil, I had to stop the blender, pour a tiny amount into the bowl and start blending again. Over and over again. This was going to take a while.

When I got down to about a quarter of a cup left of oil (recipe required a whole cup), my blender started smoking. SMOKING! Really?? It was also getting really hot to the touch, so I decided to switch over to the regular blender before that one blew up in my hands. Heavy sigh.

Forty five minutes, one burned up immersion blender and a major oily mess on the counter later, I had my second attempt at homemade mayo. And I was out of time to make my chicken salad. So, with a heavy heart, I put my mayo in the fridge and grabbed another Blackberry Sage Sausage, some grapes and went back to work.

Dinner: I made it through the day with my stomach only starting to growl after everyone had left the office for the day (thank goodness). I headed home and started in on my Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers (topped with guac!!) recipe that I was more than excited about. It took about two hours to get everything chopped and cooked, but it was well worth it! I was skeptical mixing their Whole30-approved clarified butter (ghee) with hot sauce to mix with the chicken, but it turned out amazing! So great, in fact, that I sent it out to the group for them to try (after sending it to the wrong group first, but hey, who doesn't like to look at good food?).

It was the perfect mix of hot sauce to chicken to pepper to guacamole ratio. So good I ate two of them. Whoops.

And the next day, when one of my friends mentioned the hot sauce, I found out the kind I used (Texas Pete) isn't Whole30-approved. Damnit.

This is going to be a long 30 days.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Whole30 Challenge – The Prep Stage

This past weekend, one of my oldest friends came to visit me in Charlotte. She lives in New Orleans now and had never been here, so what better time than the present?! We had a great time exploring Charlotte and Asheville and hiking and eating and eating some more.

In fact, the past few months, for me, have really been about nothing but eating crappy food with a few workouts thrown in for good measure. And as a result, I have not had much energy. And with all the eating this weekend, it got me thinking that I needed to make a change. I knew my friend had recently completed the Whole30 Challenge, so I asked her about it.

She said it was literally life-changing, and that I should try it. She noticed a huge difference in her energy levels (no 3 o’clock slump!), she wasn’t hungry all the time so she didn’t feel the need to snack and she was even able to sleep better. Not to mention she lost 7lbs. I was intrigued. I have to take a sleep aid every night just to get almost a full night’s sleep and I still lose my energy about halfway through the day, so this seemed like something I could be interested in.

So I did some research on Monday. It didn’t seem too terrible. The recipes looked pretty tasty. But this would require some discipline in meal planning, and also with drinking (something my friends and I like to do on occasion). I have never been good at controlling my portions or meal planning (or sticking to any diet, for that matter), so I already knew this was going to be difficult. My friend also said not to do this by myself. She said it can be done alone (and there are articles online about doing it solo), but it helps tremendously to have support. So I texted two of my friends and just kind of threw it out there, not really expecting them to salute it. However, both of them said they had already been thinking about it! Ha! That’s awesome! We talked some more about it, and I think I have them convinced to do it. We shall see! 

One of the girls suggested I blog about it, and I thought that was a brilliant idea and a good way to combat doing it alone if they decide not to do it with me. So here I am. And here it goes!

Once I'd made the decision to do it, I wanted to start as soon as possible so that I could be done by Thanksgiving. Not that that will really matter since everyone in my family is low-sodium now, but it never hurts to be prepared. Maybe they will surprise me with some good food this year. ; )

Anyway, my plan was to grocery shop Tuesday afternoon after a workout I had planned and start cooking Wednesday. But Tuesday afternoon rolled around, and I was feeling pretty terrible. So much so that I had to cancel the workout and take a nap after work. This was actually all the push I needed to get this started ASAP.

So after my nap, I booked it to Harris Teeter and Whole Foods. It wasn’t a cheap venture, but if I’m being real, I did say I’d buy myself something nice with my first paycheck from my amazing new job, so this kind of counts, right??

When I got home, I started with two recipes I had found on the Whole30 Instagram page. One of them was a chicken salad with homemade mayo. The homemade mayo recipe looked difficult and required the egg and lemon juice to sit in the blender for 20 minutes to an hour, so I threw that in there and got to work on chopping the veggies and fruit and roasting the chicken for the rest of the chicken salad. About an hour later, I got back around to the blender and tried to follow the recipe. It required making an emulsion and blending for long periods of time while slowly drizzling olive oil into the rest. Well, I forgot how loud my blender is, and by the time I got around to finishing this, it was 10:30 at night. Needless to say, I’m sure my roommate hates me today, but I tried to finish it as quickly (but slowly for the sake of the emulsion) as possible. It seemed to come out alright, so I put it in a container in the fridge and finished up frying my Blackberry Sage breakfast sausages for the morning. Those turned out pretty good!

By the time I finished shopping, cooking and cleaning, it was around 11:30pm. Way past my bedtime, and I was feeling really guilty for not spending any time with Grayson, but I figured it could wait until tomorrow. I got in bed and started winding down/playing on my phone when I heard him meowing from the bathroom. It wasn’t loud or obnoxious, just a little pitiful-sounding, and that made me feel even more guilty.

So I got up and took him some of the new food I got him at HT earlier that day (wet food and a dry kitten mix). He loved it and me. At least for a little while (we still have to work on actually chewing the dry food though). Although he still rears back and hisses when I try to pet him until he figures out what I am doing, he immediately started purring this time, so I think I interpreted his pitiful meow correctly. Poor kitty. I told him if he would stop hissing at me when I don’t have food, that he could come out and explore my room and sleep in the bed with me. But I don’t think he understood me. I spent about 30 minutes with Gray, so by the time I actually got in bed and to sleep, it was well past midnight.

I was going to need coffee tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Trust Your Instincts – Part 2 of 2

So before I sent the screenshot to mine and J’s girlfriend's mutual friend (we will call her “Sarah”), I did not know that he was engaged to this girl. I didn’t find that out until the next morning when I talked to Sarah. So when I found the profile picture with them both in it (the night before), I sent the screenshot to J and followed it with, “and unless you want her to get a lengthy Facebook message, you will call me with an honest explanation when you wake up.” To which he replied that he would call me on his way to work in the morning.

The next morning, he told me he would call around 10, so I got ready for my day and headed to Sarah’s apartment. We talked some more about the girl and how she knew this girl. They used to work together. Then she showed me the pictures that were all over her Facebook of the house she and J bought together, the vacation they went on together that he told me was a guy’s trip (I had seen him the night before he left for it), and the picture of their engagement on the beach two days after he’d told me he just wanted to “be friends.”

So, as I waited for the phone call, Sarah and I discussed what I would talk to him about. J and his now fiancĂ© weren’t friends on Facebook (but I was), so I wondered if she even knew he had one. He wasn’t tagged in any of her pictures, which surely had to be a red flag for her?? Did she even know he had kids? Where did she think he was all those times he was with me? God, he’s a good liar!

When 10am rolled around, he called in with FaceTime, which was weird and threw me off a little bit, but at that point, it didn’t really matter. He asked me why I even cared because, by the looks of Facebook, it looked like I had moved on. And “quite happily!” Well, you were right about that, dude.

But, to be honest, it was a good question. I wasn’t 100% sure why I cared, but I knew I was hurt. I thought most of me cared because I had spent the past six months of my life (over the course of a year) wanting a future with him, and then I quickly had to come to the harsh realization that I never stood half a chance with him. I had wasted six months of my life. I told him as much, and he had the balls to say, “I feel like I've spent the last six months dodging bullets.”  

Well, buddy, you’re the one who put yourself in the crossfire.

He said he’d made a mistake (thanks, asshole), and why couldn't I just trust that he was never going to do it again? No sir, a mistake is one time. One slip up. He came back after I’d called things off with him three times. He chased me. I rarely even initiated a conversation with him because I never had to! This was months of both of our lives. This was not a mistake. This was a choice. This was a relationship.

And, as we talked more and more, I started to realize that the entire conversation was about him and how this was going to affect him. He never once apologized to me for everything he put me through. He never really even mentioned her that much. It was all about how sick he felt when he got my message and how he was going to have to deal with this and how his life was going to change.

And then I realized it wasn’t me that I cared so much about. It was her. His fiancĂ©. She had spent much more than 6 months of her life with this guy. She was going to marry him. She was about to spend the rest of her life with someone she knew nothing about.

And she had no idea...

The more I talked to J, the more I realized that he was never going to change. He’s told me before that he cheated on previous girlfriends. Once a cheater, always a cheater in my book. He asked me to let the guilt of what he’d done be enough to know he wouldn’t do it again. I didn’t believe that for a second. He only felt guilty because he got caught. He never thought any of this through. Certainly never thought about how it would affect his kids. Or her, for that matter. I always knew he was selfish, but I never knew quite how much until this phone call.

He knew I was teetering on the edge of telling her, so he asked me to give him a heads up if and when I made my decision. I told him HE should be the one to tell her, but he said he didn’t want to. So I told him to consider this his heads up. Because if I don’t tell her, Sarah would (I knew that just from listening to her reaction in the background when I told him I needed to think about whether or not I was going to tell her).

Sarah actually knew this girl, had worked with her. That girl was going to find out whether I told her or not. I told him as much and said he’d probably be able to talk her into going through with the marriage anyway because we both knew he was a damn good, convincing liar. He had nothing to say to that.

The phone call was full of long silences on his end. He had been caught, and he had no idea how to talk his way of this one. He’d lived his life thinking nothing could ever touch him, and that he’d never have to pay for his mistakes. He’d never thought to prepare for a situation when he got caught lying and cheating despite spending the entire past year (if not his whole life) living on the edge of it.

I don’t know about some of you, but, to me, marriage still means something. I don’t ever plan on doing it unless I feel like it is 110% right. And divorce is not something that I would even consider. Unless the person I am with cheats on me. That is my one deal breaker (I think). And if I were about to walk down the aisle with a cheater, I would hope that someone would have the decency to tell me.

So I went back and forth on the decision to tell her multiple times. I am not in the business of ruining people’s lives. It really wasn’t fair that he even put me in this position. I hated him for it. And I can’t say that some small part of me wouldn’t get some satisfaction out of ruining his life. But that was not what I wanted to do.

But I also didn’t feel like my conscience (guilt?) would just let me let it go. I knew eventually I might learn to, but could I really live with myself if I did? I was at a loss.

Do I tell her? Do I let it go? Can I live with myself either way? Will I look like the “woman scorned” if I do tell her? Would she even believe me? Should Sarah tell her instead since she actually knows her? The few people I talked to seemed to think the latter was the better way to go about it, and I tended to agree. But I still wasn’t sure even that was the right decision.

I’m not normally one to talk about my religion very often. I don’t want to come across as one of those pushy Bible Thumpers. But I am Catholic, and I do go to church, and my religion is still a large part of my life. And a large part of me wondered what God would want me to do. And how would it be fair for me to continue to pray for him to send me someone if I was seriously about to ruin another relationship and possibly multiple lives along with it?

So I called my priest back home (not that close with my priest here) and gave him the gist of the situation. He made me feel immensely better about the entire thing. He said first I had to forgive him. He said I could still be angry at him – that people tend to think forgiving and forgetting go hand-in-hand, but they don’t have to – I don’t have to forget what he did, and I can still be angry about it, but I had to forgive him and let go of the hate that I felt. I didn’t feel much hate towards him at this point, so that was somewhat easy – had this happened a few months ago, this would be a different conversation. I was far enough removed from the relationship that I was even able to think somewhat clearly about all of this, so I did not and still don’t hate him. Fr. Curley also said that I should get Sarah to tell her, since she is the mutual friend. He said if we did not have a mutual friend, that I should let it go.

He also said that it was okay if, one day, I looked back and was able to feel some joy at the times we did have together. And I already do. I will miss the times we had together and the friendship we had developed and how easy it was for me to talk to him. I will also miss the person he was when he was with me, when the rest of his life was just that.

But I won’t miss him.


We are not all inherently bad. But we all make mistakes. But a mistake only happens once. Maybe twice. After that, it becomes a decision. And sometimes, the decisions we make define who we are as a person. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Trust Your Instincts — Part 1 of 2

When I was a kid, there was a house in my neighborhood that I refused to sell Girl Scout cookies to. I could not shake the feeling I got from that house every time I walked past it (which was easy to do since it was two doors down from my own house). Thankfully, I grew up with a mom that never forced me to do anything I didn't want to do (except eat my vegetables). I guess she could tell that whatever feeling I had gave me real fear, and she never made me knock on that door. She may have tried to guilt me into it ("that's just less boxes you're selling, you know"), but she never forced me. And a couple of years after that incident, the man that lived there was busted for child pornography.

And ever since then, I've learned to trust my instincts. Although I try to ignore them sometimes, because I refuse to believe that people can be so inherently bad, it usually comes back to bite me in the ass. And today, I thought I'd write about one of those times.

This post is about a "relationship" I've been in and out of for a little less than a year. It/he has been near and dear to my heart for quite a while now. I have refrained from writing about it because it started and ended so many times that I never really got "over it," (and maybe a little bit because we were friends on Facebook). I also never got any closure from it. Until this weekend.

Let me back up a little and start from the beginning.

I met J the weekend before Thanksgiving last year. He worked in Rock Hill at the time, so I met him for lunch on a Saturday. We had already been talking on the phone for about a week, and we had great chemistry. When he got to the restaurant, he wasn't quite as attractive in person as his pictures led me to believe (they were taken years and quite a few pounds ago), but he was so well spoken, educated and personable that it didn't even matter. I had a really great time with him. So much so that when he told me he had five kids, I managed to keep from spitting out the water I had just taken a sip of. He explained that he had twins when he was 17 (an accident) and two kids from another woman he never married who also had a child from a previous marriage that he claimed. Her father died, so he was raising her as his own, which I thought was very selfless of him. (My own father was useless, so I have a weak spot for good fathers.)

Anyway, we finished the date, and I went home smiling ear to ear. The caveat here is that I had met someone the night before whom I really liked as well. Much more than I liked J. We'll call him B. But I still wasn't sure if that was going to go anywhere, so I kept communication open with J.

However, things continued to move along with B, and J continued to get more and more difficult with scheduling dates. He would only text or call me during work hours. If I texted him at night after he'd gotten home from work, he wouldn't respond until the next morning when he got to work, which I thought was highly suspicious. He would also schedule a date, and then something else would come up at the last minute. With his kids, with work, you name it, he had an excuse for it. So after about a month, I called things off with J. I still remember the text I sent him: "You barely have time to date one person, let alone multiples. Stick with whoever is number one on your list. I'm not interested."

"Word." Was all he said in response.

By the time February rolled around, B and I had ended things. Then one day, J texted me out of the blue telling me about his transfer to Hickory, NC (an hour north of Charlotte) for work and asking if I wanted to meet for coffee the next night when he would be in town. At first I wasn't interested. At. All. But then one night, I got a little tipsy and saw him on tinder. I left-swiped him, because I still was not interested, but I texted him anyway because I was bored I guess. We started talking and all of a sudden something flipped. It was like no time had passed, and I really wanted to see him. We hung out that next night and had a great time. This continued for about two weeks before the same issues reared their ugly heads and I was reminded of why I called things off the last time. He blew me off completely one night that we had plans. He told me to text him at a different number and then disappeared completely when I did. He texted me the next day and said it was because he went home and passed out. Um, we had plans, dude?! Then he told me the number he gave me was his personal phone, and I'd been texting him on his work phone since we'd met. Huh?? It's 2016! Who still has two phones? Whatever. It didn't matter because I'd gotten fed up with him and the half truths by this point and called things off again.

I thought I was free from him then. However, March rolled around, and I was in a lull. I had gone on two very good dates with someone that I liked who was apparently ghosting me. (I couldn't have been sure quite yet at the time because it had only been a couple of days since I'd heard from him, but instinct told me it was happening.)

Then, out of the blue, J texted me. Again. He told me he was going to be in Charlotte that night, and did I want to meet for drinks? I thought I could use the distraction from the other guy ghosting me, so I said yes. We hung out, had a great time. I even teased him about his wife/girlfriend letting him out of the house. Which he denied. He went so far as to say, "Look me up on Facebook. You'll see I don't have a girlfriend." But I didn't see the point. If he was confident enough to say that, he was probably telling the truth. But my guard was still up. I knew eventually it was going to be the same thing over again, so I was hesitant to let him in.

The problem was that he surprised me this time. He texted every day and called me a couple times a week. We had such a great friendship going that I couldn't not catch feelings for him. Every time we hung out (as infrequently as it happened) it was like no time had passed. We had so much to talk about (despite texting or talking every day), that there was hardly a quiet moment between us. It's hard not to develop feelings for someone you have so much chemistry with. After about a month of this, I had developed real feelings for the guy. It seemed like he really wanted to make it work this time, and so did I. We even added each other on Facebook and Snapchat this time around which added another element to the relationship. If we weren't texting, we were snap chatting.

But, of course, like most good things, it had to end. I started to realize that he would leave his work phone in his truck at night, and, during these times, he wouldn't text me from his personal phone, but he would snapchat (where the conversation disappears if you don't save it). Then he went about a week not texting me but only talking to me over snap chat every now and then. I called him out on it and the next day, what does he do? Snapchats me "Good morning." I lost it. I basically told him I didn't like being treated like a secret and to have a wonderful life with baby mama. He denied being in a relationship with baby mama or having any remaining feelings for her, but I didn't care. I was over it.

I gave it a full month. I tried really hard to move on, but this time it was me who came back to him. I drunk texted him one night about something stupid, and he responded that he would be in town that night and did I want to meet up? I said yes. We met, talked and he really seemed to open up about a lot of things, which I appreciated. I thought, for once, we were having a completely open and honest conversation, and it meant a lot to me that he felt he could open up to me like that. So I asked him if he wanted to try again. He said he did. So I looked him in the face and said, "I need more from you. Can you do that?" I told him I was fine with his schedule and not seeing him often, but he needed to make up for that in other ways. Communication being the "other way." He said that was fine. He could do it.

So we tried again. And this time was even better than the last time. He called 4-5 times a week, we talked and texted every day and things were great. Then I found out he lied to me about buying a house. Back in June, I saw a picture of house keys he'd uploaded to his Facebook with a caption that said, "House number 2," but when I had asked him about it, he told me that it had fallen through. I let it go for a little while, but something still wasn't right about his excuse. No house "falls through" after you've closed on it. It nagged at me for a couple of weeks, so I did a little online search and found the record. He had bought a house. In may. And had been lying about it for months.

I called him and asked him why he'd been lying to me. He said it was because he wasn't sure if he wanted a relationship. Then said he didn't think he wanted anything serious and could we take a step back? He said he was being offered a transfer in January, he wasn't sure where it would be, but he knew he wouldn't want to do long distance if it came to that. It hurt me, but I understood. We barely saw each other with him living an hour away. And if he was moving even farther from his kids, then that would make it pretty much impossible for us to hang out.

He said he wanted to continue talking like we had been and even hanging out when we could, he just didn't want the pressure of a relationship hanging over us. At least until he found out where he was transferring.

Okay, I thought. I could try. I did have real feelings for him, and if I wanted him in my life at all, I needed to accept that this was how it was going to be. At least until January. I could handle it until January.

The day after that conversation, he called me on his way in to work. We talked like the friends that we were even before that awful conversation. Like everything was fine. Then he left for the beach for the week with his "kids" and "parents." And he didn't say a word to me. Didn't text, call or snapchat for eight days. I was pretty upset about it but refused to reach out to him during that time. I figured if he went the whole week without talking to me, then I could move on. Even when my bunny died, and he still didn't reach out to me, I tried to let him go. I waited a few more days but, in a moment of weakness, I confronted him. I asked why he would even bother telling me all of that mess about being friends if he was just planning on ghosting me the whole time. Was he just trying to soften the blow?

His response was unexpected. "After two days I wanted to see how long it would be before you texted me. And now I have my answer.
And Snapchat didn't count."

Um. What??

Who does that??

It's one thing to play games but another thing entirely to admit to doing it. I hit a wall, and I was done. I didn't respond.

The next day he texted again. "Sorry you lost your bunny."

I still didn't respond. Like I said. I was done.

A few weeks went by and I was slowly moving on. A small part of me thought I may hear from him again eventually and I tried to prepare myself for that. I tried to move on as quickly as I could manage so that I could reject him once and for all if and when he did come back.

And then a couple nights ago I was scrolling through the 'People You May Know' feature on Facebook and click on a girl that is mutual friends with one of my best friends in Charlotte. Her second profile picture is of her and J. Dated May 18. Back when he and I were talking the 3rd time around.

I screenshot it and sent it to our mutual friend. And she tells me the girl just got engaged.... to him. While he was at the beach the week he wasn't talking to me. TWO DAYS after he'd called things off with me.

Turns out I was right about everything. Every doubt. Every suspicion. Every cancelled date. Every joke I made to him about having a girlfriend. It was all true.

And what happened next is a whole other story that I will post soon.

Trust your instincts, people. Even though I keep ignoring mine, hoping desperately that they are wrong, they have never failed me before.

But for now, please excuse me while I go listen to sad country songs about being the "other woman."

Friday, October 7, 2016

Always Walk A Girl to Her Door

Last night I went on a date with a cop whom we will call M. We had been talking for a couple of days and decided to meet up for drinks. He lives in Concord and offered to come to Uptown to meet me. So, me being the lazy bum that I am, I picked the bar across the street from my apartment.

The date went okay. Unfortunately for me (or him), I thought he was super attractive, so I immediately clammed up. And unfortunately for him, this only really happens to me when someone isn’t very easy to talk to. And he wasn’t. Apparently both of us don’t talk that much in front of people we aren’t comfortable with, so it was slightly awkward. However, he did a really good job trying his best to keep the conversation going. All in all, I thought it went well despite a couple of awkward silences. We hung out for the span of two beers, which is about an hour and a half in dating speak, and I definitely wanted to hear from him again (despite him being slightly shorter than I am, so there! I don’t want to hear it anymore from people who think I should lower my height standards...).

As he walked me back to the parking garage where I enter my building (about a half a block from the bar we went to), we saw a man run into the garage carrying a bag. He was shortly followed by a security guard and a man in plain clothes and a name tag. M rightly pointed out that the first man had stolen something and that security guard was never going to catch him walking after him like that. He half-heartedly mentioned helping the guard, since M is a cop and all, but he decided against it.

Anyway, we tried to ignore what was going on because it didn’t look super serious. We stood outside the garage for a couple of minutes where he mentioned “next time” quite a few times (which doesn't usually happen if you've had a bad time – at least on my end), so I got the impression he had a decent time as well.

We said our goodbyes and I, already having forgotten about the man with the stolen bag, headed inside the parking garage. I opened the door that leads into the room with the code box that opens a gate to get into the stairwell of my building and promptly ran into the thief. And my mind went blank.

Everyone says the human body reacts to fear in one of two ways: fight or flight, and now I know which way I will react in a dire situation.

Flight.

I was immediately terrified and just started saying over and over, “I’m not going to say anything!” while he said over and over that he wasn’t going to hurt me. I opened the gate, flew inside the closest door and tried not to lose my shit.

It took me a while to calm down from that, but I have no regrets about not turning him in. I’m a girl and apparently a big ole scaredy cat. There was No. Way. I was going to risk my life to rat him out. I mean, what if he'd had a gun?!

Anyway, when I got back to my apartment and was able to hold my phone without my hands shaking, I texted M about running into him thinking he’d be all over it wanting to know how it went. Well it's now well into the next day, and I still haven’t gotten a response. Guess he didn’t have as good a time as he led me to believe. Story of my life!

Oh well, I guess I'm mostly just happy to be alive at this point. And part of me is hoping I may have gained some street cred for not ratting that dude out. Could come in handy later on.

P.S. I don't think I would've been very good at the Hunger Games...