Miss Margaret

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About Miss Margaret

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  • Birthday September 11

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    Horseback riding, knitting, hiking, biking.
  1. Past reintroduction - dealing with "addiction"

    Shannon, thank you so much for the article link. I was so focused on getting through the Whole30 that thinking about life afterwards just didn't come up. I'm finishing up therapy after my mother died two years ago. We've talked often about coping mechanisms, feeling my feelings, and codependency so all of this is fresh in my mind. Learning to actually implement the strategies is taking a while, but unlearning over 30 years of coping mechanisms will take time. Patience, young grasshopper self. I have FFF on hold at the library. Thanks again. This community is so amazing! Margaret
  2. Does anyone have any thoughts about dealing with the emotions that come up after you've slain the sugar dragon? I'm past my Whole30 - one day off for Mother's Day, and am back on the program. I've noticed that all of the issues I was masking through sugar - like feeling my feelings and dealing with stress - are still there. Do I need to work a 12 Step program now? Has anyone else struggled in the days and weeks after the Whole30? I had an amazing month...but now I feel a little like an addict after detox and rehab, trying to find a new way to be in the world. Thanks, Margaret
  3. Whole30 #1 AAR I'm writing my AAR with a cup of Earl Gray tea, no half-and-half, and some avocado/tuna/chipotle lime Primal Kitchen mayo beside me. Four weeks ago I couldn't stomach tea without cream. Now...it tastes fine. I couldn't imagine eating tuna mixed with avocado, and I HATED mayo. Now I love a little dollop of Primal Kitchen's mayo, for the mouth feel and the kick of heat that goes with it. My life before: Never in my life had I gone without sugar for more than a couple of days. My weight cycled within a couple of pounds of 130 all my adult life. At 132 for a starting weight, I wasn't that heavy for my 5'4" frame, but in the last year I'd regained weight I lost working out with a personal trainer and being very conscious of my calorie intake. I was working out regularly, but I was going at the elliptical or the weights like they were opponents, not tools. Worse, I weighed myself daily, and that number set the tone for the day. If I could get back the moments I spent thinking about my weight, strategizing to lower that number or congratulating myself if it was "good", I'd probably have months of my life back. Maybe years. Worst of all, I felt out of control. I was tense all the time. Easily irritated. I had a hard time focusing and was nervy and highly strung, rushing from one thing to another without much awareness. Nearly every activity - writing, reading, going somewhere - was an excuse for a "treat" - tea with chocolate, a Diet Coke from the soda fountain at a gas station, a petite vanilla bean scone at Starbucks. This was to do the things I liked to do! My gut was a mess. I was either bloated or constipated, and sometimes both. I used Bikram yoga to kick start things once a week, but the rest of the time, pooing was another battle. I hated the way my stomach bulged, the way my pants were tight. Sleep was hell. I had a hard time falling asleep, had a hard time going back to sleep when I woke up in the middle of the night, and woke up with what I now know was a sugar fog every single morning. Beyond the physical symptoms, the slightest hint of drama - anything from a family problem to a train delay when I needed to get to the airport - sent me into an emotional mire of anger, resentment, bitterness, complaining, victim-whining, and judging. I was working to separate my feelings from everyone else's, to stop worrying and planning and caretaking for others, but I just couldn't seem to gain any traction with overcoming my codependent thinking. Even my horse, a high-strung Arab who mirrors my internal state back to me, knew when I was strung out on sugar. For years - DECADES - I'd tried to maintain a prayer and meditation practice, to go to yoga for the spiritual and mental benefits, but I always ended up quitting, or competing in the classes. Judging the other women in the room, comparing myself to them. Who was fitter? Bendier? Who was more authentically in the pose? (Hint: it wasn't me). I knew I was living in a toxic sludge of insecurity, inferiority, and shame, but I just couldn't break out of it. In short, I was living on a sleep-deprived, emotional and mental merry-go-round in which everyone and everything in my life - family, friends, work, hobbies, my own mind and heart and spirit - was an opponent, an obstacle, a thing. I suspected sugar was the root of the problem(and by "suspected" I mean I knew damn well it was a problem but I wasn't giving it up). Around New Year's 2017 I saw the Whole30 mentioned in a NYT article by a food writer who said he'd done the program and really recommended it, especially to reduce sugar intake. I got the book from the library, scoured the website, and wanted to do it. But my travel schedule early in the year - England, Santa Fe, San Francisco - meant I'd have a hard time stringing together 30 days at home. So I put it off and put it off... Then one day I woke up and knew deep inside I was "sick and tired of being sick and tired"...in other words, Ready with a capital R. I told my husband and son I was going to do it, went to the grocery store for some basics, and started the next day. In hindsight my impulse decision and minimal planning helped because I didn't freak myself out with systematic preparation or a huge buildup. I just got some Primal Kitchen mayo and some tuna. I didn't think this would actually work, or help. But I wanted to know, so if it didn't work, I could eat chocolate and bread and drink half-and-half in my tea with impunity. (I have maybe 3 alcoholic drinks all year, so that part was easy for me). This won't work, I told myself. Just do it so you know. I didn't really expect to make it past day 3 or 4. That's about as long as I'd given up sugar in the past. I signed up for the daily emails (which are so awesome - I owe my continued success to the materials included in those emails). I was so intent on starting, so ready, I didn't pay any attention to the date. I didn't start on the first of a month, or on a Monday. I decided Tuesday, and started Wednesday... ...5 days before Easter. Days 1 and 2 I felt pretty good. I became more aware of how often I thought about treats, how I structured my day around those treats, starting right after breakfast with Ghiradelli chocolate chips and my tea. But it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, because I was Ready. Then day 4 hit. Day 4, the Saturday before Easter, I had the mother of all headaches, no energy, a thick, fuzzy layer of pollution in my head, and a serious attitude. I thought, "F this, and F the potential for Tiger Blood. If I feel this F-ing awful the whole time, I'm going to quit. It's not F-ing worth it." And...my husband brought home a grocery sack of chocolate for our son's Easter basket. He made a triple layer chocolate Guinness cake with fudge frosting for his family's Easter meal. He made rolls from scratch. He made brownies for our son because it was Saturday night. All while I was 4 days into the Whole30, and feeling like a train hit me. Only after some research did I realize I had been drinking 5-6 cups of Earl Gray a day. I'd totally given up tea (because without cream, why bother?) which meant I was short 1-2 cups' worth of coffee in caffeine, plus the occasional Diet Coke, which meant I had a stinker of a caffeine withdrawal headache. So I drank more water, went for to the barn for a ride because sunshine and horses help anything, and stuck it out. In the end, I didn't eat a single bite of chocolate bunny ears, not a lick of a beater or a spoon. I even helped him make the rolls! The next day I woke up with a clear head, and an eagerness to get out of bed. I started to notice how much better I felt. (Skipping the Easter dinner with a table full of stuff I was choosing not to eat helped). That trend continued as the days passed. The headache disappeared. My brain felt less polluted. The bloating disappeared. My gut figured itself out and got regular. I made a cup of tea and while I didn't like it without cream or sugar, I didn't wince at it, either. I noticed new desires - I wanted to try I Heart Umami's recipe for caramelized pork and sweet potato hash, so hauled myself to the grocery store and bought a bunch of things I'd literally never cooked or cooked with before, and made it. It was delicious! So was a recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon. Who knew?!?!? I felt empowered. Strong. Like a mofo boss. I got married at 22, and while my husband is an absolutely amazing man, I'd chosen to let him decide how and where we eat. (I put myself in that victim role, btw). For the first time in my life, I was the sole decision-maker behind what I cooked for myself, what I put in my mouth. I wanted something, I cooked it, I ate it. I loved having cooked vegetables in the fridge to throw on a baked potato, or toss with some cooked chicken. It was a revelation. Mostly, I enjoyed the new recipes. Sometimes I made something and thought, "Yup, that one's a dud for me." But I didn't beat myself up for wasting the time and money on a dish I threw in the trash. I moved on. I could notice and celebrate both my initiative and my response to a "failure", because sugar didn't have total control over my brain. What was that all about? I noticed the cravings were still there, but less powerful. It was like giving up sugar opened the thinnest of wedges of space between WANT and GET. I could wait just long enough to stop myself from going into autopilot "grab those chocolate chips and maybe some raw cookie dough while you're at it" mode and instead think, "Give it 5 minutes. It will pass." And it did pass. Every time it passed, I remembered, which gave me a little more strength the next time a craving hit. That same space opened in my interactions with family and friends, my engagement with my life and the world. Annoyance occurs, little wedge of patience is there, annoyance doesn't need to be responded to. Every time, another layer of...what is this?...peace?...sanity?...grace?...spread over my soul. It was possibly the most healing part of the program. I could sit in meditation, label my thoughts as thoughts, and return to my breath. Day after day, I clicked the link in the emails saying I'd made it another day. After I got through the Easter Sugar-palooza, the thought of clicking the "start over" link was unbearable. No way was I clicking that link. For the first 10 days, I I kept weighing myself. Then, 10 days in, the number that had been going down or staying steady went up half a pound. I went into a shaming tailspin, but, thanks to no sugar for 10 days, managed to pull myself out of it long enough to ask for help. My BFF said, "Why don't you try finding out how you feel 'in' your beautiful body not 'about' your body?" Why not, indeed? I drove my scale to her house and texted her: "My scale is under the bench on your porch. Don't give it back to me until May 11." The next 20 days were the most liberating of the entire program. Without the steady sugar infusion, I was able to pay more attention to when I was hungry, what I wanted to eat, and how my clothes fit rather than a number. I went to two weekend-long, out of town horsemanship clinics, took a cooler full of healthy, on-plan food and meals, and didn't break stride. Celery, carrots, and guac for lunch? Yes, please! Another potential hurdle became a confidence builder. My horse noticed the difference - we'd never partnered so closely before. Both weekends were rousing successes. Over the last 3 weeks of the program, I practiced living into the reality that I could be physically and emotionally healthy rather than "skinny" and out of touch with my feelings, judging my body every single day, and letting a number tell me whether or not I'm ok. Turns out I am ok. Period. In fact, right now, I'm better than ok. I'm not anxious, sleepless, bloated, fretful, irritable, living my life on a treat-dictated autopilot, or letting a digital readout tell me whether or not I can love myself and my body today. I'm living more creatively, more in the moment, more present to my family and friends. My skin feels smoother. I sleep better. My clothes are looser, as are my rings. No bloat. Happy gut. As it turns out, I like Earl Gray without cream. I also like almond milk lattes, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potato hash for breakfast. I'm content. But...I did want to know what the physical results were. Today is Day 31, so I weighed myself, and took measurements. I lost 7 lbs, and an inch off my waist and hips. My husband took the scale and hid it. I don't need it anymore. My plan is to continue to follow the Whole30 program, allowing for days off for things like Mother's Day. It turns out I don't miss dairy, legumes, or alcohol, so I'm not going to add those things back right away. If I do, I'll follow the reintroduction protocol and not mix items so I have a clear idea of how something affects me. In addition, I've set new goals for the next 30 days: add more vegetables to each meal, and eat without doing anything else - reading, working, etc. I want to pay attention to how I nourish my body, not just fuel it. My goal is no longer to lose weight or inches. My goal is to maintain the health that is the birthright of being born into my body, and to strength the habit of treating myself gently and with compassion. Thank you, Whole30. You've given me a life I never knew was possible. I'm so grateful!
  4. Rainy Day Recipes

    I made it, BTW! Kept busy working on projects with the hubby and made a new to me dish, too. Thanks, everyone!
  5. Rainy Day Recipes

    Thanks, Melissa - something I've wanted to learn to make at home, too! Do you have a favorite recipe you like?
  6. Rainy Day Recipes

    Hi, folks - I'm 16 days into my first Whole30, and have been enjoying fairly low cravings and more energy. But...I looked at the weather forecast for the weekend and saw rain and 50 degrees temps. Pre Whole30 in that weather I would have stayed indoors with a book and tea and a steady supply of chocolate. My son's Easter candy is lurking somewhere in his room...help a girl out! Do you have any favorite warm and satisfying recipes I could try, or any recommendations on how to handle this potential stumbling block? Thanks!
  7. April 13 Start

    Hi, fellow April 14 buddies! How are you doing? I'm still compliant! An update as we approach half way...the program has already proved me wrong. My skin is smoother, I'm sleeping better, my moods are far more stable, I'm less irritable, and yes, my clothes are looser. Yay! Things I did NOT eat: my son's Easter chocolate, or the triple layer chocolate cake with fudge frosting my husband for the Easter meal, or the brownies he made, or the dinner rolls, or any of the cookie dough he makes a couple of times a week. You know what? I didn't even MISS those things. It's been so easy to not eat them. I've had cravings - usually at night when I'm tired - or in situations. After lunch? Time for dessert. Rainy day? Hot cocoa with a chai tea bag steeped in it. Sitting down to read? Need chocolate. I'm AMAZED by how many of my daily activities had a sugar fix associated with them! I've actually really enjoyed eating out on this program. Yesterday I met a friend for lunch and had a turkey burger patty w/ avocado and some fruit - SO GOOD. Great mouth feel, nice flavors, and I felt satisfied without the bun, or the mayo, or the cheese. I admit that I was weighing myself for the first few days of the program. I saw the number go down, then blip back up a bit, and spent a couple of hours feeling crappy about myself. Then I grabbed the scale, drove to my BFF's house, left it on her front porch, and texted her to say to keep it until I'm done with the program. I HAD TO FIND OUT HOW I FEEL, MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY, AND PHYSICALLY WITHOUT THAT NUMBER AS A GUIDE. So far, I feel LIBERATED. I hope you're still on the program! Let me know how you're doing! Margaret
  8. April 13 Start

    Hi, everyone - I started my Whole30 today - Thursday, April 13 - which is an oddly random day, but I really felt like doing it. I'd been thinking about it since January, but with travel for work, pleasure, and to my sister's bridal shower, I couldn't string together 30 consecutive days. This week I felt bloated and awful, not sleeping well, ashamed of my sugar addiction, and thought, "F-it, time to start." I've got compliant options in the fridge, a plan for the next seven days of meals, a well-established exercise routine, and have taken my before pictures and measurements. But for the first time ever, this isn't about weight loss for me. I genuinely want to know if dairy, grains, sugar, and legumes are messing up my gut. (I don't drink, so the no alcohol part isn't a factor for me). I hope I look stronger and more fit in 30 days, but what I really want is to FEEL better. I'm not overweight - a bit squishy - but I'm tired of being tired, cranky, and constantly in need of a little pick me up via Diet Coke or chocolate. It's time to face my feelings, and get reacquainted with my body. A couple of years ago I started working out twice a week with a personal trainer, who is a friend of mine. "Here's the deal," I said. "I don't think lifting weights and watching what I eat will make that much difference in my body." "Give me eight weeks," she said, "and I'll prove you wrong." I gave her eight weeks. She proved me wrong. So I'm ready for the Whole 30 to prove me wrong again! Margaret PS - Not raiding my son's Easter basket won't be easy...but as Melissa says, no one makes you eat anything you don't want to eat!
  9. Soft start?

    Thanks for the quick response! I've read through the links in your signature. You are SO right about the relationship between binging and how hard it is to come back to better choices. I had quite a bit of sugar over Christmas. Today is Day 2 back on the no sugar plan and I'm feeling more pain than I did when I fasted from sugar a month ago. Thanks for the motivation to eat a few scones in England, but maybe not all the chocolate. I want to commit to 30 days, and have put a firm date on my calendar to do that at the first opportunity. In the meantime, I'll do a Whole23 starting in February. Looking forward to it! M
  10. Soft start?

    Hi, everyone - I read about the Whole30 program in a recent NYT article, and am very excited to start. I've given up sugar for the next two weeks, until a trip in January. I tried that before Christmas, and realized how much I used it to avoid feeling my emotions. I want to lose about 5 lbs, and do something about persistent belly fat. But...I have committed travel dates in January, February, and March, which will mean I can't commit to a 30 day program until mid-March! The best I can do is 23 days. Does anyone have any thoughts or opinions about a shorter start? Thanks! Margaret