Take Advantage


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1 hour ago, MadyVanilla said:

Never before have I recovered small bits of positive behaviors in the midst of a decline - it's always been all-or-nothing.  But this time, my backslide, my tumble down the hill, has been marked with reaching out and catching a rock or a tree limb to hold on to and climb back up the hill, if ever so briefly.  I find hope in this, in this change in my mindset, this new-found ability to feel a semblance of control, to take personal responsibility. 

This is your progression into becoming who you need to be.  I love what you shared above.  All of it.  I wish you well.  

I'm sending you a big virtual birthday hug for your upcoming 50th... and I hope you have a very happy birthday week!

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Hey there! I've really enjoyed reading your journal and can relate so much to some of your struggles. I, too, have a well and impaired version of myself. Just this morning, I deleted a stupid phone game app that I've been spending too much time on. I can also relate to all-or-nothing behavior and grabbing food when I don't want to deal with uncomfortable emotions. Basically, I just wanted to tell you that you're not alone. And thank you for your transparency and honesty. 

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Thank you @ShadowInTheKitchen and @jennifer_k!

This will likely be my last post until next Monday - I won't be taking my laptop on vacation with me.  My meals were good yesterday, but I dealt with that headache all day...I ended up taking a hot, soaking bath and then a nap in the late afternoon (I don't think I've done a daytime bath since I was a child!).  And still had the headache.  Probably I should have gone for a walk, but I just never felt like it.  I ended up eating raisins, then went for the potato chips.  Came back to my senses and did shoulder-focused yoga.  And then just had chicken salad for dinner.  Not terrible, not great.  It seems that no matter how much I *try* to convince myself, I'm remaining stubborn...but I'm comfortable with my plan to start my next W30 next week, so there's that.    

I haven't eaten anything yet and it's approaching lunchtime.  Chicken salad it will be.  Dinner will be on the road tonight, then grilled foods for the next few days.  And there will at least be lots of walking.  And lazing around, reading.  Maybe some more introspection, but my husband will be with me all the time through Friday, then my bffs for the weekend.  I've spent so many hours of each day in solitude during the pandemic, it will be weird to be with someone 24/7 for the next few days.  

I look forward to catching up on everyone's journeys when I return! 

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Day 1

Mood-6, Energy-6, Pain-3 in shoulder.  I guess I'm going to have to make a doctor's appointment - it's been a good month now.  

I had promised myself that I would restart today, the day after my 50th birthday, but I wasn't feeling it this morning, coming off nearly a week of eating and drinking EVERYTHING.  But, I'm re-energized and inspired after reading through everyone's logs.  

I'm starting 6 pounds heavier than I was in early August, though I know this is water weight and bloat.  I did not go completely overboard on foods (except yesterday, yesterday was a binge-fest), as I ate lots of grilled foods and fresh vegetables.  I did have bread a few times for good reasons (BLT sandwiches...)  And desserts, lots of desserts.  And wine.  Girls' weekend was generally nutritious foods and too much wine.  I've not had enough movement in my days over the last week and no yoga. 

So, here I am.  There is no birthday cake left, it went home with the  kids.  I have not meal-planned yet, but I have things I can pull-out of the cabinet and freezer.  I'm ready to continue on my journey after my planned detour.  This is a good time to return to healthy habits, it coincides with a shift in my work schedule where I will now have days that are more the same than constantly changing.  I will be able to schedule workout time and walks into my days again.  So most of the pieces are in place.  The only thing missing is my mental readiness.  It's the sense of doom and fear of failure that I seem to always experience at the start of a new W30.  I know that it will go away with 3 days of compliance.  So, by this time Friday, I'll be well-established in my compliance with W30.  I just need plans/strategies for the next few days.  I'm very good at sabotaging myself.    

Steps I've taken this morning - logged into the forum and read through the logs.  Returned to my own journaling.  Dressed for exercise (either the gym or a bike ride - TBD).  Thinking about mini-rewards for myself over the next three days.  Taken meat out of the freezer for tonight's dinner.  

M1-it's nearly lunchtime and I still haven't eaten.  I'm just now beginning to feel hungry, but have a video-conference starting in 10 minutes.  Can I quickly whip up some eggs and avocado?  Yes, I did have enough time, and ate it while sitting through my conference.  I'm already feeling more confident and capable of tackling this next W30.  

M2-I'll make shrimp salad if I get hungry, but I ate the eggs and avocado late enough that I may be ok until dinner.  

M3-Steak Ceasar salad 

Snacks - I have some pistachios in the cabinet.  There is celery and almond butter in the refrigerator.  I have lots of different flavors of sparkling water.  

I have a few things to finish up, then I'm going for a bike ride.  That will be today's exercise.  And then yoga later this afternoon.  My reward for today's compliance is to shop for office supplies - I'm getting ready to convert a room into my home office.  I'm also resuming my goals from earlier this month-there is nothing on my calendar for the next 30 days that will hamper my goal progress.  So...

-Daily yoga

-8.000 steps/day, 3 days/week

-Train for October 17th 5k through C25k program

-2 days a week at the gym for barbell work/strength training

-Weekly (Saturday morning after this week) meal planning and shopping

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On 8/5/2020 at 11:11 AM, Contessa said:

I don't know what this says about where I am today, but I literally lifted a fist in the air and shouted "YES!" when I read this.  :D Good thing I live alone and was not browsing the internet at a public library. So many important reflections in this paragraph!

My therapist (a woman who should truly be inducted into sainthood) says that part of powerful behavior changes involves getting really sick of our own crap. We have to get sick of our own excuses and our own patterns before we're ready to shift. We have to stop buying what the old, outmoded version of us is trying to sell. I'm delighted by the sense of irritated boredom I hear in that paragraph.

Speaking personally, my growth area isn't in picking ever more healthy foods to eat every day ("by the end of her life, she ate only pine cones and grass clippings! She was sooooo healthy!"). My growth area is emotional and mental.... noticing the compulsions when they come up, and reflexively turning inward with compassion instead of outward with a grasping hand. This is not about Cheez-Its, it's about exquisite internal kindness.

For me, exquisite kindness is wholly incompatible with bingey behavior. They just don't go together.

And of course, exquisite kindness is also the work of a lifetime. Practice, even when it's halting, is progress.

I just re-read this and feel like I need to be able to look back on it again as needed in the coming days.  

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Day 1 conquered!  A little iffy in the afternoon - hungry too late for lunch, too early for dinner, but I grabbed pistachios.  And then I wanted to snack while watching a movie last night, but that's habit not hunger.  I guess the thing with starting over is that I don't have to spend a lot of mental energy on things I've already figured out, like the reason for the nighttime cravings.  

I went for a bike ride, did an hour of yoga, accomplished 8,000+ steps.  I'm coming into today feeling accomplished and ready.  

Mood-8, Energy-7, Pain-3

M1-1 egg (must get to store today!), 1/2 avocado, 4 slices compliant bacon, 1/2 tomato.  I also know that nightshades are not my friend, but I should be ok with the small amount of tomato I had.  

M2-Shrimp salad that I made last night

M3-Steak ceasar.  I didn't make this last night, had the shrimp salad instead.  


Plan for today is the gym, which will include C25k session and deadlifts, yoga, grocery shopping.  


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Day 2 down, gym, 8,000 steps, yoga, c25k goals met - I walked in place in front of the tv to get my last 500 steps, but it got done.  

Day 3

Mood-8, Energy-8, Pain-3/4.  My entire left side is one big ache-shoulder to knee.  I probably still have too much inflammation from my poor diet choices of the last few weeks to get away with running (even the small amount I'm currently doing).  I did sleep well, though, with the help of anti-inflammatory meds.  

M1-Leftover Caesar salad with 3 strips of compliant bacon

M2-Tacos with cassava flour soft shells

M3-Broccoli and zucchini with spicy mayo and ground beef

Bike ride today, long yoga session, and I need groceries!  I ordered a Butcher Box yesterday, my first one, so I'm looking forward to that later this week.  

I doubt I'll have too many new NSVs, as I don't think I lost many of the ones I had acquired earlier this summer.  The ones I lost centered around mood, energy, and body achiness (though not as bad as it was in the spring.) My mood has definitely improved since Tuesday morning, I love the "I can do this" feeling I'm currently experiencing.  This fluctuates so much for me, but while I've had some really tough days over the last month or so, I've generally been able to work myself out of the wallowing by putting my go-to behaviors in place (number 1 = journaling).  This, by far, is my biggest NSV.  I'm not getting stuck in the rock-bottom quicksand, I DO have control, there ARE easy, enjoyable, small things I can do to lift myself back up.  

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And things are starting to get easier, no cravings at all...today has been extremely busy with work.  I typically journal in the morning, but I'm just getting a chance to do it now in the late afternoon (instead of going for a walk!) Yesterday was compliant, I just didn't get to go for a bike ride because of work.  It's ramp-up week at work, next week will be easier.  

Day 4

Mood-7, Energy-7, Pain-1

M1-leftover ground beef and zoodles

M2-onion and mushrooms sauteed in ghee with compliant ham on cassava tortillas

M3-I don't even know. I'm still full and satisfied from lunch.  Let's go with chicken tenders in a compliant sauce with cauliflower rice.  And spinach, to add some greens.  

I was planning to take the dog on a long walk, that might still happen.  Yoga, of course.  I'm going to breakfast with family in the morning, then to the gym afterward, so that should help me accomplish my goals for the week.  

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A quick note to say all is going well - wrapping up Day 6, dinner is cooking now.  I don't like to miss more than one day of journaling, and I got up for an early breakfast and gym workout yesterday morning and never got on the computer.  Five mile hike with the dog today (gorgeous day!) and plans to hit the mat soon after dinner for a good restorative session.  

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Day 7.  I am constantly amazed by how food impacts my mindset and vice versa.  A week ago I was grumbly and not wanting to commit to W30 and now I'm easily managing compliant meals.  I've said this before - this seems simple and strong but it could crumble any moment, it's a true paper lion.  Acknowledging the fragility is important to helping me be realistic and not so black-and-white in my thinking.  

Mood-7, Energy-7, Pain-2.  A lot of "hurry-up-and-wait" with work making things more stressful than they were 2 weeks ago, but it should calm and settle into a nice routine later this week.  My knees were very sore last night after a 5 mile hike yesterday, but yoga and rest have helped tremendously.  My legs are a little sore, but I think that's residual soreness from deadlifts I did on Saturday - it's been so long since I've felt this!  Shoulder seems better, but not perfect.  

I'm on track with my goals.  Yesterday marked my first 8k+ step day (4 planned for this week) of the week.  This is the hardest goal for me to reach as most pandemic-era days I don't move more than 2k without extra effort to do so.  And pre-pandemic I was moving little due to knee issues.  I'm such a sloth, lol!  

M1-I'm drinking black coffee, not hungry.  I thought I would be this morning, but no, so I haven't eaten anything.  

M2-leftover chicken in PK Hawaiian BBQ sauce with spinach and riced cauliflower on Siete cassava flour tortillas.  

M3-Compliant ham and broccoli with homemade spicy mayo sauce.  

I'll probably need a snack later, so almonds.  

Continuing to practice nourishing myself with good foods, exercise, yoga, and positive thoughts.  Recognizing that I'm on the higher road at the moment, and I'm developing the tools to help me find my way back here should I stray.  


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Yesterday was a real trial.  Things began going downhill shortly before lunch...I had an urgent question to answer for a co-worker that required me to gather a yes or no answer from 9 other people.  After an hour, I had only heard back from 3 people.  I was annoyed because the task was given to me and because everyone is supposed to be on their computers (where email pops up) and should have had time to answer me.  So I texted, and got several "I think so" answers.  Then I had a Zoom with several other people, one of whom I thought was going to relieve me of some responsibilities, but turns out isn't.  I have mixed feelings about that - I enjoy that aspect of my job, but there are other things I do that only my profession is licensed to do, so I was hoping to have more time for those things (and therefore do a better job.) So things were quite stressful during the late morning, early afternoon.    I spent some time talking to myself to help me remember "I can't control other people's behavior only my own."  I think I would have been ok if that had been the end of the day's stresses.  However, a loved one texted me some upsetting information, but then wasn't answering my texts or phone call.  I felt like i was being ignored.  By this time, it was around 3:00 or so, and I still hadn't had anything to eat.  But I wasn't hungry.  

I was so restless and distraught and unsettled...I was still in my pajamas and it was raining so I wasn't feeling like going for a walk or bike ride.  I also had residual upsetment because of an issue during my hike on Sunday...I was  feeling trapped at home.  I went upstairs and began cleaning which helped a little.  I was starting to feel hungry and beginning to feel a pull toward junk food, so I just didn't make anything.  Then I started to convince myself that I deserved to order a pizza for dinner.  I tugged and pulled mentally for a while, then decided to do an emotional release yoga before doing anything else.  I cried through most of the hour session, and journaled during and afterward as suggested by the instructor.  That helped tremendously, but I was still feeling that pizza was the answer.  Before I headed downstairs to order, my loved one texted me back, then called.  We resolved our issue (which I was only able to address calmly because of the yoga and journaling...).  I finally decided that I would stick with the original plan of ham and broccoli, but discovered that my husband was making spaghetti and meat sauce.  So I had zoodles and meat sauce.  Somehow I got through all the feelings without sabotaging myself, not really on my own and with luck and good timing, but I still got through them.  

Day 8

Mood-6, energy-5, Pain-3  Still feeling a little beaten up from yesterday, plus I didn't sleep great.  Lots of shoulder pain this morning.  

M1-I was so hungry this morning, so I made a breakfast favorite - sauteed banana with scrambled eggs and cinnamon and black coffee

M2-yesterday's plan for lunch

M3-My butcher box order is due today, and I would like to make Kulua pig for dinner.  If not, last night's plan for ham and broccoli.  


Goals for today-

Dress before lunch!

early afternoon gym session

yoga this evening

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These crazy days...I have forgotten how stressful work can be!  It's amazing to me that I just handled these days previously.  I've gotten soft while working from home, lol.  I keep saying things will calm at work - I'm still hopeful...

So it's almost dinner time and I'm just getting around to journaling.  Yesterday went fine,  I dressed for the gym, set my alarm, and got myself there and back before my afternoon meeting.  I didn't have time to lift, though, and didn't get 8k steps.  Today is not looking so hot, either - I've only gotten 1,400 so far.  That is correct.  It is a little after 5;00 pm and I've gotten just over 1,000 steps.  If this is going to be my new normal work day, I'm going to have to come up with a plan.  

Day 9

Mood-7, Energy-6, Pain-2

M1-banana eggs 

M2-bacon, spinach, cassava tortilla.  I had an epiphany at 3:00 that I had not eaten lunch and I was hungry.  I really needed to grab something quick, but I managed to make and clean these up in about 10 minutes.  I had a fleeting thought of just grabbing something, that I'm too busy now to worry about W30, but it was really just fleeting and an idea for a meal materialized when I looked in the fridge.  

M3-I'm not hungry now, and since I hadn't planned the day earlier...probably left over ham and vegetables.  



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Another late day post...those of you that work such long hours, how do you even manage to eat one healthy meal, let alone several and get in exercise????

Day 10

Mood-8, Energy-6, Pain-0

It's been a good day, so much accomplished, and I solved a problem for 4 people who were all very grateful.  I was able to shower, dress, and get breakfast at an appropriate time this morning, but then the day took off.  

Lunch...I was again just wanting to grab something.  I'm struggling a little more with the cravings this time around, I'm not sure what that's about, maybe just being busy, working in front of the computer without break.  This might be habit kicking up - while I've been working at home since March, my workload has not been typical until just the last two weeks.  I'm used to having something ready to eat (lunch box or picked up meal) and not stopping to prepare.  I'll keep that in mind for the next work days.  

As I was debating about what to do for lunch, I decided to weigh myself (big no, I know!!!).  I thought, if I've lost weight, I'm not going to sabotage myself.  If I've gained, I'm just going to eat what I can find.  This is so against the spirit of W30 I'm ashamed to post it, but that's where I was - these are the thoughts and habits I need to change if I'm going to succeed long term.  Well, the scale gods were with me and I had lost a few pounds (probably all water weight....)  I ordered a Chipotle lifestyle bowl to be delivered.  So why didn't I just do that without going through all the mental gymnastics to end up on the scale?  

I'm thankful for what I can accomplish right now - staying compliant with meals, keeping up with my yoga, journaling.  I'm at 1.2K steps for today, and we have severe storm/tornado watches this evening, so no walk.  I started the morning with walking around the house when my Fitbit buzzed at 10 of the hour, but that didn't last through the day.  I just looked at yesterday's post - I have fewer steps today despite being a little more deliberate this morning, ugh.  I'm adjusting, I just wasn't prepared for such an overwhelming return to work normal (albeit still at home). 

Dinner-Kahlua pig going in the Instant Pot - I'll do a yoga session while it cooks.  Probably have a salad and some pineapple with it.  

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There are so many mental games that I play with myself, the scale is just one.  I used to think a daily weigh-in kept me in line, but it didn't-I often didn't weigh myself if I had eaten "bad" the day before.  But those days that I did, and the scale went down despite the "bad" choices, oh the fun mental games with that scenario!  This summer, my plan has evolved into working on self-honesty.  Calling myself out and taking responsibility for stuff.  It's ALWAYS my choice-no one force feeds me.  Working on the all-or-none thinking.  It's a process, for sure.  

Day 11

Mood-8, Energy-6, Pain-0

M1-black coffee so far, not terribly hungry.  I might eat some Kahlua pig.  

M2-chicken salad or Kahlua pig.  I need to make mayonnaise

M3-leftovers, Hawaiian chicken, Kahlua pig Caesar salad.  I have lots of romaine.  

I MUST get some exercise today -it looks like a beautiful day outside, so I'm hoping to get out for a walk, maybe even a hike with the dog this afternoon.  I need to restart my morning dog walks, too.  I stopped because of my shoulder issue, but I've been able to walk her on the opposite side with some adjustment.  I just have been lazy in the mornings about getting out with her.  Tuesday Sept 8 seems a good day to start this, the day of new beginnings.  

Yesterday, I was brainstorming why I was having a little more difficulty with cravings this time, thinking it was habit...I also think it's due to eating more fruit this past week.  Typically, I don't eat fruit, just not a big fan.  But, I've had a banana many days and pineapple a few days.  The fruit, along with the cassava tortillas, means I've been getting more carbohydrates than I normally do on W30.  The cassava tortillas aren't quite SWYPO because I can stop eating them, but boy are they delicious and satisfy my love of tacos.  I need to decrease carbs, increase fats, which will be easy now that the tortillas are gone.   I know what ratio works best from me, just hadn't been thinking that I had slipped from this until just looking back over my logs.  

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I'm just here.  Going to start over tomorrow.  I have so much good, nourishing food it would almost be impossible not to eat W30.  And yet, I was derailed by Labor Day barbecue food, wine, and my mother-in-law's brownies...I made the choice to indulge.  

I have a date for a bike ride with a friend in an hour.  I'll be back tomorrow ready for day 1 again.  

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6 hours ago, MadyVanilla said:

I'm just here.  Going to start over tomorrow.  I have so much good, nourishing food it would almost be impossible not to eat W30.  And yet, I was derailed by Labor Day barbecue food, wine, and my mother-in-law's brownies...I made the choice to indulge.  

I have a date for a bike ride with a friend in an hour.  I'll be back tomorrow ready for day 1 again.  

Oh my goodness, those brownies sound like they are in the "worth it" category! I am a SUCKER for a good brownie. I'm excited for you to start again tomorrow! I hadn't been reading your log because it looked old, but I just realized it's current! I'm super excited to follow you. :wub:

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Hope all is well. Just found you and am eager to follow your log. . . . Love the way you move through conflict with yoga and journaling. I have a similar process and reading yours is wonderful confirmation for me. Thank you!

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  • 1 month later...

And I fell off the wagon - HARD.  I kept telling myself I haven't strayed for very long, it won't take much to get back...6 weeks!!!  I've been off for six weeks!  Even longer, really, because the slide started before then.  I'm not ready yet to read back over my last few posts.  I need to get myself in a positive frame of mind.  

Returning to a greater than full work load, virtual school, was really hard.  Exhausting.  There were no brain cells left at the end of the day...did a day really even ever end?  Looking back, it was such a nebulous blur.  The skills that I had really worked on - journaling, walking, yoga, talking to a person every day, healthy eating habits...I could not sustain those things that I had developed to help me feel better and manage stress.  What good are they if I immediately fall back to old, unhealthy, maladaptive habits when life gets tough?  And I did so almost gleefully-here, finally an excuse to eat a potato chip sandwich for dinner!  Here, another excuse to put doughnuts and Naan in my Instacart order!  And one more excuse to collapse onto the couch and scroll through social media rather than do yoga (restorative, yin yoga - it's NOT EVEN hard)!

The reality is that I don't want to change my diet.  I don't want to stop eating convenience foods.  I want to be able to call my local sub shop and have an Italian sub delivered right to my door.  I've written before about feeling like a dog on a leash who doesn't want to budge, but the owner keeps tugging hard at the leash until finally I have to move forward. Am I really going to spend the rest of my life volleying back-and-forth from wellness to pain? I was able to delude myself for so long because I was not experiencing the significant joint stiffness and pain issues that are the core catalyst of my desire for wellness.   But I ached so badly last night I was nearly in tears.  And I've brought it on myself-I know that an inflammatory diet results in pain for me.  

But I am an intelligent human being.  I know that I am a slave to the chemical sludge inherent in most foods with labels.  I know how to break the chains.  And I know that the fact that I don't want to today is because I'm currently under the mind-dulling influence of  biochemical reactions in my body that are the direct result of poor nutrition.  

So here I go again, trying once again.  The last time I made a lot of cognitive/mental growth.  In my case, this is huge.  And I know the growth is not linear, but rather serpentine.  If I can just make those switchbacks shorter....So let me move on, not beat myself up beyond what I need to get my butt in gear.  Six weeks!!  Ok, moving forward.  

Let me take stock of my healthy habits:

  • I'm still drinking coffee black
  • I started a 10,000 step/day challenge with my mom.  Today is Day 13.  This is huge for me, as I'm at best 2,000 steps on a work day when I don't actively try to move more.  
  • I've stopped watching television to fall asleep most nights and instead I'm using sleep stories, mediations, and/or calming music.  My sleep is definitely better.  

And my plan:

  • Start Whole 30 on Thursday - October 22.  This will be 5 weeks until Thanksgiving.  I've done W30 Thanksgiving before, very successfully.  So I'm not tied to being done in time to eat whatever I want on Thanksgiving, but it's nice timing-wise, especially if I opt for reintroduction.  
  • Back to journaling.  I really enjoy this, and it helps me get my thoughts straight.  I enjoy following fellow W30ers journeys, as well.  I was writing my daily schedule to include time for journaling, but that fell by the wayside.  
  • Resume a daily schedule.  Even if I don't get to everything on the schedule, the structure helps keep me from stagnating in front of my computer all day.  Work will never end - I need to force breaks into the day or breaks won't happen.  

And now, off to join a friend for a bike ride.  I will be back tomorrow!  




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