Candles, old magazines, some mousetraps, an old planner, books... these are some of the things I've been getting rid of while doing this challenge. It's sort of amazing and eye-opening how easy it's been so far to find things to get rid of - subtext? I have a lot of crap.
And this challenge? Is brilliant. Because not once have I felt overwhelmed like I most definitely would if I was trying to do this all at once. I figure once I get through the first round of this, I might be doing round 2, and 3, and 4. Who knows? Maybe by the end of this, I'll have moved into a tiny house and left the trappings of modern convenience behind gleefully.
Nah. Probably not. But a girl can dream.
Okay. So, I've been awake since 3:30 for some weird reason and thinking about a film I saw yesterday: Minimalism.
If you haven't yet seen it, I highly recommend taking some time this week. It got me thinking about some things that I've definitely thought about before, but not quite in the same way. Minimalism, for those of you like me that weren't sure what the documentary would be about, is about the idea of paring down to the essentials, of conscious consumerism (asking "do I really need this?"), and rejection of the unwritten societal rules that we all seem to follow mindlessly.
I've always objected to mindless consumption of things, and yet, over the years, I've happily purchased my fair share (and more) of what I consider to be crap. But mostly I've come to think of it as a harmless annoyance- yeah, I have too much stuff but it mostly fits in our house, so...
This film really got me thinking, though. It presented minimalism as about freedom more than anything. And this? Resonated deeply with me. Because this journey I've been on with Stray Dog Revolution is not just about health and fitness. It's about living your best life- living in abundance and happiness and love and growth. It's about finding my own path while simultaneously helping other people find theirs. All good things.
But it was also partially begun due to a dissatisfaction with where I am financially in life and a fear of the future, so building a side business seemed like something to explore. What this film proposed is the idea of living minimally as a way to bring you the financial freedom you're looking for... In other words, maybe it's not about finding a way to make more money, but figuring out a way to live making much, much less. Seems like a no-brainer, but it hit me like a sledgehammer last night.
For the past few months, ever since I saw an episode of Tiny Houses, I've been drawn to the idea of downsizing. And scared to death of it. What does it mean? What does it look like? Will I regret throwing things away? Where would I even start? My stuff? Then the kids? (Man, they're gonna be resistant to this!) Hubbie? Can I even do it? Am I too far gone in my attachment to my things? I have to admit, it feels overwhelming.
But then I came across this while surfing the internet this morning: a 30-Day Challenge where you get rid of 1 thing on day one, 2 on day two, 3 on day three, etc.
(here's the link if you want to read more about it - http://www.theminimalists.com/game/)
This? Seems like a good beginning. A way of getting a taste for what downsizing and purging may feel like without making a rash decision to sell the house and move into an apartment. 😀
The thing I'm getting rid of today: a milk and cookies scented candle that I've had for years. Honestly, it just makes me want cookies. 🍪🍪🍪🍪 😫🤣 That wasn't so hard.
Today is day 7 of my week of Paleo eating and I'm ready to change it up. I actually didn't find it challenging to avoid grains, legumes, and sugar, and I had good energy levels all week. That said, I'm excited to go back to where it all began and eat nutritarian for the next week. What is nutritarian? Well, I'll get to that, but first I want to talk about my week living as a caveman.
I kept it simple this week and pretty much had eggs, bacon, and greens for breakfast or skipped breakfast altogether and did the whole bulletproof coffee thing. Lunch was always a medium size salad with either a couple of hard-boiled eggs, some sardines, or some egg/asparagus/bacon cup things I made. And for dinner, Hubbie made lamb stew, this amazing chicken thing with mashed cauliflower, and his famous brisket with some pumpkin seed/green beans on the side. I even made a treat called Phat Fudge that was a pretty amazing addition to the coffee yesterday. Overall, this way of eating was easier than raw vegan, not in terms of planning and cooking but in terms of the mental/emotional challenge. I didn't get sick of what we were eating like I did of salads, and the variety was such that I wasn't bored and desperate to get to the end of the week. Plus? I was able to eat out twice this week and find things that were on the menu that I could eat. (Burger with a lettuce bun!)
So, are you ready for the results? I just stepped on the scale this morning and I've lost..... Zero pounds. This is with exercising every day and eating super clean by most standards. So that's one week of eating raw vegan with no weight loss and one week of Paleo with no weight loss. Am I frustrated? A little, but this appears to be the new norm of my body. And this is the place I was after my son was born over 12 years ago: completely confused as to why I couldn't lose weight when I was "doing everything right." And that's when I read Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman and the weight loss was effortless. Plus, I felt amazing.
Originally, the plan was to go back to this way of eating this week, where the focus is on veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It's called eating like a 'nutritarian.' But I was remembering back to last spring when I did the 6-week plan again and I actually gained about 5 pounds, even though I followed it to the letter. I felt good and had energy, which is awesome, but I am not someone that doesn't have any weight to lose. So I'm going to try something radically different than I've tried before. Because someone once said the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Hubbie and I have decided to try a new style of eating that I see as a mix between Paleo and Nutritarian called The Wild Diet. This way of eating comes from Abel James, aka Fat Burning Man, and I finished reading his book by the same name this week. He has a 40 day challenge and we've decided this is something we'd like to try. Why? It seems sustainable long term for one (combines the kind of food I love and the food my Texas born and bred Hubbie loves) and I need to try something new. You see, I've eaten pretty much the same way for a decade and more and managed to put on 30 pounds over the past few years. I've done various things to lose the weight with various measures of success, but it's always come back. And my body has adapted to be incredibly good at holding onto this extra fat. Thus, I've determined I need to try something new. My only stipulation is that I will not sacrifice my health to do so, which brings me to the Wild Diet. The people who have followed Abel's diet have not only been able to shed the weight, but lower their blood sugar, blood pressure, go off their various medications, and gain lean muscle. I've tried every vegan diet imaginable over the years, but I have yet to try something like this for as long as 40 days, so I'm excited to see if this will be the thing that resets my body.
Looking forward to this journey and sharing the outcomes, good, bad, and ugly with you all.
The week before last I started thinking about how I am a huge proponent of mixing up my workouts in order to keep my body guessing, how this challenges our bodies to achieve new fitness heights and gets better results than just doing the elliptical day after day after day. And then I thought, "I wonder if this might apply to diet?" That's when I had the crazy idea that maybe the lack of results that I've seen has been due to exactly this: my inability to deviate from how I normally eat. I'm a total creature of habit when it comes to my diet; I eat real food, mostly plants, and I try not to eat too much. Yes, Michael Pollan struck a chord in me all those years ago and I've never really deviated much. It got me thinking, which is dangerous. Maybe I should conduct an experiment? Hmm...
Then, as if it the Universe was speaking to me directly, I picked out a podcast by Chalene Johnson called Why You Can't Lose Weight and it was like BAM! I now had to do this. (Her podcast was all about metabolic adaptation and how our bodies are really good at adapting to whatever "diet" we're on, and learning to thrive, maintain our weight. Which is something many of us are working on changing, thank you very much body.) So it was decided: I would be rotating my diet week by week to see what, if anything, happens. I love being a Guinea pig, apparently.
As I write this I'm on day 7 of my week-long raw vegan diet. Yes, I've felt like a gorilla all week. And although it's been tough to eat salads every meal, it hasn't been terrible. I've felt pretty great: sleeping well (and needing less of it), strong in my workouts, and not craving any crap, which I find unusual. I was even offered a fresh baked batch of chocolate chip cookies this week and didn't even feel a twinge of want. It was weird, to say the least. But I am sick of salad. In fact, yesterday I went to a local health food restaurant in the hopes that they would have something else. They did!
It was amazing! Stuffed avocado and raw tacos!! Which, to me, really tasted like they had refried beans in them. So much so that I questioned if they actually brought me the right thing. Hubbie assured me that it did not, in fact, taste at all like refried beans, so I think something happened with my taste buds this week. :) And that hidden gem in the back left corner? That, my friend, is a raw chocolate mint pie that was too die for. OMG. It reminded me of Frangoes, this dessert my mom made for us growing up. Frangoes are not in any way, shape, or form vegan or raw, but this dessert was and was so rich that I actually wished I hadn't devoured the whole thing in one sitting. It made me feel a little sick, to be honest. What the hell is wrong with me? I can eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's without the slightest consequence, but feel sick as a dog when I eat this? I guess it's not really a fair comparison, though, since I usually don't eat ice-cream smack dab in the middle of eating so clean.
But I digress. The week ahead I will be sticking to a Paleo/Whole 30/Primal diet. Again, none of the diets I'll be adhering to will be anything other than whole foods based, so no weight watchers, or protein shakes, or Lean Cuisine. It will be more diet in the sense of "having a diet" rather than being "on a diet." The week after this I'll be switching back to a plant-based regime by following Dr. Furhman's 6-week plan guidelines. Then Intermittent Fasting with Paleo. Beyond that, I don't know. And? I'm open to changing my mind depending on how my body feels.
What do I hope to gain from this experience? Well, for one, I'd like to gain a more intuitive sense of what my body needs. Not what it wants, but what it needs. I would like to shock my body into responding as it currently seems to be so efficient, that I could easily survive the apocolypse. And I would like to find a way of eating that feels healthy, sustainable, ethical, and enjoyable. Is that really too much to ask?
Oh, and in case your wondering, after eating this way for a week I've lost no weight. But the pants I tried on Monday and decided they were too snug to wear to work now fit me ever so slightly better. Curious to see what next week brings...
I'll be blogging at the end of each week, but if you'd like more of the day to day, come join me over on Facebook in our Stray Dog Revolution community.
It happened on day 12... I did it. Twenty-five push-ups, on my toes, no rest. And then it happened again, on day 13. And I knew then that nothing's ever going to stop me again.
At some point along the way, we all lose that belief we have in our own ability. We are told so often (by mostly well-meaning sorts) that whatever we want to pursue is impossible, is not prudent, is not how it's done. And slowly, ever so slowly, we begin to believe it. We lose our confidence and our zest for dreaming and we put our heads down and grind out our lives in mediocrity.
Some never recover, carrying this weight to their graves. They lived good, decent lives, but they wouldn't say they were extraordinary. But we are. Every single one of us. We each have the capacity for greatness in us if we can just push down the years of negative self-talk and believe again. Most don't.
I, however, never thought I would be able to do 25 push-ups. It may seem a trivial thing, but it was limiting nonetheless. I just didn't believe in the possibility. I mean, 10 maybe. But 25? And then it happened.
I worked at it. I worked hard at it. Every single day. And I did it. And that's where I found my strength. Not just the physical strength to do those push-ups, but more importantly, my inner strength.
Now it's time to apply it everywhere.
Being sick sucks. There. I said it. And it's true. But I'm now going to focus on being positive, finding the silver lining, and moving forward in good health. Because that's how I roll. :D
I'm basically continuing on with my push-up challenge starting exactly where I left off: at day 10. So today, day 10, I actually was surprised to discover that I could still do 20 push-ups on my toes, then rest for a few seconds, and crank out the last 5, also on my toes. It didn't even feel any harder. So, what's the lesson here?
I often get super stressed out when I'm sick because I'll my best laid plans go haywire. I get behind in my work, and my fitness, and my eating suffers because I don't have the energy to fix good meals. Well, those days are beginning to fall in the category of how I used to react. It's clear that, in the scheme of things, it's not the end of the world. It's about perspective. And the only thing that stress does is make it worse. So from here on out, if I get sick, I'm gonna ride with it. View as a mini-vacation from life. Rest. Recover. Not sweat the small stuff. I mean, not only did my fitness goals not suffer, but my work didn't either. I mean, am I as on top of things as I normally am? No. But I'm still alive. And no one's yelled at me yet. :)
So I'm seeing sickness now as a clear message to me that I need to slow down. Take a little break. And not sweat the small stuff.
See? I always something new from these challenges. This is so fun!!! :D
Yesterday was day 7 of my two week push-up challenge, and I can tell you this: I am not at all like T-Rex. :D I love push-ups!!! I used to hate them, but I love them now because I can actually do them. And? You can, too. Here's a great article about how to improve upon your push-ups.
So, here's where I'm at on day 7:
20 full push-ups on toes
rest for 10 seconds
5 full push-ups on toes
I really think in another week, I'll be able to do all 25. I'm very excited! I also love that a ton of people have jumped in on this challenge and are doing it with me. Makes it all the more fun.
A new challenge has been accepted: 25 push-ups a day for two weeks. Goal: By the end of the two weeks, I would love to be able to do all 25 on my toes, without resting. Today, my first day, I did 15 with good form on my toes. (very surprised I could do this many... I figured I had about only 12 in me.) Rested for a 10 count. Then did 4 more on my toes. Finished out the last 6 on my knees. I'm definitely going to get there!!! Psyched!
My final cold shower has been taken and it actually wasn't that bad. Could be because I knew I didn't have to do it anymore, or because I was slightly inebriated. Or maybe I am finally acclimating to the process. Whatever the reason, I found it much more tolerable tonight. Thus, when I googled "cold shower" to find a pic for the blog and found links to the benefits of cold showers, I couldn't resist taking some time to read. (Probably should have done this at the beginning of the challenge...)
Apparently, you can lose weight, increase testosterone, improve sleep, fight depression, and strengthen your immune system all by taking cold showers! Who knew? And the best part? You don't have to limit yourself to just cold showers. You can actually take a hot shower and just have the last minute or so be cold, which is what I often do anyway. And after doing this challenge? This seems like a piece of cake.
But for now, I'm warm in my bed, dreaming of tomorrow's shower. I've gotta say... I'm really looking forward to it.
Today was day 6. Things went better than last night for sure, but they still weren't wonderful. I took my shower immediately after doing a really hard workout, so my body was nice and warm to begin with and the water felt, dare I say, invigorating. For the first 5 seconds, at least. Then it was just the usual torture.
But I didn't cry today, or shiver uncontrollably, or feel like my muscles were tightening so much under the stream of water that I was gonna strain something. I controlled my breath, soaped up as quick as a great white after a one-armed surfer, and overall, it was actually quite refreshing.
Of course, not so refreshing that I want to do it again. In fact, I'm wondering if I even need to take one tomorrow- then this challenge can be over, right? :D
But I will. It's my last day, after all. Gotta go big or go home.
Stray Dog Revolution