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My 9 Take-Aways from the Whole 9 Seminar

seminar2My 9 Take-Aways from the Whole 9 Seminar

I bought my THIRD copy of It Starts With Food  by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig while attending their all day seminar in Honolulu yesterday.   If you ever get the chance to go to their seminar – GO!   Its a great experience.   Not that there was anything earth-shaking or revolutionary said during the day, but some of the dots were connected and it was some dedicated time spent thinking about my dietary and lifestyle choices with some smart people.

My first impression was how stunningly beautiful and handsome Melissa and Dallas are.  Good genetics, sure.   But also clearly they are doing something right.   Since I had taken a seat in the front row and spent the day a few feet away from them listening to them answer questions during breaks and chatting with them during lunch, they are also clearly beautiful on the inside as well and were consummate compassionate professionals throughout the day.  It was weird to be on a different island and be recognized within the community – Dallas kept looking at me for a while trying to figure out where he’d seen me before – I suspect it was from Robb Wolf’s testimonial website and another Coach commented in a private conversation on how I had lost 200 pounds or something like that (no, not quite).

Some of you saw my notes from the seminar and were surprised – where’s the notes on the food, nutrients, and what to eat?   They did cover that – a little bit – but the vast majority of the day was spent on discussing the philosophy behind and the framework for their Whole 30 program. I wouldn’t have lasted more than five minutes discussing food, nutrients, blocks, supplements, and the like, but understanding the biology and psychology behind food choices had me at my edge of the seat most of the day.  Seriously, it was exactly what I needed.  As they say, the things that get you from point A to point B may not be the things that get you from point B to point C.   I needed to re-frame my food philosophy and Dallas and Melissa helped to do that.

So my takeaways from the Whole 9 Seminar – hopefully slightly more coherent than my jotting notes from my mobile device on the bus last night.

1.  Its about the BIG PICTURE

The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.  Getting OCD on your diet or exercise can be counterproductive.   They are pieces to the whole – important pieces – but if the rest of your life factors are not correct you may be spinning your wheels.  Dallas and Melissa talk about the nine factors that they believe, when properly balanced, will lead you to optimal health.   I think I wrote the word STRESS about a hundred times yesterday and its something I need to address in my life.

2.  Form follows Function

They don’t care a rip if you lose weight doing the Whole 30 program and they are right.   They do care about getting you healthy.   And form follows function – get healthy and everything starts falling back into place.   Robb Wolf recommends giving your scale away to someone you dislike and chase performance goals.   The Whole 30 program does not allow you to step on the scale for 30 days.  I got an email last night from a person who found me from Robb’s website upset that she’d “only” lost 3 pounds in two weeks and that left her feeling “hopeless”.  Whoa – that little device on the floor that tells you your relationship with gravity is also dictating your self-worth is kind of a  pretty scary thought.   We are all so much more than our packaging we come in and remembering that form follows function can clear some of that crazy making stuff.

3.  The Lizard Wins

You cannot out-willpower, out-think, out-logic your body’s hormonal response to food. You can’t beat hormones, the lizard part of the brain is deeper and stronger than willpower. Caloric restriction will always lose.   Give your body what it needs nutritionally (its about nutrition, not nurturing).   If you feed yourself empty calories, you will keep eating chasing that nutrition.  Our bodies are way smarter than we give them credit for and certainly way smarter than the chemist designing the new sweetener and hyper-stimulating food

4.  Don’t OverCARBsume

I could have hugged Melissa when she said that when nutritionists  tell you to “just listen to your body”that its pure bullshit.  Your body lies.   Particularly when you have been treating it poorly and screwing up all the signals that are supposed to be there with natural foods.   ‘Food with no breaks’ that have no dense nutrition, no satiety factors, little fiber or water in them just have me eating the whole bag/container (i.e. its a processed carboliscious food).   I’ve hardwired my brain to respond to “Hoover (vacuum) the whole thing” in a nice little habitual neurological loop.  The more volatile your blood sugars are, the less good you feel and since I kind of fudged myself up on this one as a former pre-diabetic, my margin of err is even smaller than most.

5.  Get Over the Internalized Fat-Phobia

Dallas and Melissa passed out a meal planning template which is also in the book that I must have skimmed when I read the book.  Actually really reading their meal planning template, I had kind of a visceral kick to the gut – holy Batman – that’s a lot of fat.   In my mind.   Right now.  I’d be perfectly happy (well until I quickly died from diabetes) eating nothing but carbohydrates the rest of my life, but eating that much fat horrified me just a bit.  Me, of all people, has internalized fat phobia.  Avocados are going to be making a comeback in my life.

6. Examine if Your Behaviors are Supporting Your Goals

This one resonated deeply with me and I am feeling a little like a stubborn two-year old stomping my good leg over it.  There is no question that long, slow endurance running races do not support my long-term goals and I need to give them up.   The cost/benefit and pain/reward doesn’t pencil out for me anymore.  Its a tough one for me and I’m not quite ready to stop, but I’m getting closer.   There are definitely other behaviors and goals that are misaligned, but having spent half of last week in pain, its the one that I thought about the most.

7.There are Plenty of Common Denominators

My vegan friends and I agree on far more on food than we disagree upon.   The common denominators:

  • Eat whole, real food 
  • Sugar is evil.  Sweeteners are even worse.
  • Your diet should be based mostly on vegetables.  They estimated it at about 60% on veggies and encouraged them at EVERY meal.
  • Animals should be treated with respect and humanely.
  • Whole 30 removes dairy and considers it a food that makes you less healthy.   I’m going to remove it for 30 days, but after the 30 days are over, I’ll re-evaluate it then.  This is the food group that is a sticking point for me.  I’m going to do it, but I make no promises long-term.
  • Avoid consuming chemicals and frankenfoods.
  • Eat to keep your good gut bacteria happy and plenty.
  • You need to cook your own food and plan ahead to make your diet a success in less than ideal situations.

8.  Stay Positive

Perception can equal fact in the brain.   The brain cannot tell the difference between perceived stress and real stress – its both real whether it happens or not.  Its the same with diet and being hard on yourself just takes one down a spiral that leads nowhere good.   ” Using words like “fail”, “faileo”, or “cheat” to describe food choices only contributes to our societal moralization of food, and predisposes to diet-related guilt. Food choices are not moral choices – they are health choices. No guilt, only consequences.” -Melisa Hartwig.   Mind your internal language.

9.  Hit the Reset Every Now and Then

They make a point about the Whole 30 being a reset, being self-experimentation on what works for you, and that its not about it being the Whole 100.  They do a Whole 3 or a Whole 7 when they come back from vacation just to get back on track.  Dallas takes coffee vacations quarterly (another punch in a gut response there of noooo!) just to reset that little stimulant addiction.  Its good to pay attention to take a step back and check-in with yourself again periodically.

I’m traveling for the next two weeks to the mainland, but once I return.   Let the Whole 30 begin.

Cauliflower Rice/Potatoes

I was reading Robb Wolf’s blog Part Deux on low carb diets and some of people’s insanity to make diet their religion. I get it, I truly do.   I struggled to lose weight for decades without success and finding something that works for me makes me want to preach like that alcoholic who just found AA – this is the way!   Well, its not.   Its the way for me.  It works – for me and fundamentally, it probably works for a lot of people.   But people need to find their own path, not be crazy about things, and not think they have found the one true light.   Staying on the lower carb side of the equation for me helps me not be hungry so I don’t eat as much.  Staying on the lower carb side of the equation helps me make decision and have “will power” because there is just so much that is not on the menu to begin with.  But that is just me and I am dysfunctional when it comes to food, so now that I found something that works for me, I’m sticking with it.

Lunch this afternoon with enough leftovers for lunch again tomorrow.   Chicken tenders (salt and pepper and pan fried in coconut oil), green beans from the farmers market, kula tomato, and cauliflower rice.   I do really love cauliflower rice and (gasp) even think its as good as mashed potatoes (the real kind).   Steam a head of cauliflower to the point of getting it soft enough to smash.   In this case, I used the same pan that I had just finished cooking chicken in so it still had that good chicken browning parts in it.   Add a can of chicken broth and let simmer down.   Add a bunch of garlic.   Smashing will depend on if you are going for the rice or the potato look – either way – tastes good.

My family celebrated the end of 2011 and hoped that 2012 would be better since we were pretty sure that if it was more of the same, we all wouldn’t be standing above ground. The number of emergency room visits in 2012 was significantly less although there were still a couple close calls, but Mom is feeling good and holding her own now.

I started out the year being discharged from physical therapy on January 6th. Eleven months later, I completed my first marathon with 4 half marathons in between. Rowed nearly 600,000 meters. Learned how to throw 110 pounds above my head and deadlift 250 – i.e. developed OCD (obsessive Crossfit disorder). Visited 7 states. Saw my baby sister get married to her high school sweetheart. Drank waaaay too much beer with my big brother. Started regular weekly chats with my sister talking crossfit (see OCD above). Climbed around the worlds largest caves with my sister in Kentucky and reflected on the last time we had been there together about 35 years previously. Walked my sister’s first 10k with her on Maui. Cherished spending time with my mother after her difficult year. Tried Zumba and kickboxing with my Cousin and taught another Cousin to SUP. Went Ziplining with a friend I’ve literally known all my life (my mother tells me we were in the nursery together) and reconnected with friends. Its been a full and busy year getting back on my feet and spending time with friends and family.

Here’s hoping for more good times and happiness in 2013.

Didn’t Know What I Didn’t Know

I disagree with his politics pretty much across the board, but I like this quote – 

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

Everything I thought I knew about healthy eating and living was wrong.  All my known knowns were wrong and leading me down the wrong pathway.  I’m pretty smart, but even my known unknowns were wrong and I didn’t have a clue on the unknown unknowns.   It took being knocked down to a new low and rolling into a physical therapist’s clinic without a clue on what to do with a “dead leg”, giving into the process and hoping he had a clue because god knew I didn’t.  I got lucky – PT knew what he was doing and taught me a few things a long the way.  I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m learning.

A few of the things unknown unknowns I didn’t know back then…

….Some of the people who loved me were weeping inside watching me commit a slow suicide by not taking care of myself.   Reading Christmas cards this weekend brought tears to my eyes – “I am so very proud of you and thrilled….I have worried about you for many years…that worry is gone now.”

…Some of the people that intimidated the hell out of me were silently cheering me on even when I was too embarrassed to look up.   This blog article Hey, Fat Girl  echoed a conversation I had at the box one day that shocked me.   A girl turned to me and said, “You are an inspiration” and later I would find out more about her family’s struggles with weight and her own loved ones battles with obesity.  She’d been cheering me on all along and I was too busy trying to be invisible to notice.

….Patience and consistency are key.

Deep End

My thought process that the Honolulu Marathon would cover at least a month of “do something every day that scares you” didn’t even make it through the month.   Took the plunge again into doing something waaaaay out my comfort zone.

My training dates in California got moved on me which screwed up my original plans. Instead of having a week on the mainland free to go visit family, I ended up with a weekend. Work is willing to pay for my hotel for three nights in a hotel (Friday-Monday) instead of me flying back and forth to Hawaii – but the prospect of spending the weekend in Sacramento (no offense Sacramento folks) over my 40th birthday depressed the hell out me. So off the deep end I’ll go instead.   

I’m signed up to take the Crossfit Level I course in Monrovia, CA instead.   Worst case scenario is that I learn a bunch of stuff I didn’t know before.  I’ve screwed up enough to now realize that when I slack off too much, I quickly pay for it.  Pain is an effective teacher.   Knowledge can’t hurt.  Best case scenario is that I learn a bunch of stuff and use it. Another crayola in the crayon box to play with.

Here’s what I know – I sometimes hear well intentioned natural  ectomorph’s say things that make me want to poke them with a hot stick.  I love some of them to death, but truthfully folks the effect can be like nails on a chalkboard. The number of people who go from fat to thin, and stay there, statistically rounds down to zero.  Its not simple.   Its not easy.  It looks that way on paper, but reality is whole different story.   As someone who used to be 110 lbs heavier (yeah, I know that number used to be 120lbs, but I’m back on track now), there are things I know that you can only know if you’ve lived as a morbidly obese person and people that will relate more easily to me than they ever will to someone who didn’t have a weight problem.   So,  if I walk away with knowledge that helps me, its a win.  If I walk away with knowledge that I can use to help others, even better.  

Pretty sure that the this one will really cover a month of “do something every day that scares you” – but really looking forward to it too.

Lazy Chicken Salad

I still feel like I’m recovering from the marathon last Sunday.   Slept more, got tired more easily, and my knees are pissy.  Still glad  I did it.  I’m told that for about two weeks I need to take it “easy” and that I’ll be prone to injury for that time period.   I’ve been going light on the weights and can definitely tell I’m not where I was prior to the marathon.   
Could also bee that I rowed 20,000 meters this weekend and Saturday’s WOD was “Randy” – 5 rounds of 15 reps of 55 lb snatches and 30 reps of 14 lb wall balls.   On Thursday I did 3 sets of 10 at 65 lbs of  power snatches (sans squat) for 650 lbs each set.  Doing 5 sets of for a total of 825 lbs didn’t scare me…  75 x 55 lbs (4,125 lbs).   But the wallballs.   Wallballs.  Doesn’t that word just sound like it should be a curse word?   Classmates challenged me to go to the 14 lbs, but I didn’t think I had it in me and scaled down to 6 lbs.  I was so happy to stand up after it was all done.  I don’t know what’s physical and what’s mental when it comes to squatting.  It doesn’t really matter, its real for me either way and wallballs may be my new favorite curse word.   

I really didn’t feel like “cooking” tonight.   So I made lazy chicken salad.  
1 1/2 Costco cooked chicken (left the rest of the chicken for breakfast tomorrow – chicken and cheese omelet)
1 sweet onion that I let carmelize
2 green peppers & 1 red pepper & a bunch of celery (veggies!)
1 package of wholly guacamole
1 lime (juice only)
Cumin and salt.

Wrapped a big helping up in 3 leaves of romaine lettuce and called it din din.   Will freeze leftovers for the rest of the week.   Seriously good.

 Last marathon pictures to post.   I remember the couple kissing, but otherwise, I really don’t remember any of these people.   My brain had turned off I think.

27 Miles on That???

A picture is worth a thousand words.   I thought I could now see myself in the mirror ….ummm….guess not.   OMG -I did not know that my leg looked so deformed after the accident!   I knew they were different from each other, but whoa, I didn’t realize they looked like that!   She still carried me through 27 miles but boy you would know it by looking at her.   It took me a year to wear shorts after the accident, its going to take me a while to wear them again.

Next event is in January and is through Disneyland and is a half marathon called Tinkerbell.   There is no such thing as “just” a half marathon.  But by completing the marathon, the half no longer seems so scary to me anymore.

I couldn’t handle watching the news this morning for more than five minutes. I cannot comprehend nor would want to. I am banning myself from all news for a while – grief tends to overwhelm me sometimes and I’m aware of my limitations.

This morning’s WOD was Randy – 5 rounds of 15 55 lb snatches and 30 14 lb wall balls. Made it through the snatches, but felt like I needed to scale the wall balls. Squats. After my 150 6 lb wall balls, I was just happy to stand up. But I don’t know how much of that is physical and how much of that is mental. Probably some of both. I can finish a marathon, but 150 wall balls scares me into submission despite several classmates challenging me on it. Squats. I don’t know if I’ll ever quit hating them.