Time for a New Challenge: The 21 Day Sugar Detox, Level 1

Posted in Paleo, The 21 Day Sugar Detox on August 6, 2012 by Cavegirl Cooks

It has been about 2 months since I posted, just after I started the 60 Day CorePower Yoga Challenge.  I am proud to say that I am now a Hot Yoga ADDICT attending classes 4-5 times a week.  The Challenge was really fun and I am feeling much better about myself.  It was also great to take a break from blogging and focus completely on the challenge, but it’s great to be back and it’s time for a new challenge!

During the break my diet also suffered.  I did a lot of yoga and needed more calories, and unfortunately I turned to the wrong foods.  The carbs slowly began to make their way back into my diet.  Thanks to this, I’ve seen some changes in my sleep cycles, energy levels, and my skin has been breaking out.  So, it’s time to make my way back to Paleo, but this time taking a slower approach than Whole30.  I love the Whole30 program and saw tremendous success, but I also could not wait to indulge when it was over.  This time, I’m starting with Level 1 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox which is mostly Paleo but allows limited portions of some grains.  I need to work on conquering sugar cravings before jumping into Paleo again completely.  I’m hoping to follow all 3 levels of the Detox with a Whole30 and then continue on with the Paleo lifestyle.

 

Today was Day 1 of the Detox.  Here is how I did:

Breakfast:  The old go-to of 2 eggs fried in coconut oil, with 2 strips of uncured bacon

Lunch:  Level 1 allows for 1/2 cup of cooked white rice per day.  Late last week I caught the Cold from HELL and felt awful for a few days.  I’m much better now but this morning I was feeling the sinus pressure coming back, and the best food cure I know for a Cold is a steaming hot bowl of Pho.  I just added meatball and extra rare steak and asked for half the rice noodles.

Dinner:  I stopped by the grocery store after work and ribeye was on sale.  So I cooked one up with some sauteed baby kale.  Sadly, my gas grill died at the beginning of the summer and I have yet to replace it, so this steak is oven-broiled.

All in all, not too bad and no real sugar cravings.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the challenge and of course I fully expect the low carb flu to hit any day now.  But I’ll take it one day at a time.

Hopefully new recipes will be coming soon.  Great to be back!

 

The Struggle to Look Within

Posted in Stress, Yoga on June 10, 2012 by Cavegirl Cooks

As I continue the Yoga Challenge, I have become much more aware of the psychological/emotional effects of practicing yoga.  In the past few months I have experienced so many life changes, to the point where I sometimes feel like I’m watching someone else live an alternative version of my life.  It has been extremely hard to feel completely grounded.  Many of the changes have been positive and I have seen some amazing people come into my life, but I’m also facing some tough adjustments that just come with being an adult.

Every yoga class begins with deep breaths, and ends with more breathing.  The entire hour is supposed to be devoted to being completely mindful and aware of your own breath and body.  For me, this has been the most challenging part.  My mind has a tendency to wander everywhere.  But when it is done right, the hour is completely therapeutic and I walk out feeling completely peaceful.  As the challenge continues, I hope to improve this skill of being completely mindful, and hopefully that will carry on to my life outside the studio as well.  The struggles I have had lately have made me shaky and unsure of myself, making me look to others for answers or advice.  I’m hoping to get my confidence back, so I can make decisions without analyzing the situations to death.  Slowly but surely, I will get there.

Corepower 60 Day Yoga Challenge- Day 1

Posted in Exercise, Yoga on June 1, 2012 by Cavegirl Cooks

Well, tonight I took the plunge and signed up for a 60 Day Yoga Challenge.  I have to attend 30 classes in 60 days, which sounds simple enough until I factor in any unknown work travel that may come in the next 60 days!  Tonight’s class was Day 1- a Candlelight Flow Class.  Unheated vinyasa flow with candlelight. For some reason tonight I kept getting dizzy and had to sit out a few poses.  Child’s pose is my friend.  :)

29 more days to go!

Falling in Love… with Hot Yoga

Posted in Exercise, Yoga on May 29, 2012 by Cavegirl Cooks

After my first experience with Pure Barre, I was sore for days.  So sore that just turning over in bed would wake me from my muscles aching.    At that point I decided it was time to try a kinder, gentler exercise program.  I have tried regular yoga in the past with not-so-pleasing results.  I always felt stiff and strained, like my muscles and joints were screaming in protest the entire time.  So I started doing some research into Hot Yoga.  Not to be confused with Bikram Yoga (which is 90 minutes long, super hot, fast paced and practiced with brighter lighting) Hot Yoga classes I looked into were in 95-98 degree studios at CorePower, which conveniently has locations close to both home and my office.  So, my friend Cara (the yoga MASTER) took me to a class during lunch 2 weeks ago.  And…well… In the past 2 weeks I have been to 8 classes.  Needless to say, I’m a bit hooked.

This is something I never would have expected.  I’m a plus size, inflexible girl in a room filled with ballerina-like women and hard-bodied men.  After taking an un-heated Beginner’s Intro on a Sunday afternoon, I braved Hot Power Fusion on a Monday, which is a more advanced flow done in a 98 degree studio.  I started sweating the moment I walked in (not sure if it was nerves or the actual heat… but I’m going to guess it was mostly the heat since the seasoned veterans around me were also glistening).  The most important advice I received from the instructor when I said I was brand new:  LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  When class started and I started moving into some of the poses, I noticed that everyone around me was in their own little space, focused completely on themselves.  This made me feel a lot more confident, and I made modifications to each asana as needed.  Even though I was covered in sweat very quickly, I noticed that the heat warmed and protected my muscles, making me feel more flexible and able to do and hold poses I never would have thought possible.  When others around me started doing headstands and more complicated poses, I went into child’s pose and simply allowed myself to relax and breathe.  The whole experience was amazingly challenging, purifying and relaxing at the same time.  Which is why the reason I went back for several days in a row.  The instructors are also great, very friendly and willing to help you work on proper form, or show you modifications.

My free trial ends tomorrow, and I believe I will be signing up for  a membership.  There is also a 60 day yoga challenge that starts on June 1st, which involves going to at least 30 classes in 60 days.  I have not decided if I want to sign up for the challenge yet, but if I truly am as addicted as I think I am, 30 classes may not be so bad.

Pure Barre

Posted in Exercise with tags on May 18, 2012 by Cavegirl Cooks

Pure Barre is an exercise class that blends traditional ballet and pilates for a full body workout.  Classes are about an hour long and emphasize small, control movements to create the long, lean muscle of a dancer’s body.  I have about 12 years of ballet experience from childhood, so this workout sounded appealing to me.  I also liked that it emphasized small movements and no jumping or leaps, which I still don’t feel completely comfortable with in Zumba.  Lastly, I heard that Pure Barre is the workout Natalie Portman did to get her body into Black Swan shape.  So I signed up for a class.

My first impression upon entering the studio was that it was a really NICE facility.  But there was carpeting, which I’m not used to for any workout.  The staff was friendly, they had me sign some paperwork and showed me around.  Then I grabbed a spot on the floor with about 7 other women… every single one of them thinner than me.  I was one of only 2 new people in the class, so this was encouraging.  These women all had lean, strong dancer-like bodies, and they were called out as veterans at the beginning of the class.

The class started with some pilates-style stretching to fast-paced music.  And the warm up was FAST.  After that came some free weight work.  I had 2lb. barbells and was doing tiny little bicep curls.  How hard could it be?  Wrong!  I had to take breaks frequently, with my arms gaining the consistency of cooked spaghetti.  Then came the bar work.  The part I showed up for.  First there was some mini-squats (plies in ballet speak:)  )  followed by some mini leg lifts.  This is the part where it started to get weird.  I was lifting my leg no more than 2 inches at a time, and suddenly I started to see starts out of the corners of my eyes.  I also felt the shakiness in my muscles.  Grabbing my water bottle, I decided to sit this exercise out and watch everyone else.

Unfortunately, seeing everyone else do such small movements began to frustrate me.  They made it look so easy, why was I having so much trouble with it?  I was also a bit embarrassed, being the biggest girl there and feeling unable to do something that seemed so simple.  So I kept getting back up, feeling dizzy, and sitting back down.  At one point the instructor came and asked if I was ok, and then said “Don’t worry, It’s A LOT for the first time!”  But it really didn’t look like it.  So after a while I sat and watched them balance a small ball on their calves while doing leg lifts.

After the barre work came a series of exercises where you sit against the wall and lift your legs.  I was able to participate in this one without feeling faint, but my leg muscles were shaking like crazy the entire time.  This was also the first time I was able to look around the room at everyone else.  It brought to mind the smiling, laughing faces that surround me at Zumba.  In contrast, the faces of these women at Pure Barre were serious, intense, and determined.  The class then ended with a quick ab workout and some stretching.

Afterwards, the instructor came to ask what I thought, and I said I wasn’t sure if it was for me, since I couldn’t get through the entire workout.  She said that fainting spells the first time are very common (?!) and that even veterans need to take breaks from time to time.  In my opinion, this was even harder than my first Crossfit workout several weeks ago!  For the next 4 days after Pure Barre, my abs, triceps and thighs were very sore.  So sore that it hurt every time I had to climb into or out of a car, or sit up in bed.  Overall, Pure Barre is a fantastic workout, but be prepared if you try it.  It definitely is not as easy as it looks!

Getting Back in Control: Nike Fuelband

Posted in Exercise, Paleo, Tracking on May 14, 2012 by Cavegirl Cooks

First of all, I want to thank all of you for sticking with me during my hiatus.  It was definitely time to do some soul-searching and figure out what direction I wanted to go in, and there have been some major life changes along the way.  But I’m back in and ready.  Hopefully new recipes will be coming soon, but I have been working primarily on getting my mind and my body healthy and de-stressed and taken a step back from worrying about diet quite as much.   And with me being a bit of a gadget junkie, what better way to motivate myself than with a new piece of tech gear?

One of the first things I did about a month ago was explore a different way to track my activity level.  I have had 2 FitBits in the past year and loved them.  They are small so no one knows you are wearing it, sync via USB dock, and also track sleep patterns.  You can also enter your food intake on their website.  However, my first one started showing cracks in the plastic after about 3 months of daily use, and my second one (which FitBit replaced for free!) also started cracking.  Rather than bugging FitBit for yet another replacement, I did some research into the much-hyped about Nike Fuelband.  They appeared earlier this year for pre-order and sold out very quickly, but I was lucky enough to grab one when they came back in stock.

The Fuelband is basically a black rubber wristband with a built in USB.  Like the FitBit, it tracks steps and calorie burn, and gives you a target number of “Fuel” depending on the activity level you choose.  I started with regular Daily Activity, or 2000 point Goal.  The photo below shows that I’m almost there for the day.  It also has the color coded LED at the bottom which shows how close you are to goal.

Unfortunately, it does not track my sleep patterns.  But it does have built in Bluetooth and syncs with an iPhone app.  It also has a watch built in.  Like FitBit, the website gives you milestones to reach and fun little animations every time you hit a goal or milestone.

So far, I think the Fuelband is more of what I was looking for in an activity tracker.  I don’t have to worry as much about journaling my food intake onto a website, and I was mainly looking for a reminder to get up and move as much as possible.  The Fuelband does just that.  I also like that there is no requirement to wear Nike shoes with it, and I can go for a quick jog or walk in my New Balance Minimus while the band still tracks my steps.  Another drawback to the Fuelband is the price at $150.00, but it is still $100.00 less than the BodyBugg and much more discreet.  So this purchase was well worth it.  Let’s just hope it lasts longer than the FitBit!

When Life Gets in the Way

Posted in Stress on April 17, 2012 by Cavegirl Cooks

I have not blogged in about a week, and it has been a while since I have posted any new recipes.  There has been a lot going on in my life, dealing with family, and work issues, and truth be told I have not been taking care of myself or the ones closest to me lately.  And it’s eating me up inside.  I’m struggling with a lot of emotions right now, and I’m definitely not in the right mindset to keep preaching on about Paleo.  That being said, I’m still following the lifestyle as much as I can, though my appetite has waned lately.  And I have not fallen face first into a pitcher of margaritas.  I am doing a lot of soul-searching these days, and looking into meditation, physical activity, spending time with friends and therapy to help myself get through it.  Please bear with me while I deal with all of this, hopefully I will be back soon.

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