One more week

The Whole30 challenge that I have bestowed upon myself has been going really well. I only have one week left and I’m still going strong. It has been such a great experience! I would recommend it to anyone who wants to start making better choices for optimum health. If you tell yourself: “I’m just going to try and make better choices” It becomes easy to slip up, make excuses, and fall back into old routines. It is SO true, that we need goals and discipline to keep us in line. It has been a lot of fun to talk to others about this food plan, and feels good to inspire other people. When I hear people say that they give me props or admire me… I kind of laugh it off. What I’m doing is NOT THAT HARD. Sure it takes a lot of planning and some modifying of habits… but once you get into a routine, it gets a lot easier. My friend Hannah asked me what the hardest part was. I would say, it is definitely the social aspect of it. There are so many parts of our culture that revolve around eating and drinking. Beers after Frisbee, dinner dates, happy hours, culinary festivals, brunches… it goes on and on. I miss having a beer, or glass of wine with dinner. But it hasn’t been that difficult to give up. I still partake in the socialization and it gets easier to just say, no thank you, when offered a drink. Most of my friends have been extremely supportive.

As for the next steps after the 30 days are up… I think the first thing I’m going to add back in is alcohol. Haha (I love beer!) Then I’ll probably do dairy for a few days and see how I feel. From other online reading, it looks like dairy might be the cause of many allergy symptoms, so I would like to see how I react after eating dairy. I plan to continue to consume sugar, but very sparingly… I really don’t need to be snacking on sugary things, maybe just once a week gelato, or another dessert of some kind. I really enjoy not having a sweet tooth that results in consuming hundreds of calories that only satisfy an emotional need, but that does nothing for me nutritionally. Gluten and other grains I also plan to re-introduce, but only once in awhile. I no longer want to revolve meals around a large portion of simple carbs. Whole grains will be fine once in awhile, but I really can get by without nutritionally low foods like bread, pasta, chips, crackers, etc.

I am really loving the way I feel when I eat predominantly paleo. I have super high energy all day long. I fall asleep immediately most nights, and wake up before my alarm. And the quality of my sleep has never been better. I put on my size 4 skinny jeans the other day and they fit great. Today, I’m wearing size 8, so it’s not THAT big of a deal. But it is fun to be able to wear more of my clothes and feel really good in them. It’s fun that other people are starting to notice that I look more fit. To see and feel changes so quickly has been very rewarding and motivating! I wish everyone could make a commitment to go through this experience and see how the things that we eat have a direct impact on how we feel. Everyone knows this, but actually going through the program will teach you so much more than reading about it. There is just no excuse for complaining about being un-healthy as a result of poor choices. Maybe it’s true, that people are victims of our society and the American diet, but I wish that people would not just sit back and be the victim, but learn to empower themselves to take their health into their own hands. I know that I can say with confidence that this experience has taught me lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Que Sera Sera

“So are you married?”

“No Grandma, I haven’t found the right one yet!”

“Well that’s alright dear. It’s better to wait for the right one.”

“exactly! I’d love to be married, but I’m not in too big of a hurry. I’m fine with being alone for now.”

“Well that’s great, you just have to learn to make the best of it either way… whatever happens, you make the best of it.”

“You sure do. I have a great life and I’m happy.”

“I was lucky… I got a good one early.”

“Yeah, grandpa was a pretty great guy”

“We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we make the best of it… OH… I love that song!”

[the song, Que Sera Sera is playing in a commercial for some product I can't remember. I love Irony.]

This conversation repeats itself 4 or 5 times throughout the 8 hours I spent with my grandmother last weekend. Snippets of wisdom from a woman who helped to raise me, yet doesn’t even remember my name. Alzheimer’s disease is just a heartbreaking disease. I was exhausted after just one day, and my dad has been her full-time care-giver for a year now. I don’t know how he does it. I don’t even think he knows how he does it. I was happy to give him a break, and have committed to giving more time to help him with her when I can. It’s important that he knows he can count on me. Certain things she remembers. She knew that she grew up on a farm. had 12 siblings, had three children of her own. Other times, she talked about packing up her stuff and being ready to go home. And wanting to go check on the “others” in the other room. She said she was anxious at the end of the day… “I just get a little anxious waiting for them, don’t you?” “Yeah, grandma… sometimes I feel that way too. It’s hard.” “Yeah.” she says. “It can be hard waiting. But you make the best of it anyway”

“Yeah. That’s all you can do.”

crunch

So I guess I started the Whole30 on Tuesday. (No sugar, grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, dairy products or alcohol) I’ve heard that the first couple of days are difficult… but meh. I think I’m doing pretty good so far. I haven’t come close to falling off the wagon. My reasoning for doing this somewhat radical diet are mostly because I’ve been eating WAY too much bread, cheese and ice-cream… Combine over-indulging on carbs with the stress of the busiest deadline month I’ve ever had at work and I just feel really blah. I also had kind of a bad experience drinking too much in Vegas a few weeks ago and realized it was probably time to take a break from party-mode for a bit. Any weight-loss that occurs over the next month is just a bonus, as I’m not specifically trying to shed pounds. But what girl wouldn’t be happy about slimming down in time for bikini season club try outs?

One of the biggest challenges I THOUGHT I would have to deal with was drinking coffee with no sugar or milk. However I had some instant black coffee while camping over the weekend, and that gave me the extra encouragement that this was in-fact going to be possible. I think it was kind of a spontaneous decision, but that’s kind of how I roll. The most challenging thing so far though, has been the lack of crunch. There are just SO few things in nature that are crunchy. I’m not talking about crunchy apples, carrots, and bell peppers. I’m talking about Chips! Crackers! Cereal! Achieving that delectable and addicting crunch is something that the food industry spends a lot of time and money to get. Not only the crunch, but with chips and crackers, having something vanish quickly when you put it in your mouth is also something they try to accomplish. This causes you to want to eat more and more. Oh so sneaky! Our food addictions have been specifically engineered by the food industry.

But! I’ve found the ONE saving grace in the Whole30 world. Plantain Chips from Trader Joes. They are exactly what I need to satisfy my crunchy, salty craving! They taste and feel just like a cracker or chip. I think you could dip them in guac for an even better option. And, there is a cute lil monkey on the bag! :D I’ve also taken a liking to salt and pepper pistachios. It’s funny how everyone craves different things… I’m keeping track of food on MyFitnessPal again, so feel free to creep on my food diary to see what I’m eating. ;)

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I’m excited to see how I feel after this month is complete. I was also worried about diminished energy, due to the lack of carbs, but on the contrary, my energy level has been super high. I can tell that my blood sugar has been much more steady and there are no crashes, or afternoon slumps. When I played ultimate last night, I felt really good. Still having some quad trouble, so I’m trying to take it a little easy, but everything else felt great. I’ve been back on the astaxanthin antioxidant supplement, which in addition to making salmon pink, and giving them energy to jump up waterfalls, can increase strength, stamina and enable quicker recovery in people. I used to take it regularly and I remember just never getting sore after practices, and I felt like I could run for hours.

A few of my teammates have also decided to join me on this Whole30 challenge, which is great! It is nice to inspire others as well as have the support and accountability along the way. We can do it!!!

Only as far as I seek can I go…

One of the most beautiful things about our human experience are opportunities to push ourselves beyond the limits of what we think we are capable of. If we don’t have these opportunities, how will we ever know what we can accomplish? There are people who are constantly pushing the boundaries of their existence beyond the normal. Beyond the safety of the little bubbles we create for ourselves. I am proud to say that now I know without a doubt, that I can do hard things. Things I never thought I could or would do. I will no longer let my mind tell me that I don’t think I can do something.
ragnar3

I never thought I would ever call myself a “runner”. Yes, I run to play frisbee, and I am SO in love with that sport! I would only ever run to get better/faster at frisbee. Never just for fun. When Marnie asked me to be on her Ragnar team, I thought she was crazy. When I heard myself say “okay, I’m in.” I thought I was crazy! I had pretty low expectations for myself… and the women on my team all reassured me that it was all for fun, and no one cared what time we finished. I knew I would definitely finish… but I had nightmares about being the last one to cross the finish line, and put so much more pressure on myself than anyone else was. If you are not familiar with Ragnar, it is a 200+ mile relay race that is spread out over 36 legs run by a team of 12 (or 6… or even TWO) runners. You split up into 2 vans, and drive the next runner to the exchange, while stopping to cheer for the runner who is on the course. It was such an interesting, crazy, and incredibly FUN experience. It is hard to put into words how much fun it was. The challenge of battling the elements, the fatigue, exhaustion, and sheer distance involved was what makes this race so rewarding. To an outsider, it sounds silly. You dress up in costumes, cram yourself and all your stuff in a van, get out and run in the heat of the day, or in the middle of the night up hills with cars whizzing by, then go sleep for 2 hours on a gym floor with 200 other crazy people, and get up and do it all over again. I’ve heard friends talk about this experience and how much they loved it, and it always sounded crazy to me. And now I know for sure that it is! And that I loved it, too!

ragnar4

I got to be runner #12. All of my exchanges involved a hand off from Van 2 to Van 1, so everyone on our team was there. And then for the best part, I was the one who got to run the 36th and final leg of the race and cross the finish line. Overall, my distance was one of the shortest of anyone on the team. This is the nice part about the Ragnar race, because runners of all levels can be on the same team. One leg was 13.5 miles – over a half-marathon! Another runner totaled 23.1 miles. I was surrounded by some amazingly fit ladies and it was such an inspiration to have them tell ME that I did a good job.

My last leg was the longest, at 5.7 miles. I’ve never run that much in my life at one time, let alone after nearly 6 miles over the previous day and on top of no sleep and pretty hot weather. I knew the distance was not a problem, what I was most concerned about was my speed. Adrenaline was a huge plus to the race environment, and my nerves were just on fire. The leg started out about a half mile from my house, and I run a lot of that course often. I had the home-field advantage! We had heard at a previous exchange that only about 40 teams had gone through ahead of us. They stagger the start times to minimize traffic congestion at the exchanges, and we were among one of the first groups to start. But it was kind of nice to know that we were keeping pace with most people, and even ahead of quite a few teams! It also meant that there weren’t too many people running near me, so it kind of took a little pressure off, that I wouldn’t be trying to keep up with others and wearing myself out too early.

I started off strong, and felt pretty good. There were a LOT of people out on the greenbelt that day, so it was hard to see who was part of the race, and who else was just out for a jog. I saw a woman on the path jogging ahead of me and I could see the Ragnar bracelet on her wrist. Desperate to add one more kill to my total, I ran past her. Then I took a walk break and she passed me! I did not want that to happen again, so I took off, and made sure that I could no longer see her behind me before I took another break. I had my runkeeper app going on my phone along with some tunes to keep me going. It was nice to look down and see that my average pace was on track, even with my walk breaks. I knew I was about halfway through, and actually a little ahead of schedule! I had told Marnie that I thought it would take me 1hr15min to complete it. I knew with the heat, I was going to have to take walk breaks. My fears of finishing the race in last place, joyfully turned into fears that my team wouldn’t be there waiting for me at the finish line, so I texted Marnie on my next breather to let her know where I was, and I’m glad I did! I got to the “one more mile sign” and saw the orange finish line across the lake at about the same time. I got a new surge of adrenaline and excitement and really pushed it for that last mile. I knew my teammates could see me from the other side and they were cheering for me. Two little kids were playing under the Mill Ave. bridge and I smiled at them as I went by. “You’re almost there! Keep going!” they said. It was so sweet! Everyone on the bridge was cheering for me, and when I finally saw my teammates, I just broke out into a sprint. (which probably looked like a quick jog at that point, but I felt like I was running 100mph!) I crossed the finish line surrounded by these awesome women, who were all telling me I did a good job, and that I KILLED it! You know what? I DID kill it! I finished faster than I thought I would at just 62 minutes, and we beat another team in our division by just a few minutes to get first place.

LisaRagnarTeam

I’ve never felt as high as I did at that moment. I couldn’t stop smiling. The endorphins were so high, I felt like I could do it all over again! Even now, I am re-energized just by typing it all out. It was one of my proudest achievements. So many of my friends and all of my teammates knew that I could do this, and I had just proved it to myself as well. Man… moments like that in life are priceless.

LisaRagnar1

spinning

Some days I feel like I just need to move somewhere new.

Like I’m just a hamster in a wheel spinning around and around as fast as I can, but never going anywhere.

If you can’t change your attitude, change your environment; If you can’t change your environment, then you’ve gotta change your attitude. Those words were spoken to me on a particularly bad day while I was working at Safeway in college. It made a lot of sense to me at the time, and immediately brightened my day. It’s funny how a slight attitude adjustment can make all the difference. I was there for a reason, I was working my way through college, and while it was a tough season, I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We all have good days and bad days… But sometimes I can’t even SEE the light anymore. I don’t know what it is I’m working towards. It could be there all along, just around the bend, but maybe not! Maybe I’m in the wrong tunnel!

Maybe an environment change is in order. (mostly because I am finding it more and more difficult to change my attitude!) I find myself looking at job opportunities in other cities, dreaming of what it would be like to start a new life. I always admire people who move to a new place. It takes SO much courage! I don’t think I could honestly go through with it though. There really isn’t anything holding me back from this… other than the fact that I would miss my family terribly. My niece is just the light of my life and to not be able to go and visit her whenever I want would rip my heart out. I also have some of the greatest friends and community here that anyone could ask for. But while leaving these things would be HARD… it would be even harder to let my fears keep me from something that might turn out to be the best thing I ever did.

Its just so tough to know whether the inner voices that are nagging me is God leading me in His direction, or if it is my own restless spirit that needs to just take settle down. Do I do the safe, comfortable thing and work on being content with the wonderful life I have, or spread my wings in search of new adventures? What if I fail? What if I’m lonely? what if no one likes me? What is it I’m really looking for? I guess I’ll just try to keep my heart open to opportunities and when something feels right, I’ll go for it. If it works out, there’s my answer? Sigh… Maybe it’s easier to change my attitude after all. :P

between a rock and a hard place

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This is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. The image of this flowering plant, emerging out of the rock is such a great metaphor. It’s crazy how the roots could take hold in an environment like this. Almost as if the rock itself is solely sustaining the plant enough to create such beautiful flowers. Rocks are such hard, strong, un-yielding structures. This particular rock though, had within it the potential for something beautiful to take root. Surrounded by the shield of this rock, the plant was protected. It wouldn’t be trampled. It clung to the rock and it was sheltered from wind, and shaded from the sun. Not only did the plant grow in this seemingly impossible environment, but it FLOURISHED.

It was just a bunch of flowers, sitting on a wall where no one would notice. No one but a silly girl with a camera. I’ve seen this image hundreds of times since It was captured. It took ten years for me to look at it and finally see my reflection. There is beauty to behold in these rocky places, and hope to be found In the process of perseverance and holding on.

Ps. 61:1-2
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

jet set GO

So the fun things are happening! This is my favorite time of year. Work slows for a couple months, and I have a chance to catch my breath and plan ALL THE ADVENTURES! I have something fun up my sleeve planned every couple of weeks. Tournaments, snowboarding, bachelorette party, more tournaments, a 200-mile relay race, a wedding, hiking havasupai, more tournaments! Oh man… life is muy bueno. I am determined to squeeze every ounce of fun out of this year that I can. First item on the dockett, is my absolute favorite weekend of the year. Lei Out. When 100 of my closest friends along with 2000 other frisbee players descend upon the beach in Santa Monica. There are some people that I only see once or twice a year, and this tournament is one of those times. When I see the pier and the beach… my heart just overflows with happiness! I am playing on a team this year of people I’ve never played with at this tournament before. (besides Marnie) It is a great group of people that I love very much and we are going to have a blast!

I just had a physical yesterday, and my doctor couldn’t feel my internal organs through my abs. That is good, right? haha… she said I am perfectly healthy! I honestly can say that I am in the best shape of my life, and I have never been better at playing ultimate. I really don’t know what I would do without this sport and all the amazing people I have met through it. It keeps me healthy, in shape, motivates me and is pretty much my entire social group. I read a meme the other day that said “You only live once? False. You live every day, you only die once” True, to an extent! Every new day is a gift, and should not be wasted. I might not be exactly where I thought I would be at this stage in my life, but I am living a very blessed and full life.

I am so thankful for all of these opportunities for fun and adventure and deepening relationships with people who add value to my life. My goals this year are to be a better listener and friend to those who I spend my time with. Learning more about them and what makes them tick, and getting inspired to change and improve things about myself based on qualities I appreciate in them. Cheers!