Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Gluten and Exercise

Well, after testing potato, tomato, peppers, corn, sugar, soy, diary, wine, daiquiri, and supplements, it was finally time for the much anticipated gluten test.

The first challenge was finding gluten that didn't contain soy (as soy is my biggest fail to date). I finally did so in pita bread.

At least my last gluten was delicious
Day one and two of the challenge appeared to go fine, no physical reaction (although maybe in hindsight my extra crazy computer behaviour could have been influenced by gluten. I will blame it on that). After getting my computer fixed, we stopped for a favourite (and something I can eat and enjoy even without soy, potato and tomato) - shawarma.  Because I have been living gluten free for 4 years this month, I have been eating the shawarma plate. I haven't had a sandwich in forever. I thought even though it was a bit more gluten then I should eat, I would go crazy and test eating a small pita. It was delicious! 

The results -  I failed. Around 4:30 am I woke up with a terrible pain in my gut (my gut pain is always in my intestines just below my belly button - not as bad as tomato or soy, but bad enough) and I felt like crap most of Saturday. 

I am very disappointed and am having a slight pity party for myself, which I will get over, someday! 

I have tried all the foods except strawberries and peaches, and am really not in a hurry to test those. I want to go back and re-test potato once my gut heals again and oatmeal (which I voluntarily took out as I wondered if it was bothering me). Basically I am at the end of the elimination diet. I am sadly saying goodbye to tomato, soy and gluten, and maybe potato. 

Now that my food is almost under control, it is time to get serious about exercise. I have always thought I would like a fitbit, but to be honest, thought they were just too ugly. (I am a bit of a watch snob. I care more about watches than shoes actually). While in Indiana, I was introduced to the fitbit one, a clip on (thanks B and C!). When this post goes live I will have had it for a week and used it for 6 whole days. I am hoping I will have hit my goals.

I will talk more about exercise next week and how it is going, and hopefully I will be over my pity party by then! 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Test of Patience

My Thursday rolled along pretty darn good for a Thursday (helped by the fact I had Friday off as it is a holiday in the province I live in). I got home from a very long day (left at 6:30 am walked back in the door at 8:40). I turned on my computer to check my email and it wouldn't connect to the internet. I tried a number of things but it wouldn't work.

My husband spent at least an hour (I went to bed, I was tired I was up at 4:30) with our internet provider trying to solve the problem. No luck.

My Precious
I woke up on Friday, and I didn't want to get up because I knew I was not going to deal well without my computer. I took the dogs for a long walk and then contacted Apple support. 1.5 hours and several freak outs later, the person helping me decided it was a hardware problem. I booked an appointment that night at the closest genius bar (about 45 minutes away, in another other province that wasn't having a holiday so it was open!). I had several more freak outs (the thought of having to switch computers was beyond what I could handle) but was able to pull it together and had a lovely visit with a friend who came up to spend the afternoon at the beach with me. (It was a beautiful afternoon at the beach).

5 pm came and we drove to the Apple Store.

My appointment started at 6. By 6:02 my computer was fixed. I wanted to give the Genius a big kiss! I was so relieved! . For some random reason, my computer "lost" it's IP address. With less than 10 clicks it was fixed. It also motivated me to buy the external hard-drive so I could back up my computer so if I have a problem again, it will be less stressful maybe. (The one I have isn't working properly).

I admit I wasn't as patient about my computer maybe being broken than I should have been. I would describe myself as a crash she-devil int hat situation. I just don't have the patience for computers mis-behaving. It is something I should work on.

Let's hope I don't have to for a long, long time and that technology stays on my side!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Thankful Thursday - Travel

It is hard to believe it has been 2 weeks since we left on our trip to Indiana. Time flies. As I have just completed 2 trips in 3 weeks and am working on planing the next one (at Christmas) I am taking the time to be thankful for travel. I am very fortunate to have the opportunities to travel as often as I do (although I don't think it is enough!)

Some things I love about travel:

Lake in Brown County State park
- It takes me away from the internet - don't get me wrong I love the internet and have been happily loving it since 1993 (my dad first was on it in 1989), but there is something liberating about stepping away from it.

- I come back to work feeling refreshed. I have a very intense and mentally demanding job. Even though I love it, it can be draining. Taking time away from it brings me back refreshed and more creative. I know I am a better consultant.

- I pushes me out of my comfort zone. My daily life is a routine. Routine makes me happy. Being pushed out of it occasionally is good for me!

- New people and places. No matter how far/near from home I go, there is always something new.

- Reminds me how lucky I am. By accident of birth and other equally random events, I know I am very lucky not only to travel but to have the life I do. Travel always makes me appreciate it!

Countries/Territories visited so far: Canada (9 Provinces), US (24 States), Iceland, England, Scotland, Wales, Mexico, Grand Cayman, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, Japan, Norway, France, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Monaco, Vatican City, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Honduras.

Bridge to US

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Eating While Camping and Celebrating

I was very nervous to take my 80+ day diet on the road for camping, especially in a different country with different products (and even familiar products often have different formulas between Canada and the US). However I did well.

The food I consumed: nuts, eggs, peppers, corn chips, carrots, broccoli, beans, spinach, cold meat, cheese, sausages and hamburgers. I also had 2 popsicles as all the ice cream had gluten or soy:(

Sausages cooked on the fire - yum! 
It was all going well until the second last day when I let my defences down and ate 5 fries and a bite of chocolate with soy (ok like 3 bites). That plus too much dairy gave me a significant gut ache on the last day of traveling. Fortunately it was short lived. Unfortunately, because I tested 2 things I don't know what caused the problem.

Since getting back, I have continued to eat too much dairy. My dairy cravings are actually worse than my sugar cravings (totally weird). I am working on that and am going to try and have a few dairy free days.

I was feeling sorry for myself and this new diet on my birthday last weekend. I didn't want to go for dinner as I assumed I couldn't eat my favourite foods. I was happily surprised and ate my caesar salad (minus the croutons), lamb shank with sweet potatoes and asparagus, and the best chocolate mousse in the world. I even did a mini gluten challenge and ate 2 bites of bread. No negative effects.

I did feel a little better about my sacrifices when I did my measurements again (it has been 2 months) and I was down another inch and a half at my belly button. Bringing the total dropped there to almost 4 inches. Around my hips has just lost 2.5 inches (it is where I carry most of my bloat so if I stop eating too much dairy may see a drop there). Even better I fit into size 8 pants for the first time in forever! Nice side effect.

My food goals for this week - to test gluten. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Pass, Pass, Fail

While I was traveling, I was faced with the first challenge of eating out repeatedly, without time to review the menus before going to restaurants. So I didn't go insane, I only avoid things that were clearly dangerous - like bread, and the maple-soy glaze.

I also got brave and ran 2 food tests while away:

Raspberry Daiquiri - Yep, that is my priority and am THRILLED I passed.

Dairy - I am amazed I passed this too! I would say my gut felt a bit heavy after eating a large amount in my Mac and Cheese (gf pasta), but no pain! I had no issues with the butter and cheese on the food I ate while I was away. I have been avoiding too much dairy for 24 years, so it is nice to know I can eat some.

On the success of post holiday eating, I got a bit cocky and was a bit disorganized, and tried movie theatre popcorn. I also had some cold cuts that day, which I don't normally have, but I think it was the popcorn I failed. Must be something in the topping. I will be smuggling my own in from now on because I know homemade popcorn is in.

I am chuckling to myself that I have lost tomato and soy, but gotten dairy and daiquiri - maybe it isn't a bad trade!

This blog will be quiet until my return from camping! We will see how this diet works on a restricted diet!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Behaviour Change - Part Two

Last week I wrote about the ABCs of behaviour change (antecedent, behaviour, consequence).

Generally when we are trying to change behaviour we are looking to change something in the antecedent or the consequence. (Of course we can also do things with setting events, like ensure we get enough sleep and motivating operations, like make sure we eat regularly so we aren't starving when it is time to make food choices, but we will focus on the A and C today).

Manipulating the antecedent (trigger):
Even though this is what happens right before a behaviour, we often don't really know what "triggered" us to act. There are so many cues in the environment we can be confused about what cue results in a behaviour or things become so routine we don't even think about it. However, sometimes if we stop and really look, we can figure it out.

In my example last week, I used chips in the cupboard. Most of us are triggered to eat certain foods by seeing them or having them at the same time every day. When I was giving up chocolate, there were several times a day I was most likely to eat it. I became aware of this and did other things at that time! Back to the chips, one easy manipulation in that case is just not to buy them. If we don't see them, we are less likely to engage in behaviours that result in consuming things. Of course, we can always get in the car and go to the store to get some. However, for most of us, that is too much work (we humans tend to be a little lazy), so by skipping the chip aisle and not having them in the house, we would be less likely to consume them.

Manipulating the consequence:
This is really, really hard for us adults who control all our own reinforcers (it is much more effective with the kids I work with because I control their access to the reinforcers like chips, iPad, the piano, etc. etc.). But there are some things we can do, if we are honest with ourselves. Setting up rewards for yourself if you stick to a new behaviour can be helpful. For example, buying yourself something small you would like, such as a new nail polish, if you do 30 minutes of exercise for a week.

Another, very successful way to manipulate the consequence is to have someone to be accountable too. You can do this by sharing on social media or even just sharing with one person.  One of my clients is a mother of a 15 year old boy. I have been coaching her with some areas of concern for her son. In our last consult (we meet monthly), she had made great progress on all 4 goals. She said one of the keys to her success, was not just that she paid me one hour a month, but really, she didn't want to have to tell me she didn't do anything. That would be too punishing. So to avoid that, she does the work. By being accountable to others, we can manipulate the consequences!

Other things to help you be successful:

  • Start small - you may have a long term goal of running a marathon, but if you set out to do that in one day, you will fail. Set small, achievable goals. They can't be too small! A better goal may be to go running 3 times a week for 5 minutes each. Most people would find the elimination diet I did too hard. Maybe instead of taking out 12 foods, you tackle one, and once eating it is no longer a habit, you can take on another.
  • Focus on what you can do, not what you can't. We call this a replacement behaviour. If your habit is to come home and sit on the couch and watch TV and eat chips, when you stop this, you will leave a void. You need to know both what you want to do less of and more off and reinforce yourself for doing more. In the couch example, maybe instead of sitting on the couch, you will cook dinner, call a friend, go for a walk. Another example - If I say I am not going to have caffeine any more, my replacement behaviour may be herbal teas or water with lemon. 
  • Forgive yourself for failures and move on! We are human and tend to be imperfect, but hold ourselves to an impossible standard. (I am a recovering perfectionist.) In the event something happens, and you fall back into your old patterns, forgive yourself. One "bad day" doesn't mean you should give up trying. It may mean that you need to look more at the antecedents and consequences. The main thing is to get back on that horse!!!!!
  • Don't over think it - Just do it! We can talk ourselves out of anything, so don't!

I hope this was helpful! If anyone has specific questions, I am happy to answer them!

Me on the left geeing out!