It has been a loooooong time since I have regularly used this site (like almost 6 months), and it’s about time to revive Como Cocino, especially because I have changed a lot of how our family eats in the past six months — and we’re about to make a few more changes this coming month!
For a while now, maybe almost two years or so, I have been reading about the Paleo diet. It started when R brought home some information about the “Green Faces Diet” which is a stricter version of a Paleo diet for 28 days. You eat only green vegetables, very limited green fruit (maybe 1 serving a day), and only proteins that have a face or would have had a face when it grew up (like an egg). He actually did this for 28 days and lost a bunch of weight, then followed it up with a strict protein shake diet for another month, and he lost about 25 lbs in two months. The protein shake diet is a topic for another post, but my point is… this was my first introduction to Paleo, when he brought home The Paleo Solution Quick Start Guide printed from Robb Wolf’s website.
Green Faces was too restrictive for me, but the Paleo diet made sense to me. About six months before that, I had read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, which my brother gave me for Christmas. That book was the tipping point for me in terms of really starting to think about what I was putting my body (and in my family’s). Unfortunately, we were probably eating less food and more “food-like substances”. (I partially blame this to coupons — foods that are bad for you are also cheaper and tend to have lots of coupons. And why shouldn’t they? Food is a business after all!) In Defense of Food made me understand the psychology and business of marketing food — well, food-like substances — but reading about Paleo gave me a guideline to put what I read into action.
As I started reading online articles and blog posts about the Paleo lifestyle and stumbled information about The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. At first, I thought it was another one of those “results not typical” paid advertisements, but as I was scrolling through the information and testimonials, a name and a face caught my eye (scroll down to Son of Grok – he has taken down his site, which was full of recipes! Boo!). He went to my high school and graduated with one of my brothers. Usually I don’t put much thought into all the diet advertisements out there because I don’t know those people and what they looked like before, during, and after, and so I never know if I should trust them. This, however, was different. This was someone I knew — barely, but I could probably track him down through a few other people to grill him about this Primal thing if I really wanted to!
Seeing his name and face was another tipping point for me. I read his blog and his story, saw his before and after pictures, and I ordered The Primal Blueprint and the Primal Blueprint Cookbook. I put Mark’s Daily Apple in my blog reader, checked out some of the blogs he follows, and blogs they follow, etc. I couldn’t believe how many resources there are out there — the recipes, the photos, the stories. It all looked delicious, inspiring, and just plain made sense to me. But I still wasn’t fully practicing it — it was like an extended “research stage”! I tried out more and more recipes with my family, but it was a slow process for us.
Then a coworker mentioned a Seize the Deal promotion for a local gym — 10 sessions for $50. It was a CrossFit gym, and I knew nothing about CrossFit except that R had a grad student who was really into it. R thought it was a little cult-ish, but couldn’t really explain to me why he felt that way (or at least not in a way that I understood). I didn’t have anything to lose but $50, so I went with her to the orientation, which included a large section on fueling your body — by eating Paleo. It was starting to click into place.
At the end of the orientation, we had our first introduction to CrossFit workouts — seven minutes of hell: as many rounds as possible of 7 burpees and 7 squats in 7 minutes. I honestly don’t remember how many I did (I want to say it was 6 or 7), but it was the shortest and worst workout I had ever experienced… and I was hooked. Ten sessions flew past, and I didn’t think twice about signing a one year membership for 3 workouts/week. Suddenly I was surrounded by information about CrossFit and Paleo/Primal… there wasn’t really any excuse not to do it now.
In the fall, I did great. I went to CrossFit pretty much every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from September to early December. In November, we had a Paleo challenge. I can’t remember how much it was to go in ($10?), but winner took all based on based on the before/after pictures. We stopped buying bread that month and cut back on the amount of cereal in the house for the kids. I was strictly Paleo until Thanksgiving and lost 6 pounds. People were commenting on my weigh loss. I looked and felt phenomenal — thinner, firmer, stronger!
And then things started to unwind once we traveled to Tulsa for Thanksgiving… and then we came upon the end of the semester… and then traveled a lot over the Christmas break… and I didn’t get into the gym for about 4 or 5 weeks straight. Quite honestly, since January, I don’t think I’ve gotten in for all three sessions each week — usually just once or twice. And even though the weight loss has stayed off, I’m getting physically soft — and I don’t like it. I feel squishy in the belly, and my arms don’t feel as rock solid as they did before. When I go into the box to workout, I feel like I’m going backwards in how much I can lift, rather than forward.
At some point in January, instead of embracing the challenge and looking forward to working out, I found myself mentally and physically frozen. The one year mark of doing the long distance thing with R was at the end of January/early February. We spent most of February trying to get things ready in the house to put it on the market by March 1. I finalized my law school application and spent a solid month waiting in agony about my admissions status. I signed up to to a 100 days of wellness challenge with coworkers. I rolled over last year’s half-marathon registration and committed to running this April (ha… not going to happen!). And, of course, I am still working full-time, raising two kids and a college kid, paying all the bills and trying my hardest to keep up with the house cleaning and organizing. Control just started to slip away from me, to the point of mental paralysis because the feelings of being overwhelmed mentally and emotionally. I felt like I was making excuses, but I really, truly, absolutely was just overwhelmed and exhausted.
At the end of February, I found out I didn’t get into law school. As disappointing as that was, it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders just because I had an answer and could mentally start to move forward. Around the same time, we made the decision to hire a housecleaning service because I just couldn’t keep up. R agreed to a one-time deep cleaning followed by every other week service until the house sells. (Seriously, this is one of the best decisions we have ever made!) And shortly after that, once the house was as organized, cleaned, and staged as we could get it, we officially listed it for sale.
And then, of course, after all the chaos and stress and hurry/fury of doing all these things, my body crashed, and I found myself unable to get out of bed two weeks ago. No fever, no vomiting, nothing. Just a body that was beyond exhausted and refused to let me get up out of bed until about 2:30pm. ON A MONDAY. So unlike me. The rest of the week, I felt useless. When I got back into the gym, I felt defeated, and I admit to being teary-eyed because I felt terribly weak. Atrophied. Pudgy. Squishy. Just soft, physically and mentally.
I knew I needed to change a few things to regain control. I decided to rally up some friends and coworkers to do Whole30 with me, to reset and restore my body (and my mind!) and to actually get on track with my nutrition and my family’s. I put it out on Facebook, and I got some interest. And then a little more interest. And we started sharing resources and information, and now there are 21 of us to date, almost all of us fully committed to doing Whole30 for the month of April.
I have made a deal with myself — 3 days of CrossFit this week (final week of March) and for the full month of April. I want to get back on track, nutrition-wise, fitness-wise, mentally and emotionally. I can’t control when my house will sell, or how many people will walk through it, or knowing what job I might have in October, but I can control what I put in my mouth and what I do with my body. I felt great in November when I was strict about doing Paleo and religious about getting into the CrossFit box… so why I wouldn’t I want to get back to that place?!
So… I’ll be attempting to document our journey through Whole30 as best I can via The Adventures of Moco and Bubba and Como Cocino, as well as Facebook. I’ll share recipes, food porn (don’t forget — I’m still an amateur! ;)), and how we’re doing/feeling. I might even post before/after pictures of my journey, which I have been documenting since August for my eyes only… let’s hope that I’m lucky enough to be a decent testimonial! :)
If you’d like to join us for 30 days, please let me know, and I would be more than happy to add you to our Facebook group and get you started with some resources!!!