31 Jan 2016

It’s a wrap

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31 days done: Whole28 + 3 day juice cleanse.

Whole30 is a misnomer. It’s really a deep psychological test of sanity and a mental discipline marathon.

Whole30 published a timeline of how most people feel during the program. Around day 28 they say people give up — or at least want to. And I quote: “What benefit could two more days possibly bring you? Isn’t 28 days just as good as 30? The answer is a loud and resounding NO.”

When I read this, I was like, “who would give in at day 28?” That’s so lame! But guess what. At day 27 I was like enough is enough already. I want pizza. I want wine! I actually called the juice cleanse company and asked about their ingredients. They were in fact, Whole30 approved. And you know how good at math I am: 27 + 3 = 30. Done.

But the next day I woke up feeling fine and determined to make it through Sunday as planned. And then I went to the movies…and let’s just say the popcorn was calling my name.

While highly restrictive, it was a great program. There were SO many benefits, including:

  • No aches, mucus, acid reflux or bloating
  • Virtually no gas
  • Steady energy — no highs and lows

I cooked a lot (sometimes the food even tasted good) and ate out a lot less: good for health, bad for social life.

The best part was that my clothes fit looser and I went down a size. When I stepped on the scale yesterday, I thought I lost 3 lbs…but then did a double take, it was 13! I was completely surprised. I knew I’d lost some weight, but didn’t expect double digits! Now I have 7 lbs to go to the weight I was when I started my weight loss journey in March 2012 (le divorce).

Even though I’ll introduce all foods back into my diet, I’ll be more mindful of how they affect my body. My biggest goal is to keep as much sugar as out of my diet as possible. The new challenge is moderate portions and more exercise.

Phase 2 here I come!

Julie in Seattle

 

24 Jan 2016

My favorite things

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The things I’m craving the most start with “ch” — cheese, chocolate and champagne (in that order). Is it because my last name starts with “ch?” I’m pretty sure there’s a correlation.

I’m excited to report I have 7 1/2 more days of Whole30. The countdown is on! I have a girls weekend planned with Jean and Jessica in Seabrook the first weekend in February — where I get to eat like…everything! Dreaming of Mexican, Italian, basically anything that involves cheese.

I’m adhering to the no weigh-in rule of the program, but I now fit into jeans that I haven’t been able to wear since last spring. It’s the small things — yay! I’ve already decided I’m not going to do this again this year. I’m going to try moderation and more exercise. Deprivation is dead to me (rather will be soon).

Thanks for your continuous support!

Julie in Seattle

PS: Sending good thoughts to my dear friend Scott. 

10 Jan 2016

What’s cooking

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I’m on day 9 of Whole30, but day 12 of clean living. I almost ordered a pizza yesterday. It was going to be awesome…like pepperoni and pineapple. However, if you cheat, you have to start the 30 days over—and after some thought, I was like uh uh—not going to happen.

Other than that, the program is going well. It involves a LOT of cooking because almost everything in a box has sugar, wheat, oil or weird chemicals in it. True story. It also requires a lot of planning and prepping. As long as I have a few options ready to go, I’m good each day.

I’m an average cook at best. I’ve been trying new recipes, zoodling and building some skills. There’s so much cleaning—pots and pans, mixing bowls, ugh. I wish there was a kitchen fairy who would visit after every meal.

The good news is that I feel good. I have lost most of my sugar cravings, but greatly miss cheese and wheat (strangely craving a sandwich). My pants are a bit looser. During Whole30, you’re not supposed to weigh yourself since weight flucuates, which can adversely affect your psyche. So I’m waiting to the end of the month.

I’m excited to go to San Francisco this weekend—it’ll be a big test. If I come back unscathed, then I know I’ll make it to the end.

This program is exactly what I needed to kickoff a more mindful year! I’m thinking of doing this again in May when I get back from Italy—after I’ve had time to acclimate and prepare.

I know many of you are also starting a new health regimen. Stay true to your commitments and know that I support you 110%!

Julie in Seattle

03 Jan 2016

New year’s theme

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Drum roll please…I completed the cleanse! I drank 99% of all of the juices (couldn’t get through all of the beet-based one). Honestly, I probably won’t do it again. It did a great job with nutrients — I rarely felt hungry. However, they did not taste great and some were acidity, burned when going down . The worst part was missing the act of eating!

I finished the cleanse on January 1 and rolled right into Whole30. I read the book about the program and flagged all the recipes I want to make. Basically, you eliminate alcohol, sugar, gluten, dairy and legumes — yes, there were some tears. But it’s only 30 days…and I’ve got a couple of friends doing it this month too!

My friend Amy and I cooked up a tomato, ground pork sauce served over zucchini noodles — which was super yummy and filling. I bought a veggie spiralizer, found bacon (at Whole Foods), that doesn’t have any sugar, and stocked my fridge with good foods.

While I’ve committed to Whole30, it’s not a resolution. Instead of a laundry list of things I “must” do, I’m going to have a theme for the year: mindfulness. I’m going to strive to be more mindful of:

  • what I put in my body
  • what I do to my body
  • how I interact with others (being more focused)

…whatever I do in my life.

I’m thrilled to start a new year!

I believe this is going to be an amazing year for all of us! Happy 2016!!

Julie in Seattle

 

 

29 Dec 2015

No champagne!

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No champagne on New Year’s Eve…say what? This is actually horrible news. The worst. But I think it’ll be symbolic of a healthy lifestyle change. And if it works, I’ll be drinking my ass off next year. #nodoubtaboutit.

My first year of no divorce or deaths has almost come to an end. While it wasn’t the year I expected to be, it had its perks. First, I got a new job. After the SAP acquisition, my goal was to have a new job by the end of the year. I had one by June! And I’m really loving it at Socrata. Great work and people. Second, I got a new car. Thanks to George’s mad negotiation skills, my ride is now an Audi A3 with the newest technology. It’s a much better size for city living. Third, I had several fun trips: Santa Fe, Nashville, Whistler and San Diego.

The best part of the year was spending time with friends and family. When I think about the people in my life—namely you—it gives me pause. I’m really one of the luckiest people on the planet!

Okay—enough sap. Onward and upward.

Tomorrow I’m starting a 3 day cleanse. It’s a series of juices loaded with probiotics, fiber and nutrients. The goal is to get rid of all the crap and reset your body—not weight loss. It’s also one that a lot of celebrities use. You can learn more about it on the Kimberly Snyder site.


Kimberly Snyder glow cleanse

Of course, I didn’t think through the timing—doing this cleanse Wednesday through Friday. Wah wah.

The bigger commitment is Whole 30. Have you done this before? This is supposedly a great way to give your body a break from taxing digestive work. My friend (and colleague) Amy is going to be my partner in crime. We’re going to share meals and support one another as we go through sugar and carb withdrawal. Tomorrow I’m going to pick up the Whole 30 cookbook!

The biggest obstacle will be my 4 day trip to San Francisco in the middle of the month. I’m going to do my very best!

Anyone else want to join? Check out the Whole 30 site. Let me know so we can check in with one another! 

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy new year!

Julie in Seattle

19 Nov 2015

Stress test

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I got results from my third test via Arivale. This one measures stress by looking at cortisol levels from one day—in this case it was a Sunday. A healthy graph would start high in morning and then decrease throughout the day. Mine started at a good level, but got progressively worse.

The biggest spike was in the evening when I worked for about 5 hours. My nutritionist explained that the imbalance can lead to food cravings. This explains everything why I get all snacky when I work. It also provides the motivation for me to make it big and get a personal trainer and chef. That’s all…problem solved.

I’ve made a couple of decisions. One is to try tai chi. My friend Ellen and I are going to take a beginning course starting mid-December. The second is to try the Headspace app—a couple of times during the day. Have any of you used it?

I need new outlets to add to my very limited bag of tricks. Let’s see how it goes! Also, I’m really excited about my trip to San Diego—going to exercise every day!

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!!

Julie in Seattle

07 Nov 2015

Clean living

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My friend Nahid and I are buddies for a week of clean living. Nahid and I met at Concur—both of us were buddies in sales training together. In our icebreaker we had to find something in common—but we found more differences such as age, profession, education, etc. When it was our turn to share with the group, I told everyone we both had arranged marriages—which was believed for like two seconds before we started laughing.

We’re both now at tech companies in SoDo and get together for lunch regularly. Anyway, we decided to do a simple carb free week…together. We’re starting tomorrow—Sunday! Excited to see if I feel better at the end of the week.

I’m making chili tomorrow. Let me know if you have any favorite sugar and flour-free recipes!

Julie in Seattle

15 Oct 2015

Skinny genes

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Hello there!

First, let me give you an update…I’m eating better and have lost a few pounds! I’m definitely eating less simple carbs and trying to eat more proteins. I’m also averaging about 8k steps a day—but usually exceed 15k on weekends.

This week I got my DNA results! This is especially interesting for me since I don’t have any medical records from biological peeps. The cool thing is they added the results to the same dashboard as the blood results. So I could see how they aligned.

They color code the results:

  • Gray: no risk / no benefit
  • Green: beneficial
  • Yellow: potential impact
  • Red: potential high impact

Most of the results were gray—which is good.

I had a few reds, specifically:

  • ACE: where sodium adversely affects blood pressure. The good news is that my blood work + blood pressure showed that I’m in the healthy range—but it’s something I should be mindful of as I age.
  • SOD2: where my body has trouble absorbing antioxidants. However, I can combat with eating cruciferous and allium vegetables.
  • GSTM1, GSTT1: I lack enzymes that effectively breakdown toxins. Good news again is that my blood work shows I’m in the healthy range and can stay there by eating cruciferous and allium vegetables. 
  • I’m very lactose intolerant. Rude. I’m not surprised…I hate milk, my body can’t deal with cream or yogurt…but I love ice cream and cheese. I’m now going to have to focus on non-lactose cheeses. Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss.

Yellows:

  • Diabetes—have to watch out for saturated fats.
  • Caffeine—my body lacks enzymes to break down caffeine effectively—so I have to be careful about intake—and not consume any in the afternoon or evening as it affects sleep.
  • Mercury—I have to watch out for foods containing mercury. Good thing I prefer Mars.

 BUT here’s the really good news, the greens:

  • LPL: I am prone to have lower bad cholesterol and higher good cholesterol
  • My obesity risk is low! I’m naturally inclined to healthy weight—less affected by carbs and saturated fats—able to lose weight easily. My coach said this is happy surprise as it’s unusual to get a green in this category. Sad face news is that I got fat through lifestyle choices. Once I lose my “grief” weight, I’m going to tell my body that it has to stay that way because my DNA says so!
  • Optimal exercise is low! This means once I’m at a healthy weight, I don’t need a lot of exercise to maintain it.

Overall, pretty good news. My coach and I were pleased by it. As you can tell, I love this program! Data can be super empowering.

Have a great weekend!

Julie in Seattle

PS: let me know if you’re interested in being a pioneer and joining this program. They’re offering a friends and family rate through the December class. It’s $2k for a year—and it will probably double in price in 2016.

26 Sep 2015

Conquerer

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First, thanks for the words of encouragement after my last post. I was feeling a bit down, but your support buoyed my spirits.

Last weekend I got a letter from Seattle Cancer Care saying they detected something—not to worry—but come in for a second look. After talking to my sis-in-law (RN), I felt better. She said in most cases it’s a benign cyst. And I had a feeling it wasn’t cancer—but knew you can’t go on feelings alone. I was more annoyed that I’d have to wait a few days to get confirmation. On Thursday, I got the best news. It wasn’t even a cyst. The positioning from one of the scans showed a fold. No spot, no check-up. All done. Phew.

The surprise was my emotional response. I immediately wanted to call and tell my mom and as soon as it registered that I couldn’t, I started to cry. And not the teary-eyed stuff..the ugly sobbing kind. I know it was part relief, but it’s just one of those moments that I really missed her.

It’s so easy to be annoyed by your parents—I get it—but I encourage you to focus on something positive and thank them…today.

On Tuesday, I met with my doctor and had my blood drawn. She came to the same conclusion—pre-diabetic. With diet changes and exercise, I can avoid diabetes all together. So no meds! I’ll go back for a blood draw in 3-4 months and see if I’ve made improvement. My doc is extremely optimistic. She has many patients who have changed their lifestyles and are no longer in risk of diabetes.

Did you know that Asian women are prone to diabetes? I had no idea…and it doesn’t make a difference that I was raised white. It’ll be interesting to see if I have markers for diabetes when I review my DNA results with my coach next month. Either way, this program has already paid for itself. Since I don’t have major symptoms, I could have progressed to a stage in diabetes that would require medication.

All in all, it was a good week! I feel empowered to control my fate and live a long healthy life.

Do any of you watch Empire? I feel like one of the songs featured: “I am a conqueror.”

In the wise words of Estelle Swaray and about 7 others:

We all make mistakes,
You might fall on your face,
But you gotta get up!

I’d rather stand tall
Than live on my knees,
‘Cause I am a conqueror
And I won’t accept defeat!

Julie in Seattle

14 Sep 2015

Bad blood

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Well I’ve had a rough start to my wellness program. Two out of four weeks I’ve either had an infection or cold. Ugh. It’s like my body is rebelling :).

Also, I have a new coach. Her name is Monika and I already love her. Today we spent most of our time reviewing my blood test results. The presentation of results are nice — not just numbers, but also coded in green, yellow and red.

My results were really a mixed bag. I tried not to overreact, but one of the findings is scary.

Brief overview:

  • Healthy aging: all green (measured by mercury, lead, arsenic, glutathione (antioxidant) and superoxide dismutase)
  • Inflammation: mixed but nothing outrageous
  • Optimal nutrition: mostly green — but yellow in Omega 3 foods and red in Vitamin D
  • Diabetes risk: mostly red (3 out of 5 factors) — horrendous, mortifying, extremely unpleasant

Monika says losing 10 lbs can make a big difference. No problem. Just give me 6 weeks!

I need to schedule an appointment to review the results with my doctor, specifically the diabetes-related numbers.

After the shell shock, I started to breathe again. AND NOW, I’m determined to kick those red markers in the butt. By the next blood test (in 4 months), I bet I’ll have all green in the diabetes test.

Wanna bet a Snickers bar on that?

Julie in Seattle