Well, I haven't told anyone other than my boyfriend about this, but I recently quit drinking.
Today is day 50 sans alcohol, and it's the longest I've gone without booze since I did Body 5 years ago. Towards the end of that program my dad passed away and not long after that I got divorced. That was followed by a very tumultuous new relationship, a first trimester miscarriage, and then an impromptu 8 month solo backpacking trip through the Middle East and Europe. There, I met my current (and hopefully forever ) partner and moved to France to be with him.
Over the years it seems like I've had excuse after excuse to drink. I'm sad, I'm happy, I'm celebrating, I'm mourning, etc.
I've been drinking way too much the past few years on a daily basis. I've tried moderating myself over and over again, but nothing ever sticks.
Two months ago, I was in Spain by myself and I got sick. Really sick! I had a terrible fever, hot and cold flashes, aches and pains, and I was delerious. I was staying in a little pension in Granada up four flights of stairs and I didn't have the strength to even walk down the hallway. I didn't eat for four days and slept for 33 hours without stirring. I should have gone to a hospital but I was so out of it I couldn't think straight. It scared me, and kind of snapped me out of this mentality of hedonism I'd been in for years. My body is so previous, and I've been abusing it with heavy drinking for 15 years.
Anyway, like I said, today is day 50 of my alcohol free journey. I feel amazing. I'm happier than I've been in years, I feel creative and inspired again, I'm sleeping better and I look better, too. I went to Tuscany for 10 days and didn't drink. I feel happy now, which after so many years of anxiety and depression feels like such a relief.
Of course I know this is only the beginning, but I'm excited to start this journey.
Wish me luck!
*Photo from 10 years ago on a bender in Vegas. 30 pounds heavier than I am today.
I bought these right before I moved to France last year. This morning, I dug them out of the back of the closet and tried them on.
I've lost 20 pounds since I moved here a year ago, and today I finally feel like I see the difference!
While I lost weight over the past year, I didn't do a lot of strength training and my diet wasn't very clean. I feel like these past two weeks on reboot has really shown me how much my body has changed. Workouts are a lot easier than they used to be, and already I can tell my taste buds are changing... this morning a banana tasted almost *too* sweet to me!
Thanks for letting me share this here, it's not a picture I really want to put up on facebook or somewhere. I'm so happy to have such a great community of people to train with!
I love having an egg with breakfast, but I can't stand discarding perfectly good egg yolks to get my extra whites in for the day. We only buy the pasture-raised local eggs, which are not cheap, and I just hate to waste food in general. My boyfriend is French, but even he can't consume enough homemade mayonnaise to use up all the extra yolks. I've been salt-curing them, but now I have more than a dozen cured egg yolks in the fridge and nothing I can do with them.
I know that protein powder is an alternative for us vegetarians, but I also wonder about what difference it will make in my training diet to eat one extra egg yolk each day instead of avocado.
For example, I usually cook an egg each morning and eat it on top of avocado toast (along with some fresh veggies on the side). I save the white from a second egg and make a little smoothie for my mid-morning snack with a banana, my dairy allowance, and a shot of espresso for flavor.
This morning I just couldn't face separating one more damn egg, so I decided to have two full eggs on bread and forgo the avocado.
What does everyone think about this? Calorie-wise I think I'm actually consuming less, but I wonder about the different composition of fats and other nutrients. Avocados have more fiber and carbs, but yolks have a bit more protein and less fat. I'm comparing one egg yolk to half a standard-size avocado.
What's the verdict here? Is it safe to make this swap?
Today is day 12 for me and I've had a pretty good run of it so far. I live 30 minutes from the nearest restaurant, and that restaurant is a fondue chalet, so eating out isn't really a thing for me right now.
However, we did make the 90 minute drive to my partner's parents place Saturday for our biweekly lunch date and I was able to eat on plan.
We had grapefruit, avocado, and mint salad to start, then parboiled white asparagus with chives, fresh green salad, and roast chicken with rice. I turned down the champagne, beer, wine (even a 1994 vintage they brought up from the cellar!! Ok I had one sip) olives, massive cheese course, rum cake with cream, and ice cream.
I did cave and snack on a few sesame honey almonds from the organic coop after we had been sitting at the table talking for more than 4 hours after lunch.
My adoptive family is so amazing, they are all working on their English as I'm working on my French, so conversations are always very amusing!
I did feel quite sick the next day and had terrible cramping pain in my stomach. Maybe it was the chicken? I rarely eat meat but my FIL was so proud of his dish I decided to have some. Maybe my body isn't used to digesting it, though I do eat fish once or twice a week.
Anyway, I feel better this morning so hopefully my workout today will be more enjoyable than yesterday's torture!
Photo of yesterday's lunch, a vegetarian burrito bowl !
I nearly forgot how much food is involved with a training program. I had to stop eating my breakfast yesterday when I experienced a bit of a gag reflex. I've spent the last year learning how to eat very slowly as the locals do here in France, so my brain is screaming at me that I'm full and I must stop!
I was thinking, what would be so helpful is a list of foods organized by weight. I mean, it's easier to eat 130g of some carbs than others, right? And 200g of broccoli will be different than 200g of potato. I can't seem to remember which options are the best for these times when I just can't finish my plate.
Week 2 diets are up and there's even more egg whites and dairy so I'm feeling nervous. I tend to skimp on the veggies when they are amayw but then question if I'm missing important nutrients.
Any advice from seasoned trainees ?
Sorry I've been a bit absent on the blogs this first week. As I mentioned, I was in Tuscany for a while and just flew home (France) two days ago. Yesterday was my first full day on the program.
I was getting plenty of exercise while in Italy (~30,000 steps each day) and I spent a lot of time going up and down winding streets. I also spent a lot of time eating pasta and tiramisu, so I'm really thrilled to be cleaning up my diet now that I'm home.
Okay, so Thomas posed these two questions:
1. What do you want to get out of this training?
2. What do you need in order to make that happen?
1. I want to get my body back into well-running-machine status. I'd like to see my digestion return to a normal pattern, and to be tired enough from the training that I sleep well at night.
2. I need to stick to the diet and make sure I get my training in each day. I just sent Thomas a message about helping me come up with an indoor 'quiet' cardio practice, as we still have lots of snow here (see attached!) and my downstairs neighbor yelled at me yesterday for making too much noise skipping. In a few weeks I'll be able to ride my bicycle, but as I don't have any snowshoes I'm limited for outdoor activity right now. As far as diet goes, as long as I stay away from my French in-laws I should be good. They are lovely people but they are cheese-pushers.
I had posted a 'start' photo that I took the day before I went to Italy, but I just changed it to a new photo after I got back. I think the new photo better represents the state of my food belly.
I've attached two photos to this post -- one of San Gimignano in Italy where I did lots and lots of up-and-down walking earlier this week. The second is out my apartment window in my tiny mountain village in France.
I can't wait to get rebooted!!
This is my second reboot session and I'm quite excited about it. However, I'm in Tuscany for the next few days so my diet won't be spot on. I'm planning to work the program with just a short delay :)
Graduation Post - MIND GRADUATION POST
Wow, what a 42 days! I really loved this program, but I have to say that the 30-minute meditation on day 42 totally kicked my ass.
I can really only sit in that position for 10 minutes before my feet start tingling, and by minute 15 my body is nothing but a collection of pins and needles from the waist down.
While not prescribed on this program, I've been doing yoga as my daily exercise because I thought it would be a nice compliment. While it absolutely was, I guess I didn't do enough hip-opening stretches or something because I just don't understand how anyone can sit for that long without being in terrible pain.
For the 30-minute meditation I tried switching my legs (to move my left leg in front) after about fifteen minutes, but I could only last another 5 minutes before I had to move. I finished out the 30 minutes but I spent nearly the entire second half just trying to breathe through the pain rather. Useful skill to have, of course, but honestly it just sucked.
Usually at the end of a Kenzai program I feel great. I love doing the last day of exercises because it shows me how far I have come. I kind of wish I had ended the MIND program on day 41, where we re-did the first day's meditation. I felt awesome after that one! Or maybe I should have tried to do the 30-min meditation lying down. Or perhaps the program could include some daily stretches that would help with holding a meditation posture for so long?
How did everyone else fare? Was I the only one who had physical discomfort the last day?
Which program is everyone doing next? I'm hoping to fit a re-boot in between now and the REACH program in May :)
I had a funny thought yesterday in my session. Even though it was choose-your-own-adventure day, I had missed a regular session earlier in the week so I was making up for it by doing a regular breath/posture awareness meditation.
Often in my life I find myself obsessively thinking about the future. I'm a person who loves goals, targets, strategies, and basically any kind of planning.
My partner and I are currently going through a time of transition because we're simultaneously re-applying for my residency here in France while also petitioning for a fiance visa for him to come to the U.S.
Neither one of us really knows where we want to live, or if we actually want to live in either one of those countries. Maybe we should just sell all the stuff we've accumulated over the past year, stuff our gear into our backpacks, and hit the road for another year or two.
We both love to live frugally (staying in hostels or dirty camping where possible, cooking our own meals, using public transportation, etc.), and right now we're spending SO much just to live near the Swiss border so he can commute to his job (which he hates).
Should we move back to the U.S. where I own a home outright? Should I sell that home and just live in a different country every three months until we get sick of it? Should he pursue his dream of publishing his travel stories? Should I keep up with my own food/travel website or pursue a new vocation?
That's a lot of "SHOULDs", isn't it?
Wow, see, totally just went down the rabbit hole fantasizing about the future and freaking out over what has yet to come.
Speaking of rabbits, does anyone remember the film Donnie Darko? There's this great part of the movie where the main character starts to see "intention energy" emanating from himself and others around him.
You can see what I'm talking about by checking out this clip: https://youtu.be/iQp7gw-qVK8
Anyway, Donnie's own manifested intention energy summons him to follow it into the future. To me, this energy is limiting his own free will or autonomy by directing him into his own future.
The imagery of the 'intention energy' from this movie popped into my mind while I was on the cushion after a particular deep thought-chain in which I was ruminating about the future. It served to remind me that living in the future is limiting my own present experience.
Well, this whole idea made a lot more sense in my head before I tried to type it up for this post. Oh well, I hope I someday I'll re-read this and remember what it meant to me at the time.
Hope everyone is having a really great week, I can't believe we're almost finished with the Mind program! What is everyone else signing up for next?
I'm looking for advice because I'm having trouble selecting my next program. I'm on the road so much, and most of my job involves eating (tasting and re-creating authentic international recipes is kind of my thing), so I feel like I'm just NEVER in the position to fully commit to the diet anymore.
It was so easy when I was just working from home and traveling once or twice a year. I'm going to be in Spain, Italy, and Malta for half of March, April, and May so if I do another Body I feel like I'm setting myself up for failure (plus there's not a Body 2 option until April).
I really wanted to do Reach next, but I can't believe there's not another option to join a Reach program until May! I wish I had noticed that earlier and done the one in January and put Mind off until later in the year. Ah, c'est la vie.
So, what do you guys think... right now I can't find a single program that I can complete without at least 30% of the time on the program being on the road. Should I just go for it and do my best with the 70%? Should I just re-do Sculpt on my own? Should I just accept that my yearly plan was a bad idea and give up on the idea of ever seriously training again? ;)
More SHOULDs! ACK!
I'm loving this program. Enjoy the structure and the support of the team. I missed my meditation and workout this morning (doh!) because last night was my final night in Portland and the festivities raged until 3am. Feeling awful today, but still holding it together now at the airport. Mind is happy!
When I was at University I had a friend who was a bit of a guru to me. He was super into Ken Wilbur and transcendental psychology, and we did dual philosophy/psychology degrees together.
Early on in Freshman year, before my first philosophy course, he said something to me while I was in a fit of panic about a pair of jeans not fitting me anymore: You have a body, you are not your body.
Today this seems like a very comfortable statement for me, but back then it blew my mind. I had grown up with a mother who put me in pageants and modeling, teaching me from a young age how to cover myself with makeup and determine my worth by the reception of shallow compliments.
The idea that I was separate from, and somehow more than just my body transformed my self-image. I threw myself into school, swapped my deodorant for patchouli oil (this was in Eugene, Oregon after all), and welcomed the reprieve from obsessing over my superficial body.
I've been denying my mind-body connection for quite sometime now and I've gotten pretty good at it. Exercise has seemed like something unrelated to my mind, but this course has been changing my feelings about that.
I've elected to do yoga as my daily exercise before meditating and the combination of the two is really opening me up. I can feel a more holistic connection between my physical and mental well-being, which feels really right. I love connecting to my breath in a way that uses my mind to contemplate a sensation in the body.
Maybe I am not my body, but I do indeed have one and all of my experiences are colored and filtered through it. It's about time I started appreciating that.
Well I've been back home in Portland for 6 days and I'm feeling a bit out of place. I'm keeping up with Mind, which I think is helping, but I'm experiencing quite a few anxiety flare-ups being back here.
Everything is so familiar but I can't help but feel out of place. It doesn't help that I miss my OH so much... Three weeks is a long time to be apart!
I tried to do the Metta meditation today, but I was feeling so anxious I couldn't focus on it. I tried to just sit with the physical sensations of the anxiety (racing heart, sinking feeling in my stomach) rather than engage in the thoughts that were arising.
Sorry for another downer post! I'm glad I'm doing this program right now as it's giving me tools to face these anxious times.
I've been doing my meditation first thing in the morning (after my cup of coffee in bed), followed by yoga and then breakfast. After reading today's lesson about exercising stress demons, I decided to switch it up and do my yoga first.
I didn't notice a huge shift in my thought-chains, but it occurred to me that drinking coffee, then doing 30 minutes of yoga, and then meditating was setting myself up for trouble. Caffeine takes about 30 minutes to take affect, so right as I was sitting down to meditate my brain was firing up all of the THINGS I MUST DO today.
These thought patterns are almost always the most pervasive in my mind. It's very hard for me to shut down the ideas about what I need to do that day. I'm wondering if some of this is due to the unstructured nature of my current living situation.
My boyfriend is at work all day, I 'work' from home (my creativity has been absolute shit since moving to France so I haven't really been doing anything), we're in a tiny village surrounded by 5 feet of snow and mountains, etc. So my days are pretty much just me finding things to do around the house to take up the time until my boyfriend gets home from work. It's a bit depressing.
You would think that having nothing to do would let my mind relax, but somehow the opposite seems to be true. It's weird how I can fill an entire day with nothing but meditating, yoga, cooking my meals, drinking coffee, checking Kenzai blogs, and a bit of laundry and housework. I used to work full time and still do all of that in a day.
On Sunday I'm headed stateside for a 3-week visit in Portland. These visits stress me out TO THE MAX because I feel totally out of place. I still own a house back home, so when I go back to Portland I'm alone in this big empty house (my cats live in France now) and I feel really weird about being there.
I bought the house and filled it with fancy things before I learned about minimalism, zero-waste living, and the joy of living out of nothing but a backpack for a year at a time. Now that house feels like an Anetta-mausoleum and it creeps me out. Who was this person that needed so many clothes, expensive furniture, and such a big TV?
Wow, Mind has got me digging deep today!
Okay, this turned into a bit of a ramble so I'll cut myself off before it gets any worse.
Photo is today's lunch. I'm really sucking at sticking to my grams, but I'm trying to keep it clean. It's sauteed yam, Brussels sprouts, bell pepper, and onion topped with an sunny-side up egg, a bit of yogurt, pickled red onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and one slice of crumbled crispy prosciutto because I'm being the world's worst vegetarian since I moved to France.
It feels a bit weird to have a 'diet' but one that isn't strict. I'm much better with all-or-nothing plans, so I'm using this opportunity to sit with the weirdness of it and consider why I feel this way about food and dieting.
I just finished Secrets From the Eating Lab, and also a book about the differences between the way the French eat vs. Americans. I started that book because I'm constantly making little food faux-pas over here in frogland and I wanted to avoid making more missteps in the future.
One of the things that was difficult for me to adjust to is the no-snack mindset. Most French eat a small breakfast before work, a 3-course lunch at noon, and then dinner around 8pm. No snacks.
Since I started Kenzai 4 years ago I've tried to always eat a little something between meals to keep myself from getting too hungry and over-doing it at the next meal. I get a lot of weird looks when I 'snack' here (especially if it is in the car, while walking, or anywhere that isn't seated at a proper table), so I've cut it out of my life.
Now that I'm starting a new program, my 'diet' prescribes snacks in between meals and I feel hesitant to get into that habit again. I feel like I'm just now getting used to having an empty stomach between 1pm and 8pm and I don't want to backtrack.
However, I have noticed that while I'm not 'eating' between these times, I'm still participating in the French-alternative: L'aperitif (aka, booooze). It's common to have a drink after work or before dinner, and I often have a craft beer with my partner around 5pm when he gets home from work. It helps delay my hunger so we can eat later, but I know that it's not a better choice than a snack of fruit at 4pm.
I'm trying to sort out how to balance between fitting into a new culture and maintaining my own identity. I feel like a fish out of water over here, and sometimes the pressure to do ANYTHING to fit it or make a friend is overwhelming.
I know there's a lot of ex-pats who follow Kenzai, so I'd love some advice from anyone who is willing to give it! How much should I try to fit in vs. just not giving a fuck? It would be really nice to make a friend over here, but it feels like I am just too different. I smile too much, offer too much personal information than what is considered normal, I'm a weird-eater (and vegetarian to boot), and I don't speak the language.
Is is better to just try to meet some other ex-pats in the region and give up on the idea of fitting in with the 'natives?'
(For my weekly photos I've decided to post photos I've taken on my travels last year which represent a 'path'. My starting photo was in Spain, and this week's photo is from the Republic of Georgia).