Well Fed For 2012

So the year is winding down and just about everyone I know has a health related resolution for 2012. I have about 90 — but mostly because I’m kind of a goal nut job! I’m so glad you choose to stick around anyway…man, you are just the best!

A Nutrition Kickstart

If you’ve hung around these parts for any length of time it will come as no surprise that the best thing I have done for my health in the last few years was to explore The Paleo Diet. And really, that’s how it started — a little curiosity and a 2 week challenge to see if I could do it. Here we are almost a year and a half later and I’ve never looked back! Combined with my training over at American River CrossFit, Paleo has been the absolute secret to my success! I’ve lost over 100 lbs, dramatically changed my body composition and more importantly I feel THE BEST I’VE EVER FELT IN MY LIFE! Yes, I am screaming that at you in all caps because it is that amazing!

But as with any major dietary change, in the beginning it was a little bit of a struggle. I had to figure out what I should and shouldn’t eat, learn some new ingredients, and generally change the way I ran my kitchen. To say there was a learning curve was an understatement and there were times when all the change just felt so overwhelming! And then one day as I was hopscotching around the internet, I found myself at Melissa’s Blog The Clothes Make the Girl.

A Blog Crush Is Born

She was a CrossFitter, who loved books and bad-assery in equal parts, all while still wanting to look pretty. Um…HELLO! Does this sound familiar? As I clicked through some of her recipes, I slowly started to feel like I had hit the jackpot! And when I read this post about her Sunday Afternoon Cooking WODs, it was official: a blog crush was born!

I spent days combing through hear archives devouring her tips for staying Paleo and staying social, her brilliant snack ideas, musings on barbells and of course diligently printing out her recipes! So many became staples in our weekly Paleo Meal Plans. Melissa is one of the few people who really helped me wrap my brain around this new lifestyle and she did it all while inspiring me in the kitchen, which seems a little bit daunting when you can only work with meat and vegetables, am I right? I mean what does one eat?

Getting Well Fed

Lucky for you, in addition to an awesome website full of resources, Melissa has also just released THE BEST FREAKING COOKBOOK I HAVE OPENED ALL YEAR. (Full disclosure — she provided me a review copy of her cookbook after months of stalking her archives, but all opinions expressed are my own.)

You all, I am not even saying that with an ounce of hyperbole. It is the cookbook I wish I had purchased when I started all of this Paleo business, and frankly the cookbook I wish I wrote. You know I love the ease and elegance of Ina Garten mixed with the convenience of Rachael Ray and this cookbook has all of that, and also: IT’S PALEO!

The book includes 115+ original recipes and variations with gorgeous glossy pictures of the real food that she cooked and her main squeeze Dave photgraphed. No food styling fakeouts, just real food that looks really good! Gotta love a couple that works and plays together, right?

What you see in the photos is exactly what you will get when you use the Well Fed recipe and the entire book was designed by one of my favorite creative gals on the internet, Kathleen Shannon! It’s like I emailed a fan letter to God and said here is what I would I like in my ideal cookbook and he emailed back:

WISH GRANTED!

I mean, are you drooling?

Bonus Material

She even went the extra mile and wrote:

*An intro to the Paleo Lifestyle
*How to manage your Paleo kitchen like a restaurant
*A strategy guide for cooking once and eating all week
*A Calculator to figure out how much protein you need to purchase
*An A to Z on herbs and spices
*Pantry Essentials and Kitchen Tools

How many times can I say that I WISH I HAD WRITTEN THIS COOKBOOK?

I love it so much I wish I had written this cookbook.

(Ok there, I think it’s out of my system!)

Get Some!

The 175 page book is available in both a printed (softcover) version and an ebook (PDF) version. When you buy the printed book, you get a code to download the PDF version for just $1 — which is being donated to Common Threads, a non-profit that teaches low-income kids how to cook in a free after-school program.

If you already love Paleo eating or are contemplating starting fresh for 2012 — please do yourself a favor and head over and get yourself a copy! You can also download the Free 30 Page Sampler on Melissa’s site to really whet your appetite.

It’s a steal and I am so, so happy to have a copy in my hot little hands! So what are you waiting for, GO GET YOURS!

Look Better Naked: Week Three

Well I am halfway through AndreAnna’s Look Better Naked Paleo Challenge and this week I’m taking the good with bad. Now don’t go getting The Facts of Life Theme Song in your head now, okay? Because that earworm will plague you ALL DAY LONG.

Nutrition

I was super un-organized in the kitchen this week. I made a meal plan and mostly stuck to the meals but not on the days listed. I was scrambling to thaw meat, prep things, we even ended up getting some takeout (Chipotle — so mostly paleo, anyway!) but the major fail was I think I skipped breakfast most of the week.

You know what happens when I skip breakfast? CHOCOLATE COVERED RAISINS HAPPEN.

Also, I felt very drained this week. It’s just too big of a coincidence to think that my random eating, a bit of sugar ingesting, and Friday/Saturday night wine-imbibing had nothing to do with it.

I seem to have a pattern of eating super well all the time when I have breakfast, eating mostly well 5-6 days a week no matter what, but then lately with holiday parties and such it’s just about guaranteed that I will get CRAZY PANTS for at least one meal on the weekend.

I’m looking better and still maintaining weight/losing a bit but I’m kind of feeling like shit. I think January is going to be a welcomed reprieve from crazy food-related socializing! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for 100% compliance 100% of the time ever but I’m just ready for opportunities to deviate to be less often.

Fitness

For the third week in a row I kicked ass on the fitness front, working out 6 times on a goal of 4. (WHAAAAT?)

Monday was Front Squats and a Benchmark WOD
Tuesday was a WOD that made my shoulders want to fall off.
Wednesday was an awesome day of rest!
Thursday was the workout where I *almost* got my Toes to Bar!
Friday’s Benchmark was Cindy. And my armpits still hurt when I put on deodorant 3 days later.
Saturday was 19 min AMRAP in honor of a local police officer who was killed.
Sunday was a leisurely 2.2 mile run with a good friend where we caught up, gossiped and all of a sudden had run a couple miles. AWESOME!

It seems that I can pretty well say fitness is dialed in. I don’t have any doubts about that. Diet and sleep however are where I want to do the bulk of my fine tuning.

Sleep

I just totally sucked on the sleep front this week, getting 5.5-6 hours of sleep per night. This meant I drank a metric ton more caffeine and I felt it.

I only work two days this week and then I am off until January. I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to focus on rest. Not just sleeping, but making sure I’m listening to my body when it’s tired and not using caffeine to help me push through. It should be a fun little experiment. I still plan to be getting out of bed at the crack of dawn because I’m crazy but maybe I will take more naps? Get in bed earlier? I don’t know, but I’m thinking about it.

*****

I maintained on the scale this week but I suspect that has more to do with weighing myself the morning after drinking half a bottle of wine than where I am actually at. I think I’ll try and leave the scale alone this week. Especially after seeing this little nugget of inspiration:

I know there is not a magic number but it is hard to keep that in perspective while I still feel like I want to lose a few pounds. I want to be aware but not obsessed. Haven’t quite found that balance yet. At least I know I’m moving in the right direction, so that is PROGRESS!!! Which you know I’m interested in.

My goals for this week: Christmas is here! I plan to get plenty of rest, so I’m going to lay off on the scale checking and just try and enjoy feeling good and eating well (until Christmas Day where I plan to overdose on all things Non-Paleo. Sorry, but it is one day a year and we have TRADITIONS, YOU ALL!)

***

Are you participating in the challenge? How are you feeling?

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