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A Grain-Free Week

Switching it Up

A month or so ago, a friend and I became accountability buddies. We checked in regularly, logged our food and exercise and kept track of the pounds. It went well for a couple of weeks, maybe more, and I did drop about 9 pounds. But lately, that’s changed and I’ve gone back to the old “up three, down two” game. My blog writing pitching took me to some paleo sites so I started looking into what changing to that kind of diet entailed. As previously mentioned, it isn’t for me.

What I did realize was that the last time I dropped a good amount of weight, over 30 pounds to be exact, I not only checked in with MyFitnessPal regularly, but I cut out most grains. For me, that’s doable in the short term or perhaps, in sprints. So for the last week and a half, that’s exactly what I did.

I’d like to say I got immediate results, but I think your body and even your eating habits have to acclimate to the change. So it took about a week before I started seeing a noticeable change; not only in weight but in energy. The protein-rich diet fills me up without bogging me down. I’m sleeping better than I was, too! In just over a week, I’ve dropped about 3 pounds, which thrills the heck out of me.

Making it Work During the Holidays

Spending Christmas with my daughter and son-in-law will be challenging. Her house is redolent with her Christmas baking frenzy this time of year, and now that she’s learned a few more tricks in her culinary arts classes, she’s become even more creative. However, she is also incredibly supportive. Didn’t she start learning how to convert recipes to gluten-free because I found the gluten was irritating my stomach after awhile? She’s already stocked up on plain yogurt so I can enjoy my usual breakfast instead of reaching for something grain laden.

Though she won’t give up grain for her or her hubby, nor would I expect them too, she has come up with alternatives for me. Heck, I may snag one of those pumpkin pancakes with Christmas breakfast, but will fill up on the eggs and fruit or whatever other non-grain alternatives there might be. And she’s making sure dinners can be eaten without pasta or rice if I so desire.

All in all, I deem this experiment a cautious success. I’m also counting on my daughter’s usual pattern in which I accumulate between 16000 and 18000 steps per day during my visit. Even if I only manage to keep the grains at a minimum while I’m there, I suspect I’ll avoid the usual bulking up which usually occurs Christmas week.

Setting up for my Next Sprint

Better still, no matter how good or bad I am this week, I’ll be ready to do another week or two sprint with no grain. If I can do about 2 weeks on and one off, I can see me setting a pattern because the two weeks I’m off of grains will get my body accustomed to doing without. If I eat a moderate amount during my week off, I’ll be able to tell just how much makes me feel sluggish and how much screws with my sleep and meditation patterns. If that amount is small, it will simply make it easier to give it up for longer periods of time.

Not Quite Paleo

Giving up grain of all kinds is a huge step for me. I’ve actually given up starches almost entirely. I’ve had potatoes a couple of times, but aside from that, it’s been protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. Snacks include yogurt dip and veggies, almonds and dried cranberries, though even those have slowed down as my body stays full from the increased protein. I don’t however, see a day when I’ll give up dairy or legumes. I love lentils in my turkey-pumpkin chili and my fat-free yogurt and honey in the morning is a quick, easy, no-brainer to get me going. Yes, I may start pre-making the egg casserole I used to take to work, but it’s not going to be a daily or even weekly change. Too many mornings, all I can stomach is that 1/2 cup of yogurt. It isn’t until after noon, and sometimes 2 or 3 before my stomach is ready for anything heavier. But at least I know myself.

Many of us realize we need to change our eating habits to something healthier, but there’s no point in changing to something which has no appeal. You just won’t stick with it unless you’re some kind of masochist who gets off on torturing yourself. When I was pregnant with my twins, I saw a nutritionist and the first thing she did was to ask me what foods I liked and which ones I didn’t. She wasn’t about to help me design a meal plan containing foods I disliked or omitting everything I liked. Nearly 30 years later, I still take her words to heart.

Living in a Land of Plenty

I am very fortunate in that I love fresh produce, and even luckier still that I live in an area Harvest box 11-18-14 view 2where it is abundantharvest box 11-4-14 12 months a year. You can bring me to tears with a nice bunch of broccoli or cauliflower, a bucket of brussels sprouts or a lovely member of the squash family. My daughter has even taught me new and different ways to enjoy these wondrous treats. That very love and abundance is what makes this new path easier to tread. No rice? No problem. I’ll just eat more of this lovely veggie with a little bit of chicken stir-fry. No bread? Let’s throw a few more veggies in the pan and scramble them into a fluffy pile of eggs. Stir fry nearly done 10-22-14

Do I feel deprived knowing I’ll have to pass on the pizza or sushi? Not really. In fact, many times there are versions of sushi which are riceless anyway. Have you ever tried a hand roll without rice? Very tasty! And if I really want pizza, I’ll just wait for my off week. If I still want it by then, so be it.

Leaving Behind a Life of Constrictions

Two years ago, I left behind a life of waking with an alarm to go do a job which built up someone else’s nest egg. I left a world of someone else’s rules and rush hour and being around people even when I didn’t want to be. I’ve made a lot of changes over the least two years, some good, some not so good. I’ve established some healthy habits which have fallen by the wayside, perhaps to be picked up again in the future…and perhaps not.

But I have learned that if I make changes to my life that don’t make me happy, I’ll find a way to undermine those changes or just wander off in search of something new. And yes, I’ve done both. But eating is really easy. I love to eat, I enjoy cooking and find more of the healthy foods appealing than not. Realizing that I need a specific time frame to go off track was the missing link, though. If I lock myself into a week or a couple of days or whatever, I’m more likely to say during the weeks I’m supposed to be diligent “Nope, that has grain. You can’t have it this week, but give it a few more days and you can indulge if you even want to by then.” And for now, that’s enough.

How do you keep yourself on track with those healthy habits you form? Are you just one of those whose internal motivation is enough, or do you have to make deals with yourself so you’ll do what you know is best anyway? Do you hold the results up like a mirror so you can easily see how following those habits has improved your life? I’d love to hear what works for you.

Tonight’s gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful for fresh produce year-round.
2. I am grateful for small successes.
3. I am grateful for the things which motivate me.
4. I am grateful for new opportunities and ideas which help me make necessary changes to my path.
5. I am grateful for abundance: success, motivation, inspiration, support groups, cheerleaders, friends, family, joy, love, dancing, bliss, peace, harmony, health, happiness, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

June 4, 2015 Getting to the Bottom of Those Pesky Fears

Aha Moments Hit When You Least Expect Them

Driving down to my daughter’s late last night with one of Brad Paisley’s sillier CD’s playing in the background, Google Maps in my right ear doing its best to lead me astray and the requisite triple latte from Starbuck’s in the cup holder, my mind multi-tasked between trying to avoid the delightful beings who seemed to require periodic testing to assure themselves they had functioning brakes and all of the places my ADD brain likes to go when it isn’t occupied with a full complement of stimuli. This time, however, that unpredictable mind of mine actually managed to surprise me by coming up with something useful.

Though I hadn’t quite figured it out until tonight, there truly was a fear behind the spinning wheels I’d been experiencing on and off for the last year or so. Between the failed attempt at learning copywriting and my current weak effort to monetize my blogging by working for others, I had, until last night, overlooked a single nefarious cause for my lack of, well, sticktoitiveness. With the help of various teachers and guided meditations, I have been asking myself over and over What is it I fear? What is truly keeping me from realizing my goals right now?

While Brad sang about killing dozens of roses as he searched for forgiveness, my mind suddenly engaged and the root of my problem was so incredibly obvious, it’s amazing I didn’t figure it out sooner. But let me take a step back to allow those whose brains are less convoluted to catch up.

Just Because it is Written on the Internet Does Not Make it True

Once I nailed down the fear which was crippling me without my conscious knowledge, I didn’t have to wander far to discover the reason. Over the last couple of years, I have joined a number of groups on Facebook including a couple concerned with self-publishing. Unfortunately, many of the readers post about their personal horror stories, be they formatting, small sales, returned ebooks or any number of issues with purveyors of products and services for the unsuspecting self-publisher. This served to replace my fear of rejection (which, by the way, I believe I’ve overcome by seeing rejections as a badge of honor and encouragement to continue trying) with something far more insidious: fear of spending a lot of time, effort and money to put a piece of crap out on the internet via Amazon and Kindle where anyone can see how inept I am.

Now that I’ve identified the fear which is preventing the world from seeing what my twisted mind can conjure, I have the tools to start working through that fear and negating it just as I did the fear of rejection. Better still, I can finally move forward, do the necessary edits and revisions, and maybe even get some work as a Virtual Assistant as well! I am certainly looking forward to the end of a long stream of unproductive days.

The only thing I can’t quite come to terms with is the number of times I had to ask what fear was holding me back before I finally got an answer…and the answer came when I wasn’t even thinking about the problem! I realize the Universe takes great pleasure out of twisting my life into bizarre, pretzel-like configurations untouchable even by purveyors of horror movies, but usually, I’d have received one of those gentle wake-up calls I refer to as “Universal head slaps” long before now. This little demon has been hanging around for months!

I suppose I should just be grateful that the latest mystery is solved and get on with the business of actually finishing something and preparing it for publication. Meanwhile, I will allow myself to indulge in the occasional mindless muttering which typically accompanies my writing sessions anyway.

As it is, I spent a goodly amount of time this evening trying to resolve an issue with my laptop which prevented websites from showing up properly. Wouldn’t you know that after my typical poking around, I figured out that the issue lay in the fact the the blasted machine had set itself back to 1980 so none of the certificates could be recognized. Seriously?

I’ve babbled on long enough and the hour is getting late so I’ll leave you with my gratitudes:
1. I am grateful that my latest self-limiting fear has revealed itself so the business of squelching it can begin.
2. I am grateful for a relatively uneventful trip to my daughter’s.
3. I am grateful that my work is selling well and that I am able to support myself better as a writer than I ever could as an accountant. (could passion have something to do with it?)
4. I am grateful for all of the people who have supported me while I learned and failed and tried again until I figured things out. The cheerleading and the butt kicking have both been invaluable.
5. I am grateful for abundance: Aha moments, blessings, friends, family, love joy, support, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I hope you’ll take a moment to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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