The Primal Challenge Day 23

As many of us know, some more than others, eating food is often an emotional thing. It can bring comfort during stress or sadness, to those both eating it and those making it, and celebrations often revolve around it.

During exams I used to stock up on energy drinks and packets of lollies and chocolate. All the things I thought I needed to wash down the multiple cups of coffee between studying. In the romantic comedies we love to hate, during the epic post break up scene the lead female is generally pictured tucking into ice cream, or chocolate, eating peanut butter or jelly straight from the jar. How many times have we said we are only eating it because ‘we are having a bad day’? The moment something we want to celebrate happens in our lives, we arrange to go out for dinner, or drinks.

We over eat to compensate for something, we eat the wrong types of food because we are too mentally drained to think about what we should be eating, or we forget to eat because our mind is simply elsewhere.  Or on the flip side, we eat that extra piece of cake because it’s a special occasion, or because we ‘deserve it’ and that extra bottle of champagne is popped because we have worked hard, and now its time to celebrate.

When someone dies, food is often the easiest way people can communicate and show they care. Fridges and freezers are full of home cooked meals, many of which will never get eaten by those left behind to grieve.

What we put into our mouths is often the result of the way we are feeling, and can also impact the way we continue to feel.

Today was an emotional day for my family as we said goodbye to one of our own, and if there was any day I was tempted to break the challenge it was today.

But I didn’t.

I over compensated and packed not only my breakfast, but also those making the four-hour car trip with me. My bacon & egg muffins 3.0 went in one container, my sister’s vegetarian version (3.1) went into another. A (small) container of almonds and macadamia nuts to share with my sister-in-law who has kept dairy but is otherwise desperately trying to eat primal. One green apple for me. A bottle of water for each of us.

We set off early.  The muffins were gone before we had even reached the freeway, so Colac was our first stop for breakfast. I put up with more ridicule from my brother, who this time also thought it hysterical to pile a teaspoon full of white grain sugar and wave it in front of me chanting ‘take your medicine’. I might point out at this stage he is 30 years old. I managed to find a smashed pumpkin with poached eggs and rocket breakfast – hold the feta thank you.

Probably one too many coffees – two long blacks before 10am and another at 2pm. It was the only thing (apart from water) I sought out during the post service gathering. Party pies and packaged hot food was waved before me, white bread sandwiches stacked high on tables were a popular favorite.  I’m sure there were other items but I never went over to the table to see just exactly what was there. I didn’t quite trust myself.

Then the cakes.  Larger than I have ever seen before lamingtons with extra cream in the middle. Lemon slice, caramel slice and my sister-in-laws favourite, jelly slice.

I could see her eyes light up when she saw that red topped sweet being unpacked by the church ladies behind the counter, the jelly glistening in the light, its slight wobble throwing teasing shadows in our direction.

me – Don’t do it.

her – But it’s my favourite.

me – It’s not worth it.

youngest sister pipping in – I’m going to have some

me – Not helping.

I lost sight of her for a moment as my grandmother bought over a stranger who had at one time babysat me when I was two and visiting Warrnambool with my family. No sorry, I didn’t remember I was muttering, eyes searching the crowd for Heidi.

I found her, not one piece of jelly slice in hand. Still I was not confident in her determination, her sweet tooth would give most of the elderly that were around us that day who used to bake for a living a run for their money – and we were in the country so that was saying something.

I bet it’s not even homemade.

I assured her when I eventually made my way through the crowd and was able to take my post as bodyguard once again.

You reckon?

Nope, look at it, its all the same size. Look at the base.

In truth, I wasn’t that sure of its roots. It could have been homemade, I was just looking for excuses.

Ill just go have a look at it.

I kept my eye on her again, but I need not have worried. Again she returned empty handed, and for the next few hours the jelly slice, along with all the other food types on our banned substance list (which was everything available) remained uneaten.

Which meant by the time 3:30 came, we were positively starving.

I shared the nuts, well really she took one handful and I had the rest (we were in separate cars) and when they were gone I downed the green apple. Heidi had told me a recent trick of hers was to eat protein just before the fruit. It would mean the sugar levels in fruit would not just spike your insulin, so you felt fuller, and it would also mean I didn’t binge on nuts as much.

I followed the advice, and I’m not sure if it was because I had run out of nuts or because I had no other food with me and still a three hour drive ahead before we stopped in Geelong for dinner, but I didn’t feel hungry anymore.

On the way to dinner Heidi sent me a text –

My self control today deserves a mention

For sure! By passing the jelly slice in a tough emotional situation… Big mention.

And she did! Not one rule broken today. Not one sweet, not one sandwhich. Not one piece of toast  – even the gluten free toast – at breakfast.

Dinner in Geelong meant more ridicule from my brother. I was ready to eat my arm off but instead ordered crispy skin salmon with the green beans, no butter, and hold the lentils but can I please have a green salad instead no dressing?

The food came and was quickly eaten. I always leave the salad for last and the first forkful revealed it was not naked as I required but fully dressed with what I thought was vinegar and olive oil – but couldn’t be sure.

But I was emotional, and hungry. And so I ate the salad and thought if there was any sugar in that vinegar dressing then too bad. I had made my choice, eat it and be full. Heath (my ridiculing brother) took great delight in taking a photo of me eating said salad and promising to put it on his blog, which was all about failed challenges….

I ignored him (again) and was just thankful I had not spent the entire eight hour car ride up and back today listening to his jeers, jokes and jibes over my eating behavior.

A BIG shout out however to his better half over her refusal of the jelly slice, and an even bigger one to all my family, both here and in Warrnambool as we remember beloved Sandi.

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The Primal Challenge Day 7

The rest of Saturday was a disaster. And I don’t use that term lightly. Well actually I do, but this truly was a supersonic shithouse Saturday.

The afternoon wasn’t so bad. I joined my sisters and laughed at my Mum as she modeled plus size clothing for a friends charity event and clothing auction.  She was wearing a size 12, so not really plus size. However when the designer told us that 65% of women were a size 14 and over, and less than 10% of labels designed exclusively for them, I wanted to point out that maybe a few of the 65% could benefit from a healthier, cleaner form of eating and maybe some exercise to broaden their clothing choice.

Not even the full 30 days in and already I am Miss Proud and Predigest, looking down at others.

I know, it was a bitchy thought and I probably only thought it to make myself feel better. I was even a little shocked at how quickly I had become ‘one of those’ people, preaching and looking down at others.

I pinched myself for being such a cow and tried to ignore how hungry I was.

During the break, where we were all encouraged to go through piles of op-shop rescued clothing we could purchase for gold coins that would help an African orphanage, I ignored all the homemade cakes on the table and went straight for the carrot and celery sticks.

Now I know I just chastised myself for being a bitch, but slight side comment – if those 14 and above sized women are healthy then good on them, no issue. But I tell you not many of them by-passed the chocolate biscuits and not one piece of orange cake was left standing after the first wave went by… In fact, the only friend’s carrot and celery had was me and even I copped a few elbows as the Grandmothers went after the homemade scones.

That night I was I off to the football. To the biggest rivalry we have each year. To Hawthorn versus Geelong.

For dinner I prepared a chicken breast no crumb completely paleo schnitzel from Cannings, and while my fellow footy goers stuffed theirs between some salad, a piece of cheese and a wholemeal roll, I substituted the roll for a bowl and packed a nice chicken salad.

I kept away from the bar. All night. Even as Geelong scored goal after goal and I pulled my hair out in frustration at our poor kicking and rushed decision-making. When my brother text me to meet him their at half time I declined. Too stressed over the game to discuss it amongst everyone else who held beers.

The worst thing was, even worse than the footy score – so yes it was bad – was the cramping and aching in my legs and hips.

I know I hadn’t stretched enough post boxing, and had really tried in CFHE WOD on Friday to use my hips (something all coaches know I am terrible at) but the pain that was radiating from my pelvis through both legs – the left in particular was worse than Tuesday’s headache and Friday nights sugar withdrawals.

Of course the football did nothing to take my mind off the pain.

I stomped and stretched and stood up and walked during each break – as much out of pain as out of nervous energy, but nothing would shake the ache.

I never even finished my salad.

By the time the final siren sounded and I had walked back to the car, I was almost limping and could barley stand on my left leg thanks to cramp.

And of course to make matters worse, I had just sat through my 11th straight loss to Geelong – which is always painful enough.

By now, I was seriously hoping it was all part of the ‘change’ my body is going through – and no I am not talking late puberty, early menopause or anything else you might be thinking –  but that it is some random side effect of something I am doing right.

Either that or I was being punished by some of the 65% of women who think I am a bitch.

I massaged some tension relief cream into my legs and managed to fall asleep around midnight, and thank god when I awoke a) I had not been attacked by some biscuit eating strange size 18 women, and b) the pain in my legs was gone.

The only downside, last night’s footy result was still well and truly one I could not forget.

So Saturday scared me a little. The pain in my legs and hips scared me, and my ‘too quick to judge’ attitude also scared me.

So Sunday when I again braved eating out for my sister-in-laws birthday and the restaurant served me a piece of whiting the size of my pinkie with a side salad for lunch and tried to charge me $18 for the pleasure of wanting to eat the rest of my hand off for hunger – I said nothing.

I swallowed the fish in two or three mouthfuls and had downed the salad before others had even received their meals.

Really? I waned to ask the Polish waitress as she came over to top up my mineral water. I mean just because I am Paleo doesn’t mean I eat like a bird, and we all know the saying – you don’t make friends with salad.

Instead I smiled and eyed off Nephews pumpkin soup that lay untouched while he threw a two-year old tantrum and wondered if they had added cream or potato to the mix and if not, was he going to eat that?

Maybe the Polish waitress was a size 16 in disguise or something, because nothing this weekend was going right.

For dinner that night I decided to take back control by the only way I knew how – to cook my own meals. Organic free range roast pork with sweet potato and salad. TICK TICK TICK and no need to think about eating my hand or arm or any other body part.

When my sweet tooth kicked in as tinned mangoes and yoghurt was served to everyone around me, I chewed silently on a green apple, and to be honest, was quite happy.

And then, finally, the first weekend of the 30-day challenge was behind me – THANK GOD.

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