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Day 3 and 4: Getting into a routine

Not very much to report for these two days.  I did start working out.  Well, more like “injecting exercise”.  I really need to start doing some cardio to burn calories as I perform moves to build muscle.  But, the weather is about to turn bitter.  At least I know that I am continuing with LCHF, and doing the moves below:

Week 1 (progressive exercise for Arms and Abs):

Day 1: 5 push-ups, 5 dips, 10 bicep curls, 10 secs boxing,15 situps, 5 crunches, 5 leg raises, 10 sec plank
Day 2: 8 push-ups, 8 dips, 15 bicep curls, 15sec punches, 20 situps, 8 crunches, 8 leg raises, 12 sec plank
Day 3: 10 push-ups, 10 dips, 20 bicep curls, 20sec punches, 25 situps, 10 crunches, 10 leg raises, 15 sec plank
Day 4: REST
Day 5: 12 push-ups, 15 dips, 30 bicep curls, 25sec punches, 30 situps, 12 crunches, 12 leg raises, 20 sec plank
Day 6: 15 push-ups, 20 dips, 40 bicep curls, 30sec punches, 35 situps, 15 crunches, 15 leg raises, 25 sec plank
Day 7: 18 push-ups, 25 dips, 50 bicep curls, 35sec punches, 40 situps, 20 crunches, 20 leg raises, 30 sec plank

Disclaimer: I cannot take credit for these specific exercises or their progression.  I did some research on various challenges and this is what I “smashed-up” to suit my needs.  For this first 30 days, I am really focused on arms and abs.  I also need to get in some jogging and boxing a few times a week.

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Day 2 – Taming of the Shrew

Soooo, I had an interview today.  The only problem is, I let the morning get away from me.  Woke up, got the kids ready for school, dropped them off, ran an errand or two, stressed over the last two residency applications…and before I knew it, I had about 20 minutes before it was time to leave.  Sigh.  My plan was to wash, condition, detangle and bun it up.  But that is neither an easy nor a quick feat for me.  Somehow, I decided on half-up and half-down.  I also opted for a bare face, with just a hint of vaseline on the lips.

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This before hair, though.

The “what is going on?” face is the product of seeing my lop-sided hair growth and the realization that my gray hair in the front is coming in a’la stripe from the gremlins.  It looks like a sliver of a highlight in the top left photo, but I assure you, it is about ten strands together.  I am not ready to surrender to the skunky pattern quite yet.  Only problem is, I have sworn off color.  I love how it looks, but it wreaks havoc on my hair without mercy.  And I don’t have the luxury of time to do the proper treatments that could prevent some of the damage that leads to my hair feeling like bailed hay.  Maybe there is some henna on the horizon…

Now, for my meals.

Since I was on the go quite a bit this morning, I didn’t get a chance to sit down for my own breakfast.  I live in a household where there are feeding issues galore.  Some days I prepare four separate meals.  Needless to say, I am trying to create a grand scheme to minimize those days.  In the past, I would skip meals on a regular basis.  That did nothing but tank my metabolism and force my body to coddle whatever body fat existed (especially in the mid-section) since it didn’t know when the next meal was coming.

Enter…the Quest Bar.  These bars seriously changed my life.  To have a GOOD tasting protein bar, made from real food, on a low carb diet is like finding a unicorn.  And for a finally-out-of-denial recovering sugar addict, the last thing I want is something that will make my brain crave sugar.

From their site: Sugar, for instance, doesn’t even exist at our facility. The only sugar in our bars comes from things like the nuts and freeze-dried fruit. Every sweet, mouthwatering bite of a Quest Bar is the result of painstaking trial and error to discover the most insanely delicious ingredients that promote a healthy lifestyle.

My favorites are coconut cashew, lemon cream pie and cinnamon roll.  I’ve only tried one I didn’t like, and that was the banana nut muffin (I’ll keep my comments on this one to myself).  There are also a few flavors that I can’t wait to try: s’mores, cookies and cream, white chocolate raspberry, double chocolate chunk, vanilla almond crunch.  Oh my gosh…I think I just salivated on myself.  Here is a link to all the yummy options: goodness in bar form.

My only criticism is the price.  At just under $2.50 a bar, there are cheaper options out there.  But I would be willing to place a bet the alternatives are not nearly as good for you.

My meals for the day:

Breakfast (on-the-go): Quest Lemon Cream Pie Bar
Snack: Handful of almonds
Lunch: Leftover pork tenderloin (4 oz), Tuscan Kale Salad
Snack: Coffee with cream and coconut oil
Dinner: Roasted chicken, leftover roasted butternut squash, 1/2 avocado

Details: 1211 calories
Macronutrient breakdown:
– 20% Protein, 66.4g
– 58% Fat, 72.6g
– 22% Carbohydrates, 72.6g minus 40.3g fiber = 32.3g net carbs

Day 1

Hair.

Sooooo, I have been rocking a wash-n-go turned twist out for exactly seven days.  I have a meeting tomorrow, so something needs to be done.  But for the past week, I have absolutely loved the fluff!  I came about my new routine after getting upset for the umpteenth time about my hair taking several days to dry from a WNG.  So, at the end of day 1, I just do large twists (about 12 or so).  It is a great way to expose my roots.  For my nighttime routine, I just throw on a bonnet.  I do not do the pineapple.  For me, putting in and taking out the pineapple causes more frizz than just a bonnet.  In the morning, I just remove the bonnet, fluff, and go.

Meals.

Breakfast: 2 chicken roll-ups (deli-slice rotisserie chicken with colby jack slice)
Snack: 1/4 avocado with salt and pepper
Lunch: Canned tuna, drained with a squeeze of lemon juice and celery seed
Dinner: Roasted pork tenderloin, sauteed spinach (in grass-fed butter with red onion), roasted butternut squash (with cinnamon, cumin and ground ginger), small glass of Rhiannon red blend wine
Snack: Handful of almonds
Water intake (over the course of the day): 2 liters

Today was a light day.  My total calorie intake was around 1100 calories.  But I wasn’t hungry.  Eating nutrient dense foods goes a long way to keeping you full.  Here is the breakdown on nutrients:
– 29% Protein, 71.9g
– 55% Fat 60.9g
– 16% Carbs 38.6g minus 12.9g of fiber) = 25.7g net carbs

NOTE: This is an extremely low carb plan and is not for everyone.  I do not suggest you jump into this unless you are ready/prepared to go through carb withdrawal.  It took me several attempts to really get into this way of eating before finally sticking with it.  Right around day 3, I would get keto-flu, which is no joke: migraine, nausea, shaky, hypoglycemic symptoms.  Honestly speaking, it straight sucked.  But once you get through that – around day 4 or 5 – you wake up feeling energized.  And every time I go off the range, I have to go back through leto-flu (to a slightly lesser degree).  So, I stay pretty focused.

If you are new to this way of eating (WOE) or considering a new start, I would slowly reduce the carb intake every few days until you get to the level you want.

I start working out tomorrow…stay tuned!

Happy New Everything

As I look around, I am happy to see people accepting new challenges, setting new goals, destroying limitations and embracing positivity.  This is a great time of year for general reflection.  I like to take the time to survey my life to get a sense of where I am in my personal goals.  I keep my most sacred goals to myself, not because I am afraid of failure but because there are just some things I like to cherish and celebrate within.  Of course everybody enjoys a little praise from the masses, but self satisfaction is still a concept that I relish.

On the flip side, there is some benefit to proclaiming other goals.  It provides a sense of accountability.  However, sensibility must also be employed.  Come on people, t’s not east to read a book a week if you are a graduate student with a full time job, 4 children, husband and a non-profit you are getting off the ground (not impossible, just not super practical).  And a true (honest!) self-assessment must be completed.  For this year, I just want to continue on the path I have created for myself.

Hair.

I had the pleasure of getting a DevaCut by the lovely Stacey at Curltopia in Smyrna, GA in November.  It was a great cut, and my hair now has a shape, but I miss my length.  Which begs the question of why I went for length to begin with…I never wore it out before.  But now, since I at least have a shape as a base, I think I *might* be able to wear it out when it gets longer.  *Shoulder Shrug*.

Who knows.  To be honest, I am just stuck in limbo with this hair.  I grow it.  I cut it.  I color it.  I swear off coloring for life.  I color it again.  I cut it again.  I just need to find my way back to the basics; get strong, healthy hair; and celebrate its essence in the moment.

Health.

This past year, I finally reflected on my eating habits.  Rather than setting a goal of losing ‘X’ lbs, I did an overhaul on my eating.  I adopted low carbs, high healthy fats and moderate protein focused on clean eating and cutting out gluten.  I have essentially cut out bread, pasta, rice, legumes and dairy.  It is pretty Paleo.  In the process, I have shed 30 lbs without an hour of exercise.  I am well below my personal “ideal” weight, and I am happy with that number.  But now, I want to tone.  I want to be fit and decrease my overall body fat %.

And so, I want to start the year off with a goal that falls into the #1 category where people make resolutions: ’12 Weeks of Documentation’.  This is where I will show you what I’m eating and doing physically on a daily basis.  I will take some pictures to document the changes.  I read somewhere that it takes 4 weeks for you to see changes in your body, 8 weeks for your friends to see, and 12 weeks for the world to see.  Let’s see what happens in 12 weeks.

Professional Life.

Any one that has followed by completely random and sporadic blogging postings knows that I am pursuing a PharmD.  I am in my final year (comprised of rotations) and am currently applying for residencies.  Deadlines at different programs have been rolling and and programs are extremely competitive.  We will see if I am one of the lucky few that lands a spot!  Meditating and praying on this one!

This Blog.

Simply put, I need to put more effort into documenting things.  I love writing and this blog is my outlet.

Spiritual Life.

I leave this one for last, because it is the one to which I dedicate so much thought.  In 2015, I hope to become grounded in my spiritual life.  My beliefs are one of those things I keep to myself, but I’d like to find a conduit for practicing these beliefs that is amenable to my family of four with very special needs.

What are your goals in 2015?

Healthcare…let’s actually spell it out

So, a lot of people have been lauding (or steaming about) the new Health Care Act.  But I feel like so many people on both sides of the fence couldn’t tell you three ways the Act will change the current landscape of health care, so I thought I’d take some time to highlight a few.  If you’re already fully informed, then kudos to you!  If not, maybe you can now enlighten someone else…

So, here goes nothing…my “top ten” list of things you can now say you actually KNOW about the  health care bill.

  1. First and foremost – if you have a plan, and you are happy with it, you don’t have to do a darned thing.  Nothing has to change for you.
  2. If you don’t have coverage, you will be able to pick it up from an Exchange where you can comparison shop for the plan that is right for you.  Makes me think about those car insurance commercials where you can price everything out before you buy.
  3. You can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.  If anything, to me, this is the biggest game changer.  You hear time and time again about someone who goes to buy insurance because they want to be covered and discover a condition during their exam and are denied.  Not to mention the people that are just looking for coverage to help offset their life-threatening illnesses.  I cannot imagine enduring such an event without insurance…fighting for your life shouldn’t mean you have to put yourself in financial ruin in the process.  Great, I beat cancer, but now I’m homeless.  Not cool.
  4. The one that we’re hearing a lot about (and goes into effect immediately) is that children through the age of 26 are allowed to stay on their parents’ plan.  In the day of high unemployment and reckless behavior that expands in the early 20s…this is a VERY good thing.
  5. The Act requires that everyone get health care.  Here is where opponents of the Act might have some validity.  If you don’t get covered, there will be a whopping fine of $2250.  That’s a lot.  And don’t think you can just go and get any old simpleton policy.  You will be required to have adequate coverage, or there will be a penalty.  What that penalty is, I’m not sure.  Subpart A on p 303 of the Bill (yes, I’ve been reading it) just says “Tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage.”   I am hoping the resulting affordability that is proposed will be enough to make the majority of Americans okay with getting themselves covered.  While I do believe that everyone should have access to healthcare, I’m not fully okay with making anyone do anything.  It is not up to me to stop another’s reckless behavior.  I think this is the point Republicans are trying to make…but in a much more polarized manner.
  6. Caps annual out of pocket spending to $5,000/individual and $10,000/family.
  7. Expands Medicaid.
  8. Improves Medicare – closes the ‘donut hole’ – this is about $250 that senior citizens are required to pay for the cost of their prescriptions.  Maybe not much to me and you, but that’s a lot of money when you are on a fixed income.
  9. Tax credits for small business to offer insurance to employees (who usually have to buy on the much more expensive, free market).
  10. Raised taxes for individuals making more than $200,000 and families more than $250,000.  Here is where the Republicans are really in an uproar.  The expansion of health care has to be paid for somehow.  And the rich will shoulder the brunt.  If you are a capitalist by nature (which most Republicans are), than this really lights your fire.  I mean, come on, how dare you take an extra $100 out of my hard earned quarter of a million dollars (or more) in earnings and put it towards something other than myself, like social betterment.  I mean, really, social responsibility is totally overrated.  Okay, okay…that was pure sarcasm (if you didn’t pick it up).  I think I’m a Marxist at heart, so I’m all for it.  I don’t mind giving up a piece of myself if it means my fellow man is better for it in the long run.  This same trait has also led to many a domestic arguments as my husband yells at me for wanting to hand out sandwiches and hot chocolate to the homeless in the winter by myself.  It is what it is.  Most people are somewhere in the middle.

So there you have it.  A little list of things from the Bill that you can actually use in discussion.  Note, missing from this list are the lies and scare tactics used to turn people against the reform.  There is/are no: establishing of death panels, federal aid to support abortions, lack of choices in what sort of coverage you have, free health insurance to illegal immigrants, or the end of private insurance forced out by a government plan.

Everyone should take the time to read up on it for themselves, but for now…a little bit of info is better than none.

Let’s Talk About Shrinkage

Shrinkage.

It’s a four letter word to most naturals, particularly of the coarse, type-4 variety.  This morning, I decided to wash my hair (seems like I haven’t done that in forever) and when I tilted my wet, detangled hair back it was grazing the top of my bottom!  So, I decided to do a semi- length check.  I say “semi” because I didn’t straighten out my hair.  I don’t think you can get a true sense of length unless the hair is straight, but I don’t really do straight that often, so…you get the point.

Anyway, back to shrinkage.  I always wash my hair in two braids.  Just easier for me.  And the braids ALWAYS sit above my shoulders.  For a minute, I just figured my hair was in an overall holding pattern.  But then, I did the check.  I took my arm, leaned my head back, contorted the hand to grab whatever hair I could and held on to it until my DH could snap a pick.  Lo’ and behold…I’m MBL (that’s mid-back length for all the non-forumers).

I always thought this would be my goal length, and then from here, I would make a decision as to what direction to go.  Whether to relax, texturize, stay natural, press, whatever.  But now that I’m here, I think I want to keep going.  Because I’m expecting #2, and I’m a little healthier going into this pregnancy (even if I am 15lbs heavier – oy vey!), I think this might be an opportunity to capitalize on healthy practices and optimize a little hair growth.

And so…I am setting a challenge.  I’ll call it WL 2010.  By December 31, 2010, I am hoping to be waist legnth.  Wish me luck!  I’ll document the progress, styles, challenges, and everything in between, of course and see where I get!

Wash Day Hair

But back to the topic at hand.  Here is a picture of my usual hair after the washing process.  As stated above, I use two braids.  I wash and condition each braid separately.  Let conditioner sit while I finish in the shower, then rinse and detangle each separately and then re-braid.

And here is a pic of my hair, with one side out, after being detangled and right

before braiding.  Never would have thought hair that sits in braids above the shoulders was this long.  Oh, God bless our lovely heads of kinky hair and all the properties bestowed upon it!

I gotta do something about my back fat.  Oh well, guess I have to wait until this baby is born.  Although, I did pick up The Perfect Pregnancy Workout and have been doing it and I have to say, my backfat looks better than it did a couple of months ago.  I think I’ll end up much more fit at the end of this pregnancy that last time.

Stay on track Kinkerbelle (see what a pregnant mind can do to you…make you go all around the world with your thoughts).  THIS POST IS ABOUT SHRINKAGE.  Any other ladies out there experiencing crazy shrinkage?  Care to share some pics?

Detoxing My Hair

As you know, late last month, I declared that I would be doing a full detox (foolish, foolish girl I am).  And I wanted to update you on where I am in the process (the details/update of the physical, internal detox will follow…I still need some time to stop being mad at myself before I can fully divulge the insanity revealing of a lighter, healthier me).

But as far as my hair goes, I can update you on that as I go.

First things first.  I started with a really good, deep cleansing.  And you know what that means.  BENTONITE CLAY!!!

But not just any old bentonite clay.  I upped the game.  I did a new version – for me at least – that included water, coconut oil, tea tree oil and lavendar.  Felt great.  The natural tingling of the bentonite clay was intesified due to the added tea tree oil.  As usual, my hair was super clean without feeling stripped, but with a little added shine from the coconut oil.  I proceeded to straighten, and then I did the only thing that a fully detoxing, totally dedicated to the cause girl should do.  I snipped, snipped.

I got rid of every inch of hair that did not sing the song of health.  I banished every split end, knot and frizzy fray.  And then I had my girl even it out.  Boy, I never realized how uneven my hair grew.  My left side grows leaps and bounds over my right.  Anyway, several inches later, my hair is luscious and fully healthy from root to shortened tip.  These days, I am in the business of healthy hair…length is a by-product.

Notice the beautiful shine (or is that sheen?).  There is no added serum or glossifier or any of that stuff.

Good stuff, huh?  Even if I do say so myself.  I really think my hair looks so shiny in these pics (and real life too) is because of the consistent use of my homemade goodness (I promise to post details on this, I really do…I just want it to be *right*, ya know?).  I literally have a clean slate on which to proceed.  I’m excited!

The next phase is a tea rinse – consisting of chamomile, lavender, nettle and sage…