Friday, January 5, 2018

Sweet 60: I’m More Fit Than Ever!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

I read The Primal Blueprint a little over a year ago and was inspired to try it. For decades I’ve been health conscious but have had little success avoiding the yo-yo cycle of weight gain/weight loss. The worst mistake I made was succumbing to the low fat craze in the 80s. I was a marketer’s dream!

I became aware of the perils of “white poison” (sugar, bread, etc.) about 10 years ago. As a nurse anesthetist, I was seeing an alarming number of children coming to surgery either overweight or obese with some of the maladies that come with it. Most notable were high blood pressure, high lipids, and depression. They were already taking a host of medications to
treat them as young as age 10!

It inspired me to write and publish a booklet called “Carbavoid….The Fuel for the Future,” but I was still delusional about grains and touted whole grains as a part of a healthy diet. Until I read The Primal Blueprint I was completely unaware of how unhealthy my diet was. I was amazed as I read it and became obsessed with learning all I could.

Cindy_BeforeI was surprised at all the information out there and yet surprised that there was so little knowledge about it in the general public. I readily consumed whole grains, dairy, soy, peanuts and legumes proudly, thinking I was promoting a healthy lifestyle. I also suffered daily bloating and abdominal discomfort, daily mid afternoon lethargy, and arthritis (that I blamed on genetics). 

When I decided to go Primal I spent a few days preparing, and I suggest this for anyone else. I cleansed my pantry of all the things mentioned above. A list can also be found in any Paleo related source. Then I carefully shopped around to stock my pantry and fridge with organic vegetables, uncured meats, cage free chicken and eggs….lots of eggs, ghee, macadamia nuts, berries, and olive, coconut and avocado oils.

The 1st week was very difficult and I kept a daily journal to document my progress. I’m so glad I did because I recently read it from the beginning and was so proud of myself for persevering. I suffered from brain fog and fatigue until day 5 when it gradually began to clear up. Then I experienced near euphoria as my mental clarity improved and energy level skyrocketed!

By the end of the month I noticed a decrease in knee pain from my arthritis and even canceled an injection I was due for. After the 1st month I knew I was hooked. I didn’t want to introduce anything that I avoided to start with, but I did eat a little more fruit. I began running and biking the low level way described in the book. I actually enjoyed working out because there was no pain involved.

I also went to the gym for 30-45 minute workouts for my muscle growth. Weight that had hung on my midsection for decades began to melt away. As my upper body became more lean I could appreciate the muscle growth I was obtaining.

As each month passed I would see another 2-3 pounds of fat melted away. It was comfortably slow because I was never hungry. After about 10 months I realized I was at a stabilizing weight and added more nuts and paleo protein friendly bars and shakes to my diet.

Cindy_AfterIt’s been 13 months now, and I am at a weight I haven’t seen since my early 20s! I am happy with my muscle definition, and strangers have complimented me out of the blue in public. I am more fit at age 60 than I’ve ever been in my life! I have motivated many coworkers and am happy to be a consultant for them when they are inquisitive about this lifestyle.

I will never go back to the lifestyle I lived for the first 58 years of my life. I choose not to have many “cheat” days, though I confess on Christmas I ate one of my mom’s yeast rolls AND a piece of her pecan pie with no harm done.

I encourage anyone but especially those who are already diagnosed with pre- or type II diabetes to give this lifestyle a chance. I guarantee that you will alter the course of your future for the better.

Good luck and hang in there!!

Sincerely,
Cindy Howlett

Final_Cindy

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Primal Challenge Point: Slow Down

Inline_Live-Awesome-645x445-04With the holidays just behind us, I’d say this weekend offers the perfect opportunity to slow life down and spend some time in flagrant leisure. The holidays are fun of course (they certainly offer some good parties…), but several weeks’ worth of erratic schedules, a full social calendar, and extra to-dos can take a toll—particularly for some of us. It’s little wonder people quietly welcome the return to routine after it’s all over.

January comes with a good deal of capital for self-improvement, but what if we also claimed it as a time for self-centering? If we didn’t have the agendas of the outside world to consider, how would we choose to spend our days? What rhythm truly suits us best?

While most of us won’t be quitting our 8-5 jobs and living like Grok did, we can be more intentional stewards of our free time. What will we do with that freedom?

From Primal Connection:

primalconnection_400x400“How do I see the connection between slow living and Primal living? I think slow living on some level reclaims what is natural in human relations, basic sustenance, and life balance. More than that, however, I like how slow living in many respects brings us closer to some of our evolutionary patterns. …There’s a reason we miss quiet weekends untethered to technology. There’s a reason a city with ample park space and a vibrant pedestrian zone feels more inviting than a congested sea of skyscrapers and cars. There’s a reason we feel uniquely fulfilled cooking and sharing a homemade meal with others. These were the basic experiences of our ancestors. Humanity evolved with rhythms and rituals that modern acceleration has left in the dust. Our psyches haven’t caught up with the change of pace. Life makes more sense the slow way.”

Primal Challenge Point: What will you do this weekend to enjoy a slower, healthier, more self-attuned rhythm?

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Snow Storm Party

We got quite the snow storm on the South Shore yesterday. It was crazy. The snow and wind gusts came fast and furious! But I was more than happy to have a “snow day” with my family. Actually, one of Quinn’s teachers at school said we should have a “storm party” to celebrate, so we called it that instead. I mean, doesn’t storm party sound a lot more fun!?

When we woke up on Thursday morning, I expected to see the ground covered in snow, but there wasn’t a single flake. In fact, the snow wasn’t even expected to start until nearly 8:30 AM, so we decided to get ourselves ready for the gym. Mal and I figured we’d be snowed in for the rest of the day, so might as well get out while we could!

Before we left the house, we ate breakfast. For me, it was rice cakes with peanut butter and banana. For Quinn, it was apple slices eaten via tongs. Hey, whatever works, right? 🙂

Apple mustache! 🙂

Fun gym workout! I’m feeling a whole lot better since my injury, but I still scaled the Box Jumps to Step-Ups. I just wasn’t feeling the jumping, but everything else felt fine!

Blizzard in the forecast? CrossFitters be like…

Seriously, the gym was JAMMING. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that crowded. I guess everyone else had the same thought as us!

After CrossFit, we swung by Coffee Shake for iced coffees and a donut to share.

Slim-pickings for donuts!

Back at home, we settled in. We had no plans to leave the house again. We played lots of games and even broke out Quinn’s old eagle costume for a little bit! 🙂

Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Chili was on the menu for lunch. For the canned stuff, it was really good!

I added some shredded cheddar to my chili and then paired it with some leftover sauteed greens.

After lunch, it was time for Quinn’s nap, so I headed upstairs and immediately got to work. I took the morning off, so I definitely needed to get some things done! I snacked on a Kashi Dark Mocha Almond Chewy Granola Bar and some sparkling pineapple water while I worked.

I worked for about 2 hours before a tiny human crept into my office. The door opened, and I saw a small face looking at me. Too cute!

After that, I was hungry again. I swear being snowed in makes you eat more! I finished off some BBQ chicken leftovers from the night before.

Then, it was time go outside and play in the snow! I got Qman all dressed in his Cubbies shirt, snowpants, and boots.

I finished off the outfit with a snow coat, gloves, and hat. All geared up!

Quinn played outside for maybe 5 minute before he wanted to come back inside. I don’t blame him – it was so windy outside! When he got inside, he wanted hot cocoa without the hot cocoa! 🙂

Pizza was on the menu for dinner!

Quinn was all about pizza until we were about to sit down to eat and then asked for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Typical 3 year old, but he ate almost the whole thing!

I finished off the night with UNREAL candy.

And pug cuddles!

Question of the Day

Did you have a snow day yesterday? How was it?

Do you tend to eat more (junk) on snow days? 

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2018 Word Of The Year

It’s time for the 2018 Word of the Year! I’m excited about this one because it’s a totally different mindset change from the previous two.

In 2016 my word was PRESENT because my future was so unknown.

In 2017 my word was INTENTIONAL because I wanted to focus on action rather than reaction.

In 2018 the word is…

Last fall I reconnected with a friend of mine from Charlotte, Diana, who writes the blog The Chic Life. She wrote this post about her divorce that was similar to my Things I’m Afraid To Tell You post. I found her post to be so inspiring, especially when she talked about vulnerability:

“But as Brené Brown has taught us, vulnerability leads to connection. So here’s me trying to allow myself to be vulnerable. If nothing else, my hope is that someone reading this post who is going through a similar situation will see that they’re not alone.”

I LOVED reading her thoughts because c o n n e c t i o n is what inspired me to starting a blog a decade ago. I wanted to share my life with you and foster a community of like-minded people.

Thus, one of my main goals for KERF this year is to be more vulnerable, in an effort to reconnect with you all. When I look back on my most popular posts of 2017, the common theme was that they were personal and open. “The greater the risk, the greater the reward.” Another one of my favorite quotes is “Creativity takes courage” by Henri Matisse. If I want to continue to grow, love, and connect through my blog, I need to be brave.

When blog trolling was at its peak, I didn’t want to share anything about my life. I considered quitting. (I’m saying it peaked because the number of harassing comments I get these days has drastically decreased.) During that time, it was easier and safer to hide behind topical posts and recipes than it was to put my life as a mother and business owner out there. I felt like I couldn’t win with anything I posted, and thus I just went inward. I know a lot of other bloggers felt the same.

I think the bloggers of the internet hit a big turning point a few years ago when we collectively realized that the problem with trolls was within them and not us. Befriending one of them was even more eye opening. As time passed, we crawled back out from under our rocks and saw that vulnerability didn’t have to mean the end.

Back in the blog day, I used to travel to a city and invite as many strangers as would show up to have coffee, a drink, or dinner with me. I had a blast getting to know you guys in person! In this day and age, I wouldn’t dare! How sad is that? A few friends and I were discussing this over dinner the other day and one of them asked me: “What’s the worst that would happen if a mean person did show up at a blog dinner?” Assuming this person wasn’t literally out to harm me, my answer was that they might post an unflattering picture? Maybe gossip to their mean friends that I was X, Y, or Z in real life? She reminded me that normal people would be nice and pleasant and that more good could come from it than bad.

A Boston meet-up dinner in 2008

But the truth is, connecting with you guys and getting to write and photograph and create and share for a living is an incredible dream job. It would take much more than an army of trolls for me to totally throw in the towel. If I want to grow as a person, I have to grow as a blogger, and that means being real and relatable and fostering as much connection as I can. And as Brené Brown and Diana reminded me, that comes from a place of vulnerability.

So, I am not concluding this with a grand meet-up announcement, BUT all this is to say that I do want to connect with you all more. I want it to come from a place of real vulnerability. Challenge me to it!

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Clean Eating Roasted Chickpeas Recipe

These clean eating roasted chickpeas are the perfect snack while I’m enjoying this new time warping discovery of mine.

You see, I have a new addiction. The Pinterest.com web site is nothing short of… Read more →



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