The Bloat

//The Ascent Blog

This past weekend The BF and I took a little family vacation to visit my grandmother in Florida for her 90th birthday party. He wore a suit, I wore high heels, and we even bought him a polo with a little palm tree logo on the pocket–how fancy are we?

We stayed in a little guest house with 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, but no kitchen. Also, the little barrier island neighborhood that my grandmother lives on has several restaurants and a deli, but no grocery store. Needless to say, there was very little opportunity for us to do anything about eating clean other than try to weed out our best options among menus full of cream sauces and puff pastries.

The first day we fared pretty well, picking the pile of salmon out of my smoked salmon sandwich and ordering shrimp cocktail and broiled fish for dinner. The next day I had some fruit for breakfast and a big salad for lunch, so still did pretty well, but dinner was another story. At my grandmother’s birthday party, everything they served was absolutely delicious, but absolutely covered in either rich sauces, butter, or frosting. After we left the party we tried to walk down to the beach to let our food settle, but my head was throbbing and my stomach was gurgling so badly that I barely wanted to stand, let alone stroll. And it’s a good thing I had a flowy dress on, because my stomach was distended at least 2 or 3 inches.

I felt terrible, but it made me wonder, is this how I used to feel all the time? Before taking grains out of my diet and finally getting rid of dairy after knowing I’d had a lactose intolerance since high school? Before cutting out gratuitous amounts of processed sugar like I had just devoured in the form of peach sorbet and a giant cupcake? Sure, it is my decision to eat those things, but I’d like to see anyone turn down birthday cake while sitting next to their grandmother at her 90th birthday party! I have these little epiphanies every once in a while when I get to a point where I tell myself that my diet isn’t really serving me and I should just go back to eating whatever I want. And then I do go back, whether on purpose or because I’m out of options like this weekend, and I end up feeling miserable. It’s weekends like this when I realize that it’s total bull when people say they eat crap because “Life is short” and they “want to enjoy it” by eating whatever they want. The types of people who use that as an excuse may not know any better, but I know firsthand that you aren’t able to enjoy much of anything when you’re full of air and inflammation, your head throbbing and gut aching.

So this week I am back on zone. However, with my second body fat test coming up in a few weeks, I am starting to focus on trying to cut bring my body fat percentage down a little, which means that I will be incorporating far fewer fruits and sweet potatoes into my day (as opposed to having one or the other at every meal, like I have been doing). Right now everyone else at our gym is on the 21-Day Sugar Detox and I am hearing a lot of mixed results–many people are saying that they’ve never felt better and are amazed by how much energy they have, but others seem to be borderline homocidal. I’m intrigued, but not quite ready to go full-on sugar-less while I still have at least 4 weeks of zone eating left to do.

  • Jennifer

    No pics of you in the flowy dress? I thought you just wear spandex! ;) hehe.
    Glad you had a nice time! No WODs with granny?

    • clairechapman

      Haha the one photo that I did get of me was one where I was sitting next to my grandma and I didn’t realize it at the time but you could see STRAIGHT up my dress… Awkward… And unfortunately we didn’t get any workouts in, although the community where she lives does have a nice little gym, when we went to go check it out the next youngest person was about 70 years old so we decided to just go sit in the hot tub :)

  • Emily

    This post is pure genius.

    • clairechapman

      You should see Brandon in his polo. He is so classy.

  • Simone

    So true! I’m about 80-90% paleo-friendly in my diet (started fairly recently, and keeping things like greek yogurt in there for now), and whenever I let myself have a “treat” or find myself somewhere where excessive grains are unavoidable, I almost always realize how unnecessary it was afterwards. I’ve been wondering the same thing – “Did I always feel like this before??”

    Do you ever go through periods where you’re unmotivated to take the time to prepare healthy meals? How do you stay on track? This past week has been a bit rough for me!

    Great post!

    • clairechapman

      Um yes, I am unmotivated almost all the time! I tried pre-making all my meals but then I would feel guilty when I wasn’t in the mood for whatever I was “supposed” to eat that day, so I have found that the way that works best for me is to make a lot of basic food at the beginning of the week–usually a few pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, a pound or two of ground bison that is lightly seasoned, a dozen hardboiled eggs, a big thing of mashed sweet potatoes, and maybe a spaghetti squash–and then try to have some raw easy-to-add components on hand as well like bacon, kale and spinach, and fruit. That way I hardly have an excuse when I am packing lunch in the morning or when I come home at night because the hard-to-cook parts are already made and I just have to add one or two easy pieces and some sauce or spices into the equation.

      • Simone

        I can see how that would be extremely helpful! I really need to educate myself more on spices and sauces so the basics don’t get boring. :)

  • skruttplutt

    Uh, I have done this Sugar detox and it is the worst I have ever done! There is no point to LIFE anymore. Everything is just misirable, I feel like poo and everyone around me are jerks. I will go back to Paleo, it makes me feel good, happy and strong. I just dont think that working out as much as we do is optimal on no sugar. (Or that is what I am telling myself)

    • clairechapman

      I agree, I think there is a reason it’s only 21 days! The people who are telling me that they are loving it are also the ones who are eating full meals like 5-6x a day, so they are keeping their blood sugar up that way instead of with fruit. I think that would be the only way to do it, but I think I would have a hard time eating that frequently!

      • skruttplutt

        yeah I guess that is it. I have been eating 3 times a day but what the heck am I supposed to have a snack?! ANOTHER CHICKEN BREAST?!

        • clairechapman

          bahahaha that is a wonderful question. I think I would probably end up eating a jar of almond butter a day…


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