Sunday, April 10, 2016

Living the Whole Life

Happy April Friends!

I've got to say, truly taking care of yourself makes a huge difference in every aspect of your life.

So, since I didn't wrap up my Whole 30 notes with you properly, here's what was wonderful about my Whole30:
  • Perfect Skin
  • Fitting into size 6 pants (comfortably)
  • Endless amounts of energy
  • Really awesome workouts
  • The optimism that comes with feeling really great about yourself
How did it wrap up?
  • Getting WINE back was glorious.
  • Pretty much everything else made me sick, cranky or bloated
That being said, I was very excited to find a Facebook group jumping into a Whole60 that was starting on April 1st. I did make some changes to fit my needs this time around:
  1. Since I am doing this more as a continuous support instead of a body reset I am drinking during this Whole60, just limiting it.
  2. I built in cheat days (just 2), because I have made some plans that are just not going to allow for an easy eating experience.
  3. This time around I made a goal to double my workouts. So far, I've been successful at this goal with Hot Yoga, Crossfit and a run. This week, I'm going to shoot for 6 days.
So, since my eating is giving me energy, making me feel fantastic, has my skin glowing, has me recovering from workouts like a champ, has raised my spirits, etc, etc, etc... I am working on getting my life even more "Whole". The wonderful folks that wrote the Whole30, also have another piece of lifestyle support called the Whole9. Will you join me as I continue to round out my life? 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lifestyle Changes: Step 3

Step 3: Survival of the fittest and dreams about snickers bars.

Hello again!

I am 21 days into the Whole30 and I kind-of love it. My energy level is through the roof, my skin is fantastic, most of my cravings have diminished, and my pants are nice and loose.

If you'd like to read my journey up until now you can click here and here!

Today, I'd like to tell you about the not-so-fun parts of the Whole30:

  • Hands-down, the most difficult part is going to be this coming week: broke and bored of the same foods. I am starving ALL the time, but I work in non-profit land and therefore am living off of "what's left" until I get paid again on Friday. This is CRAZY difficult on the Whole30, again because I am starving ALL the time... So what does that mean for this week?? Not much variety for 4 days, but I can handle it. Luckily, I have a really awesome friend who is willing to share the surplus of meats in her freezer with me.
    • eggs, everyday. 
    • leftover chili until it's gone.
    • potatoes, everyday.
    • frozen broccoli and butternut squash, everyday.
    • tuna packs, everyday.
  • This is also, the time frame that food boredom is supposed to be at it's worst... this may mean tears this week. I don't want to see an egg for a month.
  • Dreams. On the "what to expect" list, there is a time frame that tells you that you will dream of junk food. It made me laugh because I encountered this one whole week early and it was entirely correct. I had the most realistic dream of sitting in a snickers bar, eating it by the handfuls, 3 nights in a row, and felt more and more guilty after every night. I also, during this time had an obnoxious craving for a glass of milk (I am a dairy lover and was raised in a family that consumed absurd amounts of dairy)... I actually called one of my closest friends and my dad who are both milk drinkers and asked them to drink the biggest glass they could find and then tell me how wonderfully satisfying it was. That's how bad my craving was.
  • Bloating. I had 2 or 3 days that I was continuously bloated... apparently this is "gut healing", but is super uncomfortable. I had a hard time standing for a short period of time. Luckily, it didn't last long.
  • Everyone keeps talking about Pizza! Of course the minute you say "no" to a food, everyone you know is eating it ALL of the time. I'm trying to convince myself I don't want it, everyday.
I have some friends who are interested in doing the Whole30. Next week, I am planning to share my favorite recipes, the list of foods I have been keeping on hand, and how I've been eating enough food to last through reallyyyy long work days.

Most difficult part of the Whole30 this week: egg-boredom.
Most difficult food to avoid this week: undeniably cheese, and the Easter chocolate I have sitting in my fridge.
Best find this week: compliant Bacon!
Favorite meal this week: Chocolate Chili - if I make this again, I will try it with more veggies and hot peppers.
How I feel this week: Energized. I only slept 3-4 hours each night and felt like a 9 year old on a hamster wheel who had an energy drink or 3. It was a little crazy, but also very cool to not respond to a "how are you?" with an "I'm tired."

Monday, February 22, 2016

Lifestyle Changes: Step 2

Step 2: Make your Decision, Devise a Plan, and Dive in.

I need the accountability of a plan to stick to any lifestyle change.

Some of the things that were a part of my decision making and my plan were: a list of food I know I will get tired of eating. A list of affordable foods that I would be comfortable eating day after day. A master grocery list (separated by which grocery store carries the food at it's freshest and cheapest). Purging my kitchen of everything that would tempt me to make poor choices. Buying the books.

Just to recap my last post . I did some research on which Healthy Lifestyle Change plan I was going to embark on for Lent and I ended up choosing the Whole30.

Even though I decided to do the Whole30 for Lent, I started a few days late. The reason being is because if you fault on the Whole30, you are supposed to start all over again, and I had plans on Valentine's weekend that I knew would blow the start of my plan.

I cleaned out my kitchen about 2 full weeks before I knew I was going to start the plan, and it was helpful to almost be "forced" to choose something I could have. I felt like it was a trial run, can I really go 30 days without cheese??? Before I started the plan and after I cleaned all the "bad" out of my kitchen, I ate EVERYTHING I wanted for 3 days straight- cheese, pizza, chai lattes, breakfast sandwiches, the best bruschetta in town, sweets. Yes, I spent too much money eating out for 3 days but I was fat and happy for the last few days before starting the plan.

"So What's the Big Deal"?? : The Whole30 actually has a timeline of how you should feel throughout the course of the program. The first day I started the Whole30, Charlotte had a "snow day" which means that I was not prepared to eat correctly. I did well, but did not experience the euphoria of Day 1. I also did not experience "The Hangover" which is days 2 and 3, maybe that means my "trial run" worked well?? Or "Kill all the Things" which are days 4 & 5. I am ALWAYS prepared for a nap, so I am going to count days 6 & 7 ("I just want a nap...") as a win for being on track with how most people feel.

Most difficult part of the Whole30 this week: I find it very difficult to actually eat 3 full meals everyday. Especially breakfast at breakfast time.
Most difficult food to avoid this week: undeniably cheese.
Best find this week: compliant Roast Beef- it was glorious.
Favorite meal this week: Roast beef lettuce wraps!
How I feel this week: Hungry, starving actually. I feel like I have eaten far too much food and yet not enough at the same time. I also feel as though my focus has been slightly off (from hunger) and surprisingly I feel like I have more energy already.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lifestyle Changes: Step 1

Step 1: Do your research.
There are TONS of diets and "lifestyle change" diets out there. How do you know which is right for you? If you hate meat, Paleo is probably not going to cut it for you. If you are a meat lover, you may not want to go the vegetarian route. It also may depend on what you are looking for in a "diet"- short term- you may be looking to juice, long term- clean eating may be the way to go. 
I am NOT an expert by any means, but I have done my research and I do have research to share to help YOU make your decision. Below are the 4 plans I researched to make my decision. With a couple links for each and my thoughts on them.
For lent this year I chose to take a lifestyle diet challenge. I decided to start a few days late as I had friends in town for Valentine's weekend and I didn't want to fail on my lent project before it began. First, why do we deprive ourselves of goodness for lent? Here is one short answer here is another. There were a few reasons that this was my choice for lent this year: 
1. Lent is supposed to be a spiritual practice to refocus your mind and your heart. I use this as a time not only to refocus my heart and mind, but also as a time to do a "spring cleaning" of my body and life. 
2. Lent is meant to be challenging, you didn't choose the correct option if it is not.
3. As much as I thoroughly enjoy every tiny taste of wine, cheese, and chocolate and as much as I'd like to live off of only those foods forever, that is not the best choice and I probably need to eat some vegetables. 
Clean Eating? - this is a lifestyle change diet I have actually tried before. I did it for 8 months and LOVED it. I felt great and looked great. I used the plan written in Jackie Warner's book This is Why You're Fat. This is the only resource I needed, I googled for recipes whenever I needed them, but this book was a HUGE help.
Favorite things: 
*You add good foods in before you start taking bad foods out.
* Really informative and interesting book.
*You get cheat days! 
Not-so-favorite things: 
* Very expensive for one person, a lot of times my food went bad before I could eat it.
*I was always hungry, but it was difficult for me to eat everything you were supposed to eat in a day.
The ONLY reason I stopped this lifestyle diet was because I could not afford to eat that much food in a day.
Why I did not choose it this time: I know I can do it, and while I may switch back to it after my challenge, it was not quite what I was looking for this time.
Vegetarian diet?- I had a friend growing up who ate a vegetarian diet. I didn't understand it and refused to try her tofu. Growing up in a meat loving, fishing, hunting and grilling on the weekends type of family, I was not interested in whatever that stuff was she had on her plate. My thoughts have changed A LOT since then. I actually think I would do pretty well on a vegetarian diet these days... I am a meat-eater but I am NOT a meat-craver. I have to force feed myself protein. I have never tried a fully vegetarian diet, so I thought it might be fun to do some research on it- 
The Vegetarian Times
The Vegetarian Resource Group
Vegetarian Myths Debunked
6 Staples of a Vegetarian Diet
Mayo Clinic details on a Vegetarian Diet
There are also a few very delicious Vegetarian Restaurants in the Charlotte area.
Why I did not choose it this time: Grains and Dairy are major staples in this diet and they are major addictions for me. I would definitely use both as an excuse to not eat the correct amount of fruits and veggies.
Paleo?- aka the "caveman" diet. This is the favorite diet these days. and is built on the same premise as Clean Eating- STOP eating processed foods! What is Paleo? Want to try it, but not entirely sure? try a 7 day challenge! What can you eat? Click here to find out!
Why I did not choose it this time: I think that the Whole30 will be a good plan to teach me how to eat Paleo properly. Which would you choose?
Whole30?- I'm calling this Paleo Xtremeeeee. You can read the rules here. This is a short term elimination plan (30 days!) Which is meant to help you identify any food allergies/ sensitivities you may have and help you eat properly! I have high hopes for this plan! The number one hope is that sugar and cheese will no longer be the lead (sometimes only) choice in my diet. Always read the book. :)
I've found some really cool sources for food for both Paleo and Whole30: Barefoot ProvisionsThrive Market, and Naked Bacon because you can eat BACON!!!!
Why I chose this: I am eliminating ALL of my "food addictions" all at one time- no cheese, chocolate, wine or bread for 30 days!
*Do you have any awesome resources to share on these plans??? 
*Have you tried any? 
*Do you have a favorite?
Next week: my choice, how I prepped and how my first week went!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Best of Black Friday

How did Black Friday become so big that it actually starts before the football games are over on Thanksgiving? And when did we decide that one of the few days of the year (most) companies still actually observe as a day of rest and family should be a day that we leave our families after dinner to cram ourselves into stores and fight for gifts that will make our loved ones love us more? I say Black Friday is Boloney!

I dread shopping, I dread the Holiday rush for the best gifts, I dread the chaos that ensues during the Holidays on the road and in the malls BUT I loveeeee the Holidays. I love giving gifts, even more I love making gifts, I love decorating, I love cooking and baking, I love company, I don't even mind spending most of January and February arguing with the scale about the number I would prefer to see. BUT I DREAD Black Friday. 

This year I decided I would make The Best of Black Friday! How, you ask? That is simple:
  1. Stay away from the malls, Target, Walmart, the grocery store, restaurants, and basically anywhere people spend money.
  2. Spend the day after Thanksgiving practicing being as thankful as you were on Thanksgiving- I called a few family members that I didn't get to speak to on the actually holiday, spent a good bit of time studying my Bible and spent the entire day thinking about all of the gifts God has blessed me with this year.
  3. Eat like you did yesterday. I ate just as much food as I did on Thanksgiving (thanksgiving leftovers are the bomb-diggity and just about the only leftovers I eat), if you took a long weekend for the holiday, you deserve to treat the whole weekend like a holiday, right?
  4. Sweat. I was really sore from the workouts from Monday-Thursday (yes I worked out on Thanksgiving) so I opted for a yoga class instead of going to Crossfit. It felt good and really terrible at the same time but I was really glad I did it when I was loading my plate for seconds a couple hours later.
  5. Let yourself rest- cooking all day, keeping the kids occupied, and entertaining make the Holidays a very happy time of year, but also an exhausting time of year. After a super busy holiday, all I really want to do is to veg-out on the couch. I don't have a couch at the moment but snuggling up on the floor with my Stella-Bear was equally as wonderful. 
Overall, I would give my Black Friday an A+. 
  • How do you feel about Black Friday?? 
  • Do you love the shopping scene? 
  • Or do you stay in like me?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#LOVEweek2015 and I need some LOVE.

Just in case you don't follow all of my social media accounts, and you aren't aware that it is the most exciting week of the year to be a member of Elevation Church (link to this year's love week sermon!)!! #LOVEweek2015 I've included all of my links so you can see all of the exciting things that I've been participating in!
Life That I Love Blog- Facebook Page
If you've never heard of LOVE week- you are missing out! LOVE week is a week that was created by Elevation Church. First, let me tell you a little bit about my church: Elevation exists so that "people far from God, will be raised to life in Christ" and they do this well through inspiring the people of their church to participate in the 4Gs (growth, giving, gifts and groups). LOVE week is the BEST week to see all of this happen! Now, let's get to what LOVE week is! LOVE week is an annual experience of how God is working in our city! There are always opportunities to volunteer with and through Elevation, but LOVE week is a movement of God. This year there are : 1,227 events with over 200 organizations which includes everything from Bingo Games, Habitat Houses, School Supply collections, Blood donations, and helping serve food! (plus many more). It is amazing what we can do in our own backyard if we just open our eyes and our hearts to the opportunity!
Why I love LOVE week: My heart thrives on doing for others. I have had a difficult time serving on a consistent basis while I've lived in Charlotte because I never seem to have a regular schedule. LOVE week makes it easy- I can squeeze in serving every single day if I do it strategically. While I've served in Love week the past few years in a very minimal sense, last year was the year that made me love it. I committed to 20 hours of service through the week and I met so many people and experienced so much of what God truly intended for us that I just couldn't get enough. This year I have signed up for 35 hours, and while I won't actually be able to complete all 35 I am excited to serve about 30 hours this week!!!!! My favorite events are always: painting parties, helping at the Vault (Love week warehouse), giving blood (which is the most exhausting event- but cookies make it better), and furniture building for kids in need! There is a "final" party for LOVE week which is the Live Recording that happens on Friday night! -there are still tickets if you're in the Charlotte area!
Despite the movement of God that I have had the opportunity to experience this week, I am personally having a little bit of a rough week. My sweet tooth is currently getting me through it (that's a s'mores oreo!), but I do think I could use some encouragement. 
This is not something I feel very often, but this week I am lonely- not in the spiritual sense, just in the I could really use a friend to grab a coffee with me sense.

I spend a lot of time alone- not lonely, just alone. I function well that way and I just invite my friends to participate in everything that I normally do- many times I go it alone, which is fine we have different priorities when it comes to spending our money and a lot of times its great because I get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with certain friends. But occasionally, like this week, when I ask do you want to come serve with me, or do you want to do such and such with me I'm really asking will you please do such and such with me- I could use your company. I just don't know how to ask so that they know that's what I'm asking. 

It's kind of silly that I say I spend a lot of time alone, because at work I can't get a second to myself, but it is a different kind of alone.

My loneliness is directly related to my energy level which is currently on the floor along with my fitness level this summer- we'll all get back to normal in about a week. But I also feel just down, defeated and exhausted- I don't feel successful at work- it feels like giving your all is never going to be enough, I don't make enough to take care of myself the right way- which is making me feel like I'm failing at home, I need to make a moving decision soon and I can't afford to move, nor can I afford to stay, nor can I afford to live by myself anymore. Isn't it supposed to get easier?

I clearly am not a comfortable person asking for help- I know I'll get through it and be I'm fine really. I just need a good hug. Can I have one of those?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Change.

Recently, I've noticed a change in myself.

Change seems to happen when you need it the most. When you stop trying for it, stop forcing it, stop caring so much about it happening and start remembering to accept that God's plan is bigger than your own. It's almost like God is saying, "Thanks for letting me have the wheel back, we're going to head this direction now."

Change is scary for a lot of people. Sometimes it can be bad. Like that moment your parent realizes you have become a "terrible teen". Or, if you've ever suffered from depression- that moment you wonder where your happiness went and when exactly do you think it will be coming back?

I am one that gets excited about change! It's not always the best thing, but I know that whatever the change is, God means for me to turn it into something great! and I know that he will be here with me no matter what it is to help guide me through it!

Sometimes change is good! Right now my social media is filled to the brim with babies, weddings, new houses and anniversaries! I've also seen a lot of people recently taking back their health and getting on the fitness train!

I think it's entirely possible that I've been a different person for each of the last 8 or so years. Although, I haven't always seen the change happen, I did this year.

This year, for me, it was easy to see the change. I feel so fulfilled. God is doing great things in me and through me and I am so content (this doesn't mean that I am not growing, it is just at a very good pace). So Loved. So grateful. So open to tomorrow. So confident. So courageous. So simple. So happy.

Confidence and Courage is where my change lies. I suffer from anxiety that is mostly tied to me feeling successful. I think I am finally understanding what that looks like for me in my current place. "It's going to be great!"- seems to be my mantra these days. Even when I'm wary, I know change is meant for good! This is a good change! I feel like I stand a little straighter, I feel more comfortable in my abilities, I am more comfortable with my plans, I like myself a lot more, I like the direction I am moving in! God is so good!