“I’ve been dieting three days, shouldn’t I be skinny already?” “Wow, those portion containers are small!” Random thoughts during my Whole30 + Beachbody 21 day fix hybrid regimen.

Everyone I’ve seen on Whole30 posts pictures of tasty looking healthy food. And at the end of 30 days their skin really does glow and they say how great they feel. So even though it’s no dairy, no alcohol, no pasta, no flour, no lots of ingredients you can’t pronounce that seem to be in everything, no bread, no butter, no rice or quinoa, no sugar, and so on – I thought I’d try again. Last time I was on it, I lasted three days. Surely I could do better this time.

It’s all about eating whole, not processed, foods. And getting you off the sugar dragon. So most fruits and veggies, meat, fish and some nuts are allowed. You just have to be careful how you season and cook them. You need to shop and prep for meals ahead of time since so many things you have in your fridge are off limits. Breakfast is a tough meal because you get tired of eggs pretty fast and eating meat that early is turn-off (for me at least).

I did get to employ my quick egg trick though. You crack an egg into a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for 30 seconds. Then voila! You have an egg over medium. I added some dill and sea salt to it.

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I also got to take advantage of fresh heirloom tomatoes and avocados. Whole30 does allow balsamic vinegar without added sulfites (it can have natural sulfites). So I added a dash of balsamic and a sprinkle of sea salt again. Because you aren’t eating sodium-laden processed foods, you do have to make sure you are getting some sodium in your diet still.

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The first few days I was constantly hungry, even though I was eating a lot. That tempered out after a few days. And I thought about using my 21 day fix containers for portion control.

The different colors represent specific food groups. For example, the purple container is for fruit and green is for veggies. You’re allowed three portions a day for the fruit and four for vegetables. They’re both bigger containers because the food is not high calorie and healthier, making larger portions okay. 21 day fix also has an app to help you track what you eat.

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I’m lazy about food diaries and portion counts, so I ended up not using them. Although I did think about how tiny the orange containers for seeds and oils were and tried not to go crazy eating cashews. You get tired of cooking on Whole30 too, so any easy snack is easy to overeat. I lost two pounds in the first week, even without being vigilant about food intake. You are not supposed to weigh yourself at all during the 30 days. But I couldn’t help myself.

I did use the 21 day fix 30 minute exercise videos. They’re great! If you are in a huge rush you can do the three minute warm-up and about 15 minutes of the work-out, then do the warm-up again later in the day and finish the last 15 minutes. Exercises look easy, but there’s always a tougher move that you will feel the next day.

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If you do decide to try the 21 day fix, my friend, Colette Vaigl, is an amazing Beachbody coach. She is constantly hosting Facebook accountability groups with healthy recipes, fitness and nutrition advice and encouraging support. And coaches do this work for free. You just pick them on the Beachbody site when you order your 21 day fix videos, etc. so they get some credit for their work.

I did fall off Whole30 at nine days. In that short time, I noticed that my allergies got better, the puffiness in my face toned down and I had a lot more energy. So I am definitely incorporating Whole30 guidelines into my life as part of an 80/20 diet plan.

The diet’s strictness forces you to be conscious of your food choices. I always look at labels now to watch out for added sugar and garbage. And if you follow it correctly (which I didn’t), after the 30 days are up you slowly reintroduce forbidden foods back into your diet. That helps you realize what foods trigger bad reactions in your body.

I will try Whole30 again, just not right away :). I went from three to nine days this time, which was triple the days I made it on my first Whole30 attempt. So I’m gonna count that as a win.

Good health is a step-by-step journey. I wish you much success on yours!

And, yeah, wouldn’t it be great if we could diet for three days, or even just do the 21 day fix, and be skinny again! I guess it’s 3x3x3x3x3x3x3x3 – until it becomes a lifestyle.

Find Your Exit Buddy

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The journey to wellness can be a wild ride, filled with twists, turns, diversions, and bumps, which impact your ability to maintain focus and to keep making those day to day choices that support your goal. This is the truth for any type of goal; personal, health, or business.

However, it’s the choices you make throughout the day that you need to keep consistent in order to make progress. You may get so lost in your sight of the prize, that you don’t develop the daily habits you must do to get there. That is what happened with me time and time again when I attempted to begin a healthier routine, be it with nutrition or exercise.

I knew it was going to be different when I figured out that I needed an “exit buddy.” I attached a short video clip from the movie “Finding Nemo.” It is the part where Dorry and Marlin have to go through the “swirling vortex of doom” to reach their goal of making it to Sydney in order to search for Nemo. They were both terrified, but they had each other for that crazy ride, and they ended up getting through it side by side.

Finding your exit buddy is an important key to success. You need to have someone supporting you, who is working on a similar goal, that you report to on a regular basis for that crucial day to day accountability. They are there to give advice, provide motivation, give support on those difficult days, and keep you moving forward on your journey.

Is is possible to reach your goal without an exit buddy? Sure, but it is going to be a much, much more difficult process. If you don’t remain true and consistent with the process, then the chances of getting where you want to be go way down! You need to fall in love with the process, not the end result!

This is where people fall down in achieving their goals. They are so focused on the end result, that the little steps you need to follow to get there (like I mentioned last week) get brushed aside. You become frustrated because you have a couple of good days, followed by a bad day, then a good day, and then two more bad days. Pretty soon, fed up with the lack of progress, you regress back to the old patterns that don’t support you, and the goal is abandoned. Your exit buddy is going to keep you on the path, so that you make those daily needed choices and do the behaviors and habits you know have to happen to make progress!

I have two exit buddies who have been supporting me on my wellness journey. The first one is my husband, Mike. I will be forever grateful for his presence and willingness to fully embrace a lifestyle of greater wellness, and follow this journey right by my side. As he saw the changes I was making in my nutrition and fitness habits, he also accepted them and joined me in this process. He has lost 55 pounds in the last year, and I am so proud of him! He is there to support our new lifestyle every single day!

He will cut up the lemons to put in our water, be excited about grilling more vegetables, and happily try my new healthier recipes. He takes care of getting the kids out of bed and ready so I can exercise in the morning. He does this willingly, happily, and without complaint. I have supported him the same way. It works. We work together, so we can keep moving forward on our health journey.

My second exit buddy is a driven, kind and amazing individual who introduced me to following the lifestyle I am now so passionate about. She became not only my fitness and nutrition coach, but my wellness cheerleader who showed up for me every day to keep me focused and on track. All this support was given freely and willingly. Cherise Goodrich inspired me to become that exit buddy for others looking to improve their wellness by taking control of their fitness and health. I will be forever grateful to you as well, Cherise! I love showing up and providing that kind, motivating support and accountability that is going to help others stay true to the process of achieving wellness.

So, my advice this week is to find that person or group who will be your exit buddy. No matter what your goal is, that person or group will get you through the daily grind (face it, some days are a complete grind!), making those needed little choices and doing those daily behaviors and habits that will keep you moving forward! You can do it! Just find your exit buddy!

One Small Change at a Time

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A big mistake people make when wanting to be healthier is to try to do a complete life overhaul virtually overnight. Come on, we’ve ALL done this…Starting tomorrow (why not now? What’s the magic about tomorrow, anyway?), I will drink 2 liters of water, work out for an hour, eat no sugar, meditate for 20 minutes, write in my journal, cut out bread, pop, chips, etc., and the impossibility of this list continues! We set ourselves up for a complete and epic failure. We manage to complete two out of 10 of the laundry list of resolutions we set. We beat ourselves up, think “Why bother?!” then regress back into the bag of M&Ms because what’s the point, anyway? I can’t do all these things! Sound familiar?

I got turned on to the concept of making small changes by following the 100 Days of Real Food 14 Weeks of Mini Pledges. I am attaching a link so you can see what I did.

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/100-days-of-mini-pledges/

Each week, I made the commitment to follow the mini pledge, building on the previous week’s pledges. Most were pretty easy to follow, such as eat two fruits or vegetables per meal, drink REAL beverages, no deep fried foods, etc. As one of these mini pledges became a habit, I added another. Sometimes, it took more than a week for the pledge to become a habit. After awhile, I really cleaned up my nutrition! These habits became a routine, a way of living.

You know you’ve developed a habit when the decision making process is removed from the equation. There is no second guessing, no deliberation, no “should I or shouldn’t I?” You just do it, because it’s part of your life now. This is true for both good habits, as well as those habits which are not so healthy.

As you build your arsenal of wellness habits up, you will find that a day or two of indiscretions or poor choices won’t break the bank. You get right back up and resume those healthy habits, and you’re back on track. All those seemingly little decisions you make each day that are benefitting your wellness add up! You start to feel better. You have more energy, you lose the brain fog, and you find yourself craving for more…more habits to help you become the best possible version of yourself! You become a seeker of wellness!

The process is simple, but it’s not easy. The magic bullet for me was finding others going through the same process who were willing to support me. I needed accountability and a plan to make it happen. I had to find my “exit buddy.”  More on that topic next week.

 

It’s Time to Find Your “Why”

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I’ve been lucky enough to know Stacy for over 25 years now! We met in college, where her outgoing personality and sense of adventure drew this shy, introverted girl out of her shell! I am so happy Stacy invited me on her blog to share a little of my story as a guest blogger this month. We ALL have a story to tell, and each of us has value to add to another by sharing a bit of ourselves, scar tissue and all.

My wellness journey has not been a linear experience, hence the term “journey.” It’s like this for just about every typical person out there, I think. We go through stages in our health. In my twenties, I’d go on and off the path, ranging from complete vegetarian and regular exerciser, to being a couch potato and developing a daily McDonald’s chocolate shake habit (not proud to admit that).

Stress and life events can have a huge impact on the decisions we make about  how we choose to nourish ourselves, mind, body, and spirit. In March of 2015, I had devoted the previous 5 years to having a family and raising our kids. I have a six year old daughter and a four year old son. March is the big birthday month in my house. Both my kids were born in that month (2 years and 3 days apart). My birthday is in March, too. My husband and I were just coming out of a three year stretch of horrible sleep, and less than stellar eating (My chocolate shake habit morphed into an M&M habit) and I realized that something had to change.

I knew that I needed a lifestyle shift. It went way beyond wanting to drop a few pounds. If weight loss is the only motivation you are using in making a shift to a healthier lifestyle, then you are doomed to fail! I did some serious soul searching, and dug deep to the root of the real WHY I wanted to do this. My personal Why centers around the fact that I am an “older” parent. I had my daughter on the cusp of 40, and my son on the cusp of 42. I want to be active in their lives as they grow up. I want to be there to share in the major milestones they will experience going through childhood into becoming independent adults. I don’t want to be mistaken as their grandmother in the stands at their high school graduation! Really, I want to be fully present, and a viable contributing member to my family and society in general for years and years to come. See what I mean by digging deep?

To make permanent changes to a way of living that embraces wellness, you gotta have your why, and it’s gotta be deep enough to keep you going on those days when all you want to do is lie in bed and watch reruns of Law and Order instead of exercising, or when you know it’d be so easy to make a pass through the drive-through rather than take the time to prepare a healthy meal with the produce you bought with the best of intentions, that is starting to go bad in your fridge because you’re too damn tired and unmotivated to cook.

My first suggestion to you is to look deep inside and ask yourself why you want to begin your journey of wellness. Why do you want to commit to healthier eating, to making movement and fitness part of your regular life? When you uncover these reasons, write them down. Reflect on them. Your why has to be big enough to sustain your desire to change, rather than keep the status quo, which isn’t serving you. Your wellness journey MUST begin with your WHY. Once you have your why, then you can start considering the how…