“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.

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…

My Bone Broth Experiment – Week 2, Day 12, Diet 1 (Fast one day a week diet)

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After reading about bone broth, I had to check it out! So I found a slow cooker recipe, bought some bones and vegetables and gave it a shot.

As I sipped my first cup I thought about how my hair would glisten, my skin would glow and my joints would be free of any crotchety pain. I just needed to drink bone broth as my afternoon pick-me-up instead of coffee, every day.

It says it needs 8-24 hours for the bone marrow to seep into the broth, but I couldn’t wait! I wanted one before bedtime so dug in about 2 hours into the cooking time. This cup was still watery, and since I didn’t strain the solids out yet, it was more of a soup still. Not bad.

In the morning I had another cup after straining it through a fine mesh sieve. The broth was now rich and greasy. It was my fasting day so I thought I’d start it off with the broth, a cup supposedly has between 34-70 calories, depending on what web site you checked out. I drenched some on my dog Sady’s food too.

After I drank it, my stomach immediately began to hurt, which I guess is okay because it was a fast day. I really didn’t want to eat until late afternoon after that. I put some of the broth in the refrigerator and froze the rest.

But now when I think about the broth, I’m not sure I can stomach it again. The greasy richness might be too much. So – no broth solution for me! At least not on a daily basis.

Weigh-in was 180.8 so holding steady, but the fast one day a week diet is not exactly dropping those pounds off either. Earlier in the week, I made the mistake of thinking these cute little baggies of dark chocolate covered almonds couldn’t be more than 250 calories tops.

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Turns out they were 410 calories. Oy vey! Tried to compensate for that by eating these kelp noodles. The whole package is less than 40 calories.

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I added some garlic spicy sauce to it – but they pretty much taste like stiff pieces of nothing. I’ll try cooking them next time – maybe even in the bone broth. But these are not something I’ll eat on a regular basis.

So – since the weight loss is sluggish – I’m going to amp it up by overlapping the last week of the fast one day a week with the Beach Body 21 day fit program. I obviously need more caloric accountability on my non-fast days to stay on track.

And we’ll have a guest blogger, Colette Salmon Vaigl, joining us for several weeks with nutrition advice too! She’s lost weight and kept it off by permanently changing her eating and exercise habits.