Sunday, September 6, 2015

Whole30 Reflection and What's Next!

The Whole30 Challenge was definitely just that, a challenge! Throughout the month I had to keep reminding myself that "to err is human" and that I am only that, human. I am not going to try and hide the fact that I didn't successfully complete it.

With the stress of school starting and the fact that I work part time in a restaurant (think lots of amazing delicious food in front of me), I made it 12 days without a drink. This doesn't really make me that happy. I know that I could've completed the 30 days without a drink. I caved and had one, mostly because I was sick of being harassed
by co-workers, (what is this, high school??) and really just wanting to fit in and stay for a drink after my shift. After that 12 days I decided I was okay with having a beverage or two if I wanted one. The rule I made for myself was that I would not drink wine or beer, just vodka/sodas. To this day, over 45 days since I started the Whole30, I haven't had any beer or wine. This I think has made the most difference.

I also had a day where I was overwhelmed, upset and stressed. To cope with that I fell back into old habits and used food to make myself feel better. Boy, I was wrong. Eating boxed mac n cheese and Ben and Jerry's on Day 22 made me feel anything but better! The next day I felt hungover, bloated and lethargic. It was crazy! I never knew that food could make you feel hungover. It took a few days for my system to reset itself and for me to feel good again. Even now, I have moments where I slip back into my old snacking routine and am finding that sugar makes me tired, really really tired. It seems to me even more of a reason to avoid sugar as much as possible.

Now that I am finished with the Whole30 I have a new outlook on food. Here are a few of my thoughts:
Stuffed Peppers!
  1. I cannot and will not go back to my old way of eating
  2. When I was doing the program my mood was more stable and I didn't feel as agitated or depressed
  3. I was overall happier and in a more positive mood
  4. Eating more raw and whole foods makes me feel awesome
  5. I  had little to no gas (whoot whoot!) and my system was much more regular
  6. Less dairy for me is better!!
  7. Spices are definitely my friend
  8. I don't need to drink alcohol, and if I do, 1 drink is plenty.
  9. Sugar makes me feel sick, hungover, lethargic and really alters my mood
  10. I have to do a better job of planning my meals, no more reaching for "easy" foods
Gotta love veggies from the garden
What the Whole30 program also did was open my mind to what really is in the foods we eat and how food affects our whole self. Sugar is seriously in everything! It's crazy!! Also I found that now I don't really enjoy some foods that I used to love. Ice cream and other desserts that I used to love are far too sweet for me. BBQ sauce and ketchup are sweet to me. I find just drinking seltzer is the perfect replacement for a sweet treat.

My plan going forward is this:
  • Eat less dairy (the occasional burger with cheese is okay)
  • Eat gluten free whenever possible
  • Avoid/limit my alcohol consumption
  • Take the time to look up new recipes and try new foods
  • Veggies are my friend, and we should get better acquainted 
  • Quality breakfast!
  • Don't be lazy and reach for processed "snack foods", take the time to prepare food
My plan is to do my best to not fall back into my old ways and focus on listening to my body to figure out what foods are best for me. I also plan on trying the Whole30 again.  I am thinking that doing it around Thanksgiving or Christmas will help keep me on track and away from all the sugary treats that come with those holidays. I am continuing to run and stay active! I have two big events this fall which I am looking forward to, the Reach the Beach 200 mile road race (I am part of a 6 woman team!) and the Rock n' Roll Savannah Marathon!!
My co-workers "adding sugar" to my salad!

The final thoughts I have to close out this post are that I still need to focus on who I am as a person and really not let other peoples thoughts, comments or actions take away from my path toward healthy living. It isn't worth it and doesn't benefit me in any way. This 30 day challenge was an opportunity for me to reflect on who I am and what is important to me and really helped me to refocus myself on my ultimate goal - living a fit healthy happy life.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Another Trip Around the Sun

Man, I was cute!
I turned 31 yesterday, crazy I know. I don't feel 31 and most people tell me that I don't look 31 (so either I don't, or they are just being nice). In thinking about my birthday I thought about where I thought I would be at 31. When I was in college I can tell you exactly what my life plan was. If you asked me about my life I would have told you I would be married with two kids (boy and girl obviously). I would own a house and have a great job. I would be the picture perfect happy American in a happy American family, living the dream.
Marathon finisher!

Instead, where am I? Divorced, living with my sister (love you M!), with a super awesome four-legged kid. I have college debt, a car loan and credit card debt. I work multiple jobs, but my main job is fulfilling and makes me happy, but definitely doesn't help me pay all my bills (hence the increasing credit card debt). I've lived short term in Georgia and New Jersey. I've traveled to Italy, Ireland and Ecuador. I've run 16 half marathons, 1 full marathon and 3 triathlons (with plans to do many many more). I've gone out to eat alone, camped alone and gone on some wonderful hikes and kayaks solo.

My 4-legged kid Odin
Quite a difference don't you think? Yeah, me too. But you know what, that's okay. Its okay that things didn't turn out the way I thought they would, because I beyond happy with my life. I wouldn't say I believe in fate, but I do believe that things happen for a reason.

From here I start to look forward to my next 31 years. Here's what I hope my next 31 years are filled with: adventures, health, love, friends, travel, good food, marathons, triathlons, rest and happiness!!

I love traveling to new places!
To jump-start the next phase of my life I am going to re-focus on my health. We all slip up at times, and recently I have been a bit to lenient with my eating habits. It's summer, with hot humid days come BBQ's, ice cream, etc. Yes, there are fresh fruits and vegetables, but as always I have been reaching for the grains, wheat and dairy instead (think pasta salad, cold beer, cheese and ice cream).  It is time for a reboot. I need to kick my sugar habit once and for all. That's why today was Day 1 of Whole30 (check it out!

I know it is going to be extremely hard to give up wheat, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol and all sugar for 30 days. But what this program will help me to do is wipe the slate clean and hopefully re-wire my brain to not constantly crave sugar. The one thing I really like about this program is that it is clearly stated that it is not a weight loss program. You are not allowed to weigh yourself or measure yourself for 30 days. I love this. Because although losing a few pounds would be great (and probably good for me), I want to not crave sugar and want to be in control of the foods I eat. When I eat I want my body to feel good so I have the energy to continue to do all the things I love!

Day 1
I didn't have to work, so was puttering around the house all day. It was a long weekend, so I napped and relaxed. It wasn't really an active day (although the weather was beautiful). 

Bulletproof coffee (black coffee blended with ghee and coconut oil)
Scrambled eggs with spinach and avocado

Smoothie (spinach, almonds, mango, frozen blueberries and half a frozen banana)

Grilled chicken (seasoned with olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper)
Steamed yellow squash over a bed of spinach
Salsa (I checked, it was made with all approved ingredients - in the future I plan to make my own).

Overall it was a successful day! I didn't really have any sugar cravings today, although I know that I am either going to learn to tolerate black coffee, or stop drinking it all together. The bulletproof coffee was okay, but not my usual with cream and sugar. The other thing I think is going to be hard for me is the after dinner sweet treat. As I sit here and type this post, all I want to do is go to the fridge and get myself a bowl of ice cream, or bowl of berries with whipped cream. Oh the humanity! It's only day 1, but that means I only have 29 to go! I can do this, and will be happier and healthier in the long run.

 I will continue to post updates on my progress including pictures, recipes and more!

Friday, June 19, 2015


In the recent past those words have become a mantra of sorts. I’ve realized that for me to stay sane as a person I need regular exercise and physical activity (hence the ridiculous number of races I do). On days that I’m not feeling great I know that all I really need to do is go for a walk, hike, bike or run. Those words also helped get me through the toughest physical challenge I have undertaken, running a marathon. I set the goal of running a marathon probably seven years ago. I had watched my brother run in the Boston Marathon and several other races. I finally decided that I didn’t want to sit and watch anymore, I wanted to be a part of the race. Even with that decided it still took me years to even sign up for a race. 

Nervous and excited selfie to start the race!!
On Sunday May 24th I stood in the starting line for the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, Vermont. I was nervous and excited, standing alone with only the butterflies in my gut to keep me company. I had signed up for this race before – last year. I had followed my training plan to a T, but unfortunately got very sick several weeks before and wasn’t able to run. Leading up the race this year I was more nervous than ever. Every sniffle I got made me anxious that it was going to turn into something more. But as luck would have it, I stayed healthy and was as ready as I could be for my big day! 

I couldn't do it without my cheering squad!
Even though I didn’t finish in the time I wanted to (in the end time didn’t matter to me one bit) – I finished the marathon, all 26.2 miles of it. I may have cried at the end when I found my Mom and sister and asked why on Earth people ran marathons. Tears and the pain that followed the race aside, I finished.
Never stop moving!
There were a few moments (okay, more than a few) when all I wanted to do is give up, stop running, stop moving. But I didn’t. I kept going, even though my feet hurt and my legs ached; even though I had a hard time standing up straight and keeping my head up. I put one foot in front of the other, sometimes at a walk, sometimes at a shuffle and kept going.

Post-race smiles!
Don’t get me wrong, the beginning of the race was awesome. Even though I was more nervous than you could imagine, I was also pumped. The people cheering on the side of the road, my fellow runners, the music, the energy was amazing. I used that energy to get myself going. And like many first time marathoners, I get a little over excited about the first few miles. I was cruising, really cruising. I was on course to run a sub 4-hour marathon and that couldn’t have made me happier. It wasn’t until mile 10 that things started to hurt. I hit a wall, frustration central. That’s when the mind games started.

Finally!! The finish line!!
The games where you know that you can keep going, that your legs aren’t as tired as your mind says they are, but all your mind wants you to do is stop. The ability to overcome your mind is the key to be successful in the long run (get it, haha, “long run”). I battled my mind for 4:50:53 and won.

Never stop moving. It means as long as you are physically able, do it - run, walk, swim, boat, crawl, hike, dance, jump – as long as it makes you happy, keep going. Set a goal and do what you need to do to accomplish it. Finally reaching a goal is the greatest feeling in the world. And it doesn't matter if it takes 1 week, 1 year or 7 years to reach it. Just keep working at it until you do.
A well deserved beverage

So so many tears at the finish
So happy my family was there to support me!!