The Never Before Update

As of September 28, 2015, I have been working my spiritual, emotional, nutritional, and physical self. This holistic approach is what I believe is necessary for my goals to be fully realized.

God has been so good to make this process simple for me. I am a highly analytical person, so I have that personality type (A) that makes you want to overdo everything. I look for ways to make something that should be simple, hard. Yep. That’s me. I don’t need a 12 step program to overcome my bondage–I need God. He has been revealing to me through many different ways that simplicity is all that is necessary. While faith without works is dead, works doesn’t have to be insane and it should free you not bind you.

CharissaSo, I joined my local YMCA, which I TOTALLY love!! I had plans to use the pool primarily and not the gym, and I’m using the gym primarily and not the pool (yet). It’s interesting how God works things out. I have an awesome trainer, Charissa Dixon, who has already helped me so much before even beginning to work with me. This was a God thing, too. A relative of hers from my church had suggested that I work with her. By divine appointment, she’s the one that was in when I came by unannounced to join. While I felt no obligation to work with her as a trainer, after talking with her, I immediately felt a connection. I am expecting great things!

I use ActivTrax (through the YMCA) to develop my workout that I follow on my iPhone, and I get in the gym daily and hit it hard. I don’t hold back. When I walk in, I walk in feeling like I belong there, instead of feeling like I need to hide, shameful of my size. God delivered me of that, too!! There is no shame in Jesus’ name and His unstoppable love! I now realize that my body represents years of energy that hasn’t been used. It had to be stored somewhere! Well now, I am wearing myself out every day. I am burning that energy! And even though it’s just been two weeks, I can see a difference in the photos below–especially around my neck and face–that’s encouraging.

I have gotten messages from people stating that I have encouraged their own personal journey. If you’ve followed my blog very long at all, you know how happy that makes me. Knowing that I encourage others motivates me to continue for them and myself. I know what it feels like to be alone in a pursuit. Even if you don’t workout side by side, sharing posts and encouragement joins your two journeys together. I love being able to share with others how God is working in and through me and introducing them to His Son, Jesus. Without Jesus, none of what I do would be worth it at all. The liberty that comes through my relationship with Jesus is what ultimately frees me from all worldly bondage and allows me to see the truth of the matter. The comfort that I receive from the Holy Spirit helps me to overcome any negativity that may try to rise up in me. Praise God, I’m FREE!! And I can feel that in my body as well as in my spirit.

I pray that those who follow this blog will find that same freedom. If you would talk more about your journey, please message me. I look forward to hearing from you, and pray that God blesses each one of you!

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Doing The “Never Before”

I can now share with you what I am doing to change my health situation, but first, a little background to explain why this is so difficult. Aside from the financial ramification of this choice, there is a HUGE faith related reason for my decision.

I have been working since I was 16 years old. Very young, I had aspirations to be successful in business. I have to admit that anything I’ve ever tried, I have succeeded in doing and have done very well. Whether it was pursuing my real estate broker’s license making me the youngest real estate broker in the area at the time, or continuing my education as a first generation college student, graduating summa cum laude (with highest honors) and going on to earn the only master’s degree in my extended family on either side, there was a common thread that ran through all of my ventures–hard work, sacrifice of time and money, and discomfort.

Recently, God has revealed to me that I am not a stranger to hard work, sacrifice of time and money, nor have I avoided a goal because of discomfort. Working two and three jobs to pay my way through college, which required me to stay up all hours of the night completing homework assignments was pretty uncomfortable. It was definitely hard work and a sacrifice of time, and if you’ve ever paid for a college degree, you know it is definitely a sacrifice of money. He reminded me that there is NO door that He opens for me that He would not fully equip me to handle, so here comes the big GULP and deep SIGH of faith. You know the one that happens just before you step out onto a visual cliff. I can turn tail and run, or I can JUMP, so I…..JUMPED!

resignation-letterEffective yesterday morning, I resigned from my job. As I typed that, I felt like I was going to vomit for a millisecond. Yeah, that’s the feeling of stepping out of faith. It gets down in the pit of your stomach. It’s that feeling you get when you drive over a bump in the road too fast and leave your stomach at the top of the bump. Can you see the connection between my decision and my goal yet? Maybe not, so let me continue in just how this is going to play out.

During all of that time that I invested in business and education, I made some really negative health decisions. I stayed up WAY too late depriving myself of sleep causing a huge back log that I’ll likely never recover from. Being up all hours of the day and night, I had no rules for when to eat. I would eat when I was hungry, sleepy, bored, emotional because food was the quickest way to deal, and it could conform to any situation like driving, studying, etc. Food is easily accessible and very mobile, making it easily abused and misused. Needless to say, years of my focus being on my brain, my body suffered.

For at least the next 12 months, I will be a full-time student of good nutrition, health and fitness. No, I am not enrolling in a class for it. At least not right now. I will be attending the school of hard knocks. I am going to be giving my body, mind, and spirit a full-time job. It won’t pay monetarily. Financially, I will have to completely trust God (something I must admit I’ve NEVER done before). I feel wholeheartedly that God has led me to this place. He and I have stood at the door, and He said, “It’s ok. Go on in.” Faith is acting on something that you hope for–knowing that your action will not be in vain even though you can’t see the result (and you can’t see God).

It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. It’s like that zip line 200 ft up in the air that I would never in a million years ride down. It is like descending to 70 ft below water and taking a breath and your scuba oxygen being there for you to enjoy God’s creation at the bottom of a spring–I have done that! Yes, I know what it feels like. I have been a good student. I have been an excellent employee. I have ALL the skills necessary to be able to succeed in this goal, and I WILL DO IT by the grace of God.

So if you know me personally (or if you don’t), please think of the most terrifying thing you’ve ever attempted to do, and add to it you just left your financial security to pursue doing it, and please give me a shout of support. If you see me around town walking, working out, buying groceries, on FB, Twitter, or WordPress, stop and say hello. If you want to make the same leap of faith, hey, JUMP! The water is just fine!! You won’t be alone. Give me a shout and let’s continue on this journey together. This time next year we will reveal the great work that God has done in us.

Thank you God for your faithfulness and provision. I pray that all that I do will do nothing more but glorify you!

Different Choice For Different Result

I am SO ready for something different in my life! I have been never had never doneworking on getting my physical health in check, and I have not had great success. Perhaps if I were just 20 pounds over weight, my efforts would be golden. Yes, I have experienced positive changes, but I am needing BIG results. Since I want a different result, I realize I am going to have to do something different. This quote has really been on my mind this past week, and it is becoming more and more obvious what I need to do. I have NEVER pictured myself doing this.

CHANGEI have always stayed away from things that made me feel uncomfortable. There are actually a lot of things in my life that could be different if I didn’t allow things to make me uncomfortable. Well, change is uncomfortable. It requires you to accept that you are letting yourself enter into a world that you have very little control over. This is where faith comes in. I’m grateful to serve a faithful God.

I have promised myself a change. This week, I do-something-today-that-your-future-self-will-thank-you-foram going to do something totally outside anything I have EVER done before. I can’t tell you what it is just yet, but I can share more with you tomorrow. God has really made it clear what He is wanting to do in me when I do take my big jump of faith, now to honor the promises I’ve made to myself and DO IT.

 

 

Whole30 Ruined “Food” For Me

Used to, I could eat multiple portions of the most sinful pizza ever. I could eat large quantities of ice cream or other desserts.

I can’t remember how many times I whipped through a specific drive-thru just for their french fries, and would savor them.

Buffets? They used to be my preference because I liked being able to eat whatever I want to eat and go back as many times as I wanted.

This year my husband and I started Whole30 for my second time. I committed to a 90 day run of it, and we finished a 120 day run of it. From day 121-150, I became totally amazed at what had happened to me as a result of maintaining a Whole30 nutrition style for as long as we did.

After completing a Whole30, I didn’t return to eating what I used to think was “food”. I kept making the same Whole30 choices because they had become my new behavior, but then, we didn’t prepare our meat for the week. We didn’t do our typical produce shopping, so we stopped and picked something up for supper. KFC chicken that we generally really like, I sat down with my plate ready to enjoy my meal, and with bite one, I was so disappointed. I left the food on the plate, and it went into the trash. Burger? ughhh. Last night, I had a steak, sweet potato, green beans and a salad out with my family, and I only ate the steak and the green beans. The sweet potato was weird (and I love sweet potatoes). The meal was so underwhelming.

I’m ruined. Totally ruined. I can’t eat junk or fast food anymore with the same enjoyment that I once did. Do you know how much of a relief that is? For someone who has suffered with eating addictions for so long, it is nice to free from the need to stuff my face with a huge bowl of never-ending pasta at Olive Garden or all you can eat fried shrimp at a once favorite seafood restaurant.

For years, I have wanted to be free of this bondage to junk food. I felt tied up and bound by an invisible force that I couldn’t stop. I’ve said so many times in the past, “I don’t know what is wrong with me…I just can’t get control over this.” I am SO glad to be able to say that Whole30 has ruined “food” for me.

Thank you Whole30! You returned me to my first love of fresh food and produce. REAL FOOD. I can make do with a junk meal here and there, but I am not at all satisfied with it as I once was. I look forward to fresh tomatoes, eggs, and avocados for breakfast. I love freshly grilled meat made at home with love by my husband. I don’t miss sweets, although we do have them occasionally. I am so thankful to no longer be in bondage.

This is the type of ruin that I will gladly live in the rest of my life!

What Not To Wear – Motivation Edition

I’m sure you are familiar with the show What Not To Wear. Well this blog post will be a spin on that topic. Not because the fashion, not because of vanity but for motivation.

I’m going to focus on time that you have at home after work or on the weekend. How do you dress whenever you get home from work? Do you stay in your work clothes until time for bed? Are you like a lot of women (like me) who begin to shed the bra I soon as you walk in the door? Do you get out of your work clothes and into something more comfortable? Believe it or not, your answers to these questions can determine whether you will be motivated to exercise or not.

I have been thinking about this topic for quite some time. I decided I would do a blog post on the decisions that I make. In one picture you see a blue gown. In another picture you’ll see a workout outfit complete with shoes and Fitbit. The one that I choose will greatly determine how the remainder of my day will go. Let’s take a look at each of those hangers.

Hanger 1 is the blue gown. I admit when I am at home after working, I want to be comfortable.  After a whole day of being in a 44DDD bra, I am definitely ready to shed the bra. My shoulders have red imprints on them from the pull of gravity. My back is tired from that pressure also, so if I go home and change into that blue gown, then you can forget it. The most exercise I am going to get will be from moving around the house. This is generally the type of decision that I have been making until now.

Hanger 2 is the workout outfit. It doesn’t really have to be just a workout outfit. It can actually be my “getting comfortable outfit” too. The difference, however, is the bra because as I mentioned if the bra comes off all deals are off. Interestingly enough, when I put on the workout outfit, complete with my socks and my shoes, I am pretty comfortable even with the bra still on. Now, I say that having not been in the bra all day long, so just for long enough to take a walk and then get back in and get a shower and get changed into something comfortable I’m sure that would be okay too if it is a workday.

 Picture three. This is the decision I made today on a day off first thing when I woke up. I chose a workout outfit with my Fitbit, my socks, and shoes. As soon as I got my shoes on, something interesting happened. I filled up my water bottle and headed out the door for a one mile walk. I’m participating in a challenge from someone on FB, I Lost Big And So Can You, to walk a mile a day for 30 days. Since I do tend to be tired after work, my goal is to walk my mile at lunch during the week, or just before I pick up my son at the YMCA.

So I am motivated to get active, motivated by someone to walk a mile a day, and now motivated by the positive choice that I made in clothing. So let’s get moving. I’m glad that I made the choice I did today. While this idea of choosing the blue down or choosing the workout outfit was more of a theory for this blog post initially, testing it today showed me that what I choose to wear does have A LOT to do with whether or not I take additional steps. At least, it is true for me. Do your own test to see if it is true for you.

If you are that type of person who comes home tired and just wants to shed those work clothes and get comfortable, choose the comfortable workout clothes. That means that you need to have comfortable workout clothes. Look I know the struggle of not being able to find workout clothes. For a long time I was a 4X and a 5X in some sizes. Now, I am a 3X/4X. The point is that I kept looking and I found clothes that work for me. Since the pants I wear now aren’t available anymore, I will be buying a couple of pairs in the current size and the next size down once I find them again. I highly recommend Cato Plus. If you have suggestions, PLEASE share with us in comments!!

In summary, I am out to get healthy. Dress to impress your goals–not other people. Unlike the television clothes, don’t think twice about what other people think of what you have one. If it motivates you to exercise, wear it! Find clothes that work for you. Most importantly find comfortable shoes. Find things that motivate you and get moving. Let’s do it!

I Don’t Miss A Thing

outrunforkI’ve had people tell me that they wouldn’t be able to follow a plan like Whole30. To each person who has said that I have responded, “Yes, you can.” Because we, as a people, have allowed ourselves to be perfectly ok with full-time junk to fuel our body (no judging here–I was really good at it), we feel like we just can’t live without all of the things that we THINK we enjoy.

I remember making all types of decedent desserts. Many people purchased them from me when I was baking from home. I was a really good baker and very creative with sugar, flour, and CHOCOLATE. There were many of them that I would indulge in myself, so yeah, I get it. Are you kidding? You had to find someone to make it for you. I was able to make it for myself, and I did–way too much. I realized this was not a healthy profession for me.

Having a low tolerance to sugar and flour, I didn’t need to be consuming it regularly. I was tired of feeling the way I was feeling, so when I read that Whole30 was only a 30 day program, I said, I CAN DO ANYTHING FOR 30 DAYS. I didn’t know what that was going to mean for my baking business. I thought I would just slowly add things back and be in control of it enough to continue, but Christmas proved that wasn’t the case. I wanted to get healthy and feel proud of my accomplishment. I did just that!

So Margie, why are you still eating Whole30? Well, I’m not eating COMPLETELY Whole30. If this were my 1st Whole30 attempt, there would still be things I would be cutting out (although very little). I guess the short answer is that I don’t see any reason to add any of the things I eliminated back. I don’t miss it, so why add it back? Does it mean I will NEVER eat dairy, rice, flour, sugar, legumes or soy ever again? No, it doesn’t. It means that I will not make a place for those things in my home. It’s like vacationing with family. You love to visit, but you don’t really want to live there.

My home is a nutritionally safe place for my entire family now, and I intend for it to stay that way. Why would I want to change that? If I want ice cream, then we’ll make a choice of what type we want to have and have some, but it won’t be in my freezer at home, nor will it be consumed on a regular basis. What is really great is that even though we have allowed ourselves those choices, we seldom make them. When we do, we’re like, “well that was ok, but it wasn’t really all that great.” Our taste buds have changed, and yours would, too. You’ll give up things you thought you couldn’t live without and add things you never thought you liked. I’m serious!

You never think you can do without something until you do without it. A cell phone. Internet. Cable. Junk food. It’s all the same. Things that we have developed obsessions over. I’m glad that I’ve broken that obsession. The program helps you eliminate “snacks” and “grazing.” I personally needed longer than 30 days, but you may not. Some people do just 30 days and find perfect balance like the maker’s of the program. I’m sure it has a lot to do with just how deep you are in that obsession. I was pretty far.

So, don’t close your mind to the idea. It is by far the simplest program to follow. It is free. I do highly recommend their book because it totally explains why everything does start with food. If you take medication for things like high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, thyroid disorders, hormone imbalances, then you are spending a lot of money to provide medication that allows you to continue eating the way you do. You’ll be surprised how awesome you feel, and how your numbers will find their healthy place, eliminating your need for medication and saving you money.

If you suffer with auto-immune disorders, there have been rave reviews from people who are managing MS and others with this program. Really…30 days…you can do anything for 30 days, right?? A serious, true effort. If it does nothing for you, then hey, there are fast food places all around. Knock yourself out, but don’t knock it until you try it. I really think you are going to be very surprised and will feel like me–why add back what you don’t miss?

I am available to help you. If you live in the Waycross/Blackshear area, I am happy to meet with you to discuss this program further. I will also be offering other services (regardless of your nutrition program) on a fee basis such as meal prep coaching (in your kitchen), healthy shopping (what to buy/what to avoid–this is an in-store service), and development of behavior modification plans (for those who have long standing habits that need to be eliminated). These services can be one-time services or ongoing at your discretion. See me as your partner in the pursuit of improved health. We’re on the same journey! NOTE: Online coaching is also an option for those outside my area. Message me for more information.

The next 30 days will pass regardless–what would you like to have accomplished in that time frame?

No Freeloaders Allowed – Food Edition

I think everyone has the policy of no freeloaders. You don’t allow people to just float around your life and benefit from all of your hard work. Why allow your food to do the same thing.

There are certain foods that take no effort at all to eat, so they contribute only calories. They don’t burn calories while being consumed. Some literally “melt in your mouth,” which is desirable for flavor but undesirable for your waistline.

There are foods that do burn calories by merely eating them. Raw vegetables are a great example. Many raw vegetables actually burn more calories to eat and burn than they contribute caloricly (I think I made that word up). Now that’s what I call pulling your own load!!!

So don’t allow food to freeload. See those empty calories as someone who keeps coming around with empty pockets but wants to live rent free in the house that you’re working hard to build.

 I’ve been thinking deeply about this as you see, and I am starting to make my snacks work for me. I have developed a love of raw carrots and celery. They are very satisfying and do the job they are intended to do. I think I’ll make room for them in my life.

Hartwig and Powell Offspring?

hartwigpowelllovechildWhat do you get when you cross a Hartwig (Melissa and Dallas Hartwig) with a Powell (Chris and Heidi Powell)? You get Whole30CarbCycling, which is exactly what I am doing.

I tried this earlier, as you’ll notice in the category for My Health Fusion. I have added the two programs together to develop one that allows me to focus on serious weight loss, while still eating the awesomeness that I picked up through Whole30. I give total props to all of these people. They are awesome, and the development of their programs have helped me to truly find myself–in the health sense.

This past week of Whole30CarbCycling, I lost 2.9 lbs. I have been Whole30 since January 1, 2015, and my weight had stalled. I know many people are really close to their goal, and it alone works for them, but I have a lot of weight to lose. Not just a lot of weight but stubborn weight. Carb cycling works for the participants of the Powell’s Extreme Weight Loss, so I am going to make it work for me.

What plan to you follow?

Choose To Lose – Revisited

I have written a number of posts about various programs and fitness mentors that I really like. choose to loseAmong those is Choose To Lose – The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution by Chris Powell. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I took a stab at this, but it was right after my first Whole30, and I had a problem adding back carbs without eventually losing it (not weight) over sugar.

Now that I have been over 102 days, Whole30ish and without sugar, I feel like I can take another look at this program. The behavior element is in check now. I don’t feel like I need to push the envelope, or indulge in a full day “cheat” like the program offers you the opportunity to do. I realize this element was added into the program to make it a more sustainable program, but after Whole30, I don’t feel like I need “cheat” meals or cheat days. I do take “choice” meals from time to time, and we do take a “choice” day once a month. No cheating…just good, healthy choices that veer from our norm of Whole30 eating.

I thought I would have to forget the Choose to Lose program for good since I don’t eat grains, legumes or artificial or natural sweeteners, but after taking another pass at reading the nutrition section of the book, I see that you eat meat and fruit for breakfast (or meat and a starchy carb-sweet potato will work well here). Well, I can do the meat and fruit. No problem. On low carb days, it is meat and vegetables, and I do that every day. I feel like I can really do this! Incorporate both my Whole30Life way of eating and carb cycling–at the same time.

You may ask why I am wanting to try this again. Even eating Whole30 for over 100 days, I haven’t experienced weight loss to a degree that I feel I should be. Whole30 reduces your meals to just 3 meals a day. According to Choose to Lose, you need 5 meals a day (2 are snacks of course), to keep your metabolism stoked. I believe that people who are already near their ideal weight can do the 3 meals a day (Whole30) and still lose weight, but years of stubborn weight gain and a sluggish metabolism is just not responding to it. It’s time to try again.

Today, I stopped in at Curves and had her measure me again. For the most part, I am unchanged since January. Even given my awesome eating and recent added movement. It’s time to try something else that will not throw everything that I’ve accomplished to the wind but instead will build upon it.

I plan to incorporate the workout in Choose to Lose as well as the Wii Fit Plus running and yoga. I also accomplished a 1 mile walk for charity under 20 minutes. I am already planning to participate in my second one and I am marking them down on my calendar to become that “benefit walker/runner (eventually)” that you love to hate! 🙂 I actually want to start training, so I can reduce my time. Couch-to-5K has been suggested to help with that, so I will look at adding the app to my phone, so I can have some help in building the number of minutes that I jog instead of walk.

So my health fusion is growing. I’ll get my green back on with my green thickies soon. I do miss them. I need to prepare my sweet potatoes in advance for quick/easy morning use. If you’d like to know more about my health fusion, take a look at the categories section. I have more about it there.

I will also be looking to raise money for my Health Coach certification. It’s $600, which pays for the books, helps and tests. I do have a GoFundMe tab above if you would like to help me make that happen. I would greatly appreciate your help of any amount.

Getting Over Myself

This journey has been a long one, but wow, has it been worth it!! While I have overcome many obstacles to this straight and narrow of great nutrition and consistent exercise, now it’s time to get over the biggest obstacle of all — ME.

Yes, I totally get in my own way, CORRECTION, I DID get in my own way. Note the past tense!! I am conquering that obstacle now.

I need to get out of the way of my vision. I need to open my mind to what the future does indeed hold for me. With the knowledge that I have of where my journey is going, I need to begin preparing for the future. I was feeling like I needed to wait until my body reflected the changes that I’ve made, but that is a lot of wasted time. I shouldn’t wait to change my mind about myself just because others haven’t changed their mind about me yet.

SOOOO, I am preparing to take the BIGGEST step in my HC-Elite-iPadjourney. Maybe even the bravest step in my journey. I am going to pursue certification as a Health Coach. EEEEEKKKK!! I just typed that in black and white! Yes, I DID AND I AM!! What an awesome way to further support my health goals than to further educate myself about health, fitness (Crystal, I said/typed it!) and behavior change specifically for people just like me (well, the me I used to be!). (I already hold a B.S. degree in Behavior Analysis, but this will be a specialization in the health side, which is really exciting)

So, please root me on. I could use your support! I am very excited about the future and the changes that are happening in my life. I can’t wait to begin sharing it with others, even beyond this blog.

Thank you for sharing in my journey. I would love to hear from you, so please comment to let me know that there is life out there!!

Burning Calories While Entertaining A Toddler

I joined my husband in a challenge to intentionally exercise 30 minutes for 30 days. We just finished our 90th day on Whole30, which means our nutrition is in check, but our fitness is WAY off. If the 30 day challenge will be as effective as the Whole30 challenge was, then I am very excited about what my life is going to become within the next 30-90 days (I’m sure we won’t stop at 30–those days are over.)

I have the challenge of working full-time (like most people), and then picking up our toddler who wants every bit of our attention, which we love to give. The problem with that is that it gives little time for us to focus on fitness. Today, I found a way to accomplish my goal of exercising for 30 minutes while entertaining him at the same time.

I decided to use the Wii Fit Plus Running exercise to begin getting myself used to moving faster than a walk. There are many benefits of doing this. 1) My son loves cartoons, so he watched intently thinking it was one of his shows. 2) I was able to exercise without him pulling on me to stop. 3) I hope it will teach him to exercise with me. 4) As I progressed in the game, I opened longer distances, allowing me to fill my 30 minutes with running. 5) I am building my endurance, so I can take it to the road.

I plan to pick this back up tomorrow. Let’s see what happens when he sees the same “cartoon” again.  Do you have a story to share about incorporating fitness when you have children? Share in “Comments.”

Baby Steps to Eating Healthy

Continuing my series on Transforming in a Fat Prejudiced Society, today’s post is how to make baby steps to eating healthy. In July 2014, I completed my 1st round of Whole30 which is babystepsvery simply eating meat, vegetables and fruit in their most natural state, which means eliminating foods with added ingredients  (see graphic at right–Whole30 Nos).

This experience was awesome, but for me, 30 days wasn’t long enough to keep me on the straight and narrow beyond 4 months. Christmas time, which is difficult for most everyone, totally killed my weight loss for the year, and I realized that sugar was indeed my enemy, along with dairy which is a big time trigger food group for me.

I’m now 90 days into my plan to implement this for the entire year and maybe the rest of my life. Again, I didn’t just wake up for my first baby step and conquer this (although I do believe if you’re really fed up, you may be able to, so don’t restrict yourself. It’s always worth a try! You can do anything for 30 days, right?).

All of that being said, this was a process. I’ve been working on modifying my behavior over the course of years and have been successful doing it. The behavior changes didn’t result in weight loss, but they did result in control over food options. Now, to share how I did that.

It’s really very simple. You are ready for change emotionally. You are ready, right? You’re ready to give the effort? Or are you just wanting change to come without your effort because that only exists in really bad infommercials, and none of that is for sale here. This is for the person who is ready for change. Sick to death of feeling like you do emotionally and physically. Yes, you! You’re ready!! You can do this!!

So the very simple step is to not buy anything in a package. Of course everything comes in packages, so let me clarify. If it went through a “process” to be edible, then don’t buy it. At this phase, if I wanted lasagna, I made it. Macaroni? I made it from scratch. If it is worth having, it is worth you making it yourself. What? You can’t cook?? No excuse. YouTube exists! Blogs exist. You can find step by steps everywhere on the web now. So you have NO excuse for not being able to cook. Don’t want to cook?? Then consider a raw food diet. That is actually a very viable option. Check it out.

This step made shopping very easy. I skipped all of the prepackaged meals and sides. I bought the ingredients necessary to make the items I wanted. My cooking skill improved. There are lots of healthy eating resources out there for free recipes online. People just love sharing what they’ve cooked and how they did it. I personally love the Clean Eating Magazine. The great part about this is almost all of these resources are on FB, too, so you can combine this step along with the previous step of making your environment positive. Add the healthier FB pages and unfollow those that aren’t healthy, so it isn’t in your face how to create a tripe chocolate, oreo cookie, peanut butter, chocolate whopper, dessert because honestly, who needs any one of those items much less all of them in the same dish?!

So, back when I was taking my first step toward healthier eating for me and my family, my shopping buggy was full of items like milk, cheese (although processed–that’s a different process than what I’m referring to) and juice. I skipped all the aisles with crackers and cookies and went straight to the canned fruit and vegetables. I bought fruit in it’s own juice instead of syrup. I bought plain canned vegetables without anything else added other than salt. I then went to the pastas and bought angel hair pasta because it’s quicker to cook. I do prefer the brand that is made with vegetables, so I suggest those. It is a healthier option.

I did eat beans and rice at the time (although I do not now). Choose Basmati or Jasmine rice, they have a lower glycemic impact. Use real butter instead of margarine and eliminate items with added sugar as much as you can begin doing. Of course, the next step is meat. Get it from the meat department. Fresh meat, no added seasonings because they almost always include sugar or brown sugar.

Add your own spices and be careful–many of them have added sugar and flavor boosters that border on addictive. Stick with simple spices that when added together are awesome like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Thai seasoning free of sugar, there are many options out there. Just be sure to get the unsalted options because you’ll add salt also to make your mix, and you don’t want it to be too much salt.

Finish up in produce and bread. While I don’t eat bread now, I did choose breads higher in grains. They are really good. I was eating the 12-14 whole grain option, and it was really good, but baby step up to that if you need to. Look for bread options that say no high fructose corn syrup and low in sugar.

Have a blast in the produce department. You may be walking into this area for the first time in your life. What? You mean that squash doesn’t come already sliced and frozen when it’s born? 😉 Now don’t get me wrong. Frozen is ok, too. I actually forgot this aisle. This does help in prep time and makes cooking faster. Totally ok as long as it doesn’t come in sauces. Just raw veggies or fruit, frozen.

I do encourage you to get some fresh produce and begin adding it to your meal plan. Potatoes, white and sweet. Squash and zucchini. Spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions, everything you need for your salad. I’m from the south, so those are my go to veggies, but there may be other options where you live. Eat what is in season because it will have the most flavor. As far as fruit, have fun with it, but be careful with those that have a higher natural sugar content. They can sabotage your weight loss goals. Eat them in moderation–those are grapes, apples, and really ripe bananas. Eat plenty of citrus and berries. They are lower in fructose. Enjoy nuts in moderation. Eat them in their raw state. You’ll be shocked just how awesome they taste! Be careful for peanuts, many people have allergies to peanuts an don’t even realize it. If you have gut troubles, eliminate beans (not string beans) and peanuts.

So that is your first shopping trip of eliminating processed foods. There are no canned meals or boxed meals in your shopping buggy. You’re reading labels and avoiding anything that has sugar or high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. Some items may have sugar as an ingredient lower on the list, and that’s ok for this baby step phase with the plan to eventually buy only items free of sugar.

You can totally do this. You’re going to feel very good about yourself and so good about your improved cooking skills. You’re even going to see that you’re having fun. I would love to share more of what I’ve learned about cooking and preparing healthy food, so if there is a place that you would like for me to start, please comment. Let me know what types of food you like, and I will show you how you can do it at home. Hey, I’m all about simple and fast. I don’t do the long elaborate recipes, so I’m not expecting that of you either. So what would you like to see?

Come back soon. I will be writing on the next big phase that you may want to join me on. It’s called #Fit30. I will be writing on it this weekend. Don’t miss it!

GoFundMe/241Journey

I am SO excited to announce that I am taking the next step in my journey by starting a GoFundMe/241Journey campaign. This comes at a perfect time after the post on creating your own group of support. This, however, is a little different. It is my motivation.

I am highly motivated by helping others be successful. It causes a “practice what you preach” response in me, which really helps me dig deep in pursuit of my goals. I also feel that as I experience success in reaching my goals, my success will in turn motivate those who I am assisting. It’s an awesome cycle!

I have been faced with opportunities to help people who are obese/morbidly obese. I don’t charge anyone to help them, and in cases when I buy something that will help them reach a goal, I don’t request repayment. I am by no means rich. I just believe in paying it forward when I am able to. Limited funds, however, prevent me from being to cast a wider net. I can help one person here and one person there, but I would like to really be able to reach out and begin building a much larger network.

GoFundMe/241Journey will offer that opportunity. There are a lot of people out there who say, “Oh, I’d love to help but I don’t have the skill or the time,” and helping to fund this campaign will allow them to do just that without needing skill or time. They help others through making it financially possible for me to assist participants in eliminating as many obstacles to good health/nutrition/fitness as possible.

Notice the new menu at the top of this blog. I will be providing regular feedback also to allow donors to know just how effective their support was. NOTE: 100% of the funds received will be used to assist participants.

Please take time to share this post with your friends across all social media avenues. You’ll notice there is a list of share buttons at the end of this post. Thank you for sharing, and if you choose to support my campaign, thank you, thank you, thank you for paying it forward. May it return to you 100 fold!

 

Live in the Positive Zone

My second elaboration post from my article on being successful in a fat prejudiced society encourages you to live in the positive zone. What is the positive zone? It is anywhere there are positive messages and positive people. It is a zone that you create for yourself in your mind and in those you surround yourself with.

1. Positive messages.
voice in your head a liarThe messages around people with a lot of weight to lose are grossly negative. It is very easy to be demotivated and even sabotaged by such negative messages, so be intentionally positive. Find positive messages that inspire you to work past the negative. Pin them on Pinterest for easy access.  Find them on Twitter. Share them on Facebook. Wake in the morning to positive messages, and before you sleep at night, end with positive messages.

2. Positive people
Margie no photoYou know the type of people I am talking about. The ones that just seem to have “found it.” They have found the way to be excited about any type of success in health and nutrition or in mind and spirit. Surround yourself with those people. By the same, rid your life of negative energy that will zap your life of anything positive. They are bad for your health! Make changes where changes need to be. Sometimes, we set ourselves up for failure because of the places we decide to frequent. Think it through. Does it make you excited to be in this phase of your life? If not, change.

3. Social Media
Over the course of a year, I have gone through a major purging of social media. I started with things that would trip me, like Food Porn. What is food porn? You know what it is. Those photos that float around social media that you “Share,” “Pin,” and “Tweet” because they look so incredible you want to look at them over and over again. Those meals that you have no intention of making, but you want to dream about them. They are kryptonite! I’m not saying you have to do completely without good looking food, but I do have suggestions.

Make your social media outlets all healthy food friendly. While you are working on getting your physical person healthy, this may require you “unfollowing” some friends. I have friends who I love to death. They are still my friends on all social media outlets, but I have unfollowed their posts because they haven’t reached the same point I have in eliminating food porn. If they tag me in a post, then I will see they are talking to me, but otherwise, I check out their profile to see what’s going on with them. It keeps me updated without having images pop up in my face at times when I may be vulnerable.

4. Follow Positive Blogs
Just like this blog, follow positive blogs that will encourage you every day. Be careful. Some blogs may appear to encourage you to be a better version of yourself health wise, but may in reality be a negative venting blog for someone who is trying to make their way to being positive. I know what that is like because my blog started out that way, but then I realized that positive-in equals positive-out. I’ve constantly made changes, and will probably continue to make changes. We aren’t growing if we aren’t changing.

I hope you found this post to be very positive and motivating. I ask you to share it with your friends. Maybe you’re already in a healthy place in your life. I am sure you have friends who could really use this advice, so please share it across all social media platforms. You’ll find the sharing links at the bottom of each post. I also encourage you to comment. Let me know how you’re doing on your journey. Until then, may you find much about your day to smile about!

Transformation Environment

I shared in my last article the top ways to have a successful transformation in a fat prejudiced society. I feel that each of the steps should be elaborated on, so you can feel comfortable with getting started on your own transformation journey.

Step 1: Join or create a support group.

I have always been a hands on learner and creator. Since the first grade, I have been a leader–always walking around helping others. Put those things together in an adult, and you have an advocate. Advocates want to do something about injustices in the world. The term “world” can be defined as environment. For transformation to be successful, you really need a supporting environment. That is something as an advocate, I decided to create.

So what if you don’t have one? Join one or start one! I have been a member of several groups on FB, and it always seems that the group gets so large, so there is no real one-on-one interaction. You still feel as alone in your journey as you did before joining. So, I started my own. I started with a couple of friends with the same health goals, and over time, I have met ladies online who were on the same journey. Sometimes they are further along in their journey and had advice to share and sometimes, it was day one for the 1,987,438 time. I’ve been THERE.

In starting the group, I have to not only be accountable to myself but to these ladies also. I have had weeks when I didn’t post anything. They would speak up, and I would be able to get back on track. Now, I am firmly on track, and our group is really thriving. I keep my group small because I want to be able to provide one-on-one support to each of them. In providing them with support, I in turn am encouraging myself. It really helps me to help others. It’s more of that “practice what you preach” kind of thing.

So if you don’t have the technical skill to start a private FB group, consider starting a LIVE group in your area, or join one. Look for groups that will be able to provide that environment of encouragement and accountability. Look for groups that have rules for accountability. You don’t need more people who just let you do whatever you want. There are plenty of those people in your life. You need someone who will say, “It’s time to check in.”

Most importantly, be sure the group is an encouraging group. You don’t want to join a group that just sits around and talks about how horrible they feel. You don’t want to join a group that allows negative self-talk. Join a group of cheerleaders. You need to be around people who are going to want to know your goals and want to see you achieve them.

Are you a member of a group I’ve described? I’d like to hear more about your experience in the group. What do you like or not like? What would you like to see more of or less of? Let’s start talking! I encourage your comments.

 

Transforming In A Fat Prejudiced Society

Transforming in a fat prejudiced society is not an emotionally simple task. In the United States (and perhaps even worse elsewhere), people are judged by the condition of their body. Not even the true condition of their body, but the visual condition of their body. If you are small, you’re typically considered more attractive or desirable and healthy than if you’re large (there are some exceptions of course).

So how does someone who has 100, 200, 300 lbs to lose stay encouraged and motivated in a society that judges them on the basis of their body? For years, the demotivating stare of others would speak volumes to me. They may not have even been thinking about me, but the stare would communicate to me negative things that caused me to resort to behaviors that would comfort me. Eating was one of those because when someone has an eating disorder (and obviously you do when you have large numbers to lose), you seek silence while eating. You hide. This is dangerous behavior and one of the first ones that needs to go for your success.

Here are my top ways of transforming in a fat prejudiced society:

1. Join or create a small support group of people who will cheer you on and who you can cheer on.

2. Be proud of your journey. Find motivating messages on t-shirts and on social media.

3. Shop healthy. Cut all the bad stuff. Shopping healthy is one of the most motivating and empowering experiences I’ve ever experienced!

4. Smile at those who are looking at you. Look at them directly in their eyes and smile your beautiful smile. Let them see the beauty inside you.

5. Stop all negative self-talk (even in your head). Don’t assume others are thinking the worst about you.

I will write on each of these topics individually in the future because there’s more that can be said about each of them. If you have a suggestion for how you positively handle transforming in a fat prejudiced society, I would love to hear from you. You’ll find the comments link on the left of the article.

Let your inner beauty shine through.You may even have to do a little work, find it, and dust it off because you haven’t even appreciated your inner beauty in a long time. If you have problems with finding that beauty, you message me. I’ll help you get there.

Making Temporary Changes Lifelong

When I tried the food elimination program Whole30, I had no plans in making temporary changes lifelong. Since that first stint in July 2014, I have completed 2 consecutive Whole30 rounds, and I am on my third round. What started out as “I can do anything for 30 days,” resulted in the beginning of behavior change. I realized after Christmas that I would need longer than 30 days to make this something that will be with me the rest of my life.

My New Year’s Resolution would be to complete 3 consecutive Whole30 stints. I am now starting week 2 of my third round. The behavior change is deeply engrained now. I must admit that my husband joining me in this challenge has definitely helped me throughout this process. His excitement about the results continually reminds me of why we are doing what we’re doing.

I have no desire to change anything, which is good considering our goal to complete this entire year eating Whole30 with only one day a month as a break. The changes have been huge. Our behavior has changed so much that even on our off day, we are making really great choices.

Judge My Buggy NOT My Body

Lately, I have been thinking about how society views people who are overweight (obese, morbidly obese). For the largest segment of the population, the view is very superficial. We are measured by what we look like. Not just measured but judged. There are clicks where we won’t fit, stereotypically. There are jobs we won’t be offered, which is legal because being overweight isn’t a protected class. People judge based on the package–not the entire package but basically just the outside.

I want to send the message that just as we shouldn’t judge people based on their past because they could have changed over the years, a person’s body, thin or overweight, shouldn’t be judged. A thin person shouldn’t be assumed to have an eating disorder, and by the same token, it shouldn’t be assumed they eat healthy. The same applies to overweight people. Don’t assume that their current body accurately reflects the level of their discipline. The only way to properly determine the overall nutritional health of a person would be to judge their grocery buggy.

I have been overweight since puberty. I have gained approximately 5 lbs a year over the course of my life. When you do the basic math of junk food calories, it doesn’t take a lot to equal a gain of 5 lbs a year. Given the terrible food choices I’ve made over the years, I think my body has been pretty forgiving to only add 5 lbs a year, but I digress. This fat suit that I have been wearing all these years is much more difficult to remove than it was to put on. The worst part is that although I have maintained a healthy eating lifestyle since July 2014 (excluding Christmas season–I went awol), my body still reflects the bad decisions I have made over the years.

Unless I wear a sign that says, “Don’t Judge My Body Based On My Past Choices”, people will still make assumptions about me that aren’t true. Now, the list of people that I really care what they think is very short, but it is still a societal prejudice that should be broken. I am trying to do my part by writing about it to educate others that a person’s buggy will tell far more about them than their body will. My buggy will tell you that there is ZERO junk in my house, and my family eats very healthy–despite our out of shape bodies.

Everything that goes in my buggy is whole (in their most natural state available in a grocery store without anything added to them and a very short ingredients list of only natural items and no sugar added). Meat, vegetables (and a lot of them), and fruit. I would be happy to be judged by my buggy now. I actually love grocery shopping. It is very empowering to know that I am making healthy decisions. What is unfortunate is that it takes a years of healthy grocery shopping/eating to undo the past as reflected by my body. This is why we shouldn’t judge others based on their body because it is not the most reliable source (even chronic illnesses make the body an unreliable source).

The same is true for people who are thin. It cannot be assumed that someone who is not overweight eats well. Genetics and heredity play far too much into that equation for it to be fair. We tend to use the body as a measurement here and assume that someone who isn’t overweight is healthy. Not necessarily so. Their buggy would tell you a lot, too. It’s just for whatever reason, their body doesn’t show their poor decisions on the outside of their body–yet.

When I visited my doctor after changing my eating, she was extremely pleased with the result of my blood work–all numbers were within normal limits! I had asked her to do a “before” blood panel, so I could chart my progress, and progress it was. The outside of me hasn’t caught up with the healthy changes that I have made in my life, but it will–eventually. Until then, I will accept myself for the healthy woman that I am. I encourage you to look at your buggy and make necessary changes. If you already have or when you do, accept yourself for the healthy person that you are, and help me spread this message by sharing this post with your friends. It will take a while to make a change, but the power of social media can spread the word quickly.

Check out Judge My Buggy on FB and join us in sending the message that the body doesn’t tell the whole story about a person!! Share your buggy with us.

Practicing What I Preach

I have a 2 1/2 year old who has a significant speech delay. He loves to play educational games on my iPad, but doesn’t know yet how to verbalize his frustration when he can’t get the game to do what he wants it to do (like put a triangle where the circle should go). This morning I actually listened to something I told him. He was fussing about a game he was playing, and I said, “It’s ok. Keep trying. If you don’t like what it is doing, do something different (i.e. match the triangle to the triangle instead of the circle).” For some reason, I personally heard that message this morning and none too soon.

I am working on my second round of Whole30 in 2015. I am 12 days in this round, which makes 42 days in all so far. I feel a very safe distance from sugar and those foods that once bound me. My cravings are completely gone. Yesterday, I felt so good that I was searching for an explanation of why–apparently, it’s been a while. I have totally hated the way I feel physically, emotionally, professionally, and spiritually. In considering the lesson I was trying to teach my son, I realize that I am actually practicing what I preach to him–FINALLY. Whole30 helped break the food addiction and helped me work on unhealthy behaviors that lead to poor nutrition choices, and now, I have taken it a step further.

Monday, I started eating differently. I know you think, “What? How can you eat more differently than Whole30,” but maybe I should say that I have reordered my meals. The amount that I typically eat at supper, I’m eating at breakfast (eating supper for breakfast), which has increased my intake of vegetables over the course of the day. My lunch is about the same because during Whole30, it’s always been spot on (maybe now it’s a little smaller and more vegetable intentional), and supper is a green shake (spinach thickie) with fruit for snacks (there’s still some evening eating behavior issues I need to deal with like the need to snack while watching television).  I am truly doing something different, and the results I am getting are different everywhere except on the scale, but it’s only been 3 days. It will catch up.

Just in three (3) days, I am going to sleep easier around 9-9:30 p.m., sleeping with my CPaP better (still having crazy dreams from time to time though which disrupts my sleep), and waking easily at 5 a.m. (something I thought would never happen in my lifetime). On top of that, yesterday I had more energy than I have had in a very long time–so long that I don’t even remember it. I am enjoying those results, even though this morning, the scale was up a little. The number on the scale is not nearly as important to me as these other non-scale victories are. I will give it time and enjoy the other benefits. As for those other areas of my life, I’m working on that. One step at a time.

So here’s to learning from lessons for a toddler. What lessons do you teach others and need to adhere to yourself?

My Night and Morning with Superheros

AND I AM BACK…back in the saddle, securely back on the sugar-free, junk free wagon, and slept really well last night (I’ve been getting to bed before 10 each night and waking around 5:00-5:30 a.m.).  Holy moly batman! What are these lines on my face this morning? It looks like I actually made it a complete night with my CPaP mask on. My life looks SO much different than it did the month of December and completely unrecognizable as compared to pre-July 2014. Surely, I will be documenting some major life, body, & health changes throughout this 2015.

In addition to my night in the mask, I spent this morning with the Ninja. When I start the morning with a green drink, I always seem to do so much better throughout the day. Yeah, I’ve been doing good through the day anyway, but portion sizes still need to reduce and veggie counts need to rise above fruit counts. This is one great way of jump starting that process each day. My breakfast drink consists of 2 fist full of spinach, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk, a little less than 1/2 a sweet potato, 2 dates, and some chopped pecans (that would generally be almonds but I’m out–gotta make a store stop today). Sweet potato makes it so smooth. I really like that.

So this talk of masks and Ninjas makes me feel like I have spent the night and day with superheros. I feel like I have. I feel really good this morning. Here’s to breathing while you sleep, sleeping through the night, and starting the day off nutritionally right!!

Find your inner superhero! Share with me your leaps and bounds accomplishments. I would love to hear from you.

Holiday Lessons

I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. This is something I learned through the holidays. I’ll share more as I go. For those of you who haven’t been following me from the beginning, I completed my first Whole30 food elimination program in July (read more about Whole30 here). It was the BEST experience of my LIFE. It changed my perspective of food.

First of all, I’ve never said “no” to anything for 30 days (well, ok, yes I have…I did eat seafood only as meat for a year, so I said no to all my favorite meats years ago). I have never been able to say no to sugar for that length of time. I had full intentions of repeating the great experience of Whole30 Oct 1 – Oct 31. I had stayed relatively close to the Whole30 way of eating from July – October. I started Whole30 on Oct 1, but having lived on the fence from July – October, I was not completely invested in completing the entire month and didn’t make it past week 1. I should have continued because I was NOT prepared for November and December.

By the time November came along, I had allowed myself sugar occasionally. I did well through Thanksgiving, but I began baking, a side job of mine, and then sugar slowly crept back more and more. I created all types of sweet treats for myself because my sugar cravings were back FULL FORCE. I was TOTALLY off the wagon the whole month of December. I learned that it takes approximately 4 months of living on the fence to completely undo the behavioral success of Whole30. Fortunately, it didn’t eliminate what I had learned. If I could do it once, I could do it again!

Having gained some weight I lost in July/August back, I was totally invested in a January Whole30. I knew if I was to get back to that great, new perspective on food, I would have to get back to Whole30. I am now on my second round for 2015. I learned in 2014 that sugar is much stronger than I am, and I need longer than 30 days without it. My plan is to maintain a Whole30 diet at least 90 days (well, 3 rounds with a 1 day break in between each). I would like to never add sugar back, but I don’t know how realistic that is.

Fortunately, I have learned that I love so many healthy foods, and I love shopping for them. I feel so strong when I am checking out, pulling each healthy item out of my cart. For others who have lived a life of obesity, you may understand why I would enjoy this. It’s a major emotional victory!

Now that you’re caught up on my mysterious disappearance, I’ll get back to blogging. Hope you all have had success with your New Year’s Resolution.

Whole30 Round 2 & Bulletproof

As many of you know, I started adding a few things back to my eating after completing the Whole30. There are some things I will most likely seldom to never eat again in my whole life because I now realize they don’t taste good. I was just drugged (by sugar/salt) to believe that they did.

After adding some grains back, I felt bloated almost all the time. I had several days that I had sugar in ice cream, and of course the hidden sugar in many items like salad dressing, basically everything that isn’t whole. Within 60 days, I finally felt totally out of control again. “It Starts With Food” does discuss the hormonal changes that happen in the body when you eat certain foods, so I am sure that starting my cycle also contributed to what would happen next.  It had been one week short of 90 days of eating well (for the most part) before I went totally crazy and felt something else was making my food decisions for me.

Once I realized I was making these choices while thinking “I know I don’t want this…Don’t order it…You’ll really feel badly after eating it,” and then ordering a LARGE version of it, I WAS SCARED OUT OF MY MIND! I have lost nearly 30 lbs so far this year. I NEVER want to go back to where I came from!! The fact that I felt something else was making decisions for me TOTALLY terrified me.

I literally began praying for God to give me strength to get back in line. I know He wants what is best for my body, mind and spirit, so I knew that I was not alone and could be reassured that He would give me the strength to get back on track. For those of you who have lived my life, you know exactly the terror I am talking about. I have been on a plan before and done exceedingly well only to totally fall of the wagon and not be able to get back on track for months or even years. It is like there’s something else that gets your attention and prevents you from realizing you’re in a bad place, then a year down the road, something reminds you of what your goals were.  You look back only to see a broken promise, last year’s date, and additional pounds on the scale. SIGH!!

Something I learned throughout my Whole30 journey last time was just how encouraged I was by grocery shopping, so I went shopping and EVERYTHING in my buggy was a whole food. NOTHING processed. Almost everything was fresh. For under $100, I filled my oven and refrigerator with fresh veggies and fruit, and the next day, I started my second round of Whole30. I say second round; however, this round may likely not have an end. Just two to three days in and I felt bulletproof again! I’m back! 5.1 lbs came off the scale quickly, so all of that junk that my body was retaining by adding the grains, sugar, and more and adjusting from my cycle–GONE. I am now just .6 lbs away from saying GOODBYE TO the 300s.

I CANNOT sing the praises of this program enough. I had horrible eating habits. I had horrible views of fitness and exercise. Just 30 days changed a lifetime of broken promises and has helped me regain control over what makes me feel good or bad. I am very thankful to Melissa and Dallas Hartwig for their time and dedication to this program and the continuous information that they share with us. I pray that God blesses their work exponentially in every way possible, and I hope to one day become a part of this program in some way. I would love to become involved in the further development of Whole30 and Whole9. I guess at this point, I know I can at least do that by sharing it with you.

If you’d like to read more about my Whole30 experience, check out the category for Whole30. I also will gladly answer any questions, or even help you get ready if you would like to try it out for yourself. Just comment, and we’ll get together on it. Now, off to be social, get outside, and go offline. Check out the Whole9 link to learn more about why that is significant to this post.

Reversing PCOS

Reversing PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) has been a life long goal of mine. Actually, maybe it wasn’t a goal of mine until a couple of years ago. It was more like a plague of mine. I felt that I could only HOPE that my symptoms would improve. In reality, on the inside I felt like they never would. I felt that I would be “different” than other women because of my PCOS diagnosis (at age 17 years old). Do you know what actually caused me to feel this way? A doctor who diagnosed me but never explained to me how or what I could do to change it. To me, at the age of 17, that basically meant that there was nothing to do about it.

Now, in all fairness I did have other doctors in my life who told me that I “just needed to lose weight.” To most readers, you’re probably nodding and to those with PCOS you’re shaking your head and saying, “They don’t have a clue what they are suggesting.”

For those of you who do not know what PCOS is–in my terms–it is a condition in which a woman’s ovaries begin to form cysts over the eggs in her ovaries. These cysts have been referenced by doctors as looking like a “strand of pearls” on a sonogram. I wouldn’t know because even though I was diagnosed at the age 17, I had never had a sonogram to check my ovaries (even though all GYN docs new my diagnosis) until months before I learned I was pregnant with my son (my only child–born one month shy of my 40th birthday).

This condition is actually brought on as a result of an overproduction of insulin, and no, it doesn’t mean that the person is or will be diabetic. I know. Very confusing. It is very common for the woman to become insulin resistant which leads to a vicious cycle of the pancreas producing insulin, causing problems for the ovaries, which leads to hormonal problems that cause bothersome symptoms that aren’t all that serious, while some  are heartbreaking. Some of the symptoms really hit a woman’s self-esteem like hirsutism, weight gain and difficulty losing weight even when using all the right measures, and infertility to name a few.

I feel that if my doctor had explained to me how this condition would change my life if I allowed it to, and explained to me how to reverse it, I HOPE that I would have done something to prevent all of the years of self-hate as a result of my symptoms. I guess the doctor that did tell me I needed to lose weight was closer than anyone else in getting me headed in the right direction. While the message was short, curt, and not well received, I see now that he was right. I should have listened to what he was trying to tell me, instead of responding emotionally to his words.

When he said, “you just need to lose weight,” I heard, “you’re a fat pig now do something about it.” In reality, what he was trying to communicate when he said “you just need to lose weight” was REALLY “you just need to lose weight–that’s all you need to do to FIX IT.” Back then they didn’t know all that they do about PCOS now, so I’m sure they were not aware of just how difficult it is to lose weight. It means you have to eat fewer calories than most people and you have to workout harder for the effort to burn the same amount as others do. It means it may take longer to get pregnant, and for some, it may mean never conceiving a child.

Will losing weight reverse PCOS? Honestly, I don’t believe that solely losing weight would lead to the complete reversal of PCOS. I do believe that it could minimize the symptoms. I think that life in general would be overwhelmingly better regardless, but being you ideal body weight doesn’t guarantee that you will never suffer with this problem. I know women who are very thin who have PCOS and had to have assistance conceiving children. Is it easier to live life with PCOS if you’re thinner? I can’t say because I have never been there, but I can say that common sense tells me that the healthier I am the better I will feel, the more productive I will be, and the more I will enjoy life–if spite of PCOS.

For those up for the challenge of trying to reverse PCOS, I highly recommend the book “It Starts With Food” and following the Whole30 program. I even suggest adopting the majority of that program for your life, permanently. It helped me get my hormones straightened out. I’m happy to talk to anyone who suffers with PCOS. I have researched most of my adult life on this topic. I understand your frustration and pain. I’ve cried many tears over it. I feel confident in saying, I believe those days of crying are now over.

Real Life Obstacles You Can’t Help

real lifeThere are real life obstacles you can’t help that can interfere with your health “process.” Whether you’re a pro at this or just getting started, we all are impacted the same by these “real life obstacles.”

Sickness

Whether your own or someone elses close to you, sickness can totally throw your whole routine off. My child has been sick now for about 2 weeks. At first, it was sniffles, then it was crying out in the night that kept me from being able to get my sleep, then it was doctor visits that interrupted my work/lunch schedule, and of course my attention, as it should be, was completely on him and not on me.

Well, maybe I should rethink that. My attention should be on him enough to provide for his needs, but in providing for his needs, I should have been making sure that I was providing for my own nutrition and hydration. I didn’t eat breakfast. I was just so focused on him. I wasn’t eating my snacks and forget about drinking water. I think one day, I may have finished the day with like 20 ounces of water. BAD, BAD GIRL! I know better than that. I have to be sure that in the future, I take care of me, too.

Travel

A friend of mine has been having a time getting on track and staying there because of travel. Some of the travel has been for fun, but the rest of it has been for work. Being away from home can definitely throw you off your game, but in her case, it may actually help her. Since she always feels the need to cook for hubby, which often derails her own goals out of sheer exhaustion at the end of the day, she finds herself eating the same things he is eating. He loves good, southern, “comfort” food. For some reason, he’s able to eat pretty much what he wants, but she isn’t able to do the same without paying for it on the scale. Being away from home will give her some time to get some of her plan in place. Maybe if you’re traveling for work, you can use it as an opportunity to get on track also–and use that workout room!

Be careful for those pitfalls of “special” eating when traveling. I think it’s important to pick 1 day or one meal for a couple of days that’s special. If you’re on vacation an entire week, those “special” days can set you back months of weight loss if you treat every day like a special eating day. It won’t feel all that special in the end.

Company

Oh, well look who’s coming to dinner. A lot of times, these special drop in moments end up at a restaurant. When you have a lot of different people to please, it’s much easier to do it with a menu that can offer variety. It would be really easy to cast blame on not being prepared for eating out, but you’re not new at this. Unless it’s a completely new restaurant, in most cases it isn’t, you know that menu and know what you SHOULD eat.

When this happens to me, the longer I sit, the easier it is for me to make the wrong decision. I actually start mentally preparing myself before we get there and try to order first (then I don’t feel the peer pressure). My mother-in-law and I went to Outback Steakhouse when we took a road trip to Whole Foods (my first time, and I loved it). I asked her if she would mind if I told them not to bring bread to the table. Fortunately, we have a lot of the same health goals. She agreed. We both chose wisely.  We were able to make good decisions, eat good food, in an awesome restaurant. It can be done.

It’s much easier when everyone has the same goals, so if you get a chance to pick your lunch partner, pick wisely. If you don’t get a chance to pick, be the first to order, so everyone alters their order based on what you got, instead of you altering what you need to get based on what they ordered. Yeah, you know we all do that.

Loss

The loss of a loved one through death or divorce/breakup, loss of a job, loss of a friendship, loss of an ability such as walking, sight, hearing, etc…the loss of anything of value in your life can COMPLETELY derail your health goals. During this time, it is MOST imperative to stay on course at all cost. I know that is really a lot to ask, but your decision to workout will release endorphins which will contribute to a happier feeling. This is really important because you are most likely experiencing depression at this point. You need those endorphins doing what they do best.

Eating well and sleeping well will also help you to remain strong enough to make it through this time. It is really easy to want to crawl under a rock, but DON’T. This is when you need to do the opposite–RUN INTO THE SUN. Literally, that is a good idea. Get in the sun! The vitamin D that you get from the sun will help to improve your mood. Call a friend and go for a walk. Try not to isolate yourself during this time. If necessary, seek help from a pastor or therapist. Prayer and meditation is also very strengthening. This too shall pass.

So if you find yourself experiencing real life obstacles you can’t help, you don’t have to let it totally derail your health/fitness goals. Stay strong. Be the example. Take care of you.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

I must admit that I do feel so much better when I adopt an “early to bed, early to rise” mindset. Since I have been working out, once I put my son to bed, I am generally ready to “hit the sack” myself. I had been reading my iPad before sleeping, but after reading what artificial light does to our hormone levels before sleeping, I decided to start limiting it. I haven’t put it down completely yet, but I have started decreasing the length of time that I expose myself to the light. The only problem now is finding time to read. 😐

My rest has been deeper, which is one of the goals of Whole 9. It seems that I wake before the clock goes off by about 30 minutes when I do go to bed earlier. I have always loved sleeping. There’s something about giving my body rest that just feels really good, and now that I am getting REALLY GOOD rest, I am definitely seeing why my body likes it so much.

So here’s to stabilizing cortisol levels and keeping leptin in check. Now, it’s time for breakfast!!

Want to read a little more on 3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep, Before Lunch.

A New Me – In Several Ways

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that Chris Powell challenged the negative undertones in my blog through his book Choose to Lose – A 7-day Carb Cycling Program. I haven’t removed everything from my blog because I do want this to be an accurate account of what has happened throughout my journey, but the old tagline is gone. For those who haven’t followed from the beginning, they’d be able to read back and see that at one point, I felt that something about me wasn’t “special” (hence the tagline, “But It Ain’t Special.”)

Actually, Chris helped me to see that my body is just doing what God designed it to do. It is being efficient and storing unused fuel for reserves in the event I need it. Considering the fact I had not been active before now, it was a lot of fuel to store. Changing that one thought process has opened up a whole new world to me. I allow myself now to feel athletic when I am going to workout. I allow myself to feel like the health conscious person I am as I carefully select what I am going to eat and feed my family.

Our society, or at least the American society, has geared everything relating to good health to accommodate the fit and athletic. Clothes for most obese people can’t be purchased in a sporting goods store. This is one point that obese people really battle with. To someone who already is suffering from a negative perspective regarding his/her life, not being able to find appropriate workout clothing or gear to accommodate your size sends a message that “you’re too fat to use these items.” I am so glad that Chris Powell doesn’t view it that way. 

Chris sends the message that we are all “athletes in training.” If you want to be an athlete (or at least have the health of one), then you do what athletes do. You eat what athletes eat. I have been liberated from my own negative thoughts. I have worked along and along with my negative self-talk. It is pretty much in check, but I think sometimes I am a little too open and honest on the blog, and in reality, it is me speaking negatively about myself. I’m all about owning the truth, but it’s totally different when you’re making changes in our life and the status quo is no longer the way to define you.

All of that being said, I decided it was time to reinvent myself a little. I made a few changes to the blog and the theme is a little different. Through small changes here and there, I believe that I will get to where I need to be. You can, too. I hope you enjoy my new virtual home. 

Healthy Eating Costs Less

Every year I do a random audit of our finances, and I learned that healthy eating costs less than eating whatever you want. It is easy to let bad behavior, like buying poor substitutes for food, creep into your life and checkbook. I try to make sure that as much money as possible is going to pay down our obligations, so this random check helps me to learn some things about our spending habits and disproves opinions like “it costs more to eat healthy.” Let me share a little more.

the-cost-of-health

My husband and I use our debit card for EVERYTHING. We seldom EVER have cash on us. This is good in that I can track our spending behavior and account for everything. It is bad in that it is SO easy to just swipe a card. Being a good steward of the provision God has given us is really important to me, so we will make adjustments to be sure we are using that money in ways that will allow Him to provide for us in the ways we have prayed for Him to. 

During August, we spent $677 eating out, picking up this, that, and the other thing. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, so what about your grocery bill. Surely it was less since you were eating out so much. NOPE. We spent more in groceries than the preceding month. Let’s talk about that preceding month.

Whole30 month! Now, my husband wasn’t following a Whole30 plan. He tried for two days, but he decided he didn’t want to continue following. He continued spending the way that he had been. I bought only whole foods. No exceptions. What I learned from this was very interesting.

Whole 30 Month
Whole Foods aren’t nearly as expensive as eating out
We always had GOOD food cooked and available
We spent nearly $300 LESS when I followed Whole30
I bought a lot of by the pound fruit like cherries and grapes $2,49 lb or so (I thought that was A LOT, then I asked myself how long they lasted…a week. How long does a $7 coffee last?)

Month AFTER Whole30
We would go days with nothing cooked in the house resulting in a quick pickup (mostly breakfast and lunch)
We spent nearly $300 MORE when NOT following Whole30

NOTE: Eating healthy doesn’t only refer to eating fresh meats, veggies and fruit. It also relates to EATING AT HOME where you know what is in your food. 

If you pick up a healthy eating cookbook and try to go buy everything necessary to cook the recipes, I can see how you might think that would be expensive. Where do they get those crazy recipes anyway? It’s truly easy. Take out pot. Put on stove, Turn on heat. Put meat and veggies inside. Salt & Pepper to taste. If you really want to get crazy, add other spices that I love like onion and garlic powder, ground ginger, paprika, cayenne. Open up cans of your favorite veggies or use frozen or fresh. As for spices, you can pay $5 a bottle or .88 a bottle. I personally go for the cheaper because I burn through those babies like no body’s business! I haven’t missed a lick of flavor using the cheaper ones. 

Here is a real life example of something we picked up and what I COULD have done with that money:
KFC Grilled chicken bucket – 12 piece $16.49
For those of you not familiar with how chicken is cut, there are 8 pieces of chicken in a whole chicken, so this is 1 1/2 chickens. 

Fresh chicken – $1.09 lb; (I’m comparing regular chicken to regular chicken. I see that Claxton truck backed up to the restaurant. There are no free ranger chicks going in there) Approx $4 per chicken X 1.5 = $6 OH BUT WAIT…IT’S NOT COOKED ALREADY.

Oh, so right. Maybe you’re in a super hurry and can’t wait the 40 minutes needed to bake it or less to boil it for chicken salad. So here’s my second suggestion, local grocery stores generally have rotisserie chickens, which is very similar to this grilled chicken from KFC. $5,99 for a chicken X 1.5 – $9. Still less than KFC. Not as healthy in that you don’t really know what into cooking it, but healthier for your wallet.

As for the sides, you could get steamer bags of your favorite veggies and microwave them and add a little seasoning, and within 6-8 minutes, you would have 4X what you would get in those little sides they serve at KFC, and the big plus, they would actually taste like the food you bought! I’m not picking on KFC by the way. I feel this way about EVERYWHERE. I haven’t found anywhere that has food as good as what can be made in someone’s home (excluding a few exceptions in steak).

I’m really happy with what I learned about healthy eating. I caught myself comparing those awesome Washington Cherries in price to other snacks that I would have bought. Without a doubt they would last longer and taste better. Just because they grew on a tree naturally and didn’t have to go through some industrial process to be made doesn’t make them any less valuable.

I challenge you to start paying attention to what you put in your shopping cart. If you really want to test it, you and a friend decide on a menu and each of you shop for it. One buying only whole foods (I’m not referring to the Whole Foods store–just your average grocery store) and the other buying processed foods or fast foods. I know which one will feel the best in the end. I know which one will have to cook less because what they cooked made more than what comes in a prepackaged meal, and without a doubt, I know which one’s food will taste the best!

If by chance anyone out there chooses to do this, I want to hear about it!!

My Health Fusion Program Begins

My health fusion program begins with evaluating what I have learned so far, and where I am wanting to go with all of this (beyond just being healthy). I’ve posted what I have learned about the Whole30 program, so I won’t rehash that again, so now to begin adding what I am learning about how the emotional is just as important as the physical–not at all what I expected to learn in Chris Powell’s book Choose to Lose — The 7-day Carb Cycling Solution.

I decided to check deeper into the Whole30 authors and found Whole9, which is a complete plan for living a “wholesome” life. I can definitely see working this in also. It offers an online community that shares information on how to strengthen the following nine (9) areas of your life:

  • To Eat Good Foodcombine_images
  • To Sleep Deeply
  • To Move Your Body
  • To Handle Your Stress
  • To Connect With Others
  • To Get Outside
  • To Be The Best You
  • To Have Some Fun
  • To Own Your Choices

When I went looking for the next step in my pursuit of good health, Whole9 provided the structure. Chris Powell introduced me to the passion to be an “Athlete in Training.”

GOAL: I will train each day in knowledge and fitness while eating good food to reach my health and fitness goals.

COMING UP: 241 Journey will be going through a “redefining” phase. As I learn more about underlying emotional strongholds from Chris Powell, I find it necessary to begin viewing myself and my journey from where I am headed, instead of where I started. It is an exciting journey. I think my blog should reflect that as well, so hang on as this blog begins to change the way it looks also. 🙂

Do you have “a plan” or is your end goal merely to lose weight? Why are you on your journey? What does the end game look like for you? Share with us in comments.

Life After Whole30–Now What?

If you have followed my blog recently, you know that I just completed a Whole30 challenge. I call it a challenge because I don’t know what else to call it, and it was a little bit of a challenge at times. So, now I am finished with Whole30, I’m feeling like, “Now what?”

For the most part, I have continued my Whole30 trek. It felt like my security blanket. I felt really healthy with my eating plan, but I haven’t had a problem when I eat legumes and grains in moderation. The jury is still out on the dairy food group, mostly because a lot of my bad eating behaviors came from this group. For this reason, it will only be allowed back in my life on occasion and with complete, mindful attention.

New bikeI’ll tell you how being finished with the Whole30 makes me feel–like being on my new bike. I know it is said, “It’s like riding a bike,” and that’s supposed to refer to how you can go a long time without riding a bike and just jump back on and start riding again, but I feel like I’m a kid who has never ridden a bike before.

When I got on my bike on August 19, I literally fell over with it before leaving the driveway. Now, there were some issues that contributed such as the seat was too high and the handle bars weren’t just right, but it felt totally foreign to me. As if I had never ridden before.

Well, that’s how eating feels to me now without the protection of the strict three food group, Whole30. Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe I am supposed to stay as close to it as possible. I think the biggest worry is that adding back the legumes and grains will take away my weight loss.  I have started working out at Curves, and now I have this bike. My goal is to be getting 1 hour of exercise a day to help me continue my weight loss. I’m not quite there yet, but I will get there. I am hoping that this fear does continue to help drive my fitness and that one day there will be no fear–just good food and great fitness.

Another goal is to be able to confidently eat without the fear of weight gain. I want to begin working into the 7-day Carb Cycling of Chris Powell, and he includes things from all food groups in the menus. I feel pretty confident with his experience working with morbidly obese people that he knows what he’s talking about with the menus. I would really LOVE to find someone’s blog that has already done this. I doubt that there has been someone else who has done a Whole30/7-day Carb Cycling/Green Thickie fusion. I’m kind of making my own way as I go. Combining the best parts of these programs to individualize one that is made specifically for me.

As I make my way through this journey, I’ll be sharing here what I learn for you to be able to make your own plan. Thank you for following my journey. If you have created your own fusion of health/fitness, I’d love for you to share it here. Just leave it in the comments.

Maintaining Healthy Behaviors

For those who have recently started their weight loss journey, don’t be disheartened if you aren’t able to jump right into a Whole30 goal (or something similar). I’ve been on my journey for 7 years, and I’ve just reached the point I needed to be in to be successful. Now, that’s not to say it will take you 7 years, but there are steps that need to be taken to prepare your mind for such a goal. 

Rid Your Life of Negative Self-Talk & Mindless Eating

Over the course of this seven years, I have battled negative self-talk (which took a long time to make part of my regular behavior) and worked on ridding my home of processed foods. When I started my journey, my time was invested in research. I have learned A LOT about the body, nutrition, exercise, and how hormones can make or break a goal. Of course, this seven years hasn’t been a non-stop journey. I had a major problem with mindless eating. I read the book French Women Don’t Get Fat, and it really helped me look at my mindless eating. I also started looking at food as “is this worth it,” which helped me just completely cut some things out.

Research and Implement

I have read a number of books on eating plans, and have identified that low carb eating is most effective since the body burns carbs before fat (I want it burning fat!). When I started this journey, I had a major carb dependency. Heller/Heller helped me a lot. I read two of their books, the one I remember the title to is The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet – The Lifelong Solution to Yo-Yo Dieting. I read Rick Gallop’s book on The Low G. I. Diet. This helped me lose enough weight the right way to get my hormones working correctly, and I was able to get pregnant. My journey got REALLY serious after that. I realized my eating DID have a lot to do with how my body worked or didn’t work. I had always blamed PCOS on my weight gain (and it does contribute but only as part of a cycle), instead of blaming my weight for my PCOS diagnosis. My ability to have a baby totally showed me that what I put in my body was what was MOST important! It could change the diagnosis in a lot of cases.

I have consumed almost everything Lyle McDonald has written on the subject of Training the Obese Beginner. He is totally incredible! I learned more through his blog posts than throughout my entire journey! My most recent change of course was the Whole30 (which totally changed my life) and then continuing with mostly a Paleo way of eating (with some deviation, but not sizable nor consistent). I am reading It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig (creators of Whole30), which has caused repeated outbursts of “ohhhhhhhhhhhh” and “wooooow I didn’t know that.” Totally awesome book! 

Fitness & Accountability

I started keeping a video blog on YouTube (which has been deleted in the midst of a relapse, but I’m going to start another one) of short videos on how I felt after working out with Tony Horton’s Power90 (I really like him) and Chalene Johnson’s Turbo Jam, what I was and wasn’t able to do, which was helpful in keeping me accountable and was encouraging to others. Now, my fitness program is all conclusive. I am a member at Curves where I get cardio, strength training and the accountability of an awesome coach–along with an awesome support group of other ladies pursuing the same goal of great health.

Turning Meltdowns into Behavior Modification Plans

This is just an abbreviated version of my journey. There’s been a lot of crying, screaming, cussing, throwing brushes at mirrors in self-hate (I’m just being honest), binging because of clothes not fitting (as if that was going to help at all), did I say crying??? Yeah, it’s not been a fun road, but with each of these meltdowns, I have been able to use my psychology and behavior analysis education/background to talk myself through it. Cool down. Realize that I made choices to get here, which means that I can make choices to get back to where I want to be, and develop a plan for getting there. I realize not everyone has this education and background, which is one reason I’m writing this blog. I’d be happy to help you with a plan if you find you need help. Just comment, and we’ll exchange email addresses.

Plans are just plans, though. They aren’t to be rigid. They should be living, which means that they should change with you as your life changes. As my behavior modification plans for myself began to change to meet the new challenges in my life and as I implemented the new knowledge I had acquired, I started seeing success. I’ve reached goals and blown right past them. I have started making what I have learned a part of my everyday living instead of doing it for only a time and going back to the way I once lived. 

Make a Permanent Place for Success

Making a home for success in my life is what I have done. I have always treated it like a visitor in the past. It came and then it would go. I don’t want success to be a visitor. I want to maintain the healthy behaviors that I have learned and implemented. They are here to stay, and now, are also a part of the way I run my home kitchen for my family.  Success is a permanent part of my family now!

Have you been able to maintain the healthy behaviors you’ve been trying to add to your life? What has worked for you?

Whole30 Plan for Success

i finished the whole 30

I had great success with my first Whole30. Considering the fact I have NEVER had a good experience with any type of change in my eating and I would consider myself addicted to certain types of food, I think my success with this plan shows that anyone can do it.

My suggestions for making your first Whole30 a success are:

It Starts With Food…No Really…It does!
Buy the book “It Starts With Food.” You can buy it on Amazon for your iPad or other Kindle devices for just $9.99. Learn from my experience…even though I was successful, I would have understood so much more, and perhaps would have lost more than 12 lbs if I had read the book FIRST. I started reading it in my last week. Don’t do that. Just get it. Read it! Another MUST READ by the same author is the Whole30 Timeline. Know what to expect physically and emotionally day by day.

Keep It Simple
I am THE QUEEN on analysis and complication! Fortunately, I approached this challenge completely different. I read the list of Whole30 compliant food, and that is what I bought. Simple, simple, simple. MEAT (including eggs). VEGETABLES (they added the white potato–baked only). FRUIT. It’s TRULY that simple.

Don’t even go down any of the other aisles. I ordered my Organic Coconut Milk (I get the 6 pack and so glad I did. I use it in almost everything. It takes the place of heavy whipping cream for me or milk in my Green Thickies) and Ghee (two items that I feel are an absolute must for me–they are so awesome) from Amazon (although you can make it yourself, and I will be doing that and posting the recipe as a post also), so I didn’t even go looking for them anywhere in a store. You can get Coconut Oil at WalMart, but since it’s on the baking aisle, you can get it from Amazon if that would be a trigger for you.

STAY OFF THE AISLES! and check the ingredients NO SUGAR or any sugar substitutes. There are other things to avoid such as SOY and MSG, but just check the Whole30.com website for more on “Can I Have…”

Meal Plans
For those who like to look at meal plans for ideas, I highly recommend following the author of Well Fed and Well Fed 2 (if you’re Kindle subscribers you can read it free). I bought Well Fed 2 for my iPad (another great book for a great price for your Kindle devices). I’m not all that great at following recipes because I tend to just do it my way using some of the core suggestions, but Melissa Joulwan does an awesome job with these recipes. They are meals that she’s eaten herself throughout her Whole30 journeys and the books are really more than cookbooks. There is a lot of information in them to help with a Whole30 or Paleo type eating lifestyle.

Also check out her website for some awesome recipes and articles, one of which I recommend you read before you shop.

Set Your Mind to Succeed & Close Your Mind to Food Porn
It’s 30 days. You can do ANYTHING for 30 days, so just go ahead and tell yourself, this is what I am going to do. End of story. No need for therapy. 30 days. You can do it!

To be successful in that mindset, you need to let something go. Yes, you. If you’re like me and totally love food, your FB, Pinterest, etc is FULL of food porn. Trust me, I know it’s hard. I love looking at those awesome dishes, but it is dangling a carrot when you will be at your most vulnerable. Although I must admit after day 3, I had no problems with saying no, but I still didn’t want to just sit and look through food that I couldn’t have. I would, however, look through Whole30 compliant food which was awesome!

Prepare by the Week
I thought of the meat that I wanted for the week, and on Saturday or Sunday, I would take a couple of hours preparing it. Of course, the time was only in seasoning and browning it. The oven did all the work.

This is also a great time to wrap up several sweet potatoes and cut open a butternut squash (put Ghee and salt on it) and put it in the oven. They all take right about the same time. Try to get potatoes that are all the same size, so they will all be ready together. No lie…within 40 min – 1 hour all of your food for next week will be ready. The hard part will be not eating it right then while it smells UNBELIEVABLE!!

Spice It Up
If you already use spices, then you know how much flavor they add to food. If you don’t use spices, my suggestion is to go buy the basics (the cheap stuff is just as good to me and since I put it on everything, I buy the less than a $1 bottles).

My favorites are:

Sea Salt
Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Ground Ginger
Paprika
Cayenne

I actually premix some to just have a quick shaker of my favorite spices. I use the same amount of onion and garlic powder each as I do salt. By ratio, I do maybe 1/4 for pepper and ground ginger, and an 1/8 paprika with a light layer of cayenne.

Of course there are some spices I may use on occasion like celery seed, mustard (wet and dry), and Thai seasoning. I just add them separately because I don’t use them as frequently. Be sure to check the label for sugar or flavor boosters of any kind. They are sneaky and try to slip it past you by naming is some crazy name. You want items in as close to their basic form as possible.

Another seasoning that I find in my local health foods store (also at Amazon) was Coconut Aminos. They are your substitute for soy sauce.

Brown It
One thing I have learned from Gordon Ramsey is if there’s no color, then there’s no flavor. It doesn’t take long to season your meat (most people go light handed on the seasoning–remember that seasoning has to get to the middle of the meat, so don’t skimp–just watch the salt) and brown it in an oven proof pan, and then slide it in the oven to bake (of course you can take it out of the pan and put in an oven safe pan if you don’t have stove to oven cookware). There is a TOTAL difference in taste when you take just 5 minutes to brown the meat, AND it will be SO moist because you sealed the juices in by searing it.

Easy Access
Oh yeah, this is a good place to mention, storage containers and zip lock bags. I know you think you have enough storage containers. I did, too. For some reason, I couldn’t find THE FIRST lid! That’s SUCH a pain in the … you know. So go ahead and buy some stackable containers. My larger ones for meat actually use the same lid for all containers regardless of their size. Awesome. I got some smaller ones too of varying sizes.

Get gallon and sandwich size zip lock bags. When the meat has cooled, you can slice it up into serving size portions and put in the refrigerator for quick meal prep. Large bags are very helpful for cut up watermelon or other types of fruit that you’ve prepared for quick access. This is what will save you when a craving may hit. Have it ready.

Say Goodbye to Cravings
As soon as I reached day 3, I had no further cravings. I passed up free, frozen hot chocolate, candy, all of the fried foods I used to eat, ice cream, hamburgers, you name it, I was able to pass it up–WITH CONFIDENCE. I even baked a cake and cupcakes for a customer without even tasting it (fortunately I trust my recipes). I’ve never baked without baking some for our house, too. It was a challenge, but I was victorious. I didn’t really “crave” it, but it was more about habit. I just pushed past that habit. It was a nice feeling to be in control of it.

Be Prepared to be Pleasantly Satisfied
Have you ever eaten and just felt so — underwhelmed? Not satisfied? You go through the house SEARCHING for that hidden bag of candy? or you just keep eating because you don’t feel satisfied? That feeling will completely go away. After each meal, I felt satisfied. As the program continued, I actually felt FULL. When you read “It Starts With Food,” you will understand how that natural feeling is connected to weight loss and overall good health.

When I finished the Whole30, I went to bed early. I started getting up naturally before the clock. I didn’t feel like I was going to fall asleep after lunch, and I even had the desire to start a workout regimen.  I feel like Whole30 completely changed my life. Besides getting all of my hormones in check, I am now in control of my nutrition and my health. I don’t plan to go far from this platform. I will add some things back, but sugar and junk food in general will not be on the list. Eating clean has become a permanent part of my life. I hope you find the same to be true after your Whole30 experience.

I’m planning my second Whole30 for October 1 – Oct 31st. Want to join me? I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions about my experience that I haven’t covered here, I will be happy to answer any questions. Just hit that comment link and leave a comment for me.

 

Changed My Mind About Exercise – Past Tense

Little did I know that finding “the right fit” for me in an exercise program would be what changed my mind about exercise. Yesterday afternoon, the time of day when I am generally struggling to stay awake (something that went away throughout my Whole30 challenge), I caught myself thinking about my workout. I wasn’t thinking, “Oh no, I have to workout,” but instead I actually thought, “Man, I can’t wait to go workout today!” THAT is what I needed. Note: My decision was Curves–even though they close at 7 p.m. (5 p.m. on Friday) and are closed on weekends. I’ll explain more on why in the post.

So what helped me reach that point?

Number 1 reason without a doubt was my success with the Whole30 plan. Note: I haven’t traveled far at all from it. As a matter of fact, I haven’t really changed anything at all. I do plan to add some things back. I just haven’t yet.

Number 2 reason, I really thought through all of my options. There are a number of gyms in town that I could have chosen, and if I was already active, I would have most likely selected a location with a CrossFit group like Anytime Fitness or one with lots of challenging classes like Sweat Fitness. When making my decision. I had to evaluate where I am right now. That type of plan is leaps and bounds ahead of me (without a personal trainer) right now. I need something very structured where someone will be there to correct my form and where I can find “community” with others like me. I know there is community in these other gyms, but again, they are in a different playing field than I am right now.

Number 3 reason, I truly want to change my fitness level. I actually didn’t get to workout yesterday, but I realize I should have just turned on a workout video and completed a video, even though it isn’t the same as the strength training I’m doing at Curves. I wasn’t in the mindset to workout, and I shouldn’t have let that interfere with exercising. I’ll have to work on preventing the emotional from impacting the physical. Back on track though, I have a new goal. It is to have 30 workouts to match my Whole30 success. Then, I’ll set a longer goal after that.

Number 4 reason, I want to feel that “I CAN’T WAIT TO GET TO THE GYM” feeling. I know it won’t always be like that, but I’ll settle for it being that way part of the time. It’s much better than shuttering at the thought of exercise.

So why Curves considering the drawbacks of time, it is very structured. The equipment is double resistance, I’m not sure if that’s the official term. But you get resistance when you push and when you pull. At my current level of fitness, it is a good workout for me. I know that won’t always be the case, but for this year, it will be the workout I follow. We will reevaluate in the 10th month to determine if we proceed, or stay for another year. Also, it is like interval circuit training. Everyone changes stations at the same time. It helps prevent boredom.

Another reason I chose Curves is because they weigh and measure you once a month. They set goals with you. They help you follow your plan to reach those goals and will help get you back on track if you get off track. To me, it is as close to having a personal trainer as it can be. I guess in a sense, they are personal trainers, but more on the goal accomplishment side instead of the physical.

So, here’s to feeling good about working out (whether at Curves or taking a walk or doing a video). I have battled self-sabotage like you would NOT believe during this decision. I will write on self-sabotage next. It’s a post all in itself. Sometimes the biggest stronghold is YOU. I know for a fact it has been that way with me.

I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever been to Curves? What type of exercise plan do you like, if not Curves. Share your experience with us in a comment to this post. I’d love to hear from you. Bye for now.

Changing My Mind About Exercise

To say that I dislike “exercise” is an understatement, but I know it’s time for changing my mind about exercise. How do you go from hating “exercise” to loving it? I can truly say that it is my hope to find the same love that I have for eating whole foods–for exercise.

Maybe it is in part because “exercise” is generally packaged in a DVD or involves some extreme flexibility to put your foot on your head. I am sure that does have something to do with how I feel. I do realize that exercise doesn’t have to be either of these things. I want to find something that works somewhat like Whole30 that I can COMPLETELY buy into. I want to find something that really does something for me, even if I don’t lose weight for a while..

I know some people probably think, ah just go to the gym and do it already. Get it done and get it over, but I want it to be part of my life. I need to care about it. I need to look forward to it. One day, I am sure the day will come when, just like buying whole foods felt totally natural for me, exercise become apart of who I am.

Do any of you do something that you really love to do? Suggestions??

Update 09/03/2014: I have completed 14 workouts at Curves. I can only go after work 4 days a week because of their schedule, so my “schedule” and “commitment” is to work out all 4 of those days unless I am sick or have something I MUST do. I also got a bike for my birthday. I will be bike riding on days that I don’t go to Curves to workout. I’m enjoying how I feel.

Final Week of Whole30

I am in the final week of my Whole30 journey, and what a journey it has been. I have learned a lot about myself and my relationship with food.

Here are some things that I have learned:

1. I LOVE AVOCADOS. I could eat a whole one every day. I wonder if that’s healthy?

2. It isn’t difficult to create a healthy lunch even if I don’t bring something from home. I work in a plaza with a grocery store. There’s a microwave in my office. Steamable bags of veggies, baked chicken from the deli, fruit from produce, and a small bag of cashews on the way out. Perfect!

3. You can make a very good, all veggie, Whole30 compliant salad at Subway. I’ve had 3 during my journey. I get a funny face when they ask, no meat or cheese? and I reply, no meat, no cheese, no mayo, and only oil and vinegar for dressing. BAM TAKE THAT!

4. I can still enjoy the social part of going out to eat, without having to eat out myself. I pack my lunch, heat it up before we leave, and my co-worker and I go to eat together. I order a water to drink, and eat the lunch I brought. I couldn’t have ordered anything better.

5. I love visiting the produce market!

6. I LOVE butternut squash. Ohhh my! Gotta get more of those from the produce market tomorrow.

7. I’m still not drinking enough water, and it has set me back in weight loss. I’m picking up the bottle…the water bottle that is.

8. The safest aisle to exit a grocery store on is the clothes detergent aisle. There is NOTHING to eat on that aisle, and it smells REALLY GOOD!!

9. About 75% or more of the grocery store is full of items that I should not eat.

10. Sweet potatoes and unsweetened coconut milk are DIVINE together!! I’d be fine if I NEVER used cow’s milk ever again.

So those are some of the things I’ve learned. I have also learned that I miss Basmati rice and beans. While Whole30 has added the white potato to the approved list, my goal is to eat it VERY seldom if ever. I also miss healthy desserts. I do not think that healthy desserts are of the devil. My goal is to work this new way of eating into Turbo Carb Cycling using healthy carbs on the high carb days and only having one reward day a week. If you want to know more about carb cycling, check out Chris Powell’s website.

Thank you for following my progress. Is anyone else out there doing Whole30?

Chicken, Shrimp & Broccoli Stir Fry

chicken shrimp broccoli stir fryThis Chicken, Shrimp & Broccoli Stir Fry is an all in one meal that takes less than 12 minutes to prepare.

Using the chicken I prepared over the weekend for the week, I cut up the precooked, skinless, boneless thighs and put them in a pan with Ghee to warm up. While doing this, my steamer broccoli bag is in the microwave. Eight minutes, and the broccoli is ready for the pan.  Season with some onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.

I had thawed some cooked shrimp with tails on in the frig overnight. I drained them and with the tails still on (to add flavor, those shells add flavor), I drop them in until they plump up and fully pink out. – Approx 2 minutes

Lastly, I poured some unsweetened coconut milk over it all and add some coconut aminos for a little soyish flavor. This dish is wonderful! Very flavorful! Of course, you can add your own spin, just remember to keep it Whole30 compliant if you’re working on the program.

All of the prep was done during the time the broccoli was in the microwave. Use that steaming time! This quick and delicious meal ranks as one of those life saver meals when everyone is hungry, and there’s little time to invest in cooking. You can do your own spin using pork or beef as well. Try it out, it is TOTALLY worth the 12 minutes it takes to prepare it.

Have fun and enjoy!!

Whole30 10.5 lb Loss So Far – 20 Overall

Ok, I wasn’t going to weigh for 30 days as Whole30 suggests, but the doctor’s office weighs you and writes your weight all over everything. I even told them that I wasn’t going to look at the scale, and not to tell me how much I weighed. They didn’t tell the doctor that apparently, and she was like, we’ll you’ve lost 14 lbs since you were last here. Well, that number sounded great, especially since I hadn’t been there in like 2 years, which means I had more gain that they didn’t have on their records. My peak was 330. So, when I noticed the amount 310.0 written on the doctor’s form, I was pretty excited! I’ve never, NOTE THE WORD NEVER, experienced that much weight loss.

I am very excited to say, here’s my current weight. Notes on the Whole30, today starts my 3rd week of Whole30. I average 1400 calories or so a day, generally eat 3 meals a day. Seldom eat a snack, but occasionally do: nuts, fruit, or another protein.

Dietbet Weigh-in
Dietbet Weigh-in

 

Preparing Meat for the Week

As promised, I am sharing the process I go through to prepare the meat we will eat through the week. The pictures posted are of what I did, but I will also comment on what I WISH I had done, and what I will do in the future.

Photo 1 in the gallery is of my roasting pan sectioned in two with foil. I generally like to season the meat two different ways for a little variety. In this particular case, I did white and dark meat instead. I prefer white meat and my husband and child prefer dark meat, so it worked.

In the photo, I just laid out boneless, skinless thighs to be seasoned. I seasoned them well, then I rolled each one up and topped them with fresh Vidalia onions and closed up the foil. They fit on one side. Then I did the same for boneless, skinless, thinly sliced chicken breast. I topped them with fresh asparagus, ghee, and salt for the asparagus. Salt well, or the asparagus will taste as if there’s no salt.

Cover and bake at 400 for approximately 30-40 minutes. If you’re dealing with less meat, you’ll reduce the time by 10 minutes or so. My rule is, if you can smell it, it’s generally done, but don’t play with chicken, always check to be sure they cooked all the way through, but don’t overcook them and dry them out. If you’re working with thin sliced like I was, it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you have those big ole’ honking ones, then it will obviously take longer, and never mix thinly sliced with thick in the same dish. The thin will get too done, or the thick will be raw in the middle.

After cooking, I let them rest for a while, then I put all of thighs in one large zip lock bag for the fellas, and the breasts I put one per sandwich bag with a few stalks of asparagus. This makes it SO easy to grab and go when I’m in a hurry in the a.m. If I don’t have time to supplement the meal, I go to Subway and order a green salad with oil and vinegar, and I add my chicken to it. Generally, I do take time to supplement the meal though.

Things I WISH I had done are:

1. Browned each side, quickly, in a pan with olive oil, THEN rolled them.

2. Stuffed each with something like a slice of apple, or sweet potato. You can get all gourmet and come up with some type of stuffing to put in the middle. If you do that, just lay it flat, spread the filling on thinly, then roll it up. You can use tooth picks to keep it together if necessary.

So when you are preparing a week’s worth of meat, you can use this method to prepare everything. Do you prepare anything for lunch in advance? What works for you? See the comment button at the top right of this post.

Breakfast – Get A Strong Start

Steak/Egg/Avocado
Steak/Egg/Avocado

It is important to get a strong start to your day with a protein rich breakfast. Most of what I have read has been consistent on that one point. Can you skip breakfast? Sure. Should you skip breakfast is a completely different question. Would you want to drive a car that’s on empty without putting gas in it before driving for 8 hours? I think the resounding answer to that one is, I really don’t want to walk that far to work.

I used to eat all kinds of junk for breakfast. Now, my breakfast consists mostly of protein. The photo shown here is actually a picture of one of my breakfast choices. It is one of my favorites. It isn’t huge, but more than plenty for breakfast–even for a 320 lb me.

I had someone write me via FB and ask about breakfast ideas. I’ll share what this idea consists of for the rest of you, and then share some variations that I’ve considered. This is a thin, flank like steak. I can’t remember which cut it was, but I know it was NOT eye of round. I wanted more fat content because I didn’t want to be eating shoe leather. It doesn’t have a ton of fat, but this cut did have a little more marbling. Then I have a fried egg. I use coconut or canola Pam spray for my pan on that, and always salt/pepper to taste everything you do. Then of course, avocado slices on top. I always hated avocado, but now it is one of my favorite things and even takes the place a mayo for me–I used to go through a bulk size container of mayo in less than a month (maybe that’s where part of MY bulk comes from at 99 calories a tablespoon). I used it for everything. Definitely a wise and healthy choice to kick that habit.

Steak/Egg/Avocado

1-thinly sliced flank steak (I buy the flat with like 8 little steaks in it)
1-large egg
1/2-avocado
Pam spray (Coconut or Canola Oil)
Salt/pepper

Heat a small frying pan on high. You don’t really need to add anything to the pan to pan fry it. There’s generally enough fat in the steak to prevent sticking. Salt/Pepper the steak lightly. Once it is hot to sizzle the meat, get a good browning on each side. I go for medium rare because I want it easy to bite when holding instead of having to cut. I pick it up and eat it like a guilty pleasure.

Next, wipe the pan clean. Spray the pan with Pam and crack your egg and be careful not to break the yolk (unless your one of those who like it that way). Salt/Pepper lightly. My pan is super awesome. The egg never sticks, and I can flip it like a pro. If your pan isn’t easy, use a spatula and flip it easily or reduce the heat and let it cook until all of the egg white is cooked (sunny side up). Turn it out on your steak.

Cut your avocado and slice it on top. Lightly salt/pepper it.

Pick it up and take a yummy bite. I love the yolk to be runny. It mixed with the fluid from the steak and salt and pepper flakes on the plate makes a good gravy to soak up.

Warning: It is messy, so don’t get it on your new clothes. 🙂

Variations:
Use any type of meat instead of steak (I used pork tenderloin medallions they are good too)
If you want to cook ahead, fry up the steak, boil eggs instead of frying and slice them for easier assembly, and slice up the avocado, or maybe some tomato. Put it together each day as you go.

Do you have any suggestions for variations of this dish? I’m sure I would come up with some even incorporating some fruit, like a thin sliced chicken breast pan cooked, with a ring of pineapple browned in the pan with a little ghee (clarified butter), and topped with an egg. If you haven’t noticed, I’m an egg lover. I have 3 hens of my own, so they provide me the love of eggs.

I’ll think on more options for breakfast. Please feel free to comment with ideas of your own to share. YOU ALL KNOW THERE IS A COMMENT LINK, RIGHT?? 😉

I’m Getting Real – Author Photo

 

Just a bad photo or really me?
Just a bad photo or really me?

Some may question why I chose the photo of myself for the blog. Surely there’s a better photo than that. True. I’m sure there is [this isn’t my best side], but in this moment, this photographer saw me THIS WAY. I can only imagine that others saw me the same way. We can’t really know that to be certain. Only those who saw me this night would be able to say. I choose it as my reality photo [but maybe that’s not fair. There is just bad photography but I don’t want to be in denial if it’s really me]. I’m sure there could be opportunities for worse (if you were a fly on the wall in my house), but wouldn’t that be true of everyone.

Well, this isn’t about everyone else. This battle is mine, and I want to improve this woman. The only part I want to improve is the body part [and of course any wrong thinking and behavior that allowed me to get here]. Smaller. Healthier. Not for the photographer and not for the others who saw me that night, but FOR ME.

My friend Crystal is going to stroke when she reads this, but look, I’m just getting real here. It doesn’t help me to deny what is so, but at the same time, I am not speaking this into being. I am calling a spade a spade and doing something about that. I don’t want to look like a blob. Wow Margie, that sounds awfully negative. Well my dears, that is the reality of my perception of this photo. There’s no definition to my body, and [negative thinking will not help me get there! This is how I felt in the moment that I was writing this post, but reading it now, I can give this woman (mother of an almost 2 year old at the time of this photo) a break. Yes,] I want there to be definition [in my body, and after this post edit, I want there to be definition in my heart and mind as well]. Only I can do something about that.

This isn’t something I feel bad about. I don’t sit around and cry about it. I have cried about the things I feel brought me to this point. My degree is in psychology, so I am the queen of psychoanalyzing myself. For me, that’s good. I have changed SO MUCH over the past 5 years or so. I’m talking about those things that get stuck in your memory and haunt you. I’m talking about that negative self-talk that so many of us do. I’m still guilty from time to time [as you see from the strike out above].

Through working on these things, I have reached the point where I do love what God has given me (even in its current condition), and I have so much to be thankful for. Now, I want to take care of it the way I know I should. I want to show respect to God for all that He’s given me. There are obstacles that try to trip me up on this one, but just as all of the other issues, I will get there. Thank you for joining me on my journey.

This is a selfie of me.
This is a selfie of me.

Whole30 Week 1 Complete!

So my week 1 of Whole30 is complete! I survived!! This is a really great thing because from what I have read, a lot of people decide in week 1 that they can’t hang with this for 30 days. It’s 30 days! Come on. We can do anything for 30 days, and if you can’t, then maybe there are some dependency issues there that need to be evaluated. I’ve been there. Fortunately, not anymore.

So I had prepared all the meat I would need for the week to have lunch ready, and something always cooked and ready for supper. It made it super easy to be compliant. I didn’t keep up with my calories. If I got hungry, I ate something Whole30 compliant. I didn’t do a lot of snacking, but when I did, I ate fruit. That was a big change for me. I tend to snack at night. Here I am writing this post instead and drinking some water with a keylime in it. It’s really nice to not feel like something is controlling you.

Yesterday, a friend of mine called and wanted to go shopping for her Whole30 foods, so I went with her. I had a few things I wanted to pick up. HAHAHAHA…A FEW…ok way more than a few. She mentioned that she wasn’t as creative with cooking as I am, so I am going to post some step-by-step recipes here for those who feel like they aren’t able to cook. I am telling you, it truly is NOT as difficult as it appears. Stop thinking MASTER CHEF. It doesn’t have to be like that. You certainly can take some tips from shows like that, but don’t think that you have to have exotic ingredients and know cooking lingo to be able to cook. You don’t. Remember, some of the best cooks in the world (our parents and grandparents) never heard of such shows.

So if you are interested in step-by-step cooking instructions, then keep your eyes open. I will be posting some very soon. Maybe even tonight. I need to go put the clothes in the dryer and bag up all the meat for this week. We’ll see if I get time before the dryer is finished. A mother’s job is never done. 🙂

GA STATE ROUTE 330, HERE I COME!!!

I want to bike or walk THIS highway because at my highest, I weighed 330 lbs. This is GA state route 330. State Route 330 is a 6.1-mile-long state highway in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Georgia. It travels through rural areas of Barrow and Jackson counties. 

I want to give something else with the numbers 330 my attention–that would positively impact my life. It’s in north GA, so there would be inclines too. I am WAY out of shape. I may have to walk it first, and it may take me all day to do it, but it’s a goal. I need to just consider my time frame.

How would you go about preparing for such a goal? I’m thinking I need to plan it to be during a cooler time, so that gives me some time to prepare my body. I guess one good thing to do would be to go up there and drive it to see what I need to be expecting.

Yeah, ROAD TRIP!!!

Giving Up Hiding! Hi, I’m Margie!

Hi, my name is Margie, and I am the author of this blog. This Whole30 challenge has opened a window and let some light into the hidden places of my mind. It has just been 5 days since starting my Whole30 challenge, and already I am having some clarity on how I should be approaching these food demons.

I have hidden behind anonymity for over a year now, and this isn’t the first time. There were blogs before you. It is my desire that this be my final blog. The one that will go on to help and inspire others to do the same. Hiding doesn’t really accomplish anything. It may make you FEEL safe, but once you take a step outside, you still have to deal with what you were hiding from.

I just posted my blog publicly before over 1K people who live mostly in my community. I think I have hidden because of my weight–fearful of what others would think if they read that at my highest I weighed 330 lbs (at least). Well, it isn’t like they don’t SEE me. They just don’t know the number and knowing that number, does not change who I am. Well, now they can see it, but they can also see my burning desire to do something about it, and the journey that I take (and have taken) to overcome the thoughts and fears of my past that have become monsters that make me hide–covering myself with layers and layers of fat.

It is time that I approach life head on. No preparing in advance. Living in the now, for today–not hiding at home preparing for what COULD happen a year down the road. THIS IS TODAY…I AM MARGIE, AND I AM WORKING TO SHED A WHOLE PERSON.

I really appreciate your support. You have no idea just how much I will need it over the course of this journey.

Whole30 Day 5 – Feeling My Past Bad Choices

Today is my Whole30 Day 5, and I am feeling my past bad choices today! Big Time! Because I didn’t read the book before starting (and didn’t know what to look for online for the what to expect information), I thought I had a virus. I woke up nauseous and all of the stuff that typically comes along with a stomach virus. YUCK! I missed work over this.

My cousin is reading the book It Starts With Food (while getting the link, I decided to go ahead and buy it for my iPad Kindle app–it was only $9.99, how silly that I didn’t do that before), and she had posted yesterday that she had the “carb flu,” and I honestly thought that she was just feeling the effects of being carbless, but I didn’t realize she was feeling some of this. She didn’t experience the severity of mine, but the website explains that the worse you were with your decisions before the program, the worse your (basically) detox experience will be. Ok, that makes sense. You don’t get a body like this without eating a whole-lotta-junk!

Now, I have completely read what to expect, and I can feel reassured by this feeling. It is an indication that I have made a GOOD decision for my body. It is showing me what a car running on junk gas is really like. A friend shared that analogy with me years ago, but it never really made sense until today. Well, that junk that the car had gotten so use to is running out, and my “car” is spitting, choking and running rough.

On a positive note, I can be reassured that once this is burned out of my system, the good fuel I am giving my body now should really be appreciated and run really well. Oh, I do hope that means a positive impact on my metabolism. I have already started my “cycle,” something I haven’t had in a long time–another impact of my bad eating that has led to infertility in the past. After just 4 days, I noticed the beginning, and by today, I was in full swing. Another “inconvenience” that I can actually feel is a good thing because it means my body is actually working right.

I feel like I can actually carry this feeling around with me (at least while I’m feeling bad, which will pass in a day or so), and wear it as a badge to prove to myself that I can endure discomfort for the betterment of my health and my body. I have always stayed away from anything that made me “uncomfortable” when trying to do something about my weight and health. Rereading that statement, I realize just how STUPID that was for me to do because I am COMPLETELY uncomfortable. That is like the BIGGEST case of self-fulfilling prophesy that I’ve ever seen. Well, it is what it is–THE PAST.

Here we go toward the future. JOIN ME? If you want to start your own Whole30 program, let me know. Buy that Kindle book. It’s totally worth it, but if you don’t, at least read the Whole30 Timeline. It will tell you what to expect now, AND if you scroll down to the bottom of page when you finish reading it, there will be a link to the next step. You can read ahead to see what you will do when this Whole30 is over.

Thanks for following my journey. I’m glad to be back. The house is shaping up, and I am working through some things in my mind that tend to keep me from taking some time for myself to do things like enjoy my blog and post for you. I am worth it, and I am taking the time for me. I encourage you to do the same for you!

I’m Back…I’m Back…

No, I didn’t completely fall off the truck! Where have I been?? REN-O-VA-TION! Have any of you ever renovated your own house? You want to talk about a BLACK HOLE!! Fortunately, I am back, and after months of focusing on the wellness of my home, I can get back to focusing on the wellness of my body, mind, and spirit! I hope you’re ready to continue following me. 

Has anything major happened in your life while I’ve been out?

Rx & Cleaner Eating Compliant – 7 days

I have learned that treating my triggers as drugs is the best way for me to succeed in keeping them in check. Well, ok, maybe not like a drug because people who suffer from drug addiction should abstain completely for their overall health (and maybe I should treat food that way too…but you have to eat…just not chocolate).

So to explain, I have already been drinking only water. I have done so well with that. I am nearing 160 days of drinking water only. Even if I try to sip 100% apple juice, it is SO sweet, I can’t stand to drink it (100% juice and milk on occasion are ok because I don’t have problems with those). Well, I restarted my cleaner eating challenge. I have tried this several times and failed to stay compliant. Using the word compliant or non-compliance really helps me understand that I’m not sticking with something that I should be.

I’m not trying to element anything permanently. I am trying to learn to CONTROL the foods and behaviors that tend to present themselves. 1. I have a difficult time taking medication. I hate it. I don’t want to take it, but I need to take certain medications. This week, I was almost 100% compliant. I did miss one evening dose. So I am drinking water, taking my meds, and I have also started focusing on eating cleaner throughout the week. I have had 2 meals that we’re “clean,” but all others were. Most of my meals were in smaller portions than I am used to taking for myself, and once I ate too much (soup).

This is significant because while the soup itself wasn’t unhealthy, the corn chips that I ate with it were. I also made some homemade chocolate syrup to make chocolate milk with. One thing I think occurred with this though was moderation. I was able to use some chocolate to make chocolate milk. Not exactly what I should be consuming, but the smaller amount of chocolate really helped out. I was able to have a little chocolate without having a whole candy bar, or whatever.

I am going to continue working on eating cleaning. I feel better. I feel thinner and more in control of my life. Nothing will be perfect, but it will be different.

How to Survive Obesity: Identifying Triggers: Understanding How, Why & When They Impact You

This post will discuss in detail triggers and how, why, and when they impact you. I believe that most people suffer from some form of food trigger. Some triggers are stronger than others. Some people may only suffer from them during certain times of the year. There are even people who don’t suffer from food triggers, and instead, their triggers are human or situational. Those two will be discussed in separate posts because they are quite comprehensive and serious to break all by themselves.

So, let’s talk about food triggers. The best way for me to explain this is to share some of my triggers.

1. Chocolate — sometimes just sugar in general
2. Comfort foods
3. Large portion foods

This is a good place to start with me. Number 1. Chocolate. As a woman, it isn’t uncommon to suffer from a chocolate trigger, but my trigger can spin out of control. I think this trigger is the most powerful at this point in my life. (fortunately, I have dealt with many others and broke them) Sometimes, I can just HEAR the word, and it’s almost like I can smell it. Once I get to that point, it is best for me to get a small candy bar or piece of chocolate and eat it. If I don’t, I will literally eat, eat, and eat trying to kill that craving.

Triggers that have that degree of power over someone will need to be addressed, psychologically, to break the obsession with the item. There are a number of different ways to do that, but for me what was most helpful was only eating chocolate that didn’t contain high fructose corn syrup, which greatly eliminates most U.S. made chocolate. There is just something about sugar in that form that makes it addictive, but that’s another post worth of information.

Another way that I have broken my obsession with items is to keep a can of very strong, minty, breath spray with me at all times. Anytime a craving hits me, I take a couple of sprays, and nothing tastes good with that stuff, so the craving goes away. Eventually, the unhealthy connection is broken. It can easily come back though if you slip up and eat some, so beware.

How triggers impact us is simple. They distract us from our goal. We begin to reason, well this one time will be ok. I’ll reward myself for such good work. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with some form of your trigger, as long as it is the least powerful in strength. For example, let’s say that my most powerful trigger is chocolate candy, but I’m out of candy, so I eat chocolate pudding instead. Low fat, sugar free at that. I found that I really enjoy it. I can eat the pudding and be ok, but the candy bar will lead to a lot of other binge type eating. It’s like a really bad friend. The one that encourages you to break the law and have fun doing it.

Why do triggers impact us? Some triggers are literally engineered to impact us. Some companies actually hire scientists to tell them how to make their product so good that customers are almost guaranteed to buy it again. This isn’t your fault; however, you can’t use it as a crutch either. You have to take this information and be informed and realize that companies want your money, and they don’t care what condition you’re in as long as it doesn’t blow back on them. You have to decide, “hey, I’m not going to let anyone give me something that’s going to decrease my control over the item.” You have to identify those triggers and acknowledge, “these triggers, in short, make me sick, so I will not indulge in them.”

When is it that triggers impact us? Well, those strong ones can impact us with a quick image on a television screen, or in a narrative as someone is describing a famous meal or dessert. With social media like it is, it can trigger you anytime someone “pins” a unbelievable looking dish on Pinterest, FB and so on. They can impact us around the anniversary of a happy or sad event. Emotions play a huge role in the development of such connections, so we have to be quick to identify the trigger and distance ourselves from them. If social media is a problem, then remove those pages. If it’s a specific friend, then hide their posts from your newsfeed. I’ve had to do that before. Do whatever you need to in order to rid yourself from this obstacles.

One last suggestion, and this really worked well for me. Make a commitment to a specific number of calories and document them daily for whatever period of time you need to until you can do this without posting. If your commitment is 2,000 calories, then you can eat whatever you want, as long as you don’t go over 2,000 calories. When I realized how many calories these triggers were eating up, I started choosing healthier options–those that enabled me to eat larger quantities while satisfying my craving. This works extremely well for me.

I have broken A LOT of triggers. I still have some, and we never stop forming them. New ones have emerged. The plus is that I know what works for getting them under control and not letting them control me. Being mindful of what you’re eating, and only choosing foods that you deem “worth it” will help you form a much healthier set of foods in which to crave.

Take a look at your list and ask yourself, How, why and when do these foods bother me? This week, try a couple different things to bring them under your control. I’d be happy to talk to you about yours if you need someone to talk to. If you’d like to share things that work for you, I encourage you to comment to this post. Until our next article, be mindful and in control!

How to Survive Obesity: Identify Triggers

Well, the first of the year is here, and maybe you’ve set a weight loss goal. My goal for this blog is to continue where we left off last year, which is Identifying Triggers. We have covered How to Survive Obesity: Accept Need for Change (please read back through those posts if you haven’t already). So let’s get started. NOTE: If your triggers aren’t food related, list whatever they are.

I didn’t set a weight loss goal for a New Year’s resolution because it isn’t just something I work on at the beginning of the year. I have been working on this goal what feels like the better part of my adult life. Fortunately, the more I learn the more hope I have. I have identified my need for change and all of of the steps that come along with preparing for change. Now, we need to identify food triggers.

Food triggers can COMPLETELY derail your efforts. I’m not referring to an “opps, I gained 2 lbs because I ate a trigger food and got of track for a week.” I am talking about, “I gained 15 lbs because I ate a trigger food and got off track for 2 months.” We each have foods that are our our kryptonite. It is up to you to identify which ones are yours. It is IMPERATIVE that you identify which ones are yours.

To make a truly honest list, think back to all of those times that you fell off the wagon. What was it that caused your fall? It may be a food category like CARBS, or it may be very specific, Mac/Cheese. Be honest with yourself and try to identify as many as possible.

Next week, we will review our food triggers. Use this week coming to make a list of foods that make you feel weak in the knees. Foods that make you eat more. Foods that make you feel guilty. Foods that you just shouldn’t eat at all because you get too far off of your plan for better health. Make the list, and we will categorize them next week.

See you stronger next week.

2013 Stats

Feel free to look over this and read the take aways at the bottom. But don’t miss the article before this one which is the first in the series of Identifying Triggers.

Date; Weight; Change; BMI
04/15/13; 316.8; 0.0; 58.0
04/29/13; 314.6; 2.2; 57.5
05/06/13; 313.1; 1.5; 57.3
05/13/13; 317.7; +4.6; 58.1
05/20/13; 316.1; 1.6; 57.8
05/27/13; 317.9; +1.8; 58.1
06/03/13; 319.4 +1.5; 58.4
06/10/13; 317.5; 2.0; 58.1
07/30/13; 328.3; +10.8; 60.0
08/05/13; 327.8; .5 59.9
08/12/13; 325.6; 2.2 59.5
08/19/13; 325.6; 0 59.5
08/21/13 Started drinking WATER ONLY
08/26/13; 327.6; +2.0 59.9
09/03/13; 327.6; 0 59.9
09/09/13; 328.9; +1.3 60.2
09/16/13; 328.7; .2 60.1
09/23/13; 330.0+?? +1.3 60.4
09/23/13; Cut out sugar except baking QA
09/24/13; 328.7 -1.3 60.1
09/25/13 Started Green Thickies B/L daily
09/30/13 328.7 0 60.1
10/07/13 325.8
10/14/13 329.2
10/21/13 324.5
10/28/13 323.0
11/04/13 326.5
11/11/13 326.3
11/18/13 321.4
11/25/13 319.9
12/02/13 319.7
12/09/13 325.2
12/16/13 324.5
12/24/13 323.0
12/30/13 323.0
2013 Take aways from 8/13-12/13
-drinking water only
-lost 21.8 lbs in 5 months
-gained 17.2 lbs in 5 months
-learned I am 21% better at losing weight
-gained mostly 1st & last weeks of month
-largest gains last quarter starting 10/14
4/13-7/13
-before starting water only, gains were
larger, more frequent, loss of 10 lbs,
gain 18.7 in 3 months
-was 47% better at gaining weight before
starting water only.

Post Thanksgiving Mini Success

Hi everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving season. This year my goal was to still lose 1 lb during this holiday season, and while I didn’t reach that goal, I am still celebrating that I didn’t GAIN, so far. I charted a .2 lb loss this week. Something I am very thankful for.

I did choose things I love instead of eating a lot of everything just because it’s there. When you eat food that someone else prepares, it is virtually impossible to calculate the calories unless they did that for you. Of course, no one did that on Thanksgiving. I just made my best guesses, and wow, it is really easy to go over 1500 calories. If you look at the caloric intake of a couple of the things you eat each day, you’ll realize what I mean.

So, here’s to still charting a loss of any size during a holiday season! Next week, my goal has been reset for a minimum of 1 lb. I’m taking on this week, and not looking back to the week passed. There’s nothing that can be done about time that has already passed. I can only do better from today and on. AND TAKE MY MEDICINE! I’m truly bad about staying on track with meds after having my baby. You go 9 months without taking anything, so it’s difficult to get back on track.

Let’s get our head back in the game. If you didn’t lose what you wanted, or maybe even you gained, don’t look back. Just start from today and shoot for 1 lb per week. This is a perfect time to start our Triggers series, since we’re going into the biggest trigger season of the year.

Keep following me, and if you’re knew or need the refresher, look back at the first series to get ready to jump into staying Trigger free.