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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You Can Do ANYTHING for 30 Days, Even Whole30 ALONE

This blog post is in response to a question I received from Kayla commenting on, “Fresh Start.” Kayla asked if I Whole30 alone, or if my husband Whole30s with me. Let me start by saying, this is one of the great things about blogging. Meeting new people and helping to encourage them throughout their journey. As we’ll see through this post, you may do some things alone, but with others out there doing the same, you’re never really alone. Thank you Kayla for reaching out to me. I’m looking forward to our journey together.

The short and long of it…no, my husband didn’t join me on my first round. He did attempt, but after a couple of days, he said it just wasn’t for him. I completed the Whole30 and felt so good that I told EVERYONE about my experience. He decided he wanted to experience what I had, so he joined me Jan 1, 2015 for what turned out to be a Whole120. We started out with 30 days planning to complete at least 90, but continued on to 120 days. I must say, the experience was totally different with him making the changes with me. Much DIFFERENT.

I truly believe that everyone should take the journey at least once, alone. You really learn a lot about yourself during the process. You learn a lot about how you feel about the new foods your body is falling in love with. The first week was a little tough. Remember, your body is addicted to things like sugar, so it has a lot of adjusting to do. After week one, you’re home free. You’ll battle a little food boredom in week 3, but nothing bad. There are groups on FB you can join that share recipes. There are apps you can get for your phone like Nom Nom Paleo (LOVE IT). Not to mention the bookoos of blog posts, Pinterest pins, and Instagram photos.

My advice on encouraging the family to join in is to live your Whole30 experience daily in front of them. I’m the cook in my family, so what mama cooks everybody eats. My family loves food, so there weren’t a lot of things off limits. After 30 days of eating clean (even though not Whole30 for him), my husband benefited from my Whole30 experience. He had lost a little weight, and he was feeling much better. We got off track in December around the holidays, so it became really obvious what we were missing, and he was totally ready to join me.

January 2015, Jeff joined me for the complete Whole30, and now, he is saying things that I was saying a lot. Things like: I can’t believe how much of the grocery store I don’t even shop in. I can’t believe I ever liked ____. I had no idea how many things include sugar that you would NEVER think had sugar in it–like chicken stock. What the what? It’s in practically EVERYTHING, which made me ask the question, if sugar wasn’t in it, would we want to eat it?

June 1st started another official round of Whole30 for us. We ate Whole30ish and then more ish than Whole30, so it became more of Whish. 🙂 I was hurting in my stomach. I was bloated and had unbelievable gas constantly. My stomach STAYED messed up. Now, day 3 of Whole30, all of that is gone! I truly stop and ask myself, why, why, why do I ever eat anything else? I’m still gathering intel on that one. My life is like one big experiment for me. I’m constantly gathering information to see what I can learn about what I am doing or going through. Be sure to pay attention to those things in your life, too. It is invaluable information.

If by chance you have a family that just WILL NOT join you, and you’re not wanting the tough love route of “then cook for yourself,” it’s a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. Cook what you can have. Let them take care of the rest. Share with your friends about it and get at least one of them to be as committed to it as you are or at least as committed to encouraging you. My friend Crystal is that. She doesn’t Whole30, but she knows it is what works best for me, and she encourages me to stick with it or if I’m off plan and not feeling well, she’ll tell me, you know what works for you–do it. Again, there are groups online like the main Whole30 page where there is constantly new information being shared. There are FB groups of individuals supporting each other.

One word of caution: as with any program, there are snobs. Ignore them. There are people who will want to chime in about how you could be eating MORE Whole30 than you are, or how something you picked to eat may not be compliant. BIG DEAL. Don’t get me wrong, it is important for your FIRST Whole30 to be completely compliant. You need that, but after that point, you’ll want to continue. You will feel so good that you’ll refer to the way you eat as Whole30, but it obviously doesn’t have to be compliant. Your research is over at that point. You will add food back that doesn’t bother you or sabotage your behavior.

While Paleo is the foundation of the Whole30 program, I choose to live closer to Whole30 than to Paleo. It’s nice to have a name for it, so I refer to it as my Whole30Life when I am not doing an official round of it.  So the final take aways from this post: Try Whole30 at least once. Be completely compliant. If you choose to Whole30Life, don’t fret the snobs. Find a buddy who supports your goals. If you still find yourself alone, you find me online. I do have an online group you’re welcome to join if you’re looking for a private support group online. You can do it. I had a lot of really strong food addictions and negative behaviors. If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT.

I’m happy to help. I’ll be your Whole30 consultant. 😉 Do it for you! You won’t be sorry!!

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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?

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!!

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!