Yet Another Whole 30 Post

I first heard about Whole 30 from friends who were doing it. And I thought it was nuts! Why in the world would anyone WANT to do this thing? Removing all grains, legumes, dairy and sugar from your daily diet. How much work is that?!

You know what? It is nuts. I admit that. It is alot of work to put into food. Where usually there is minimal thought put into what goes into my mouth. The time I learned about this program I was not in a place to participate.

Fast forward a year later and I find myself joining a group of friends in a FB group. The intention was to encourage each other through the group and meet weekly for a pot luck. Well, we managaged one pot luck at the start of September. Then Hurricane Irma blew through my hometown and my Whole30 Journey.

Promising myself that I would finish what I started, I began again ( somewhat on my own) in late October. I finished my 30 days just before Thanksgiving. It was a great experience, I learned a lot about cooking ( that my skills in this area have come a long way) and I enjoyed eating it. This was crucial to being successfull. Food is meant to be enjoyable.

Thanks to my friends who are veterns at Whole 30 I got some great advice that helped me along the way.

1- Figure out the Why behind doing it. Everyone has a different reason for trying it out. My why was to see if I could do it but also to better understand my relationship with food. This is an area that I have had trouble getting a handle on.

2-Figure a time that works for your life. This is 30 days of a lot of cooking, planning what you will cook, how you will eat. Seriously, if you wake up each day not knowing what Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be then you will fail for sure. Double up on recipes, you can portion it out, freeze some for later etc.

3- Prepare to stock up your pantry ( I suggest start getting things a few weeks out so you don’t end up having to spend a lot all at once). Some of the items can be pricey but worth it, especially the Light Tasting Virgin Oil, Coconut Aminos, Dates. I did not buy all the oils because I could not afford it. For instance for some recipes I substituted apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar. Ghee I used a few times and hardly used the coconut oil.

4- Prepare your loved ones. They will need to understand there will be some limitations to what you eat ( especially for family gatherings). But also let people you live with know whats up. You will need space in the fridge and pantry for your food. You do not however need to tell everyone. Face it when the work place donut, cake, pizza comes around all I had to do was say No Thank You. Or as my boss persisted in offering me food I found saying I had eaten sufficed.

5- Get a support system. The FB group fell apart after the craziness of the storm but I still had a few friends I checked in with through out my journey. For other questions I googled Whole 30 forums. As always accountability helps to achieve goals. Having to report where I was at made me want to succeed even more.

6- Read Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig. This helped prepare myself mentally.

7- Have grace for yourself. You will forget to read all the ingrediants, realize that meal planning was only enough to get to halfway through the week. OR life will happen and you aren’t able to continue.

I am by no means an expert on Whole 30, and I am sure there are those out there who would say I did this or that wrong ( which I am sure I did). But I did my best, I enjoyed cooking and trying new things out. I am now in the reintroduction phase ( more on this later). But I now feel as if I have a foundation to return to when I find myself getting off the rails. That to me is the most important thing.

Mid Week Motivator: Calorie Counting

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Counting calories is key in losing weight. It is what has worked for me in staying healthy. Using My Fitness Pal and understanding what exactly a serving size. Here are some tips that I follow.

Pay attention to the serving size
Does it say one, two or three servings. I had to learn that a serving is a portion of the food. For so long I would just eat so much more than  recommended.

You don’t have to eat the entire serving size.
This means you can eat less of the amount prescribed. For example it may say one cup of brown rice but you may want only less than that.

Be honest about how much and what you are eating
Whether you are using an app or writing it down, be honest. No matter how hard it can be, you owe it to yourself.

By keeping track of your calories, you develop better habits. By understanding better how much calories you actually consume. When you do splurge on your favorite kind of food, there is a new level of enjoyment.

That is the point behind keeping track of your calories. Not to use this to berate yourself if you go over. But as a tool to make better choices.

Mid Week Motivator: My Favorite Groceries

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Developing a healthy relationship with food has meant consistency in my pantry and fridge. Week in and week out I purchase the following items. I know they will fit into my food budget, full of good fats and keep me fueled properly. I have covered how to eat healthy on a budget here

Coconut Oil – since discovering this gem I have never gone back! This bottle of goodness is simply amazing and also has so many uses beyond cooking.

Whole Oatmeal Oats– not only is this a healthy breakfast but I have used this to substitute flour (which I never think to purchase), to make muffins or cookies.

Bananas– The great thing about these is they get better as they age. There is no need for them to go to waste. When they are overripe they still can be used, full of nutritious goodness.

Spinach– raw or cooked this is one item I make sure is in my grocery cart.

Mixed Nuts – a great source of protein and available either with out salt or non at all.

Popcorn kernals- this is a new favorite since I discovered how to make microwave popcorn instead of using packets.

Plain Yogurt- either low fat or greek I usually purchase a container and measure out what I need each day.

Chia Seeds– another new addition, I add them to my oatmeal or yogurt. The secret is to soak them in water to get the most out of them. Also add them to your beverages.

Coffee– because I need my one cup if French pressed brew to get my day started off. I do use a small amount of flavored creamer.

Frozen Yogurt– a little sweet to end the day. Just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

This certainly is not an exhaustive list but these items help keep me in check. I know they will leave me feeling satisfied and fuel me with needed energy.

What foods do you always purchase to help keep you on track?

Mid Week Motivator: Back At It

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This past week I went off my usual habits. It is not necessarily a bad thing. It can happen, I was leading at my church camp. While one is at camp, one eats the food provided. The days were packed from start to finish leaving no time for working out.

The key is getting right back at it once life returns to normalcy. Back to my usual eating habits and exercise routine.

My plan
– drinking more water, I did not consume quite as much as I usually do.
– watching my portion sizes and what I eat. Which for me means plenty of fruits and vegetables.

– easing back into my work out routine. I had a whole week without consistently doing so. Easing does not mean easy but allowing myself a few days to acclimate.

That is how I will get back into it.

Mid Week Motivator: small budget, no problem

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Eating healthy is hard but doable. It means venturing outside of the prepackaged foods we have become trained to eat. It means going outside our food comfort zone.

Think of purchasing food as an investment. Just as you invest in your wardrobe, you also invest in your food pantry. I have found thinking this way can be helpful when in the grocery store. Buying healthy can be pricey and what this can mean sacrificing money you would use to eat out with at the grocery store.

Which as you learn to eat better, not having money to eat out can be helpful in this journey. It means you are being challenged to pull out the pots and pans. To try out new kinds of food and experiment with cooking. You will expand your taste buds and discover and even rediscover foods you thought you hated.

I have found the places that work best for my budget and discovered Aldi a few years ago. I am able to purchase all the items I need without resorting to purchasing prepackaged food. Food full of salt and sugar. I tend to eat the same or similar foods week to week. This is due more so because I know how much these items will cost.

Below is a list my go to budget friendly groceries.

Coconut Oil– worth the price as it has so many uses! Try using it and discover which brand or type works for you.

Almonds– or some kind of nut, a great source of protein and good fats.

Canned Tomatoes– These are a great source of vitamins and my favorite option for pasta sauce.

Frozen Vegatables– a great source of vitamins and they store well in the freezer

Oat Meal– a staple in my cabinet, can be used in so many different ways as well.

Fresh Fruit & Vegatables-  This is where the bulk of my food budget goes to each week.

What are some of your ways to eat healthy on a tight budget?

Regaining A Sense of Urgency

I have lost my sense of urgency with being healthy. For months now something has not been quite right. Yes I have continued to work out but not as hard, not pushing myself as I once did. As for how I eat, the majority has been my usual healthy choices but with a bit more of the not so healthy mixed in. Excusing my weight gain as natural. That it had been three years since I began this health journey and it was simply just fine.

But it isn’t. This past fall my family went through a fairly stressful period. I can not go into details because I want to protect their privacy and it is not my story to tell. I underestimated  just how much all of it was affecting me. I turned to my old freniemy, food. Though I must say, I did see how far I have come with my binge eating. This time it was limited to deserts. Having two helpings of frozen yogurt instead of the one.

I knew what I was doing, I understood the choices I was making could undermine everything I had worked so hard towards. I was in denial. Even after having to purchase new pants a size larger and seeing what the scale was telling me. I still could not place why I had become complacent.

What I began to realize was that I had lost most of all the sense of urgency I had at the start of my journey. I recall pushing myself to run harder, faster because I was trying to save my life. It was not about being pretty or well thought of, but to live my life well. Somewhere along the way I forgot that. I can not replicate my life in those days, and I have tried but going backwards does no good.

That time for me was rather magical. It was special and I will always treasure that experience but I must also let it go. I must let it go in order to move forward. Losing weight and maintaining is just as much a mental exercise as well as physical. My body knows what to do. I know what my body is capable of doing. It is a matter of having the motivation. I do need accountability, I need to let people know of my struggle to continue onwards. Accountability and encouragement were and are key in this journey. Another thing I had forgotten.

Right now my biggest motivation is not to become the fat girl again. I said goodbye to her three years and she is not welcome back. Perhaps that is the start of regaining that sense of urgency. Fear, healthy fear of undoing all I have worked towards.

I will not give up. I will continue to strive towards living a well rounded, healthy life. I hope to run another half marathon by next year ( financially permitting) and to maintain a healthy weight in order to live this life well. I am starting to feel motivated once again.

 

Mid Week Motivator- Temptations Abound

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It is nearly upon us, eating season. That time between. Halloween and New Years where all the usual rules are thrown out the window.

First it is all that candy, first purchased to hand out to costumed children. The day after Halloween it is all on sale. In past I would of stocked up on as much candy as possible. Eating my way through bags of chocolate.

Then of course there are all those goodies that start to appear in our work places and gatherings. Pies, cakes and all sorts of delectables.

Then I learned something. Just because the food is there does not mean I have to eat it. I can choose to partake.

Another tactic is to bring your own food, this is especially important for work. Knowing I have something with me cuts down on me making poor food choices.

Lingering around food both at work and in social situations leads to mindless grazing. I remind myself that I am there to see my friends and not food. There was a time where all I could think about was the food.

I try to grab a smaller plate to put my food on. Plus drinking water either altogether or alternatively is helpful. This helps to keep me full.

I have found deciding ahead of time helps too. Knowing that I will indulge in something rich later helped me to make better choices beforehand. Not just food but in working out as well.

The goodies will be there, we can’t run and hide from it. We can however make it through this eating season without losing all that we have worked for all year.

Finally there is saying no. This can tough as food is often given as gifts. I find it best to politely accept and enjoy a little of it and either give it away or throw it out.
It is easier to say no if it is offered not as a gift.

What are some strategies that help you during this time of year?