Category Archives: Strength

Whole 30: Goals and Reflection

I previously wrote about surviving the Whole 30 through the food point of view. Thinking about it now, I’d have to say that I didn’t merely ‘survive’ on the Whole 30. I lived! There was very little suffering or torture. I started out (and completed) the Whole 30 with my sense of humor and adventure fully intact. I was in it to see what would happen. I had a few minor goals:

  •     Increase my energy levels
  •     Use and view food as fuel, rather than something to do (aka limit snacking!)
  •     Stop using food as a source of comfort and focus on healthy, whole foods, rather than treats!

The major things that I had to learn to do without out or change were:

  • Using olive oil and vinegar instead of dressings and marinades (I loved this change!)
  • No more gum!! I was the gum queen. Think: at least 3 different kind of gum in my bag at all times. Gum after lunch and any meal out, plus gum for those snacky times, or when I was feeling stressed. I liked to chew my anxiety off! Bad habit much?

And was it really that difficult? Nope! I crave balsamic vinegar now. Along with mustard for my salads. There are so many options! As for the gum, I am better off without the added chemicals, and rarely think about it now. And I am adding years to my overused jaw! So I will continue without gum in my life.

I also discovered how much I use food for comfort. Had a bad day? Chocolate it is! Feeling cold and tired? Chocolate and tea it is! Weekends mean family time and yummy homemade desserts. Not that this is so bad. But when it becomes an every night occurrence and an all weekend eating fest? Slightly unhealthy. Plus, that chocolate is not going to end my worries or solve my energy woes. Quite the opposite actually. So, I really enjoyed cutting my ties to the sugar and no longer having the givemeanythingsweetrightnow cravings.

Changing the Focus

Unlike times when I have tried to cut out added sugar and my thoughts revolved around how I could create something semi-dessert like, the Whole30 engaged me in focusing on the health of my entire being. I wasn’t doing the Whole30 to lose weight or get in shape, I was doing it to become healthier: both mentally and physically. I wanted to change the way that I use food. Food is fuel. And sometimes a comfort. But it should be mainly viewed as a way to nourish and support your body. For example, Halloween with no candy?! Some may say that is crazy. But why use a holiday as an excuse to consume copious amounts of sugar in the form of mass-produced candy and other franken foods? Instead, it was a meatza night. And no sugar hangover the next day!

Happy Halloween Whole 30 Style: Meatza and salad, Fresh Apple, and Batty socks!

Goals Accomplished?

Did I complete the Whole30? Yes. Am I dramatically new and different person in regards to food and health? No. These things take more than 30 days people. Will I continue to practice the Whole30 philosophy in my daily life? YES! My energy is still not quite where I would like it to be. But, I will continue to focus on making sure that I get enough good, quality sleep. And that the mental stress of life does not completely take over my health. There were definitely some tough days during the Whole30. Specifically feeling down and tired-especially at the end. I think that this may have been due to not having enough carbs (sweet potatoes and squash!) in my meals. Social times were often a little stressful as well. Not being able to enjoy the same food as others and worrying about what to eat out was a bit stressful. Thankfully, there were only a few times when I felt ‘left out.’ I had to remind myself that I was making the choice to complete the Whole30 and I could not bring others down with my food worries! And I did not go out to eat at all!

Will I Whole30 Again?

The short answer: Yes! I love the philosophy behind the Whole30 and the Whole9, I never felt deprived with the food that I was eating, and I like knowing that I am providing my body with the best nutrition possible!

The long answer: I plan to combat the holiday eating fest (aka the month of December) with mini Whole5 or 8 etc., I will continue to incorporate the philosophy of Whole9 into my daily life. Using food as fuel, but indulging when it counts, and focusing on my overall health. I will be doing another Whole30 in January. I am also going to up the ante: no coffee. Possibly no nuts. Rough life eh? Actually, I am very curious about the effect that coffee may be having on my energy issues. Until then though, coffee in the morning is a must!

Would you be up for the Whole30 Challenge?

What nutrition and/or fitness goals are you currently working on?



Filed under Adventure, Life, Strength

Whole 30: How I’ve Survived!

The Whole 30 can be fairly intense for some people. Actually, probably most people. No dairy, grains, soy,  legumes, sugar, or alcohol for 3o whole days? Yup. Focusing on 3 meals a day that incorporate lots of protein, fat, and veggies? Sounds fairly rational. Pre-whole 30, I followed a fairly ‘Paleo’ style way of eating. I wasn’t on a diet, I don’t restrict myself from non-Paleo foods, but bread and cheese have never really been my thing. Meat, anything coconut, and a plate full of veggies are more my style of eating! I originally hopped on the Whole 30 band wagon due to my lovely Mama. I decided I would do it to support her and as a challenge (because I can’t say no!). Beginning the Whole 30, I was mostly worried about ‘accidently’ eating something that I wasn’t supposed to have. And my social life-eating out with friends would be very difficult. I struggled with how much I should share with others. Most people  feel that the Paleo way of eating is fairly extreme, so Whole 30 would be a whole different dilemma! I don’t like being the exception or the person that everyone needs to accommodate.

I prepared for the Whole 30 by trying out new recipes each week. Sunday was a day of meal prep for the week: I would bake my eggs that I had every morning, and would make a big dish of Jambalaya, Pumpkin Cream Chicken Casserole, or Chicken and Vegetable/Crice Soup. Paleomgwas my savior. And trying new recipes every week meant that my meals were never boring!

1. Nesting Eggs: Over-easy Eggs and Spaghetti Squash, 2. Breakfast Burrito Bowl, 3. Egg, Spinach, & Mushroom Bake, 4. Squash, Roasted Brussel sprouts, & Egg plate.

I gradually cut out my morning snack of almonds or a Larabar by incorporating lots of avocado and coconut oil into my morning meal. This usually consisted of 2 eggs with veggies, topped with 1/4 of an avocado and homemade salsa, plus a cup of squash topped with cinnamon and coconut oil. Lunch was some type of meat/veggie mixture topped with more avocado. I also had an apple for some extra carbs. I had a third meal later in the afternoon, usually a hard boiled egg, carrots, and sunflower seeds. Then dinner a few hours later. This varied, but again consisted of a protein (beef, chicken, pork etc.) and lots of veggies (brussel sprouts, spaghetti squash, broccoli, spinach..etc.). In the past I have struggled with low blood sugar crashing feelings between meals, and this style of eating really eliminated a lot of that feeling. I worried less about having something to eat between meals because I was eating larger, more satiating meals!

Snack: Hard boiled egg with ketchup!

The biggest ‘obstacle’ was replacing my store bought salsa, salad dressing, and other condiments. This actually became an adventure for me-I really enjoyed making my own salsa and ketchup, and got to experiment with some yummy extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar! A few weeks into my Whole 30, I also rediscovered mustard. I now can’t get enough of it on my salads and as a dip for my carrots!

Carrots for the Week!

Cravings? What Cravings? I had very little cravings for non Whole 30 compliant food.  I think that this is mostly due to my love of the food that I was eating, therefore I wasn’t as focused on what I couldn’t have. I did crave popcorn throughout the 3o days, but this is a normal craving for me. I even survived Halloween with no candy or sweets! Instead it was Well Fed‘s meatza and an apple with cinnamon and coconut flakes for our ‘dessert.’ Early on in our adventure, I bought the Well Fed cookbook for my Mom and it was definitely I good move! Tons of awesome recipes!

Whole 30 Dinners: 1. BBQ Pork Chop with Sweet Potato and Salad, 2. Taco Salad, 3. Chorizo Stuffed Squash, 4. Paleomg Jambalaya.

Now that we are on Day 30, I would totally recommend doing the Whole 30. It is possible, especially if you are prepared. Take the time to read It Starts With Food, find recipes to keep you satisfied, and stock your pantry with Whole 30 approved food! Having a Whole 30 buddy is also especially helpful! More on my Whole 30 goals and reflection soon…

P.S. I realized I wrote this post in the past tense, as if all of my Whole 30 habits are no longer. However, this is still the way I am ‘living’ and ‘eating’ currently…

Are you up to the Whole 30 Challenge?


Filed under Adventure, Life, Strength

Waiting on My Running Mojo

My running energy has recently taken a huge nosedive. No matter the situation: early morning, late afternoon, short run, long run, solitary, or meeting up with a friend-I’ve lost all desire to run! After my trail run in October my body needed some serious rest and recovery, so I took a week off from running and lifting. It was a much needed break for my body and mind! I focused on restoring and repairing my body with nutritious foods, lots of rest, and a few long walks. I kept waiting for the urge to run to return…and it seems I’m still waiting.

Sunshine in New York!

The cold weather here in New York combined with the lack of sunshine (until this weekend!) definitely hasn’t helped my running mojo. I tend to be cold from October to May (and I wish I were exaggerating!). So the cooler temperatures are less than inspiring. In the past, my running fever has started up in the spring and carried me through the summer, cooling off once the fall and winter temperatures set in. I tend to only run outside-I don’t love the treadmill! However, this is the first year that I’ve gotten fairly serious about running and have begun to enjoy it for the sake of running rather than as a means of exercise. Did someone say long run endorphin rush? This means that long runs, the technicalities of running gear, and post run nutrition have become part of my vernacular! I don’t want to lose my running muscles, so I now have a goal to continue with my running though the winter. No biggie right?! Now if only I could find some my running mojo!

My goal is to run at least twice a week. And in the past few weeks I have accomplished that. They weren’t stellar runs, and nothing longer than 4 miles, but I was out there and moving! I did recently purchase some awesome new running gear thanks to discount deals at TJ Maxx: lined base layers and a sweet new orange sweatshirt. That may mean that I now have approximately 4 running shirts that are orange… Apparently that is my running color!

New Warm Running Gear = Amazing Running?!

I ran the other day with a friend and was reminded of how good it felt to be out and moving. It took a bit to get into my groove, but by mile 3 I was feeling good! Thank you endorphin rush! Discussing our upcoming Thanksgiving dessert plans also helped!

Today I have plans to head to the track and complete a ladder workout: (and soak up some vitamin D!)

Track Ladder Workout:

  • 4 Laps (1 mile)
  • 10 Burpees, 20 Push ups, 20 Lunges
  • 3 Laps
  • 10 Burpees, 20 Push Ups, 20 Squats
  • 2 Laps
  • 10 Burpees, 20 Push Ups, 20 Lunges
  • 1 Lap (Sprinting!)
  • 10 Burpees, 20 Push Ups, 20 Squats

Hopefully my happy running face will be returning soon!

What do you do when your running/lifting/other exercise you love motivation is lacking?

Have any tips for cold weather running? (I need them!)

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Filed under Life, Strength, Work Out