Whole45 – Day 45


I took a little break. From everything, really. On Day 38, from a place of contentment and reflection, I decided to sit outside with a glass of wine on a summer evening because it was exactly what needed. I needed a break from daily blogging because school started and I needed that time with my son.  I needed a break from perfect Paleo because it had begun to skew away from health and towards fixation.

So I missed my goal of 45 days and I realized that a few more days of not blogging were going by. Even when I came back to Whole30 eating, I was still avoiding blogging. And then it occurred to me. I didn’t want to blog again because I was worried what you all would think of me. Shame. Worry. Embarrassment.

That’s when I knew that I absolutely needed to blog because my life and how I go through my journey is not how you might do your own journey – and that’s just fine. While I feared that stopping before the finish line would possibly demotivate someone who is following along and working through their own challenges, I also thought that maybe a different person might totally appreciate that my journey isn’t linear. In the end, a challenge that I post online is still my own to live and learn from.

So a few things to consider:

  • When I posted my results at 30 days, something switched over in my brain and I felt like I was finished. Every day after that I was dragging and pushing and fighting with myself.
  • More than ever, I need to work on balance and moderation. If I have something that falls outside the scope of Paleo, it doesn’t have to derail me for a month. I’m still in it. Because “it” is my life and I’m still working towards my healthiest self.
  • I hurt (rehurt) my hamstring and realized that I kept over-exerting because I was after some end result. I’ve had to take a step back and this is tough sometimes.
  • The days that I was derailed were also hormonally charged and quite likely needed even more carbohydrates. This is something I haven’t really figured out yet.
  • If perfection is my goal, I will never attain it. Get over it.
  • I have work to do around body image, the scale, results, weight as an indicator of health, and why any of this is important to me.

Somehow I got tangled up in the duration of the challenge and doing my results early and having an arbitrary finish line. It totally jacked me up for a minute. What I’m grateful for is that after only a few days, I easily came back to what makes me feel good. I am currently dialed way, way back on any activity while my leg heals. If I’m truly wanting to express health and wellness, then that means I have to back off when my body tells me to. This is a part of the balance that I’m working on.

What I’ve been thinking about lately is a variation on a Whole anything. It’s more about actively and intentionally balancing what I eat, how I move, and the things that I do for self-care in a way that is whole-heartedly less than perfect, but just right for ME. Since perfection is not my goal but deviating from a set of rules derails me, I want to mindfully practice balance. If I have a glass of wine, it doesn’t mean a free-for-all for three days. If I have a dinner out, it doesn’t mean biscuits and gravy the next day. Or maybe it does. I really want to practice tuning in to what is worth it, when it’s worth it, and why.

I went into these 45 days because I wanted to help a friend. I truly hope I gave a little guidance and support along the way. I feel refreshed and reengaged with my healthy habits, which is exciting. Eating like this is so doable. Feeding yourself whole, delicious, real food can transform us from the inside out and it’s totally worth it! And so is a glass of wine and a chocolate bar and a rest day. It’s about finding the balance that works best for you – not for anyone else and I’m grateful that I took the time to explore and experiment.

Thank you so much for coming along on this imperfect journey with me. I really appreciate you. xo








Whole45@45 – Day 31


outside your comfort zoneSometimes I think we all need a little reminder of what can happen once we step outside our comfort zone. We each have so much strength and experience that is available to us, but often it will only appear when we are stretching ourselves beyond what we think we want to do. That was the point of 45 days for me – to see what would happen if I followed a Whole30 format beyond what is typical. I’m pretty confident that I needed the stretch because thirty just felt easy. That’s a part of it too, though. We don’t know until we try and most of the time, our courage, knowledge, expertise, gumption, and skills will show up at the time when we need them, reminding us perhaps that we could have stretched and excelled even earlier, that we have what we need inside of us already. And maybe that will remind us, too, that it’s when we push beyond that we truly learn about ourselves and about what is possible. So go for it!

Day 31 has been a good day. I’ve not been very hungry at all today, which is a little strange but I’ve also been busy. That definitely helps. It’s my longest and busiest day of work so it’s a little easier to get distracted.

In case you are wondering what the physical changes were following thirty days of clean eating without dairy, legumes, sugar, or alcohol, here’s what it looked like for me:

Weight loss: 8 1/2 lbs.

Inches lost: chest – 1″, waist – 1 1/2″, abs – 2 3/4″, hips – 1 1/2″, thigh – 1″

Definition: I’m starting to see some muscle definition come back out, which I really like. Things had gone a bit into hiding. 🙂

Energy: Definitely more steady. I was tired nearly every afternoon before and struggling to stay awake, even when it wasn’t late at night. Now I’m up early, full of a calm energy all day, and capable of staying up later but shutting off the light because I need my sleep!

Sleep: I’ve always been a good sleeper, but I notice that it’s easier than ever to get up at 4am. I sleep about 6 1/2 to 7 hours each night. I’d definitely like to add an hour, but that isn’t possible right now. I usually get that extra 30-60 minutes on the weekend though.

Workouts: Especially compared to how I was feeling at the very beginning of this challenge, my workouts are considerably better. I feel strong and capable, ready to tackle whatever workout I do. I also have this sense that I could really keep going or do any additional physical work that gets set before me.

Skin: I feel like my skin is more luminous. I don’t know how to gauge this except that I find myself leaving the house more frequently without any make-up on at all and appreciating the quality of my skin. I’m sure it has a whole lot to do with drinking tons of water, eating loads of veggies and good fats, and not drinking alcohol.

Body confidence: Perhaps the greatest gift that these past 30 days have given me is the shift in body confidence. Whether it’s the food I’ve been eating or simply the act of committing to my health and well-being, I don’t know. In any case, I’m happy for it because I much prefer acting from a place of self-confidence than shame or guilt or embarrassment.

So there you go. The first thirty days in a nutshell. I don’t know that anything earth-shattering will happen in the next fifteen days, but that’s okay. I’m pretty happy with how much better I feel right now compared to a month ago and I have a feeling it will only get better from here.

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, zucchini, 1/4 avocado, sauerkraut, 1/2 a plum

Lunch – Zoodles, 1/2 a pork chop, spicy Thai sesame sauce, mango

Dinner – Salmon salad with arugula, spinach, and fresh figs

Post-workout snack: HB egg / chunk of sweet potato / Sriracha sauce / carrots

How did I move today?

Yoga. Then tonight I had the chance to do a full body strength workout. When I got home, it was so beautiful out that I just had to take the dog out for a run so we got in a couple miles. I still wasn’t hungry, but I decided that since my Wednesday dinner is at 4pm and then I worked out, which I don’t always do at night, I should have something to eat. Quick little balanced snack to help everything recover and be ready for another day!

Whole45@45 – Day 30


Well my first thirty days are complete. For most people, this is where the super-strict Paleo might finish but I’ll be waking up tomorrow and continuing on. I think it was important for me to commit to the longer timeframe from the beginning. I don’t feel like I’ve experienced all of the changes and benefits that are in store for me. I feel like there’s more work to be done. This is aside from additional weight loss that I’m hoping for. It’s more about feeling firmly committed to my health and wellness and how significantly food affects that.

I definitely feel better, my skin is brighter, my clothes fit better, and I feel far more stable in my energy and moods, but I want more. I don’t feel like I’ve fully dialed in to what makes my body feel great. I still have some bloating issues from time to time, I don’t feel like I understand the relationship of carbs to my workouts (intellectually, yes, I’m talking personally, what I specifically need to feel  my best), and I know that I still would like an evening cocktail or two. Every night. A little more abstention might go a long way here. And more water.

I plan to share a few more concrete things tomorrow but for now I’ll just celebrate that I’ve successfully completed another Whole30. I don’t feel quite as excited as I thought I would, perhaps because it’s such an interim step, but I’m very grateful that I stepped up and committed to it. I’ve navigated a concert, socializing with friends, emotional days, and eating out. It’s gone by fast so I wonder what the next two weeks will hold.

So what did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs / Slaw / Sauerkraut / 1/4 avocado

Snack – Turkey roll-up with avocado and bell pepper

Late lunch – Tropical salad with grilled pork chop / 1/2 a peach / 2 fresh figs

Early dinner – Moroccan lamb and cabbage

Snack – 2 more figs. Totally unnecessary but their season is so extremely short and this is the first time I’ve found them here. I love them so I’m taking advantage.

Overall, I ate a ton of fruit this afternoon but it was soooo good. My son and I stopped by the store on the way home for a few things and everything smelled and looked so good that I just had to get a bunch of stuff. Way more fruit than we probably need, but it’s that time of year when I absolutely love everything that’s available and for the rest of the year it just isn’t the same. So I’m indulging. I’ll probably notice it, but hopefully it won’t wake up any major sugar cravings. At least not any cravings that can’t be satisfied by another bite of peach.

How did I move today?

Ran a couple miles at the track while my son practiced football. In between the miles I threw in a few rounds of squats/pulse-squats/squat jumps/burpees. It felt fantastic to be outside running in the evening air!

Whole45@45 – Day 29

be proudMy son started middle school and had a half-day orientation this morning. I picked him up and took him to lunch. It went fine, I was hungry and able to find things to eat. Then he wanted to go to Cold Stone afterwards. Ice cream and I have an intimate relationship. Not only do I love it, but I also love tasting a million different flavors before deciding what my mood is for the day. It’s really not a ploy to get more ice cream (or maybe it is…). For whatever reason, it’s one of those foods that if I find the right combination it can brighten my whole day. I guess that’s a little crazy but it’s just the way it is.

So I didn’t have any. And I didn’t get to satisfy either love – no tasting all the flavors and no ice cream.

I’m kind of sad about it, I guess. At the same time, though, I really feel okay too. I know what it tastes like, really, and sometimes when I have it, the urge still exists for more. Almost as if I hadn’t had it. That sounds really crazy too, I guess. It’s hard to explain, but I think it ties into the concept of cravings being for something other than food, once we really stop to listen. So there’s some feeling that I get when I’m eating ice cream – something playful, I think, youthful, carefree, holiday-esque. Eating ice cream makes me feel that way, only for just an instant and then it’s gone. I’m left with the still present desire for playful, carefree sensations.

I got over it because it wasn’t a craving today. It was suggested by my son and part of me felt like I should have it too because, after all, we were celebrating his first day of middle school. The truth is that he doesn’t need me to have ice cream in order to celebrate his step closer to maturity. I was able to honor and support him in other ways today, ways that were hopefully more memorable than what flavor ice cream I might have had.

What did I eat today?

Breakfast: 2 eggs, zucchini, 1/4 avocado, sauerkraut , 1/2 a plantain

Pre-workout: 2 bites of an RX bar

Lunch: Salad / Steak / Grilled zucchini

Snack: 1/2 plantain, chunk of sweet potato

Super early dinner: Grass-fed beef sausage / Kiwi / Macadamia nuts and 2 dried apricots

Super hungry today even after a good lunch. Couldn’t tell if it was because I needed food or if it was mental. I opted for a little grace and just ate as I felt like my body was telling me. It’s an emotional day for me too and if it takes a few extra carbs to work through the day, then the ones I’m eating will keep me on the healthier spectrum.

And then I ended up having an early dinner because really I kept feeling hungry so the snack merged into dinner. Then suddenly I wasn’t anymore. It was as if a switch had been flipped and I was done.


Down and dirty MetCon with a bunch of barbell work. Worked upper and lower body, got my heartrate way up, and I was dripping when it ended. All good.

Tropical Cucumber Salad with Shrimp

Tropical Cucumber Salad with Shrimp.JPG

Have you tried these shrimp yet? They’re so easy to make and they taste great, so what are you waiting for? Pairing these heavily spiced shrimp with simple, clean flavors is a match made in heaven. This cucumber salad is refreshing and combines crunch and tenderness, sweetness and spice. It’s totally delightful on a summer day!

Tropical Cucumber Salad with Shrimp

5-6 large Heavenly Spiced Shrimp

1/2 a cucumber

1/2 a mango

1/4 avocado

A few slivers of sweet onion

1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp. white balsamic vinegar

4-5 basil leaves, slivered

6-7 mint leaves, slivered

chives, minced

salt to taste


  1. Peel the cucumber and slice into thin semi-circles. Place in a bowl.
  2. Peel and cut the mango into small chunks. Add the mango and thin slices of onion to the bowl along with the avocado pieces.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the herbs over the salad with a pinch or two of salt and toss to coat.
  4. Add the shrimp to the salad and indulge!

Serves 1




Whole45@45 – Day 28

Day 28? Are you kidding? Each day that I get a little bit closer I’m just awed by how quickly the time has gone. I’ve done several Whole30s over the years and this is the first time that I’ve had that experience. Usually there’s a point where it’s dragging and I can’t wait for it to be finished, but this time, even with times of cravings, I haven’t once felt it was long. Then again, it’s not over yet…

Today I went for a run out at the reservoir near where I live. We’ve had a lot of rain lately so there were tons of flowers and greenery. It was absolutely gorgeous! I went in a pair of shorts and my sports bra, no tank top over it. This is one of those things that I love to do because it feels great, totally freeing. But at the same time, I have to overcome some internal dialog about whether or not I “should” be in “just” a sports bra, what if other people don’t think I should be in a sports bra, maybe I should wait or not ever or be ashamed or embarrassed. And so on.

Here’s the thing though. When I’m running and I’m in only a sports bra and shorts, I feel kind of amazing – ultra feminine, crazy strong, totally free, and 100% embodying…me.

It’s really a liberating experience that I did for the first time last year and then covered up again because I felt like I didn’t deserve to be out there. Because guess what? When I run, things move and shake a little. But it occurred to me as I was running today that that is how my body is and it doesn’t take away from the strength inside and out that I have or the fact that it just feels great. And that is totally reason enough to do it. I encountered two people out there. One guy had his shirt on, the other didn’t. Both were enjoying their own experience of being physical and immersing themselves in nature. And so was I.

We really just have this one life and I certainly don’t want to waste it. Why wouldn’t you express yourself fully? That’s not to say that everyone needs to be out in their sports bra. It’s just that if there’s something you’ve been wanting to do or wear or say, maybe it’s time to just do the darn thing!

Shine bright. xo

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 hard-boiled eggs, a couple slices of bacon, zoodles

Post-run/Pre-yoga snack/lunch – A small bowl of Moroccan cabbage and lamb / Melon

Mid-day snack/lunch – A handful of macadamia nuts / Turkey, tomato, avocado roll-up / Carrots / Blueberries

Dinner – Sausage / Sweet potato / Garlic and dill green beans / Cherries

Food was sort of random. I ate every meal except dinner standing at the counter, slightly rushed to leave. That isn’t ideal but I also didn’t let it get to me. Sometimes when you eat without taking the time to sit down and savor it, your mind barely registers that you’ve eaten and you can find yourself hungry again in no time. I had things I wanted to do today and, funnily, eating wasn’t high up. Super strange for me.

My son starts middle school tomorrow and wanted me to mention that he had sausages, waffle fries, and peas for dinner. He wanted to make the blog. 🙂 These sausages are pretty cool because they are 100% grass-fed beef with super clean ingredients: Grass-fed beef, salt, celery powder, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, white pepper, coriander, marjoram, ginger. And that’s it. They’re from Teton Waters Ranch and are delicious!

How did I move today?

I ran for about an hour out at the reservoir. It was beautiful and I’m looking forward to doing it again soon. The hardest part is that on the way out it was mostly downhill but you have to get back too.

And a little bit of yoga.


Whole45@45 – Day 27


A good day today. It started off early at work where I got to train a number of unique, remarkable women. Then I worked my own self into a sweaty puddle, which felt great. I spent some time in the garden, did a bunch of weeding, cleaned the house, and took an afternoon bath. Sometimes I really love a daytime bath – it feels absolutely decadent and indulgent.

I got Nom Nom Paleo’s new cookbook last night and I’m totally hooked. I have been reading it cover to cover and I can’t wait to cook from it. I can’t tell you how many hours of my life have been spent reading cookbooks. I have always loved doing it. I lived for six years in France and bought every cookbook in this particular series and would read them on the metro on the way to work. It helped me learn the language as well as understand how flavors come together. Cookbooks transport me into the flavor combinations and get me inspired to cook and eat healthy. I’m hoping to make a few of the recipes this week so you’ll see them show up, I’m sure.

I feel like my eating is adapted to my activity level and cravings are down. I’m just cruising along and enjoying the journey. It’s a good place to be since Day 30 is right around the corner. I’ll probably do a bit of a recap and then keep on going until the end of the month. I’ve been considering what I will do after and I think at first I’m going to spend some time doing a focused reintroduction of certain foods. I intend to let that process take a while, trying something new and then returning to strict Paleo to tune in to how I feel. I think that by doing it that way, I will also remain mostly doing what I’m doing while loosening the reins just a little bit. Still staying curious, which I think will be key. I’ll keep you posted.

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful weekend!

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, cabbage, 1/4 avocado, salsa

Post-workout lunch: Small portion of Moroccan lamb and cabbage / Sweet potato chunk

Second lunch: Chili on slaw / Carrots

Snack: Three jalapeno stuffed olives / Blueberries

Dinner: Scallops with lavender salt / Garlicky zoodles / Bell pepper with avocado smash

Snack: Cherries

Breakfast was early today and dinner was late so I was definitely hungry at various times, but it all felt relevant to my activity. I love that I didn’t feel overly full at any point during the day and, in fact, could probably use a few more starchy carbs.

How did I move today?

MetCon with thrusters, man-makers, lunges, rows, and squat jumps. I was toast when it was done.


Whole45@45 – Day 26: Cravings, Part 2


Let’s go back to cravings a little bit, particularly with how it relates to this challenge or a health and wellness goal you might have. I fundamentally believe that food is supposed to be fun and joyful and delicious. We need it to survive and therefore our brains are designed to help us seek out that which is most pleasurable and rewarding about it. All that is well and good, but I also think that our society has created so many foods that are distorted variations of the real thing that it can be confusing to sort through what our bodies actually need to thrive.

Enter into that a whole lot of social conditioning and rituals or traditions and it can be nearly impossible to navigate a path solely based on health. But personally, I don’t believe that we need to. I really believe there is also room for indulgence purely for the sake of pleasure and a deeply felt sense of contentment that comes with enjoying something fully for no other reason than it is delectable.

Bridging these two ideas can be a challenge sometimes because I feel like my old habits strive to override new ways of feeling deeply contented. What we do consistently is more impactful than what we do once in a while so change takes time. The difficulty with things today is that so much is designed to be easy, and as humans we gravitate towards this naturally, but easy doesn’t necessarily mean better. Then once we are on the path of easy, it becomes a habit. If we want to change that habit because we intellectually believe a different way is better for us, that takes work. And work isn’t easy – so we’re back to some pretty significant signaling from the brain.

I committed to 45 days of this challenge not because I think 45 days is a magic number or because 30 isn’t long enough to begin to see some benefit or because 60 days is insane and obsessive. I picked 45 days because I knew that it would be a challenge in some way and I also knew that I’d need some time to really feel a shift in my perspective. The challenging part has come along but I don’t know that the shift in perspective has arrived yet. Even if I felt that it had, I committed to 45 days and need to see what that’s about, if only because I’m curious. And really, this isn’t hard and that isn’t long.

Yesterday I talked briefly about how I am a grown-up with the ability to make my own choices. I don’t have any significant food sensitivities, an auto-immune disease, or anything that might lead me to be 100% strict with my eating. (Knock on wood…) I’m super healthy from the day-to-day perspective and from the doctor’s reports. Even my weight, although I’d like to see a change, is actually a healthy weight for me. So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that I decided to do this 45 day challenge in order to discover something on the other side. I’m not to the end yet. Frankly, I don’t even know if I’ll have any earth-shattering change or discovery. Maybe I won’t. But that’s the thing – I’m here to find that out, not to assume that I have already gleaned what there is to learn. So these past few days when I’ve been wondering why I wouldn’t just loosen the reins a little bit, the answer is because I’m not finished yet and I don’t know what that looks like.

I also committed to the time and to you and to me. When we make a commitment to ourselves, we owe it to show up and do the work. Our minds know when we give up – this is, by the way, completely different from choosing to go a different way. A few months ago, I tried a more ketogenic approach and ended up moving away from that. The reason was that I could feel it messing with my head in ways that I didn’t like. It wasn’t making me feel more healthy and aligned with my self and was, instead, making me feel unsettled and unwell. So I chose to move away from it. On the other hand, when we give up on a goal that we really believe in just because it gets hard, then we’re telling ourselves that we’re not worth the effort. When in fact, not only are we worth the effort but we are totally capable of working through challenges and overcoming obstacles. Every single one of us is, without a doubt.

Right now I’m feeling healthy and aligned and the pull is to move back to something that doesn’t feel aligned. It really feels like I’m a toddler in a candy store throwing a tantrum and my mind wants to give me the candy so I’ll be quiet but the body is helping me to let it go because there’s something better out there.

So while I fully recognize my right to have a glass of wine, eat the chocolate, settle in with some cheese, I’m choosing not to and I feel better for it. I feel proud, strong, capable, a sense of accomplishment and ownership of my goals. And even though it’s still a little tough, I feel like I see the top of this particular hill and it really isn’t that far away at all.

I’ve already made my decision and now I’m just letting it play out. Thank you again for being there for me as I process this part of the journey. I appreciate you.

Shine bright. xo

So what did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, zucchini, salsa, sauerkraut / Bell pepper with avocado

Lunch – Salad with grilled pork chop, beets, onions, avocado / Sweet potato chunk

Snack – Carrot sticks / Cherries

Dinner – Moroccan lamb and cabbage sauté / Melon

All the cravings were gone today. I feel totally balanced and good to go for the next little bit. I feel like I overate at dinner tonight though because I’m sitting here a couple hours later and still feel full. I was hungry and it was really good so I think I just ate more than I needed. Or maybe it was too much cabbage for my system. Not sure. But it’s interesting how this feeling of fullness is becoming uncomfortable to me. Just twenty days ago it was the feeling I was often seeking.

Staring down the end of the first 30 days feels pretty good.

How did I move today?

I didn’t get a full workout in but an abbreviated MetCon happened this morning. I also did yoga and took the dog for a walk. Feeling good.

Whole45@45 – Day 25: Cravings

This-Too-shall-Pass1Oh. My. Gosh. Stupid cravings. I’m trying not to call them stupid because they are probably signaling something either physical or emotional that I need to deal with, but they feel stupid. Because I don’t want them. And I feel a little cheated that after 25 days of no alcohol, added sugar, or grains, I am still having cravings. I kind of feel like this should be a thing of the past and I should just be happy and thrilled that I’m eating all things that are good for my body. But actually, today and yesterday, I’ve been mostly just wishing I weren’t. I’d like to go get frozen yogurt with my kid and open a bottle of wine tonight. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask. And I’ve had 25 days of really clean eating so you know what I feel? I feel like I deserve a break. And I feel a little like it sucks that I have 20 more days to go before that can happen. And that is making me feel rebellious because I’m a grown up that can choose to eat or drink whatever I want and really, this life, MY life, is about balance and enjoying the small moments that come around every day and if that is a part of how I enjoy life then I should just relax and do it.

Only this. I feel better when I don’t drink and when I’m not crashing from added sugar. I feel better in my body and mind and soul when I’m treating it right. My energy is more stable and my thought processes are clearer and more measured when I’m not on some food induced chemical roller coaster.

So what is happening here? I’m sure it’s a combination of things, many of which I’ll never know for sure, but my best guess is that my brain kind of likes how things were before when I would just follow every little urge down its path and not worry about the outcome. It was easier to not have a goal or something that I want to accomplish. Choosing to eat a certain way, striving to create my healthiest and happiest body, making decisions that are not rooted in instant gratification – all these things can be hard at times and I guess I’m in one of those times.

I’ve got some things on my heart and mind and I don’t have answers for them right now. Personally, that’s a tough space for me to be in because I’m a fairly decisive person. Uncertainty is not my favorite space. In fact, if I don’t know the right thing to do, sometimes I’ll just jump anyway so that at least I’m dealing with a concrete set of circumstances and can put my action oriented self back to work. Just being with what is and not knowing what comes next, or even what I wish to come next, that’s tough for me.

In my experience, cravings and urges are two different things. An urge comes on suddenly, like someone mentions frozen yogurt (my son yesterday) and suddenly something that wasn’t even on my radar looms before me as a giant desire. Or you’re not even hungry but the dessert cart comes along and suddenly you really think that piece of cake is the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.

Urges tend to pass rather quickly. If you can distract yourself for 15 minutes – go for a walk, meditate, get involved in a craft or project, lose yourself in a conversation or book – the urge will generally move through and you can go on about your day.

Cravings for something specific, however, tend to linger a little longer. Sometimes for days or until the craving has been addressed. You might be craving pizza or cookies or chips, for example, and it goes on for a while. Another characteristic of a craving is it is usually quite specific. It’s not any cookie, it’s a chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven or your grandma’s snickerdoodles. Or maybe it’s BBQ Lays or that one coffee-candy drink you love or something like that. In the case of a true craving, sometimes the best solution is to satisfy that particular craving in the best way you can. This might mean finding the healthiest version that will still satisfy the taste and texture sensation, particularly if you have a food sensitivity, by maybe creating a Paleo version or hunting down a close representation. Or it might mean indulging in exactly what you’re craving but being very aware of how much you eat and how it affects your mind and body and truly savoring the experience.

Sometimes, though, the key to handling the craving is to dig a little deeper and uncover the underlying FEELING that you are trying to satisfy. Because, really, the body isn’t looking for the nutrition found in that chocolate chip cookie – it simply doesn’t need it. It, or your mind, is looking for something else. So what is it?

Sometimes my thoughts get busy and a little obsessive on a topic and what I’m seeking from wine or over-indulgent food is actually a sense of relief and space from my thoughts. I crave numbing out so that I don’t have to face head-on that I don’t have an answer for a particular situation and I also don’t have a next best move. That maybe I’m in a space of waiting and releasing control and allowing life to unfold. In that space of uncertainty, I’m looking to wrest some control back and take charge or to escape the discomfort of not having the answer. The problem with indulging in this way is I turn off my ability to discover and feel and my body doesn’t love what I put in it when I do this.

Or maybe I’m looking for that sense of carefree liberation that I feel when I’ve had a glass or two of wine and am indulging in whatever pleases my senses. It’s a playful state, a celebratory sensation, something that feels totally good and joyful. This release from responsibilities and duties is so relaxing and I believe this state of being can be one of self-care. The trouble with it though is that I sometimes get confused and believe the playful, joyful, relaxed sensations come from the food when in reality they come from the mental place of letting go and fully immersing myself in the moment while releasing the hold that any expectation of how things should be has.

There are a million other feelings that you might be craving that you are confounding with food cravings. What is it that you truly desire and how might you satisfy that feeling? Once you discover this, and satisfy it, if you still want the food then go for it. But maybe, just maybe, you fulfilled your need for love, adventure, connection, relaxation, rebellion, celebration, delight, release, playfulness, or whatever in a way that actually, truly nourished your soul. And maybe, just maybe, it felt infinitely better than a cookie.

Shine bright. xo

So What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, zucchini, 1/4 avocado, sauerkraut

Post-workout lunch: Grilled pork salad with beets, tomatoes, avocado / Sweet potato / Cherries

Snack – Strawberries

Dinner – Grilled tri-tip / Sweet potato / Cantaloupe / 1/4 avocado

I decided to add some sweet potato into my day in case I was needing more carbohydrates. It seemed to help calm the cravings but I also think that this morning’s introspection helped too.

How did I move today?

A lot! Metcon that included lots of push-ups and squat jumps inside burpees plus some heavy bent-over barbell rows.

Tennis with my son – just a few more days of summer vacation left!

And then an hour walking around the track with some friends while he had football practice. I am toast!

Whole45@45 – Day 23

paleo pyramidSometimes when I talk to people about Paleo, they think that I eat totally weird stuff. I mean, maybe I do, but I don’t think it’s the Paleo part of it. I think that’s more because I love unusual flavors and tons of variety. In reality, I feel like I eat mostly the same as everyone else, only minus a few things. So it’s not that Paleo food is so different, it’s just that it gets arranged a little differently than you might expect.

Instead of always having something starchy on the side, those options are a little more limited or we just leave them out entirely. Instead of something with cheese, we eat it without the cheese. Sandwiches? No bread. Okay. I admit that sandwiches are a bit hard because they are so much about the bread, but usually if there’s a sandwich, you can have a salad instead. Or make a salad out of the insides of the sandwich.

The real fundamentals of eating Paleo are this…if it comes from the ground or an animal and not a box or bag, you’re pretty much good to go. Meat? Yes. Fruits and veggies? Yes. Nuts and seeds? Yes. Fats? Mostly, but these are a little trickier.

Then as time goes on and each individual learns more about what suits them, things get added. Maybe rice, maybe lentils or beans, maybe cheese or yogurt. Because you see, Paleo isn’t a prescribed diet, it’s a philosophical way of looking at our current food and lifestyle and asking the question – What does my body need to be its healthiest and feel its best? I’m all about total adherence to the picture above right now as my body finds its rhythm, but in the future maybe dairy will come in a little and maybe lentils because I actually already know that my body tolerates them pretty well. Same thing for rice. And for sure an occasional treat or cocktail.

If you look back at what I’ve been eating, it’s lots of salads, for example, but not because I have to. It’s because I really love them. I eat burgers and shrimp and grilled meat and tons of veggies. I think it’s more about what I don’t eat that worries people. Pasta, lasagna, fried food, pizza, Chinese food, ice cream…it’s true that these are difficult for me to work in because of all the wheat and sugar. But when I really think about it, those foods don’t make me feel my best anyway. They generally make me want to lie down and take a nap – almost immediately. My body totally crashes and feels lethargic and tapped out. But maybe sometimes I’ll eat them, especially ice cream, and maybe I won’t. I’m open to moving forward in whatever way feels best for my body as time goes by.

If you are worried about jumping into a Paleo lifestyle, things have really changed in the past five years. Many restaurants are gluten free or have Paleo options, there are ready-made products at the store and online that can make the transition easier, and so many blogs and cookbooks out there to help you stay motivated. And if it turns out that you feel more energized, balanced, lighter and happier when you eat this way…what have you really got to lose?

Shine bright. xo

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 2 eggs, zoodles, 1/4 avocado

Pre-workout – A few bites of curry chicken and 1 Lebanese meatball / Cherries

Post-workout lunch – Chili on a bed of slaw, 1/4 avocado / Cherries

Dinner – 1/2 a pork chop with a beet salad / Banana with almond butter

Okay – yesterday I may have said that I was over the fruit thing and mostly I am, except cherries and other summer fruits are not here long and they’re my favorites. I’m not going to miss out on summer’s bounty because I think I would regret it. Maybe the banana with almond butter was a bit of a treat but it felt great.

How did I move today?

First off, yesterday’s workout didn’t happen but sometimes you just need to listen to the body and let it rest.

Today was a MetCon day. I did a 30 minute workout that had me dripping with sweat. It involved hill sprints, weighted walking lunges, plyo lunges, thrusters and burpees. Lots of them. Then I went to yoga in the evening and walked my dog after dinner.

Guess what? It’s raining again right now and I’m outside under my sweet little lights relishing another summer storm. I wish some of you were here with me. It’s pretty awesome. But then I might want a glass of wine so maybe next time.