Whole45@45 – Day 18: Body Confidence

'I knew it! 'Chicken' comes first!'I feel like another shift has occurred and I really want to talk about it. But first of all, thanks again for sticking with me through all of this! It’s been 18 days now and it still feels easy. I’m really, really grateful for that.

I’m sitting in my backyard this morning and it’s chilly and gray and just the slightest bit breezy. It feels like fall and I’m loving it. I have a cup of Rooibos tea with collagen and I’m listening to one of my favorite sounds in the world – the wind in the leaves. Love love love it! On top of that, I am planning to go hiking with my son today so I couldn’t be happier.

Yesterday the whole eating craze thing was totally non-existent. I ate my meals, felt totally satisfied, and didn’t even have the urge to snack throughout the day. This tells me, I think, that these past couple days, I was experiencing an increase in progesterone leading to a faster metabolism, more hunger, and bigger cravings. Progesterone rises during the luteal phase of a woman’s cycle so this increased metabolism/hunger/cravings cycle is likely to happen every month. I don’t know what to do with all that. Maybe eat more, maybe increase my carbs, maybe try to work through it…I think it will depend. Rather than dwell on it, though, I’ll just move forward with a little more awareness.

It’s actually raining right now. Seriously, I just can’t tell you how much I am loving sitting out here typing while this lovely weather is happening!

All that being said, the real shift that I have felt occur has been in body confidence. At the beginning of this Whole45, my confidence was a bit low, I didn’t feel attractive, I felt like I kind of wanted to hide away for a while. Now just a couple weeks later, I can feel my confidence and body appreciation rising. But realistically, how much have I changed? Sure, I’ve lost a few pounds and some bloat, but in just two weeks, the change is not THAT significant. Maybe a couple people notice, probably not though. Because in all truth, the difference isn’t that extreme. But I feel much, much better. So what’s the difference?

I think the difference lies in how I am treating myself. Over the last few weeks, I have shifted how I nourish myself entirely over to things that are providing what my body actually needs. There’s no alcohol, no sugar, no junk. It’s all about nutrient-dense foods and it all tastes great! Honestly, I have zero intention of changing my health by taking away the joy of food. That simply isn’t going to happen; I need to love what I eat. I am also exercising consistently, making room for play (tennis, hikes), consciously adding a yoga day that I don’t teach or do at home, meditating, allowing for naps when necessary, paying attention to the ones I love, and being outside as often as possible, which feels joyful to me.

The more we care for ourselves, the more worthy we feel of self-care. This feeling of worth then expands, creating greater energy for life, more to give to those around us, more awareness, more INTENTION. We live more fully and feel more alive and have a greater sense of self-love, which translates back into confidence and self-worth, allowing us to expand yet again. It’s pretty amazing, really.

When I was drinking wine and eating a pack of crackers, it was a self-fulfilling cycle of frustration, sapping the energy right out of me and creating feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Difference – when I’m drinking wine and eating crackers (with amazing cheese) while connecting with friends, that’s living life richly. I’m good with that. (Just not right now…).

Food IS self-care. I’m experiencing that right now and it’s made me look at my body confidence a little differently too. Two weeks ago, uncomfortable in the gym. Yesterday, comfortable in my skin. That’s not to say that I don’t want to make changes in my body, I still have plans for that. The difference is in how I feel and carry myself. But I don’t look any different! So which came first – Body confidence or a better body to feel confident in?

I’m going to have to side with body confidence generated from a place of love and care.

I have a crazy-amazing friend who trains triathletes based on her own experiences as a world leading Ironman triathlete over at Rising Tide Triathlon. (Seriously, if you are looking to do your first Ironman or your 15th and want training that encompasses the whole you, check her out! She’s the best.) A while back, she and I had an email exchange around bodies and she said something that has stuck with me and replayed off and on in the back of my mind.

It was this: “If I am living the way I want to live, like incorporating the things I love and working through the stuff I don’t love in a conscious way, then isn’t the body that comes out of that, the body I should be happy with???”

My heart-felt answer is YES! Absolutely! Our bodies are all different and amazing and remarkable in their own right. If the life we are living is one that we love, then our bodies as a physical representation of that life are, indeed, loveable!

Now that I am feeding my body what it needs and showering it with self-care and love, it IS the body that comes out of that life. I can still want to change it, but I don’t love it any less. It is the same body that it was two weeks ago, but today I appreciate it for working so hard, being so capable, and affording me so much grace for the times I didn’t speak nicely about it. I am, in fact, proud of all it’s done despite how I’ve treated it at times.

I think this is where I got stuck. I knew deep down, and maybe not so deep down, that what I was putting into my body wasn’t really nourishing or nurturing it. I was placing great physical demands on it in terms of intense workouts and great psychological and emotional demands on it in terms of intense, well…, life. However, instead of giving it the food that it needed to navigate all of that, I was giving it wine and crackers. That’s not very fair. So I KNEW that I wasn’t caring for myself in the best way I could and I felt guilty about that, which created a negative spiral.

Have I fixed it for good with a few weeks of meat and veg? Hardly. But I’ve reminded myself that small shifts in self-care can translate into huge gains in terms of happiness, vitality, and renewed confidence. That’s a pretty good start.

What are you doing to care for yourself today? It doesn’t have to be a grandiose gesture, you can absolutely start small. Just show yourself some love today. You totally deserve it.

Shine bright. xo

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 3 eggs, garlicky chard, 1/4 avocado, sauerkraut, a few chunks of sweet potato

Pre-hike snack – Broccoli salad / Grapes

Lunch – Sausage / Apple / 1/3 c. Roasted sweet potato

Post-hike snack – Nuts and dried fruit

Dinner – Curried chicken / Broccoli / Smoky carrots

How did I move?

A beautiful hike with my son near Westcliffe. Those are some mountains I wouldn’t mind living in. It was beautiful! And I made it home in time for yoga so it was truly a wonderful day.

Whole45@45 – Day 17

drivebyJust doing a quick drive by today because it was a really busy day and I need some time to unwind. My eating totally fixed itself. I no longer felt like eating everything. I’m thinking it was probably hormonal (sorry if that’s uncomfortable, gentlemen). I’m just glad that I was able to eat and move on instead of feeling driven by hunger.

I’ll have more to share tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you are all having a wonderful week! Thanks for coming along on this ride!

What did I eat today?

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

Lunch – Celery salad with grapes, walnuts, onion, chives, mint / Chinese meatballs / Cherries

Dinner – Grassfed beef polish sausage / Broccoli salad with avocado, tomato, onion, pickles, and garlicy vinaigrette

How did I move today?

Yoga and tennis. Wednesdays are mostly rest days for me so I just enjoy whatever movement comes along, plus yoga.

 

 

Whole45@45 – Day 16

all the foodOh. My. Gosh. I can’t stop eating.

First of all, I’m sorry about not posting yesterday. I was just busy with life and then spent some time unwinding instead of blogging. I could try to share what I ate, but it really isn’t important. The thing is, I could NOT get satisfied. I was hungry all day. I felt like I might be craving things, but when I checked in, even imagining a few things that might be typical cravings, I didn’t want those foods. I just wanted food. And more food.

So I ate. A few times throughout the day I would distract myself or do something different. We met up with friends in the afternoon and I wasn’t hungry then, but I’d had a giant lunch and then a snack almost immediately after, so really had no possibility of feeling hungry. Then it settled down and I had just a very light snack before work and I figured I’d be done. But when I got home, I was still hungry and ate dinner.

Today I have been pretty hungry again, but it feels like it’s a bit less urgent. Still no cravings for foods that are outside the scope of the challenge, but I could keep eating at any moment. I’m not right now, though. I promise. Instead I stepped away from the kitchen, got some essential oils diffusing, and am sipping on bubbly water. I feel totally fine, but I do feel like I had a giant lunch and so I should be fine. Yet I could still eat. So it’s this weird place to be. I don’t know if any of you ever feel like this – unable to get satisfied. Maybe (probably?) I’m a little crazy, but I’m putting it out there just in case someone else has been through this and feels like they were crazy. Either you weren’t or we both are. In any case, you’re not alone.

Days 12-15 according to the Whole30 Timeline are often full of cravings. I’m thinking this is quite possibly what I’m going through right now. The thing is, I actually crave healthy food because I love it. I also crave the feeling of being full. And I use food to suppress any emotional stress or discomfort that I might be feeling. This doesn’t even have to be big emotions, right? For me, I might eat as a form of procrastination, to beat boredom, if I’m feeling lonely or uncertain, overwhelmed, or tired. I also love to eat for all kinds of happy emotions too, but that’s a different scenario. So while I might not be craving typically craveable foods right now, my brain might be trying very hard to go back to the way things were. It’s not a fan of change.

In order to work through the eating urge, I’ve often used meditation, getting up and moving, running an errand because just getting away can reset the mental state, and sometimes I’ve been able to figure out what I was really craving and have satisfied the actual need. This is definitely a skill that I continue to work on.

I believe that when we have food cravings, there is a deeper, more meaningful need that we are seeking to fill. That might be a need for connection or space or relaxation or freedom or celebration (Katie Den Ouden is a master at helping you to discover this), but sometimes it’s tough.

Sometimes, particularly when I am doing a Whole30, I simply decide to eat. I’m still in the process of readjusting my hormones and giving my body the actual nutrition that it needs so if I go a little over in some areas, maybe just maybe, my body actually needed it. I’m learning to listen and the learning phase means that I don’t have it all figured out anyway. So I stick to Whole30 compliant foods because they make my body healthier, and I allow time and patience and grace for my Whole30-mind that is working through the process.

Okay – one other thing. If I were doing a Whole30, this would be my Day 1, but since I’m doing 45 days, I’m already two weeks in. It seems crazy to me! I don’t know where those two weeks have gone, but I’m super excited that in theory, the hardest days are more or less behind me. I know there are more challenges on the horizon and I doubt I’m out of this little mini-food-craze thing yet, but my body is settling into the routine and I appreciate that.

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 3 Italian meatballs / Roasted broccoli

Pre-workout snack – HB egg with a drop of mayo / Apricot / about 5 almonds

Lunch – Tropical cucumber salad with grilled shrimp / Zucchini soup which had a little sweet potato in it because I had a tough HIIT workout that needed refueling / Blackberries…Except it went like this…Salad with 5 shrimp and 1/2 a mango. Then back for 3 more shrimp and the other 1/2 mango. Then 1/2 c. soup. Then another 1/2 c. soup. Then a handful of blackberries, but I’d already had a whole mango. Geesh. When I was done, the strange thing was that I didn’t feel stuffed even. I just felt done.

Dinner – Chinese BBQ meatballs / Sautéed snap peas (A WellFed Weeknights recipe that is so good!) And I am definitely done eating. 🙂

How did I move?

HIIT workout and hopefully a dog walk tonight.

Yesterday I got a good posterior chain workout in and my body is feeling better all the time.

 

 

Whole45@45 – Day 14

plan

Want to know how to make eating right easier each week? Have a meal prep day. I find that weekends are the easiest, but it can be any day. I think sometimes people get overwhelmed thinking that you have to do a lot of prep to help your week run more smoothly, but sometimes it just takes a few things to make the whole week easier. Then you can add to your prep each time you cook turning it into a meal prep week.

Today ended up being a big cooking day because I didn’t have a lot of other things to do. I made a soup, these (BalancingPaleo) carrots, some shrimp that I’ll post next week, meatballs for dinner tonight but there are plenty for the week, and I roasted a spaghetti squash (again for tonight) and some broccoli. The fridge is jam-packed full of food that is ready to be turned into a lunch, dinner, or snack.

Here’s the trick, though. Tomorrow when I make dinner, I also plan on throwing together a chicken curry to go in the crock pot so that on Tuesday, I’m not cooking. Then if I need to have more things prepared, I have a few minutes in the evening to cook – even though it won’t be for that day’s dinner. And it rolls through like that.

Or it might be a day of the very basics, like hard boiled eggs, cleaned greens, sweet potatoes, grilled chicken thighs. It can really vary. The key is to have some veggies, some protein, and some greens all ready to go so that you can make something in a hurry. But I also like to add one more substantial dish like a soup or stew or something that likes to be prepared ahead of time and just needs heating up.

I’m curious to hear how any of you prep for the week. Are you more spontaneous? Is it always the same? Do you even do it? If not, why not?

Here’s to a healthful week and a few pockets of time to just relax!

Shine bright. x.

What did I eat today?

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

Lunch – 1/2 meatball, 2 shrimp, leftover pork tenderloin, zucchini soup made with a little sweet potato

Snack – Smoky Carrots / Apricot

Dinner – Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce / my Italian meatballs / Green salad / Cherries

It’s been a good day and I can hardly believe two weeks have gone by. I felt pretty full this afternoon because I did a little tasting along the way with all of the food prep, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Energy and mood have both stabilized and things are ticking along. At night I’ve been having a lot of dreams that I remember, which is unusual for me. I’m not sure what that means or if it has anything to do with this Whole45 at all, but last night I woke up a couple different times. I slept in this morning, though, so I’m feeling really rested anyway.

 

 

 

Smoky Carrots

IMG_1789-001

First of all, I’m so sorry about the picture. My camera died and now I’m operating with my cell phone and I’m having a few issues. Please don’t let that stop you from making this super simple dish! You can call it a carrot salad or you can call it a side dish, it doesn’t really matter, just make it right away!

I got the concept from Melissa Joulwan, whose cooking style and recipes remain among my very favorites. Adding warm veggies to a highly seasoned dressing and then allowing everything to hang out together is utter brilliance. It comes together with very little hands-on work and then only gets better as it sits.

I made a version of these carrots when we had friends visiting and just got a request for them. Unfortunately, I don’t remember exactly what I did the last time. The thing is, there are many ways to season and spice these carrots so if something sounds like it might be appealing, then go for it! I think the lemon juice is really the kicker because the citrus brightens the whole dish and helps bring it together. In one version today I used allspice and regular paprika and in the other I used smoked paprika. That’s the one that I’m including here because it’s totally addictive.

I hope you enjoy it!

Smoky Carrots

1 lb. of carrots

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

3/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 clove of garlic, minced

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. minced parsley

Directions

  1. Peel and cut the carrots into 1″ chunks.
  2. Place carrots in a pot and cover with water, adding a large pinch of salt.
  3. Bring water to boil, then cover and simmer the carrots for about 7 minutes, just until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, place oil, garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and salt in a serving bowl.
  5. Once carrots are tender, drain them, shaking off any excess water, and add them warm to the dressing.
  6. Toss to coat.
  7. Add parsley, toss again, and adjust seasoning to your taste.
  8. Serve with love!

Serves 4

 

 

 

 

Whole45@45 – Day 13

Self-Talk-1-428x550I’m starting to find my groove. I’m dialing my food in a little bit better but there still seems to be some work to do there. One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is just how much more stable my energy is. I no longer crash mid-day and even at night I have more energy. I usually go to sleep really early because I wake up at 4am, but the past couple nights I have had to tell myself to turn out the light because I felt awake enough to keep reading. Sleep is key though so it’s totally worth it, but it is noticeable how awake I feel.

So the other day, someone told me that I’m too hard on myself. And then this morning, one of the ladies I train was talking about her arms. We’ve been together for a while and she knows that I’m not a fan of talking badly about ourselves. She almost said her arms were fat, but changed it to how she’s working on her arms some more before wearing a tank top. When something comes up twice in one week, I figure I better pay attention a little bit. It got me thinking about body confidence, self acceptance, self-talk, loving ourselves where we are, body dysmorphia, and many other things.

As someone who has struggled with my weight my entire life, this is definitely something that I would love to find some secret answer to, but I am still working my way through it myself. I will probably come back to this subject again as the journey progresses, but let me just share a couple of thoughts today.

I truly believe that how we talk to ourselves has an impact on how we approach life. If we assume we have the strength and wherewithal to accomplish a task, we are that much closer to doing it. It’s one of the things that I love about strength training. When you start lifting weights and are suddenly lifting things far heavier than you ever thought possible, it carries over into other aspects of your life. You find that you are capable of accomplishing what you set your mind to. And perhaps more importantly, you know ahead of time, because you believe that you can right from the start.

That self-confidence comes step by step. A few good eating decisions, a few good workouts, and a shift begins to happen. Even before physical changes occur, people tend to carry themselves differently and speak to themselves differently. It goes hand in hand.

But let me back up one second because there is something even more important. For me, anyway, it is part of the fundamental issue. It’s what I think my friend about me being hard on myself. Weight doesn’t change who you are. You are no different, and I am no different, because of ten pounds. I’m saying this even though I struggle with it because I know it is true.

I have never ever, not even once, looked at one of my friends or loved ones who put on or lost ten pounds and thought any differently of them. I didn’t think they were any less beautiful or remarkable or worthy of love or filled with gifts to share with the world. Not even for one second. So why would I imagine that they think differently of me?

Partly I guess because there is a societal expectation around what is attractive, but of course even that is so different from person to person. I work in a gym so I spend my days in workout clothes and I admit that it has an impact on how I think about myself because I wonder if people question my worth as a trainer if I am struggling with my weight. Shouldn’t I have it all figured out by now?

When I start going down that path, I need to remind myself that I am strong and fit and healthy. But even that makes me wonder sometimes because if your identity is tied up in the physical, whether appearance or capabilities, what happens when those change or an injury comes up or any number of things. So then, worth must be tied to something else.

You are worthy because you are here, working every day towards being a good person in all the roles that you play. You are loveable because your heart is in the right place. you are deserving because we all are. You have something to share with those around you and something to give to this world. And you are beautiful. So very beautiful. Amazing really. Don’t ever forget that.

I hope you know this.

Shine bright. xo

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – Chicken thigh, cucumber, 1/4 avocado, olive oil

Lunch – Chicken thigh, chipotle slaw / handful of raspberries

Snack – 2 HB eggs, cherry tomatoes, snap peas

Dinner – Creole shrimp and zoodles / Banana with 1 tsp. almond butter

Much better day today. I ate a little less at each meal, cut the carbs way down, and had a splash of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar before breakfast and lunch. The only time my stomach hurt was after dinner and I’m wondering if it was the banana or not having the ACV. I’ll have to keep paying attention because I felt much better after the first two meals and throughout the day.

How did I move today?

Full body strength workout today felt good. Also played tennis with my husband and son and got a quick walk/run in with my dog. It was just going to be a walk, but a summer storm encouraged me to hurry home.

 

 

 

 

Whole45@45 – Day 12

Just-Keep-Moving-Quote

Sometimes there are days where nothing dramatic happens. I suppose most days are like that, really, but sometimes I have something on my mind that I want to share. Today is not that day. I guess I wish that I had taken a picture of the cauliflower rice that I had for dinner because it was really tasty and just what I was in the mood for. I think I will fine tune it this weekend and post it because it was something simple to throw together at the last minute.

Still hanging in there, not feeling particularly great and not really sure why. The interesting thing is that I’ve done several Whole30s, I’ve spent more days than not in the past five years eating mostly Paleo, but this time for some reason things are not clicking along the way I’d expect. I still believe that in time I will feel better because I know that eating whole, nutrient dense foods will undoubtedly increase my health, but there might be some tweaking I need to do. Or maybe there are some completely different factors that are at play. In any case, I will keep moving forward.

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – No surprise here… 2 eggs, zucchini, sauerkraut, 1/4 avocado

Post-workout lunch – Spinach salad with grilled pork tenderloin, HB egg, broccoli, cucumber, onion, almonds, vinaigrette / Cherries

Snack – Grilled chicken / Cauliflower / Banana with almond butter

Dinner – A couple bites of chicken, maybe an ounce? / Riced cauliflower with tomatoes, ghee and olive oil

I had a big snack this afternoon so I wasn’t very hungry for dinner. On Fridays I eat breakfast around 6:30 and then didn’t have lunch until 1:00 so I think my hunger was out of whack. Plus no starchy carbs, which was why I was hungry for the banana. Still working on the rhythm.

How did I move today?

HIIT this morning. Then I had a chest day planned but only did a little bit of it. A friend I don’t see very often showed up and we got to chatting. Apparently the Universe thought I needed a break and sometimes connecting with people is more important than pushing yourself in the gym. It’s about balance.

Oh! And yoga!

Shine bright. xo