Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Whole 30 Experience

OK, so I haven't blogged in a really, really, really long time.  Like, really.  But I have to document my experience over the last 30 days because it was kind of a big deal to me and I want to be able to look back and remember how truly awesome it was.

Let's start with a little back story.
I have been less than happy with myself and my state of health for a long time.  I work insane hours.  I am super stressed out.  Exercise just isn't a priority for me right now - something else that is too important would have to give, like time with my husband or my kids, and that's not going to happen.
After my brother died, I gained about 15-20 stubborn lbs that just wouldn't come off, no matter what I did with my diet.
I was tired all. the. time.  I slept horribly.  I survived on 5 Hour Energies and Diet Coke.
I felt helpless.
And then I stumbled upon the Whole 30.
A few months ago, I was looking for a cauliflower rice recipe on Pinterest and I kept seeing "Whole 30".  So I figured I needed to know what this meant.
I Googled it and came across blog after blog after blog of people who had tried this crazy program and how it had changed their lives.  Their skin was clearer, their diabetes was under control, arthritis was gone....I even read some pretty weird stuff, like dry cracked heals all better on day 6 (which I don't believe for a second...maybe this lady forgot to mention she got a pedicure on day 5).
I found the Whole 30 website and after reading through a lot of it, immediately ordered their book, It Starts With Food on Amazon.
I anxiously waited the 2 long days for it to get to my house, and when it did, I couldn't put it down.
It was so interesting!
The science behind food was so interesting and made so much sense.
I felt like I had found the answer to my problems.  Everything made complete sense!  I wanted to start tomorrow!
But we were going on a pioneer trek in a few weeks, so I had to wait until we got back.
So we went, we trekked, we got back, and I started planning and pinning and list writing.
I picked a 30 day date span: July 12 - August 12.  Only one small holiday in there, and no birthdays.
I couldn't wait - it was like Christmas was coming.
So what is this crazy program, you ask?
I'll tell you.
For 30 days you eat protein, vegetables, some fruit, nuts.
No dairy, no soy, no processed foods (no lunch meat with nitrites/nitrates), no grains (AT ALL) and NO SUGAR.  And when I say no sugar, I mean NO SUGAR.  Not even just grams of sugar on the nutritional facts, no sugar in the ingredient list.  Not even trace amounts.  No agave, no honey, no stevia.  None.
No snacking - 3 solid meals a day full of good quality protein, tons of veggies, and fruit.  No measuring or weighing, no calorie counting.  Use common sense in making your meals, and stop eating when you're satiated.  Not "full", satiated.  There's a difference, I've learned.
No meal plan or supplements.  You buy and cook what you would like to eat.
And at the end of 30 days you reintroduce foods one at a time to see how/if your body reacts to dairy, wheat, etc.
No cheat days.  In fact, no cheating at all.  You eat a brownie on day 15 and tomorrow you're back to day 1.
And let me say that this isn't a weight loss program.  I didn't do this because I think I'm fat and wanted to lose a few lbs.  There are much easier ways to do that.  They actually don't want you to even weigh yourself until the 30 days is over because this is so much more than a number on the scale.  They want you to see and feel the changes in your body and not be so preoccupied with how much you weigh.
Crazy, right? Right.
But I was more than jazzed.
Bryan, who didn't read any of the book, decided to try it with me (because he truly is the most supportive husband and doesn't want me to have to do anything alone).  He was less then jazzed.
So July 11, we binged on bread and dessert and dirty Diet Coke in preparation for our 30 days of severe restriction.

And here's a brief overview of how it went:

WEEK 1 - shoot me.  Shoot me now.  And don't talk to me, because I'm ornery and I want a doughnut.  I want everything.  Grocery shopping is depressing because sugar is literally in everything. EVERYTHING. Dreaming about food every night. But it's still a new experience and kind of fun trying new things, so we'll keep going.  Tried some fancy recipes, which was a huge mistake, but I love my spiralizer and zoodles (zucchini noodles) are the best thing ever.

WEEK 2 - if I see another egg I'm going to cry.  Cry like a little baby.  Starting to get over the sugar cravings, but seriously tired of cooking and cleaning and prepping and cutting. Now dreaming about cheating and eating things I shouldn't and waking up being so mad at myself. But sweet potato fritters are amazing and I want to eat them for every meal. I'm going to keep going because I have told too many people about this and have spent a small fortune on groceries. I got a cold this week - mildest cold of my life and lasted only 3 days.  Coincidence?  I think not. Husband is complaining, keep telling him he doesn't have to do this with me and if he would like to stop, he's more than welcome.  He stops complaining.

WEEK 3 - I no longer hate this.  Clothes feel looser, stomach is way flatter, people are telling me I look thinner, and my energy is THROUGH THE ROOF all day long.  I WANT TO CLIMB A MOUNTAIN RIGHT NOW!!! No more 3:00 slump.  I feel great ALL THE TIME. My skin is clearer, and my skin tone is better than I ever remember it being in my life.  Starting to sleep better, I fall asleep way faster, but still having food dreams.  Super obnoxious. Husband's pants are all falling off because he's lost so many inches.  Stupid men and their stupid bodies.

WEEK 4 - freaking out a little bit about coming to an end and what to do after.  This has literally changed my life and how I view food and nutrition.  I feel amazing all the time.  I never feel "stuffed" after I eat.  I'm never bloated or gassy.  I rarely get hungry between meals, and I know if I am starving, a handful of raw almonds is enough to get me through to dinner.  My mind is clearer, I can concentrate better.  I know that my body doesn't need sugar - I don't deserve a treat (or 7) because I've had a crazy day. It needs nutrition.  It needs whole, real food.  I don't stress about what or when to eat, because it has become so easy.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner; protein, veggies, fruit, done.  For the first time in my life, I feel completely in control.  

My stats:
  Weight lost: 16.5 lbs
  Inches lost: 11 total (4.5 inches from my waist alone!)      

Here we are on day 31.
We survived.
We went to 2 Sunday dinners (thanks to an amazing MIL who is SO accommodating and made sure we had something to eat - she's so fantastic), a weekend at the cabin, dinner out with friends, date night, dessert get-togethers with our little bowls of berries and crushed almonds (mmmmmm...almost didn't miss the ice cream and cupcakes).
And we never cheated.  Not even once.
There may have been an instance or two where Bryan accidentally threw a goldfish cracker in his mouth when giving them to the kids, but he spit it out. So we don't count that as cheating.
At the beginning, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do this - I am not known for my willpower - but I decided that I needed to do this.
Bryan thought he would cheat while he was at work, and never expected to do this to the letter, but he did and he is SO glad he did.
We are Whole 30 believers - we're already planning on doing it again in January after the holidays.
We know how to feed our bodies properly with REAL food and make better choices.  
I've already bought groceries for the rest of the week, and though I'm adding in a little dairy here and there for our first food reintroduction, everything else is still Whole 30 approved.
I no longer mind cooking my lunch - an extra 30 minutes throwing something together means I will have an afternoon without cravings and running to the fridge or pantry every hour for a snack.  I'm also in the habit now of making a ton of food for dinner so we both have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Our anniversary and Mya's birthday are in 2 days - am I going to have dessert?  You bet.  Am I scared to see how it makes me feel?  Terrified.  I love feeling this way and am beyond nervous to reintroduce other foods again, but this program isn't designed to be all the time. It's not Whole 365, it's Whole 30.

I took before and after pics, but they're a bit scandalous, and not appropriate for anyone's eyes but mine, so just take my word for it.
My body has changed, not just lost weight.
My figure is completely different, and clothes fit me in a way they never have.

To sum it up, it's been an amazing experience.
I would recommend this to EVERYONE.  Especially if you're like me and looking for a way to have a better, healthier relationship with food and a better quality of life.  And no, it didn't get rid of my dry, cracked heals, my hair didn't become miraculously thick and lustrous, and I still get those fabulous hormonal headaches - you can't win them all, I guess.
But, I warn you, it's hard.  You have to be mentally prepared, or you will fail.  You have to be prepared to bring your own "dessert" to a family party and watch everyone eat ice cream and brownies and know that you're ok with your blueberries and banana.  You have to be prepared for the endless questions and for people to flat out tell you you're crazy and ask "why would you do that to yourself".  And then by week 3 you want to smugly say "you WISH you were this hard core" but you don't because you're a really nice person and nice people don't say things like that.
But it's only 30 days of your life.  30 days is nothing - but it seriously changed my life, and I would (and will) do it again gladly!

**this is not a paid advertisement endorsed by Whole 30 or it's affiliates....though it may sound like it ;)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

50's Poodle Skirts

My lovely friend, Amy, works for this company and they're doing a contest, so I'm helping her out!
She works for 50's Poodle Skirts
I actually bought these for my girlies to wear Halloween 2011, I found them on Etsy - I don't think my friend was even working for them yet.
Anyway, my girls still wear them ALL THE TIME as dress-ups.

They even make itty bitty ones!!

Here you go, Aim, hope you win!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Well, Hello There!

I know it's been a very super long time since I posted anything.....I was getting a little tired of revisiting my brother's death every time I wrote anything down.  I finally feel like I'm in a different/happier place now.
So let's talk about what's been going on around these parts now, shall we?

Lauren is in Kindergarten now, which means I spend {some days} an hour and a half in the car just driving to/picking up from school.  We chose to apply for all of the charter schools within 15 minutes of our house, and got lucky enough to get picked for one.  I couldn't be happier - every time I make that drive, I remind myself how much I love this school and the hour and a half is a small sacrifice to make for peace of mind.  I know we made the right choice, even though it's a little rough and she has CRAZY homework for a Kindergartener {she's going to pass us up in the brains department in about 2 years}.  She is reading and doing math that I didn't realize a 6 year old could do.  Smarty pants!

Mya is in her second year of preschool and loving it.  She gets to go to a preschool where she has a lot of friends from the ward, and loves her teacher.  She is full of sassafrass and attitude, but she is a crack up and I can't get enough of her.  I lied.  I get quite enough of her on a daily basis but I love the heck out of her and wouldn't change her for anything.  The good Lord must see something in us as parents that we don't quite yet to be trusted with this one!

Jane is running and talking all over the place.  I've never seen a kid that hates to sit still more than her.  She loves to play with her sisters, and is quite independent.....most of the time.  She is constantly getting compliments on her beautiful hair and she has the temper to match.  She is her daddy's daughter - a tease!  She has the world wrapped around her little finger and she knows it.

For a long time I felt like I got the shaft on life.  Everything seemed to always work out for everyone else, but never for me.  I never liked my callings in the church, my kids were the only ones throwing epic tantrums in the middle of Target, Jane will never sleep through the night, my relationships with my friends are not what I want them to be, I can't keep up on day to day life, my house looks like a war zone, yada yada yada, bla bla bla.
I decided that I needed to change my outlook on life and to remember my blessings and that we are given trials to strengthen us and our faith.
And now it seems like so many things ARE working out for our family.  Lauren got into an amazing charter school - granted it is 12 minutes away, and I feel like I spend an eternity in the car every day, but I know she is supposed to be there, and I am so grateful for the opportunity.
I got a new calling, Junior Primary Chorister, and I was really nervous about it, but I LOVE it.  For the first time in my life I feel completely comfortable in a calling and it is such a blessing for me to get to sing with those little darlings every Sunday.
Every day I try and take a moment and reflect on where my life is at, where our family is at, and I can't help but recognize how immensley blessed I am.
My kids are going to throw tantrums in public, my work schedule may be crazy, my house might be a what?
I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, my kids are spectacular, and my husband.....oh my wonderful, supportive, loving, funny husband does everything he can to make my life easier and our house run as smoothly as possible.  I couldn't ask for a better partner!
Ladies - he makes dinner every single night, bathes the kids, cleans the house, and does homework/reading with Lauren.  I don't know how things would work around here without him.
I am blessed, life is amazing, and maybe you'll hear more from us in the near future.
That is, if anyone still reads this old thing anymore, wink wink!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When Least Expected

This is quite personal, but I have found that writing about this stuff really helps, so I guess I'll share.
It's amazing how a seemingly normal situation can trigger something.
On Sunday, we sat down to enjoy a lovely game of Ticket to Ride at the cabin, and my nieces were turning on a movie.
They had chosen to watch "7 Pounds" - you know, the one with Will Smith.
I mentioned that it was a sad movie, and then my brain started going nuts thinking about the plot of the movie and that led to an absolute panic attack.
I have never experienced anything like it.
My body was shaking uncontrollably and I felt like I couldn't breathe.
I was reliving sitting in my parents' living room late into the night on November 8, listening to my father talk to someone at the hospital, answering endless questions about my brother and agreeing to donate his organs/tissues/bones.
I could see the look on my Dad's face all over again - absolute heartbreak and despair.
I was completely overwhelmed.
I put my face in my hands and tried to compose myself, but couldn't.
I wanted to scream, I wanted to run, and I just wanted that stupid movie to be OFF.
I stood up and I think blurted out "I need you to turn this off" or something like that and ran to the bathroom.
I'm pretty sure my family might think I'm a bit crazy.
It took me a couple of minutes to compose myself before I was able to go back and join the family.
But it got me thinking about the recipients - the lives that have been saved and changed because of Trevor's death.
I talked to my dad yesterday, and we discussed writing letters and attempting to contact the recipients and hear their stories.
I think it could be a very healing experience to learn about them.
To put faces and names to these unknown people out there, walking around with these physical pieces of my little brother - their lives forever changed.
I sent an email this morning to the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance and asked some questions about how to get started in the process.
I'm not sure what will happen by going down this road, but I can't imagine it won't be a positive step in the healing process.
We shall see, we shall see.
I have always been very vocal to my family and husband that I want to be a donor, I have always felt very strongly about it.
I will forever be so proud of my parents for making that decision under such horrible circumstances.
Knowing that some really good, positive things could come from such a tragedy is comforting, and I really want to know more about it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Great {preschool} Graduate

Thing 1 "graduated" from preschool last week.
I still can't believe I'm going to have a child in an actual school building with a playground and those big, heavy, metal double doors this fall.
Let's not think about that right now.

Her school put on a lovely little program, and I was so happy that she got to sit in the very front row so we could all get a great view.

Her line was "A pot, and some soil, and a small flower seed"

Singing "Mr. Sun"

Doing the ah ah ah ah part of "If all the rain drops were lemon drops and gum drops"
{Jane sings along to that part, as well.....very loudly}

The Caterpillar Conga
Aaaaaaand then my camera battery died.  I know.  I'm a great mom for not checking it earlier in the day.
I sure do love this kid and I can't believe how big she is.
She lost a tooth, with a second one leaving any day now.
She reads words that are so big and I can't believe how smart she is.
She does little math problems all day long and loves to add and subtract.
She puts on her own shoes, and is determined to learn how to tie them herself.
She is constantly asking questions about how things work and why, and I have to remind myself that it's good and not the most annoying thing ever.
She will still cuddle me sometimes.....but only if I tickle her back.
She wants to be a princess and live at Disneyland when she grows up.
She randomly gives me hugs and kisses all day long and tells me she loves me.
She is always saying that things are the best ever - "this is the best dinner ever, Mom!", "this is the best day ever", "this is my favorite outfit ever!"
When I give her choices, she is always asking what I would choose - she is very much a people pleaser.
She is so wonderful and good and sometimes I feel like my heart is going to just burst right out of my chest because I love her so much.

Party Time, Excellent

Who doesn't love a good Wayne's World reference?

We had all of our family over for a red-headed bday party Friday night.
We open presents naked 'round here.

Pants cake anyone?  My sister is awesome.

She ate about one quarter of one pant leg....
And smashed her sippy cup in it....
And then she was done.
It was so much fun, and Jane got some super fun toys and WAY cute new threads.  And I wish she could wear those sunglasses every day for the rest of her life.  Don't you?

Friday, May 18, 2012

And the Baby is ONE

Can't believe my baby girl is ONE!
The Janers celebrated the day by going to the zoo with friends, not paying attention to any animals, getting constipated, not taking a good nap, attending Lauren's preschool graduation, and having

See the cupcake

Getting excited

Not really sure what to do here

I've never eaten anything blue before....

I'm going to touch it
OK, that felt slimy and weird
What am I supposed to do with this, huh???
I'm in my high chair, am I supposed to eat this thing?
Let's give it a good squish and make a weird face
And squish some more
Make another weird face {just like my daddy does when the camera comes out}

I guess I'll take a bite
A BIG bite
And so will Mya
Tasting, tasting, savoring...
Have some more?
Don't mind if I do

That Sweet Tooth Fairy sure does make a delicious slimy blue thing
Happy girl :)

That whole process seriously took FOREVER.  She did not want to eat it - she's a total texture kid and the frosting completely weirded her out!

What I would do without this kid to brighten my every day is a mystery to me.
She is the funniest, fieriest, most adorable little thing and I really can't believe one whole year has gone by since she was born and I saw that red hair and went "huh?"
The night before her birthday, she decided that she was no longer going to crawl ever again, and she was going to say "hello".
She sings along to "Happy Birthday"
She gives loves and the occasional open mouthed, slobber kiss.
I love her so much I can hardly stand it.