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n9vember's Whole 30 Take Two (July 30 - Aug. 29)


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I am horribly bummed out, not to be starting a second W30, but WHY I'm starting a second W30...I was doing great, one minor slip on Day 9 after a brush with soybean oil (because I didn't check the ingredients used at a restaurant). I was on Day 15 yesterday and that's when it happened...the big derail.

My husband and I were doing some urban exploring in Chicago and after a few hours ended up in Chinatown. We were both hungry and I was trying to find a place that wouldn't completely mess me up. We settled on one and I was really craving beef, so I ordered a beef tenderloin dish that sounded safe (although, yet again, my big mistake was not inquiring how it was prepared...). It was a.) not paleo and b.) I made the decision to eat it anyway. Somehow, it ended up being sort of breaded, but in a way I've never experienced before.

To make matters worse, I was just really hungry after the day before. I had run a 10.5K in the morning, but felt nauseous for most of the rest of the day and could barely bring myself to eat, so I ate very little. To make matters worse, what little I DID eat did not stay down. So, by yesterday, I felt like the tank was on empty. The ONE good thing is, I kept my "cheat" to that one item. I cannot tell you how hard I fought the sugar demon. And, my husband, I swear, was encouraging me to fall farther off the wagon. Not nice, but I stayed strong (well, as strong as one can be while unraveling 15 days...) That chocolate and salted caramel bar in my pantry was just about screaming my name. I didn't answer.

So, that said, I couldn't in good conscience pretend that today is Day 16. I'm not a good liar, and especially not to myself. I'm starting over today.

Key learnings from days 1-15:

This time, I'm going to do a few things differently. I felt like I was relying too heavily on fruits and nuts. I don't feel TOO bad about the fruit, but am making a conscious effort to minimize frequency (once a day, as opposed to a bit with each meal). As for nuts, I now know I cannot, repeat, cannot have them in the house. It appears that I have no self-control when it comes to nuts. I've always known that, yet each time I buy them, I expect the outcome to be different. It's not and I don't really need to sabotage myself if I KNOW I have a problem.

I also need to make sure I don't make any more mistakes when it comes to dining out. If I don't know how it's prepared, I need to ask. There's really no excuse for that.

Preparedness is KEY. I need to have prepared or planned my meals ahead of time, so I don't end up in a situation where my hunger wins and I make bad choices.

That's that. And so it begins again....

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Those are all good lessons learned that should serve you well for the rest of your life. It may be just 15 or 30 days, but the good can last a life time.

Getting hungry is a dangerous thing. Judgment begins to change when hungry. You showed a lot of character by keeping the off-plan food to that one meal and not letting it expand it to a binge. Good for you!

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Thanks, Tom! I really did have to struggle with that all or nothing feeling I normally get when I go off course. After lunch, I kept seeing places with Bubble Tea and several bakeries and I had a running dialogue in my head of "I messed up, might as well get one!" and "Ok, so you messed up, why further compound the damage?" I'm really glad I chose the latter.

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Day 1 (take 2..) recap:

1. Started the day with a cup of coffee and coconut milk, followed by my steady favorite: breakfast casserole plus a scoop of guac.

2. Delicious mixed greens salad with grilled chicken, heart of palm, grape tomatoes, HB egg, bacon, avocado and EVOO + balsamic dressing

3. Grilled chicken breast, brocc & cauliflower mix, a bit of sauerkraut, a few strawberries

Day 2:

1. the ever present breakfast casserole + coffee w/ coconut milk + a few sad blueberries

2. Roasted veggie (zucchini, red onion, summer squash, red peppers) salad with chicken and EVOO dressing

3. TBD (depends on my desire to grill my tri-tip. I am addicted to the Trader Joe's tri-tip)

All in all, feeling great and still very happy with my decision to have started this whole process over again.

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Day 3:

Pre-run: 5 strawberries and spoon almond butter

Meal 1: breakfast casserole goodness

Meal 2: Italian Cobb Salad (mixed greens, chicken breast, egg, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes) w/ EVOO and balsamic

Meal 3: grilled tri-tip, grilled peppers, sauteed arugula (whoa, bitter..), grape tomatoes and 1/3 c. blueberries

Day 4:

Pre-run: banana and coffee

Meal 1: breakfast casserole (shocker)

Meal 2: grilled chicken breast, sauteed arugula, guac, grape tomatoes, a few olives and a spoon of sauerkraut

Meal 3: TBD

I've run the past 2 mornings and I'm very pleased. I feel like I'd been seriously slacking, but I'm trying to get more consistent. I have a 9K in October, which is plenty of time, but I don't want to be horribly lax. I still REALLY need to get going w/ the strength training and step it up with my yoga. As for the running, yesterday felt pretty great, but today seemed a little difficult.

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Day 5:

1. Breakfast casserole + coffee + coconut milk

2. Sautéed kale w shitaake, carrots, beets, turkey, blackberries

3. Chicken sausage and grape tomatoes

Day 6:

Pre run: banana

1. Bfast casserole + blueberries

2. Tri tip, beets, sweet tato w ghee, guacamole.

3. chicken breast with broccoli slaw

Day 7:

1. bowl of "stuff": chicken sausage, 2 eggs, leftover broccoli slaw, nuked + coffee w/ coconut milk

2. apple

3. chicken breast, steamed broccoli w/ ghee, 1/2 avocado, grape tomatoes & blueberries

Day 8:

1. breakfast casserole + coffee w/ coconut milk

2. roasted veggie salad with chicken

3. grass fed beef meatballs in tomato sauce with broccoli slaw and a bit o' guac. cherries (man, so delicious...)

Time is flying, yet again. I had a conversation with my hair stylist last night and I was telling him that I was doing this paleo challenge and he said, "I could NEVER go without cheese." Y'know, that is probably how I felt about the whole endeavor before I started. I've always been a cheese-aholic. I mean, I had a serious cheese "thing." I come from a family that owned a dairy/cheese shop, for goodness sake. I could put away a block of cheese, no problem...But, here I am, almost a month in (well, counting my W30 Take 1), and I was amazed to admit to him, I just didn't miss it. I don't think there is anything that I miss (besides beer, but that's another story.) I think if someone were to set a cheese plate down in front of me and some cupcakes (another guilty pleasure), I wouldn't bat an eyelash. This is pretty happy stuff.

So, back to beer. My husband and I were riding our bikes around Chicago yesterday, taking advantage of the first really nice weather we've had in what feels like forever, and I was absolutely STRUCK by this craving for beer. We had gone to a local gastropub on Friday for dinner (really awesome burgers, minus the bun, of course) and he got a beer and I actually just felt kind of sad that I couldn't have one. So, 2 days later, it was a beautiful summer afternoon and all I wanted to do was just park it in a beer garden and enjoy the sunshine. I fought that desire like crazy. I had this whole running conversation about how I could just have one and move back on, but it just seemed ridiculous to have come so far to throw it away...again. And that's that. Fortunately, I really never drink during the week, so I won't have to face that challenge again for another 5 days. My office summer party is in 2 weeks, about a week before I'm done w/ my 30 days and I'm not sure how I'm going to handle that one.

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Day 9:

1. breakfast egg-bake casserole yum.

2. roasted veggie salad with chicken

3. broccoli slaw with grass fed meatballs/broccoli and cherries (I am LOVING cherries)

Day 10:

Pre-Run: coffee and cherries (oddly, the cherries sat much better than my last run's banana did)

1. Breakfast casserole (as if I would stray...)

2. mixed greens salad w/ chicken, bacon, egg, avocado, grape tomatoes, portabella and EVOO/balsamic. so. dang. good.

3. leftover grass-fed meatballs and broccoli

My run this morning was really good! I actually got right out of bed at 5 a.m., which does not happen. It was great! I'm starting to feel like I'm REALLY gelling with the paleo. I love not feeling heavy because of what I ate. I love feeling like I'm nourished by what I'm eating. I love not feeling I need snacks to get through my day. I love that jeans that were tight on me a few months ago are NO LONGER TIGHT! WHOO!

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I'm starting to feel like I'm REALLY gelling with the paleo. I love not feeling heavy because of what I ate. I love feeling like I'm nourished by what I'm eating. I love not feeling I need snacks to get through my day. I love that jeans that were tight on me a few months ago are NO LONGER TIGHT! WHOO!


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Hi fellow Renee!

The egg bake casserole is something I found on this site: http://paleomg.com/savory-breakfast-casserole/

I like to make a batch on Sunday. It's serious lifesaver for me in the morning, when I'm pressed for time. I cut it into about 6 servings, so I'm good for most of the week. I've been tinkering around with the base ingredients and subbing different meat proteins and vegetables. I also really like to throw a bit of avocado or guacamole on the top after I've reheated it. It even tastes good cold!


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Day 11:

1. Breakfast casserole and coffee w/ coconut milk

2. modified cobb salad: chicken, bacon, egg, tomatoes, cucumber and balsamic vinaigrette

3. grass fed meatballs with broccoli and more broccoli, followed by cherries

Day 12:

1. breakfast casserole w/ coffee & coconut milk

snack: 2 HB eggs (I had a volunteer event and wouldn't finish 'til 2, so I needed a snack to tide me over...plus, we were cooking for children and their families at Ronald McDonald House and what we were making was not W30-friendly

2. grass fed burger with roasted green chiles, bacon and farm egg plus sweet potato fries

3. red pepper slices and grape tomatoes, with a few cherries (I ate such a late lunch that I really wasn't hungry enough for much dinner)

Day 13:

Pre-Run: handful of cherries plus coffee w/ coconut milk

1. bfast casserole with half an avocado

2. grilled chicken breast with teeny tiny sweet potato, mashed with ghee and paprika, cucumber slices

3. grilled steak, cauliflower mashed "potatoes," zucchini

Clipping along! I'm still struggling with the liquor thing, as in I want some and can't have any. When I met my brother for lunch yesterday at the burger place (DMK in Chicago...has grass fed!!), he got an IPA and oh boy, oh boy, I wanted one. But, I remain strong. And sober. It's so weird. I rarely drink in the first place, but summer really brings out all the social activities that include booze...afternoon happy hours, street fests, picnics, barbecues...oh well. I will survive.

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Day 14:

1. scrambled cage-free eggs with natural turkey andouille sausage and spinach

pre-run: cherries / post run: another sausage (this was a cross between snack and lunch)

2. grass-fed beef chili with avocado, blackberries

Day 15:

1. breakfast casserole, spaghetti squash edition, coffee with coconut milk

2. Italian Cobb salad

3. leftover steak with cauliflower mashed potatoes. cherries.

Going to get myself to a much needed and sorely missed yoga class tonight. I am hugely looking forward to it. I suffer from frequent guilt about how lapsed my yoga practice has become. I wish I lived much closer to a studio that I could call my home base. I much prefer classes to home practice. Something about the energy when I'm being led and with so many people really challenges me to push myself. All of my running has left me EXTREMELY tight. I used to rock a mean forward fold, nose to knees style, and now I can barely touch the floor without my hamstrings screaming for mercy. I need to rectify that!

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Day 16:

1. breakfast casserole (spagh squash version) with half an avocado

2. modified cobb salad

3. modified shepherd's pie (homemade grass-fed beef chili, topped with roasted garlic/cauliflower "mashed potatoes")...actually quite yummy, if nowhere near a real shepherd's pie...and some cherries

Day 17:

1. breakfast casserole (still squashin')

2. leftover grass fed beef chili (I probably will run downstairs to add something else to it...some veg)

3. leftover steak and broccoli and probably more cherries

Day 17! Craziness! This is the first day in a month that I have actually felt hungry BETWEEN breakfast and lunch. What an odd feeling. I think my spaghetti squash version of the breakfast casseroled isn't quite as hearty as the ones where I include meat.

So, I did get myself to yoga on Monday and it was glorious. The teacher was prepping us for headstand, which I can be sort of hit or miss with. I'm great w/ tripod, marginal w/ sirsasana, unless I'm near the wall. I prefer the wall for sirsasana. Somehow tripod feels much steadier to me. At any rate, I was so happy to be in the studio and it was a great reminder that I really do need to make time for things I love.

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Day 18:

1. spaghetti squash breakfast casserole, coffee + coconut milk

2. cobb salad, blueberries

3. steak, broccoli, a smidge of sauerkraut & cherries

Day 19:

1. breakfast casserole, coffee + coconut milk

2. roasted veggie salad with chicken, about a 1/3 c. blueberries

3. grass-fed beef chili, cucumber slices, grape tomatoes, a handful of cherries

Day 20:

1. breakfast casserole, coffee + coconut milk

2. TBD

3. TBD

I am still flying through this thing! I joined a new gym and last night I took a class called "dancer's body," which is described as a combo of pilates and barre work. The name made me think it wouldn't be hideously difficult, but it seriously kicked my ass. I'm a decent runner and a more than adequate yogini, but it appears that my strength is not my strong suit. Something about holding your arms at shoulder level through a good 15 minute sequence with weights had me shaking. The GOOD thing is, I know it will be very helpful. I do want to increase my strength, considerably. And, despite the class being challenging, it was really fun.

So, I'm 20 days into pt. 2 of this endeavor, but aside from my slip on day 15 (?) of the first W30, I'm actually 35 days in. I am toying w/ the idea of ending the W30 at this point and allowing a minor non-compliant break this weekend. I still fully intend to keep myself as compliant as I have been, since I'm really enjoying how I feel, but I feel like I've achieved my goal and I also feel like I've made enough significant progress in my approach to food that I sort of want to "fly free."

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Well, I just kind of dropped off there! I made the decision to end my W30, 35 days in (I've also decided my slip up on Day 15 of W30 number 1 wasn't such a deterrent that I'd have to penalize myself an extra 15 days...). My first re-introduction was a glass of wine. It was lovely. No ill-effects, whatsoever. I kept my glass of wine as my one and only re-introduction.

The next day, however, I got a little more adventurous and had some peanut butter and a really terrible sugar-free protein bar (I know, I know...I was just craving something sweet and I had the bar in my pantry for over a month.) This did not sit well. By afternoon, I had quite the little tummy ache and some bloating. No bueno.

The following day, I got BACK on the wagon, so to speak. This has really been an amazing process. I've done numerous stints with clean eating challenges, or cleanses and usually, despite all of my good intentions, I end up hopping off the wagon and staying off. This time around, I just feel SO MUCH BETTER when I'm not eating anything processed (or grains, dairy, sugar...) Resuming the way I've been eating the past 35+ days has just made sense! WHY would I want to put processed foods (and grains, sugar, and dairy) in my body, when my body now realizes it feels significantly better without?

Bonus: I did step on the scale and I've lost 6 lbs! I really don't need to lose much more. I'm very comfortable with all of my clothing (even my really small sizes), but I have some firming up to do. Joined a gym and am going to add strength classes to my running and yoga.

Next week, I'm in San Francisco. I'm incredibly excited, but also a little nervous. I intend to give myself some leeway, but not TOO much. And, crazy as it sounds, I'm excited about all those hills.

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