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Going Whole 30 on Monday! Must plan meals to succeed!


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So I am currently concluding week 3 of Whole 30 and have learned a TON. I have learned that by eliminating certain foods, my physical body STOPS HAVING CRAVINGS for junk. There are no words to describe how freeing it is to not fight with myself every day over my uncontrollable cravings for white flour and sugar. Sure, my mind still wants it once in awhile, but those are pesky thoughts and not overwhelming physical cravings that I use to have. I have stayed very true to my Whole30 with the exception of couple deviations. However, I'm not starting my Whole30 over b/c I fell off the wagon to an extent that would warrant a start over. I'm starting over because I've learned so much in the last three weeks about how to have a successful Whole30, that I feel like I need to start over and institute what I have learned and do it even better. I see now that the last three weeks were really a time of Whole30 Training camp for me, and now I am ready to graduate and do the real deal.

The most difficult part for me is eating meat every single day. I was a vegetarian for many years and even though I haven't been a strict vegetarian for the last four years, I have always eaten a vegetarian friendly diet. Up until I discovered Paleo couple months ago, meat was not allowed in my house or my kitchen, unless it was for guests. So yes, eating so much meat is difficult, but I feel ready to get over that as I graduate from my training camp. The other difficulty is eating the same foods every day. By day four, I thought I would rather poke a pencil through my eye than eat another grilled chicken and salad lunch. Then something amazing happened. First, I grew to LOVE my homemade salads with olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar (one made without additives). Seriously.. it was such simple salads but it was fresh and abundant because I made it. It was not the sad wilty salad of the lunch places around work and i found myself looking forward to it every day. Just as we grew to love candy, you can absolutely grow to love salads. The chicken was a different story, esp. b/c I have always hated chicken most of all. Then as I was reading my daily Whole30 email (best 15 bucks I've ever spent, btw! I look forward to my morning email every morning!), I learned about the "best chicken I ever ate" from "clothes make the girl." Wow. So simple and yet so delicious. This week, I have enjoyed my baked chicken for lunch every day. So the lesson? If your food gets boring, then spice it up! Change up the spices, try new recpies, and even the smallest simple changes will make a difference.

So as I graduate from my Whole30 training camp this weekend, I know what i need to do to prepare for the real deal that starts on Monday. I have such confidence that I can do this because I have 3 weeks under my belt that really showed me that I CAN do this, no matter how impossible it seemed at first. But this time, I'm going in more prepared so that I can do this better this time around. I'm excited for the challenge! So my guidelines for my Whole30 challenge (in addition to those set by the Whole30 program already) are the following:

1. Create a weekly meal plan, map out the foods I will be eating, and have a list of new recipes I will be trying out! This is so important for me because if I am not prepared with new meal ideas and what to eat, I am just setting myself up to fail. I need to be excited about the meals I will be eating or this challenge won't work for me. So, I need to have some recipes ready that I will try out and have a meal plan for every week of my Whole30 challenge! If I put in the time to do this, I will absolutely succeed at this.

2. If I have to eat out, pick a restaurant that will accommodate my Whole30 or SIMPLY DON'T GO. As much as possible, I am simply not going to go out to eat. This is easy for me ever since I started learning about cooking and creating my own foods, but I do have friends to keep up with, of course. That said, it's easy to pick a restaurant that would accommodate my challenge, but there are always those spots where I know that if I went, I would simply want to eat off plan. In those situations, I have to simply be willing to say no, I can't go and make up whatever excuse I need to. I am not going to torture myself by agreeing to go to certain places where they serve some of my favorites that I will hate myself for not eating. I'm not about to set myself up for failure, so I won't do it.

3. Food prep every Sunday and make life easier on myself for the upcoming week! I really got this down pretty well now by practicing it during my 3 week training camp, so I know that it works and that I can do it. This makes all the difference in saving me time during the week.

4. Remember that this is a holistic experience. For me, this really is about HEALTH. I use to say that before, but what I really meant was, I want to lose weight and look hot. lol. Now, I can actually say that I really just want health and the losig weight is just an added bonus. As we're getting ready to start a family and as I am getting older and some of my previous health issues are becoming harder to manage, I really am seeing that without health, there is nothing. Right now, my life was pretty close to perfect, but I am seeing that if my health declines, none of it will matter b/c I simply can't enjoy it and we can't build a family to even share it with. So yes, this is about me keeping my life and living it to the fullest. Let me say that again, this is about me keeping my life and LIVING IT TO THE FULLEST. That means many things to different people. For me, living my life to the fullest has always meant traveling the world, having a job I love (and not get tempted by chasing money), and doing things that kept me true to me (getting a tattoo, skydiving, splurging on amazing seats for my favorite musicals and musical bands, reading books that inspire me, meeting people that inspire me, donating money to worthwhile causes etc.). I look back on my life and can honestly say that I have been living it exactly as I wanted to.. except that in the last four years as my health has declined and my eating has gone out of control, the bright light in my life has become dimmer and dimmer.. and I find myself hiding out more, being less courageous, being less involved, and just being less of me. Sure, I've still gotten to travel and do things that inspire me, but just on a much smaller scale and while foregoing many other dreams.. and all because of ONE thing.. it's not time, money or resources that has kept me from achieving my goals and enjoying certain parts of life.. the only thing that has held me back in the last few years is my lack of health. It's my weight and all the resulting negative effects of it. I am unfit. I am out of shape, my health is declining, I have no energy, I can't sleep well, and I can't do (or am fearful of doing) many things that I love because I have let my health fall to the wayside. I thank God that I am not stricken with a serious illness (although a lifetime of stomach issues is a greater burden than anyone will ever know), but it's only a matter of time (because I see the symptoms starting to creep in), UNLESS I DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE IT. And that's the journey I started about a month ago. I have started a journey to change my life now so that I can continue to live the life I've been blessed with. So coming back to this point, this is a holistic challenge for me. It's not about just doing the Whole30, it's about doing it in conjunction with my daily prayers and reading the Word, moving my body more through exercise, learning to relax through yoga and the occasional splurge on massages or acupuncture, turning off the tv as much as possible and reading more, and simply slowing down, closing my eyes, and relaxing. RELAXING. Breathe. Be Still. Be Calm. And Smile.

Wow, this was a long entry. For anyone that made it through the whole thing, thank you. For anyone who didn't make it through, still thank you! I need all the support I can get, so thank you to everyone for just being on this same journey and being out there in support! See you all Monday for Day 1!

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Day 0

I decided that I will start my Whole30 tomorrow and not Monday. There is no reason to wait!

Meal plan for tomorrow:

BF: Massive veggie omelet with salsa

Lunch: Large salad with steak slices (cooking the grassfed NY strip tonight)

Dinner: Slow cooker beef roast (recipe from everyday paleo) with sauerkraut and veggies

Action list for tomorrow:

Grocery shopping

Chop up onions, peppers, and asparagus for the week

Clean sweet potatoes for the week

Set the slow cooker for the beef roast.

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Day One and Two down!!

Whole 30 Day One: Started the day with strawberries. I have a hard time eating breakfast on the weekends, so I had some strawberries to hold me over until an early lunch. Lunch was half a NY steak that I had grilled the night before and some kale salad. Yum!! I then prepped for dinner by putting some roast in the crock pot (for recipe, google everyday paleo slow cooker roast). I was so excited for the roast and it turned out delicious! Dinner was the crock pot pot roast with more greens and a sweet potato. Dessert was a peach without the peel (the peel may be giving me stomachaches, I'm testing it out). We went out at 10pm for a friend's bday party and I happily sipped away on club soda and lime at the bar.

Day Two: Today was day two and I concluded it with flying colors! Not only was it Football Sunday, we were spending it with some friends who notoriously eat delicious foods all day long while watching football. I had to plan very well so that I wouldn't be tempted to partake in whatever people were bringing. When we returned from our friend's bday party at around 2 AM, I put some pork in the slow cooker (I made the spice blend ahead of time so that it would take me all of 5 minutes to get the pork ready in the pot and set it for 9 hourss!) For the recipe, I used Everyday Paleo's slow cooker pulled pork. This is my second time making it and it was a huge hit!! So I took that with pretzel rolls and bbq sauce for everyone (I ate it without the rolls of course!). I also took a sweet potato for myself and some shrimp cocktail for everyone (I ate it without the cocktail sauce). Being ready meant everything!!! I enjoyed delicious paleo pulled pork, steamed shrimp, sweet potato, and loads of delicious salad all day long. Oh, I also made some guacamole. I normally don't make so much food for football sunday potluck, but I wanted to be prepared! I'm really proud of myself for planning and staying true to what I was doing.

There was a point when everyone heated up some cookies and ate it with ice cream. Did I want to eat it? Sure I did, but you know, the craving really wasn't that bad. I craved it because it was there, but otherwise, my hormones have been incredibly leveled and my cravings have been gone. I didn't partake in the dessert of course and I kept thinking about how horrible I would feel if I ate it.. I would get a headache, I would feel sick, and I would simply want more and more without ever getting satisfied. Once I remembered how it really made me feel, I no longer wanted it.

I love feeling and being free from uncontrollable cravings. This is one of the greatest effects of the whole30 lifestyle!! I feel so liberated and free.

We got home around 7:30 so we can watch the night game at home. I had already prepped my veggies yesterday, so I just put together my salad for lunch and cooked up a chicken breast. I have plenty of leftover slow cooker beef and pork, so we're set for dinner. I ate another peace without the peel for dessert and it was delicious! I love that fruit is my dessert of choice. So delicious and wonderful!!

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