Control Freaking Out

Okay, I will freely admit it. I am a complete control freak. I hate it! But if other people could just be as smart and forward thinking as I am, I wouldn't have to spend all of my time trying to help everyone get it right!....kidding, kidding!.....sort of....

I've found that men I've been in relationships with tend to not like this very much. And I understand why. But I really do feel like I usually know the best way to do something. I'm a plotter and a fixer, and I'm pretty darn good at it. 

A few years ago, Brene Brown's book, "The Gifts of Imperfection" really fundamentally changed my perception of myself. She talks about how we label those self-perceived negative parts of ourselves and try to isolate them from the good parts. But the take away is that we can't have the truly good without the bad. We can't fully be our glorious, authentic selves if we are ashamed of big hunks of who we are. 

I wrote in a lot of detail in a blog post from a couple years ago, It's All the Shame, about how I really came to terms with a lot of the shame I used to feel about myself. I've worked through a lot of it but I still have pieces to work through and today I feel I did that again.

Yesterday I received some extremely stressful and upsetting information that will remain unresolved for some time and will require a lot of effort on my part to resolve. I spent the first part of the weekend extremely distracted and just really stressed out. This morning I started literally pacing the floor like a caged animal. It was threatening to become a full on panic attack. I could feel my chest tightening and the irrational anxiety growing. 

What could I do? I felt completely out of control. I looked around the house, yesterday I had decided to take it easy and barely cleaned anything. Now, Sunday morning....dirty dishes, legos in the living room, laundry piling up, it felt like chaos swirling everywhere. I felt an urge to run as fast as I could, away from life.

So I did the only thing I could do. The thing that has gradually replaced binging on garbage food over the years and has become my therapy....Like a woman possessed, I cleaned. And cleaned. And organized. And recycled. And folded and straightened and prepared and....ahhhhh. Peace. It was everywhere. I organized a list of phone numbers to start calling in the morning that will hopefully be a first step toward resolving my stressful situation. My mind finally grew a little quiet. 

It was my control freak. She had been losing it. I was running around trying to ignore her because she's obsessing about how to fix something today that there was NO way to fix today. I'm supposed to be all Zen and "everything will unfold the way it should." She's not allowing me to be Buddha-like. She's stressing me out. She's bad. 

But she's not. 

As I sit here tonight almost completely at peace, I can't help but realize that she doesn't need to control everything. She understands that there's this emotionally and, potentially financially, draining situation looming over our heads and she can't control it. But she needed to be dealt with so that she can try! If chaos is swirling around her, how is she supposed to draw deep from that power that she possesses? To find that determination where she sinks in her heels and doesn't stop until she finds a way. 

So I let her control what she could. She made everything beautiful and even made an amazingly tasty, healthy dinner. In fact, she made me feed my body healthy food all day because she needed to know that at least she COULD control that! 

I've fully integrated my inner control freak and am officially claiming it as an asset. I am a control freak. When I feel out of control I look around and figure out what I CAN control and I do it. That's not me feeding this negative control freak side of myself. It's me recognizing who I am, way past the socially stigmatized labels, and seeing that this is a need within me that needs to be met in order for me to be my best version of myself. And I meet it. I feed that part of myself that I once labeled bad and forced to live in a dark place, and it makes me grow.

Furthermore, my control freak makes me a great trainer. And it's perfectly balanced with my other (no longer) "negative" trait of being overly sensitive to possibly hurting someone's feelings. So, while I try to have my hand in every aspect of a client's life that they'll allow me to slink into (something SO important for real, sustainable change), I'm not a bulldog about it. I gently and subtly, yet consistently, coax them toward change.

It's not everyone's cup of tea. Some people WANT a bulldog. Some people just want me to work them out and shut my trap. But, as for that little slice that is MY demographic, I am their trainer for life. And I love them for appreciating me so it makes me work extra hard for them and put my heart and soul into it.

My perfect combination of ALL my traits makes me exactly who I am and I am just truly starting to embrace that with no apologies....or very few anyway.

We are all perfectly beautiful in our own way. We just need to embrace, and be embraced for, our entire selves. Not just the squeaky clean, socially acceptable, admirable things. All it of. Shame is not a useful emotion.

One of my favorite quotes by the late, great Debbie Ford is:

"Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you're not. You will no longer have to prove you're good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to live in fear. Find the gifts of your shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.” 

Me Pre-Whole30 vs. Me Post-Whole30

I almost worry that my last post glorified life NOT on Whole30 a little too much! I hate that this could be the message for some people because this is so life changing and it would be a shame for someone to dismiss it based on me saying something like "Whole30 threatened to hurt my relationship with food in new ways." I assure you, this is not a notable risk for most people. Furthermore, I would take the type of dysfunction I may have developed by doing never-ending rounds of whole30 ANY DAY OF THE WEEK over the dysfunctions I had before doing it!

That's why I want to take a few minutes to compare just how different I feel now to before doing it.

First and foremost (although not  most importantly), I lost 12 pounds in 25 days! And I didn't have a lot of weight to lose! I would imagine an obese individual could possibly see even bigger results. However, again, not the most important element. And I don't feel like everything I lost was fat. I think I was carrying around some sludgy toxic fluid that I dropped very early on. I would guess most of us are carrying that around if we're not eating right.

Another huge change is my attitude about certain foods that I considered truly healthy. Such as peanut butter and dairy. These are now moved to the "treat" category and only in their purest forms available....although I will keep lots of ghee and a little grass-fed butter in my "healthy" category.

I used to think beans were extremely healthy. Maybe they are for some people but I learned very quickly that they were causing me a lot of problems. They are GONE forever out of my diet! I didn't even like them that much anyway so no big loss.

The biggest lesson of all is JUST HOW MUCH food affects my energy level. It's something I truly did already know but, after almost a month of basically no afternoon slumps or feeling like I was going to fall asleep on my feet when I was counting a client's set of 12 repetitions for the 100th time that day, I have become acutely aware of it. I feel so completely energized and inspired with each of my clients again. My evenings with my son are much more full of play and movement than before. And I don't have to push myself to do them. My energy feels limitless!

I LOVE giant plates of veggies. I've been a fan for a long time but somehow my veggie portions slowly shrank over the past couple of years. No more! For each and every meal, including breakfast, I love nothing more than big heaping piles of veggies. Not only do I know they are nourishing my inside, making my skin glow and keeping me regular, THEY FILL ME UP!! And they satisfy me because I have to chew, chew, chew them and chewing helps create satiety.

Before the Whole30 I would constantly say "I've never gone a single day in my life without cheating." And that was completely literal! I had never once managed to eat perfectly for an entire day. Even though I could focus on the 5 1/2 days I did not complete on this program, I won't. I, instead, can't help but fixate on the fact that I went almost an entire month sticking to a plan!!! As someone who literally has never stuck to anything religiously for a single day (LITERALLY), this is huge and redefines how I view myself! I am NOT a quitter! I AM dedicated!

Another huge lesson is this: Before the Whole30, I kidded myself into believing that I was setting a good example for my son by eating the way I did. I thought because he saw me eating more veggies and salad than the average parent that I was doing great. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why he was getting more and more picky about healthy food. Since cutting out ALL the treats I was eating in front of him (which was more than I realized), he is so much more open to eating new, healthy things. The other night I gave him a plate with a chicken thigh covered in herbs, roasted SKIN ON red potatoes covered in dill, roasted garlic broccoli and raw carrots and held my breath as he inspected it...he actually said "yay! Potatoes!" And he ate every last thing and then enjoyed a date roll with me (made out of medjool dates and almonds) for dessert. Now, he has since decided that he prefers white meat to chicken thigh BUT it wasn't something he looked at and turned his nose up. It's something he decided after eating it about 4 times and disliking the consistency of the fat in his mouth. Easy fix and I'm totally okay with it because, to me, it's him tuning in to his natural palette and his body telling him what he needs or doesn't need.

I went into this plan kind of haphazardly combing different things I had learned together and kinda sorta making it work. In many ways, that hasn't changed. I've gathered so much diverse information and applied it to this new life and body I've made for myself over the years. However, I would almost apply the label "Paleo" to myself at this point. I will never follow the hard, fast rules of Paleo but this program has made me understand just why it's becoming such a big deal! So you can call me "kinda-sorta Paleo with an occasional side of pizza and beer" from here on out...

Real Life: Day 1??

My first "cheat breakfast".....100% Whole30 compliant!

A LOT has happened since my last post. Thursday afternoon I decided for sure that I was going to start a new Whole30. I talked a little in my last post about why I was doing this. More than anything, I was scared. I was scared to release myself back into the big wide world of CHOICES. While I don't know if fear is necessarily a healthy place to operate from, I still feel like this decision was coming from a healthy place or, rather, a desire to be healthy.

However, my next decision, I'm not sure if it was entirely unhealthy or some old thought pattern that had to be broken. I decided I was going to go off the Whole30 plan completely (on day 25) from Thursday evening until Monday morning when I would start my new Whole30. 

Now, at no point did I intend to completely throw down but I definitely thought I'd have some "food fun" over the weekend. 

So Thursday afternoon, I'm ready to cut loose. I go ahead and eat my Whole30 compliant lunch because I was at work and it was packed. I run home before going to get my son to drop a few things off and walk into the kitchen to grab a snack. I look around the kitchen, realizing I can eat whatever I want! The Beanito chips that have been calling my name for almost 30 days, cheese, one of Gino's Pumpkin Pie protein bars that I really love....I settle on an Apple Pie flavored Larabar (also Whole30 compliant). I just literally couldn't find anything worth not feeling good after I ate it!

That evening I finally have my first "cheat". On the way to Zumba I drink 1/4 of a preworkout drink. I probably missed pre-workouts more than anything. I usually use one that's sweetened with stevia and doesn't have any artificial chemicals in it. However, I couldn't find mine so I just grabbed a tiny serving of one of Gino's.

After Zumba came my happy moment. I would finally get to order one of my gym's AMAZING peanut butter chocolate protein shakes! This has for a long time now been the highlight of my workout. I honestly should've stopped at my first sip. I had Gino taste it to confirm that it didn't taste any different than usual. It was NOT GOOD! I manged to get about half of it down on the drive home because I was starving but couldn't stomach any more. This morning after our workout, I easily, without a second thought, told Gino "no" when he went to order a shake and asked if I wanted one. No more shakes for me....or should I call them, icy cold chemical drinks. Ugh.

The next day was going to be crazy busy so I decided not to eat any Whole30 non-compliant meals because I wanted to be "on" for all my clients. In fact, until last night, my one and only "cheat" all day was a Kevita which is ridiculously healthy and I just couldn't have on the Whole30 because it has stevia listed as the 2nd to last ingredient. It required zero willpower because I just wanted to feel good all day!

Then last night (the infamous Free Friday) arrived. After an entire day of not cheating at all I was ready to do some good ole cheatin! And I did. We went to a local pub and ordered hot wings and fries. I had three hot wings and a half a basket of fries....and a water. That food was soooooo good and I enjoyed every last bite. We ordered a second basket of fries and took almost all of it home. I have had no interest in eating them since. 

Then I finally decided that I would break the seal and have alcohol. I had about 2 shots of rum and I was DONE! It was a pleasant buzz. Ordinarily this would be the portion of the evening where I would want an even better buzz but it, again, required ZERO willpower because I wanted to feel good when I woke up this morning.

Well, jokes on me. I felt like shit! 

I woke up with a horrible headache and my stomach feeling a little funky. Ordinarily I would BS my way through a workout and then somehow justify a greasy "hangover breakfast". However, this time, especially since I didn't feel SO horrible, having stopped at two shots and not gone as overboard as in the past on junk food, I was able to push through and get a pretty decent workout. 

After my workout, I hit a couple health food stores and stocked up on some great meat and such then I called in an order to one of my favorite local fairly healthy places. They make the best pulled pork, grilled cheese, siracha sandwich with avocado....I didn't get that. I ordered a veggie plate. Miso broccoli, maple brussels sprouts and tomato basil soup. My new form of cheating was just being able to ask, "is it real maple syrup and real tomatoes?" (because I suddenly cared about the answer) and then just eat further questions required. And I decided, instead of a side of their amazing pulled pork, I'll be eating my veggies with a free-range chicken thigh I'm reheating as I type. 

I had decided on Thursday that I would take my son out for frozen yogurt this weekend because this is something we've both really loved doing for a while now. Instead I've decided that we are going to make some paleo cookies together using local honey I received in my CSA box this week. 

All of this has come together in a decision that I feel so at peace with. I will NOT be starting another Whole30 on Monday. Doing this program helped me SO SO much and I have no doubt that I will do it again in the future. It forced me to really get back in touch with my emotions surrounding food and find more constructive ways to deal with them. It helped me learn just how good I can feel when I nourish my body properly....instead of getting pretty darn healthy....with a side of chips at most meals. It truly reset my body and my mind.

However, while it helped me fix so many aspects of my relationship with food, it threatened to create new problems if I kept living in my Whole30 bubble. I want to be able to cook and eat paleo cookies with my son. I want to be able to order veggies and not think that it's so horrible that they are prepared in organic, fermented soy (miso) soup. And, on the flip side, I don't want to convince myself I'm somehow being healthy by putting away a couple servings of plantain chips before dinner. 

At this moment in my life, I feel so in control and at peace with my relationship with food. I WANT to eat REAL food! Not because a program is telling me to but because it feel SO AMAZINGLY GOOD! It tastes better than the fake stuff almost always and even when the tastes that were created in a lab for the sole purpose of getting me addicted just happen to fool my taste buds, they can no longer fool my mind! 

OH! And I lost 12 pounds!

Whole30 Reset Day 25....Should I Start Over?

I have something that's really bugging me. I feel like I haven't done the Whole30 the right way. I actually read an article on their website recently about how a lot of people feel this way no matter what they do. While I have not once eaten a "no-no" food, I HAVE weighed....a lot....

I feel like this alone should make me start over because it is strictly against the rules. But the other thing that's really bothering me is I think I'm still eating for reasons other than hunger. I had slowly, so slowly I didn't even realize it right away, replaced chips made out of grains with plantain chips. I replaced sugary desserts with medjool dates. Obviously these are huge improvements but they still feed an emotional craving I'm having, not a physical one.

Plus, I just don't feel done yet! I feel like I need more time with these black and white rules before I release myself back into the wild. Honestly, I don't know that I should give myself that freedom of choice again until the freedom of choice no longer scares me!

So tomorrow's post may well be titled "Whole30, Round 2: Day 1"

Whole30 Reset Day 24

Well, it's official. Only one week left to go. Seven more days. I am kind of nervous for it to come to an end. I have found comfort in the black and white rules of this program. I have gotten to a point where I am perfectly content with a Medjool date for dessert and where I don't view a sober Friday night as a depressing waste of a free evening....but I still don't feel "done". I feel like I need another 30 days to work through a couple things. 

The alcohol is still an aspect I need to work on. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an alcoholic. But I still find myself viewing alcohol in a less than healthy way. It's the same way that I view junk food. They are things of celebration that will make life better. Yes, I understand that food and spirits can absolutely be these things! But when you've struggled with an addictive personality and you've used these things to cope with life way too much, I think it's very important to always be aware of your attitude towards them.

So I'm thinking that instead of jumping feet first back into another Whole30, I'm going to very gradually reintroduce certain foods back into my diet and see how I feel. Alcohol, chips and sugar will be added dead last and not as a daily fixture.

This last week I am going to remove plantain chips, Epic products and Larabars completely from my diet. They weren't a huge part of it to begin with but I found myself eating them for enjoyment and comfort instead of convenience. Again, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with eating a food for enjoyment but I am on a mission to feel the full spectrum of my emotions as they occur and not to dull them with ANYTHING. And that anything could be anything from alcohol and food to Facebook and T.V. I am working on increasing my self-awareness. 

Now! For my happy non-scale victory! I have a workout shirt that I haven't worn for the last couple of weeks because I didn't like how it had gotten a little snug on me. When I first bought it, it was almost too big but it totally worked! It fell perfectly on my hips and just looked super cute and unique. It had gotten to the point where it just looked odd and made me look a little frumpy. Well, yesterday I wasn't even thinking when I grabbed it and threw it on in a rush. I never even noticed the difference until I got up in front of a class to teach and saw myself in the mirror. It fit correctly again!!!! I can't tell you how much that affected my energy through the rest of the class! It made me aware that I'm feeling so much lighter on my feet now! The heavy feeling is close to being gone. Very close. 

This week I have some decisions to make. I feel like I'm sooooo close to being in a good place with food and alcohol but I just don't quite feel like I'm there yet. I'm hoping this next week of cutting out basically ALL prepackaged foods will help me with this but if it doesn't, I may just have to do this thing over again. I will NOT be ruled by food, alcohol or any other silly unworthy thing or person again! I deserve nothing more than to be liberated from every silly, secular thing in this world that threatens to tear me down and makes my life anything less than amazing, no, magical! We all do!

My Opinion of Loose Skin After Weight Loss and TLC's "Skin Tight"

Okay, I ruffle feathers every time I bring this sort of thing up but I can't help it! It's sooo frustrating!

People ask me constantly if I have loose skin and when I tell them that my skin is just barely loose, they ask me how I managed to pull that off after being morbidly obese for years and years and then losing over 100 pounds. I explain to them that during my weight loss process that my skin was much looser and that proper diet has restored much of my skin elasticity and strength training has helped plump out the difference. I outline all of this in detail along with a more thorough explanation of my opinion on and experience with loose skin after weight loss in this article.

So, in case you don't like clicking links to other posts, let me tell you in a nutshell why I had such loose skin in the middle of my weight loss and almost none now...

Because I still had lots of fat to lose and it was weighing the skin down and not allowing it to shrink back up.

Last night I had TLC on in the other room while I was cooking dinner. There was a show called "Skin Tight" on. Let me start by saying that I don't generally watch this show and this woman's individual case may not reflect other cases on this show. I heard from the other room her talking about how she felt self-conscious to go around the other mom's because she still looked overweight because of the extra skin. I walked into the living room to see what this thin woman with all the extra skin looked like and what I saw was a still very overweight woman whose fat was weighing down her skin. Her arms were large, she had a double chin....she was overweight!

Sure enough, they said they removed THIRTY-NINE POUNDS of "skin"!! Okay, common sense should tell you something is wrong with this picture. Skin is paper thin. They removed FAT! And I know this because when they showed her afterward she looked like an overweight person who had her stomach cut off. Her arms were still large (not flabby, just very large), she still had a double chin, and her breasts were huge...and yes, I understand a thin woman can have large breasts but my point is, she was thin NOWHERE!

I'm not saying all this to be harsh. I'm saying all this to emphasize the point that we shouldn't be so quick to let someone take a knife to us. I think it's great that this woman lost 200 pounds or whatever it was and no doubt drastically improved her health but, quite honestly, she needed to probably lose another 50-75 pounds. THEN she could've seen what she was left with before risking her life for this procedure. If nothing else, the trauma to her body would've been way less if not as much work would've needed to be done to remove so much excess fat in addition to the skin.

Sometimes I have no doubt that people absolutely need skin removal surgery and we are all entitled to that decision but a lot of plastic surgeons are making a lot of money off of our misunderstanding of what is skin and what is fat.

Whole30 Reset Day 22

In order for me to figure out what day I was on, I literally had to go back to my last post and count forward. Why? Because I'm no longer counting down the days. I'm no longer focused on food. I am focused on snowball fights, personal bests in my workouts, building my business, spending time with my know, all the stuff that's way more important than food (and alcohol) but I somehow prioritized wrong. That's the thing with addiction. It makes no sense. It's prioritizing gone wrong. Someone who doesn't struggle can't understand. It may even seem silly. It's anything but.

At least when people struggle with drug addiction, society gets it. They get that drugs can control people and destroy lives. People with food addiction are either the butt of everyone's jokes or it is even dismissed as not an addiction at all. Overeating is looked at as pure gluttony. The obese are viewed as being lazy and lacking self control. People. Just. Don't. Get. It.

I do.

Just like any good addict, I got it in check several years ago. But I would compare where I had gotten to in recent months to that of a "functioning alcoholic." Someone who goes about their daily business and gets by just fine, drinking at night just enough to numb themselves but not so much that it affects the next day...that much anyway. But just like any other functioning addict, it began to creep more and more into my "daytime life" and show up. In my case, visibly on my body. My addiction was starting to show all over my body, which is pretty much impossible to hide.

I've done a lot of crying this month. Oddly enough, not about food. I've cried because I've allowed myself to, once again, feel the full spectrum of my emotions. Without going too much into detail, I've gone through some heavy shit in the last year! There were times when things looked very hopeless. Yet, somehow, I almost never cried. I think I've shed enough tears in the last 21 days to more than make up for that year.

Feelings are meant to be felt. We live in a society where we are told to "fake it til you make it." The "it" usually being "happiness". Post a picture of a cute kitten on Facebook and get 57 likes and 22 comments. Post something about your grandma's funeral and somehow people won't notice your post in their feed. You'll get almost nothing except the occasional "everything happens for a reason" or "she's in a better place." When what we should be saying is "you know what! Life sometimes sucks! Pain sucks! IT HURTS LIKE HELL to lose someone and it's completely normal and OKAY that you are in pain right now!"

We have GOT to acknowledge that pain and suffering are an inevitable part of life or addictions of all kinds will continue to devour our society because, make no mistake, we ARE still feeling the pain. We are just feeling it over and over again every time we feel it rise and run for cover.

Whole30 Reset Day 19

Holy crap! Day 19! And over halfway through the day so only 10 1/2 days left! And Friday is here again. This one's easy. We are snowed in! We managed to get my son, at his relentless persisting, to his dad's house for the night then stopped by the grocery store to make sure we were prepared for a cozy, icy night in. I resisted the amazing looking confetti cake marked down to half price and left instead with a massive amount of broccoli and brussels sprouts for roasting with garlic tonight. Yummmm. If I'm desperate for something sweet I've got these tasty Bard Valley Natural Delights Pumpkin Date Rolls that I am in love with. They are all real, whole ingredients, sweetened only with the dates and I enjoy them very much but I don't crave or NEED them. I can eat one tiny roll and be perfectly content...or I can eat none and be fine, which makes them a winner in my book! 

Today I found myself tempted for just a fraction of a second here and there to cheat just because it felt like it would be nice to be all cozied in with some great flicks and tasty snacks. I quickly remembered, however, how I've felt by the end of the day any time I do this. Not cozy. Not content. Like crap! So I'll roast my veggies up nice and crisp, dip 'em in guac and enjoy my night for more substantial reasons than processed, non-food stuffs. And, bonus, I won't be killing myself! 

I think my biggest temptation right now is that I would loooove to have a glass of wine or a little sip of rum. THAT really does seem cozy! But I know that it would make me feel less than great (something I'm not really used to feeling anymore) at some point, whether it be tonight or tomorrow morning and that's not even factoring in how unbelievably horrible I would feel for screwing up this close to the finish. 

Speaking of the finish!!!....

I am seriously considering doing another Whole30 a few days after ending this one. I never thought I'd say this but I love the strictness of it! It takes the gray areas out of my decison. Been eating great, stop at Taco Bell? Nope, can't! Maybe just some chips...and some sour cream....and cheese with my salad. Nope! Not an option. 

Another thing I'm considering doing instead is a Whole5. This would be where, Beginning Sunday evening at dinner time, through Friday afternoon lunchtime, I eat perfect Whole30. Then Friday evening through Sunday lunchtime, I eat a little looser. Not crazy, balls to wall, loose. Just not so stritch and if I want a frozen yogurt or a beer, then that's okay. 

Whatever I decide to do it'll be something waaaay better than I was doing at the start of all this. 

Whole30 Reset Day 17

There has been this underlying, growing thing during the last couple of weeks. I've talked about it a little on here but it's so exciting that I just have to talk about it some more. 

My seven year old son's eating habits have concerned me for a while now. He has shown little to no interest in vegetables, except for raw carrots and seems to have equal cravings for sweet and salty. He can easily put away over half of a large pizza and then beg for dessert.

Now, I'll say right off the bat that all along he has still eaten better than the average 7 year old American kid. He'll eat the densest, grainiest bread I give him with glee. He loves sour, fermented things like kombucha and yogurt, both with no added sugars. He helped us juice fruits and veggies while we were on that kick a few years ago and would drink whatever green and pink swirled concoction came out (or he would try each batch anyway). He gets excited when I make bone broth and drinks it with all his meals. And he adores bitter, dark chocolate.

But I still want more for him! I've always felt guilty for not doing a better job and for feeding him too much pizza and too many desserts. I've always struggled with the "why" when he sees me eat plenty of salads and other leafy greens. He still seemed to shun anything not out of a package. He seemed completely stagnant in what healthy foods he would eat and refused to try anything new. Always opting for the most unhealthy choices when given any opportunity.

Well, these last couple of weeks have really shed light on all of that for me! Yes, just like my son, I was already eating better than the average American my age. BUT I wasn't eating great! I would have chips and dessert nearly every day and too many nights I settled on pizza or other take out. And here's what I've finally learned: It's not what we do every once in a while, it's what we do most of the time. And just how my "most of the time" diet affected my body, it also affected my son's opinion of what he should and shouldn't eat. He wanted what he saw me eating most of the time, the foods he knew were safe and was all too familiar with how tasty they were.  

In the last 2 1/2 weeks, my son has witnessed me eating nothing but healthy food. When he hears a package crackle, he runs into the kitchen like always to see what I'm getting into. At first, when he consistently realized it was something like a bag of broccoli, he just walked out disappointed and pretty disinterested. However, more and more, he is beginning to show mild interest.

In the last week or so he has tried AND LOVED red potatoes cooked with the skin on and covered in dill (he actually asked for extra dill), chicken thighs covered in all kinds of herbs, chicken tenderloins breaded in coconut flour and, yet again, more herbs, a nut covered date roll that he eyed suspiciously for a week or so before trying and absolutely loving and roasted garlic broccoli which he actually asked for seconds of! He also tried smoked salmon yesterday, which he is not a fan of (yet) and contemplated trying a roasted brussels sprout but he backed out at the last minute. And, although he loves mango, he didn't realize I was serving it to him the other night and asked "what's this?" as he shoved the first bite into his mouth. Oh! And he's oddly fascinated with Abel James and The Wild Diet, which I think is about the coolest hero a seven year old boy could pick at this point!

I believe that children (and all people for that matter) have a deeply encoded desire to be nourished that can even outweigh the addictive nature of processed food. The empty, fake tasting things we become addicted to can't compete in this one area. I am truly convinced that by him seeing me eat these foods on a daily basis, they are demystified. It speaks to his genetic hard wiring and sends the message loud and clear "this food is important. This food is safe." And that was EXACTLY the message I was sending with the junk food before! 

As a mom, this commits me more than ever to nourishing my body properly because he IS watching, and I never truly understood the extent of it until now. My food choices become HIS food choices and that is HUGE!

Whole30 Reset Day 16

I just had to share my "non-scale victory" (a concept that is big in Whole30 land). Every single winter since I was probably mid-twenties, I've developed horribly dry, PAINFUL skin. My cuticles peel and my fingertips crack until my fingers feel like raw meat by the end of the winter. What has scared me over the years is that each year it seems to set in sooner and sooner which means it gets worse and worse before the winter is over. I witnessed my grandmother deal with this to an extreme that scared me! It became almost crippling for her at times! I have believed this was my destiny...until now.

A few weeks ago it started setting in already! Just as I feared, it had set in earlier than it ever had before. I got out of a hot shower (something I KNOW aggravates it but I didn't expect it to show up so soon). I had absentmindedly put my hand on my boyfriend's back and suddenly the tshirt against my fingertips made them feel like they were on fire! I looked at them and they were blood red with little cracks in them. It was literally what I had seen on my grandmother's fingertips! I was horrified. We were barely into winter. I couldn't even imagine how bad they were going to get by the end of the winter. I ended up putting Neosporin on them, the kind with the pain killer, and it was just enough relief for me to be able to fall asleep. That just so happened to be day 1 of my Whole30. I didn't want to get my hopes up but the days that followed seemed to show some reversal in my skin condition instead of the persistent progression I have experienced without fail each and every year for well over a decade now. Today, NOTHING! Not even a hint of dryness! Not a single loose cuticle. Not even after a steaming hot shower. Nothing. At. All.

Another thing I've noticed may require me going to my old nail tech who ticked me off a couple of years ago when I said "my nails are getting thinner and thinner every year. I can't figure out why. It must be some kind of vitamin deficiency." He argued with me like I was nuts to think that and adamantly said "No, you can't change it, it's just how your nails are. You need gel nail." It ticked me off so bad because I felt like he was just trying to get my money and because....deep down inside I worried it was true.

Well, guess what Mr. Know-It-All Nail Tech! I no need gel nail!!! My nails are unbelievably strong all of the sudden and there were these little ridges in all of them that are just gone!

While, yes, it's nice to have pretty, nice looking nails. And it's even nicer to not have to face another winter of what was sure to be progressively worse finger pain. What's way better than all that is that these changes seem to by symptomatic of much deeper changes. It's tangible proof of what I already knew to be true: my body is getting healthier. My biological age is decreasing. I am literally better than I used to be, and I'm only halfway done!....Except I'm not. I will never ever go back to the way things were. I can't! I'm thinking this is going to end up turning into a Whole30Years.

Whole30 Reset Day 15

I wanted to start by sharing my Friday night experience since I'm not much of a weekend poster. 

Friday night is that one night a week when my son goes to his dad's house and I have the option to be (within reason, and within the constraints of the law) a less responsible adult. This usually involves me staying up a little later (sometimes 'til almost midnight! whoa!), some alcohol and lots of, in the words of Joey from Friends, "fried stuff with cheese." The Whole30 has changed a lot more than my diet.

The original plan was to go to warm yoga Friday night and then Chipotle. I was pretty excited and felt virtuous. However yoga was canceled. So we decided to hit the gym. This sounded fun too. I was waiting in the cutest date night workout ensemble I could muster when Gino walked in the door from work soaking wet and semi-frozen from the day. He suggested we stay in and cook. I loved it. Neither one of us are the type to pass up a good workout but it seemed perfect in the light of things, and it was. 

So instead we cooked the healthiest, tastiest meal we could think of and arranged it on his fanciest plates. He poured himself a beer and I poured myself some kombucha in a wine glass and we enjoyed it all in front of the fire. 

The rest of the weekend was no different. I found myself again and again, focusing on the company I was with instead of what the next meal was or what treat I should allow myself and my son to have to celebrate it being the weekend. Instead I gave him something better....more of my attention.

And here's the craziest part! HE is starting to naturally eat better! He is trying new foods and interested in experimenting with healthy recipes. Last night, after him begging to make a "Wild Diet treat" (something he was inspired by Abel James to do), I helped him make some pretty clean, paleo style cookies which he ate in the same way I encouraged him to eat when I allowed him to have only two of his grandmother's french fries earlier that weekend, slow and meaningful. Tasting and savoring every bite. He even closed his eyes. He was perfectly content with only one, just as he had been perfectly content with only two fries. This is HUGE for him! The changes I see taking place in HIS attititude about food are perhaps the best gifts of this whole program so far.

The Whole30 has taught me that food and alcohol should not be the highlight of any event. It's like I knew that but I didn't truly KNOW it! I went into this feeling like life would be dulled and Friday night's would be empty without these two things. I couldn't have been more wrong. Everything is becoming better! Conversation is better. Bonding time is more meaningful. Food is a nice side note, human interaction is the main event. 

So, needless to say, I'm in a great place regarding this whole thing right now. The end of this day marks the halfway point.

It's funny. Friday night I said to Gino, "the first thing I'm going to eat when this is over is...." And then I thought.....and thought. And I couldn't think of anything I wanted. Then I finally decided on exactly what it would be. I want to go back to that farm-to-table restaurant and order all those veggies I love so much and not ask what they're cooked in or for any substitutions. So THAT is what I'm looking forward to. Not cake or pizza or even beer. In fact, I feel a little queasy even thinking about eating any of those things right now, although I'm sure I will at some point. What I want is to not have to think so much about everything I put into my mouth. Not in an unhealthy way OR a healthy way. I just want to say "oh yum, those asparagus sound tasty, I'll take those" and then hand over my menu and get back to whatever amazing conversation I'm having with whichever amazing person in my life that I happen to be with in that moment.

Three Easy, FAST, Healthy, Amazing Recipes That Will Take Care of Your Dinner Tonight

It's hard to cook healthy and it not take a ton of time. That's why combining these three recipes are my go-to combo when I'm short on time.
First, the main course:

Juicy Homemade Baked Burgers I also add some garlic powder into this mix. I will never fry a burger again after doing this! They come out tasting and feeling almost like sausage, they are so juicy!

And your sides:

Roasted Garlic Broccoli. This is honestly the most amazing thing ever. I seriously crave it sometimes the same way I crave chips.

"French Fries"
This one is the easiest of all. Cut some red potatoes into small "french fry" or thin "potato chip" shapes, grease a pan with coconut oil, line up the potatoes, salt to taste and bake them on 425 until they're a little brown and tender. It doesn't take long at all if you slice them small enough. My picky 7 year old loves them. I peel the (as he calls it) "yucky red wrapper" off so they look more like fries.

Whole30 Reset Day 12

Wow! I am quickly approaching the halfway mark. And, here I am again, about to face down a Friday night. Last Friday night (ordinarily my cheat night and something I was very concerned about) ended up going very well. We went to Chipotle which was nice because I've put in a lot of work preparing all my food to make sure it's completely clean. I chose Chipotle because they have enough clean, compliant foods where I could get me a nice tasty dinner and be okay.

The next morning, after we worked out, we ended up going to a local place called The Fresh Depot. I became one of THOSE people where I had to ask the waiter a bunch of questions, he had to go ask the chef and then he even had to take my salad back when he brought it out with cheese. He was SO unbelievably sweet and thoughtful about the whole thing. I really got lucky because I felt like he was on my side, like he wanted me to stay compliant...and he was tipped accordingly for it! I ended up having a plain chicken breast (shout out to the local chicken who I hear had a good life up until shortly before it became my brunch) with some mixed spices on top, a bowl of mixed salad greens with EVOO, salt and pepper and aspargus with white vinegar (that the waiter brought out especially from the kitchen when he saw me read the ingredients of the red wine vinegar available at a condiment table and walk away empty handed.

So, yeah, it was nice....but a little much for a freaking meal! So I've been perfectly content to prepare/eat all my meals since in the comfort of my own home/workplace. That changes tonight though. It's tradition and, after all, Gino isn't doing this program and deserves a night out!'s back to Chipotle we go! lol

I'm pretty excited about tonight actually. Generally our Friday nights go a little something like this:

Since he lives literally 30 seconds from my studio, I go to his house from work and start getting ready about an hour before he gets home. I'm all fixed up by the time he does his 5 minute man thing and walks out smelling all good. We sit and have an alcoholic beverage of some sort before we head to a pub somewhere for wings and beer and cheesy stuff. We hit a bar but still almost always end up heading back at a very decent time. Never drunk but quite often not exactly sober. Usually on the ride home I feel a little icky. I wake up the next morning not exactly hung over but not exactly feeling great. Again, just a little icky. I often BS my way through my Saturday morning workout and eat something less than ideal for breakfast afterward.

Last Saturday, I woke up feeling amazing! And I KILLED my workout! This Saturday I expect no less. 

So, tonight, we are going to yoga! Then back to Chipotle. In bed at a decent time, up early for a quick workout before he picks up his daughter and I head to work for a few hours. At one time this would've been kind of depressing to think about. Now it feels great to know that my Friday night/Saturday morning won't set me back from a whole week of halfassing my way through life, kinda sorta being healthy all week. Instead, it will actually ADD to my wellbeing and health! I will leave Saturday a better, healthier, more organized person, instead of crawling into bed Saturday night feeling like crap after just getting through the day as best as I could and resolving that Sunday will be better. 

I'm learning that being truly healthy is ALWAYS taking your health into consideration. That's not to say you don't incorporate certain cheats but you most definitely don't take a night off from being healthy. I think maybe possibly I'm on the path to self-love. We shall see.

Whole 30 Reset Day 11

Yummy bone broth is my new comfort food <3

I'm officially past the 1/3 mark!! Honestly, in this moment, I feel like I could do this forever and never cheat...I know that won't be the case because treats are yummy and a wonderful part of life but, my point is, they are back in their place. They are treats again, not just what I grab almost every day to make me happy. 

Yesterday was a super balanced, not-so-hungry day. Which is in stark contrast to the day before where I felt very hungry a large part of the day. And I am absolutely positive what made the difference. My hungry day didn't consist of big plates of veggies or contain enough protein. Yesterday I had a bowl of chicken/veggie soup and asparagus for breakfast (yes, breakfast) and then I was good until lunch about 5 hours later! I had a giant plate of salad veggies with some beef and guac on top. About 3 hours later I started to feel a little unfocused and slightly hungry so I threw 2 farm eggs in the pan (yes, I'm very fortunate to have a small kitchen where I work but someone could just bring hardboiled eggs ahead of time to work if they don't) and those 2 eggs carried me straight through to dinner.

So here comes my dinner "victory". I went to my parent's house for dinner with my whole family. They were all having spaghetti with garlic bread. Keep in mind I'm an Italian girl and I basically have garlic running through my viens. Resisting this meal would have felt like torture at one time. However, I barely thought of it at all! I'm even the one who prepared the garlic bread. While it was toasting I threw some of my meat and veggies into a pan and served it up with some slices of avocado for myself. I spent the entire meal completely focused on conversation and enjoying my family. Never once did I think about what I was missing out on! That is CRAZY to me!

When we were done, my sister-in-law and I, both gals with a big sweet tooth, scoured the kitchen for something sweet. She settled on a couple choices out of a box of chocolates (that one stung for just a second) while I very contently ate an orange and felt COMPLETELY satisfied afterward! I flossed on the drive home and didn't think about food again.

Someone without "food issues" probably can't appreciate this post in the least. However, someone who has struggled with food issues as much as I have is probably scrambling to learn more about Whole30 about now. This truly is NOT a fad diet. It is one month to balance and nourish your body and learn to have a better relationship with food. This program will always be a part of my life. When I get done with these 30 days, I will have much better health and habits because of it. When I feel like I've strayed too far off course, I will return to this program to hit the reset button. I am finally fully awake again and, it turns out, I wasn't getting old! I was getting toxic!

Whole30 Reset Day 10

Day 9 is behind me and this is day 10 of 30!! I cant believe how good I feel!
Between work and child rearing, life can get a little hectic and its so easy for me to reach for convenience food. I've done pretty great about not doing this very much but I'm still managing to do it once a day. I'm also nibbling on these date roll things I've found and justifying a Larabar about every day when I'm super busy even though I know it's for the sweet taste. So I'm resolving today to stop these two habits for the remaining 21 days. It's not like I think these two things are so horrible. In fact, just 10 short days ago I would've been proud of myseld for choosing these natural ingredients for my sweet fix....but that's the problem, it's still a fix. Even if it's not physically the most unhealthy thing ever, it's not mentally healthy. So my goal here on out is no more Larabars every day and to acknowledge and confront these cravings as they hit. I'll pay attention to when they're strongest and what triggers them. Is it what I'm eating that day leading up to the craving? Or is it in response to something mental?
The other reason it's imprtant to me to cut these out is because they are taking the place of higher quality, more life giving, nourishing foods I could be eating! I've been reminded of how good I can feel again and I am addicted! People are starting to notice the physical changes in my skin and my body, which is nice. But what I like more is that they are noticing a difference in my spirit! And that is definitely a true reflection of how I feel. I feel inspired, excited, energetic, light and, at times, obnoxiously happy!

Whole30: "Sex With Your Pants On" Syndrome

So, in the beginning on this whole30 day reset, I found myself joining groups and following blogs of people who were following the whole30. However, I've kind of shied away from all that now and am doing my own thing and here's the main reason why. I can't seem to find anyone who truly seems to embrace the first rule that their foods must pass...."is it psychologically healthy?"

I finally had to shut it all out after seeing so many comfort foods (which blatantly breaks the rule "no recreating treats", what they refer to as "sex with your pants on"). I saw on a support board just this weekend where a girl actually started by talking about her crazy stressful day and then showed a picture of a giant serving of homemade potato chips of some sort, a big plate of guac and some kind of non-alcoholic mixed drink. Now, don't get me wrong. If she was eating the standard versions of all that before, she will absolutely be healthier at the end of the 30 days. I saw another girl with a pretty high profile blog who posted tons of pics from her last whole30 in which she ate an absurd amount of plantain chips and other processed "comfort" type foods. Again, I'm sure she was healthier at the end (she said she felt better and lost a little weight but was surprised that her health didn't seem to improve very much).

No judgment for these people! Maybe they aren't focused on this rule that I am most focused on because they haven't had the food issues I have in my life. But, for me, if you're using food for emotional comfort....right now you're a potential bad influence on me!

I bought a bag of plantains...and quickly gave them to my son because they caused an unhealthy emotional response. I stopped eating a concoction of spicy guac, salsa, and sunflower seeds on a lettuce leaf because I just wanted more and more of them.

This brings me to the point of my post. I had a women on a support group tell me the other day, in response to me saying that the lettuce leaf concoction made me "a little too happy" (I was half joking, half not) with "food ALWAYS makes me happy."

Now, I understand she was half joking too but it still drove the point home that many people aren't truly taking to heart the importance of using this 30 days to hit the reset button. To intercept those urges to eat based on stress or discomfort and deal with them head on. If you keep conditioning your brain to associate happiness with food, you will continue to reach for these foods almost as though you're not in charge of your body. I know this because I've been on both sides of the fence. Now I'm finally back over on the side where I'm aware of and dealing with crap as it hits me!

So, on the example I wanted to provide of the difference between tasty, enjoyable food and comforting food. Enjoyable food tastes nice. If it falls on a floor you question the cleanliness of, your only reservation about throwing it out should be wasting the money, hard work, resources, etc. A comfort food causes little happy explosions in your mouth in brain. If it falls on the aforementioned floor your only conflict is whether to eat it on your hands and knees or try getting it back to the plate first.

My main comfort foods are pizza, wings, chips, cake and beer. They make me happy (while I'm eating them anyway).

My enjoyable foods are fresh, clean, light foods that taste pretty darn good...but make me happy for the rest of the day....and hopefully my life!

Whole30 Reset Day 8

Well, my not posting is, excitingly, not due to me quitting! It's quite the contrary. My not posting is because I am doing SO good that I haven't felt compelled to blog about my feelings! I made everyone delicious smelling ham biscuits this weekend and barely batted an eye. My boyfriend enjoyed some tasty looking beers in front of me quite a few times and I wasn't tempted in the least. And last night we had his mom over for soup and I made everyone but me garlic bread to go with it (one of my favorite comfort foods) and I didn't really even think about it!

Instead, I can't stop thinking about how good I feel. Energetic, even emotions, regular!!! I spent almost all day yesterday in the kitchen. I am getting pretty freaking creative and Gino and his mom officially named me "queen of pico" last night which I'm quite proud of considering it was my first time ever making it! I feel so in control going into the week with a ton of healthy, tasty food prepped.

I'm getting back to that feeling that I remember now so much more clearly from a few years ago. That feeling of easily being able to make proper food choices because I feel so amazing after I do. Why is it suddenly clearer? Because EVERYTHING is clearer. I don't forget things as easily. My workouts are not miserable. I fall asleep with ease, sleep hard and wake up pretty perky....well, as perky as *I* ever could anyway!

I feel so convicted about this that I am 100% certain that I will follow this plan pretty closely when the 30 days are over. Although I WILL enjoy some treats here and there. I started a list of treats I want after this is over. So far, ham biscuits....

Whole30 Reset Day 5

Well, it's official! This is LITERALLY the longest I've ever not cheated when eating healthy. I have to keep emphasizing, this is NOT a crash diet! This is a hormone reset. I decided to use the pic above because (a) it's funny and (b) it describes how I feel right now. Full of energy and happy! And this is a good reflection of how Gino is probably feeling right now too....happy about my attitude adjustment.

Okay, I lied, I cheated again. I weighed this morning. I know, I'm bad. But I lost another pound!! I'm pushing 10 pounds in 4 days! Again, I KNOW this isn't fat loss but that's okay! It's actually better than that! I believe this is my body releasing stagnant toxic fluid. I can't even put into words how much better I feel. I PROMISE to not weigh again...until at least Monday. Which won't be hard because my scale is in my studio and I'm not working all weekend so I won't have access to it! And, I know, I know, I need to stop focusing on the scales. But I want to clarify, this is FAR from the only thing I'm focused on. So here's my short list of other, non-scale, improvements I've already observed.

  • Muscle and joint aches GONE! I mean complete gone! I knew it was the grains and sugar but I think I was addicted to them again and the definition of addiction is seeking out a particular substance despite the negative consequences. "The Dorito Effect" discusses a Yale study that demonstrated that an overeater's pleasure centers don't light up anymore than other's do when they consume junk food but that the desire for and anticipation of pleasure from the food is more intense....classic addict response. Which leads me right into my next improvement....
  • Cravings are GONE! I mean GONE! Now, I have no doubt that my cravings went away sooner than a lot of people report them going away (and I never went through the withdraw headaches either) because I already ate pretty decent compared to the standard American diet. So, if you're doing the whole30 and you are starting from more extreme circumstances (eating more out of control before starting), then it may take you a couple of extra days to get to where I am but STICK WITH IT! There is nothing much more freeing and liberating than not feeling controlled by food. On the flipside there is nothing much more depressing and demoralizing than feeling controlled by it. Which, again, helps me flow ninja-like smoothly into my next point....
  • I AM HAPPIER! I am literally happier! The first couple days were hard because I had to disconnect food from enjoyable situations. I considered taking my son to Hobby Lobby because we enjoy just wandering around looking in places like that (until he starts crying and begging for stuff at which time we leave and my fantasy of us being crafty, artsy minimalists is once again crapped on by precious little boy). Well, a second after the thought of going to HL entered my mind, it was followed by the thought, "Yeah, and then we can get ice cream!" Before my reset, this would've made the prospect even more appealing. However, being in the midst of my "happy food mourning period", I sacked the entire idea because I felt like "what's the point?" Now that attachment is, once again, fading. And life is actually sweeter! Hanging with my son is now the highlight, not the ice cream. Likewise, going to Zumba last night (one of my favorite things) seemed bleak because I wasn't going to be able to get the gym's AMAZINING peanut butter, chocolate protein shake afterward. I almost didn't want to go. But, instead, I ate a super early dinner a couple hours before Zumba, flossed and brushed and decided that, unless I got super hungry again, I wasn't going to eat again. I had a light, comfortable feeling as I drove home from the gym and when I went to bed....instead of the heavy, farty feeling that controls me for the rest of the night when I have the shake.
  • My libido is higher! Okay, sorry if that's an overshare but I've learned a few times now that bloated, gassy Tammi isn't very frisky. Not to mention I am 100% convinced that if we have this certain amount of desire within us that we need to do things to satiate. And we can possibly fill that desire each day with enough synthetic, pleasurable tasting food. And, speaking of synthetic foods, processed foods alter your hormones which absolutely affects your libido!
  • Here's the most important mind is CLEAR again!! I had forgotten what it feels like to feel full of energy and able to think clearly! HOW did I forget that eating poorly clouded my brain?! I guess it's a catch 22. You can't think clearly enough to remember what's causing the problem. I feel inspired. Motivated. In control! In Zumba lately, I've noticed that I haven't been able to learn new, simple moves. Not to brag, but (I'm gonna) I'm usually pretty great at learning new moves the very first time I see a routine. Lately, though I became concerned, like "is this just what happens when you start getting older?" It literally started to make me feel old. Well, last night about 1/3 of the songs were routines I had never seen/done before. I felt like my old self! It all came easily to me again! Another routine that I've been doing for a while had this one move that I just couldn't get, last night it just came naturally.
  • And last, but not least, I feel younger!! Way younger. As I mentioned in my last point, I was starting to attribute certain things to age. Like somehow being 38 was waaaay different than being 35 or 36. Well, that is most certainly NOT the case. It was my food choices, plain and simple.
Just 2 days ago, I was pretty certain that I would end up "cheating" tonight. Friday night, generally my throw down, cheat night, is almost here. I am looking forward to getting a good steak at a farm to table with a side of veggies, maybe some potatoes. And, yeah, I'm sure it'll be tasty enough. But strange thing. I'm not so much looking forward to Friday night for the reason I usually do, boos and pizza. I'm looking forward to a Friday night with my interesting, funny, sexy and amazing boyfriend. He will finally get my full attention tonight....instead of having to share it with dessert.

Tired of Being a Slave to Food....Let's Get Mad!!

If you have spent your life feeling out of control when it comes to food, you have to read this...
I've always been amazed at how I can feel so disciplined but then I break open a bag of flavored chips or a box of danish wedding cookies and no matter how far I've come and how in control I feel, I start eating uncontrollably and don't stop until my belly hurts.

Well, I've since learned about something some call "no brakes" food. These are unnatural foods that never make our bodies release (or even BLOCK) leptin which is the hormone our bodies release to tell us whatever we were craving has been satisfied.

The current book I'm "reading" (listening to) is called "The Dorito Effect" and it really goes into more depth than I've ever heard before about exactly what is being done to our food supply. Okay, I'm not gonna lie, there are parts of this book that are just way too drug out and technical...BUT it's still so worth the read (or listen).

So why do we feel so out of control when we eat processed foods (because no matter how juicy an apple is, you don't hear about people binging on them)? There are scientists hard at work, being paid by a multi-billion dollar food industry to create flavors and textures that will make us addicted to certain products. Doesn't that make you mad?!?! It does me!

A perfect way to get back in touch with our own signals of hunger and satiety is to eat whole, natural foods and avoid any strange ingredients INCLUDING things like "natural flavoring" which can literally mean absolutely ANYTHING, and almost always includes those chemicals they've laced their food like substances with to make us junkies.

So now it's time to get good and mad!!!

I've had a client here and there recently get upset with me when I tell them how it is when it comes to food. And I mean, they literally exhibit anger toward me! They don't want to give up their comforts and I totally get it! But they take a very "shoot the messenger attitude" about it. Fact is fact is fact. If you eat garbage, you will feel like garbage and your body will respond accordingly.

Get mad but don't get mad at me!
Get mad at the state of food in your country!

Why is it that hardcore drugs are illegal because the government is trying to protect us, but food companies can knowingly get us (AND OUR CHILDREN!) addicted to their food even though the end result is anything from heart disease to diabetes to morbid obesity so out of control that they have to cut people out of their houses and bury them in shipping crates and that's okay? Why aren't people up in arms that the very crops that are killing us, like sugar, corn and soy are subsidized with OUR taxes instead of fresh fruits and vegetables so that THEY (instead of chips and cookies) would be more affordable to everyone? Why aren't we absolutely outraged that these big food companies pay lobbyists millions of dollars to make sure no laws are ever passed that will hurt their ownership of our food system?! These companies quite literally do not care if you die! They do not care if your children die. The one and only thing they are care about is money. As much as possible. So, yeah, get mad! Get real mad!....just don't get mad at me!

Whole30 Reset (Day 1-4)

*Note: I'm actually four days into this reset now. I didn't actually publish this until today because, quite honestly, I wasn't sure I was going to stick with it!  However, I am posting it now because I am absolutely DETERMINED to stick with it. Already, halfway into Day 4, I feel all that ick and brain fog clearning and I'm finally feeling good (like I used to feel) all the time. I can finally remember what self-control feels like and I felt like I had about lost it for a while there. I am so determined to complete this, in fact, that this is the very reason I am publishing this post! Now there's no turning back! Everyone is watching...okay, not everyone but the 20-50 people a day who visit my blog anyway....

I'm not one to do fad diets....anymore anyway! In fact, I usually cringe at the thought of them. That's why when I saw a friend posting about the Whole30 on Facebook, I was pretty dismissive. However, then she started posting pics of her meals and I realized that she was just eating whole foods. No bars or shakes. And not a single food I disagreed with as a healthy food. I combined this with my knowledge of who she is as a person: basically me. She's pretty progressive. She has taken the time to learn and understand what is best for her body. When I saw her recommend the companion book for this diet, I was officially interested. The book is called "It Starts With Food". And I can wholeheartedly recommend it. I knew anything that actually focused on food, all foods, not just carbs and not just protein and not just fat and not just a certain vitamin....might actually have a little something legitimate to say.

As I quickly worked through this 10 hour audiobook, I found myself nodding in agreement to everything they said. Most of it was stuff I've either learned through the years based on studies I've read. However, the parts that really sucked me in were the parts where they talked about allergenic foods that not many people acknowledge but that I myself have known deep down inside were causing me problems. Two of which are pretty controversial (well, compared to grains anyway, which more and more people are acknowledging are problematic) so I'm not going to go into them just yet because anyone intrigued may automatically write off this program without reading/hearing the science behind it first.

Day 1:

It's here. I have to do something and this is big for me. I'm not one to stick with plans like this really well but the science is so solid behind this that I feel a lot of conviction. It's a lot easier to stick with something you believe so strongly in.

So, I wanted to record how I'm feeling today so I'll have it for future reference. I ate breakfast around 7 am and I'm just starting to feel slightly hungry (it's 11:30am), which is pretty good for me! I had eggs, collards, mushrooms and onions all cooked in ghee. I'm guessing I am not hungry because I haven't had any artificial sweeteners which I generally have had by this time of the day, even if it's just in the form of my pre-workout. I have a slight headache but nothing bad. My ears feel very full of fluid. Part of it is definitely the cold I'm getting over but part of it is just what I generally feel lately. I'm a little achy all over and queasy.
I had a hard time falling asleep last night because I drank a ton of caffeine later in the afternoon and evening so I'm super sleepy today. I am probably going to have one cup of green tea around noon and I had about 1 1/2 cups of coffee this morning so overall my caffeine consumption should be a lot lower today than most days.

Day 4:
Okay, I haven't posted between day 1 and now because, honestly, I thought I was going to quit any minute! But the reason why is because I kept wanting to emotional eat and I was getting really depressed that I couldn't. I've really learned a lot about myself in the past couple days. I truly thought I had pretty much overcome emotional eating. But what I've realized is that I've learned to eat slower and less of the comfort foods. Yes, I eat way more good stuff now than I used to but the problem is that I was still absolutely turning to food when things got rough. Now I'm starting to feel more balanced and I haven't cheated at all which is pretty much a freakin' miracle for me. Well okay one little cheat....You aren't supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days, only before and after because you're supposed to focus on "non-scale victories" as the emphasis of this program is not a crash diet to lose weight but rather an opportunity to reset your hormones and learn better eating (and coping) habits. I haven't been too virtuous in this department. I can't help it! I could look in the mirror last night and see that I was visibly smaller, through my midsection especially! I'm down 7 pounds in 3 days! However, I know enough to know this isn't actual fat loss and that if I keep weighing myself every day I'm going to get discouraged when the scales stop moving in a day or so and start slowly reflecting actual fat loss so...NO MORE WEIGHING!!

Here was my lunch today. It was left over stir fry (with some hot sauce), sour kraut and a clementine. A few days ago this meal would've been very lacking for me but right now my belly feels so happy and content. My energy is good and I don't want dessert! I seriously forgot what it was like to feel this way!