Our Whole30 + tips for your own

Our Whole30 + tips for your own

Whole30. You may have no clue what I’m talking about or you may be a Whole30 alum. Either way, welcome!

In August 2018 I successfully completed my second round of Whole30 with my husband. I did my first Whole30 in February 2018 (you can read about that here) and the experiences were quite different. I learned a lot from my first round and having the support of my husband who was in the trenches with me made a world of difference.

If you’re not familiar with the Whole30, let me take a moment to explain. Whole30 is essentially an elimination diet. You cut out the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Food groups like sugar, gluten, grains, dairy, legumes. You can whole, unprocessed, healthy foods for the 30 days to reset your body and give your system a chance to heal and return to baseline. You can learn more about the Whole30 Program here straight from the source.

With this post I wanted to give you a glimpse into our Whole30 experience. Share some of our favorite meals, our results, and our best tips. If you’re considering the Whole30 or just seeking some encouragement for wellness, I hope this is helpful!

Our favorite meals

My favorite thing about Whole30 is trying new recipes! We tried these and many other yummy ones during our 30 days, most of which I would love to make again. Tip: keep a binder or folder for printed recipes to reference in the future! I have a ton on my Pinterest board, but it can be a pain to find my favorites again. Plus, you can jot down any notes right there on the recipe to remember for the future.

Chicken & Zoodles

  • Cook zoodles on stovetop until warm
  • Bake or cook chicken on stovetop, add to zoodles once cooked through
  • Top with your favorite sauce (make sure no added sugar) and sprinkle nutritional yeast if that’s your thing

Zoodles & Shrimp

Chicken sausage, apple, sweet potato

Homemade chicken salad

  • Shredded chicken
  • Whole30 compliant mayo (I use Primal Kitchen), enough to coat chicken
  • Grapes
  • Add pepper to taste

Salad

When in doubt, salad! Good way to use up fruit/veggies/meat before they go bad. Also super easy to mix it up or eat out, just be mindful of dressings.

Chia seed pudding

  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup liquid (I use unsweetened almond milk)
    • Put ingredients in a cup and store in fridge for at least a couple hours
    • Stir up and then let sit, ideally overnight

Roasted sweet potato & broccoli

  • Clean and cut up
  • Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper
  • Roast at 425 for 20-30 mins (or until tops of broccoli start to blacken)
    • Add an egg for yummy breakfast or meat for lunch/dinner

Our NSVs

Weight loss was a motivating factor for us to do Whole30, but it wasn’t the only thing we were after. And it certainly wasn’t the only benefit we experienced. I lost 10 pounds and Eric lost 18 pounds during the 30 days. Wow! More importantly, I want to share some of our NSVs — our Non Scale Victories! At the end of the day, weight will fluctuate and the scale can’t really be trusted. If you’re doing a Whole30, you can download this to mark your achievements.

Here’s a look into what we experienced apart from the scale. Although it’s a long list, it’s not exhaustive. It was a powerful, life shifting 30 days.

Improved performance at job.
You think more clearly.
You feel generally more productive.
You fall asleep more easily.
You sleep more soundly.
Energy levels are more even.
You no longer need to eat every two hours.
You need less sugar or caffeine. 
You can exercise longer, harder, or faster.
You feel more athletic.
More knowledgeable about nutrition.
New cooking skills.
New recipes. 
Meal prep is organized and efficient. 
Maximize your food budget.
Healthy eating habits have brought your family closer.
People ask what you’re doing differently.
Fewer blemishes.
Glowing skin.
Longer, stronger nails. 
Clothes fitting better.
Feeling more confident in your appearance.
Less bloating.
Improved “regularity.”
You’re happier.
You’re more patient. 
You’re more optimistic.
Improved body image/self-esteem/self-confidence.
Healthier relationship with food.
No longer a slave to sugar/carbs.
No more food guilt or shame.

Tips to be successful

Meal plan + prep: Whole30 is pretty much impossible without this. Make food you’ll be excited for! There will be a ton of dishes to do, but the prepped food is so wonderful! This will help keep you on track because you won’t be starving and reach for something that isn’t beneficial for you.

Tunnel vision: Instagram stories can be the worst on the weekends. Everyone is out to brunch or partying or celebrating something with cake. This can be super tempting and make you crave all the things, but stay focused. Be mindful of what may trigger your cravings and avoid it if you think that’s best. You do you, boo.

Remember why you’re doing it: You are doing this for YOU! Even on the hardest days, remember it’s worth it in the end. If you stick with it, you will learn so much about yourself and your body. You are stronger than you think!

Start on the 1st: This isn’t a must, but it sure makes things easier. You don’t have to remember what day you’re on because the calendar will tell you.

Accountability: As with any goal, accountability is huge! Maybe your spouse, best friend, or mom will do Whole30 with you. If you aren’t doing it with someone, utilize social media and the Whole30 community. You’re not alone! At the very least, be open with the people close to you about what it is you’re doing and why. They can still support and cheer you on!

Commit to yourself + your Whole30: You are worth it! Commit to completing your Whole30. Don’t let excuses or cheats sneak in. You’re only cheating yourself…

Utilize the resources: As I mentioned previously, there are so many resources that can help! Instagram was big for me to follow coaches and Whole30 accounts that share recipes and encouragement. The Whole30 website is full of good, free resources. I also highly recommend the books (I’ve read It Starts with Food, Whole30, and Food Freedom Forever). Google is also your best friend if you have a question!

Be willing to try new things and think outside the box: This experience will be a lot more enjoyable if you’re open to new things. New foods, new cooking methods, new thoughts. You may need to get creative at times too. It’s all good!

Keep it as simple as you need: You do not have to be a gourmet chef to make this happen. I actually find it easier to keep it as simple as possible. Get as fancy as you’d like, but it’s totally okay if you end up eating the same lunch all week because that’s what you prepared and you just can’t handle making another recipe and doing more dishes. There is joy in simplicity.

Putting the tips into practice

We put many of these tips to the test with a family trip to the beach. We were gone just two days, but a lot more preparation goes into it when you’re eating a particular way. I was honestly a bit nervous how it would go, but we had a wonderful time.

We didn’t eat out at all since I didn’t want to bother with being tempted or trying to figure out what’s compliant and being complicated with the waiter. I prepared our food in advance (breakfast, lunch, and dinner… although I did accidentally forget my smoothie bags in the freezer at home, bummer) and packed it all in our cooler to take. Of course we didn’t have alcohol, so I brought a few sparkling waters I had on hand otherwise we just took jugs of water to the beach.

We saved a ton of money since we didn’t eat out or do any extra grocery shopping. We also had extra time to just relax because we didn’t need to use time to get ready and drive to a restaurant. We had slow mornings, enjoyed a long family walk in the morning and evening, and spent the day on the beach. It was wonderful, but I am looking forward to a shrimp burger on our next visit 😉

I’m so glad we did it! We pushed ourselves and resisted pleasures in the form of food/drink in order to gain long term. We gained a better understanding of what we’re capable of and what our bodies need. We also gained confidence and clothes that fit so much better! It was challenging, but oh so worth it! Now, what questions do you have? 

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Being body positive

Being body positive

You may have never experienced challenges like I’m going to discuss. You may have always had a healthy relationship with your body and the scale and that is so awesome. Keep doing your thing!

But I know so many of us don’t fit into that. We have struggled. If that’s where you fit, this post is an encouragement just for you. And myself.

I have been thinking a lot about my body and my health this month. My husband and I have been doing Whole30 since August 1st, so it’s been at the forefront of my mind and I’ve noticed my mindset shifting.

To be clear, I’ve thought about my body and health for a while, since I actually noticed there were differences. I still vividly recall being in dance class in middle school, looking at the wall sized mirror and realizing that I was shaped differently than many of my thin classmates.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to change something about my body. I wanted to be skinnier, taller, more flexible. I wanted to have thinner thighs, flatter stomach, tanner skin. I’m sure in the 26 years I’ve had this body, that list is not exhaustive of my wishes.

It was after college graduation that I decided I really needed to take care of myself. I was sick and tired of not feeling my best, which stemmed from not looking my best. Slowly, I began to learn new healthy habits. All I had ever known up until that point was weight loss culture. For the first time I was introduced to wellness. Understandably, it would take some time to adjust to this new way of thinking and living. I’m still learning and growing. I’m still reprogramming old ways in my mind. It’s a process.

Where I stand now, I am fully thankful for and appreciative of this body.

I’ve spent many years wrestling with it. Wanting badly to change it. To make it smaller, toner, tanner. To change bits and pieces of it. To change sizes and shapes of its parts.

This is the body I’ve been blessed with and I love it.

It’s healthy and strong.

It has carried me through every day of my life, even when I haven’t treated it well. Even when I downright disrespected it in the name of a “summer bod” or a party. Thinking back to those college years specifically…

It has taken me to many beautiful places — Mexico, Belgium, Italy were some favorites. And there’s many more places I hope visit in the future.

It walked me down the aisle with my daddy and allowed me to dance with my husband on our wedding day. And many dances before and after that.

It has worked hard in Pure Barre classes and has become stronger with each pulse and tuck.

It has been gentle when caring for children and pets. I pray one day it will be able carry our future children.

I will love and respect this body. It’s the only one I’ll ever have.

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. -Emily Ley

This body of mine doesn’t have to be perfect. It can’t be. I’m human. And I don’t have to be perfect in the way I treat it. Again, I can’t. I’m human. I will slip up and make mistakes.

What I can do is my best to care for it. Some days that best is better than others. But each day I can give myself grace and move forward. One “bad” moment or day doesn’t mean all hope is lost and I might as well throw in the towel completely.

The goal is not perfection.

The goal is health.

The goal is joy.

I finally feel like my goal is not weight loss. Honestly, there is some weight my body could do without just because I know how I feel my best and I know that I’ve been living in the “treat yourself” mindset a bit too much. BUT I do not have a set weight loss goal that is going to determine my success or failure. I workout because I appreciate this body, not because I hate it. I eat right, drink lots of water, and exercise as a way to honor this incredible body.

Listen to this: my healthy weight is the weight my body is when I’m living a reasonable life. The weight that my unique body settles to when I’m not obsessing over food or exercise, but instead listening to its needs and providing. The weight my body will cling to if I were to diet and push it.

I do notice this number and am aware of it. But I am no longer tied to it. There were days that a wrong, higher number would mean a bad mood. Now that number is just another metric to see how my body is responding to what’s going on. This is a relationship — one in which I want to be a respectful, loving partner.

My actions define my success, not a number on a scale.

My success lies in my choices. It’s found in how I’m able to live my life day to day. How happy I feel. How much energy I have. How much peace and contentment are in my heart. How well I’m able to meet my needs — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Those are the true measures, not the number on the scale.

Say it with me if you resonate: I release any power the number had over me. 

We are not victims. We can choose to live happy, fulfilling lives without a number on the scale or size on our pants having anything to do with it. These fluctuate anyways. Do you really want your joy to be left up to a floating number?

I want a body that is fit and healthy. I want to be able to run around and play with our future children. I want to be adventurous and explore on our trips. I want to be clear-headed and fully present in my life. I want to be able to serve friends and neighbors and love my people well. I don’t need a perfect body to do these things.

This body is enough.

I am enough.

And you absolutely are too. ❤

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Clean Juice – 2 Day Cleanse

Clean Juice – 2 Day Cleanse

All about Clean Juice

I discovered Clean Juice through my Pure Barre studio (shout out to Pure Barre Holly Springs)! PSHS was having an event and Clean Juice was there with samples. I immediately fell in love with the White Juice. You will understand once you taste it… trust me.

Clean Juice is a 100% Certified Organic juice bar. That’s no small accomplishment. As they say, they make it easy to choose organic and get a truly healthy product. Yes please! I love their product, but I also adore their culture. The employees are so friendly and helpful, which I really appreciated because I had no idea what I was doing. Beyond that, what really captured my heart is their faith. They have a jar for prayer requests in store (I took full advantage after I picked up my juice) and they have 3 John 1:2 printed on every bottle. Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. I was reminded of that verse with every juice and it’s one I’m going to tuck away for later.

Why a cleanse?

I never ever thought I’d do a juice cleanse. I’m a foodie and thought I would be too starving to complete it. Plus there is always an event scheduled or life happens and it’s easy to throw the idea of a juice cleanse out the window…

I was intrigued by the idea and wanted to challenge myself. I enjoy pushing myself in my health to see what I’m capable of and I’m usually surprised. Over the last year or so I’ve gradually put on weight due to some poor habits I’ve developed, so I wanted to use this as a kickstart to put some healthy habits in place and get my mindset right. Nutrition is about fueling your body with foods that make you feel good. Although it’s certainly not a long term fix, dropping some weight and giving my body a chance to detox and have a break seemed like a good place to start.

How a cleanse with Clean Juice works

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering how this juice cleanse works…

Clean Juice offers 5 types of cleanses with cold pressed juices ranging from “juice til dinner” to 5 days long. I chose to do the 2 day because that seemed like long enough to experience positive effects, but short enough to stick with it as a first time cleanser. The prices range from about $36 to $255. The different lengths and prices offer something for everyone! You can read more about the cleanses directly from Clean Juice here.

Clean Juice makes it so simple! They give you a 6 pack juice carrier for each day and each juice is marked 1 through 6 so you know in what order to drink them. Yes, there is a specific order and specific juices to drink. I drank my first juice for the day about 2 hours after I woke up, drank the next four 2.5-3 hours apart, drank the last (best) one at least an hour before bed. I also drank lots of water! This helped maintain a full stomach.

I was told it’s best to do the cleanse when you’re busy and I would agree. Although I did this on my days off, I was busy both days and that helped keep my mind off of mindless snacking. Old habits die hard.

Juices

Sweet Green
Ingredients: organic cucumber, organic apple, organic kale, organic spinach, organic mint
Potential Benefits: huge vitamin boost / sharp brain / glowing skin / regulates pH

Orange
Ingredients: organic carrot, organic pineapple, organic orange, organic tumeric
Potential Benefits: cold + flu protection / happy digestive track / joint & bone pain relief / reduced inflammation

Green
Ingredients: organic cucumber, organic celery, organic spinach, organic kale, organic ginger, organic lemon
Potential Benefits: low sugar, high vitamin boost / hydration / illness protection / antioxidant boost

Yellow
Ingredients: filtered water, organic lemon, organic maple syrup, organic cayenne
Potential Benefits: intense detox / increased metabolism / lower blood pressure / healthy cell function

Red
Ingredients: organic apple, organic carrot, organic beet, organic lemon
Potential Benefits: boost stamina / improve blood flow / protects skin & eyes / huge vitamin boost

White
Ingredients: organic cashews, filtered water, organic vanilla, organic cinnamon, organic maple syrup, Himalayan pink sea salt
Potential Benefits: good source of protein / healthy muscles / promotes heart health / calm nerves

My experience — Juice by Juice & Overall

August 6
7:30am — Pick up at Clean Juice Morrisville
7:40am 1st juice (Sweet Green) — Yum! Really good taste
9am — Dentist appointment for fillings and super numb!
11:15am 2nd drink (Orange) — Delicious! Tastes like fancy orange juice
2pm 3rd drink (Green) — Tastes very green with strong veggie flavor. Not my fave, but not bad at all. Feels like my insides are getting a bath
5pm 4th drink (Yellow) — Smells like lemonade 😍 Tastes like lemonade with a kick
8pm 5th drink (Red) — Good flavor, a bit sweet. I’ve never had beets before, so I wasn’t sure about this one, but I like it!
10pm 6th drink (White) — MY FAVE!!! So delicious. Tastes like the milk at the end of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Such a wonderful treat before bed. Goodnight!

August 7
9am Sweet Green — Yum! Good start to the day
12:45 Orange — Little late since I got caught up in the work event. Yummy! Wasn’t even hungry or craving the catered food or treats at the booths
3:20 Green — Still not my favorite. Strong celery taste, but definitely drinkable. I just prefer to drink it fast 😉
5:10 Yellow — Sassy lemonade. Drinking before I double up on Pure Barre/Empower classes. Giving me energy and fuel I need (I usually do my 6am classes fasted, so used to it and didn’t feel bad during class)
8:15 Red — Refueling after 2 Pure Barre classes. Need it! Didn’t feel super hungry, but stomach did growl a few times during my 2nd class (thank goodness the music is loud) Drank it pretty fast and easy
10:15 White — been looking forward to this all day! So tasty!

I honestly enjoyed my juice cleanse. It was a lot easier than I had imagined, mostly thanks to Clean Juice’s organization and tasty juices. I felt lighter, both physically and mentally. I felt focused and positive. I was able to do better work in my Pure Barre classes because I didn’t feel full or icky from the day’s food combined with exercise. As expected, I did lose some weight (1.8 pounds), but I’m more excited about my lack of sweet cravings and continued good mood! When I feel good, I do good.

It’s taking my body and stomach some adjustment time back to normal food which makes sense after two days of liquids only. I intend to continue with healthy, clean eating, so the cleanse was just the jumping off point. I definitely want the positive effects to stick around! Would I do a cleanse with Clean Juice again? Absolutely. Maybe it will be a good seasonal or as needed reboot for my system.

Exciting opportunity for local friends!

I know I’ve given you a ton of information, but if you’re itching for a juice cleanse now too I’ve got exciting news for you! Where are my local friends!? Raleigh, Cary, Holly Springs, Apex, etc — whoever is willing to venture to the Park West (Morrisville, NC) location (it’s totally worth it). YOU have a chance to get a discount and a tasting in store!

If we can get TEN or more people to commit to doing a cleanse, Clean Juice will generously give a 10% discount. Woohoo! AND they’ll even do a sample night so you can try each juice before you purchase. I’ll be there too, of course, because I’m not missing a juice from CJ ❤ If you’re in, please comment below or email me at flourishwithrach@gmail.com and I’ll coordinate the group. This is gonna be fun!

You will never regret being intentional in taking care of yourself. You are worthy, deserving, and lovely. I’m certainly not saying you need a cleanse. You’re wonderful and beautiful right now. But if you think it would be beneficial for you, your mindset, your body, then I encourage you to go for it! I’m here as a resource, so if you have any questions I’m happy to help!

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My Whole30 Reset Flop

My Whole30 Reset Flop

I thought about just letting this go and not actually sharing it. I technically “failed” with my Whole30 Reset, so why talk about it? Shouldn’t we only share things when they go perfectly? Well, of course, the answer is no. At least for me. I definitely want to share about things that go well, but I also want to be transparent with you. I think we can learn from any type of experience if we’re open to it and take the time to reflect.

So lets talk. 

My original plan was to start my Whole30 reset Monday, April 23rd and stick with it for 9 days. Easy enough, especially since I’ve completed a full Whole30 not too long ago. 9 days would go by in a flash.

Things were different with this reset than with my first ever full round. It was a lot easier to plan since the whole concept and guidelines were familiar to me. I was able to get into the swing of things much faster and had an easier time making purchasing decisions in the store. I had missed the structure and built in “choice system” of the program. When I’m doing Whole30 I automatically know certain things are a no-go. This makes it a lot easier to resist and say no. Unless you’re not fully committed. Which happened to be my problem. I think since it wasn’t a full round, I was easily convinced to go against the plan.

Everything was going well. I was hungrier the first few days, but had compliant snacks ready if needed. I wasn’t thinking about food 100% of the time like I did during my first round (yay!) I wasn’t feeling the full on positive side effects yet, but I was feeling good.

It was all good until Thursday night. There was a delicious chocolate and strawberry triffle being served at small group and I rationalized ‘I’ve been doing well with this reset, so a little bit wouldn’t hurt.’ That threw me off because it confused my mind and body about what we were doing. This was supposed to be a time where I was fueling my body with whole foods and giving it a break from all the carbs and sugars. Whoops…

It pretty much fell apart from there. My brain is too good at rationalizing what the ‘dark side’ wants. Added sugar, french fries, dessert. I’m totally not against those things in moderation, but my moderations had gotten out of control which was the reason for my reset. Those things don’t fit into a Whole30 Reset, but once they made their way in, it was tricky.

So it wasn’t a wonderful reset by any means. I felt a little guilty when I flopped, but then let that go. Guilt doesn’t do any good especially when it’s in our relationship with food. Life happens outside the walls of a perfectly planned program. Sometimes we get it “right” and other times we don’t. It’s not an all or nothing kind of thing.

What did I learn?

I have the choice. I don’t need a particular program to make a change. It can be helpful to have a program if I need the guidance or the extra push, but ultimately every moment is a chance for a better choice. When I look at each moment as independent of each other, it helps me stay out of the mindset of one misstep blowing the rest of the day. I’m sure we’ve all been there — one bite turns into a whole weekend and then you feel crummy. Ican be empowered to make the right choices for my own body and health.

Be gentle during crazy stressful times. On the scheduled last day of my reset, Vida Dulce had their friends and family celebration and set to open to the public the next day. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the most ideal time to do a reset. My focus was all over the place and treats were on the brain. I think it’s beneficial to treat your mind and body especially well during crazy times, but putting too much stress on it can cause an adverse effect. Maybe during that time relaxing a bit in the food department would have allowed more breathing room in other areas.

Buy the good things. Only buy the things you want to eat. This seems pretty obvious, but isn’t always done in practice. If you want to eat the veggies, buy the veggies. It’s easier to just not buy something than to rely on your will power.

Consider the WHYs. When bumping up against something that I “shouldn’t” do, I can consider the why. Why do I want to do this? Why do I feel like I shouldn’t? Those answers can help guide my choices and actions. Maybe that something is a big dessert. I feel like I shouldn’t because it’ll make me feel sluggish and bloated later. If I feel like I should because its been a long day and I need a treat, it’s best to avoid it. If I feel like I should because it’s cake to celebrate my sister’s college graduation, that’s a special time and I can enjoy a smaller piece. The why behind it makes a difference.

Keep accountability. I enjoy keeping accountability with myself through a journal and with others through honest conversations. Journaling helps me work out the deeper layers of a situation. It helps me uncover patterns and missing pieces. Health is important to me and I have close friends that feel the same — these are the people I share goals, struggles, and victories with. The best part about being vulnerable with others is often times they have been there too and can help you overcome the struggle! I don’t know everything and can learn so much from the experiences of the people in my life. Take comfort in knowing you are not the only person who has ever gone through that situation.

What now?

It may be a while before I complete another round or reset, but that doesn’t mean it’s back to my treat yoself daily ways. Once in a while, yes, because #balance. While it’s still a crazy season, I think it’s best to take the pressure off. I want to enjoy fueling my body with whole foods, but allow some space for flexibility. It seems like everyone has been sick (I haven’t been feeling so well myself), and I know rest and food are our first lines of defense.

So if I put a label on it, maybe it’s a loose Whole30. Which is itself an oxymoron, but I think you get the point, yes? There is a time for everything. Right now is the time to take what I have learned and nourish myself — mind, body, and soul.

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Life after Whole30 + why I’m resetting

Life after Whole30 + why I’m resetting

If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember I completed my very first round of Whole30 back in early March. It was honestly something I never thought I could do. Could I really cut carbs, sugar, and wine for 30 whole days? I found out the answer is YES! I had amazing results that you can read about here and I was feeling good.

Fast forward a month and a half later and I can tell I’m slipping back into some old, bad habits. Like dessert every day. And all the breads. It’s like my brain is saying “I went without this for 30 days so EAT ALL THE THINGS!” Did this happen to anyone else??

But on the bright side, my views and awareness around food have remained positively changed because of my Whole30 experience. I’m more mindful of what I’m consuming (although I still don’t always make the best choices). I pay attention to labels and ingredients more than I ever did before and try to select better alternatives based on what I’ve learned. That’s a win!

I’m more in tune with my body. The Whole30 gave me an opportunity to see how my body is “supposed” to be right now. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a body without bloat, sugar cravings, and better sleep. It gave me a new baseline to evaluate other experiences against.

Before Whole30 I had gotten into an exercise funk. I was bored with my workout routine and couldn’t find the motivation to stick with anything. I got back into Pure Barre after being away for a couple years when I started my Whole30. Barre + healthy eating choices is a wonderful, feel-good combination. Good news — the regular exercise train has continued and I’m still really enjoying it! I even attended the 6am class this morning. Proud of myself!

With all that being said, there is still a mental shift that needs to happen around my nutrition. I guess it takes longer than 30 days to rewire 26 years of brain programming. As they say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I’m choosing to give myself grace while still learning and doing better.

Know better. Do better. 

Immediately after completing my first round of Whole30, we took a trip to the west coast to visit Los Angeles. A bit of poor planning on my part since I didn’t allow myself the recommended “reintroduction period,” but honestly it’s really hard to set aside the perfect time without any distractions, events, or commitments. So I did my best, but everything got reintroduced pretty much at once. I wasn’t able to take my time and identify how the different foods affected my mind and body.

Maybe that’s part of the reason old habits are sneaking back in. Maybe it’s just because I need more time with the positive habits. Either way, I believe a reset will do me good.

This reset is going to be exactly how it sounds: a chance to reset my body and my mind. To get back into good eating habits — whole foods, minimized snacking/grazing, not fueling my body with sugar, better sleep. It’s going to be an all around focus on wellness.

I think I did so well with Whole30 because it’s a black and white, structured plan. I didn’t have to think about my choices as much because the guidelines are clear. Eat what nourishes your body in the best way. Say no to processed, sugary, gut wrecking foods. Easy peasy.

Although it’s much easier said than done, my will power is stronger when I’m equipped with my game plan. It’s a lot different than the real world where every decision has to be considered. Am I okay with eating gluten today? How about a little sugar? What about a coffee with creamer? How about a few extra snacks just because I’m hungry, but maybe I’m just bored? That whole thought process will be eliminated for the reset because I’ve already determined the answers.

This reset will give me a chance to evaluate my food choices, nip those bad habits before they come back full on, and add some more delicious and nutritious go to meals to my arsenal. I can flex my Whole30 muscles again and, since it’ll be for a shorter period, really laser focus.

My reset will be 9 days beginning THIS Monday!

I’ve had a feeling I should get back to Whole30 for a couple weeks now as I’ve noticed my sweet tooth and cravings coming back, but decided to go for it once I saw a Whole30 Instagrammer that I follow talk about it. It was the confirmation I needed to just do it and stop thinking about it.

Are you in??

Follow the Whole30 guidelines and principles for 9 days. 

Simple as that.

This wouldn’t be recommended for you if you’ve never completed a Whole30 because I believe you need the 30 days to get into your groove. But this will be perfect if you’ve previously completed a Whole30 and need a “tune up.”

I’ll be sure to let you know how this reset goes and what I learn along the way! ❤

If you’ve done a Whole30 reset before, do you have any tips?? Definitely let me know in the comments below if you’ll be doing this with me! Yall are the best! 

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My Whole30 Results

My Whole30 Results

Hi friend!

It’s been a week since I completed my Whole30 and I’m so happy I did it.

It was a challenging, exciting, eye-opening experience. It may sound a bit dramatic, but it will forever change the way I look at food. It encouraged me to try new foods and step out of my usual (but not ideal) diet. And when I say diet, I mean the way I’m eating in general. Not “diet” in terms of weight loss. I don’t believe those really work. They may work as a short term fix, but long term… it’s nutrition and health that’s important.

Ok, back to what we’re here for…

I didn’t do a perfect Whole30, but I intentionally did my best. There was learning curve and a lifestyle adjustment which made it challenging, but each day got easier and made more sense. I’m so excited to share these results with you because it means my body responded well and it was worth the change!

If you’re interested in reading about the week by week break down, I’ve got that for you!

Week 1 / Week 2 / Week 3 / Week 4

 

Mental + Emotional Results

More even tempered: There were definitely times where I was irritable (especially in that first week), but overall I was pretty even. I wasn’t experiencing the sugar highs and then crashes. Since I was more comfortable in my body and satisfied, I was able to relax.

Positive goal to work towards: Whole30 gave me something to work towards! Since it was just 30 days, I knew it wouldn’t be forever (unless I chose to continue forever). I focused on my goal of completing and that made it fun.

Stronger will power: I was able to say “no” to the things that wouldn’t serve my goal. I stayed true to what I was working towards. I think it was easier since I had a predetermined goal through Whole30 and was held accountable to the close people in my life.

Connected to community: Whole30 has an incredible community and that made me feel connected during the entire process. The website, the books, the Instagram accounts — all these things gave me motivation and ideas to keep moving forward.

Reduced cravings: I have such a big sweet tooth. I would crave sweets, especially at night or after dinner. Not a good habit, but often times I would give into that craving. You crave what you consume, so once I was free from the sugar my body didn’t really miss it. Of course if something was right in front of me, I may want it, but I didn’t have that blind, random craving. That was amazing to me because I didn’t think it could go away.

Reduced hunger: I was eating less, but better foods during these 30 days. I used to eat every few hours, but learned that’s not the best for your body and your hormones. I was extra hungry the first week (especially the first few days) as my body was getting used to this new rhythm, but once it did it was glorious! I ate 3 healthy meals and maybe a snack or two if I was still hungry. I was working out almost daily, so I needed the extra nutrition.

Proud + accomplished: Whole30 gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment. It wasn’t easy and not everyone can or wants to do it. I proved to myself that I could make it happen.

Improved confidence: Internal changes + external changes = boost

Physical Results

Lost 9 pounds: This speaks for itself! I was surprised by how much I actually lost. Weight loss wasn’t the ultimate goal of this, but it was a very nice byproduct! I didn’t take before/after measurements or pictures, but my clothes are fitting better and I can tell my body is slimmer.

Clearer skin: My skin has always had a struggle, some times more than others. Taking out the problem foods (like dairy and gluten) did a wonder for my skin. It positively impacted my skin’s tone and reduced the amount of blemishes. It’s still not perfect, but opened my eyes to actually how much nutrition affects it. Whole30 introduced me to collagen supplements (Vital Proteins is the brand I’m using) so we’ll see how that helps!

Reduced bloat/tummy problems: This was a big one! It had become normal to feel bloated or to have tummy rumbles after a meal. Turns out, that isn’t normal! I mean it is normal when you’re eating tacos, pizza, or big meals out. But it isn’t exactly normal when you’re eating nourishing, natural, healthy foods. Who knew??

Normal blood pressure: So I can’t determine if this was totally from Whole30 since I didn’t check it prior to starting, but I can say confidently that Whole30 only improved it. Because of my thyroid (or lack thereof now) I’ve had issues with my blood pressure. I had 2 doctor appointments about halfway through my Whole30 and both found my blood pressure to be normal and healthy. Yay! It’s always good to hear good news from the doctor and nurse.

Better sleep: Sleep is so important for our bodies and minds. I didn’t always get enough of it, but I felt a deeper sleep. I also fell asleep faster (probably because my stomach wasn’t hurting or bloated at night).

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I didn’t experience the energy boost or mental clarity other people have felt. Of course, everyone’s body reacts differently. I already struggle in these areas because of my chronic hypothyroidism, so I’m starting behind most other people. This may change as I go back to my “normal” eating — maybe I really did have a lot more energy and clarity, but I didn’t have a comparison since it was the new normal. The great thing is I can be more mindful to how my body is responding to food.

I cooked and planned my food more/better than really ever before! This experience required it. It got tiring at times, but it was such a good habit to get into and one I plan on continuing. Just maybe not as intensely so it’s sustainable for me long term.

So what now?

I didn’t end my Whole30 the best way (with a slower reintroduction phase) since we had our trip to Los Angeles. As you can imagine, that trip involved a good amount of normal food (not Whole30 approved), but that’s a part of my Food Freedom. That was worth it to me because it was special as somewhere I’ve never been before. And it was just a few days. So where do I go from here?

My new normal diet will be Whole30 inspired, but not as strict.

I will eat mindfully.

I will meal plan and prep foods that nourish my body. 

I will keep dairy and gluten to a minimum in my diet. 

I will make the Whole30 dishes that I discovered. 

I will use healthier alternatives.

I will enjoy a Food Freedom and not feel guilty about what I choose to eat. 

It is my choice — if I listen to and respect my body I will make the best choice. 

Thank you so much for coming alongside me on this journey. Is there a change you need to make in your own life? Diet? Exercise? Career? Family? Something else?? I encourage you to make it. Take the next right step to improve your world.

If that happens to be Whole30, you’ve got these blogs (and me) as a great starting place and cheerleader! You can totally do it — the only thing is, do you want to do it? The beautiful thing about life is you can always start new right where you are. It’s never too late or too early.

Do you have any questions for me?? If there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to reach out ❤

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My Whole30 | Week 4

My Whole30 | Week 4

28 days down already. TWO MORE DAYS TO GO!!! Time is flying!

Some things I have learned so far…

Anything can be made into a salad. 

Anything can become brunch if you add an egg to it. 

I’m loving Whole30 more and more. It’s becoming easier and less mentally taxing to be eating this way. I don’t have to think about it as hard because I’ve been eating like this for almost a month and I’ve found some go-to Whole30 meals that I love and can continue to eat week after week. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here!

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Week 4 Trader Joe’s Grocery Haul

Week 4 Meals

Breakfast

  • Egg muffins with spinach and mushroom + avocado
  • Leftovers + fried egg (so good, so easy, and such a good use of leftovers!)

Lunch/Dinner

  • Baked chicken, sweet potato, cauliflower rice with onion (leftovers from week 3)

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  • Chicken burger with veggies (Thank you, Whole30, for bringing these into my life! My new favorite freezer must have)

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  • Salmon, asparagus, and red potatoes (Shoutout to hubby for making this! roasted potatoes and asparagus was used for the leftover breakfast — amazing!)

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  • Of course my go to salad (Easy to make ahead of time for lunch at work)

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  • Shrimp salad with spinach, peaches, avocado and lime juice (Not necessarily the combo I would have put together, but it was really tasty!)

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Week 4 Experience

Again, I’m really enjoying eating this way. I do miss wine, chocolate, and cheese fries, but not in the way I thought I would. I’m so much stronger when it comes to saying no to foods that aren’t worth it too. Eric brought home dinner from work (aka delicious Mexican food) and although I would have really loved some, I was fine with him eating in front of me and I didn’t feel like I was missing out. There’s been a mind shift. I’m not held captive to cravings.

I really don’t even have cravings anymore. If something is right in front of me, then it is more tempting, but that’s different than craving foods that just come to mind. It’s been really eye opening to see how responsive I was to cravings in the past and how often I would “treat” myself just because. Because it was a long day, because I earned it, because I want it. Now I’m being more mindful and finding other ways to treat myself. Maybe a long walk when the weather is nice or an episode on Netflix. If I’m still hungry after that I’ll have a healthier snack. And I feel good about it!

I’ve only eaten out for two meals during Whole30. I love how much I’ve been in the kitchen! It does take a lot of meal planning and prepping to stick to Whole30 without driving yourself crazy, but I’m loving that flow! It’s a habit I’ve been wanting to get back into: meal plan, grocery, meal prep. It makes each day so much easier and reduces the decisions I have to make each day.

Instead of wondering what I’ll eat for dinner and then snacking away cause I’m starving, I move forward with the plan. Some nights that’s heating up leftovers. Some nights it’s more involved with making something on the stove. No matter what I have a game plan and it reduces the mindless eating by a hangry Rachel.

When you’re eating different from the norm (aka Whole30), group gatherings can be challenging. Of course you can’t expect people to know your nutrition guidelines, much less to provide something compliant. If you’re facing something like this (maybe a gathering with friends, a party, a bridal/baby shower, etc) I have a few tips for you…

  1. Eat before you go. You won’t be tempted by other foods because you’re full. In case there isn’t anything you can eat you’ll be fine to just enjoy the gathering instead of being hungry and potentially going off plan.
  2. Offer to bring something. This is helpful to the host as well as yourself. You’ll be contributing something to the gathering and ensuring there’s something you can eat while staying true to your Whole30. Win win!
  3. Share your goals in advance. Depending on the get together, this may not always be necessary. If you do choose to share, it’s possible the host will be able to accommodate. At the very least, they will hopefully be more understanding of what you’re doing with the Whole30 and help hold you accountable.

We meet every Thursday with our small group. We finished up a study series last week, so this week we met to fellowship and share appetizers. My group is aware I’m doing Whole30 because I’ve shared my goals, but I wasn’t expecting anyone to bring a compliant dish. No biggie — Eric and I ate dinner before we went and I brought a fresh fruit salad to snack on with everyone else. While all the appetizers looked delicious, I still had a great time with everyone and was satisfied.

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And proud. Each day has gotten a bit easier and better. It’s so funny because before I started I never would have thought I could do it. But now, I can’t imagine going back to fully the way I was before. Experiences change you ❤

28 days is pretty much the same as 30, right?? It would be easy at this point to say it’s just good enough and slide back into all the sugar, gluten, and wine. But I’m determined to make these next two days the BEST two days! Then I’ll start introducing the foods I’ve been without and see how it goes 😉

Thanks for following along so far! Can’t wait to share all my results soon!!

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