My evening routine

My evening routine

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Welcome to the third and final post of our routine series.

Post #1: Why and how routines + my favorite resources
Post #2: My morning routine

I love routines and it has been so helpful for me to break mine down. I’ve been able to take a closer look at what I include in my routine and why I’m doing each activity. I hope this series will encourage you to cultivate your own routines because I want you to live a life that is flourishing! Routines help make that happen.

daily routine quote

10 things that make up my ideal evening

I want to preface this with some honesty (honesty that you probably already know). I’m certainly not perfect and all of these things don’t get done every day. Sometimes I have a really busy evening planned and I’m only able to do a few. There are days I would rather get to sleep than put away the pile of dishes. This is just my ideal and I’m okay with letting it go when I need to.

Tidy up

I don’t like going to sleep with things out of order. I’ll do dishes that are in the sink, tidy up anything on the counters, and clean my space. This gives each day a totally fresh start.

Tie up loose ends

I do anything important that I didn’t get to earlier. Cross the t’s and dot the i’s so to say. This keeps things from lingering one day to the next.

Prepare food for the next day

This saves a huge amount of time in the morning. I eat from home most days, so it’s important I have food prepared. I’ll pack my lunch box and prepare my shake the night before so I have minimal things to do in the morning. No excuses for eating out. Unless I choose to 🙂

Lay out clothes for the next day

This is another major time saver! For some reason it’s about 170% faster to pick out an outfit the night before rather than the morning of. I check my planner and the weather to make a decision and make sure I have all needed outfits accounted for (work clothes, workout clothes, after work date clothes, etc).

Review planner & to dos

I just mentioned it, but this is crucial. Reviewing my planner helps me determine my clothes and food needs. It also give me a heads up on what time I need to be out the door and anything else I need to be prepared for. My Simplified Planner keeps me organized (if you’re new to Simplified, enjoy $10 off here — you’ll thank me later).

Unwind

Some days may require more unwinding than others. I try to listen to my self and give me what I need. That may be a bath, an episode on Netflix, or a face mask. I try to read every night to relax my mind and focus on something outside myself.

Put phone on airplane mode + charge

Put the phone to bed! Ideally outside the bedroom. This is also a great time to charge it so you’re ready to go tomorrow. I like airplane mode because then I’m not immediately sucked into any notifications I may have missed over night.

Beverages 

I always keep water on my bedside table to take my medicine at night and first thing in the morning. A new addition to my routine is Natural Calm. This is a magnesium supplement, called the anti-stress drink. It restores healthy magnesium levels and helps you sleep better at night. I put a tablespoon of the powder into a mug of warm water and enjoy, usually with my book of choice.

Skin care

Cleaning my face is like a little meditation for me. It washes off the day and triggers my mind for bedtime. I usually wash my face and remove my makeup right after I get home from my day, but I’ll do it before bed if I haven’t already. This part of my routine will never be skipped.

Dental care

Brush well, floss, mouthwash. I struggle with cavities no matter how well I brush, but I’m giving this a much bigger focus. One day I will be praised at my dentist appointment for my flossing.

Natural Calm and Water

Ideas for cultivating your evening routine

As I said for your morning routine, I would suggest you choose 3-5 items to be a part of your routine as you’re getting into the habit. You can always adjust this as needed. Your routine can be as long or short as you need to feel relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. These are some additional ideas to help you create your own.

  • Meditate
  • Warm tea
  • Stretch
  • Light a candle
  • Yoga
  • Gratitude
  • Journal + brain dump
  • Set an alarm
  • Skin mask
  • Body scrub
  • Diffuse essential oil
  • Darken your room
  • Turn down temperature
  • Reflect on the day
  • Visualize tomorrow

Tips for cultivating your evening routine

Choose things that make you feel relaxed — Doing certain things (like showering at night) may wind you up. Be mindful of how you feeling after activities and do the ones that prepare you for a good night of sleep.

Calm your mind — At the end of the day, your body is likely tired, but your mind may still be racing. I know the nights I’m restless is usually due to anxiety about the next day or ruminating on something that happened the day of. It’s hard to control your mind, but you’ll learn ways to help ease it and create space.

Take things off your morning plate — There are things you can do at night that will actually make your morning more peaceful and enjoyable. Do those things! Remember, a productive day starts the night before.

You don’t need to do everything — An evening routine could be 30 items long, but that may not be beneficial. Don’t feel like you have to do every good thing. If you try, that’ll likely stress you out and be the opposite of relaxing. Do the things that make a difference for you and leave the rest. Maybe you incorporate others on occasion or regularly once you’re in a rhythm.

Your evening routine is YOURS! Do what works best for you. Some evenings you may have a lot of energy left and want to tackle extra things. Some evenings you’re so drained you can barely get through any of your routine and just need an early bedtime. Either way is okay. When you listen to your body and give it what it needs, you’ll be better tomorrow ❤

Are there things you do each evening to have the best night ever? I’ve love to read them in the comments below!

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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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July 2018 Round Up

July 2018 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Does anyone else feel like summer is flying by!? I feel this way pretty much every month, but time just keeps moving faster. We’ve been staying busy with many new and exciting things so that makes sense and we certainly can’t complain. Lets round up July!

3 things I’m excited about

  1. My promotion at work: More to come about this in the future I’m sure, but I got news July 16 that I earned my promotion. Eeeekkkk!! It became official on July 20th and I’ll be starting in my new role on August 1st. That’s wonderful news to receive the Monday after vacation. This year has honestly been blessing after blessing and I’m so grateful. I work with an incredibly supportive team — it’s amazing to be a part of it. I started working for M/I Homes June 2017 as a Sales Assistant with the goal of being promoted to New Home Consultant in about a year give or take. Goal accomplished! I’m excited to fully step into this role and give everything I have.
  2. Whole30 round 2: Eric and I have mentioned in passing doing Whole30, but it’s actually happening in August. I completed my first round earlier this year in February (you can read about my experience here) and then attempted a reset (that flopped, read about it here), but Eric has never done it. It’s going to be challenging, but I think having his support and partnership in it will make it easier as well. He works in an ice cream shop 6 days out of the week, so he’s going to need some extra will power. I’m excited to see how it goes!
  3. Dip powder manicures: It sounds vain, but I appreciate feeling put together. It’s amazing how much of a difference nails can make! I’m never going back. My manicure lasted for a month! A whole month yall! It stayed perfect aside from my nails growing out, which drove me crazy at the end, but that’s okay. My nails feel so strong and even when they removed the color to change it, my nails were not damaged. Instead of usual nail polish, they use powder. They put a clear coat of polish on your nail and then dip it in the powder and repeat. My experience is they repeat 3-4 times, so it doesn’t take very long. If you’re someone that enjoys a good manicure, I highly recommend giving this a try!

Quote I’ve been meditating on

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Yes, yes, yes! This verse speaks into every area of my life. There are times I feel timid and unsure of myself, but this reminds me that the Spirit God has given me is not in alignment with those feelings. It’s okay and normal to feel them, but I shouldn’t dwell there because I’m made for more.

Power.
Love.
Self discipline.

This spirit allows me to accomplish anything. Isn’t that amazing!? God thinks of everything and He has it all under control. That takes the pressure off me and gives me the space live like I believe it’s truth ❤

Who or what I’m adoring

Primally Pure — I have finally found natural products that work AND use great, clean ingredients (that are also organic and fair trade). It can be so hard to find a product that meets both criteria. I’ve tried products before that have awesome ingredients, but they don’t work so well, specifically natural deodorant.

I was hesitant to give another brand a try, but I’m so glad I did! I started with their Starter Kit because I’m a sucker for a good bundle deal. Plus it gave me the opportunity to try many different products. I fell in love with all of it, but mostly the lip balms and deodorant. It’s the first natural deodorant I’ve used that actually works all day. It’s hot here in North Carolina so I was nervous to make the switch, but it’s been no problem. It neutralizes odors, so I don’t still smell like deodorant at the end of the day, but I just don’t smell like anything. No body odor, no funk. It’s amazing!

Favorite memory from July

July is such a sweet month. There’s something fun and exciting about the middle of summer. It’s challenging to choose just one memory! Independence Day, our anniversary vacation in Cancun, moments with friends, and lots of sweet memories in between. Can I just say the whole month was my favorite!? I suppose I can cause I’m the boss here 😉

But really… one day sticks out to me: July 19th. It was a busy day, but it was oh so good! Eric and I both had the day off, but we didn’t really spend time together until it was time to tend to our commitments. Our church, Hope Community, features different stories and testimonials through interviews and we were asked to share ours. So at 2:00pm we met with the team and shared our hearts. We were nervous, but we’re excited for how our story will impact someone else!

After our interview we had some time to use before the event and it happened to be Starbucks Happy Hour, so the waiting place was obvious. I wrote a blog post (this one) and Eric worked on content for Vida Dulce’s website. Productivity at its finest!

We spent the rest of our day at a grand opening party for a sweet local business, Gather Goods Co. We sold popsicles and got to meet many incredible people. It was so special to me that I was able to work alongside my husband and witness him in action. He’s so good with people, dearly loves his company, and serves his customers well. Opening a business is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth it.

A good lesson I learned

Just go to bed earlier. 

I’m slowly, but surely becoming a morning person, but that means I have to break up with my late nights. Usually I’m not up late doing anything important. Probably just scrolling Instagram, doing some last minute chores, or watching Netflix. All things that can totally wait until tomorrow. Eric works late, so I would try to stay up for him. That isn’t always what’s best for me. Of course, I want to spend time with my husband, but many nights I found that time unproductive in connecting. We were both tired with short patience, so you can imagine our conversations weren’t always the best.

I’m a better wife and person when I get enough sleep. I’ve started doing 6am Pure Barre many mornings due to my schedule so that means I need an early bedtime. I’m still working on it, but I’m getting so much better! Old habits die hard. I need to remind myself that pretty much anything can wait until the next day — a good night’s sleep is worth it.

In August…

I’m saying no to: excessive mindless scrolling.

I’m saying yes to: time blocking so I can be fully present.

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How to stay organized with a busy schedule

How to stay organized with a busy schedule

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

We are all busy.

Commitments, work, family, friends, responsibilities, chores. And the list goes on, right?

It’s been an especially busy season in the Torres household with the preparation of opening up the ice cream shop amongst everything else. It can be challenging and overwhelming as you enter a new season, especially a busier one.

Stress and burnout are common because we feel like the days are slipping past us and we don’t have a grip on the things that matter. That’s why I’m sharing my tools and tricks that have helped keep me on track and make progress in the areas that are important to me. Busy can be fruitful. It’s going to be inevitable at times, so lets be intentional in making the most of it!

Set your goals

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

One simple thing that has made a huge impact for me is setting and writing down my goals. This is a chance for me to look at where I’ve been and plan for where I want to go. It doesn’t always work out the way I have planned, but it’s a place to start.

My favorite tool for goal setting is my Powersheets*. This is an intentional goal planner that allows me to learn more about myself, my goals, and my intentions through prep work. It’s a place where I can see my progress and plan for what’s ahead. I make sure my “busy” is purposeful (and organized!) by cultivating what matters and letting go of the rest. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but it’s made it so much easier to say “no” to things when I’ve already realized what’s in alignment for this season.

Now you don’t have to use the Powersheets to make this happen (although I highly recommend them because they’re amazing)! You can start by simply writing down goals you have in the different areas of your life.

Health. Friends. Spouse/Significant Other. Family. Finances. Spiritual + Personal Growth. Work. Recreation.

Not every area will be important in every season, but you can use as a guide and focus on what’s most important to you right now. You might be in a season of a brand new job, so the Work area is important to cultivate, but maybe recreation isn’t for right now. And that’s okay.

Use a planner

In the spirit of “not everything is important all the time,” not everything needs to make it into your planner. If you’re someone who doesn’t use a planner of some sort, I honestly don’t know how you function. I’ve kept a planner for years and years. My current favorite is the Simplified Planner*, but find that works best for you!

There have been seasons where I overwhelm myself because I pile too much onto my plate. Reserve your “yes” for those things that move you closer to where you want to be. Again, not everything is important or right for this season.

I’ve also gotten myself into trouble when I’ve committed to something, but forgot to add it to my planner. Now any commitment goes right into my Simplified Planner. Every meeting, appointment, Pure Barre class, friend date, reminder, anything. It all gets written down so nothing gets overlooked or forgotten.

This has made life so much easier because I don’t have to store all this information in my head. I can make sure I’m not overcommiting myself and that I’m using my time well. I feel a lot less frazzled and more organized when my days are straight!

Keep a running list

 

 

If I don’t write something down, usually I’ll forget it. This used to drive me crazy! Busy season or not, I’m sure there are moments where something pops into your head that you need to remember, like pick up dry cleaning or don’t forget to grab milk at the store, but the next moment you’re sidetracked by something else and forget. This only makes the busyness feel more crazy.

I don’t always have my planner on me, but I pretty much always have my phone. So I use it to my advantage! I used to keep a “to do list” in the notes section on my phone, but this got a bit cluttered. For a while I’ve been using an app called MinimaList and it’s amazing! I can quickly add things to my list and it serves as an external brain for me, remembering everything so I don’t have to. From there I can add things to my planner as needed or just let it live in my app until it’s crossed off (yes it gives you the satisfaction of crossing items off a list!)

Just last night I was laying in bed and thought of a few things I needed to get done today. Instead of letting this keep me up trying to make sure I remembered, I simply added it to my list and moved on. I set it up as a widget on my main screen so it’s easily accessible and used all the time!

Prep your food

You’re probably sick of hearing about this, but I cannot stress enough the magic of meal prep! Or at least ingredient prep! What I mean by this is instead of prepping your whole meal and putting it together, you prep the ingredients so they’re ready when you are. This seems less overwhelming to me and I can mix and match the ingredients to make different meals.

I really got back into meal prepping again during my Whole30. It’s such a dream to have good, healthy food ready to go especially when you’re super busy and/or super hungry. Yes, in a situation like that you could just hit the drive through, but food prepping saves you time and money. Plus it’s usually healthier! Win-win-win!

I feel more relaxed and enjoy my food more when I’m not trying to scramble putting things together to cook it. Set aside 30 minutes this week to plan your meals (they don’t have to be fancy). Make your grocery list based on your plan and what you already have. Go to the grocery store. Then set aside 1-2 hours prepping whatever you can! It does take time up front, but it will save you so much time and hassle throughout the week.

I took it a step further and got my lunch boxes ready for a few days and that made me feel like I was queen of the world! Set yourself up for success!

Choose your outfit the night before

Have you ever noticed picking out an outfit might take you 2 minutes at night, but 30 minutes in the morning!? That is precious time and mental energy that does not need to be spent.

I have been picking out my entire outfit the night before for a while and it’s incredible to not have to make that decision in the morning. It makes me feel prepared and on top of it. Mornings can be so hectic, so why not make it easier for yourself? The morning sets the tone for your whole day — don’t let that tone be panic, stress, and frustration.

Moral of the story: get things out of your head and simplify.

We tend to make things more complicated than they need to be especially when we’re busy and not thinking clearly. My hope is that these tools and tricks will help you flourish no matter the season you’re in ❤

What is your best tool or trick to flourish with a busy schedule? I’d love to know in the comments below.

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Wisdom from the yard

Wisdom from the yard

It’s officially spring here in North Carolina!

Despite the chillier weather lately, we have blooms and our grass is slowly turning back to green from icky brown. This also means the pollen is here, but necessary evils, right?

It’s my favorite time of the year because it’s finally getting warm again (praise!), but more importantly we get to witness first hand seemingly dead things come back to life. It’s amazing and I appreciate it more and more every year.

For a homeowner, spring also means we can no longer ignore the mess that is our yard. Eric and I do decently well in the yard department, well at least enough to get by. We don’t get complaint letters from our HOA and we’re usually pretty proud of the overall state of our home. But with our increasingly busy schedules and the fact that we can no longer rely on the landscaping from the seller of our house (we bought our home almost 3 years ago, so that may have expired a while ago…) lets just say things have gotten a bit out of control.

As I was pulling weeds last week I couldn’t help but see a parallel between this dreaded activity and certain areas of my life. Areas I wish had grown more by now. Areas that I’ve been neglecting that are now feeling overgrown, out of control, and struggling. Can you relate?

“If you plant nothing, you know what happens in your backyard? Weeds. Know what happens in your life if you plant nothing intentionally? Weeds.” — Dave Ramsey

I wish I had proactively taken better care of it so I wouldn’t have to clean up. 

If we had done the necessary minor work up to this point, pulling weeds wouldn’t be such a big deal. If we treated the yard when we were supposed to, addressed any concerns immediately, and kept a watchful eye our yard would be in good shape now. But we didn’t and it isn’t. The weeds had taken over many areas of our yard, but the worst was in the spot that isn’t visible since it’s blocked from view by the deck.

Isn’t this so relevant to life?

Just like our yard, when we take our eyes off an area the weeds can grow freely. No area is immune: health, finances, relationships, career, etc. Not only are the weeds unsightly and a pain to get rid of, they can choke out the things that are meant to be there.

What weeds are growing in your life? Might as well check your yard too while you’re at it. Weeds can look like worries, distractions, toxic people, laziness, bad habits. They may not seem like a big deal at first, but left unchecked they become a problem.

A weed that’s been growing in my life lately has been snoozing and sleeping in too late. Sleep is important to me. It’s crucial to good health and I’m cranky when I consistently don’t get enough of it. But the bad habit of staying up too late and then sleeping until the very last moment is a weed that needs to be pulled. I can’t even remember when this habit started, but it’s stuck around for a while and the roots have gotten deeper.

This weed is choking out my mornings and impacting the rest of my day. I would say sleep is a pretty good use of time, but there are other more important things that deserve my time before the craziness of the day gets a hold of me. Time in the Word comes first for me. Morning sets the tone for the remainder of the day and honestly my days have felt overwhelming and out of whack because I’ve let this weed take hold.

I wish I had given more time and attention so it wouldn’t be dead or struggling. 

I love buying perennial plants because they’re meant to come back year after year. I don’t have the greenest thumb, so it isn’t unusual for my perennials to accidentally become annuals and die after the first year.

When I think about it, though, it doesn’t take too much to have a green thumb. We know plants require sunlight and water of varying amounts. I can’t control the sun, but I can control the water. I’ve forgotten to water and then try to redeem myself too late. We have two potted plants on either side of our back door that were thriving last year with beautiful yellow blooms and evergreen leaves. Now they’re just dried up brown sticks in the pots. I’ve tried, but Google search tells me it may be too late to save them.

What if I had been more intentional throughout the fall and winter to care for them? They would probably be flourishing right about now. Other things demanded my attention and I took my eyes and focus off of them.

I’ve noticed this same thing happen in my relationships. Some require more care than others, but for any relationship to continue to grow and withstand winter-like seasons, time and attention is needed. The sun and water.

Our marriage is strong, but like every other couple, we go through seasons where we struggle. I can feel when we’ve been distracted and taken our attention off each other. Unlike our plants out back, this is repairable when we can bring it back into focus, but it can take extra care to get it there.

Tending to our yard left me feeling overwhelm, anxiety, and general annoyance because we played a part in this by not tending to it over time. I didn’t know where to begin. And once I actually did start it didn’t feel like progress was being made because every time I looked around there was still so much more to do.

I just had to start. I had to identify the areas that I could impact and then get to it. Not everything got done in one afternoon. There’s still more weeds to pull and plants to replace, but I took steps in the right direction. Progress was made and I’m intentional about fixing it.

Where do we go from here?

Determine what needs to be done. Block out time in your schedule to tend to it. Ask a friend for help. Pray through it. Put in the work. Be patient. Celebrate the progress.

In life and in your yard, whatever you plant will grow. If you don’t plant anything you’re likely gonna end up with weeds. If you plant and don’t tend to it, weeds will grow. Plant good things and help them flourish.

A little tough love for you: nothing good will happen just because. Even a lottery winner needs to intentionally buy the ticket. Not everything is worthy of your attention and focus right now. Set your intentions on what matters most.

Soon that overwhelm will transform to empowerment. What will you grow? ❤

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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 3

My Whole30 | Week 3

Three weeks of eating this way — so far so good!

I’m going through eggs like crazy! It’s the easiest way for me to get that protein in. I enjoy cooking and having my meals prepared, but sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. Having a go to meal with ingredients you always keep on hand and a frozen option (like my Chile Lime chicken burgers) will keep you sane and on track!

Whole30 isn’t necessarily hard, but it does require a lot of planning and preparation which can be challenging, especially when something happens like a busier than expected day. Set yourself up for success by planning and preparing as much as you possibly can and having a backup option just in case.

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Week 3 Aldi Grocery Haul

Week 3 Meals

Breakfast

  • Eggs muffins with mushroom, spinach, and nutritional yeast
  • Rx Bar or fruit in a pinch

Lunch/Dinner

  • Chile lime chicken burgers with veggies (as seen in Week 2)
  • Zoodles + turkey meatballs (also seen in Week 2) this marinara sauce from Aldi is my new favorite and a must have around our house
  • My go to salad as seen in Week 1 and Week 2 cause it’s a go to for a reason — so easy and so good! (bed of spinach, mashed sweet potato, scrambled eggs, avocado with fresh lemon juice as dressing and sprinkle of Everything But the Bagel Seasoning)

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  • Baked chicken, sweet potato, cauliflower rice with onion (leftovers for week 4, win!)

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Snacks

  • Dried mango slices (make sure to get dried fruit that doesn’t have added sugar)
  • Celery or apple slices with almond butter
  • Hazelnuts

Week 3 Experience

I’m loving Whole30, but I’m also quite ready for it to be over.

I’m feeling good! I’m learning a lot about reading labels and what to look out for (sugar is in everything it seems)! My body composition is improving — I’m feeling stronger from my workouts and look more toned. All really amazing things, but I’m ready to stop being so limited in my foods.

Eric and I were too lazy to cook Sunday night. I was exhausted from not enough sleep and a busy day and I just wasn’t prepared. Chipotle can be compliant as long as you order correctly (lettuce, carnitas, pico, and guacamole), but we didn’t feel it would be worth the money spent. So instead we went to a local restaurant, Bass Lake Draft House. This place has the deliciously tempting cheese fries I love — I felt strong enough to say no. I had their cobb salad without the cheese and a side of sweet potato fries. I forgot to ask for no corn (whoops) so I ate around it.

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I’ve discovered different foods I enjoy thanks to Whole30. Sometimes I just want to be able to add some black beans to my Chipotle order or have a piece of sweet cornbread with my salad without worrying too much. I do enjoy eating this way and will probably continue to do so with some modifications depending on how my reintroduction goes. It’s been challenging for me to live in the real world while still staying true to my Whole30. It’s definitely not impossible, but it does require planning ahead, research, and asking questions.

A usual trip to Starbucks used to look like ordering whatever I wanted off the menu. I’m not a big coffee person, so that’s usually something sweet and yummy. Now it looks like doing a little research on Google, asking if the compliant drink is available, finding out it’s not, asking questions about what’s in the alternative, and going with a unsweetened fruity tea. Starbucks isn’t a common part of my life, but it is a convenient place to meet up with friends, so it’s been a small part of my Whole30.

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Unsweetened Passion Tango Ice Tea

I think I’m just feeling a bit drained with it all. I do enjoy cooking, but my enthusiasm for meal planning and prepping is dwindling. Eric working at the restaurant most of the time makes it a bit easier in a way because I’m only planning and cooking for myself, but it also makes it a bit harder because I don’t have anyone to share the planning, cooking, and dishes with. It’s okay! I’ve made it this far and I can complete it!

My cravings are minimal and I can tell my tastebuds have started changing too. Your body craves what you feed it, so since mine hasn’t had added sugar in 21 days it doesn’t care for it. That’s a victory because I have a big sweet tooth! It really does feel empowering to feel healthy and in control of my food choices instead of letting my cravings dictate what I reach for to put on my plate.

Week 3 feels like a slump mentally, but I’m proud of myself for committing and getting this far! 9 days to go. I got this, but can definitely use some encouragement. The finish line is in sight — I’m so excited to share all the positive changes!

What are your favorite encouraging words?

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