Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I Successfully Completed My First Whole30!

I did it!  I successfully completed my first Whole30!  I didn't cheat, I didn't break, and I didn't quit!  It feels a little weird to brag about myself like this, but I am REALLY proud of myself!  This picture was taken right before I ate my last official Whole30 dinner of lemon pepper chicken salad.  I feel so great in this picture.  So accomplished, energized, and proud.

Last official Whole30 Dinner.  Lemon pepper chicken cooked in olive oil, salt, and pepper with tons of veggies and some nuts sprinkled in.

What is Whole30?  First off, it is not a diet.  It is a total food reset that eliminates many food items that are known to cause problems for some people.  After 30 days of eating very, very, very clean, you reintroduce those foods to see if you have issues or sensitivities to them.

I was really trying to do some reflecting yesterday on Day 30 of this journey, and I was trying to pinpoint exactly why I wanted to try this plan.  It wasn't to lose weight.  I had already been doing Weight Watchers for a few weeks and was having success.

I don't have any major medical issues that I was hoping to improve through better nutrition. (One issue I do have is a lack of a gallbladder which sometimes makes it hard to digest fatty foods, but overall, that doesn't impact my life too much.)

When I really try to pinpoint my reason for doing this, it narrows down to my addiction to sugar and my inability to control cravings or food.  I typically feel so out of control when dealing with food and sugar specifically.

I borrowed the Whole30 book from the library back in August, but was too afraid to try the plan.  Seriously!  I was afraid to give up so much stuff: no sugar of any kind, no dairy, no legumes, no wheat, no alcohol. How would I survive?  I don't like vegetables!  How would I manage to eat?

But the idea of gaining control of my cravings and food was so intriguing that I finally just jumped in at the end of October.  The first few days were ROUGH!  But I kept going.

I never ventured into trying any fancy recipes.  Most of my meals were pretty much like this one or a giant salad.  I only ran into food boredom a few times, so that was good.  I just kept mixing it up.

My first attempt at eating out.  Chili's was more than happy to accommodate my needs.

The fact that I kept going and didn't quit was pretty uncharacteristic for me.  That sounds terrible, but I have a habit of jumping into a plan/exercise routine/hobby and quitting after a bit.  I lose interest.  But I did not give up this time, and that was something else for me to ponder.  Why was this different?  Where did the motivation come from to not quit when I am notorious for doing so?

I came up with a few reasons for not quitting.
-After the rough start with headaches and cravings, I started to feel really good.
-I started gaining confidence in being able to handle this.
-Evan made a huge impact on me.  He had a private conversation with his dad about being worried about me quitting this plan. I couldn't let him down.  I HAD to show him that his mom was going to stick to something.
-Evan had a conversation with me and told me I seemed happier.  I love the compliment, but it was sad to hear because that means I was less happy before.

Anyhow, I was in the best mood yesterday on Day 30.  I think my Tiger Blood finally came roaring to life!  I literally woke up in a good mood and it lasted all day!

1. I lost just over 10 pounds.
2. I have more energy.
3. I sleep better.
4. My skin looks better.
5. I have (for the most part) busted my craving for sugar.
6. I have the urge to exercise again.
7. I have more patience.
8. I wake up early.
9. I am not hungry for snacks in between meals.
10. My clothes fit better.
11. My confidence has improved.
12. I've become a champion label reader.

There are so many more improvements that it would be hard to list them all.  

Hard Moments
There were definitely some hard moments. The first week was a mess of headaches, cravings, and overall crankiness.  I just had to power through and hope that it got better.  It did.

Halloween was not that hard.  Of course I wanted some candy, but it was not all consuming.  I handled it.

One of the hardest moments was when Eric and I went to a very fancy dinner for his job.  We were literally treated to some of the best food around this area.  Waiters were pouring the wine (which I did not have).  I drank club soda and lime.  I had to modify the salad to just olive oil and vinegar while everyone else was eating these amazing looking blue cheese wedges.  I had to ask the waitress to modify my halibut while everyone else was eating butter sizzled entrees.  And the dessert!  Oh my heavens the dessert.  I just smiled.  That would have been a totally WORTH IT meal to enjoy.  That all being said, my meal was absolutely delicious the way I ordered it.  

The last weekend was also hard.  I am officially on Thanksgiving Vacation and in the past, vacations equal food fests.  Not this time.

Proud Moments

There were several proud moments.

I made it through three days of parent/teacher conferences without snacking on junk and without getting home feeling emotionally and physically wrecked.  I was tired, but not wiped out.  That was a huge accomplishment!

I made it through Halloween.

I made it through chaperoning a junior high Halloween dance with tons of junk food in sight.

I made it through the fancy dinner for Eric's work.  I felt really pretty that night. Even though it was hard not to enjoy the delectable side of that meal, it was still a really nice evening.

I made it through a field trip to Los Angeles without snacking on junk on the bus.

This girl (Kaitlinn) didn't ask for the job of coach, but I self-appointed her as my coach and mentor.  She is a health nut and eats very carefully.  Besides Eric, she was my number one person to whine to, bounce ideas off of, and share my successes with.  She really was great at cheering me on and believing in me!  I owe her many thanks!  She was great inspiration.

I made it through not one but two Thanksgiving Feasts at school.  I brought my own food!

I also have to say something about my husband.  He is the BEST!  He knows my penchant for jumping in to things with both feet and then giving up.  He never judges when that happens.  He is always up for me to try new things.  He never tells me no.  I asked him yesterday if he thought I was going to finish this and he honestly answered no.  I wasn't offended in the slightest because even though he didn't think I'd follow through, he supported me 100%.  One weekend he even went with me to FOUR grocery stores to buy various brands and veggies to keep me satisfied.  Let's just say grocery shopping is not his favorite!  He teased me by telling me I was eating dirt, but he never tempted me to stray.  100% behind me always.  I couldn't ask for a better husband!  I really hit the jackpot when God led me to him.

I went out to eat several times and became more and more comfortable with asking waiters to modify my meals without apologies.  That was hard at first.  I was over-explaining and apologizing while trying to order.  By the end of the month, I simply asked for what I wanted and was done with it.

I even made it through a lunch at my favorite pizza place with just enjoying the salad bar and only smelling the pizza!

I didn't quit.
I didn't cheat.
I didn't give up.

There it is!  My first Whole30 is complete. I feel great, my energy is up, I feel in control.

I have more patience as a mom (although the real judge of that would be my kids)!

I ate some very non-typical breakfasts.  My favorite breakfast was rib eye steak!  This picture was the day I tried uncured no sugar bacon.  It started off grey, but tasted good.  Eric refused to eat it.  It was good because it was bacon!

My energy skyrocketed.  Twenty mile bike ride?  No problem!

I wasn't afraid to be silly!

Some thoughts and worries I have going forward are how to maintain a relatively healthy diet.  I need to reintroduce the foods I have been abstaining from to see if I have any sensitivities to them.  I need to evaluate whether those foods are worth it to me moving forward.  I'm nervous about this. I'm not sure how to do this.  It will be a work in progress for sure.

I am so happy I did this.  I know I'll do another Whole30 in the future.  I'm not sure when, but I'm thinking about some time after my birthday.

Today is Day 31.  I have no plans to stop eating this way until tomorrow night when we celebrate Eric's birthday at a fancy restaurant!  And I plan to savor every bite!

I want to remember how great I felt on this day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Whole30 - Day 3

Phew!  Day 3 was rough!  I was struggling from the second I woke up until the second I went to sleep.

The struggles were mainly due to a splitting headache, lethargy, and lack of appetite.

I am all for medication when it comes to pain, but for some reason I don't want to use medicine right now if I don't have to.  I just suffered through.

I didn't experience any food cravings, but I sure noticed all the food and drinks around me that are off limits: chicken fried steak, candy, cake in the break room, cups of soda, whipped cream. You name it, I saw it.  It's like when I was pregnant...I noticed every pregnant person walking around!  Right now I see all the food.  It wasn't so much that I wanted the food, but more irritating that I wasn't allowing myself to have it.  I'm not sure if that even makes sense.

I was pretty irritable yesterday as well.  A few work related things had me stressing big time and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to fix all of my tasks for the day.  That didn't help my headache!

Food was pretty similar to the days before.
Breakfast - sausage, potato, onion, red and green pepper
Lunch - chicken
*I had a salad that I didn't have time or feel like eating.  However, by 3:30 I was feeling hungry so I pulled out the salad and ate it while watching Kid #1 play football.  I had to chuckle at the comments I got at how good my salad looked!  And it was good!  I was very happy at that moment eating my salad.

Dinner - taco (the family had traditional tacos with seasoning and tortillas while I portioned out my meat, sprinkled it with salt and pepper and wrapped it in a lettuce leaf with Eric's homemade salsa)
Snack - fresh roasted pumpkin seeds

Besides not eating enough at lunch and needing to eat my salad at 3:30, I wasn't hungry yesterday...just grouchy!

I feel much better this morning.

I'm also loving these tomatoes from Trader Joe's.  I'm heading to Sprouts this weekend to see the selections of healthy foods they carry.

I slept well last night...at first.  Then I randomly woke up at 2 a.m. and had the hardest time getting back to sleep.  I finally drifted off around 4.  Ugh.  Not sure if it is food or detox related, but it wasn't fun.

This morning, I was tired of sausage so I made myself a rib eye steak for breakfast.  Yesterday, the thought of the sausage wasn't appetizing, so I figured I better take a break from that for a few days.

Evan was pretty interested in my steak.  My plan was to eat half for breakfast and put the other half into my salad.  I ended up giving half to Evan for his lunch.  I'm not sure how many 7th graders get to take rib eye steak in their lunch!  Lucky kid.

And now for a few random photos of our last few days.

We bought a pumpkin for Hudson to carve.  Pumpkin carving is a "dad job" in our house.  It's just not in my skill set!

Hudson got to wield the knife as well.  His pumpkin turned out really cute.

That boy loves to use the lighter.


Morning snuggles with Buddy.

Buddy was sure loving the attention before we left for school this morning.

I've got all my food for the day, so I should be fine.  I weigh in tonight at Weight Watchers, but I'm going to tell them not to tell me my progress.  I don't want to see numbers until the Whole30 is over.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Whole 30 - Day 2 Finished

I finished Day 2 with somewhat ease.  I had enough food.  I wasn't overly craving stuff I couldn't have.

I was slightly grouchy because of a headache.  No caffeine or sugar to battle it.  I'm somewhat reluctant to take any ibuprofen and I'm not sure why.  I am a strong believer in medicine, but I think I want to see if the headaches subside through better food choices.

Like I said, I wasn't craving particular foods, but I sure did notice all the food around me, especially soda cups.  Sigh.  I'm not sure I'll ever get over my want for soda.

Breakfast was the same sausage hash as before but with peppers added in.  Yum.  And a banana.

Lunch was the prosciutto wrapped chicken from the night before along with a salad.  I was planning to eat a pear, but I ran out of time and I wasn't hungry.

Dinner was supposed to be tacos or pork chops.  However, Eric was full from lunch and the boys had their last basketball practice so they ate cereal.  I ended up having an apple with almond butter before practice and I cooked two scrambled eggs after practice.

I'm typing this on the morning of Day 3.  I don't feel fantastic.  No Tiger Blood around here.  (In the book it talks about how you feel on top of the world and like you can accomplish anything.  They call that Tiger Blood.  I'm looking forward to some of that.)

Two days down. 28 to go.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Whole30 Day 1

Day 1 has been decent. I made it to the evening hours.  I have not had any major food cravings, I'm not struggling to figure out what to eat, and I'm not regretting embarking on this plan.

The day started out really early. We unexpectedly had three extra boys in our house to spend the night. Like any good preteen mom, I ran to Wal Mart and bought a bunch of snacks...cookies, soda, chips, donuts, and chocolate milk. Even with all that junk in the house, I'm not overly tempted by it right now.  I got up early because Evan and I were heading to volunteer and the boys were getting picked up early. 

I started my day with black coffee. I have only been a coffee drinker for a few years and that is with lots of Splenda and creamer. Suddenly switching to black coffee was a bit of a shock to my taste buds. But I survived. And it was the jolt I needed that early especially considering I am not getting my caffeine fix from Diet Coke.

Yeah, that was me prior to this morning.  I love me some flavored creamers!  I am currently missing my pumpkin spice creamer.

Anyhow, I felt decently successful managing this very first important coffee step. 

All the teenage boys left and I quickly cut up a small potato, onion, and sausage for breakfast. I wished I had remembered to buy a red pepper to put in the breakfast hash. It still tasted great.

A red pepper would have made it prettier, too!  I plan to eat this each morning this week.  I may or may not add in scrambled egg.  I think that will depend on my food for the morning.  I have been wanting to figure out healthier breakfasts for myself for a while now.  I ate protein bars for months and months and months.  Lately, I've been eating Special K cereal that still has a lot of sugar.  This seems like a great compromise.

Getting meal one finished really made me feel like I was on a roll!

Evan and I volunteered at the Poverello House for three hours. We cut up lots of fruit.  At one point, Evan helped serve the breakfast line.  I stayed in the back cutting onions and talking to a girl attending Fresno State.  There have been a lot of kids getting hours for college requirements.

I wasn't hungry while working.  After we got home I was feeling pretty hungry.  Eric started teasing me saying I'm eating dirt.  Ugh!  I'm not eating dirt.  But the stuff that comes from dirt is some of the best stuff to eat!

I made a salad with olives, almonds, salami, olive oil and vinegar.  It was good.

I love eating salads, but I do have to say I miss my blue cheese.  It just adds such a tang to a salad.  But again, I'm doing just fine without cheese.

I cut my arm and have no idea how I did it.  That little scar above the new cut was another random thing that I have no idea how it occurred.  And that one took forever to heal!  I wonder if healthier eating will help this scratch heal faster?

Eric and I went shopping in the afternoon at Trader Joe's.  I got a bunch of produce, some meat, and some almond butter.  And then I started getting really angry.  There is sugar in EVERYTHING!  And I mean EVERYTHING!  It is in salad dressing, in tomato sauce, in crackers, in salsa, and in pretty much every single prepackaged meat product.  WHY???? Why is there sugar in roast beef?  It just seems gross to me.

And it makes me so mad.  There does not need to be sugar in 99% of the items.  Is it a bulking agent?  Is there actually a purpose?  Does it enhance flavor?  WHY?  The one that sent me over the edge was McCormick taco seasoning.  Seriously?  Sugar in a taco seasoning?  Jiminy Christmas.  

Rant over.

For now.

We made chicken thighs wrapped in prosciutto.  There is a dividing line in the above photo because the family had theirs sprinkled with garlic salt....which has SUGAR!  Mine were sprinkled with plain old salt and pepper.  The prosciutto really enhanced the flavor of the chicken, so I felt fully satiated.  Plus I've got left overs to eat this week.

I also had a bowl of medley cherry tomatoes in a compliant dressing.

Thoughts so far.

I like the idea of eating healthy, but I'm not gonna lie...it is an effort to find compliant prepackaged foods and it is a bit overwhelming to think of making everything from scratch.  Plus, shopping makes me angry.  See above rant.

I have a bit of a headache and I am so very tired.  I don't know if that is from new food choices, or if that is from being up early with teenagers, standing on my feet for three hours cutting fruit at the soup kitchen, and spending a lot of time walking around the grocery store.  Regardless of the reason, I'm tired.

Like I said, there have been no cravings.  I miss blue cheese in my salad, but it was not an overwhelming craving. It was a little irritating to see chips and Oreos on my counter and not be able to eat them if I wanted.  But again, not a big struggle.

My hopes at the moment for the end of this plan: I'd like to kick the soda/diet soda habit for good.  I'd like to avoid fake sugar as much as possible. What I am pretty sure of is that I'm not going to lose sleep over trying to eliminate all sugar.  I'd drive myself crazy reading labels and getting mad.  I also hope to rely less and less on prepackaged food.  I'm getting the feeling that prepackaged deli meats aren't the best choice.

Tomorrow's plan is to eat hash for breakfast, salad with chicken for lunch and either pork chops or taco in a lettuce leaf for dinner.

Whole30...The night before I begin

I'm about to do something crazy...well crazy for me. I'm going to start a program called Whole30. In a nutshell, it is a program where you eliminate sugar, dairy, artificial sweeteners, beans and more from your diet for 30 days. It is a way to reset your body with real food. It's a reset if you will. It's a way for me to break my horrible sugar addiction, and it's a way to be more in tune with foods that don't treat me well.

It's not a fad diet. It's not designed to last forever. It's not a carb free diet. You are encouraged to eat healthy fats, natural carbs and lots of protein. It's also not a weight loss program.

I want to do this for many reasons. 

1. To break my sugar addiction.
2. To reset my body.
3. To train my taste buds to adapt to new tastes. 
4. To prove to myself I can do something for 30 days.
5. To learn which foods don't agree with my body.
*It's not a weight loss program, but I will not be unhappy if I lose pounds or inches in the process.

My fears:
1. Giving in to temptation 
2. Not planning enough in advance to have on-plan food accessible to me
3. Food boredom
4. Not seeing real results

The reasons to do this far outweigh my fears. I start tomorrow.

And in true "addict" fashion, I had a "last supper" of Cherry Vanilla Pepsi and Chewy SweetTarts.

And guess what? It didn't make me feel great.  It didn't even satisfy some internal craving.  The only reason I chose those items is because I knew they'd be off limits for the next 30 days.  I didn't choose them because I was having a sugar craving.  It's like I was trying to get ahead of the craving.  So dumb.

I felt bloated, fuzzy and ridiculous for eating that junk.

I'd like to keep track of how I'm feeling each day and the progress that I am making.  I'll still be weighing in at Weight Watchers...I rejoined about five weeks ago and have been having good success.  However, when they weigh me in, I plan to tell step on and close my eyes and have them not tell me my weight.  I don't want the number to influence how I feel internally about the better food choices.

I also plan to point out my food to make sure I am getting my 30 points.  That is not something you are supposed to do on this plan, but I'm deciding to do this for myself.  On the off chance that I gain weight, I at least want to make sure that I am getting enough food.

You are supposed to eat enough at meal 1, 2, and 3 to be able to avoid snacking.  I like that idea for a few reasons.  The snacks are where I often fall apart.  I also like the idea of my body knowing that it will get fed again in a few hours and not need to constantly graze. It's also easier in terms of planning.  I'm planning three meals, not three meals and three snacks.  And I would always gravitate towards fruit for the sweetness element.

I've been thinking about doing this since summer.  Finally taking the plunge.  My last day will be Nov. 21 which is just before Eric's birthday and Thanksgiving.  No one wants to eat fake butter on Thanksgiving!  Another good reason for doing this now is to avoid the temptation of Halloween candy and the endless snacking that we tend to do during parent teacher conferences.

There you have it.  My reasons for embarking on this crazy-for-me food plan.  I am hoping to feel great, have energy, bust the sugar habit, jump start a bit of weight loss, and learn to like new foods.

*I took my measurements and did a last weigh in that I'll see, but I'm not sharing those specific numbers.  As open of a book as I can be, I do draw a line at body numbers!

Hudson is skeptical!  Ha!  He doesn't even know what's going on.  I am not forcing my family into this new plan.  If I think they'll like a certain food or recipe, I'll make it for all of us.  If I know it will not fly, it will just be for me.  

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Happy 9th Birthday Hudson!

Every parents has this lament, and I am no different, but how in the world is it possible that our baby is 9-years-old?  The days are long, but the years are short.

Hudson is the kid that completed our family.  He's the one who made Evan a brother.  He's the one who keeps us laughing with his wit and charm.  Oh boy do we love this kid!

This was taken a few days before his birthday.  It was a weekend morning, and Hudson woke up really early, which is surprising because he can sleep in like a champ!  He wandered into my room and ended up snuggling with me and falling back to sleep.

So sweet and innocent when he sleeps.

I just wanted to hang onto the moment because it will be all too soon before he stops snuggling like this.

I can remember the baby days of him asleep on my chest.  Oh those days!

Fast forward a few days and Hudson turned 9 on Sept. 13.  He is growing into quite a fantastic little guy!

Birthday donuts are a tradition for us.  He's drinking an apple cider.  No beer at 7:30 in the morning!

Loving on my baby.

He's the kid who will still take pictures with me...even if they are goofy faces!

This picture is for Grandma.  We don't need a stinking napkin!

Evan enjoys birthday mornings.

Miracle of miracles.  The oldest child took a picture with me.

We baked two batches of cupcakes to take to school.  It is also a tradition that students get to wear free dress on their birthday.

Hudson had to wait until after dinner to open his presents.  He was super excited to get this shirt that he saw at Tilly's a few days ago.  Eric and I secretly went back to the store to get him the shirt and a hat!

He always wears his hats backwards.  I don't know why.

Hudson Hartman Forcey, we love you so very much!  You make us laugh, you smother us with your love, and you are such a kind-hearted and happy little boy.  Lately, you have a new injury every day, so your dramatic side is definitely coming out!  You are showing your athletic skill in the football field this year.  It's going to be so much fun watching you grow during your 4th grade year.  Happy birthday Little Chicken!