Trials and Triumphs

In a follow-up to the post I wrote yesterday about my new-found passion for health and wellness, I wanted to share with you something I have been experiencing for the last week or so.

Two weeks ago, I decided to fully jump back on the “eating right and exercising” bandwagon (yep, story of my life!) I am kind of following the 21 Day Fix program, although I am not using the coloured containers.  I am using the food lists as guides and trying to reduce the amount of wheat, dairy, sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed foods I am eating.  I am doing the 21 Day Fix workouts although the program suggests you work out every day, and I have admittedly skipped a day here or there.

The first week was fantastic.  My motivation was high, I was eager to learn, and I jumped in with both feet.  I did meal prep, journalled all my meals, and even tried to make the best choices when I was out of town for a 3-day work conference.  But here we are at the end of Week 2 and wow, it’s been tough.

Like so many others in today’s society, I have a major sugar addiction. If it’s sweet, I love it.  If it’s white and carb-y, I love it.  For months, I subsisted on a diet of pizza, bagels, pasta, and fries.  Yum.  But the entire time I was devouring those delicious foods, I knew that they were not only wreaking havoc on my physical body, but on my health overall.

It’s been brought to my attention lately just how badly unhealthy foods can affect us.  I have started learning and doing some research about holistic nutrition and when I heard that unhealthy foods can also cause mental health problems, mood swings, and skin problems (just a few examples), it was like a light bulb clicked.

For months, I struggled with depression, lack of motivation, extreme fatigue, and just overall feeling terrible.  My colitis has flared up leaving my stomach bloated and gassy and causing frequent trips to the bathroom.  I am so fed up.  Now I am finally starting to understand that my food choices directly affect everything related to my health – whether it be physical health, mental health, emotional health, or spiritual health.

So all the more reason, to get educated and to try to make some serious changes in my life.  As previously mentioned the first week was pretty easy.  I was highly motivated and eager to get started.  But this past week, has been a little bit like a drug addict coming off drugs.

First of all, the cravings I’ve had for carbs and sugar have been mad crazy, especially in the evening.  When the day’s work is done, and I finally sit down to relax, the thought of anything carb-y consumes me – PB & J sandwiches…. big ol’ bag of chips…. pudding cups…. ice cream…. let’s be honest, anything.

On top of that, I have been experiencing crazy mood swing, most of which have made me irritable, resentful, sad, and just downright, miserable.  My brain has been screaming at me, angry with me for not feeding it the junk I normally feed it.  I get mad and ask myself why this has to be so hard?  Maybe I should just give up?  I could go grab a bowl of sugary cereal right now.  Screw it!  I think.  I feel down in the dumps, frustrated, and sad.  A couple of times this weekend I have burst into tears for no apparent reason except that I feel like total and utter crap.  Thank goodness, my sweet and supportive husband has been by my side to talk me through it and to encourage me along.  Because of him, and because of the inkling of determination that still exists inside of me, I am thrilled to say I’ve mostly overcome these tough battles.

The good news is that I am learning.  I know recognize that these physical cravings and mood swings (oh and the raging headache I had last night) are my brain’s way of trying to trick me into feeding it the crap it so desperately wants.  And my logic tells me that if I just keep fighting and pushing past it, eventually I will overcome this hurdle and come out stronger on the other side.

So now I am focussed on one day at a time.  I am going to continue to educate myself about what fuels and energizes my body from the inside out, and what turns it into a sugar-addicted, miserable monster.  I know it won’t be easy, but at least my determination is still high.

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Eyes Wide Open: Discovering My Personal Passion

Recently at a professional book club meeting, the topic of passion came up. One of the questions was what are you passionate about personally?  The question kind of took me by surprise because I had always related passion to work.  When you are growing up and planning your future, you always hear the advice “Find something you are passionate about and then figure out how to make a job out of it.”  For me, teaching is definitely one of my passions.  And just recently I’ve recognized some things that have driven my level of passion with teaching sky-high (another blog post on that coming soon!) But when I was asked “What are you passionate about in your personal life?” I was really taken aback – what am I passionate about?

Of course, the most natural of answers came to me right away – I’m passionate about my family, about spending time with loved ones, and making sure they are taken care of.  But is that really a passion?  Sure, I care immensely about my family, but what interests do I have that excite me, inspire me, light a fire within me on a daily basis?

My colleague suggested my love for the Toronto Blue Jays.  I am definitely a huge fan.  I watch games religiously on television, attend as many games as I can throughout the summer, and proudly wear my Jays gear whenever given the opportunity.  I can name all the players, know what position they play, and know the basic stats.  But I don’t live for the Toronto Blue Jays.  It’s an interest but it doesn’t create a burning desire inside of me.  Watching the Jays doesn’t inspire me, it’s more just like a really enjoyable passtime.

So what is my passion?  I started to think about things I am good at and enjoy doing.  I know, I thought, my passion is writing!  It’s true I’ve had many fantasies about making a living as a writer – spending my days in a quiet room, alone, sipping flavoured coffee, and lighting my keyboard on fire as thoughts and ideas come flowing out of me and onto the screen.  I do feel I express myself best in writing. I do get great satisfaction from writing blog posts and putting my ideas into words.  But is it my passion?

I started thinking of a passion as that one thing you can’t stop thinking about.  It permeates your life every single day.  It makes you feel excited, inspired, thoughtful… but sometimes overwhelmed, confused, and scared.  Then it hit me!   I think I know what my passion is…..

Health and Wellness!

For years, I have been interested in health and wellness.  For the most part, I have been interested in health as it relates to weight-loss.  The story of my adult life is that I am consistently trying to lose weight or maintain a weight loss.  I am constantly seeking out the right plan to follow that will help me to look and feel great.  But more recently, the idea of health and wellness has evolves into something different.  Yes, I still want (and need) to lose weight.  But more importantly, I have recently become more interested in simply making myself healthy.

This has stemmed predominantly from my diagnosis a few years ago with ulcerative colitis.  I consider myself lucky in the fact that my colitis is fairly mild compared to some others.  Most of my symptoms include bloating, a lot of foul-smelling gas, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation.  At it’s worst, I’ve also experience severe abdominal pain that has landed me in the emergency room.  I’ve also experienced severe urgency that has disrupted my workdays and interfered with social activities.

What I didn’t realize until recently though, was that some of the other symptoms I’ve been having could be directly related to the inflammation in my gut.  I’ve had excema, skin problems, achy joints, headaches, extreme fatigue, and mood swings.  These things are all symptoms of inflammation (mind blown!)

My most latest motivation to get back on the “healthy eating/exercise bandwagon” has been not only to lose weight, but to heal my gut and to feel better overall.  I am tired of being tired.  I am fed up with the mood swings (irritability, crankiness, anger, sadness).  I want to feel energized, positive, and happy – every day, all of the time!

This has inspired me to start a kind of “new” health journey.  In order not to overwhelm myself (which can happen so easily), I have decided to focus on nutrition and making better food choices, not only for weight loss, but also as a means to heal my body from the inside out.  I am slowly starting to learn about whole foods, natural ingredients, eliminating sugar, processed foods, wheat, and dairy, eating more plant-based foods, and feeding my body so that I can feel energetic, vibrant, and strong rather than bloated, tired, and irritable!

I have chosen nutrition because there are SO many areas of health and wellness that if I jump into too much of it, I will totally overwhelm myself and may give up altogether.  But that’s not to say I am not dabbling and looking into other areas of health and wellness (mindfulness, meditation, exercise, to name a few).  I am so enthusiastic about this topic that it’s actually kind of hard to rein myself in but I do have to remember that it’s a HUGE learning process.  Lord knows, I have a LOT to learn.  But the most important part is, I am not only open and willing to educating myself, I am so excited to do it!  I have this strong natural urge, this passion burning inside of me that wants to know all I can about how to live the best life I can!

Whether it’s articles, videos, books, websites, social media pages, internet sources, or people… if it has to do with health and wellness I am interested!   Here are just some of the topics that have grabbed my attention, that I’ve experimented with, researched, read about, or thought about so you can get the idea of how interested I really am!

Nutrition – gluten-free, elimination diets, anti-dairy, the wheat belly diet, holistic approaches, Weight Watchers, eliminating sugar, processed foods, 21 Day Fix (Beachbody), Shakeology, supplements, anti-inflammatory foods, recipes, plant-based foods, whole foods, Paleo diet…..

Fitness – going to the gym, walking, running, yoga, 21 Day Fix, home workouts, Tai Chi, pilates, weight lifting, heavy lifting, CrossFit, Pure Barre, ballet, dance, hiking, paddling, skiing, baseball, soccer….

Spiritual/Mental Wellness – mental health illnesses/conditions, mindfulness, mindful vs. Mind full, coping with stress, anxiety, depression, yoga, meditation, self-care routines, prayer, journaling, grounding techniques, therapy/counselling…

Wellness – natural self-care products, natural cleaning products, environmental factors, essential oils, sleep, balance, self-care, time spent in nature, self-help books, self improvement, positive thinking, mindset

No matter what it is whenever one of these topics comes up, I find myself wanting to know more.  I ask questions, I think, I reflect, I analyze, I read, I consider… and most of all,  I get so excited and so emotional!  If that doesn’t describe a person passion, I am not sure what does!

 

Just Do It: Doing the Work Even When I Don’t Feel Like It

Ok guys, after months and months of being in a “slump” and feeling like I will never successfully get back on my weight loss journey, I finally feel like I’m about to make a comeback!   It’s all thanks to my Beachbody coach Melanie Watson who reached out to me and introduced me to author/ motivational speaker/ media personality Mel Robbins.  But before I get into that, let me tell the story from the beginning.

Back in early January, like so many others I made the resolution to get back on track with my weight loss journey.  After years of doing Weight Watchers, I decided to shake things up and signed up with Beachbody.  I started using the containers of the 21 Day Fix program and purchased Beachbody On Demand so I could workout whenever I wanted in my basement.  I easily found the Beachbody community online – literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other people trying to do the exact same thing I was trying to do.  It was online that I found and “met” my coach Melanie Watson.  Melanie seemed to “get” my struggles right away and had experienced many of them herself!  At the time, I was struggling with the winter blues, mild depression, and a major lack of motivation to do anything.   Despite being a complete stranger, Melanie seemed to know me so well and understood all my goals – plus she had the tools to get me there.   I signed up to her Facebook groups and followed her on Instragram eager to be successful. But after about the first month, things started sliding and I lost my motivation.  The winter blues were overwhelming and nights on the coach won over working out in my basement.  Carb-heavy, comfort food beat out nutritious and heart-healthy meals.  I started to tell myself that all the hard work and sacrifices it took to lose weight weren’t worth it.  Life was too short not to eat sweets. I should just learn to love myself the way I am.  Maybe for the first time in my adult life I could not be on a diet program and actually just learn to accept myself. But something deep inside me, an inner voice (or as Mel Robbins’ would call my inner wisdom) was still there.  No matter how much I tried to convince myself that I could feel satisfied, fulfilled and confident without losing weight, my inner wisdom was telling me differently. But still, nothing changed.  I still consumed calorie-rich foods all day long and snuggled into the couch as soon as humanly possible after work.  Every day I thought about working out but talked myself out of it within seconds.  I knew what I had to do to lose weight (and had all the programs and supports imaginable) but I still wasn’t doing it.

But the inner voice continued to talk.  I considered emailing Melanie.  By this point, I had completely turned my back on the Beachbody program.  I had unfollowed some of the groups online and began to feel resentful towards the cheery messages of success others were sharing in the groups.  I even contemplated unfollowing Melanie’s profile.  I was feeling so overwhelmed by all the messages about what I knew I had to do, but still, did not feel like doing. Then, last week, Melanie reached out to me.  I was shocked but so pleasantly surprised.  Although she had been so good to me previously, I had assumed I was just another “customer” helping to grow her business.  But by reaching out to me after weeks of not hearing from me or seeing my posts in group, Melanie proved that she actually wants me to be successful I immediately responded, openly expressing to her the struggle I had been experiencing.  I wrote about not being in the right “mindset” to get started and how I’d been struggling for months to get there. This is when Melanie gifted me with the invitation to check out Mel Robbins’ work.  As I mentioned earlier, Robbins is a media personality, motivational speaker, and author.  She wrote The Five Second Rule which I am currently devouring and taking copious notes from.  The minute I read Melanie’s email, I started obsessively watching Robbins’ videos on YouTube and spent my two-hour drive yesterday listening to her podcasts. It is like Mel Robbin’s was living inside my head.  So much of what she has to say is exactly what I have been struggling with for months!  And the fact that Melanie knew to suggest her work to me blows my mind even more.  How can a complete stranger know just what I needed?!

So what is this Five-Second Rule and why am I so excited about it?  As I mentioned, I just started reading the book to fully understand the concept but I am so excited by it that I felt I had to write a blog post right now.   Here are some of the main principles I’ve taken from Robbins’ work so far including how they relate to my life.

1. You will never feel like doing it, you have to do it anyway. Robbins speaks about the notion that we all know what we should do.  And we know how to do it.  For example, the Weight Watchers program (which I have been a member of for years), or the Beachbody program tell you exactly how to lose weight.  But yet I don’t do it.  Why not?  Because I don’t feel like it.   Robbins’ says that we’ll never feel like it but that we have to just start doing it anyway.  That’s why she says motivation is garbage.  Because we will never truly feel like doing things in the  moment that we should.

2. The Five Second Rule In a nutshell, the five second rule is a theory that you can train your brain to listen to your inner wisdom and do what you know you have to do, rather than hold yourself back from doing it.  It’s kind of like the Nike slogan Just Do It (which Robbins also refers to in the book).  Robbin’s tells of her personal struggles and how she discovered that by simply counting down 5-4-3-2-1 you can distract your brain and refocus on doing what you need to do.

3. Get out of your own head. Robbins says that our inner wisdom is constantly telling us what we should do to lead a healthier, happier, fulfilled, and satisfying life but that we have the habit of talking ourselves out of following through on these ideas.  As soon as we start thinking about the idea too much, we easily and effortlessly talk ourselves out of it.  The magic of the Five Second Rule is that we can change that!

4. Your have to parent yourself. I love where Robbins talks about how no one tells us when we become an adult that now we are going to have to parent ourselves.  When we are kids, our parents are there to tell us no.  They are there to make sure we do the things we are supposed to do.  As adults, there is no one to do that, so we have to do it ourselves.  We have to learn to tell ourselves no and to do the work even when we don’t want to.

All this being said, I want to recognize that I probably just did a terrible job of summarizing some of Robbins’ main ideas.  Also, please take into consideration my other disclaimer – I just started reading the book.  I know I have just scraped the surface of some of this woman’s amazing ideas!  I can’t wait to learn more.

But more importantly, I feel like I have been given a tool that is finally going to get me out of this slump that I’ve been in.  I’ve spent all winter making excuses for myself, talking myself out of doing the work, holding myself back, trying to convince myself that I could be happy without losing weight. Now I see that I need to get out of my own head.  I always overthink everything and I’ve been overthinking my weight loss journey for years.  What I am starting to see now is that I will never truly be ready so why am I still waiting?  Just last week, I wrote to Melanie that I needed to be in the right “mindset” before I could get started!  What I see now is that by just doing it, by just getting started, the actions I need to take will put me in the right mindset! Most importantly, what I see now is that making change is hard work and our brain is pre-wired to protect ourselves from hard work.  Our brain doesn’t want us to be uncomfortable.  Therefore, it will try to talk me out of everything that I need to do in order to lose weight successfully.  Also, I am never going to feel like doing the things I know I should do (eat healthfully, plan meals, go for a run, workout) but I just have to put on my big girl panties and do it anyway.  After all without hard work, there is no reward. So instead of thinking about things, I have to just start doing.  And the best way to do that (according to both Robbins’ and coach Melanie), is to do it one day at a time.  Every time my instinct kicks in to do something healthy, I have to get my ass in gear and do it before my mind takes over and talks me out of it!  I have to parent myself, tell myself no, and just do what needs to be done. The best part of all this is if I do the actions that I need to do, the positive, happy, self-loving mindset that I thought I needed to get started, will develop all on it’s own!  Wow!

One last thing about all this.  I couldn’t help but think of a Weight Watchers leader I had years ago.  At the time, I knew I loved her approach, I just didn’t understand why.  Every week at our regular meeting, she would tell us what we had to do.  “Eat your fruit and vegetables.” “Drink your water”.  “Move every day”.  Now I realize that her no-nonsense approach is what helped me to be so successful.  She didn’t give us a choice. She didn’t give us time to think about things, she simply told us to Just Do It.  

A Lesson Learned Again….

Well, guys, it’s been seven days since I’ve been eating healthier and working out regularly again and up until today everything has been going pretty great!  I’m sort of following the 21 Day Fix program – basically using the containers as guidelines for proper portions and to limit certain things like my carb intake and increase certain things like fruits and veggies.  I’ve also been doing the 21 Day Fix workouts which, until today, have been totally awesome!  I love that the workouts are only thirty minutes and that I can do them in my own basement.

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But today, I learned a lesson.  I’d been having a so-so day nutrition-wise to begin with because we’d stay at my parents’ place overnight and there are alot of temptations there.  I’d made the best of the situation but had already over-eatenmy carb intake (and it had been white bread to boot!). Plus, I’d drank quite a bit of coffee with french-vanilla flavoured cream which has a pretty high sugar content (it is so damn delicious that I’m just not ready to give it up yet!) Anyway, after getting back into town, due to some unforeseen circumstances, my family and I ended up grabbing dinner on the go tonight.  (I had planned to have roast chicken and salad for dinner but like I said, unforeseen circumstances…). We went to a little diner that is attached to the arena where my son was playing hockey.  Guys, this place has the best poutine I’ve ever eaten in my life.  So I convinced myself that since I’d done so well nutritionally for seven days that I deserved to splurge, so I went ahead and ordered a small poutine and ate almost all of it.

So where’s the lesson?  Again, you’d think I would have learned this one by now but I guess I’m still learning.  I think each time it happens it becomes more and more obvious to me: crappy food really does make me feel crappy!  Within an hour after eating that poutine, my stomach began rumbling and I started having cramps similar to what I get with my ulcerative colitis.  I was uncomfortable for the entire hockey game and the whole ride home.  In an effort to make myself feel better physically when we got home, I decided to do the 21 Day Fix Pilates work. Guys, I hate Pilates.  I’ve taken classes before and just hate it.  I find the moves so difficult and feel clumsy and uncoordinated when I do it.  But I was in my basement, and it was the next workout on the 21 Day Fix DVD that I’v been following, so I decided to give it a try.  Well, even though I was alone, I felt like a total fool trying to do this workout!   Next thing I knew, tears were streaming down my cheeks.  I was crying!  Now, I am proud to say that I did finish the workout, but I hated every minute of it!  I felt overweight, weak, and uncoordinated.  I was angry and disappointed with myself. Even when it was done, I still felt like total crap.  I was suddenly cranky, moody, and feeling down on myself.

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So there’s another thing I learned tonight.  Not only does unhealthy food make me feel terrible physically but it really does make me feel terrible emotionally too!  Between all the sugar I had consumed today (which had already been making my head feel fuzzy) and the poutine, I suddenly felt so down-in-the-dumps, frustrated and sad. Crazy!

The part that frustrated me most about all of this, though, is that I feel like I should have known better.  Even though I just got back to eating healthier a week ago, within days I’d been feeling the positive effects!  Not only had my mood improved, but more importantly, almost all of my UC symptoms had disappeared.  It had improved so quickly, in fact, that when my prescription ran out a couple of days ago, I decided to go without it for now since I’d been doing so well.  But after just one day of eating badly, the symptoms were back!  There is no way this is just a coincidence!

Anyway, as frustrating and disappointing as it all is, tomorrow is a new day!  I am grateful that I learned this lesson today (even if it was a tough one to learn) and I only hope that I will remember how terrible I felt today, next time I am craving junk food!

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Wish me luck!

 

30-Day Plan: Day 30

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve made it to the “end” of my 30-day commitment to myself!  It hasn’t been as “perfect” as I had originally thought it would be but it has absolutely given me the kick-start I needed to get back into a healthier, more nutritious lifestyle!  In reflecting on the past month, I wanted to share what I thought went well and what I think I still need to work on.

What went well….

  • I kept track of all my food and points in my food diary every single day (not just on the blog, but I actually have a notebook where I write down everything).
  • I researched lower-points options and looked up points before eating some things to make a conscious and informed decision about whether or not I truly wanted to have it
  • I was active at least 3-4 days a week
  • I drank way more water than I had been
  • I stopped eating sugary cereal (and don’t really miss it) and started my day off with a protein-loaded breakfast
  • I cut back on sugar
  • I really cut back on carbs
  • I are way more vegetables
  • I planned ahead for events that I knew would have many food temtpations
  • I packed my own food when I went on vacations so I’d have some healthy options
  • I meal planned and prepped food so I’d have something healthy on hand
  • I tried new foods and new ways of preparing certain foods
  • I attended my Weight Watchers meetings
  • I didn’t let the number on the scale discourage me when it went up
  • I allowed myself to have some treats without feeling too guilty
  • I felt encouraged, determined, motivated, positive, confident, and happy 99% of the time!

What I will continue to work on….

  • Seek more healthy recipes so I can eat a variety of healthy food
  • Continue to cut back on sugar
  • Plan ahead for treats – look up the points before having them instead of waiting until after
  • Try new foods and recipes
  • Obtain a healthy balance between treating myself and eating healthy
  • Establish more challenging workout routines (maybe start running again?)
  • Build healthy habits so that they come more naturally and don’t require so much conscious work and effort
  • Track every single day in my food journal

With that being said, here’s how Day 30 looks:

Breakfast:  I finally found a granola that is not too high in points!  A friend of mine suggested this Nature’s Path peanut butter granola and 1/2 cup (which is more than enough per serving!) is only 5 points (not bad at all!) I mixed in 1/3 cup Source vanilla yogurt for a delicious and satisfying breakfast (and a nice change from bacon & eggs!)

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Since we are leaving town tomorrow, I had a long to-do list today to get ready to go.  I started by tidying up the house, doing dishes, and sweeping the floors. After just those minor tasks though I was feeling really sluggish and tired (maybe not enough energy from my breakfast or maybe it’s the crazy humidity?) I drank some more water and took a quick social media/ TV break.

Lunch:  For lunch I ate my usual grilled turkey burger, sautéed vegetables (in a bit of EVOO) and a sprinkle of feta cheese.  The veggies were nice and fresh (I just bought them yesterday at the market) and were so good!  I topped lunch off with some more water and big slice of juicy watermelon.

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After lunch, I had to tackle a job that I had been dreading, and that my husband and I have both put off for months – cleaning out our SUV!  While away last weekend, I noticed that the filth and dirt inside had reached an all-new high and I just couldn’t take it anymore, so even though it was 37 degrees with the humidity today (eek!) I lugged my cleaning supplies out to the garage and got busy!  An hour later, I was sweating like crazy but at least we have a nice clean ride ready to go when we set out again tomorrow!  Plus, I am sure I earned at least a few activity points completing this task!

After that job, I came inside and took another social media/water break (drinking water has made all the difference – I rarely drink anything else now, except coffee and a diet pop once in awhile as a treat!)  Then I got to work cooking and prepping some food my husband and I plan to take on the road with us.  I grilled turkey burgers (we’ll also take lean hamburgers), cooked a pack of turkey bacon, and cooked a container of bow-tie pasta to make a pasta salad with.  Then I chopped red/yellow/green peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and red onions and packed them all in individual containers that will fit easily into our big cooler.  I also plan on taking: eggs, yogurt, granola, lettuce, salad dressing, feta cheese, coffee, cream, mini rice cakes, and a pre-bought meat & cheese tray (as a little treat).  We’ll probably eat a couple meals in restaurants as well and may have to re-stock on groceries next week, but this will definitely help us to save some cash while on the road and will help me continue with my weight loss goals!

After all that food prep, I decided to take another little break (I love the slow-moving days of summer!) so made myself a coffee (with cream) and sat down to check social media and watch some more TV.  Oh, I should also mention that I started another book  – Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and it’s really interesting so far!  I am really going to miss all the free time for reading when school goes back in!

Dinner:  For dinner, my husband and I ate leftovers out of the fridge.  He had hotdogs while I had some boneless, skinless chicken breast and made one of my taco salads with light Italian dressing.   My salad and chicken came to a total of about 8 points.

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Workout:  We had another softball game tonight (we lost by just a few runs).  It was still pretty hot out so it wasn’t hard to work up a sweat!  This earned me about 6 activity points.

Snack:  When we got home from softball my husband I were both really hungry!  I wanted something filling and satisfying so decided to have another 1/2 cup of peanut butter granola and 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt – it totally hit the spot and filled me up!  Plus, I guzzled a bunch more water.

Well guys, that’s it!  It’s the end of my 30 days!  I still can’t believe I actually stuck to this (and blogged about every single day!)  I weighed myself this morning and I was down another couple pounds so I’m estimating that I lost about 10 lbs over the last 30 days!  I am really happy with that result seeing as in the past it would have taken me months to lose that much!  I have already noticed that my clothes are fitting better and I’ve already had to buy a few items in a size smaller!  My energy levels haven’t changed much but I think that has more to do with the lazy days of summer than anything (hopefully when I get back to work, I will feel the effects of better nutrition when it comes to having more energy!)  The biggest transformation though has definitely been on the inside.  I am so proud of myself for doing this and for seeing it through to the “end”.  I feel more confident and motivated knowing that if I can do it for 30 days, I can keep on doing it until this becomes habit.   I know it will never be “perfect” but that’s not what I am striving for.  I am striving for doing better.  I want to be mindful about how I am treating my body, how I am nourishing it, and how I am challenging it.  I know that that will take work and effort on my part.  But I think the biggest, most important thing to remember at the end of all this is that everything happens one day at a time. As I have mentioned in previous posts, in the past I always fell victim to the “all or nothing” mentality.  I’d always let one bad meal become a bad day, which would become a bad week, bad month, etc.  I thought if I couldn’t eat “perfectly” I might as well throw it all away and just not do anything about it.  Clearly, that was not working for me.

So now, after the last 30 days, I can honestly say I am excited and very motivated to keep going!  I’ve seen nothing but positive results this past month and if I am being perfectly honest, it really hasn’t been that hard (after all, I did indulge several times in the last 30 days!)  More importantly, I know if I keep working at it, one day at a time, I will establish healthy routines that will be good for me mind, body, and soul.  That’s the ultimate goal.

30 days complete!  I DID IT!

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30-Day Plan: Day 29

First of all, I can’t believe it is the second last day of my 30-day plan!  Tomorrow marks the “end” of this journey but it is by no means truly the end.  In fact, I feel like I am just getting started on my path back to a healthier lifestyle – this thirty days was just the kick-start I needed to introduce some healthy habits back into my daily life.  I’ve already started considering news goals.  I really like the idea of a small commitment (like 30 days) because it makes things feel much more attainable.  If there is no “end” it feels overwhelming and like I will never make it.  That being said, as I already mentioned this so-called end isn’t really an end. I know that the habits I am trying to develop now need to stick around for life if I want to remain healthy and maintain a healthy weight.  But I also know that what’s key for me in being successful is taking it one day and one step at a time.  Here’s how Day 29 has gone:

Breakfast:  I only had one slice of turkey bacon left this morning so I decided to make two eggs and have a bit of vanilla yogurt on the side with it.  I ended up not really eating the second egg though, so my breakfast was a total of only 4 points.

I only ate about half of these eggs

I only ate about half of these eggs

After breakfast, I met a friend of mine at a local coffee shop where I ordered a coffee with a caramel shot and then added 2 tbsp of cream.  I have no idea how many points this would be but I am approximating it to be about 5 points which is what my cream at home comes out to.  I had planned on visiting with my friend for about an hour and then hitting Power Yoga at the gym, but I really should have known better because whenever me and this friend get together we just can’t stop talking!  Sure enough 2.5 hours later, we realized what time it was and said our goodbyes – fortunately no parking ticket for me even though the meter had run out an hour previous!

After our coffee date, I headed to the public library to return some books and check out some new ones.  Here’s a snap of the books I plan on reading over the next few weeks before school goes back in!

Hope I can finish all these before school goes back!

Hope I can finish all these before school goes back!

Lunch: After the library, I was starving so I zipped home to grab something to eat.  When I got there, I realized that my plan to just live off whatever was in the fridge for the next couple days, was not really a wise one – there really wasn’t much in there!  I was too hungry to go and do groceries at this point though so grabbed for the only thing available – a leftover hotdog (I checked later and couldn’t believe that one hotdog is 8 points!)  It’s also super hot and humid again today (we’re actually under a heat warning) so I had a 1/2 cup of chocolate frozen yogurt.  Not a healthy lunch at all!  This totally happened though because I did not plan carefully and should have gotten groceries  yesterday so I would have had something healthy prepared for today.  Plus, I waited much too long to eat and was ravenous so just grabbed whatever was the fastest and most easily available!  Ahh, it happens.

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After lunch, I headed to Walmart to stock up on some healthy eats.  My husband and I are already planning to pack groceries when we go on our trip and to do as much of our own cooking as possible (as I mentioned in a previous post this is easier on the pocket and the waistline so it’s a win-win!) I grabbed some more turkey bacon, turkey burgers, fresh salmon, eggs, rice cakes, coffee, some deli meat, buns, and diet pop.  After, I swung by the market and got fresh produce – mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, and watermelon.  Now we are stocked up and will be able to eat healthfully!

Dinner:  After picking up my son at the beach, we headed home.  Once again, I didn’t have anything planned for dinner (oops!)  For some reason, this hot weather makes me crave a nice, deli sandwich so we threw those together for dinner.  On mine I had a bit of deli meat (pepperoni and ham), cheddar cheese, 1 tbsp light mayo and some mustard.  Even though this doesn’t seem like much it adds up to about 10 points (ugh!)  Of course, this didn’t fill me up so I just had another 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt (I swear I could just live off frozen yogurt in this weather!!!  But at least it’s not ice cream!)  Dinner came to about a total of 14 points.

Stupid high in points but it hit the spot!

Stupid high in points but it hit the spot!

It's so hot that I want all the frozen yogurt!!

It’s so hot that I want all the frozen yogurt!!

It’s now early evening and I am over my points for today and haven’t done any physical activity.  I missed my class at the gym and it’s so hot outside.  I could do a workout in my basement but honestly after a busy afternoon of running around, I am feeling like I just want to take it easy this evening.  Plus I have that stack of new books to get through!  Haha.  If it cools off early enough though, I may try to take my dog for a walk.  Otherwise, I will have to use some of my “bonus” points for the ones I went over today. I am okay with that though.  Although I am not sure if I will be able to resist more frozen yogurt seeing as I feel like I could eat the whole tub right now!

Well, tomorrow marks the last day of my 30-day plan!  I am unsure yet whether I will immediately start another 30-day plan or wait until I am back from my holiday – we are leaving town for 10 days and although we will pack healthy food there will still be a lot of temptations!  We are hitting a friend’s cottage for the weekend, Toronto for three days (where we will catch three Blue Jays games!!!) and then a long weekend of camping with my family!  I definitely plan on enjoying my vacation and indulging but also don’t want to go crazy either and erase all the hard work I have done over the last month!  It’s all about achieving a healthy balance – something I am still working on.

29 days down, 1 to go!

 

 

 

30-Day Plan: Day 24, 25, 26, 27

Warning:  Long post ahead.  Four days in one post! 

Well, we finally made it back from our long weekend family get-away and what a wonderful time it was!  I didn’t take many food pictures this weekend but I did document our time with family and friends so I will share some of those!  Also, I will admit right away that I definitely went over my points and indulged quite a bit this weekend but I still made mostly conscious choices and wanted to enjoy our mini vacation to the max!  Here’s a break-down of how things went!

Friday:  Day 24

Breakfast:  We had stayed at my Mom and Dad’s the previous night, so it was easy to have breakfast before hitting the road.  I had an egg and turkey bacon and made a coffee (with cream) for the road.   I consider this a win because normally I would have just hit the road and grabbed a bagel and butter from Tim Horton’s instead.  I am glad I stuck with my healthy plan!

On the road!  My teenaged stepdaughter was driving!

On the road! My teenaged stepdaughter was driving!

 

Workout 1:  Upon arriving in North Bay, we met up with my first-year university roommate and best friend!   She is home visiting from China and had to drive two hours to meet up with us so I was so thrilled to see her!  We enjoyed a lovely stroll along the waterfront and even got to hear Hedley doing their sound check!

Lunch:  After our hangout at the waterfront, we went out for lunch at Boston Pizza.  I had planned for this meal and had looked forward to indulging:  I decided to have a 1/2 Boston Brute sandwich (toasted panini bread with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and various Italian meats – basically like a pizza sub), a side Caesar salad, and a Diet Coke.  It was delicious, I enjoyed every single bite, and best of all, I got to chat with a long-lost friend!  Lunch was a total of 20 points.

Waterfront walks with my bestie!

Waterfront walks with my bestie!

After lunch, we said a goodbye to my friend (such a short but sweet visit!) and headed to the mall to do a bit of shopping.  Then we returned to my husband’s best friend’s place to cook dinner and rest up before the night’s festivities!

Dinner:  We had planned to cook dinner at our friend’s place to both save money and to eat healthier.  My hubby and kids had burgers and macaroni salad while I had one of my grilled turkey burgers, veggies and feta (that I had packed in a cooler and brought with us).   Dinner was 5 points.

Healthy and easy dinner at "home" instead of eating out.

Healthy and easy dinner at “home” instead of eating out.

After dinner, we walked to the concert venue and stopped at Tim Horton’s along the way.  The others ordered iced cappuccinos and chills (like milkshakes) but I decided just to have a bottle of water.  Another success!

That night we surprised our kids (12 and 17) with tickets to a Hedley concert (for my American readers, Hedley is a pretty famous Canadian pop-rock band).  The concert was amazing and I now have a slight obsession with Hedley going on (especially the super sexy lead singer Jacob Hoggard!) Honestly though, this guy’s voice is so powerful and amazing, and unlike many other bands they actually almost sound better live!   Needless to say we had a blast (despite my son’s little episode of dehydration – a little water and escape from the crowd had him good to go in no time!) After the concert, we walked back to our friend’s place (about a 30-min walk) and then I had to go rescue my parents who had missed their bus back to their campsite!  By this time, it was after midnight and I was literally ravenous.  My hubby had taken the kids out to grab some McDonald’s so I decided to grab some for myself too.  I wolfed down a kids’ McNuggets meal and a Diet Coke which turned out to only be 9 points so not too bad at all.

Sorry for the poor picture quality, however I strongly recommend seeing this band live!

Sorry for the poor picture quality, however I strongly recommend seeing this band live!

 

We met up with my Mom, Dad and some other family at the concert. Here's me and my Mama loving the music!

We met up with my Mom, Dad and some other family at the concert. Here’s me and my Mama loving the music!

Saturday – Day 25

Brunch:  We slept in the next morning so had brunch at our friend’s house before hitting the road again. I had an egg and turkey bacon with water but also treated myself to a piece of Texas toast and butter! I made my coffee (and cream) for the road though because we had just over an hour’s drive to my in-laws. With my coffee, brunch came to 16 points.

Dinner: On the way to my in-laws we stopped in to say hi to my brother-in-law at his shop and ended up staying there for two hours!  By the time we left, we were all quite hungry!  I could tell my husband really just wanted to grab some fast food so we could get going to his mom’s but I really didn’t want to eat takeout again (too many points!) so we decided to just cook once we got there.   Once we arrived, I warmed up the leftover burgers and decided to just have one of those with everyone else instead of making my usual turkey burger and veggies (I even had a bun!) I tried some of the macaroni salad too but didn’t like it so only ate a few bites (was not going to waste calories on something that wasn’t even that great!) Instead, because it was easy and convenient, I munched on some Quakers mini rice cakes and had a Diet Coke to go with my burger.   Dinner was a total of 17 points.

My MIL and hubby.

My MIL and hubby.

 

After dinner, we got to hang out in my in-laws backyard which is gorgeous!  My MIL is a gardener and grows all kinds of her own vegetables, fruits, and flowers.  They have a cozy, furnished outdoor living space, and best of all, a beautiful in ground swimming pool!  The weather has been amazing lately so it was a gloriously hot summer evening.  My son and I enjoyed a dip in the pool and then we hung out with the family.  My MIL brought out some chocolate-peanut butter squares for dessert and guys, let me tell you, these things were massive!  I couldn’t resist chocolate though so I cut a tiny piece off and had that instead.

Snack:  So my in-laws also live down the street from Dairy Queen which we don’t have where I live.  It’s a tradition to go there at least once whenever we’re visiting so we headed down there for a treat!  I had planned for this indulgence too, so I decided to go with the chocolate milkshake.  Only later that night when I looked up the points did I realize it was 37 points!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  I knew it would be a lot of points but I was thinking about 20, not 37!  Anyway, I had already enjoyed it (and it was delicious!) so it was too late.  But I will definitely have to keep this in mind next time we hit Dairy Queen!  Needless to say, when we got back to the house and decided to have a campfire, I was able to convince my kids that the s’mores we had planned on making could wait until the next night!

So many points!!!

So many points!!!

 

We couldn't keep this kid out of the pool if we tried!

We couldn’t keep this kid out of the pool if we tried!

Sunday – Day 26

Breakfast:  We cooked breakfast at my in-laws and I stuck with my usual turkey bacon and egg. (Side note: turkey bacon is so easy to pre-cook and then easily warm up either in the microwave or a stove-top!) I made my coffee (and cream) and enjoyed it on the ride into town for an afternoon of shopping with my daughter!

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Lunch:  After a few hours of shopping, we decided to grab lunch at the food court in the mall.  I decided to have Mr. Souvlaki since this is again not something we can get at home and I absolutely love Greek food!  I ordered the chicken souvlaki plate which is basically a chicken souvlaki kebab, tzaztiki sauce, rice, Greek salad, and roasted potatoes. I ate almost all of it except for a bit of the rice and potatoes!  I also had a Diet Pepsi with it (I have been trying not to drink Diet pop but considered it a treat while on holidays, plus it’s 0 WW points).  Lunch came to a total of 18 points.

Food court lunch

Food court lunch

Snack and Dinner: After more shopping (I bought the cutest, native-inspired dress!) we decided to grab a treat before heading back to my in-laws.  I chose a fat-free frozen yogurt waffle cone from Laura Secord but was a little disappointed when I later found out it was still about 15 points!  However, it was incredibly yummy (probably even more so than the previous night’s milkshake!).  Then we grabbed some groceries to take back to cook for dinner (again, budget- and waist-friendly).  My daughter wanted sausages so we grabbed those and a veggie tray and headed back to my in-laws.  By the time we got back, I was feeling pretty tired again.  Everyone was lounging by the pool and although I had intended to make one of my turkey burgers and veggies for dinner, my father-in-law offered to grill up the sausages and then set it out with the veggie tray and potatoes.  Being tired and having dinner set out in front of me makes it really hard to say no, so I caved here and had a sausage (with bun) for dinner.  I had a few of the carrots and dip and some more rice cakes as well, for a total of about 21 points (ugh!) After dinner, my daughter had busted open the cookies we bought to make s’mores so I had one of those for another 2 points.

By the pool

By the pool

After dinner, we hung out in the backyard by the pool, visited with family, and had a lot of good laughs!  Later in the night we had another campfire and this time me and the kids made s’mores.  I had planned on having just one but it was so good that I had a second.  By then, I felt so full and kind of disappointed with myself for indulging so much!  So then, when my daughter brought out a bag of chips a little while later, I snuck a small handful.  Between the s’mores and the chips, I figure I tacked on another 11 points to my day.

Family by the pool

Family by the pool

Monday – Day 27

Brunch: We slept in once again and then had brunch at my in-laws.  I stuck with my usual egg and turkey bacon but couldn’t resist the Texas toast (I had two slices with butter!) I also made my usual coffee (with cream) for our road trip home.

Lunch:  A few hours later we decided to make a stop for lunch.  To keep it cheap, we hit Wendy’s.  I am not going to lie – I didn’t really put much effort into making a healthy choice this time.  At this point, I had that old, familiar feeling of the weekend is “blown” so what does it matter now?  I ordered a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger, small fries, and Diet Coke.  It was quite yummy but I don’t think it’s really worth the 21 points it cost me!  (Yikes!)

After lunch, we hit the road again with another four hours of driving ahead of us!   About halfway through I munched on some mini rice cakes and drank another Diet Pepsi (see how easily that habit creeps back in?!) We didn’t stop for dinner though so by the time we got home I wanted something fast and easy.  My solution?  Hotdogs (of which I had two).  Man, it’s so easy to eat badly when you haven’t planned out your meals!

All in all though despite going way over my points and not really staying on plan this weekend, I did do some things right.  For example, I still tracked all my food and calculated my points (even when they added up to scary realities!) I did make some conscious decisions and cooked at “home” quite a bit which definitely saved me from consuming even more points.  Also, I learned some things:  I learned that meal prepping and planning is essential and that it is way too easy to eat crap if you don’t plan and wait until you are too tired to care before eating.  I learned that DQ milkshakes are delicious but still not sure if they are really worth more points than my regular daily allowance!  And most of all, I learned that it is okay to have a blast of a weekend with your family, indulge in way too many treats, and then get right back to healthy eating – which is exactly what I am going to do tomorrow!

Everything was worth it for quality time with these three!

Everything was worth it for quality time with these three!

And all this being said, tomorrow is Day 28 which means I only have three more days until my 30-day plan is complete!  Tomorrow is also weigh-in (I’m totally expecting to be up after this weekend) and this coming Friday, my husband and I leave for our annual, kid-free, anniversary vacation!  Can’t wait!

27 days down, 3 to go!