Pushing Forward…

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Hi guys! Apologies for being a bit M.I.A….took some much needed R&R with the hubby! 🙂

All has been well! Still living, learning, and loving Paleo! Feeling fantastic, fit, and strong! Hubby has been getting to enjoy all the meals I make now and I don’t think he has ever complimented my food so much! Makes my heart happy! ❤ I just LOVE to cook!!!

My PT gave me the clear to try a bit of impact cardio so I gave it a whirl yesterday. My knee was not happy and I was bummed. 😞 I do not do well with having to take steps back. But I will NOT give up; I will keep pushing and persevering through this! Taking some advice from my PT, I plan to try and stay on-top of the pain with Aleve, which seems to help but I don’t want to be taking it always. My sweet friend, Janelle, shared some of her Deep Blue DoTerra Essential Oil with me and I put it on my knee before bed last night and my knee felt amazing this morning! I am all for natural/holistic medicine so hoping it will continue to help so I don’t have to take Aleve everyday.

What helps you push through tough times? I would love to hear some advice on how you work through struggles and/or feeling defeated.

More updates to come! Exciting things happening…

And remember…

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…and through perseverance and determination, we can do anything we set our minds and our hearts to! ❤️

XO,

Val

A Bit of Inspiration

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As I went to get into the pool yesterday, I noticed that there was a chair and a prosthetic leg lying up against it outside of the lane next to me. When I looked down and saw the gentleman swimming, I got choked up and a smile came across my face. It was an absolute amazing thing to witness and I couldn’t get over how incredible of a swimmer he was when all he was able to use was his arms. Isn’t it just so incredibly inspirational to see someone not making any excuses and just getting after what they want to do, regardless of their limitations?

While I was swimming, my mind and body were just racing with positive thoughts and energy. I literally couldn’t stop smiling while I was swimming (which I guess is why my nose had been running all day from all the water I took in 😉 )! It is truly amazing how one person can give off such a vibe that it just sets your whole day right and reminded me that;

WE must do the things WE think WE cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

No matter what! This guy swimming with one leg was a great example of that! Sometimes we may think we can’t do something, get scared, or are unsure of trying something new but I absolute encourage you to just TRY. Even if you fail, you will never have to look back and question, “what if”.

I was unsure about partaking in the Whole30 thinking there was no way I would be able to stick to such a strict way of eating but I completed it and plan to continue on with paleo living. Deciding to dedicate myself to the program, being able to accomplish and see my results after the 30 days, helped open my eyes to not be so scared to try new things. Even if it fails or doesn’t stick at least I know that I will have put 100% of myself and tried.

With this new journey, I know I will make slips and mistakes along the way but I will never give up and I will keep pushing forward. It will forever be a learning experience and I am so excited to see where it all leads.

I encourage you all to…

do-one-thing-that-scares-youTry something that you have been scared try today. And even if you think it is impossible, remember what The Mad Hatter said to Alice;

Only if you believe it is.

Whatever you decide to try, give it a day, then a week, then 30-days, and maybe even a year! Please share with me what you tried or are going to try! I am here to support you and through perseverance, WE can do anything we set our minds and our hearts to!

XO,

Val

Moving Forward after the Whole30

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Nervous, scared, fantastic, apprehensive, excited…a few things I have been feeling since completing the Whole30. And a big question that keeps popping up in my head, where do I go from here? My answer…to continue to move forward with what I have been doing the past 30 days, with a few things added in here and there. As I have said throughout, I really truly feel too amazing not to. 🙂

Now when I say with a few things added in, let me explain…

My husband and I went on a date night Friday night (MUCH needed as we had not gone on one in months 😦 ) and I was honestly a bit nervous about going to a place that possibly didn’t offer ‘paleo’ approved meals as I absolutely do not like to be a bother or ask people to change things. When we had decided on a restaurant, I looked them up online and decided to call to ask if their chef would be willing to make my meal paleo compliant. The hostess asked the chef and told me it would be no problem and to just let my server know when we sat down. I did as such and the waitress was nice but didn’t really seem to quite understand and told me she would have to charge me a couple extra bucks for the additional veggies instead of mashed potatoes. Found it a little odd but we had a great meal none-the-less and spent the quality time together that we needed to. I decided that after 30 days without wine (which I thoroughly enjoy every now and again) that I was going to enjoy a glass and I DID! 😀 Savored every last drop until the moment we got up to leave. I will continue to enjoy my wine but not as an everyday occurrence, of course.

After dinner, for some out-left-field reason, fro-yo just sounded delicious. Found it odd as I really hadn’t had any cravings in the last few weeks and was a bit nervous about trying this now ‘foreign’ food that I had gone without for 30 days (a.k.a dairy). The hubs and I talked about it for a bit and decided to give it a whirl because how was I ever going to know if my body can digest dairy if I don’t try it again.

When we pulled up to the fro-yo shop, it took me a minute to get out of the car. Seriously, I was SO nervous. Reason being that I kind of already knew in the back of my mind that my body wasn’t going to tolerate it but I decided to try it anyways and I am glad I did. I found that I really don’t enjoy fro-yo like I used to and my body CANNOT digest dairy! Oh my word. What a horrible way to end our date night. 😦 I was bummed and felt bad for my hubby that he had to spend the rest of the night with me with an awful stomach ache but he was proud of me. Proud that I actually decided to just experiment with it to find that it does not agree with me.

Now, I know that I will probably not go throughout my life without having dairy again. But, if and when I decide to indulge in food that has dairy in it, I will need to determine if it is worth it due to the repercussions I will experience after. (TMI…I know, I know 😉 ) I actually read a blog post the other day that mentioned doing exactly what I stated above…that we have to decide for ourselves if an indulgence is truly worth it and determine if it is going to wreck our path or not. I absolutely agree with this and do not think it is necessary to indulge on things that just aren’t worth it. I want to truly enjoy the treat I decide to indulge on, not just have something because it is there. And, off the top of my head, the only things I can honestly think of that are worth the indulgence are few of my family and friends homemade goodies for celebrations/holidays. Those have true meaning and significance for me as they put the time and the effort into them and they are deliciously WORTH it. 😀

I was telling my husband the next morning that I feel like I have really found a greater balance with food and treats. I used to crave sweets ALL the time and now I truly don’t. Of course, I know that sugar dragon will rear its ugly head every now and again but I know what to do to tame him. And life is too dang short to not give in from time to time. As I have said numerous times before, it’s not about perfection but balance.

I absolutely adore this quote by Walt Disney;

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

It totally fits with how I have been feeling. I do not want to ever look or go back to having a poor relationship with food. This new lifestyle will forever be a journey and an adventure for me. I plan to continue moving forward and continue learning about the paleo way of living knowing that there will be twists and turns and things thrown my way that my take me off course and may even lead me down a different path. With completing the Whole30, I really feel I have gained the knowledge to listen more to my body about what it truly needs along with gaining the tools and a better understanding about how to get myself back on track if need be. Through perseverance, I CAN do anything I set my mind and my heart to.

XO,

Val

P/S A little video to make your day bright. “Happy” by Pharrell Willams. It made me smile and just couldn’t help but get up and dance (hubby joined me too)!!!!

Whole30 – Results

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17lbs…lost

2.5 inches around my waist…gone

Feeling the best I have ever felt…priceless.

(Yes, I used what all the MasterCard commercials use. Kind of just fit perfect.)

The numbers are how much my body has changed in 30 days. But I am honestly not focused on that. I mean, I am shocked, elated, and jumping for joy over these results but what I am more in ‘awe’ over is how my mind, body, and soul all feel. I literally feel the best I have felt in as long as I can remember and it is such an incredible feeling.

Here are my before and after photos…hard to post to the world but here they are…

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I still have work to do (would like to lose 6 more lbs and continue to gain back my muscle) but I am on the right path to get myself there again and dang does it feel sublime!

Thinking back to Day 1, I remember how I was feeling the morning I took my before photos; I was miserable. Before I had even started the Whole30, I was covering myself in baggy clothes and wouldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I did not feel good and was disgusted, unhappy, cranky, weak, and tired. I wasn’t me and I did not like who I was turning into which, in my eyes, was a lazy slob. After receiving my medical news in November of 2013 and being put on zombie drugs for my anxiety (revert back to my first blog), I slipped into a bit of a depressive state and I just didn’t care. Didn’t care what I was eating or drinking, if I was working out, and was constantly making excuses. I decided to stop taking the meds for my anxiety and woke up one morning and was done with it all. I was ready to change my life, to get back to feeling like me again, and wanting to be happy in my skin.

After a heart-to-heart with my trainer and wondering how to get myself jump-started, I came across the Whole30 program in an email from PopSugarFitness, “Try the Whole30 For Just One Day“. I had no idea what it was all about but was intrigued just from reading the first paragraph. Went to the Whole30 webpage, read the rules and thought to myself, “this is the exact jumpstart you need”, and I committed to start the program the next week. I bought their book, It Starts With Food, and convinced my mom and best friend to do it all with me.

30…well, now 32…days later and I honestly feel the best I have EVER felt since I started my weight-loss journey in August of 2011. When I weighed in on day 31, I was completely shocked when my trainer told me how much I had lost as I did not know what my starting weight was. And to be 100% honest, I was a bit disappointed with the fact that I had put some weight back on, but still extremely pumped none-the-less as I decided to do something about it rather than sit back and just throw away 2.5 years of hard work.

I am back on track, back to feeling like myself, and starting to be comfortable in my skin again. I have truly missed feeling all these amazing, wonderful, incredible things. I am sad that I lost it all for a while but so over-the-moon that I am gaining it all back. I am gaining VAL back. 😀 And I want to do everything in my power to make sure not to lose her again.

My overall goal for this was to not only help myself get back on track but have hoped that sharing these last 30 days have helped inspire someone to want to do something to better themselves, whatever that may be; starting a fitness regimen, eating better, getting a promotion at work, or setting and exceeding a personal goal. Start small, take baby-steps, and know that you may fall down a couple of times but make sure to pick yourself right back up and keeping moving forward! I am here to support you and I thank you for supporting me. As always, through perseverance, we can do anything we set our minds and our hearts to.

XO,

Val

My Mind Games

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Had a minor hiccup yesterday on my new quest. 😦

As I had mentioned in my first post, when I started my original journey, I did it on my own without anyone knowing (except for my mom and husband) meaning I worked out at home, not in front of people (too scary!). It worked really well as it helped me lose the first of my weight but, as I am sure you have all experienced, I got bored. I was apprehensive but decided to try working out in the gym with others doing group classes and was so PUMPED at the energy that I was getting from everyone. It got me excited to workout again! This is what led me to The Lean Lemon, which came with two fantastic trainers (who are now two of my dearest friends) and some really incredible women, and a few cool dudes, to workout with!

I went to the gym Tuesday morning to workout with my ladies. Having been off for over a month, I was a little nervous as there were new people in class and I just wasn’t feeling super confident. Workouts that used to be ‘easy’ for me, I was struggling with. My mind games started playing; these are people who follow me, who have seen me at my prime, what are they going to think now? Are they going to not want to look to me for inspiration? Are they going to think I am a slacker? (Ridiculous, right? I know. I hate those stupid voices in my head.  And it isn’t until after I am being so ridiculous that I realize how ridiculous I am.)

I reached out to my trainer yesterday morning as I made the decision to not go to my morning workout class as I was feeling ashamed and decided to just workout at home. I thought to myself, “maybe it would be good to just workout at home again until you get back to where you were”.  I explained this to her and she was shocked. She gave me the tough love that I needed to hear, “Do you think anyone else here has a clue what you were able to do four weeks ago? Do you really think they notice that you aren’t at your top performance? No. They are focused on their own stuff. They notice that you aren’t here and they miss you”. Tears began immediately streaming down my face. How could I be so RIDICULOUS? Mind games. Awful.

I absolutely DO NOT want to do this behind closed doors again which is a big reason why had I decided to start my blog. The support, love, and laughter I get when working out with my girls are what set my mood right for the whole rest of the day.  I mean, jeez, my workout BFF sang a song to me this morning to keep me pushing, where else am I going to get that?!! Nowhere. (I mean I could sing myself a song, but that is just no fun! 😉 )

This fit-life journey is all about jumping over and learning from hurdles. I am still learning how to calm the mind games and it is something I will probably always have to work on. But, if you can find that person to go to, to snap you out of your funk, you have found the golden ticket. I am lucky to have to found that in my trainer/friend. 🙂

As the quote says above, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Couldn’t have said it better. Writing and sharing my triumphs and struggles has been my first step. I want to be 100% honest with all of you as I feel it is important not only for me but to possibly help someone else. As I say, through perseverance, we can!

Much love,

Val

A Little Fun Encouragement :-)

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My mom sent me the video below this morning! Needed after a pep talk with my trainer this AM about a few of my mind games. It just hit home and touched my heart and soul! We have to make this life awesome as we only get one! I know I needed this today. Do you know someone who needs a little encouragement?? Send them this vid. It made my day. 🙂

A Pep Talk from Kid President to YOU!

Much love,

Val

This is me…

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Well, how does one introduce oneself on a blog? Is it like you would do in one of those ‘anonymous’ classes? Hi, my name is Val, I like to eat food and work out. Sure, that about sums me up. 😉

After all, those of you who are reading this probably know that I have wanted to start a blog for a while, but just couldn’t get the courage to do so. As of January 20th, I was finally ready. After my workout on that Monday night, I broke down to my friend/trainer as I had hit a wall after two and a half years of starting my lifestyle change, working out religiously, eating pretty on point, and losing sixty lbs. My breakdown was purely that I had fallen off track by not working out and eating/drinking whatever I wanted. This wasn’t me, and I was so afraid of going back after I had worked so hard to get to where I was.

Let’s backtrack a bit to when I started this ‘fit-life’ journey. July 22nd, 2011, about seven months after I graduated UNR with my bachelors in Business Management, I woke up and was done. Done feeding my body junk, done not having any energy or motivation, done with the excuses, and done with feeling like crap. Let’s backtrack a little more…I was always SUPER active in high school. College came and I wasn’t required to take a PE class or be on a team so, heck, why not take this as a free pass?

Worst. Decision. Ever.

I put on forty lbs in college…yes…40…and an additional ten after Brandon and I were married…so…50…ACK! I wouldn’t say I was in ‘denial’ about my weight gain, but I just ignored it thinking it would just correct itself on its own and I would make excuses as to why I was having to buy bigger sizes. I wouldn’t even look at myself in the mirror and hated taking or seeing pictures of myself. I would get dressed, do my make-up and hair–all in the dark. I just couldn’t stand to see the person who was staring back at me.

Back to July 22nd, 2011…as I said, I was done. Pulled my phone out and typed ‘a lifestyle change diet’. This search led me to the Fat Smash Diet by Ian Smith on Amazon. I ordered the book, read it from cover to cover, and decided that on August 1st, 2011, the excuses were going to stop and I was going to change my life, and I did. I did Ian’s 90-day program and lost the first 25lbs. I ended up having to have back surgery in March of 2012 due to a herniated disc, which set me back a few months, but once I was back up and running, I starting researching; ‘clean eating’, different workout plans, advice, tips, fitness blogs… anything that was fitness related and lost 60lbs! When I had started the Fat Smash, I didn’t want anyone to know about it so I kept it a secret as I wasn’t sure, at the time, if I would stick with it based on my poor excuses I was using before. After I started having success and kept with it, I decided to start holding myself accountable and posting things on FB and Instagram to not only help myself, but to help possibly inspire others to want to make a healthy change for themselves as well. Hearing positive comments, praise, and congratulations from loved ones helped keep my drive to want to be my absolute best! And I kept hearing from friends and even people I hadn’t talked with in years about how much I was motivating and inspiring them to want to make a healthy change!!! (An overwhelmingly amazing feeling to hear when you can help others!)

February 2013, I went into my doctors to have some blood work done as my doctor just wanted to do a checkup. My blood results came back relatively good, but my cholesterol levels and liver enzymes were up. My doctor wasn’t super concerned as she felt my body was just out-of-whack from my huge weight loss and wanted me to get a re-check in September. My numbers came back worse. I freaked. How the heck at 25 years old do I have HIGH cholesterol?!? I don’t eat red meat often, no butter, cream, bacon; I drink water like it’s going out of style, and eat clean. I was a wreck. My mom calmed me down reminding me that high cholesterol was common in my family as my grandma had trouble with it at a young age as well.

In my appointment to go over my results, it was determined that I would have to go on medication for the high cholesterol, and I really just didn’t have a choice as genetic high cholesterol is really hard to manage without being on something. Of course, with all of this information coming at me, I was a bit overwhelmed. My doc asked me,

Are you this anxious all the time?

I never really have considered myself anxious, but let me be honest, I am. She wanted me to try an anti-anxiety med. Not ever having been on one, I agreed. She explained to me how they would work and that the first one she prescribed may not be the correct “fit” for me, and we may have to try a few.

Okay. Got it.

Three weeks after being on the first prescribed one, I was a zombie. I literally did not care about anything; ‘Oh, the laundry is piled up, Oh well; my phone is ringing, huh, odd; my alarm is going off, tough, I am going to sleep’. It was the worst feeling in the world. Went back in, she prescribed me something else, same results. It was affecting my life; I didn’t want to get up to work out, and I just didn’t care about what I was eating and that just wasn’t me.

January 20th, 2014, after about two months of being off track, I lost it. Feeling like crap again, not wanting to look at myself in the mirror…I was so ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed, and sad. How could I just be okay with throwing away all of my hard work and letting down all the people who had supported and inspired me? I cried to my friend for an hour and later to my husband, but they both knew what to say to get my mind right;

Val, you made the choice two and a half years ago to change your life and you did, you can do it again. You are the only one to have the power to change it and we know you can so just do it!

As of today, I am going to make that change again, and I am going to blog about it every step of the way: the ups, the downs, the workouts, and the recipes. The past couple of months have thrown some curveballs, but I wouldn’t change anything that has happened as I have really learned from it all. It’s OKAY to not be perfect, to not eat clean 100% of the time, to sleep in, and ENJOY a healthy, balanced life. That is what it is about. Balance. Finding it is hard, but once you do it will change your world. I am going to get there again and I hope to help whomever is reading this get there, too. Through perseverance, we can!

Much love,

Val