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)!!!!

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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

Whole30 – Day 24-30

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Apologize for being M.I.A this last week…it was a crazy one! Planned my best friends engagement party for this past Saturday and had a little fun with decorations, food, and favors 🙂 ! We had such a great time and seeing her face when she walked into the party just made my heart so happy as I had kept it all a surprise!!! I stayed the course even through a stressful week and being surrounded by delicious wine and treats this weekend!

But aren’t these cookies cute?!?

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I made them for the party as favors. Didn’t have one taste…scouts honor! I honestly wasn’t even tempted to…which is pretty awesome for me since I used to have an AWFUL sweet-tooth!

TODAY is day 30 of the Whole30! I cannot believe how fast time has flown. I am nervous. Not ready for it all to be over. The timeline totally hits the nail on the head with how I have been feeling the last couple of days…

Days 29-30: HolyOprahIt’sAlmostOverWhatAmIGoingToEatNow?!?!?!

It’s day 29, and you’re still rocking. The thoughts you had yesterday of throwing in the towel are gone. You cruise through the day and as you crawl into bed you have a small thought that then grows into full-blown cold-sweat panic. Holy crap. Tomorrow is day 30. The last day. What the hell are you going to do after that?! You worked so hard, fought through all the anger, the naps, the cravings to get to the awesome you’re feeling now. The rules have been your backbone, your lifeline, your excuse for being “that person” in social situations. Are you just going to give them up on day 31? No. You firmly resolve that there will be no deviation on day 31. If it ain’t broke…

It’s totally normal to feel a twinge of panic as your Whole30 comes to a close. For the past month, you’ve lived, breathed, and literally eaten the rules. You feel incredible in your new high-octane body. It’s natural to hesitate at the thought of making any changes – even if the change is a return to what was “normal” for you before. And, the truth is, you don’t have to go back to the way you used to eat. But keep in mind that the Whole30 was intended to be a reset, an introduction into the world of Good Food. I know it’s scary, but keep an open mind, okay?

I had a long conversation with my mom the other day about how I feel that with the way I have been living my life the past 30 days is how I want live out the rest of my life as well as my families (currently just my husband but someday our kids) lives, too. The way I am feeling; mind, body, and soul; the way my clothes are fitting, my energy levels, my overall attitude…how could I ever want to go back to feeling any less great than I do now? Well, I don’t.

I have continued my research and bought a couple more books to read about living a Paleo lifestyle and I am an absolute believer in it all. I always used to wonder why I was tired all the time after getting a full nights rest, or why my stomach would just feel yucky after eating grains, diary, or beans, or why with eating 5-small meals a day and working out, I still didn’t feel my best. After eliminating all of these things from my diet for a month (including added sugar), sticking to a three-meal a day plan (with good, healthy fats/carbs, proteins, veggies, and occasional fruits), really feeling, noticing, and seeing a tremendous difference in my body; a lightbulb went off…our bodies really cannot digest this stuff (grains, dairy, legumes, etc.). So with feeling this amazing, why would I want to put any of it back in? Again, I don’t.

I plan to live a Paleo lifestyle. My husband is completely on board and wants to do a Whole30 in the coming weeks. I plan to do it again with him for support (and I loved it so why not do it again 😉 )! He was super skeptical at first but after seeing and hearing my results, he is totally ready to change his life, too. And he is excited for all the yummy meals! (He has been pretty jealous of all the things I have been making for us (my mom, best friend, and I)…hehe…sorry babe!)

I have been waking up feeling strong, powerful, alive, and capable! I sincerely hope you all have been, too. And if not, try to find the reasons why; are you not getting enough sleep? Are you stressed? Not eating enough nutritious foods? I encourage you to take some time for you to help yourself feel better, stronger, and more powerful. If you find yourself getting stressed or upset about something, take a walk, grab your iPod or plug-in your favorite CD and dance it out, or call a friend. It is good to find positive ways to deal with stress to help us be the best we can be for ourselves and all who are around us. Through perseverance, we can do anything we set our minds and our hearts to!

XO,

Val

Compliment of the day: I am proud of myself that even through a super stressful week and being at a party with old trigger foods for me, that I did not cave and stayed the course.

P/S I am excited to share more about my new lifestyle! I promise to be better about my updates! I had forgotten how much better I feel after writing a blog! More soon! 😀

Whole30 – Day 19-23

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I am feeling good, no great, NO FANTASTIC! 😀 Today just feels especially grand. Feeling on Cloud 9 and just so excited for what each new day is going to bring from here on out. It almost feels like a new book has been started for me. A fresh page, a new start, a better me…and I am so excited to see what the new pages will be filled with and where it all takes me.

A few bits of exciting news…

1. Put on a pair of jeans this weekend that were fitting a bit snug a few weeks ago and they are too big! Always such an awesome feeling when you not only feel results but can start seeing them, too! Definitely feeling the Tiger’s Blood that they talk about on the Whole30 timeline.

2. My mom has NO headache! Started crying when she told me Friday as I had been so worried about her sweet little head and going 19 days with a migraine! She completely powered through that with no complaints! AND she won teacher of the month from Channel 4 News! This is her second award this year for being an outstanding teacher! Way to go, mom! I am sooooooooooooo unbelievably proud of you!!! 🙂

3. My physical therapist told me on Friday that he definitely thinks he is going to be able to help repair my knee WITHOUT surgery!!! Ah…music to my ears! 😀 Lifted my spirits and restored my faith in the system. Nice to have a medical professional who actually cares and wants to help me rather than just push me off to the side.

4. Also, my PT approved swimming as a form of cardio for me (as he saw my face when he told me no more tabata, running, etc). I went for the first time this morning and fell in LOVE with it!!! I used to swim all the time when I was younger; my mom always called me a fish and my hair was green all summer long. Forgotten how much I enjoyed being in the water! Most definitely will continue swimming even when I am approved to put impact back on my knee.

imagesI am a true believer that if you put your mind (and your heart) to something, you can absolutely do whatever it is you want to do. Sometimes trying something new is scary, especially when you are used to a routine, but I encourage you to try something new for yourself. For me, swimming was a huge leap. I have gotten so used to doing a certain kind of cardio that when it was taken away, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I thought (for maybe a second 😉 ) about just sitting back and maybe walking here and there but for me, that is not enough. Feeling a bit unsure about trying something different, I thought, why not? You could fall in love with it and I have! When I got in the pool this morning, I was thinking I would just do a half an hour and before I knew it, an hour had already gone by! Try something new today, anything, and share with me what you did! As I always say, through perseverance, we can do anything we set out to do!

XO

Val

Day 19

Compliment for the day: Even though you look a little wacky when you wake up, you are still beautiful!

PreWorkout Snack: Coffee with 1 tsp of coconut milk

Workout (at The Lean Lemon):  1 hour Cardio/Sculpt & 1.5 hours of PT

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey with butternut squash

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Sausage patty with hard-boiled egg and tomato with some blueberries

Lunch: Cauliflower clam chowder with bacon

Dinner: Spaghetti squash with meatballs & brown mushroom gravy

Day 20

Compliment for the day: High-five to you for your jeans fitting lose! 🙂

Workout: PT @home

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Breakfast Skillet (elk steak with sweet potatoes & peppers) with an egg

Lunch: Spaghetti squash with meatballs & brown mushroom gravy with some blueberries

Dinner: Chicken curry with cauliflower rice

Snack: Handful of coconut flakes, half of an apple, and some tahini

Day 21

Compliment for the day: Glad you took the time and slept in today with your hubby!

Workout:  PT @home

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Breakfast Skillet (elk steak with sweet potatoes & peppers) with an egg

Lunch: Chicken curry with cauliflower rice

Dinner: Egg pizza’s with artichoke and homemade mayo

Day 22

Compliment for the day: If feels good to be alive, healthy, and well! SMILE!

PreWorkout Snack: Coffee with 1 tsp of coconut milk

Workout (at The Lean Lemon): 1 hour Sculpt & 1 hour of laps in the pool

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey with butternut squash

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Fiesta Bowl with avo dressing, tomato, and olives with a few strawberries

Lunch: Egg pizza’s with artichoke and homemade mayo

Dinner: Salmon w/avo broccoli & beets

Day 23

PreWorkout Snack: Coffee with 1 tsp of coconut milk

Compliment for the day: Will update…

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey with butternut squash

Workout (at The Lean Lemon): 1 hour Sculpt + 1.5 PT

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Sweet potato hash with an egg and slice of homemade bacon

Lunch: Salmon w/avo broccoli & beets

Dinner: Egg pizza’s with artichoke and homemade mayo

 

 

Whole30 – Day 16, 17, & 18 + A little disappointment

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Feeling a bit down after getting the results back about my knee the other day. Luckily, there is no structural damage but I was basically told I would have to live with the pain and the swelling. At 25, I have to just learn to live with knee pain for the rest of my life? I don’t think so. After the doctor gave me the news, I started asking questions to find out ways I could help my knee. Finally got a few things out of him… (I wasn’t going to let him get away with just telling me to live with it after spending all the time and money to get into see him)… he gave me a steroid injection in my knee, as well as a patella stabilizer brace (nicknamed BB – blue behemoth or big blue – pic below), and recommended a return to sports program at their physical therapists office. Before ending the appointment, he explained that none of these things may work and he may have to go in surgically anyways, but, I plan to avoid that at all costs.

Meet BB…

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She’s a beaut…eh?

I had my assessment at physical therapy yesterday morning and was told my knee is in bad shape and that I am no longer allowed to workout the lower half of my body. No impact, running, TRX, jumping, HIIT, tabata…nothing…for about 1.5-2 months. 😦 Stab to the heart…I do NOT do well when I am told I can’t do something, especially when it comes to fitness and exercise. I mean, don’t they know I just finally got back up to feeling fantastic and working out everyday?!? How can I go from being able to give it my all (with a limp…oops) to now being restricted? I know…I know…I have to listen, not be stubborn, and do what I need to do to get my knee better as I do NOT want to live with this pain the rest of my life.

My mantra through this….

NeverGiveUp

I know I CAN and I WILL persevere through this! I will NOT let my knee hold me back from where I want to be. I feel too amazing to just throw it all away. I may have to alter how I workout a bit, but I will NEVER GIVE UP! I am thinking of looking into swimming and plan on doing a ton of upper body strengthening with my girls at the Lemon! WE GOT THIS!

Day 16-27 – Timeline

On Day 18 of the Whole30 and I feel absolutely phenomenal! The cravings and weird dreams have totally subsided! Even when I was pretty down yesterday and would, in the past, turn to sweets, I wasn’t even tempted to in the slightest! 🙂 Such an incredible feeling to know that I do not need to turn to food to fix my emotions! My relationship with food has DRASTICALLY changed for the better! I have definitely been researching more and more about living a Paleo lifestyle. Got a couple of cook books; Practical Paleo and Nom Nom Paleo Food for Humans so I can continue with this once the 30 (or 45…yes I may continue on past the 30) is complete. Just feel too dang incredible to not continue my life this way.

Now mind you, I still believe in finding the balance so of course little indulgences will be thrown in here and there (red wine, occasional sweet treat, etc.) but it will not be an everyday/all-the-time thing! BALANCE, not perfection!

Read a great article and watched some neat clips from Dr. Oz yesterday about switching to a Paleo lifestyle. Thought I would share them with you all…

Paleo Diet Playbook – article

Your Personal Paleo Code: The Diet to Lose Weight and Get Healthy for Life – video (3 parts)

ANYONE can make this lifestyle change whichever way works best for them. With the results I have had and feel with only 18 days of the 30, I HIGHLY recommend at least giving it a try. Maybe try swapping out 2-3 meals a week for a Paleo meal and see what you think. (Also, read It Starts With Food… please, just an incredible read!) There are so many great resources for recipes and information about a Paleo lifestyle out there (Whole30, Nom Nom Paleo, The Clothes Make the Girl, Stupid Easy Paleo…). Give it a try and share what you think! The first few days were hard but it will now be how I will live out my life (with balance, of course!)…even my husband is on board! 🙂 Through determination and perseverance, we can do whatever we put our minds and hearts to!

Day 16

Compliment for the day: Keep positive thoughts all day for the knee (doctors appointment today).

PreWorkout Snack: Coffee with 1 tsp of coconut milk

Workout (at The Lean Lemon):  1 hour Cardio/Sculpt & 30 mins Insanity

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey with butternut squash

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Chicken and pork sausage, hard-boiled egg, mushrooms, & strawberries, bananas, and coconut flakes with almond milk and a dash of cinnamon

Lunch: Salmon with avocado, roasted asparagus, and brussel sprouts

Dinner: Pork sliders with sweet potato buns and a cucumber salad

Day 17

PreWorkout Snack: Coffee with 1 tsp of coconut milk

Compliment for the day: Proud that I stood up to my doctor and asked for alternative ways to fix my knee rather than just having to live with it or having to have surgery.

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey with butternut squash

Workout (at The Lean Lemon): 30 mins Sculpt & 30 mins TRX abs + 1.5 hours of physical therapy

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Chicken and pork sausage, hard-boiled egg, carrots, and strawberries

Lunch: Pork sliders with sweet potato buns and a cucumber salad

Dinner: TACOS!

Day 18

Compliment for the day: I am proud of you for not giving up on what you are striving for even though you are restricted with your knee!

PreWorkout Snack: 1 cup of Homemade Almond Milk

Workout (at The Lean Lemon):  1 hour Sculpt (no cardio) & 30 mins Core

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey with butternut squash

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Sweet potato hash with two eggs, pork, and strawberries

Lunch: TACOS!

Dinner: Cauliflower Clam Chowder w/homemade bacon

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

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