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

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…

IMG_0661 IMG_0660 IMG_0659 IMG_0658

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 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

Whole30 Day 12-15

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These dreams the last few nights have been so vivid and all about FOOD! Food I can’t have. Last night, the dream was all about me making biscuits. So strange as I don’t even like biscuits that much but I woke up feeling so guilty!

Days 12-15: Boundless energy! Now give me a damn Twinkie.

Hurray! The slump is over! Your pants fit again! Your energy levels are better than normal – you’re downright Tigger the bouncing tiger! But something weird is happening. You’re dreaming. Not crazy nightmare or strange surrealist dreams, either. Incredibly normal and realistic dreams – about donuts. Or Twinkies. Or Snickers.* In your mind, sometimes you get caught and feel guilty. Sometimes you just brazenly eat the contraband. But then, the feelings start following you into the waking hours. Suddenly, you’re craving things you don’t even like. (For me, it’s Diet Coke and Twinkies, for Melissa Hartwig, it was fast-food cheeseburgers!) Your co-workers’ heads transform into giant Girl Scout Cookies as you gaze on in disbelief. Seriously, you’ve almost hit the halfway mark, and now this?!

All joking aside, though, this phase gets really intense and for some people. This is the part of the program where our minds try to drive us back to the comfort of the foods we used to know. Our food relationships are deeply rooted and strongly reinforced throughout the course of our lives and breaking through them is really big deal. Journaling can be especially enlightening and helpful during this phase, and helpful for reflection later. Take some time to jot down what you’re craving, how you’re feeling and what tools you’re using to work through the cravings.

*The cravings people get, and the dreams they often have, rival those of pregnancy. One person told me they craved pickles and Doritos (together) during this phase!

I have had so much energy the last few days; waking without my alarm, bouncing off the walls a little bit, and just feeling clean and clear (but totally out of control… 😉 J/K horrible joke…silly Clean&Clear commercials).

As I was working out yesterday, I almost broke down into tears I was feeling so great. My body is starting to feel and look like it used to, I am excited for and can bust through my workouts, I am not as tired and cranky, and my complexion is clearing up! Getting back to being comfortable in my skin is such an incredible feeling. I had forgotten how amazing it truly is and the impact it has on my entire demeanor. Even my sweet husband mentioned to me the other day that he can tell that I am becoming happy and confident again and he has missed that!

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

Love this for today as this is EXACTLY what I was telling my trainer Friday after our workout. I am back on track, feeling so much better and getting comfortable in my skin again, and even though I am not exactly where I want to be, I will continue to persevere and get a little closer everyday. A forever journey that I am so unbelievably excited for again!

If you are afraid to do or start something to get yourself to where you want to be, whether it’s in a relationship, at your job, or your own health, start today. It may take time to get there but in the end, it will be so worth it. I am only on Day 14 of this Whole30 program and I cannot believe all the positive changes I feel and have made to get me to where I want to be. Give it two weeks or 30 days…you can do it as I am here to support you! Through perseverance, we can do whatever we put our minds and our hearts to.

XO,

Val

Day 12

Compliment for the day: I feel AWESOME and feel I am looking pretty awesome too! 😀

PreWorkout Snack: Water

Workout (at The Lean Lemon):  30 mins Core, 30 mins Cheeky, & 30 mins flexibility

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Ground pork sautéed with onions and apples with two eggs.

Lunch: Mini egg pizza’s with kale chips

Dinner: Mocha-rubbed pot roast with steamed beets and asparagus

Day 13

Compliment for the day: I am proud of myself for not giving into the Valentines day chocolate that I really wanted to give in to.

PreWorkout Snack: 1 cup of Homemade Almond Milk (so fun to make!)

Workout (at The Lean Lemon):  1 hour TurboKick, 30 mins Core, and 30 mins Cheeky

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea (and a homemade almond milk latte…yummm!)

Breakfast: Chicken, sausage, mushroom and spinach casserole with homemade pico

Lunch:  Mocha-rubbed pot roast with steamed beets and asparagus

Dinner: Chicken/Shrimp Tortilla-less soup

Day 14

Compliment for the day: Way to go on getting your chores done yesterday so your Sunday is free for fun and meal prepping!

Workout:  REST DAY

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Chicken, sausage, mushroom and spinach casserole with homemade pico

Lunch: Chicken/Shrimp Tortilla-less soup

Dinner: Garbage stir-fry

Day 15

Compliment for the day: (will update)

PreWorkout Snack: 1 cup of Homemade Almond Milk (so fun to make!)

Workout (at The Lean Lemon):  30 mins Sculpt & 30 mins Cheeky

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey & some butternut squash

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Sweet potato hash with two eggs and strawberries

Lunch: Garbage stir-fry

Dinner: Salmon w/avocado, steamed brussels and asparagus

Whole30 – Day 6 & 7

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I had a dream about cheese last night. All things deliciously cheesy. But I didn’t eat any of it as I kept saying, “I can’t have cheese on the Whole30”! Odd but so proud of myself! Too funny! (I have had some super cravings for Mexican food the last couple of days…wonder if that is where it came from…hmmm!)

The timeline for yesterday and today;

Days 6-7: I just want a nap

Okay, so its day 6 and you made it through the last phase without smiting anyone. The thing is, today you don’t feel like you could smite anyone if your life depended on it! It’s 10 am and all you can think about is crawling under your desk for a catnap. As the day drags on, the surface of your desk is morphing, from hard wooden surface to snuggly warm pillow, right before your eyes. You hit the gym, but only halfheartedly, unable to face the barbell with any kind of conviction. You crawl into bed at 8 p.m. only to drag yourself out eleven hours later feeling no more rested than you did the night before.

So what’s the deal?! Isn’t eating like this supposed to increase energy levels? Yes…in the long run. Right now, your body is learning that it can’t rely on all those easy access energy sources it used to know and love. Gone are the days of cinnamon crunch muffins and Frappuccinos. Now your body is learning to efficiently burn fat and protein as its fuel sources, and that takes more effort – and some time. If you can hold out just a bit longer, you’ll definitely reap the benefits. (Besides, you could probably use a day off from the gym anyway, right?)

Definitely would agree with this as I felt tired yesterday and the same today (but still great 🙂 ). I was telling a friend after the gym yesterday that I am so amazed with how wonderful I feel after only 5 days (now 6); it is easier for me to wake up, my body feels clean and happy, and my mind just feels clear. Love all these incredible changes happening!

Have to add, as yesterday was a very exciting day, that my best friend, who is on the Whole30 with myself and my mama, found her wedding dress AND her cowboy boots that she is going to wear for their big day!!!! AHHHH! 😀 It was such an exciting moment and day, and, my goodness, she just looks so GORGEOUSLY STUNNING in it all! Still makes me tear up thinking about it all, :’-) happy tears, of course! The dress is INCREDIBLY beautiful and I am SO excited for their big day to get here but also can’t wait for all the fun festivities in between! YAY to 2014 and all the LOVE ❤

Confession….

Will admit I had a downer moment yesterday about my body with not feeling happy about my outside changes. (Mind you, my inside changes are phenomenal!) I texted my mom knowing she would be able to pull me out of the slump and she, of course, knew just what to say, “You are making the right choices and changes and you cannot expect 6 days of eating clean and working out to completely fix a month off. But look at all the positive things you feel already, the changes you are striving for will come with time and continued hard work, and I know you will get there again! And look at all the people you have already helped or inspired? Like me! Through perseverance, we TOTALLY got this!” (My mom is amazing, if you haven’t already guessed.) She shared some personal struggles with the bestie and I to help keep our motivation and spirits up! I love you, ma! Thank you for always making my day brighter and I am SO proud of YOU!

I found this quote (today’s picture) after a dear friend posted it on her Instragram;

Small changes consistently implemented, inevitably produce huge results. – Dame Luthas

Fits perfectly for today to help remind me that these small changes I am making and consistently implementing, will help me persevere to get to my end goal. And with my incredible support team, I know we totally got this!

Day 6

PreWorkout Snack: Coffee w/coconut milk

Workout (at The Lean Lemon):  1 hour TurboKick

PostWorkout Snack: Slice of turkey

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Quiche with half of an apple

Lunch: Salmon with avocado salsa, roasted cauliflower, and steamed bok choy (packed in a lunch box for the bestie and I)

Dinner: Spiced grass-fed ground beef with mashed garlic cauliflower

Day 7

REST DAY

Drinks All Day: WATER, coffee, & tea

Breakfast: Quiche with a few strawberries

Lunch: Spiced grass-fed ground beef with mashed garlic cauliflower

Dinner: Garbage stir-fry (basically things you have left over in the fridge)

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