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Friday, June 19, 2015 with no comments

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I just did the WHOLE 30!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 with no comments

If you had asked me back in December if I would be willing to give up dairy (cheese, milk, butter, ALL of it), grains (bread, pasta, rice), legumes (peanuts, chickpeas, black beans, etc), alcohol, AND sugar, for 30 days, I would have said it was impossible.

But here I am, 30 days later, and I DID IT. A group of girls and I committed to doing Whole30 for January, and kept each other motivated through a Facebook group. More about what Whole30 is here:

(note: I did not read the book, just followed the website, and signed up for the daily emails)

It was hard. I’m not going to lie. But I needed this. After just giving up from Halloween to New Year’s, and eating whatever was closest because I felt stressed out, I knew I needed a change. I had gained 14 POUNDS from Labor Day to New Year’s. I needed something drastic to snap me out of it.

And now I feel AMAZING. I lost 9 pounds of the 14 I had gained, and I’m not slowing down anytime soon. My energy is back, my mood swings are tamer, I sleep much better, my skin is clear, and I just feel HAPPY most of the time. What I learned on this journey:

  1. I can’t do this without some big support. I had daily check-ins with my friends online, and my other friends keeping me in check at social events. I am so grateful for their support and advice, and I know it is KEY going forward, to keep this going.

  2. If I can do this during one of the most stressful months I’ve ever had, I can do this ANYTIME. I had work craziness, a big presentation for my leadership group to prepare, a talent show to prepare for (which is tonight by the way, yay Voyagers Got Talent!), and the normal kid/house stuff on top of everything. I had many days where I just wanted to give up and veg out on the couch. But I didn’t!

  3. I had a plan. I planned out every meal for the first two weeks, and then by the 3rd week I started throwing together leftovers, and winging it a bit more because I had the hang of the program. When I felt defeated and overwhelmed, I just stuck to my plan (having whole30 compliant foods around at all times was mandatory), and it helped me weather all the challenges and temptations I had along the way. And if I was REALLY tempted, I kept up the mantra that “it’s only 30 days!” to get through.

  4. I need someone to tell me that I CAN’T have something. I used to love Weight Watchers because it was “eat whatever you want, just count the points”, but I got tired of counting points and got lazy about the portion sizes, and then each little indulgence started adding up. I was treating myself with something small every single day, and not realizing how much of a habit it was. Some candy from CVS, a mocha from Starbucks, a hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts. With Whole30, having stuff be “off limits” gave me an excuse on WHY I can’t have it, and it helped really kill those cravings, and get out of the habit. I realized through this that I need an “all or nothing” approach if I want to stay healthy, and need to be stricter after Whole30 is done. No more pizza Fridays… if I’m going to have pizza, it’s going to be because it’s a super special occasion, not because I’m lazy on a Friday.

  5. I don’t miss dairy, really. I do miss eating slices of cheese, creamer in my coffee, and I did miss sour cream in a BIG way, but I don’t need cereal anymore, and can actually go 30 days without any of the above and not die. So my plan is to slowly reintroduce it, but in really, really small amounts.

  6. My moods stabilized. I still get emotional when I’m stressed, but I don’t feel the dramatic swings/shifts anymore. I feel more even keeled with my energy and emotions throughout the day. I’m not tired at 4pm, and now find energy to get through the bedtime routine with my kids, without needing to down some sugar/coffee at 3pm every afternoon. I’m overall feeling happy!

  7. I also didn’t have any conditions that I was worried about, so I didn’t have any aches and pains that disappeared. I did have headaches, but I realized that I have a teeth clenching problem (exacerbated by hunger pains) that I used to use gum to help with. But I gave up gum during Whole30, so I resorted back to clenching my teeth. My jaw and head really hurt, and I had to make a conscious effort to stop (I fear I may still be doing it in my sleep though). Some pain relievers helped with that, too.

  8. Pre-whole 30, I was not eating out of hunger, but because I was bored, it was there, it was a habit, I was stressed, etc. So I made an effort to listen to my body during these 30 days, and feel REAL hunger pains. When I felt hungry, I’d wait 10-15 minutes, and if the feeling got stronger, I’d eat until I felt full (no measuring, just eating compliant foods). What surprised me is how often it went away! It was hard the first few days when I felt like I was starving all the time, but by the first week’s end, I was able to survive on a lot less food than I thought I needed. I was also surprised at how many times I reached for my kid’s food off their plates. I can’t even count how many times I had to stop myself mid-bite when I realized what I was doing. That snacking was out of control!

  9. I planned out my meals every week, which helped, but by the last week I was only doing dinners and got back into the habit of eggs and a veggie (like green or red pepper) and leftovers for breakfast and lunches. That hurt me, since a few mornings I was scrambling to find things to eat or take for lunches, and I am bored with eggs now. So I still have some work to do, but recognize how much EASIER things are when I plan out everything!

  10. I discovered that I LOVE frozen bananas in the food processor. It was technically a “cheat” but I did it 3 times in 30 days to have something in the evenings when I was still hungry, and it was DIVINE. So creamy, it felt like I was eating frozen custard, but it was only a banana. I wish I had a bigger food processor so it didn’t take so long to make it! But again, that wasn’t technically Whole30, but oh well, I still consider it a success :)

So where do I go from here? I feel so good, that my goal is to keep going! I’ll introduce some things that I know are still ok. Like milk in my coffee (but no sugar), sour cream, and some slices of cheese, maybe some yogurt. I’ll add in some legumes because I miss hummus and I love black beans, but I’ll swap out peanut butter for almond butter. I am going to keep watching out for added sugar, and save it for super special occasions (not the kid’s birthday parties, I’m talking once a year type festivities). I’m also going to limit grains, and try to only have bread/pasta/rice about once or twice a month, if that. So mainly stick to a paleo diet, and tweak as we go along.

It was hard, but SO SO worth it these past 30 days. I highly recommend anyone try it, and COMMIT to the 30 days. You won’t be sorry!

(Benjamin is 6 years 1 month and 3 weeks old and Juliet is 1 year 9 months and 4 weeks old)

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Sunday, February 1, 2015 with no comments

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Halloween and We’re Back!

Monday, November 3, 2014 with no comments

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Final Results

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 with no comments

Labor Day was the end of my August challenge, and I’m happy to say… I made it!!! Even with traveling and eating out, I STILL managed to lose 3.5 lbs this week, and weighed in at 159.5 on Monday morning. So in August, I lost 6.5 lbs, in 4 weeks. It’s a 1/2 lb shy of my main goal of 7 lbs total, but it’s SO CLOSE that I’m just calling it a win. I had to battle eating out with coworkers, birthday parties, potlucks, a night of drinking debauchery, and traveling out of town this month. Even with all of that, I still lost over 1.5 lbs/week. I was nervous after last week’s “maintenance” weigh in, but it goes to show you, just hang in there. The scale doesn’t always reflect your efforts right away.

Some non-scale victories to brag on: I was able to fit my wedding rings on without a struggle, but sadly, they are still a bit too tight for every day wearing. I think I’ll need to meet my September goal to be able to wear them proudly again. I was able to shop in my old clothes and find my old size 12 pants that FIT last week! It’s so exciting to be able to wear clothes that have sat in my closet for 2+ years (and some pants that I’ve never even worn because I outgrew them too fast). Hooray!

Biggest takeaways from this month: planning is everything. The weeks I did the best and felt good were the weeks I planned out all the meals, including snacks. When unplanned events threatened to guilt me into sabotaging my efforts, I kept this challenge in mind, and used it to power through cravings and weaknesses. Having my group of ladies keeping me accountable was immensely helpful! Never underestimate the power of a support group, no matter what you are struggling with!

The only thing I didn’t do right: exercise. I barely got in any morning workouts this month. It goes to show how important the FOOD portion is to weight loss. But it’s not the only thing, so for September, I’m going to focus my efforts on the exercise portion instead of the food. I feel like I have the food part under control, and will now work on getting my exercise in 6 out of 7 days per week. Hopefully I can also resurrect my Saturday morning Zumba classes that I loved. At the very least, once we are back from vacation, starting next week I’m going to make it my mission to plan out my daily workouts for the mornings, and check in weekly on my progress. It will be interesting to note how adding in fitness will impact my weight loss. I’ll plan another food-focused month in October, right before the holidays. Hopefully, between now and November I’ll have both food AND fitness under control, and be even closer to my goal!!

For my next goal, I’ll use the 1 lb/week guide, and aim for 4.5 lbs (or 155) by Sept 30. That’s 4 weeks away. This week might prove a little tricky since we’re currently out of town, and usually that throws my efforts a bit.. but it’s something to shoot for :) This week may be a wash, but I can give it my all and then some next week :)

For my fitness plans, I’m going to start slowly back in with the 21 day fix. It’s so easy to do in my basement, it’s a fixed time, and I can do it in my pj’s. After September, I’m going to start T25, and see if ramping up cardio helps with the losses in October. But for this month, it will be all 21 day fix. Can’t wait to get started with Autumn again!

On a side note, I did look into the E&E ingredients, and realized that there is artificial sweetener in it. So that, combined with my new philosophy of adopting things I can continue with forever, I decided to drop the E&E supplement. At least, drop it as something I do every morning. I’m going to experiment with different techniques to get me going and power through the workout, and see if I can’t find a better replacement. I may reserve it for those days I have my least favorite or most challenging strength training, but skip it on my easier cardio/yoga days.

We’ll see how it goes!


My stats for this check-in:

Start Weight (May 2013): 191.5 lbs
Start Weight (September): 159.5 lbs

Current Weight: 159.5 lbs

Goal Weight: 130 lbs
Goal Weight (September): 155 lbs

Lost in September: 0 lbs (4 lbs, 4 weeks to go)
Total lost (since 5/27/13): 32 lbs (29.5 lbs to go)


Week Three Results

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 with no comments

Well, I’m not sure how to interpret last week. I’ve completed 3/4 weeks, and the results were: I stayed the same. I weighed in at 163, BUT I managed not to gain after a night out with a lot of alcohol, and followed by a friend’s potluck. Not a loss, but not a gain either. I’ll take it.

To meet my BIG goal for this month, it means I need to lose FOUR pounds this last week. Which, only in my absolute BEST week ever did I lose that much. So I’m going to get realistic and say I’m probably not going to get to 4 lbs. *Maybe* I could, but most likely, it won’t happen. BUT, my “good enough” goal was to get close to 160, and I am pretty confident I’ll get there this week.

Challenges that I think impacted my results: hormones (maybe even from new medication that I started). Not enough water. I was using coffee as a way to hydrate instead of including glasses of water, so for this last week, I will up my intake of water significantly. I think it will help at least lose some of the bloated feeling. Too many snacks. Too many nights after work I found myself eating my kid’s dinners or snacking on random food. This last week I’ll reign in the “bites and tastes” after work, and get myself some veggies to eat if I’m really hungry and dinner is not ready yet. Mint gum after work is also a god send, and keeps the cravings at bay until dinner time.

With that plan, I’m feeling good that I will get super close to my goal. Even though I could fit my wedding rings on last week, it still hurts to wear them for more than a few minutes. I think it will take a few more pounds (maybe when I get to 155) where I can wear them all the time. My pants are definitely looser, and I have a pair of black pants in size 12 from Old Navy that I’m also close to fitting in. We leave for vacation on Friday, and I will use both of those as reminders and motivation not to go crazy on break all next week in New York!

For the most part though, my meals were really good. I wasn’t going overboard at meals, snacks were healthy, and I didn’t even splurge on dessert at all. I’m going to carry that into this last week, and really go for broke. My meals for this week are planned out (save for our time in New York on Saturday/Sunday), and I have focus and motivation this week to stay on plan.

Here’s hoping it pays off!


My stats for this check-in:

Start Weight (May 2013): 191.5 lbs
Start Weight (August): 166 lbs

Current Weight: 163 lbs

Goal Weight (August): 159 (7 lbs)
Goal Weight: 130 lbs

Lost in August: 3 lb (4 lbs and 1 week to go)
Total lost (since 5/27/13): 28.5 lbs (33 lbs to go)


Week Two Results

Monday, August 18, 2014 with 1 comment

It’s Monday check-in time!

I completed week 2/4 today, and the results are great! I am down to 163, which is a 2 lb loss from last week. With last week’s loss I’m back to averaging the 1.5 lb/week that I had hoped to accomplish. Woohoo!

This week wasn’t without its challenges. I was due for a “hormone imbalance” around this time of the month, and that always threatens to derail me when I get overly emotional. My “fix” involves chocolate of some sort, but this week I resisted the urge to overdose on M&M’s and resorted to using chocolate flavored whipped cream (from the can, easier to limit my intake that way) in my coffee ;) It was delicious AND hit the spot for my cravings. Win!

That said, I am a HUGE coffee fan, but it has to be sweet and creamy. In my effort to make all my foods healthier, I dialed down the extras and am now happy with just some skim milk and a little flavoring in my coffee. I try to avoid the fake sugars for the most part, despite their being more calorie friendly. Even though they help avoid consuming extra calories, I’m not convinced they are “good”. Even so called “natural” ones like Stevia. So for myself, it’s either straight sugar (or flavored syrup like Hershey’s) or just milk. Sometimes I give in, but for the most part, I’m pretty good about it! Not that straight sugar is super innocent or even “healthy”, but for now, I feel it’s better than the artificial ones. So I’ll go for “healthier” at least.

Working out this week was also still a challenge. I found out that I was at risk for a potential hernia in my abdomen, so I was nervous to do anything last week until I had my ultrasound this morning and get more information on what was going on. Turns out, I’m all clear, and I can go back to my workouts! It will be a little tricky this week since we have visitors, and they will be staying in my workout space (our basement). But, since I’ve gotten my food under control and the all-clear from the doctor, I’m going to use these last two weeks of the challenge to really get serious about committing to exercising in the morning again. Even if it means just jogging around the block if our basement is occupied. I have a route mapped out that is almost 2 miles, which is a perfect length (should take me under 30 minutes to do, but includes hills, so will get my heart rate up). I can then finish with some strength training (situps/pushups) at home, which shouldn’t wake anyone up. It’s just a matter of prepping the night before so that I don’t have any obstacles to leaving the house in the morning.

Looking back to when I was consistently working out, one thing that has helped in the past to get me going for morning workouts was a product by BeachBody. I don’t usually promote products unless I use them often. I tried their E&E supplement after Kendra had sent me some samples when I complained that mornings were a big struggle for energy. I just needed something I could drink quickly, that had caffeine but wouldn’t make me jittery. Coffee was too hot to drink quickly, and this I could just mix with water (cold or room temp). It has a lemon-lime flavor, and after about 15 minutes, I definitely felt it kick in. I just felt more awake, not crazy, and could give that extra push during the workouts. It also kept me going through the rest of my morning routine, and helped me get the rest of my family up and out the door :) It does have caffeine though, and I did notice that after taking it for a few weeks, when I went on vacation I got some wicked headaches from the caffeine withdrawal. Coffee helped, but I keep that in mind now when I travel. Still, I love the stuff!

Back to planning for this week, I have meals planned out for the most part, and no big splurges planned for the weekend, so I should be able to stay on track with food. I’m going to put my game face on for tomorrow morning and get myself OUT of the house and jogging. Rain or shine, I’ll be out there! These last two weeks I’m definitely going to give it my all! Then I can enjoy my week long vacation in New York for Labor Day! :) But still “on plan” of course. My goal weight is still out there, even though I don’t have a deadline after August!

My kids are also benefiting from the challenge. I’ve had veggies to give them for every meal, and thankfully they both eat them (even it does require some tough coaxing for Ben). Slowly, I’ll get them into the habit of eating veggies that they like. :) But at the very least, we won’t have bad food in the house anymore!

Week Three, here I come!


My stats for this check-in:

Start Weight (May 2013): 191.5 lbs
Start Weight (August): 166 lbs

Current Weight: 163 lbs

Goal Weight (August): 159 (7 lbs)
Goal Weight: 130 lbs

Lost in August: 3 lb (4 lbs and 2 weeks to go)
Total lost (since 5/27/13): 28.5 lbs (33 lbs to go)


Week One Results

Monday, August 11, 2014 with no comments

I completed week 1/4 for my August challenge last week, and the results are in :) My start weight last week crept a little higher, since I had just come from a 3 day vacation. Then this past weekend, I went out for lunch and also had brunch on Sunday with copious amounts of bacon, pancakes, and comfort food hash brown casserole.

Even so, I am down to 165 (down 1 pound)! Not quite the 1.5 lbs I wanted to average, but close, and in the right direction. My exercise has been off, and that’s been my biggest struggle this week. But since food was spot-on, I still lost weight. I planned out my meals, and other than the splurges over the weekend, I was solid with staying on my plan. Even outside of those meals out, I didn’t go overboard on the other food of the day, so it was still a win. My basic meals revolved around this:

Breakfast: 2 eggs (scrambled, fried, or just hard boiled) and an english muffin with 1 tbsp peanut butter

Lunch: salad (either black bean with mango and quinoa, or chicken with quinoa, broccoli, and balsamic vinaigrette), or leftovers from previous dinners (usually a protein, veggie, and starch/carb)

Dinner: a protein (chicken, pork, beef, fish) with veggies (salad, carrots, green beans, broccoli, etc) or fruit and/or starch (rice, quinoa, or potatoes). I get most of my meals from my emeals.com subscriptions (their “Clean” and “Paleo” menus are fantastic).

Snacks (usually in the afternoon or early evening): apples, cucumbers with yogurt dill dip, carrots and hummus, applesauce, almonds (plain and cinnamon flavored), or coffee

That’s it! Super simple, and easy to plan. Exercise… ugh. Juliet is going through some wicked pain lately (either teeth or ear related) and it’s keeping her (and us) up at night. I’ve been way too tired to get up early to get in the workouts, so I’ve been a total slacker.

But, I know it won’t last forever. I still keep my alarm set in the hopes that one night she’ll start to settle down, and I’ll be able to force myself to go. I’d love to get back into running in combo with some of the 21 day fix and T25 videos. Baby steps. I’ll start with just waking up early instead of hitting snooze. I’ve also taken to sleeping in my workout clothes, to remove one more barrier to getting out the door. So after I wake up, all I should need to do would be find my glasses, turn on my phone, and put on my shoes (in that order) ;)

I also shared online the things I have noticed/learned this week that will impact me over the next few weeks. The biggest one: I still have issues stopping when I’m full. We went out to eat at District Taco for lunch. I had a burrito bowl, with just lettuce, rice, grilled chicken, black beans, onions, green pepper, and sour cream. BUT, it was HUGE. I was hungry, I ate fast, and if I had slowed down, would have realized I was full after eating half. But it was SO GOOD, that I ate the entire thing. I just wanted to keep tasting it, and then regretted it when I became too full, and overstuffed. I kept my dinner later that night lighter, to make up for it, but I still would have felt so much better if I slowed down and listened to my body. My goal next time we go out to eat (or face any big meal, for that matter) will be to SLOW DOWN, savor bites, and make a note to pause after I eat half, and gauge whether or not I need the 2nd half of the meal. Juliet obviously also enjoyed her black beans :)


Here’s to beginning Week Two!


My stats for this check-in:

Start Weight (May 2013): 191.5 lbs
Start Weight (August): 166 lbs

Current Weight: 165 lbs

Goal Weight (August): 159 (7 lbs)
Goal Weight: 130 lbs

Lost in August: 1 lb (6 lbs, 3 weeks to go)
Total lost (since 5/27/13): 26.5 lbs (35 lbs to go)