Live Well: DONE With Our Whole 30

graphic via betterbelievefit.com

Well friends, I did it - I finished the Whole 30. How do I feel?

I feel a lot of things.

For one, I feel lighter. In 30 days, I lost two pounds, an inch off my waist, and an inch and a half off my hips. I didn't start this diet in order to lose weight, but it's a side effect that I'm not sad about!

I also feel healthier. We initially committed to doing 30 days without sugar, grains, dairy, etc. because we had been eating so terribly. After 30 days of only putting "whole" foods in my body, I must say I feel really great - there hasn't been one time in the past month where I've felt disgustingly full (that used to be a regular occurrence). Also, my stomach hasn't been upset in the longest time and I just feel better. It's hard to explain.

On the whole, I would highly recommend giving this diet a shot if you're looking for a way to break out of bad eating habits. While I know I'll start adding grains and sweets back into my diet (I'm going out for pizza tonight), I will definitely be adding them back in in much lower quantities than I was taking in before (after this weekend, of course - I'm not holding back on ANYTHING while my siblings are in town!). In a weird way, I'm almost sad that the 30 days are over - it really takes about 30 days to feel like you've got the hang of eating healthy!

I will admit, though - we made some alterations to the diet to make it more workable for a lifestyle where we know we're going to be going out to restaurants, hanging out with friends, and just generally not always in control of how our food is prepared. Here are the allowances we made:

Alcohol: I probably had ~6 glasses of red wine over the course of the diet. All of those were consumed in the company of friends. We just couldn't handle being the awkward ones at the table who refused to drink along with the crowd. So instead we took in a moderate amount, and didn't drink at all if it wasn't a social occasion.

Dairy: I had cheese three times because it was in dishes we ordered and hard to avoid. But I really, really tried to stay away from it as best I could because my body and lactose aren't friends, and I thought taking it out of my diet would be a worthwhile experiment.

Oils/Fats/Cooking conditions, etc: To truly stick to the tenets of the Whole 30, you would need to prepare all of your food yourself. You never know what kinds of oils a restaurant is cooking your food in, so it's safer to make your own. We weren't that stringent. Going out to dinner is one of our greatest pleasures, and we weren't willing to give that up. As a result, I'm sure we took in trace amounts of non-ideal cooking oils...but that's a tradeoff we were okay with making.

All of that said, I didn't ONCE in 30 days eat any kind of dessert. I can't tell you how proud I am of that. My love for dessert is definitely my Achilles heel. When I started this diet, I would crave dark chocolate after meals so badly that it seemed like my whole body hurt. That doesn't happen anymore, and I plan on doing what I can going forward to make sure I don't get hooked again.

So what do you think? Are you tempted to try it? Do you have questions I can answer? Let me know! But first, pizza...

Be Well: Shape Up

image via shape.com

I've had a rocky relationship with Shape magazine. When I was younger, it was the magazine I always reached for first - it comes as no surprise to you that I've always been interested in exercise and living a healthy life. Shape was obviously a perfect fit for me.

However, over the past few years I've become increasingly frustrated with the fact that they never feature workouts that highlight the importance of lifting heavy weights. I can only read the sentence "requires 2-3 lb. weights" so many times before the intensity of my eye rolls gives me a killer headache. For a magazine that's supposed to help women learn how to live a healthy life, I couldn't help but think that they were doing a spectacularly poor job providing truthful and useful information about exercise.

I haven't read an issue in a few months, but when I was in the nail salon this past weekend I decided to pick up the January/February issue. Were my complaints about their workout features resolved? Not really. But they did have a downright awesome spread on the average American diet that really restored my opinion of the magazine. Seriously, if you haven't read it yet, grab the January issue if you get a chance - the statistics on the foods many of us eat every day are astounding. But it's not all bad news - they also outline an awesome plan for eating healthy, focusing on meat and veggies. Overall, I thought the issue contained the most inspirational yet useful tips to help you keep your 2014 healthy eating resolutions that I've seen - you should definitely check it out.

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I just want to take a moment and celebrate how enjoyable my life has been over the last 24 hours. Yesterday, Wednesday, was a rare day where I was able to get to work a bit later than usual and leave work earlier than usual. I was in my car by 6:00 at the end of the day - a very enjoyable change of pace amid weeks where leaving at 7:00 felt like leaving early. I got to go home, hang out with my husband, catch up on Downton Abbey, read these awesome Vulture articles, listen to this amazing song from Her half a dozen times, and go to bed early enough to make it to the gym this morning. Maybe that sounds like an average night to you, but for me it was wonderful.

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Finally, don't forget to enter the giveaway hosted by The Distillery if you haven't already! (See yesterday's post for further details.) All you have to do is follow them on Facebook and/or Instagram - hop to it!

Have a great Thursday!