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...

Eat Well: Elimination // Whole30

Image via wholeliving.com

I've been going back and forth on whether or not to tell y'all about this.

On Monday, my husband and I started the Whole30, an increasingly popular diet. Well, the founders of the Whole30 would probably resist the moniker "diet" - it's more about cutting "bad" foods out of your life and only eating naturally occurring things. But you get the point.

To be honest, as far as "diets" go, the Whole30 is up my alley. I've never been able to stick to a diet where you count calories and measure your portions with the end goal of losing weight. What I have done are "elimination diets" - I've given up all dessert for Lent, I've given up gluten for a month, I've given up eating out for a month, etc. I thought I was unique in this, but apparently it's a thing.

In the Whole30, you cut entire food groups out of your diet (desserts, grains, white potatoes, soy, etc.) and can eat as much meat and vegetables as you want which is great because 1) portion control is not my thing but 2) there's only so much meat, vegetables, and fruit you can eat before you're stuffed.

I'll be honest - I was hesitating to tell you guys about this eating experiment because I wanted to avoid accountability on all fronts. Generally when I've tried stuff like this in the past I haven't done a great job - and I'd rather fail in private than fail in public. However, I spent the past two days on a business trip in Wisconsin and somehow managed to stick to the tenets of the plan. You really don't realize how carb-y American food is until you try to buy dinner in an airport. Nonetheless, the fact that I made it through two crazy, travel-filled days means I can easily take on another 27 days at home! And I want you guys to keep me honest. So that's the deal.

Also, please note that this diet did not keep me from pinning about a million Oreo brownie recipes on Pinterest last night. My body may be in the process of giving up sugar, but my mind is still addicted.

Also, the Whole30 website appears to be down, so I can't link to it right now - you should definitely Google it yourself, though!

Be Well: Nailing the Routine

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Routine always gets a bad rap, but for my entire life I've been very big fan. I was that weird kid who loved having a routine. Starting in sixth grade, I got up and made myself the exact same thing for breakfast every morning. For several years of my life, I would wear my clothes on a rotating basis - each day I would wear the shirt and the pair of pants at the front of my closet (assuming that they matched). When I was done, they would get shuffled to the back. Having a routine was my jam.

Lately, though, I feel like I've been really bad at routine. Which has got me thinking about the point of routine in the first place. Routine is often viewed as the driver behind a mundane life. But I would argue against that. I think well-chosen routines are exactly what allows us to have rich and varied lives.

Case in point: I save a lot of time by getting my morning routine down to a science. By repeatedly showering, putting my makeup on, and eating breakfast in the same way, I open up additional time that I use to pick out my clothes. Because I've made the non-exciting parts of my day as efficient as possible, I have a few extra minutes to enjoy myself while I try to put together an outfit. Maybe it's a small thing, but I treasure those extra minutes of creativity every morning.

The same concept can be attributed to working out. I used to think that routine in exercise was the worst thing in the world. And in some respects, it is. If you do the same exercises day in, day out, they won't have the intended effect. However, routine can be a good thing if you can find a routine that incorporates variety. For instance, the summer before my senior year of college, I got in the routine of exercising five days a week. Every weekday morning I would go to the gym, no exceptions. When I was there, though, I always changed things up - some weeks I would try cycling classes, others pilates classes, others step classes. During days in the interim I would go on long runs, then do sprint workouts, and then maybe try yoga. I set up a system that made variety possible, and I was healthier because of it.

Lately, I've become determined to become a "regular" at the 6AM classes at my Crossfit gym. I try to go every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. And you know what? The more I've turned it into a routine, the more I've enjoyed it. Every week I go I meet a few more people, which means I feel a little more comfortable there the next week. The social aspect has become very fun for me, rather than very scary like it used to be. Knowing that I'll be strengthening friendships when I show up has become a major motivator for getting out of bed. Do I still hate the first ten minutes after my alarm goes off at 5:20? Dear Lord, yes. But I'm working through it. I want to make Crossfit a routine, and I think I'm getting close!

Please don't think that I have routine nailed, though. You know what the next big frontier is? The weekend. I used to be great at working out on the weekends. Lately, though, I haven't gone on a Saturday or Sunday run in months. Ditto for yoga classes - I just stopped trying. Why drag yourself to yoga class when you can laze around in bed until 11AM? It's crazy how quickly you can fall out of a routine - skip a few weekend workouts, and you may never go back. This weekend, however, I'm pledging to myself and all my lovely readers that I will do a workout of some kind, whether it's Crossfit, running, or yoga. If weekend workouts are something you struggle with too, let me know - we can keep each other honest!

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Yesterday, my friends, was anything but routine. At shopkick we launched a new version of our app, which meant that everyone came to the office really early in the morning. I showed up at 7:15, and most people had been there since 6:00. Was it exhausting? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes, without a doubt. I find it hard to believe that any other company walks the line between demanding great work and ensuring great happiness in quite the same way that shopkick does. Yesterday, despite being a 12-hour day, was one of those days that makes me thankful to be where I am. And what could feel better than that?

Have a great Thursday!