Ok... So I took a different approach to writing this blog post. Instead of giving you my daily recipes for the next 18 days, which can easily be found through any quick google search, I decided to finish the 30-day challenge and wait a couple weeks before writing a finale post. There is an important reason for this...
How many times have you tried a new diet, only to go off the diet and way too quickly, and gain all the weight back? Well that was the ultimate goal here, to find out what happens AFTER the 30-days of this no-carb, no sugar diet and exercise program is complete.
Here's the skinny: You will get out of it, what you put into it! And that's the bottom line.
As usual, life got in the way and I slipped from making this 30-day challenge my #1 priority. After 22 days, I cracked. The kids, the two jobs, the housework, the yardwork, the errands, the bill paying, the family functions... this is the 'life' that got in the way. I didn't give myself the proper time to prepare meals in advance, and when my hair began falling out, excessively, I took it upon myself to eat a cheeseburger. A burger with a BUN, CHEESE, MAYO and KETCHUP! And although I am certainly not trying to deter you from trying this challenge for yourself and working towards a healthier lifestyle, I am still writing the honest truth, so I will tell you that the burger was a MAJOR party in my mouth! No worries regarding the hair loss, I talked with my nutritionist and, because I chose to eat nothing instead of the non-paleo food choices, my body was lacking certain vitamins, such as iron and others, which can cause hair loss. I'm far from bald... it was just a mild side effect that was actually a blessing because it made me take notice of what my body was lacking. Without the proper nutrients, my 30-day challenge to a healthier life was pretty much null and void.
After eating that 'delish' burger, I did return to my paleo program for the rest of the 30 days. On day 31, and every day since, I make a conscious effort to take notice of what I am feeding my body. Yes, I eat carbs and sugar, but because of this program, my choices are FAR better than ever before. My carb and sugar intake is at a minimum. Want a perfect example? While dining at one of my favorite italian restaurants, I chose to order their fabulous chicken ceasar salad, rather than my favorite dish, which is fettucini alfredo.
I mentioned in an earlier post that my digestive track felt like it was in perfect working order after only about a week on this paleo and fitness program. After the challenge, I slowly began putting the foods back into my diet that I had missed so much. Words just fail me when I try to explain the gutt wrenching pain in my stomach after eating the breads, the pastas, the butter, etc. Although I am not living a full paleo lifestyle, I did just recently order paleo bread and paleo friendly snacks, in order to curb my craving and not suffer the consequences of dietary disaster in the gutt.
In regards to my crossfit training, I can only say that when life gets in the way, and I don't make the time to spend that hour or less at the gym, the noticeable difference in the way my clothes fit and how I view myself in the mirror is utterly saddening. Like I said, you will get out of it what you put into it.
All in all, my challenge was a huge success. Not only in the weight loss, but in the ultimate goal to learn how to live a healthier lifestyle and re-program my brain to make better choices and detox from my carb addiction. Interested to know how much weight I lost? Click here to find out.
I'd love to hear from you, should you choose to challenge yourself!
ps The photo above is not me... it's my inspiration! Without inspiration, I have a hard time finding motivation.
Day 11 – Friday
Ahhhhh. Friday! I am completely thrilled to sleep in tomorrow! Getting up at 4:45am daily to make it to work in time for the 6:00am meeting is tiring! Especially since I feel the need to stay up late on Thursday nights, but not to watch any good drama series on TV, I stay up just because there’s only one work day left.
Today I decided to try something new. I cooked a sweet potato hash and it was delicious! The ingredients are simple, which I
appreciate! Add olive oil, ground beef, sweet potatoes, chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, onion, garlic, paprika, cumin and salt & pepper. And not for nothin but I have gone through over 2 extra large bags of onions in the past 11 days! I wish they could bottle the smell of onion and garlic cooking on the stove!
For a great recipe, click here: http://fastpaleo.com/spicy-sweet-potato-hash/
The one thing about this Paleo eating plan is that you are using all perishable ingredients so they need to be purchased and cooked pretty quickly. They can’t sit in your cupboard, waiting for a rainy day. So since I have left over sweet potato, tomorrow I’m going to find a recipe for sweet potato pancakes!
Food for the day
Breakfast: mixed fruit cup
Lunch: fried eggs x2
Dinner: grilled chicken ceasar salad and sweet potato hash for a late night snack
Day 10 – Thursday
Today is day 10, which makes me 1/3 of the way through my challenge. I have been told NOT to look at the scale and NOT to worry about the numbers. I am to focus on what I see in the mirror and the fact that I am taking steps to give my body the healthy nutrition it requires to feed and source itself.
Here’s some brutal honesty: my bras are all too big! Not the place I wanted to lose the weight but at least I know the weight is coming off.
Today is a gym day. To play it safe, I used the same weight on my bar that I have for the past 4 weeks. Little did I know, until about a quarter of the way through the WOD, that the bar was way too easy to lift. Some might say that this made for an easy workout today, but when you have become so accustomed to a high intensity, 20-minute workout, a part of you actually looks forward to the point of muscle failure. This way you are certain you have given your ALL and will continue to burn fat for several hours after the WOD.
As quoted from the livestrong.com website:
Your body also releases several metabolism-boosting hormones during exercise that temporarily stay elevated in your blood after exercise. The “after-burn” effect also might be related to your body burning extra calories when it replenishes the sugar it stores for fuel in muscles. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/550729-do-muscles-burn-more-calories-after-resting-them/#ixzz1wkopytvY
Food for the day
Breakfast: none (not suggested!)
Lunch: chicken and vegetable stir fry with leftover paleo spaghetti meat sauce
Dinner: 2 fried eggs cooked in coconut oil
2nd Dinner: (I was HUNGRY) leftover lunch.
Photo courtesy: Sarah Barth
Day 9 – Wednesday
I don’t know about you, but when I start seeing a difference in the way my body looks and the way my clothes fit, that is when the motivation really kicks in! As unhealthy as it is, I have always considered myself an ‘instant gratification’ kind of girl. I
will give up on most anything pretty quickly, if I don’t see some results. I am seeing results!
The other day, I was watching Tony Robbins on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and he couldn’t have said it any better…your mind has to be aligned with what you want. He also talks about the fear of failure and how you can fail at your diet before you even get started if you walk into day 1 with the mindset that you ‘can’t do it.’ Once again, I am going to reinforce the power of positive thinking and how incredibly important it is to BELIEVE in yourself and remind yourself as much as you need to, that YOU CAN DO IT!
I am still struggling with feeling ‘hungry’ and I am sure it is partly in my head because I don’t have the very full, bloated stomache feeling after I eat. It’s a different kind of ‘full’ feeling. But I would also have to say that I’m not eating enough throughout the day.
When I saw Dr. Ryan at the gym yesterday, he said that he can’t condone my paleo challenge unless I eat more, including protein at least 3 times per day.
The bottom line is clear. I must take the time to prepare healthy meals and snack choices BEFORE I go too long without
eating and in-turn, lack the energy to cook.
Food for the day
Breakfast: mixed fruit cup
Lunch: none for me but I would suggest a salad for you!
Dinner: chicken stir fry (cut up chicken breast with bag of frozen mixed veggies, cooked in coconut oil and vinegar)
Here is a great snack idea that you can take with you anywhere!
Mix in an airtight container - roasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried slices bananas, dried cranberries, raisins, dried apricots
For directions, click to this blog: http://paleosnackpaleosnackideas.blogspot.com/
Day 8 – Tuesday
After the very exhausting holiday weekend and making it through ‘The Day After’… meaning: the grueling first day back to work after a long weekend, I had to find the energy to make it to the gym today. I dragged myself into that gym and it was my lucky day! No, the doors weren’t locked… the WOD was only 7 minutes long. Granted it was a very intense 7 minutes,
but I was thankful there were no perimeter runs involved.
Running is NOT my thing!
Needless to say, I left the gym with more energy than when I walked through the door. I am noticing a difference in the way my clothes fit and the toning of my body, particularly one area that I wanted to work on. It’s what I call the ‘wave flab.’ It’s that area under your arms that keeps flapping long after you have stopped waving goodbye.
If you begin your healthy living transformation with Crossfit alone, and are not ready to begin a Paleo challenge, here are a few healthy food options:
Eat: garden vegetables, greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch and NO sugar. They say that if you keep your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the aisles, you should be all set. Buy the food that is perishable. Items that are processed or packaged with a long shelf life are probably not the best choice. If you have a local market, I would suggest making that a weekly stop.
More information can be found on www.crossfit.com
Food for the day
Breakfast: mixed fruit cup
Dinner: hamburger meat and tomato sauce with a fruit shake made with coconut milk and almond butter
Snacks: pistachios, strawberries
Photo courtesy: elvis santana
Day 7 – Monday (Memorial Day)
This mornings weather forecast calls for lightening, thunder and heavy rain showers. What good is a thunderstorm anyway? A month ago, I would have taken this opportunity to get some ‘couch time’ in and cuddle up with a good lifetime movie or whatever is new on Netflix. Today… totally different story. With this increased energy, I was able to get the lawn mowed and vacuum the inside of my truck just before the rain fell. During the storm, I finished the laundry, cleaned the kitchen floors and boiled some eggs for my upcoming work week. Hard boiled eggs seem to be the quickest for me to grab on the go, since I have no time to cook before work.
By 1:30 in the afternoon, the sun began to pop back out and I had completed 75% of my to-do list. I felt accomplished.
I have a ton of computer work to catch up on today, so I made a quick lemon vinaigrette marinade for the chicken skewers that we cooked for dinner. There is a plethora of recipes for marinades, dips and sauces that can be found online. After a week of eating nothing but chicken and Dijon mustard, I needed some variety! It’s the spice of life right?
Due to the holiday and the Crossfit competition that is going on this weekend, the shortened gym hours have not fit into my schedule. It has been three days since I have had a good workout, so I am actually looking forward to getting back to the gym tomorrow. And trust me… this is the LAST thing I ever thought I would hear myself say! Family and friends would certainly agree with that.
Food for the day
Lunch: leftover paleo spaghetti and strawberries
Dinner: chicken, onion & pepper skewers with bacon
Snacks: an apple dipped in a small amount of almond butter (not sure if it is allowed during the 30-day challenge… but it was too late to call Dr. Ryan… oops)
*NOTE: Eating breakfast is still considered the most important meal of the day. My breakfast choices are NOT suitable for ANY diet. I am sharing my experience so if you are willing to challenge yourself to a healthier lifestyle and try the paleo diet, you now have the knowledge of what NOT to do!
Day 6 – Sunday
Another round of Memorial Day BBQ’s today… I can do this… I can do this! The first thing I did this morning was head to the grocery store and get all the ingredients for my dinner tonight. If I know there is food waiting for me when I get home, it will be MUCH easier to make it through another holiday gathering.
The ingredients for the paleo spaghetti are nothing more than ground beef, an onion, tomatoes, organic tomato paste, a garlic clove, salt & pepper, Italian seasonings, a spaghetti squash, and coconut oil. (The recipe calls for olive oil but I replace with coconut oil at the direction of Dr. Ryan.)
If you like al dente pasta, chances are you will enjoy this dish. The meat sauce tasted just like my mom’s goulash. So far, this meal is the closest thing to what I was accustomed to eating before starting my paleo challenge.
Here is the link to the paleo spaghetti recipe that I followed. He breaks it down in very easy to follow, step by step prep and cooking
I haven’t yet shaken the urge to want to shove that quick candy bar in my mouth or grab a bag of chips on the fly, but I am feeling much healthier, leaner and tighter. People are beginning to notice. My boss at work asked me if I had lost weight, and when my daughter hugged me, she made a comment that she could feel the muscles in my back.
"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."
- Michael Jordan
Food for the day
Lunch: one grilled skewer with chicken, onions & peppers and a few strawberries
Dinner: paleo spaghetti
photo courtesy: Nizar Mabroukeh
Day 5 – Saturday
It’s Memorial Day Weekend, the purpose is to celebrate, remember and honor the soldiers who
have fallen for our freedom. Typically, America spends this 3-day weekend with family, friends and
their BBQ grill!
At the two gatherings I attended today, I do believe there was more food on those tables than I’ve ever seen at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Now, this might be true or my mind just might ‘think’ it’s true only because I wasn’t able to have any of it. Not sure about you, but when you tell me I can’t have something, my brain instantly decides that whatever it was you said I could NOT have, has just become the one thing I MUST have! As I mentioned in an earlier post, if you are deciding to begin a 30-day paleo challenge, do yourself a huge favor and wait a week before attending parties or going out to dinner.
As you will see in my list of food for the day, I BLEW it! But not in the way you might think. Instead of eating what I should not
have, I ate nothing. I wonder if insanity is kicking in or just an incredible determination not to fail. I keep reminding myself “only 25 days left!” I tried to eat a plain grilled hamburger without the bun, ketchup, cheese and mayo. ..took 2 bites and threw it in the trash. And I would have eaten the chicken skewers that were served at the second gathering of the day, but they had been marinated in a sugar filled bbq sauce.
I love macaroni salad and pasta salad. Ok, I love anything with pasta in it, but my most intense craving today was that cherry pie! You could see the cherries gushing when they cut a piece, and the crispy top of the pie that had been sprinkled with sugar before baking. I still crave my carbs, but I think the sugar detox has begun to show its colors.
I’m running low on energy so I know that tomorrow I absolutely MUST make the time to look up a recipe, go buy the ingredients, and cook! Although I was told how crucial it is to plan ahead when working through this diet challenge, I am just now beginning to
understand how important that really is.
FOOD FOR THE DAY
Lunch: 3 hard boiled eggs
Snacks: a few grapes and some pistacios
*NOTE: My amount of food intake for the day is NOT suitable for ANY diet. I am sharing my experience so if you are willing to challenge yourself to a healthier lifestyle and try the paleo diet, you now have the knowledge of what NOT to do!
Let me start by telling you that I thought day 3 was the worst… but BOY WAS I WRONG! Today I am feeling mentally and physically exhausted. I certainly don’t want to bring anyone down because this is ultimately a story of hope and triumph, but I planned from the start to be brutally honest about the whole process from day 1 to day 30. So, my truth today is that of frustration, anxiety and depression. If I could stay in bed all day, I would! I tend to want to be angry with God for putting so much on my plate that life won’t allow me to be a ‘couch potato.’ But since anger is just a secondary emotion, I realize my true feelings are only filled with fear that I won’t make it through another day of this challenge.
Today I will keep reminding myself that FAITH wins over FEAR! Positive reinforcements from yourself or others are critical. A perfect example: During the Crossfit WOD, I was nearing completion of the 20 minute workout and doing the last round of push presses. With arms shaking from complete muscle failure and 10 push presses to go, one by one, I lift that bar over my head. Mark (one of the Crossfit trainers) is right in my ear, telling me “You can do this” “You got this” “Only 10 to go” “Don’t give up.” Because of the positive reinforcement, I found the strength and blasted through those last reps.
Another exciting point to mention today is that my digestive system seems to be working the way it was intended. I haven’t popped a tums since I started my challenge, unlike the old days when I couldn’t eat without some type of antacid before or after the meal. My girlfriend, who had pizza and chicken wings for dinner last night, was feeling the familiar rumble in the tummy after she ate. At that moment, I was truly grateful for this diet.
Food for the day
Breakfast: none (oops)
Lunch: grilled sausage, peppers & onions
Dinner: 3 scrambled eggs with onions, chicken sausage patties with mustard, pineapple
Snack: hard boiled eggs, strawberries
Today is Thursday. Once again, thankful its an ‘off’ gym day. My level of energy feels like it is at its lowest! The headache is a bit severe today too, but NO PAIN, NO GAIN… right?
I had a wake to attend tonight so once again, time is limited. Dr. Ryan had previously suggested that if I was short on time, I could stop at Moe’s Southwest Grill and eat something called a homewrecker – streaker style.
Typically the The Homewrecker burrito is served with your choice of protein, black or pinto beans, seasoned rice, lettuce, all-natural sour cream, handmade guacamole, shredded cheese and pico de gallo wrapped in a flour or whole grain tortilla. Protein options include 100% sirloin grass-fed steak, all-natural white breast chicken, grain-fed pull pork, ground beef or organic tofu. Moe's offers 20+ fresh, free ingredients that can be added to any meal.
Streaker style means it is served in a bowl, rather than a burrito. And of course, I could have all the ingredients, EXCEPT: sour cream, cheese, rice or beans.
I actually tried something new and ate mushrooms and guacamole… for the first time in my life! I always thought that if I was stranded on an island, I would die for sure due to lack of food. I am certain now that if I were hungry enough, I would eat a fish and swear it tasted like chicken!
Here is the website to Moe’s if you would like to find one in your area: www.moes.com
AND, I would highly suggest holding off before eating out with others at a restaurant with nothing on the menu that suits the paleo lifestyle. After the wake, I joined some family members at a restaurant called The Retreat, and proceeded to watch them eat juicy burgers on big buns, loaded with fried onions and french fries. I drank my iced tea and prayed that they ate fast so I could get out of there. I have tried so many diets and they usually affect my family's life in a negative way, since I do the cooking in our home. If I can't eat, daily dinners come few and far between. I didn't want this new attempt to alter my way of eating or to put it bluntly 'this new diet,' to impact my family in ways that old diets had, which is why I attended the dinner. But do yourself a favor and at least give it a week before going out to dinner or attending parties where there is NO healthy food choices that suit the paleo menu.
One more note to mention... I dream of carbs! Every night, I dream of pasta and bread! I will not let my dreams break me!
FOOD FOR THE DAY
Breakfast: Omelet Muffins ( find recipe at www.paleoplan.com) REALLY YUMMY! Eggs, water, chicken/ham or sausage, broccoli, onion, salt & pepper
Lunch: leftover rotisserie chicken with Dijon mustard
Dinner: Moe’s Southwest Grill – Homewreaker – streaker with chicken
Snacks: grapes and strawberries and pistacios
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