Home Vibes

08.24.2016 | Wednesday
The time has officially come to start working on designing and styling our house! So far it has been far more overwhelming than it has been fun, but I’m hoping getting a really good grasp on my style, what I want, and how to achieve it will help ease some of the nerves! 
Currently my style is minimal and modern with eclectic accents. White and bright are huge for us – and of course, TONS of plants! Here is my first go at creating my home vibes mood board! 
house-vibes

More to come as we move, measure and work out all the kinks until we can call our home “done”. Oh and I will definitely have one of those hanging pod chairs. I’m really obsessed!
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WHOLE 30 – My Story

07.18.2016 | Monday

8 months ago I hit a point in my life that can only be described as my personal rock bottom. Among other things, I was binge eating, drinking too much too often, and generally trying really hard to act like everything was ok.

My mental health was suffering and it was deeply affecting my personal life, my marriage, my friendships, and finally, it was starting to creep into my work. I saw Whole 30 as a way to control something in my life. Anything. I just needed something to hold on to.

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It all started on one of audio book binges when I discovered “Why We Get Fat“. It was extremely eye-opening and changed many of my eating habits overnight. Then a friend recommended “It Starts With Food” (the Whole 30 book), and after reading it, I knew I needed to try it. I didn’t plan in advance, wait until a certain date, or until I had a free social calendar. I read the book and I started.

books

I wasn’t 100% compliant. I had a few dates on the calendar (dinners/birthday parties) that I decided I would give an exception to (I was mindful of what I ate, but not compliant). Also, I didn’t stop putting cream in my coffee. I know this isn’t Whole 30, and that was ok for me at that time in my journey. I don’t regret it at all. I simply needed to start changing my life and my habits despite anything else. I wouldn’t recommend going this route, unless you are about to explode (which I was). These were the results:

Non-Scale Victories:

  • Clearer Skin – I’ve always been acne-prone and still struggle with annoying skin but noticed 15 days in that my skin was smooth, I had no blemishes and the redness was drastically better. And it hasn’t changed since, still totally clear!
  • Better Sleep- I used to get 12+ hours of sleep, wake up late, and still not have much energy. On Whole 30 I started noticing I was waking up earlier with more energy. Now I consistently wake up around 7am with a lot of energy and it lasts through the day. My sleep patterns have been so different, and I never even tried to change anything!
  • Way more energy - Like I’m talking so much energy to workout, get more done, take on hobbies, go walking and then some.
  • Excitement about life + things again – This one is a whole subject in and of itself. After a slump into some deep depression and anxiety related issues, I finally found a small glimpse at excitement for life again.
  • And the biggest of all (this might be TMI!) zero cramps. Once a month for the last 10 years I spent the day in bed throwing up every hour and take about 15 advils just to manage said pain. On Whole 30…..I felt nothing. NOTHING. Anything that can cure the torture of that wins big in my book.
  • There were many other small victories throughout the 42 days (not craving carbs or sugar, losing weight, etc.) but these ones were the most notable.

My Before & After:

6 Weeks

After  6 weeks of psuedo-Whole 30 and a couple of completely off diet vacations, I started my second round of 100% compliant Whole 30 (goodbye cream in my coffee!) mid-May. My goal this time was 100% compliance and a full food reintroduction after the 30 days. (THIS IS THE WAY TO DO IT PEOPLE!)

I became obsessed with reading ingredients (I literally can not believe how many things have sugar in them!), I read and participate in many online forums, am constantly searching out new Whole 30 recipes, and even created a spreadsheet to track compliant brands, recipes, and just about everything else Whole 30. I’ve fully enveloped myself in clean eating, learned so much about myself and food in the process, and loved every minute of it.

I didn’t have as much physical progress, but mentally, my entire relationship with food changed. I did a full re-introduction after this round and have a much better idea of what and how much of any food is good for my body. A month after completing this and I still follow the rules about 90%. I’ve found a balance but am still very aware of exactly what I am eating. The first round was what I needed at the time, but this round actually changed everything for me in terms of creating a lifestyle.

Before + After – Whole 30 Round 2:

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I get asked about about Whole 30 or my weight loss journey daily. Some people have been encouraging and others…well, I learned not to care what people think and just do what makes me feel good. Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way:

1. Making the decision: This program has really worked  for me. It actually changed my life, and that is not an exaggeration. That being said, no amount of inspiration or progress pics could have made me do it before I was ready. You truly have to make the decision for yourself. I wasn’t ready for a long time (I could never have imagined I’d EVER put my health first), until one day I was.

I was able to acknowledge my own reality, and only then was I ready to make actual changes to my diet and lifestyle with determination. The “one bite won’t kill you” thought process is more detrimental than you might think and won’t work with this program. That decision, the one to change your life, that is always always always the first step.

2. Read The Book: The first thing out of my mouth when someone asks me about it is “READ THE BOOK” (It Starts With Food). There is seriously no substitution for it. Without it I never would have understood WHY I was doing what I was doing. This is the biggest key to it all for me.

2. Community: I’ve actually learned not to talk about my progress because of the remarks, comments, eye-rolling,etc. that come when mentioning a diet. The judgement used to drive me nuts, but I’ve learned to tune that out and focus on making the best decisions for my body. I turned to blogs, facebook groups, and other online resources for help and inspiration.  I’ve found that friends/family can actually be incredibly unsupportive for whatever reason, but that might not be the case for everyone. Find whatever community works best for you!

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3. Prepare! The best way to do Whole 30 is to make it work with your lifestyle. Keep things as simple as possible by finding easy recipes, sticking to the same salad every day (change up the dressing if you need a change), and prepare some on-the-go meals when needed. Before heading to the grocery store, do a little research on ingredients and prepare a list. Before going to a restaurant, look over the menu or call the restaurant. It can be very hard to “be that person” special ordering everything, but you are worth it.

At the beginning of every week I spend a little time working on a weekly meal plan, taking a look at the calendar to see which days I need to prepare extra for (tons of meetings, not at home, etc.). I don’t stick to it completely, but it helps to have something to fall back on. Planning is so important in the success of this program, don’t underestimate how much it can help!

4. You Can Do It: Don’t underestimate yourself. You have full control over the decisions that you make. It is 30 days, it isn’t that hard. Change your thought process, stop making excuses and just start. Oh and check that “one bite won’t kill you” attitude at the door and commit 100%. Restart if you eat something you aren’t supposed to, do the re-intro. It is worth it.

My Go-To Foods:

Breakfast: Every morning I have 2 scrambled eggs and about a 1/2 cup of breakfast sausage (I make my own – this recipe is delish!). To help with my vegetable intake, I have raw carrots/cucumbers on the side. (I never liked eating anything before noon so this whole eat breakfast thing is HUGE for me.) If you are one of those people that can eat dinner for breakfast or have leftovers, this is a great way to switch things up a bit.

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Lunch: Salad. Salad. Salad. I prep the basics of my salads at the beginning of the week (lettuce, cut carrots, cucumber, and green beans) and place the tupperware in the fridge for the week. At lunch I cut up whatever leftover meat I have or grill a chicken breast, cut up some avocado and a little fruit and top it with TesseMae’s Lemonette dressing and a little salt! Easy. Sometimes I will have dinner leftovers for lunch, but for the most part it is salad central!

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Dinner: This is where things vary most. I have a Pinterest board of recipes and I now spend some time finding, prepping and making completely new recipes at least twice a week. But if I am short on time, didn’t prep properly, etc. I BBQ or grill some sort of meat, steam veggies and call it a day! I have watched a couple YouTube videos on how to grill, some simple stove techniques, etc. which has helped improve my cooking game. Since I have to eat this food every day, I might as well stop overcooking things!

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DISHES: Chicken with Masala Spices, green beans + sliced cucumber | Roasted Salmon with steamed brussel sprouts + salad | Chicken Piccata with steamed brussel sprouts

Some Favorites: 

Here are some of my favorite online resources, recipes, and staple items that helped me with Whole 30. Everyone has different tastes so it is wroth doing a little research of your own to at least find some recipes that sound interesting. There is a ton of great inspiration out there that will help make Whole 30 anything but boring!

Online Resources:

Dinners:

Staples:

 

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Currently…

03.21.2016 | Monday

For the past 16 months I’ve been dealing with some situations that have tested me like never before. I’ve tried keeping it together, I’ve tried acting normal, and drafted about 50 blog posts about how I *really* feel because I couldn’t keep it in quite like I thought I could. Feelings of defeat, anger, blame blah blah blah. Those posts will seemingly never see the light of day, but they helped me realize and work through some particularly hard times.

Over the course of the past year I’ve experienced too many encounters with depression. I’m in head all the time, which is not only hard, but incredibly exhausting. Seriously. Exhausting. It is so hard for me to understand how I feel and ever harder to try to explain it to other people, especially people who have never felt this way (so most of the time I think I’m weird or crazy or that there is something seriously wrong with me). I know my triggers, but I’ve realized it isn’t as much about the situation as it is about where my mind instantly goes when the situation arises.

I have no more mental energy and/or space to do this any longer. I have had just about enough. I know I’m not “fine”. But for the first time I really feel like I know that. I’m not trying to trick myself  and just letting myself feel how I feel. Recognizing all of these real feelings (as opposed to the popular and ever-damaging approach of acting normal and sweeping all the feelings under the rug) has allowed me to come to terms with what I can’t change, and shift that focus on what I can. Me.

TAKING BREAKS:

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I have found that some of my current relationships are triggers for unwanted feelings. It isn’t that I think anyone is purposely trying to harm me (or honestly that I blame any of them whatsoever), but I’ve realized I’m just not strong enough for it. I know that people are doing the best they can, or doing what they think is right, but ultimately, it is pushing me further and further down due to feeling misunderstood, therefore alone, therefore depressed (all my own feelings to control). So I’m taking breaks and taking myself out of those situations for the time being. The block feature on my phone has become my favorite thing. It sounds harsh, but I’m not just blocking people to prove a point or be childish. I just realized that while in this state, it is incredibly important that I block out any potential negativity until I’m strong enough to take that on and deal with it. It is the most incredibly freeing thing I’ve done to date.

READING:

Books

I have been using Audible for a while now but over the past 4 months I’ve been on hyper-drive. This week alone I’ve completed “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” “The Happiness Project” and “Better Than Before”. I’ve discovered the subjects I really enjoy (minimalism, de-cluttering, happiness, meditation, and my current favorite category, forming habits) and have had so much fun diving into all types of books to learn various philosophies and process a ton of different ideas. “Why We Get Fat” and a whole bunch of health-related books are next on the list. (I’m excited to clean up my health a bit. I know that will help a ton too).

These books have helped me more than I could ever express. My entire outlook changes daily as I discover and try the various methods, then adapt the pieces I like to my daily routine. It has been amazing.

CANDLES:

candlesSources: Copper Candle, Capri Candle, Print Candle

I realize this seems like the most bizarre happiness provoking item, but it is my current number one! I’ve received a bajillion candles as gifts over the years, and I never understood the appeal of them. A few weeks ago I decided to light one and let me just say, I instantly fell in love. I light my little collection of candles first thing every morning to get my day started on the right foot. It feels like such a luxury. Who knew that such a simple jar could make you feel so good.

DE-CLUTTERING:

tidying

After reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” I’ve been obsessed. I’ve always de-cluttered as a way to cope with stress, but this book took that up a notch. It also helped to occupy my time and occupy my mental energy enough to get out of a few funks (incredibly helpful during some of my darker months).

Along with the stuff, I’ve let go of those feelings and desires that my home has to be something out of a magazine with a bunch of props and baskets with throw pillows in them. I appreciate the style, don’t get my wrong, but I don’t want a house that can’t be lived in. For years I tried to create that perfect house with the right amount of styled vignettes, and this book single-handedly changed everything for me. I understand myself and the type of environment I thrive in perfectly now.

WORK:

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For the first half of my off-season (November-January) I was burnt-out, questioning myself, and honestly went through a period of just wanting to quit all together. I didn’t hate it, I just wanted some time off. Some time to process and deal with everything after an incredibly long year. Turns out all that did was leave me alone with my thoughts long enough to become incredibly angry all the time. In February I started having to work more and had my first wedding of the season a couple weeks ago. Turns out the thing I was missing all along was work! I need to be creative, to be busy, to be working with people, to be doing something to get out of my own head. I absolutely love what I do and I was letting everything get in the way and bring it down.

One thing I did realize is that I need a bit more “balance”. For the past few years I’ve been an “all work” kind of person, and that isn’t sustainable. But giving up all together was the wrong solution to the problem. My new focus is balance. That will allow me to do more of what I love without getting so burnt out. Luckily wedding season has started back up and I’ve never been so excited to get started.

IN CONCLUSION:

I’m a couple weeks in, and I feel the change. I have no idea if anyone sees it, but I don’t care. I feel it. And I’ve waited a long time to feel this way again. I know things are fragile and I have to build up my tolerance and ability to deal with all the things I can’t change, but I’m ok. I’m doing better. And for now, that is enough.

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