Guest Blog Post: Wholeheartedly Whole 30

bikini  Mo gym Mo

Wholeheartedly Whole30: My Transformation Story                      

By: Laura Mo

 

Towards Whole30

I know the Whole30 people would want me to say that my journey started on Day1, October 21st­ 2015, but it’s not true… I’m getting emotional thinking and writing about this (aw shit, I’m tearing up…). In reality, my journey began the day I screamed out loud, “I CAN’T DO IT!” while my weak little arms were giving out during a backwards crab walking exercise at Bootcamp with Katie B. She proceeded to yell at me with a strong determination in her voice, “DO NOT SAY THAT! YES, YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN!”

That is really where my journey begins. I had a “Snap Moment”, like many people have in their lives, when we realize that health needs to become a priority. Maybe it is triggered when you are pushed to your limits. Maybe it is just some negative experience or feeling that you decide to turn into a positive. In any case, I hope, (dear pre-Whole30 reader), that you have your Snap Moment. It will come in handy during the hard times. For me, I go back to that place and time, and I hear a firm and familiar voice that says, “Yes, you can.”

In April 2015, I was 139lbs (which is heavy for me because I am short), unhappy and ready for a Capital “C” Change. I made a commitment to get fit with FitKatieB (aka. my best friend). I joined a gym in April and followed her blog, inspired by what I saw and read there. Katie opened a door for me that would eventually lead to a great number of good choices, and for that I am so grateful. One step at a time really is an important transitioning theory into health. Ultimately, one good decision leads to a series of other good decisions, although, the same is true for bad decisions. In my earliest moments of fitness, Katie made me a specialized plan, and patiently took me through exercises as part of a body weight, or “Booty” bootcamp. I started actively working out with my plan in July 2015. She gave me specialized help, and the best encouragement I’ve ever had. She made modifications for my push­ups and let me know it was “ok” to be at my own starting place. I took that starting place to a gym and began to work out on my own.

Special Note: For me, proximity was key for getting into a regular gym routine. Please heed this advice! Make sure your gym is close to your house or work. You want to go by it every day and think, “Why am I not there (working out)?” especially on those days you don’t go. Out of sight is really is out of mind, so make sure your gym is part of your immediate vision (literally) whenever possible.

 

 

 

The Extenuating Circumstances

I can’t neglect some important facts. This adventure into fitness started around the same time that my body decided to send me a two­week, non­stop, “How­am­I­not­dead­from­this?” period. By June I experienced a 30-day period. I wrote a lengthy personal writing piece called, “The very serious impediment of my femaleness” (very graphic, maybe way too feminist?) after I experienced non­stop, all around, hell. The backstory is this: I’ve been struggling for two years with severe PMS/PMDD (Please look it up if you want to know more). I had all the symptoms under the sun and about 2.5 weeks of every month since I turned 30 years old! All sorts of BS! This stuff is real, yo, and I credit these problems as causing stress and strains in my personal (read: Family) and professional life. Anyway, if April was my starting point for fitness, June was my breaking point. My body had to change.

I started eliminating carbs. I really cut back on grains and saw a difference in my mental health and energy levels. I was working out every day. I was getting sucked into the gym­rat lifestyle and feeling so much gratitude to have the time ­ as a school teacher on vacay­ to dedicate to my health over the summer months. I also started to gain confidence and take a closer look at my partner of 5 years. His lifestyle choices specifically were not on par with my own. His values and mine conflicted. I felt I was moving forward in a positive direction and the stronger I got, the weaker my partner was becoming ­ literally, shrinking before my eyes ­ and, away from responsibilities, commitment and generally looking depleted, ill and unhealthy. I made the decision to break up with my partner of five years in early August. In hindsight, the list of reasons relate a lot more to my self­respect and confidence than his eating/health habits. The breakup was a defining cornerstone in my journey towards the strong commitment that the Whole30 requires.

 

My Whole30 Journey

Starting Weight: 128 Lbs, 5 foot 2 inches

Day30: 121.5 Lb

Regrets: O

I did a week of research and prep for my start date and away I went. I committed to the Whole30 program with a friend and I encourage others to find a friend as well. There are some dark days, believe me. Talking through your feelings with someone you trust; who shares a common goal, is a real gift.

My reasons for starting should be fairly apparent by now, but let me get into some of the less obvious reasons. If you’re thinking of starting the program, you really need to consider your reasons and take a “big picture” approach. Make sure your reasons aren’t just superficial drop ‘dem pounds reasons.

Here are Mine:

  • Eliminating symptoms related to PMDD, abnormal period and chronic fatigue
  • Improving BMI
  • I love to cook and I’m an artist and I thought that the Whole30 would present the opportunity to learn more about less visited foods. I wanted to apply my creativity to food preparation. I’m genuinely interested in learning more about the world of spices, herbs and seasonings without the sugar and other pre­packaged garbage. On my journey, I discovered a real love for such foods as beets, squash, brussel sprouts, coconut manna, avocado, seeds, dates and figs.
  • I like the idea of using everything, so looking back, my Whole30 really was about using the whole everything. If I had a chicken, for example, the carcass would be used in a soup broth. If I made squash, the seeds would be seasoned and became a delicious snack for later. You feel that? It becomes kind of fun…
  • Gaining self­confidence, specifically related to dating and going out for social time… stone­cold sober.
  • Improved relationships with my true friends
  • Re­evaluating other facets of my life, or “what’s important (and) what’s disposable”

 

So, after 30 days, what can I tell you?

  • I experienced “strangely happy” feelings. There was one point in the program where I actually ran joyfully through a field, met my friend in an embrace, and broke out into a giddy fit of laughter. The natural high of treating yourself well is unlike any other. These moments in the program will make you question how long you have been living otherwise. These moments alone are worth doing it
  • It kind of feels like you are part of a special club like you’ve got this great secret and it’s a HAPPY, HEALTHY LIFE! Oh, and Joy!
  • I had my first normal period in 2 years on Day 10 of my whole30
  • Generally, I was calmer and more at peace on the daily and suffered from little to no anxiety
  • My cravings were only intense when I got sick. I only got sick on Day 28 from ­ I am guessing it was- the flu shot and I wanted to eat everything. Otherwise, I was in high health and good spirits with two very real exceptions:
  • On Day7 and Day26 I cried uncontrollably. One, out of frustration and sadness and once, out of joy and in reflection on the subject of my life.
  • Food mostly tasted awesome and I loved exploring my creativity through food preparation. Although, around week 2.5, I must admit, I started to feel like there were restraints chaining me to my kitchen and doing dishes. So many dishes!!!
  • Self­care and non­food rewards are a thing. A very, very good thing. Why did I never think I deserved this time, these treats before?
  • Listen to your body and sleep when you need to. Learn how to say “No” to social situations and do what serves you so you can serve others.
  • Healthy dating means sober dating. And, guess what? It can be fun!
  • Positive self-talk is a game­changer (note from Katie-YES!!!)
  • I didn’t slip once with the NO: dairy, grains, sugar, legumes rules. However, there were moments when I may have snacked a little too heartily on my date rolls (rolled in coconut flakes), and I did eat a bag of kettle cooked paleo compliant potato chips over the course of the month. Admittedly, these chips were “not in the spirit” of the whole30. But, I did it with intention and damn I enjoyed those potato chips with every ounce of my being. I did skip breakfasts on occasion in favour of a Larabar and a coffee. Besides drinking alcohol, that’s one of my “worst” habits from my past: granola bars and coffee for breakfast.
  • Other than those not­quite­so­perfect admittances, I’m really proud of myself and what I accomplished.

My last lesson: If you try to make someone else’s rules fit (into) your life, you are not going to last in the long run. The rules of the Whole30 are fine for 30 days, but they are not sustainable forever. Who would want to live that way anyway? Seriously? No Way! But, what the program teaches you by day 31, is that you will make the necessary changes in your relationship with food. You will do what you need to. Every body is different. You will find a course of action that works for you. When you understand that you’re not really done on Day31, you’ll move forward with all kinds of hope for a healthy future. Here I am, post­Whole 30, committing to life as a weekday warrior (Sunday-Friday). What does being a weekday warrior mean? The rules are being established and I’ll be defining them for myself.

 

Xo. You can do it! 😉

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I am a virgin! First Time Ever Fitness Competitor.

A few years ago, I told my boyfriend at the time that I wanted to do a fitness competition. Guess what he said? “You couldn’t because you eat too much.” Yikes. That lead to a huge fight, low self-esteem, and broken dreams.

Today, I recognize that I was in a terribly abusive relationship (thank God I got out of that one)! Since then, I have been through a lot, I am sober now and in recovery. I am in a healthy and happy relationship. But most importantly, I love myself no matter what!
And once again, I thought to myself how much I wanted to do a fitness competition. An opportunity presented itself, and BAM! I am currently in contest prep and less than 6 weeks away from doing my first competition on December 5th.

flex comparison

I am not going to lie, it has been really tough! I think I have now graduated to “ROBOTMODE” and I meal prep, exercise, work, sleep, repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I am excited to share my journey with you because I want people to know that it is possible. Anything is possible really if you just believe in yourself and get ish done.

 

Weight Loss Rant and Some Help

I love fitness, working out, and living a healthy life. I am good at it because I work so hard for it! It has taken  lots of years to figure even a small amount of things out.

I want to talk a bit about weight loss!

I know a few things: 1. Consistency is key, 2. You have to believe in yourself and love yourself FIRST before you can make any significant changes, and 3. You cannot starve yourself skinny. This is unhealthy and it doesn’t work. Let’s talk about point #3 here. I am angry today because of some BS I was reading today. I was getting my nails done (yes, I am girly like that) and reading magazines. US Life and Style listed a great, new diet to lose 15 pounds in a week so you can look like Kate Hudson!

Here it is:

FullSizeRender (1)

The daily calories range from 900-1100 calories per day. THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

I can tell you, that the only thing this “diet” will do is wreak havoc on your body especially if sustained for long periods of time.

Stress hormones (cortisol) increase which lead to leptin and insulin resistance (this will cause weight GAIN). You may even lose your period and increase risk of infertility. Not only that, you’ll probably end up being moody as hell and no one will want to be around you. You’ll be constipated, not sleeping well, cold all the time, and your hair will fall out in chunks (1). Yay!!…..because maybe you might get skinny?

IF you are really struggling to lose weight, make sure you are eating enough calories because it can be just as detrimental to your health as eating too much.

If you think you may have an eating disorder, seek professional help. One good resource I have found is: http://www.nedic.ca/  as well as CAMH and obviously, my favourite place (because I am an alumni!), Homewood!

Another tip, don’t try to look like Kate Hudson or Gwyneth Paltrow or Jessica Alba. YOU ARE YOU and you are NOT THEM. Be yourself and love yourself. Damn girl, ain’t nobody gonna change that.

xo, Katie

 

  1. https://chriskresser.com/are-you-an-under-eater-8-signs-youre-not-eating-enough/

Easy Paleo Shepherd’s Pie and a Simple Super Leg Workout

I wanted to make a healthy dinner for my parents that wasn’t the usual chicken, potatoes, and vegetable. I am not much of a cook although I do enjoy trying new things. We had thawed ground beef and leftover mashed potatoes from the night before so I decided it was time for the google to work it’s magic. A quick search lead me to nerdfitnessnerdfitness.com it’s an amazing website with lots of great workouts and community and recipes. I made a few tweaks to the recipe and used white potatoes instead of sweet potatoes for the sake of convenience.

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie:
1. Preheat oven to 350* F
2. Chop up potatoes and throw them in a large pot of boiling water. Can use sweet or white potatoes (4-5 small or 2-3 large)
3. Start cooking your chopped up veggies in a frying pan with ghee or clarified butter. I used 1 large onion, 2 large carrots, 1 can of peas, garlic (lots), and mushrooms (if you want-I didn’t use these since my dad hates them)
Spices I used: salt and pepper, cumin, paprika, a tiny dash of cinnamon, rosemary, and basil. (Will try oregano next time too)
4. Add the meat and cook until browned.
5. Stir in a large can of tomato paste and 2 tbsp of coconut milk. Let it all simmer.
6. Your potatoes should be ready to mash by now. I used a bit of ghee and another tbsp or so of coconut milk.
7. Get out a cake sized pan and put the meat/veg mix in there. Spoon your mashed potatoes on top and put in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
8. Serve, eat, enjoy.
9. Always make the others clean up your dishes. You cooked, they clean! Haha just kidding, or am I?

I wanted to let you know too that you don’t have to workout for hours doing crazy shit all the time to achieve results. My leg workout the other day was simple, yet effective! I was sweating so much by the end. And I only did 3 exercises!

Start with an active warm up and don’t forget to activate dem glutes (I do leg and arm swings, bodyweight glute bridges and squats, mountain climbers, bird-dog, walkouts, and foam rolling)
The Workout:
1. Goblet Squats
2x warm up sets, then 4x work sets
2. Deadlifts

Again, 2x warm up sets, then 4x work sets

3. Hip Thrusts
You guessed it, 2x warm up sets, then 4x work sets

If you want to really kick ass finish off with a ladder workout (10-1 countdown reps) of the following:
Jump Squats
Burpees (with push-up)
Mountain Climbers

You’ll thank me later. Xo