Get Off the Wagon for Good!

Hey friends! I just realized today that it has been 2 months since my last post! I knew it had been a while, but I didn’t think it was that long. Anyway, the reason for my absence hasn’t been entirely due to laziness. I’m working on a few things to make my blog better than ever! I’ve been brainstorming some ideas and working on figuring out exactly where I want to take it. I’ve also been working on some personal development which, unfortunately, has taken up quite a bit of my time as well. Hopefully I’ll have some good news to share on that soon!

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in with a quick post on something that has really been bothering me lately. I’m noticing it more and more, especially in a few health and fitness groups I’m a part of, and I just wanted to share a little encouragement with you if you’re dealing with it as well…


Has this ever happened to you…? You’re at a friend’s birthday party having a good time, and you’ve managed to stay away from the chips, soda, and sugary treats. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself, but then they bring out the cake… and, oh great, it’s your favorite! And there’s ice cream to go with it… even better!

You engage yourself in an internal debate about whether or not you should have a piece, thinking, well maybe just a tiny slice, and I’ll only take a bite and throw away the rest. Then you get your slice and take a bite, and it’s even better than you thought, so you decide to take just one more bite, and then another, and then another, and then the whole piece is gone, and it was a little bigger than you would have cut for yourself, but that’s what they gave you, and you didn’t want to be rude.

Once you realize you’ve eaten the whole thing, you start to get down on yourself. Why couldn’t you have more self-control? You should have just stopped at one bite like you planned! As you sit there mulling over how bad you were, you start feeling a little hungry, so you make your way over to the food table. Since you’ve already blown it by eating the cake, what’s a handful (or three) of chips to go with it? You’ll just start over tomorrow.

I don’t know about you, but that scenario has happened to me more times than I’m proud to admit. You make a resolution to finally get back on track, eating only good foods, not allowing any bad foods into your diet. You vow to make it to the gym every day, not missing a single one. You’ve got a plan, and this time, you’re really going to do it… until you mess up… You cave in and eat that cookie your co-worker brought in to share and throw in the towel. You miss a work out, and that’s it… what’s the point of even trying?! *Cue bingeing on Netflix while stuffing your face with all the junk food you can find.* You’ve fallen off the wagon again. It sucks and you feel guilty, but you have hope because you’ll just start over and get back on the wagon tomorrow.

Well, it’s time to stop. It’s time to dump that wagon once and for all! Burn it to the ground and say buh-bye! Because guess what… you can’t fall off the wagon if there’s no wagon to fall off of! Whatever your specific wagon looks like, it usually consists of two parts-diet and exercise. By being too rigid or trying to conform to a plan that doesn’t really work for you, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. So how do you get rid of your wagon?

Part 1-The Diet

First, it’s time to get out of the diet mentality and find what is going to work for you. If you love carbs and don’t think you could give them up forever, don’t try to go on a low-carb diet. Sure, you’ll lose weight, but you won’t be able to stick with it long term. You’ll eventually go back to carbs, and all the weight you lost will creep back on usually bringing some friends along for the ride. Ditch the diets and start making small changes that you can stick with, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of good choices.

Second, aside from allergies, nothing should be off limits. We need to stop assigning morality to food! Food is neither good nor bad; it’s just food. Yes, there are some foods that are healthier and some that are less healthy, but that doesn’t make them good or bad, and it doesn’t make you good or bad for eating them. Depriving yourself of foods that you truly enjoy just because they are less healthy doesn’t make you good; it just makes you feel deprived! I firmly believe there is room in any diet for any food as long as you work it into your plan.

On a personal note, I’ve always fallen into assigning morality to foods. I’ve always known which foods were “good” and which ones were”bad.” I’ve tried for years to get myself to stop liking and wanting the “bad” foods to no avail. I’d force myself to stop eating them, and then I’d become obsessed with them. Obviously this is not a normal and healthy relationship with food. Over the last few months, I’ve learned to stop assigning morality to food, and it has been so freeing!

I’ve opened my mind to the fact that I can eat anything I want as long as I make room for it in my diet, and now I find that I just don’t want all the junk I used to eat as much. I don’t get anxiety when someone brings in a treat at work because I know that I can either have some or not have some, and either option is okay. I have made room in my diet to include foods that are less healthy (hello daily ice cream cone! 😉 ), and I’m actually losing weight a lot more easily!

Part 2-Exercise

Just as with food, it’s time to get out of our disordered thinking patterns when it comes to exercise. It’s time we stop thinking of exercise as a chore that we have to do in order to lose weight or as a punishment for when we missed the mark in our diet. Exercising is so good for your body in so many ways, and it’s something that we should all be doing every day in some form or another as a way to love ourselves. You just need to find what works for you.

I don’t know about you, but, personally, I hate going to the gym. I hate driving across town to work out in a room with a bunch of other people. To me, this is the worst, but I used to force myself to do it because this is what I thought serious exercising was all about. I would go for a while and then start making excuses for why I couldn’t go. Once I stopped going, I’d feel guilty about not going and get down on myself for being a failure. Then a few months ago, I rediscovered Pilates.

I used to love Pilates back when I was in high school. I’d get up early before school and get a quick 20 minute workout in because it made me feel good, and I enjoyed it. Then over the years, I stopped doing it and fell into the thinking that in order for it to really count as exercise, it had to be done in the gym. Since I hated going to the gym, I just stopped working out.

Now I’m back to Pilates, and I love it! Admittedly, when I first started out, it was hard to get back into the routine. Because it was something I used to be so good at, I felt frustrated because I couldn’t do a lot of the moves I had been able to do years ago, but I stuck with it and got over the initial hump. It turned into a habit, and now I do it because it’s something that I enjoy that makes me feel good. I’ve even gotten to the point that I look forward to getting my workout in… something I never thought would happen.

So what’s your Pilates? Maybe it’s running or Zumba or hula-hooping (or Pilates)! Sometimes it takes some trial and error to figure out what it is that you enjoy, but once you figure it out, it will be so worth it! Don’t force yourself to do something you hate because there are hundreds of different ways to get your exercise in and you just have to find the one(s) that works for you. And remember that missing one workout does not make you a failure!


Life is all about choices. When it comes to diet and exercise, you can make healthier choices and less healthy choices. When you make a less healthy choice, own your decision. Don’t get down on yourself about it. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a failure. It just means that in that moment, the less healthy option is the one that felt right for you. We can’t be perfect 100% of the time, so as long as most of your choices are on the healthier side, you’ll be doing just fine! 🙂

If you’ve struggled with getting on and falling off the wagon numerous times or finally found a way to get off of it for good, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your story in the comments below to get or provide some encouragement!

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Taking Control Part II

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a bit of a hard time over the last several weeks. I had pretty bad general anxiety and depressed feelings to the point where I didn’t want to do anything or even leave my house. I felt like everything was out of control, and the way I was dealing with it was by not dealing with it. Finally I just told myself enough was enough and did just one thing. That one thing led to another thing which led to another thing, and so on, to the point where today I feel almost 100% better.

Last time I talked about how I put my house in order to help myself feel like I was more in control, and this time, I’ll talk about my diet and exercise regimen.

Even though I started off the year with the best of intentions and some pretty strong motivation, life happened, and I slipped up. Being gone for about half of the month of January certainly didn’t help. I mentioned in my Vegas recap that I did pretty good sticking to my goals, but I ended up not losing any weight which was really frustrating to me. By the time my second trip rolled around, I decided that I didn’t care, and I was going to enjoy my dinners out and not deprive myself. Well, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out that I gained even more weight after that trip… That led to even more out of control eating which led to feeling like crap which led to me skipping my workouts.

As with tidying up, I finally said enough was enough. I was eating way too much junk and being very lazy, so I convinced my boyfriend to start a Whole30 with me! We are currently on day 16 and going really strong! I’m actually completely following the rules this time-no excuses! I’m also trying to do it relatively low carb by not indulging in too much fruit or potatoes, and I feel awesome! I have quite a bit of energy, my cravings are nearly non-existent (aside from when I actually see something and have that momentary desire to eat/drink it), and my stomach issues have pretty well subsided! It always amazes me when I build something up in my head so much, and as soon as I’m through the hard part at the beginning, it almost becomes easy.

Steak with roasted garlic aioli, smashed red potatoes with ghee, and garlic roasted asparagus.

This has been one of my favorite meals so far. It was so decadent, but completely Whole30 compliant! Steak with roasted garlic aioli, smashed red potatoes with ghee, and garlic roasted asparagus.

Honestly I was really hesitant to share my Whole30 this time until I was finished because of how many times I tried and failed. I know on my last attempt at a Whole30, I said I really felt like I was going to make it the whole 30 days but ended up only making it about 20, but this time, now that I have my boyfriend for support, and I’m actually following the rules completely, I know I’m going to make it the full 30 days. I’ve even been toying with the idea of doing a slow roll reintroduction instead of trying to reintroduce everything right away. We’ll see though.

It is so nice having my boyfriend for support on this one. It’s great to know that I’m not the only one who’s going through the challenge, and it’s nice to have someone I know I can text or call when I am getting frustrated. Another thing that has really helped is that we’ve been preparing all of our meals for the week together on Sunday. The bf has even suggested some recipes that I never would have thought to try but ended up being delicious!

On the same day I started my Whole30, I got back into my daily morning workouts. My coworker and I have been getting to work an hour early every morning to utilize one of our large conference rooms to play a workout video from YouTube. Our favorite for the past couple weeks has been Winsor Pilates 20 minute workout. It has been perfect to get ourselves back into the swing of things. It’s easy enough that we want to keep doing it, but challenging enough that it’s actually doing something. I have a goal of working out every day during the week, and so far, I’ve only missed one of my last 12 workouts because of health reasons.

I’m finally getting to the point where it’s easy to get up in the morning to get my workout in. I don’t allow myself to make excuses, and I’m even starting to enjoy making that the start of my day. It’s energizing, and it gets me through the morning, so I don’t even need caffeine anymore!

To really give myself a kick in the pants, on March 1, I’m starting the 30 Day Pilates Body Challenge. It’s a free challenge from Robin Long at The Balanced Life Online where every day you’ll get an email first thing in the morning with a 10 minute Pilates video. You do the workout and check in via social media to say you did it, and that’s it! I’m planning on doing this on top of my work day workouts just as an added challenge. This means getting up even earlier to get it in, but I’m up for the challenge! If you’ve been looking for a way to kick start your workouts, I think this would be a great way to get started. You can follow me on Instagram @simply_whole_life where I’ll be checking in if you want to be part of my accountability circle or just to keep up with my progress (and maybe pass along some words of encouragement? 🙂 ).

30 Day Pilates Body Challenge, 10 Minute Pilates

I’m in, are you!?

Finally, I just had to share this picture. I’m at my parents’ house doing laundry and working on my blog while the machines are running, and when I came back from switching loads, I had a new little writing buddy! 🙂

Mordecai cat writing blog stealing chair

Meet my new writing assistant, Sauron Weasley. (Or as he’s formally known, Mordecai. 🙂 )

Week 1 Progress

Well, this should be interesting. I’m typing this post on my phone because I forgot my laptop. It’s a short one, so hopefully it should be ok. Bear with me on any typos. 😉

This week was pretty good. On my Wednesday weigh in, I was down 1 lb. I’m on a 10 day streak of working out every day. 🙂 And today when I did my morning pilates workout, I was able to do all the moves.

The first move we did was a dogging cobra, which if you aren’t familiar, you start in downward dog and then without moving your hands or feet, you shift down into plank position and then dip down into cobra. Then you pull your butt back into downward dog and repeat. We’ve had to do them in videos before, and I never could, except today! The second move I was never able to do was the boat teaser sit up. Again, for anyone unfamiliar, you start laying flat on the ground with arms and legs extended. Then you sit up in a v with your legs bent into boat position. Then you straighten your legs so you’re in a full v for the teaser and then lay back down. I never could do these before, but today I could, and they didn’t even feel that difficult. 🙂 The final move I conquered today was called a windshield wiper. I only managed a couple, but it’s better than the none I could do before. 🙂 For this move, you go into a bridge and extend one foot parallel to the ground. Then you move it out and in. It’s still very challenging, but I’m so excited to see the progress I’ve made over the last 6 weeks, and it makes me more motivated to keep it up!

Well that’s my progress update for this week! I’ve been trying to write more, but this week has been crazy! Hopefully after the holidays things should settle down. 🙂

Please let me know in the comments below if you’re on your own journey, and what you’ve accomplished this week.

Fudging My Way Through the Whole30

Ok, so I clearly rock at posting consistently… I really just lose track of the days. I honestly thought it was only a couple days ago that I posted last until I came on here and saw that it was 12 days ago. Lol. Oops… Soooo if you’re a regular follower… sorry about that! I’m going to come up with a schedule and put it on my calendar so that I am reminded to write. That way I’ll make sure I’m posting at least a couple times a week.

Anyway, not too much has been going on since my last post. I’m on day 15 of my Whole30, and things have been going pretty good. However, in the name of honesty, I will say that I have not been sticking to it 100%. I’d say I’ve been 99% compliant which is pretty darn good, but it’s not great. I can tell that I’m getting results in just the 2 weeks that I’ve been doing it, but I feel like I’m cheating myself out of even better results. When I’m finished with my Whole30, I want to be able to say that I gave it my all. That said, I’m going to extend my Whole30 by 2 weeks and make it a Whole45. I could just scrap it altogether and start over at day 1, but that feels like a failure, and I don’t think I’ve really failed. I’ve had moments of weakness, but I haven’t thrown in the towel and gone completely off plan.

What were the moments of weakness? Well, 2 weeks ago I had a cheese curd when the bf and I were out for his friend’s birthday. The plans were last minute, and I let myself get too hungry before we went. The bf ordered some poutine, and the cheese curds just looked too good to pass up. Lesson learned: don’t let myself get too hungry! Second-last weekend, I had a couple Pringles because the bf bought a flavor I’d never had before, and it sounded really good, so I wanted to try it. They weren’t very good. Lesson learned: It’s just food. If I really have to have it, I can always get it after my Whole30 is up. If it’s no longer available, then that’s probably a sign I didn’t need it.

In the grand scheme of things, these mistakes really aren’t going to kill me or completely derail my Whole30, but it doesn’t feel like as good of an accomplishment with those blemishes on there. After each instance, I was kicking myself for giving in and not staying strong. If it was just those 2 instances, I don’t think I’d be starting over. I think I’d probably just call it a mistake and move on; however, I haven’t been following the healthy meal guidelines either-mainly because I’m just not that hungry which makes me not want to cook anything. It’s amazing how in such a short time, my appetite has shrunk so drastically, but it does make it challenging to stick to the plan. I often feel like I’m forcing myself to eat, and because I just don’t feel like cooking a huge meal, I often tend to make something small and easy. The easiest and quickest things to make tend to be very carb heavy.

I have noticed the past few days that I’ve been really tired. This weekend I slept for probably 12+ hours a night, and yesterday morning and this morning, I had a really hard time getting out of bed. I know this is due to the excess of carbs in my diet, so I’m really going to work on eating fewer carbs and more protein.

I’ve been doing pretty well with my workouts. They still seem really difficult for a beginner’s series, but I can tell that I’m getting stronger. I feel that good ache you get after a productive workout, but I don’t hurt so badly that I can’t move anymore. I just wish I didn’t have to sit out of so many exercises because I physically can’t do them yet, and there isn’t much you can do for modifications.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for you today! If you’re doing a Whole30 or have done one in the past, let me know in the comments what some of the biggest challenges you faced were and how you overcame them.

 

Whole30 Day 1… Take 3

Hey there, I know it’s been a reaaaaally long time since my last post-about 4 1/2 months, but who’s counting? 😉 Well, all I can really say is life got crazy, I got lazy, and I felt like I was spiraling out of control. I know in my last post I mentioned I was going to turn things around, and I did… for about a week. Then I was right back into my old habits. It’s really hard for me to admit, but right now I’m 10 lbs heavier than my previous heaviest weight-a weight I swore I would never get back to. Well, obviously, I did. And then some.

Now here’s where I could beat myself up, tell myself how much of a loser I am for getting back here, but what’s the point in that? I screwed up. I made a long series of mistakes. Am I happy about where I am right now? Absolutely not! But what is it going to accomplish if I dwell on my failure? Absolutely nothing! It took me a while, but I’m finally to that point where I’ve had enough. None of my clothes fit me anymore, I’m tired all the time, I feel like crap, and frankly I’m just really unhappy.

A couple months ago, I signed up for Weight Watchers again, and I lost about 5 lbs on it in the first 2 weeks. I was really excited about my progress, but then I fell off the wagon, and gained it right back. I tried really hard to reign myself in, but I have a sugar demon raging inside me, and I found it really hard to keep within my daily points allotment when I was allowing myself to continue to have treats. Even if I planned ahead and counted the points, I would always go overboard. So I finally made the decision that I needed to do another Whole30+ to get rid of my cravings.

That brings me to this weekend. I decided I was going to do a November Whole30 and start it right away on November 1. Well… we ended up not going to the grocery store, so I didn’t have any Whole30 foods for day 1. I wasn’t really too worried about it though because I figured I’d just start the next day. I didn’t really have my plan in place anyway, so day 1 would really have just been winging it. Anyway, on Sunday, I sat down and got my meal plan together and went grocery shopping, so I was all set for the week ahead.

Then yesterday, I had a really off morning. I didn’t sleep very well the previous night, so I slept in a little, and my whole morning routine got thrown off. I had a meal in my crockpot in the fridge just waiting to go into the base and cook away for my delicious dinner that evening, and of course… I forgot it in the fridge! Luckily, my sister was still home, so I called her, and she was able to get it going for me. After hanging up with her, I remembered another thing I had forgotten that morning… my breakfast and lunch for the day! I tried rolling with it at first and got some eggs from the caterer for breakfast, and I was planning on getting a salad with some grilled chicken from somewhere for lunch, but 2 eggs was not enough of a meal, and I was starving by 10:30. I didn’t think I’d make it until lunch, and by that point, I was not making good choices, so I went to the vending machine and got a Pop-Tart.

I was a little upset with myself that I couldn’t even make it the first day, but, honestly, I got over it pretty quickly. I was already having a bad morning, so I tried not to beat myself up too much. Luckily it was only day 1, and I had already delayed my start date, so one more day was not the end of the world.

That brings me to today, and I am happy to say that I have successfully made it through Whole30 day 1! However, if today is any indication of how the rest of it is going to go, it is going to be very challenging… I had been in such a junk food rut for so long that I am having some serious cravings. Visions of cookies and cupcakes were dancing through my head all day, and I could have killed for a diet Pepsi! I just need to remind myself though that these are only temporary. They are going to get much worse before they get better, and I just need to get through them.

So here’s what I ate for day 1…

  • Breakfast-Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin from Once a Month Meals and a big bowl of frozen veggies with a little olive oil and some Mrs. Dash
  • Lunch-A can of tuna in olive oil, drained, on a bed of romaine, drizzled with olive oil and vinegar and a bit of Mrs. Dash and a honeycrisp apple (the apple was on the side-not part of the salad… That would be gross. 😉 )
  • Dinner-Stuffed Acorn Squash from Once a Month Meals. The squash took longer than anticipated to cook, so I’m satisfying my hunger with a handful of kalamata olives while I wait. 🙂

Finally, as any good fitness/health buff will tell you, nutrition is only one piece of the puzzle, so I’ve also been getting my butt in gear with morning workouts. A friend and I have been doing workout videos together in the mornings at work. This week we started the Blogilates beginner’s calendar. Our plan is to do a modified version of the calendar since I don’t have a good place to do the workouts on the weekends. We were supposed to start on Monday with day 1, but my workout buddy has been sick, and I had such an off morning, we decided to start today instead. She ended up being sick again, but I made myself go in and work out anyway, and man did I forget how challenging even her beginner workouts are! I have to stop halfway through all of the exercises to take a rest! It makes me feel even more out of shape than I am, but I guess the bright side of it is that I will get stronger, and the workouts will feel a lot easier. That’s what I’m hoping anyway!

I feel like a broken record sometimes. I know that I have tried numerous times to get myself back into gear. I’ve had one successful Whole30 and numerous failed ones. I’ve failed at diet after diet and exercise regimen after exercise regimen, but this time it’s different. I can feel that it’s different. I felt the snap inside me that said “enough!” Instead of going into this half-heartedly and hoping for the best, I made a concrete plan. I have goals in place, and all my stats are prominently displayed, along with my current “before” photos, on my wall where I will see them multiple times a day and be reminded of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. This time, I know I will make some big changes that are going to last.

Paying Down Debt

Today’s post will be pretty short as I don’t really have a whole lot to report… Last night I did have a little excitement because I found something on the menu at Olive Garden that is Whole30 compliant! Grilled salmon topped with herbs and olive oil and a side of steamed broccoli. I really hope there’s nothing else added to it besides the herbs and olive oil… I checked the nutrition and allergy guide before going, and none of the major no-nos were checked, so I believe I should be in the clear. (I know I probably should have asked at the restaurant just to be sure, but it was honestly the only thing on the menu I could have, so I didn’t really want to know at that point…) It was farm raised salmon, so not as healthy as it could be, but as an occasional meal, I am ok with it. The boyfriend’s family seems to really like Olive Garden, and I hate always having to make them choose someplace else because of me, so I’m glad I was able to find something.

I did restart the Blogilates Beginner Calendar today, and I can already feel the burn pretty much all over my body. It’s amazing how quickly you lose your conditioning when you move to being a couch potato! I’ve done the first workout probably 10 times now, and it had been getting much easier. I could actually almost keep up with her, but now, I have to keep resting again. It kind of sucks, but it’s definitely more motivation to get back in the game!

And my final (and probably most exciting!) news is that I worked the numbers today, and I’m going to be able to pay off my first student loan next month!!! I still have a way to go yet, but it’s so encouraging to actually feel like I’m making some progress. It sucks having to say no to vacations and going out all the time, but that high you get from paying off a debt is so worth it!

If you’re feeling like your finances are out of control, or you are just sick of making payments every month, I definitely recommend checking out Financial Peace University or at the very least reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. In it, he walks you through what he calls the Seven Baby Steps for getting out of debt and building wealth. It’s amazing how much money I was able to find every month just by paying attention to where I was spending it. I feel like I sound like a commercial right now, but really, I’ve just gained so much from the program that I’m just really excited to share! 🙂

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today… Anything exciting going on in your life? Feel free to share below!

Wins and Losses

I really don’t have a whole lot to say today, but I want to get into the habit of writing something every day, so bear with me. Today was really pretty uneventful. I tried to get up at 5 again this morning, but as soon as my alarm went off, my brain was like nope… I said ok, I’ll just snooze it once, and then once more, and just one last time… until it was 45 minutes later. 🙂

I’m beginning to think this whole morning exercise thing just isn’t for me. I would just give it up, but I have less excuse first thing in the morning. When I get home from work oftentimes I feel exhausted, and the last thing I really want to do is work out. I’ve been pretty good with making sure to get my workout in after work the last couple days, but I’m usually pretty good in the beginning.

Diet wise, I did pretty well today. I cooked up a Whole30 compliant sausage, some green beans, and some carrots for breakfast, and I had the last of my leftover lazy pot roast with some carrots and potatoes and a green salad with oil and vinegar for lunch. I was feeling a little snacky in the morning, so I had an apple. For dinner I am making Paleo Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. 🙂 I’m excited! I found the recipe earlier this afternoon, and I had all the ingredients on hand… That never happens!

Ok now to explain the title of this post… I decided that I want to be more mindful every day, and I came up with a plan that every day I’m going to write down some wins, things I can learn from, and something I am grateful for every day. I really think writing down the day’s wins and things I can learn from/work on will help me focus on my goals. The gratitude piece comes from an article I read a while back about how people who express gratitude are more satisfied and happy with their lives. Not that I’m unhappy with my life, but I have my off days like everyone else.

Wins:

  • I stayed compliant with my Whole30 even though there has been even more candy and baked goods in the office lately.
  • I got home and immediately did my workout.

Work On:

  • Getting up earlier or at least not hitting snooze so much

Thankful for:

  • I am thankful for the fact that I have access to wholesome, nutritious foods.