The Simplification Shift

I’ve been fighting this for what feels like an eternity. To me, it meant that I couldn’t be myself if I chose this path. It felt restrictive, and yucky, and cliche. It meant that I had to fit into a cookie-cutter of what someone else dictated. Why? I have no idea, but that is what I thought. Until recently. Until about 3 months ago. Until I realized that DUH what I have been doing for 35-fucking-years clearly hasn’t worked in all the ways I had hoped, so maybe it was time for me to make a shift. Hmm, weird.

So I did. I chose to start making things simple. Some of them I thought would bore me to tears; they haven’t. Not yet any way. In fact, the small changes I have already made are proving to be intelligent and beneficial decisions on my part.

So, what do I mean by a “Simplification Shift”? I mean cutting out all of the shit in your life that you think you need, so you can make room for the things that are going to help you change your life for the better. It sounds super intimidating, I know. That’s why the other half to this is to also only dismantle a small number of things and then figure out exactly how to rework them into your life so that it makes more sense, not makes you more stressed out.

This all seems so vague, but instead of word vomiting all of it at once I’m going to break out the Simplification Shift throughout the month of February. Each week I’ll explore an area of life that can be simplified, or rather suggestions for you to do so. If I’ve learned nothing else on my own journey it’s that there is no one size fits all answer to ANYTHING. What works for me may not work for you. But, if something that has worked for me ignites something in you that you can use to better your situation, then I’ll call that a win for both of us.

Also, disclaimer before we dive in; while this may have shades of “minimalism” attached to it, that is NOT what this is about. I have also not been watching any of the Marie Kondo docu-series on Netflix so I won’t be using the phrase “sparks joy”. This is about self assessment, exploration, and action. On your terms, to get you one step closer to living your awesome. That’s it. It’s not fancy, it’s not flashy, but that’s the point. We put all this pressure on ourselves to be All The Things, ALL THE TIME. Aren’t you tired? I am. I’d rather focus what little energy I have left after all the other parts of my life take their share on what’s most important to me. If this sounds like you, stay tuned. There is so much more goodness to come!

S

Whole 30- The Home Stretch

I’m down to single digits (8 days to be exact) Yahoo!!! I’m actually having very mixed emotions about this coming to an end, its slightly perplexing.

Part of me would be thrilled if I never had to meal prep, do dishes, or read every freaking ingredient label that I come across ever again. Dramatic Much? Mainly its the dishes and the prep, the ingredient labels just piss me off because we put SO MUCH UNNECESSARY SHIT into our food. That however, is a rant for another day.

I joked with my husband over the weekend that I’m looking forward to going back to more of an IF lifestyle just so I don’t have to cook what feels like all the time. The problem is now that I feel as good as I do, and I know there are going to be some trigger foods, the things I’m joking about not wanting to continue are the very things that I need to keep top of mind.

I have a Sugar Dragon, and she is a BEAST. The minute I give her an inch, she will take over real estate in my brain that is extremely hard to control once unleashed. Valentine’s day is coming up, Dove dark chocolate hearts and Sweet Tart hearts are calling to me but I don’t want to answer. I think part of why I’ve been able to keep said dragon under control (and in tandem to her my cravings and crashes) is because fruit has played a very minimal role in this Whole 30. Part of that is that its winter and the produce looks like shit/ costs too much BUT I know if I don’t have a crutch then I can’t fall back on a bad habit.

There are somethings that I am still working through that I haven’t been able to pinpoint and that is frustrating. Bloat, gas, still feeling “heavy” through my stomach and intestines. Cauliflower is a culprit so I am aware of that one, but please excuse me while I go on a whiny rant. I know other veggies are causing me some of the discomfort, sweet potatoes very well could be included on this list. But damn it I rotate between a small handful of veggies and if I eliminate them as well I feel so damn restricted. I cook them 50 different ways, but to an extent I stick with what I know. The question becomes what do I care more about? Eating what I enjoy, just in a healthier way, or giving up anything that disagrees with me so that I look and feel better?

We’re getting into vanity territory, I’m just going to throw that out there. I know that this bothers me more then anyone even notices, but it is really freaking frustrating. Something else to note, I eliminated all of the supplements that I usually take during this 30 days. Probiotics are usually one of them. Reintroducing the little buggers back in as well as experimenting with activated charcoal, and drinking ACV or digestive-focused teas may give me more information to connect the dots. (Please note I said Digestive-Focused tea that include things like licorice root, ginger, fennel, etc. NOT DETOX TEA. There is a difference!)

I’m off my little whiny-box now, overall this has been a really good experience. I have noticed so many other non-scale victories that I will whole-heartedly take on another Whole 30 in the future. Someone asked me about some of my favorite recipes, and I think I’m going to make that a post by itself. It will require a great deal of linking because I get them from other people then modify it to our home’s varying taste buds and preferences.

I am also ready to write about other things besides food and the Whole 30. I have plenty in my lineup, this just happens to be what I’ve been consistent on hitting the “Publish” button about.

Time to get my day started, Happy Hump Day Awesome Humans!

S

Whole 30, Week 2 Down!

I’m a couple of days later on this then I wanted to be, but LIFE, can you feel me? I’m reflecting on my week 2 as I’m currently on day 18, and I’m proud of myself for the place in which I am writing this.

I admitted in my first post that i have never fully completed the 30 days as well as the 10 day reintroduction. I’ve always been pretty ok at making it to at least to week 3, but this time I really want to celebrate closing down another week as I move through the next one.

Overall this go around has not been as hard for me as it has been in the past. I attribute that to 3 major things-

  1. Mindset.
  2. Preparation.
  3. A deeply rooted personal integrity to see this through.

I made the decision to do a Whole 30 back in December. I knew that it would start January 2nd. I felt like shit everyday leading up to it, which told me that it was a code-red needed intervention. One of my words for the year is Completion, and I am determined to complete this goal as my first task of the New Year. I keep going back to the initial goal of completing, and next to it the plan of how to get there. As often as I need the reminder. So far it’s working.

Preparation, this step is fucking exhausting, but it is what will make me see it through. I spend what feels like SO MUCH time shopping for food, prepping food, and then doing dishes. I hate it. I love the food I’ve been eating, it’s delicious and flavorful, and I can eat at as leftovers (which I don’t do very well) because I know its good quality and still going to taste amazing. But, there is still a significant amount of planning that goes into it week by week. The prep part has made me decide that while I will continue keeping fresh healthy options available even once I’ve completed the 30 days, I will also be reintroducing my intermittent fasting protocol. I prefer that with my schedule anyway, but after this, fasting holds a special place in my heart.

Last but not least, that personal integrity. I have a hard time finishing ANYTHING. I know it, I’m not proud of it, and I am determined to change that ship’s direction. If you knew how many times I’ve started a blog, then stopped. Or started an exercise or diet plan, then stopped, or a whole host of other things that I have had tons of pump about in the beginning slowly to fall off at most 2 weeks in then this shouldn’t surprise you. That is why next to the word completion for 2019, is the word consistency. Consistently showing up. For myself mainly, and then everyone else beyond that. Completing this Whole 30 will be a monumental victory for me. Only then will I feel like I am crossing off a win for living my most Awesome.

At this stage I’m frustrated with a couple of things, but they are ways my body is communicating with me and it is my job to listen and figure them out.

There have been noteable¬†days that I have been completely zapped of all my energy. Like 3pm rolls around and I want to pass the f out. I know that “snacking” is what you are learning not to do as part of the program so part of me hated that I want to eat at that time. One of the questions that Melissa tells you to ask yourself is “can you eat a plate of fish and broccoli right now?” If yes, then eat! If no, it’s a craving let it pass. In my 3:00 crash I could eat a horse so apparently something is missing. Not sure if its fat, the wrong kind of carbs, sleep that is phenomenal in quality but not necessarily quantity, not enough water, or the fact that my day starts by 5am and I’m not usually winding it down until at least 7-730 on weekdays. By winding it down I mean eating my last meal and finally sitting down. Could be a combination of any of those things, I’m still working that out.

My next two whiny complaints are still my level of bloat through my gut (though I can tell the difference in my face and other parts of my body) and acne. I’m 35 years old for fucks sake, really?!?!?! The bloat is my gut still healing and possibly some of the foods I do eat having an inflammatory response (I’m looking at you cauliflower) but that is something I need to assess and work through. The acne is one part hormones (someday I’ll write more on that one, bleh) and one part food intolerance. I already know cashews are a big one for me, and I think there is also some correlation with tomatoes. Again, it’s on me to assess and figure it out, then decide if vanity is worth not eating something. Usually it is, but sometimes I just don’t care.

Wow, this has been a lengthy little post, whether intended or not. Thanks for sticking it out if you’re still here and if you have experience with elimination diets, the Whole 30, etc. I’d love to hear from you. I don’t learn if I don’t ask so thank you in advance.

See you around next time Awesome Humans!
S

 

Week 1 Whole 30

1 week down, 3 more to go. Until today (started writing this on Day 8, finished Day 10) I have to say that everything has been going rather smooth and I can’t complain.

For anyone reading this that is unfamiliar with the program, the Whole 30 is a 30 day reset for your body (and mind if you do it correctly.) For 30 days you consume only real, whole foods. No dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no alcohol, no soy, no processed anything. Just say NO. This reset has many purposes but the biggest one is resetting how your brain and body thinks about food. It’s challenging, some days suck, and it involves a metric shit-ton (my favorite measurement) of planning and washing a ridiculous amount of dishes. SO. MANY. DISHES. (Click the link above to get a more official and in depth explanation, as this is my short-hand little blurb)

Anyway, I have made it through the first week feeling pretty darn good. My non-scale victories include sleeping like a rock, not feeling hungry and certainly getting full. It has also been fun putting our new Instant Pot to use as it has proved to be incredibly efficient already.

The second and third weeks are when (in the past) I have either fallen off the wagon or simply struggled the most with staying compliant. *MAJOR SPOILER ALERT* I have started four Whole 30 journeys but I have never made it all the way to 30 days. Ugh, that feels so yucky to say out loud. So while I have the advantage this time of knowing how most days are going to feel, I also have a knowledge of what it means to start but never officially finish.

That is the opposite of what 2019 is about for me; one of my 2019 words is “completion”. Making it to 30 days (plus 10 more for proper reintroduction which I have also never done) is something I¬† MUST do. For me. Up until this point I have allowed other people’s influence and my own lack of personal integrity to make it ok if I decide to eat non-compliant foods or jump of the boat 3, 9, or 14 days before I’m meant to. If no one knows but me, is it that big of a deal?

The answer is YES, yes it is a big freaking deal. I’m writing this, posting it, and then telling people about it so that the people that know me best (or Hell even complete strangers I don’t care) can call me out. I’m not about being outside my integrity, and I absolutely won’t budge when it comes to my clients or other people. But when it’s just me against me, I will buckle easily and honestly not give it much thought.

Not this time though, I refuse. I will get through the challenging days (I know there are more coming my way) and I will own this as if my life depends on it. It doesn’t, obviously, but how good is it going to feel when I do make it to the end. When I can officially sit taller and prouder in my food freedom, and know that I accomplished something that is making me and my relationship with food better.

That’s all for Week 1, more to come as I get through Week 2 and hit my half way mark.

Later Awesome Humans!

S

January 2019- Is this going to be your year?

The time of resolutions is sitting on top of us, one week in. Have you broken yours yet? Such a pessimistic and shitty take on it but let’s be real; how many times have you hyped yourself up to make these great big awesome changes and then 1, maybe 2 weeks in you lose your will and *POOF* you are right back where you started? If you say “Well I’ve never…” you’re either full of crap, or you’re in denial. Own it and lets move on, shall we?

I too have been guilty of being a Resolutionary (the term I may use in excess when it comes to people setting huge unattainable goals on Jan 1st and then they all but disappear by call it February 15th at the latest) and this year I’m not on board with it. Instead I’ve chosen to approach the BHAGs (Big-Huge-Ass-Goals) I have set for myself this year as one day/week/month at a time achievements. What behaviors do I have to engage in each day so that I can check the box and keep moving forward towards my goal? That is the question I ask myself each night before I shut it down, and each morning when I fire it up.

Currently I’m working on getting back in to my morning routine, writing for at least 15 minutes each day, and completing a Whole 30 reset.

Those are my focus.

That’s it.

The list of all the things I would like to be doing is so much longer, but I am not capable of expanding my view-point beyond this horizon. If I do I will set myself up to fail almost immediately, and that feels really shitty.

In the book Atomic Habits by James Clear (which is phenomenal, and you should read it) he talks about changing the behavior that results in the habit. In fact that’s the basis of creating Atomic Habits. It’s the small things and what leads up to doing whatever it is you are trying to achieve that matter more than the habit itself. Baby steps become giant freaking leaps when taken consistently.

In my case habit #1 is getting back to my morning routine. That includes waking up a solid couple of hours before anyone in my house (currently the goal is 430 during the week 5-530 on the weekend) getting my coffee, writing my morning pages, listening to Darren Daily, preparing for whatever lies ahead in my day and going from there. I could be doing WAY more in that roughly 2 hours, but getting back into the groove of getting up that early is step 1. My alarm is nowhere near my bed so I have to physically get out of bed to shut it down. I move pretty quick all things considered because while I don’t care if it wakes my husband, I do care if it wakes up my kids. Once I’m out of bed I move, assess, and stay up. There is no point in crawling back into bed, regardless of how tempting once I’m already out of it. Now that I’m up, the next steps I’m working through are what am I accomplishing in that time? Currently it’s what I’ve mentioned above but as the habit forms and sticks I know it will evolve to be more productive and on point to other larger things.

Number 2 is writing for 15 minutes each day. I do that anyway with my daily pages, but that writing is not intended for anyone but Me, so I need to write for 15 more minutes words that are meant to be experienced by other people. A larger goal of mine is to blog more consistently, so creating that content fits the bill. Getting up early give me time I might not otherwise have to write. Writing for 15 minutes will create content to publish, which will get pushed out the interwebs, which will hopefully be absorbed by someone who might need it and the cycle will continue to grow. Habit 1 and 2 feed off one another, which pushes me that much more to make sure I prioritize it.

Last but not least is my Whole 30. Lord has this been a long time coming. From Halloween to Christmas last year was a gluttonous, revolting, free for all. I admit it, and I have paid for it. Inflammation, fatigue, looking and feeling like the Goodyear Blimp, and general not-niceness have been my major symptoms and I’m so over them all. I made the decision to attempt another Whole 30 back in December, and now one week in I know that I made the right decision. More on that in the future, but while I acknowledge that I still have quite a way to go, this decision is one that needs to be seen to completion for a large myriad of personal reasons. I’m on track and that is what is important to me.

This particular post veered off in ways I had not originally intended but I’m going to stick it out and let it be. Making resolutions is a fine way to kickstart yourself on a path to making changes. If that is how you need to go about it then get down with your bad self. But, if you want those resolutions to stick, I suggest taking a smarter and even smaller approach by narrowing down the little steps you need to consistently walk first before you can achieve the big jump. Don’t allow yourself to say one thing but only achieve a small piece of it. Set that goal, then figure out all the steps required for you to get there. Do them, daily. Then have a look at the original resolution at the end of the day, the week, the month. Are you closer? Are you still on the path towards it? Yes? Awesome!!! Keep doing what you’re doing. No? Why? Take a step back and start again. If 2019 is meant to be “Your Year” then don’t settle for anything less. Take the small steps, show up for yourself every day, and keep moving in the direction you know you want to go. I promise it will be worth it.

See you next time Awesome Humans!
S