Whole30 Challenge: Accepted

29 Mar

As I mentioned in my last post, I got married in October (woohoo!). The great thing about October, is that the Fall and Winter season holidays are not far behind. Holidays are great for morale, but not always for your health due to the ever-tempting sweet treats and overly decadent meals.

This is probably the most honest thing I’ll ever print, aside from my wedding planning advice below 😉 :I’m curvy and have been my entire life. I’ve always been told that I have a pretty face and nice hair, so I’ve never really felt confident about anything else. There’s never been a day that’s gone by where I didn’t worry about my weight or criticize myself on what I was eating or wearing. I’ve never felt truly comfortable or proud of the way I look, because there was always so much pressure to look like someone else.

The resolution that I made to myself on my most recent birthday, was to become comfortable with who I am as my own person. To become confident and proud of everything that makes me, me. I knew right off the bad that my biggest hurdle would be my body image. That got me thinking: Where does the notion of my body image start?

After thinking a lot about it, and coming face-to-face with some nasty truths about my habits, I realized that for me, my body image starts with the food I eat. If I start out the day with a crappy breakfast, guess what, I’m going to feel crappy and will most likely make lousy meal choices for the rest of the day! One of my nasty truths that I admitted to myself is that I’m a creature of habit, for better or for worse. To help combat any bad food habits I had, I decided to try a new eating plan that I’d heard a few of my very dear friends talk about, Whole30. While reading through the site, I was inspired, but also completely terrified what committing to this challenge would mean- few things would be convenient, and I’d really have to be all-in, no excuses whatsoever.

After debating internally about doing this challenge for no one other than myself, I reached out to one of my friends who revealed that she was thinking about doing it as well. From that conversation, a slightly bigger one happened, and within a few days I had a truly wonderful support system that was going to partake in this challenge as well. From February 1 – March 1, we successfully completed the Whole30 challenge, and I cannot tell you how much it helped to have the support system I did. Some days truly sucked (I’m talking to you, sugar withdrawls and my always-packed sink!), but we kept each other honest, on-track and motivated, and it was absolutely wonderful. Hard, and not always convenient, especially if you like to dine out, but completely and totally worth it.

Why would you put yourself through the pain of not eating any processed foods, dairy, alcohol, sugar, gluten or legumes, you might ask? Because I got to listen, really listen, to my body for the first time in, most likely, my entire life. By stripping out the foods that are commonly linked to allergies, etc., I got to really understand what made my body feel good and what I reacted to, which in turn made me feel insanely good inside and out. Realizing that what I eat really does have the power to make me feel healthy and strong, and that I am strong-willed enough to eat all of these delicious foods for 30 days, not just a meal here and there. That, to me, was completely empowering and eye-opening because I’d honestly never felt that before.

Since completing my first Whole30 challenge, I’ve started to re-introduce certain elements back into my daily diet, although I have to say, I’ve been really shocked with what my body reacts to now. I’ve learned that I feel better when most of the sensitivity-enducing foods are out of my diet, I feel a million times better than when I eat them.

In case anyone is curious as to what I ate, I’ve included my 30 day food plan below:

LAUREN’S WHOLE30 FOOD PLAN
DAY 1
Breakfast: Eggs
Lunch: Apples and Banana w/almond butter
Dinner: Rosemary Lemon Chicken. Recipe: http://laughingspatula.com/roasted-lemon-chicken-with-potatoes-and-rosemary/

DAY 2
Breakfast: Spinach and egg omelette w/ raspberries and coffee
Lunch: Leftover Rosemary Chicken and unsalted cashews
Snack: Smoothie w/ice, banana, apple, almond butter, spinach, almond milk
Dinner: Taco lettuce boats w/turkey meat: http://laughingspatula.com/fresh-and-easy-taco-meat/
* For the lettuce boats, we used butter lettuce
Dessert: Raspberries and apple with almond butter

DAY 3
Breakfast: Green shake w/banana and coffee
*My green shakes usually consist of 1 banana, frozen fruit (usually berries), spinach, almond milk. Sometimes I add almond butter to get an extra protein kick. Other times I’ve added cocoa for a kick of chocolate.
Snack: Apple
Lunch: Leftover Rosemary Chicken and potatoes
Snack: Unsalted cashews
Dinner: Omelette w/leftover turkey meat and sweet potato
Dessert: Apple w/almond butter

DAY 4
Breakfast: Green shake w/banana
Lunch: Leftover turkey meat and lettuce wraps
Snack: Celery w/almond butter
Dinner: Steak, green beans w/dates, raspberries

DAY 5
Breakfast: Eggs w/potatoes
Lunch: Leftover steak, green beans w/dates
Snack: Apple
Dinner: Salad w/chicken, snap peas and oranges.Approved balsamic dressing (Tessemae’s)

DAY 6
Breakfast: Spinach omelette w/banana and raspberries w/coffee.
Lunch: Chicken and mashed potatoes
Dinner: Korean BBQ pork, chicken, beef w/salad

DAY 7
Breakfast: Eggs, blueberries and tea
Lunch: Dates w/almond butter, fruit
Dinner: Rosemary chicken w/carrots and potatoes.
Dessert: Apples w/almond butter

DAY 8
Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, banana and tea
Lunch: Leftover rosemary chicken
Snack: Egg, grapes & strawberries
Dinner: Green shake w/pineapple, banana, almond butter, dates, coconut  milk

DAY 9
Breakfast: Green shake, tea
Lunch: Hamburger (no bun) w/lettuce, tomato, grilled onion (no sauce)
Dinner: Pulled pork w/hot sauce, salad w/broccoli and tomatoes
Dessert: Blueberries

DAY 10 – 1/3 of the way there!
Breakfast: Green shake
Lunch: Leftover pulled pork
Dinner: Green and berry shake

DAY 11
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs w/potato & sausage
Lunch: Leftover pork, clementines
Snack: Apple, deli-turkey
Dinner: Shepherd’s pie and salad

DAY 12
Breakfast: Green shake and coffee
Lunch: Salad w/turkey, tomato, celery, balsamic dressing
Dinner: Omelette w/pancetta and spinach
Dessert: Clementines and blueberries

DAY 13
Breakfast: Chicken omelette w/bananas and blueberries
Dinner: Meatballs w/spaghetti squash, salad: http://sleeploveeat.com/2010/03/15/mammas-meatballs-and-marinara-sauce/

DAY 14
Breakfast: Eggs, potatoes, bacon and fruit
Lunch: Salad w/turkey, cucumbers and tomato
Dinner: Buffalo chicken w/salad
Dessert: “Nice” cream, blueberries and raspberries: http://www.danielle-moss.com/blog/2016/1/4/faux-whole30-banana-almond-butter-ice-cream?rq=almond

DAY 15
Breakfast: Banana, Lara Bar
Lunch: Steak, veggies, mashed potatoes and shrimp
Dinner: Veggies, steak, mushroom and green beans

DAY 16
Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, coffee
Lunch: Salad w/chicken, broccoli, tomatoes
Dinner: Pork and asparagus

DAY 17
Breakfast: Coconut milk and chia seed pudding w/pomegranate seeds and banana
Lunch: Turkey, Clementines, Lara Bar
Dinner: Salad – no dressing

DAY 18
Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, blueberries
Lunch: Chicken and green beans
Snack: Clementines, Lara Bar
Dinner: Sweet potato w/beef & marinara, apples w/almond butter

DAY 19
Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, blueberries
Lunch: Beef, sweet potato and clementines
Snack: Coffee, Lara Bar
Dinner: Greek salad w/shrimp

DAY 20 – only 10 more days to go!
Breakfast: Eggs, banana
Lunch: Green shake
Dinner: Lemon and garlic chicken w/green beans: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2014/10/lemon-garlic-dump-chicken-whats-dinner.html

DAY 21
Breakfast: Green shake
Lunch: Leftover lemon garlic chicken w/green beans and pistachios
Dinner: Steak and shrimp, green beans, broccoli and zucchini
Dessert: Watermelon

DAY 22
Breakfast: Egg, banana and blueberries
Lunch: Salad w/chicken, onions and potatoes
Snack: Lara Bar
Dinner: Beef and butternut squash stew: http://www.noshtastic.com/beef-and-butternut-squash-stew/

DAY 23
Breakfast: Eggs, potatoes and sausage
Snack: Banana
Lunch: Leftover beef and butternut squash stew, clementines
Dinner: Apple and onion pork chops w/salad: https://pragmaticallypaleo.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/easy-apple-onion-pork-chops/
Dessert: Nice cream

DAY 24
Breakfast: Lara Bar, banana, coffee
Lunch: Greek salad w/chicken
Dinner: Almond-crusted salmon and green beans: http://fashionablefoods.com/2015/10/16/almond-crusted-salmon-whole-30/

DAY 25
Breakfast: Green and berry shake
Lunch: Greek salad
Dinner: Chicken and sweet potato

DAY 26
Breakfast: Eggs w/sausage and potatoes
Lunch: Leftover almond-crusted salmon and green beans
Dinner: Steak, baked potato and salad

DAY 27
Breakfast: Green shake
Lunch: Lara Bar and fruit
Dinner: Shrimp w/asparagus and mushrooms

DAY 28
Breakfast: Green and berry shake
Lunch: Chicken w/potatoes, mushrooms and brussel sprouts
Dinner: Chicken and apple sausage, mixed fruit salad
Dessert: Nice cream

DAY 29
Breakfast: Lara Bar, banana
Lunch: Leftover chicken, potatoes, mushrooms and brussel sprouts
Snack: Mixed fruit salad
Dinner: Steak, onions, green beans, broccoli and cabbage

DAY 30- sweet, tiny baby Jesus, I made it!
Breakfast: Lara Bar, banana
Lunch: Salad w/turkey
Snack: Almonds and cherries
Dinner: Quick and spicy shrimp, asparagus and fruit: http://www.peanutblossom.com/blog/2012/06/quick-and-spicy-shrimp.html/
Dessert: Nice cream

My biggest learning that Whole30 helped me to realize is that I’m a strong woman, who can be in complete control of her body. I don’t have to rely on the train of thought that “…well, everyone’s just not meant to truly feel comfortable in their own skin all the time, so just deal with what you’ve got.” No. No no no. I am strong, and I am beautiful because I am not a clone. I am me, and I am real– curves and all. The first step for me to personally feel good about myself is to ensure that I’m making smart, healthy choices about the fuel I put in my body.

Healthy is beautiful. Strong is beautiful. I am beautiful.

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One Response to “Whole30 Challenge: Accepted”

  1. Everyday Sarah Jane March 30, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    The Whole30 is a great program!!

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