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What Being Primal Means To Me

Roasted Carrots

Scott and I’s transition into a Primal lifestyle was a slow one.  I probably kicked and screamed a little on the way too because when I was first introduced to this way of life I was not on board.  I probably even made fun of it.

That was until I stopped working out, drank too much beer, and wrecked my health along with my digestive tract. Both Scott and I gained too much weight.  Our sleep was affected, I was unhappy, and my digestion was not normal.

Last spring I did a Spring Clean Eats challenge where I omitted some things and it was sort of like a modified Whole 30.  We did well and I learned that I really like eggs and protein in the mornings.

But not long after we fell back into old routines and it was like nothing changed.

Fast forward to the end of the year and I was over feeling like crap.  OVER IT.  Along with exercising, I decided it was time to get my diet and digestion under control.  I turned towards the Primal/Paleo community because they embrace whole real foods and promote digestive health and healing.

No other community does this in a way that I can relate to.

Since January of 2015, Scott and I have adopted more of a Primal lifestyle and we are definitely seeing the benefits. Everything is improving; weight, digestion, and sleep.  Scott now even comes to bed earlier and gets up earlier in the mornings.  A feat I never thought I would see!

We lean more towards Primal than full on Paleo.  We can tolerate high quality dairy in the form of yogurt, cheese, and butter.  Scott can even handle grass-fed milk.  We also tolerate white rice and incorporate that into our diets as well.

Beans, Wheat, Soy, and other Legumes are out.  Corn, while technically a grain, we can handle in small amounts.

I thought I could handle beans but the last time I ate a few bites I bloated up like crazy.

For me, Primal is a lifestyle and not just a way of eating.  It focuses on:

  • Eating whole nourishing foods while avoiding foods that can cause inflammation or gut irritation.

  • Exercising each day and moving my body with intention.

  • Spending time outdoors.

  • Making Self-Care a priority and not a luxury.

This is how Scott and I live our lives and it’s made such a world of difference. I don’t preach and I don’t really talk about it with others unless asked.  However, with my health coaching clients, it is the lifestyle I focus on with them since I feel it is the most healing and the most nourishing.

My whole outlook on life has since changed.  I’m inspired to be back in the kitchen cooking kick-ass meals and experimenting with foods.  My confidence has built back up, I’m happier, and I’ve been able to incorporate some running into my life again (more on this in another post).

I wouldn’t be in this position had I not decided to make a change and take charge of my health.

 

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April Goals

Trail

I haven’t done monthly goals in quite some time but I have a lot going on this spring and setting up goals will help me stay on track.  Here’s what I’m focusing on for this month.

Getting up at 6am during the week

I’ve struggled with getting back into a routine where I am getting up at 6am in the mornings.

I am a morning person.

This does not mean that I am chipper and ready to offer you conversation and a smile.  It’s best if you don’t even talk to me in the mornings.  By “morning person”, I mean that I prefer to get up and get my day started.  I like exercising first thing in the morning and I’m also way more productive in the mornings.

Since I haven’t been getting up early to start my day, production levels for me have tanked and I am finding that I’m running out of time to get everything done that I would like.

I have successfully got back into the routine of getting to bed early but sometimes if I don’t have a good sleep then getting up early doesn’t happen.  No excuses this month though! I have someone I check in with each morning to let them know that I’m up and ready to start the day.  I also make sure that I’m in bed early with plenty of time to read before it’s lights out.

Running several times a week

I chatted before about giving up the runner label.  I had to do this because I wasn’t in the space mentally and physically to run.  Despite my best efforts it was not happening.

I missed it though.  Very much.

A few weeks ago on a whim I decided to try running again.  I alternated between running and walking on a trail and I did great.  Better than I thought I would do.  Which sparked in me the desire to try running again.

At the moment I’m sticking to trails and ones that are very flat (no inclines at all) as I work towards getting my running legs back and developing my breathing.  So far it’s been going well and I’m up to two miles.

Going full on Primal with eats

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve seen a recent uptake on posting my daily eats. It’s a lot easier to share my meals via that platform verses spending time writing out a full blog post about it.  Scott and I have been following a mostly primal diet for a while now with a few non-primal things thrown in because we can tolerate them.  Well this month we’ve decided to go full on Primal.

As I work towards healing my gut and getting us back on track with our healthy lifestyle, I’ve realized that eating Primal makes me feel the best and is the most beneficial towards gut health.  Scott is on board, of course, because he’s not the one making the meals!  But the truth is, both of us enjoy a more primal lifestyle.  We feel more satisfied and fulfilled.  If you asked me about going primal three years ago, I would have told you that was crazy.  Now I get it.

One thing this year has taught me so far, is to never say never.

Those are my April goals!  What are you working towards this month?

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Weekend Unplugged

 

Winding TrailScott and I had the most relaxing weekend.  Friday was my birthday and I tried to take the day off and enjoy some things l love.

That didn’t quite work out as planned, everything from getting a walk cut short to over cooking some steaks.  Bah! I wasn’t going to let that one day dictate how the whole weekend was going to be though.

Saturday we headed out because I wanted to hike Horsetooth.  I know it’s a popular trail but it is really pretty and we have yet to hike that whole trail.  We arrived and the trailhead was full so it was closed off.  We drove around and found another trailhead that was still open and decided to check it out.

So glad that we did!  We did about a 6 mile hike (out and back) and part of the trail was up a steep incline.  We weren’t able to go all the way to the top due to time constraints which was a bummer but we still had an awesome hike.  The weather was perfect with a slight breeze keeping us from getting too hot.

We came home and had a really comforting meal of meatballs and polenta.  No picture because I was too busy stuffing my face!

Sunday, the weather was even better! We had a sunny 80 degree day.  Scott and I, and the two punks, spent as much time as we could just lounging in the backyard soaking up all that glorious sun and warmth.

Saturday I rarely checked my phone and Sunday I didn’t even go on my computer once.

It was the perfect weekend.

Taking time to unplug and just be present and in the moment is so important.  I think sometimes we get so focused on staying up to date and trying to document everything we forget to actually live it.  One of the weekly challenges in my accountability group is taking time to unplug.

I love this idea so much that I will be running a challenge group focused on this concept.  The group will start in April and will be more introspective.  Instead of focusing on food we will working on self-care. Things like making sure to get enough sleep each night, taking time to unplug each day, and spending quality time with people we care about.

Self-care is so important for our heath and well-being!  I try to incorporate this into each day.  If you’re interested in joining my April challenge group just let me know!  It’s a free group, there is nothing to purchase.  It will run for 21 Days and we will be doing little exercises each day that are geared towards self-care and taking time to unplug.

 

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21DFX Wrapup

Yogurt with granola and banana

Over the weekend, Scott and I finished the 21DFX program.  I will be honest and say that I’m glad to be done with it. I liked the challenge but wasn’t in love with it like Insanity Max 30.

LIKED: The use of the containers.  At first that seemed a little intimidating keeping track of them and making sure to get the right portions in.  It was really eye opening because at first look, I assumed that these containers were too small and that I would constantly be hungry.  They are actually the perfect size and most times I became full before evening finishing full portions.

DISLIKED: Being so restricted on what I could and couldn’t have.  That is the point of this program and it’s geared towards folks who are getting ready for a big event (dinner, wedding, vacation) and want to tone up and lose a few extra pounds.  Since I wasn’t in that category, limiting some portions (like healthy fats) left me feeling frustrated and cranky.

LIKED: The workouts that incorporate resistance bands and light weights.  These workouts are not intense despite the fact that the program is labeled as “extreme”.  Anyone at any fitness level will be able to complete these programs with no worries.  I enjoyed the workouts, some more than others, but I liked the use of weights and that the workouts were only 30 minutes long.  It went pretty quickly.

DISLIKED: I felt like there wasn’t enough time between sets to set up with the resistance band.  Most times I fell behind on those moves.  I also didn’t have near the calorie burn that is mentioned.  I can see doing these workouts paired with a higher intensity HIIT or cardio workout.

LIKED: That the program is only 3 weeks long. It’s a great intro program for someone learning about portion control and getting back into the swing of working out.

RESULTS

I lost between 5-7 pounds on this program, it fluctuates.  Scott lost 6 pounds.  Both of us lost inches in our waist as well.

I was surprised with my results. Since the workouts are not that intense I really didn’t expect to see much movement on the scale.  I’m pleased with my results!

Overall, I enjoyed the program more once I made some adjustments to it.  A lot of the challengers in my group, along with myself, found the program too restrictive and not sustainable so we adjusted to how we live our lives.  Still seeing results with the workouts and sticking with the portions shows that the program does work and you will get the results you’re looking for.

Would I recommend this program to someone?  Maybe if they were looking to lose a few pounds before an event. Otherwise I would suggest someone try out the original 21 Day Fix first and see how they like that.

My next group challenge starts in April and we are going to be focusing on self-care.  Like making sure to get enough sleep each night and taking time to unplug during the day.  If you are interesting in joining this FREE challenge, let me know and I’ll send you all the info!

If you have any questions about Beachbody products or programs, feel free to drop me a line so we can chat about them!

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21DFX Halfway Point

Blueberries and yogurt

Scott and I are at the halfway point with 21 Day Fix Extreme.  I am so happy to be halfway done with this program!

I’m at a point where I feel a little frustrated with the program and so I’m thankful we are halfway done because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s extreme so it’s a little more restricting and that is the part that I have the most trouble with.  I just don’t eat that way naturally and it’s challenging to incorporate that into daily life.

I was getting bored with some of our eats so I’ve been branching out a bit and experimenting more in the kitchen.

Costco had a great deal on blueberries (I know, out of season but so hard to pass up when they are under $5!) and we enjoyed blueberries with yogurt for breakfast the past several days.

We had pizza earlier this week on a cauliflower crust.  I still need to tweak that recipe a bit but I’m on the right track with it.  I added in some grain free flours to help stretch the dough since it had to feed both of us.  It definitely satisfied a craving.

Last night we had zoodles with crab, tomato, and avocado and it was heavenly!  Seafood + avocado is one of my favorite combinations.  The creamy richness of the avocado pairs so well with the sweet briny flavors of seafood!

I’m still sticking with the plan but have reached a point where I need to experiment in the kitchen and create some new meals for us.  I feel like new adventures and journeys should be fun and not feel like work.

The challenge wraps up for us next week and I’ll have all the details about what I loved and didn’t love about the program.

Now I’m looking forward to the weekend and some super yummy eats!

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21DFX Week 1 Thoughts

Chicken, green beans, sweet potato mashWeek 1 of the 21 Day Fix Extreme is in the books and we are kicking off Week 2!  The first week was a little rough as I got used to the containers and meal planned our week.  The containers and the amounts we can have a day are so specific that making things like soups and chili is challenging because those meals are hard to measure.  So I’ve put them aside for now.  We did have Pho last week but that was simple since it had one protein and one veggie.

These last two weeks I’m going to focus more on protein, veggies, and fruit.

The biggest challenge with doing the Extreme version is limiting some items.  For example I am only allowed 1 healthy fat a day and the container for that is tiny.  It equals 1/4 of an avocado, chopped.

No one eats only a 1/4 of an avocado at a time!

That has been my biggest gripe and poor Scott has heard me bitching about it the entire time.  Since healthy fats are so limiting, most times I don’t even bother because it’s just not worth it.  I only have 2 more weeks of the program left, not a big deal.

I’ve seen some a few others on Instagram who are also doing this program (not with my group, on their own) and they are sneaking in little cheats here and there.  Of course there are ways to get around things and naturally people are going to find the loopholes.  But I’m sticking with the program!  No treats and no alcohol for three weeks.  I might be a little crabby about it but I’m doing it!  It’s just not worth it to me to create cheats because I don’t want to sacrifice, say a protein, just to have some fake chocolate.

I enjoy the exercises a great deal.  They are not super intense and there isn’t too much jumping around but they are challenging.  Using light weights and resistance bands are what I like the most.  It’s challenging and you have to push yourself but it’s not so hard that it makes you want to give up or leaves you feeling frustrated.

Now it’s time to kick off Week 2 and dominate it!

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Day 3: 21DFX Easy Like Pho

Day 3 went so much smoother!  I’m starting to get the hang of the containers and the portions that we need for each meal.  I was much more satisfied this time and was actually surprised by how much each container holds.  They look small but actually hold hefty portion sizes!

BREAKFAST

Yogurt and granola

Greek yogurt + homemade granola + 1/2 a banana

1/2R + 1Y + 1/2P

LUNCH

Kale salad, pineapple, and smoked salmon

Kale salad + smoked salmon + pineapple

1G + 1R + 1P + 1 O

I make a big batch of this salad, dress it with a homemade balsamic dressing and it makes a few days worth of salad.  Since the veggies in the mix are things like kale, brussels sprouts, and cabbage, the dressing doesn’t weight it down or make it soggy.  It gets better the longer it sits!

The kale salad mix I get at Costco.

DINNER

Shrimp Pho with Zoodles

Shrimp Pho + zucchini noodles

1.5 R + 2G

This turned out to be a lot of food and I didn’t even finish my bowl!

EXERCISE

Was Pilates Fix and that used a resistance band for the whole 30 minutes.  It was challenging and different as I haven’t used resistance bands in that way before.  It provides a nice change from using weights all the time.  Just like weights, you can always increase the resistance to make the moves more challenging.

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Day 2 21DFX: Getting Better

Yesterday was Day 2 of the 21 Day Fit Extreme (21DFX from here on out) and it was good and it was a little shaky there around lunch time but I pulled through!

I realize I haven’t shared what the containers mean so here’s your quick guide:

Green = Veggies

Purple = Fruit

Red = Protein

Yellow = Carbs

Blue = Healthy Fats

Orange = For oils, dressings

Scramble and mandarins

I started the day off with a scramble with mushrooms, peppers, and onions topped with a little cheddar and hot sauce with a side of mandarins.

1 R + 1/2 G + 1P + 1/2B

Chocolate vegan shakeology

Breakfast left me hungry and unsatisfied for some reason.  So all morning long all I kept thinking about was lunch. Finally at 11:30am I caved and made a Shakeology smoothie.

Chocolate vegan Shakeology with water + spinach + banana

1R + 1G + 1P

Kale salad

This didn’t fill me up and it only made me more hungry.  I think it might have spiked my blood sugar too much.  So I moved on to a kale salad.

1G

That didn’t fill me up right away either but eventually my body settled down and I wasn’t so ravenous any longer.  It took about an hour-ish for that to happen.

Porkchop, broccoli, sweet potato mash

Dinner was awesome!  Pork chop with roasted broccoli and mashed sweet potato.

2R + 1G + 2Y

Lesson learned from the day is that I really can’t do shakes as a meal (even though Shakeology can be made as meal replacements or as a snack).  My body wants food and so I’m going to stick with that.

While the first half of the day didn’t leave me satisfied, it was plenty for Scott.  He didn’t even touch his portion of the kale salad because he was completely full.

Both of us are doing this program and we are both on the same portion plan so it’s been pretty easy to plan out meals for the both of us.

Workout focused on upper body so it was all arm, shoulder, and triceps moves.  It was awesome and I felt great afterwards!  Max 30 was so cardio intense that it’s nice to have a slower pace and work with some light weights.

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Starting 21 Day Fix Extreme

Yesterday I kicked off my new fitness challenge, The 21 Day Fix Extreme.  Some of the challengers aren’t starting till next Monday so there’s still time to jump in and join us if you want!

This program comes with 7 workouts that are 30 minutes long. You complete them during the week and they use a combo of light weights and resistance bands.  It also focuses on nutrition, providing a meal plan and a set of containers that are portion sizes for different food groups like veggies, fruit, protein, and carbs.

Currently my focus is on the portions and not so much the “approved” list of foods.  Scott and I eat pretty clean so I feel like we’re good in that area.

There is a guide that helps you figure out the calorie amount you’ll need for the day either for maintenance or weight loss, and then that amount corresponds with home many containers of each food group you can have for the day.

My initial reaction was YIKES.  Because I can only have four portions of veggies in a day and that’s basically my lunch.

Yesterday was Day 1 and I documented my eats to give you an idea of what this whole thing looks like.  So let’s take a look and then we’ll discuss.

BREAKFAST

Yogurt with granola and banana

2% Greek yogurt + homemade granola + 1/2 a medium banana

1/2 red container + yellow container + 1/2 purple container

LUNCH

Salad, smoothie, smoked salmon

Kale salad + smoothie + smoked salmon

1.5 green container + 1 orange + 1 green + 2 purple + 1 red

DINNER

Zoodles with sauce and sausage

Zoodles + homemade sauce + Italian sausage + parm

1.5 green + 1 purple + 1 red + 1/2 blue

It was challenging working with these containers!  I’m a pretty intuitive eater and the containers left me feeling a little restricted which admittedly did make me a little cranky at first.  But it wouldn’t be a challenge if it wasn’t easy, right?

I am using this basic template meal planner as a way to keep track of the containers.  I printed out 3 copies for the 3 weeks of the program.  At the top I put how many containers we can have each day and then for the meals I make note of the containers and tally up the total after dinner.

This program does advocate three meals with some snacks through out the day.  I’m not a snacker and stick with three larger meals.

Scott says we are all in and that we need to try our best to stick to our allotted amounts.  That’s my goal for the rest of the challenge is to stick to the containers.

I’m not a calorie counter and I try and eat as intuitively as possible. I’m trying out the program because I would like to have first hand experience with it and to see what kind of results that I can achieve.

That’s a run down of Day 1! I’ll be checking in with more eats and progress reports as the challenge goes on.

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Find A Support System

Find Your Tribe

Motivation and support are two things I rely on when sticking with an exercise plan and living a healthy lifestyle. I love seeing others working out and eating well, it motivates me and keeps me going.  I also love having a support system in place because that helps me stay focused.

Being with a group of like minded individuals is uplifting and key to healthy lifestyle success.

It’s no secret that with our move to Colorado, I fell off the healthy lifestyle wagon.  Hard.  And it took me two years to finally get back on track.  The main reason I had trouble with getting back on the wagon is because I had no support system.

Most of the “healthy” blogs are running focused and I’m not running at this time.  Paleo blogs, while closer to the way I eat and view food, are Crossfit focused and I don’t Crossfit (or have any desire to).  I was feeling stuck and like I couldn’t relate to anyone.  I didn’t have anyone I could turn to, even locally since most locals here either run or bike.

Eventually I had enough of not living to my fullest potential and I had enough with not eating the way my body prefers and I sought out help.

My friend Rose was running an accountability group and I joined in and it was exactly what I needed to get back on track and stay focused.

Being part of a support group that I can check in with daily for accountability and motivation has been a game changer.  I’ve stayed on track and have worked hard to get back to living the lifestyle that I love.  I would not have been able to do this had I not found a group of folks who were all doing the same thing I was, getting back on track.

We are all doing different workouts and we all have different perspectives on what eating well means but we are always supportive of each other and help build each other up.

When committing to a lifestyle change, we need to find our tribe.  A group that is supportive and motivating, helping each other reach their goals. Taking the first step to seeking out support is HUGE and difficult.  Most of us don’t want to admit we need help.  The truth is that we are much more successful when we have people to motivate us and challenge us.

This is exactly why I’m bringing my health coaching back into focus because I know first hand how beneficial having a support system in place can be.

I will be running some free challenge groups that will focus on eating well and having an exercise plan in place. There will be nothing to purchase, all you need is a desire to focus on your health. If you are interested in joining in with others who are on the same journey, just let me know!  I’ll send you all the details!

Let’s work together to support and motivate each other!