Whole30 Potluck

You guys, since my Whole30 journey began a year and a half ago, I had big plans of hosting a potluck. A safe place where you didn’t have to worry or think twice about what food was being served and if it was compliant or not. A party you could go to without having to eat before you got there, where you didn’t have to take emergency food, or prepare to politely decline every hors d’oeuvre that came your way.

Well, it finally happened a couple of weeks ago. More food than I imagined, delicious as ever with all the LaCroix your heart could handle, Whole30 trivia AND door prizes. The cool thing about it was the diversity of people that attended–where some guests were Whole30 pro’s and others who had never heard of it before. It just further confirmed the beauty of the Whole30 community and how wanting to look and feel our best, eating delicious, nutrient dense food is something we can all have in common.

Here is just a glimpse of *some* the amazing food we had, and I wish I had taken more pictures of the food because, y’all, it. was. so. good.

    

Such delicious food. Everything from my typical roasted veggie bake with chicken apple sausage you see me eat nearly every day, pork carnitas and tenderloin, cucumbers, avocados, chicken salad… my oh my!

Game time! Whole30 Potluck Trivia

Whole30 trivia consisted of 30 (get it?) questions from easy to hard, (some say they were really hard) about all things Whole30. Guests were asked to pick a number, remove the post it note and read the question aloud and answer. If they were unable to answer it was up for stealing from another guest. The goal was whoever had the most post it notes at the end of the game were able to pick from the basket of door prizes first!

The door prizes included: Nutpods and Tessemae’s Ranch Dressing (surprise surprise), Tessemae’s Ketchup, Primal Kitchen Mayo, 2 sets of 1 Larabar and 1 Rx Bar. All goodies were compliant of course.

I had not prepared for a tie, so I had to think of some tie breaker questions off the top of my head but, alas, we had a winner. If I remember correctly, the Nutpods were first to go and the Mayo was soon to follow. Everyone walked away a winner as each guest left with a Whole30 prize in hopes of making their Whole30 a little bit easier.

To see a list of the questions, scroll to the bottom of the post!

Out of everyone who attended the Potluck only two were on a Whole30 at the time. The significant others of the guest attended too so there were some non-compliant beverages consumed by those and the ones who were not actively doing a Whole30 BUT, that’s what food freedom is all about. I had a delicious plate of food and was completely satisfied and still felt amazing after I ate it, along side my spiked pumpkin cider (please hurry, fall).

For those who were in the midst of a reset, there were plenty of compliant beverages for them, but ALL the food was compliant and that was a beautiful feeling.

If you are wanting to host a Potluck on your own, here are my suggestions to get the ball rolling, keeping in mind, this is what I did and wished I had done, but something different might work for you.

In the nature of any Whole30, the best place to start is picking a date, so…

  1. Talk to your circle of friends before hand and discuss a date that works best for (most). It’s going to be impossible to find a date that works for everyone.
  2. Create a Facebook event and send out invites at least 1 month ahead of time (you can do formal invites too if you’d like)
  3. Be thorough in your description of the event and expectations for the evening (time, date, place, what to bring, who to bring)
  4. Allow other guests to bring a Whole30 buddy or two with them
  5. Post a comment on the event page to have guests write what they are bringing to avoid doubles and check back periodically asking the same question, especially the day before.
  6. Post copy of Whole30 Rules on the event page (I didn’t do this and should have).
  7. Be inviting and welcoming when guests arrive. You can have index cards to write on if you want to put the name of the food on each dish
  8. Have name tags for your guests to wear if there are a lot of people who do not know one another
  9. Be organized- have drinks in a cooler, silverware handy, paper plates for easy cleanup, to-go containers ready for the guest on a current Whole30 (do as much ahead of time as possible)
  10. Thank everyone for coming and send them off with a door prize (not necessary but is a nice touch of you are able to accommodate) + send a thank you out on the event page the next day or two after.

   It is not one size fits all and there are things I will do differently next time, and yes, there will be a next time because it was so much fun! I am incredibly passionate about this lifestyle and enjoy sharing it with any and everyone, especially these friends who came from near and far for the potluck!

If you host a potluck, please tag me (@coffeecarrotsandcurls on Instagram) or Snap your photos to court_coyle,  I would LOVE to see what you came up with!

Until then, keep calm and Whole30 on friends.

Here is a list of the questions that were asked. How well would you have done?

  1. What year was the first Whole30 completed?
  2. If you want butter, what is the best Whole30 compliant option?
  3. What is the title of the first book in the Whole30 series?
  4. What was Melissa eating when her co-founder suggested they do a 30 day clean diet challenge?
  5. T or F Can you use alcohol to cook with on the Whole30?
  6. “I like cupcakes” is the first line in what Whole30 book?
  7. T or F Re-creating your favorite comfort food is encouraged during a Whole30?
  8. T or F You should throw away your scale during your Whole30?
  9. What happens if you break one of the rules during your Whole30?
  10. Whole30 is pressing the reset button on h__ h__ and r_________ with f____.
  11. How many new Whole30 books are coming out this year?
  12. What must you slay while on the Whole30?
  13. On what days will you want to “kill all of the things?”
  14. Sleeping more soundly, increased energy and fewer blemishes are all examples of what?
  15. What is phase 2 of the Whole30?
  16. Slow roll and fast track are examples of what?
  17. If you’re slipping into old habits, what is the best way to get back on track?
  18. What Whole30 approved partner offers Ketchup, BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, to name a few?
  19. It’s okay to use tobacco products on the Whole30?
  20. What is the name of the Whole30 program for pregnant women?
  21. “Quitting heroin is hard _________ ____ ______ _____ is not hard.”
  22. What is the first thing you do before starting your Whole30?
  23. What is an alternative to soy sauce while on the Whole30?
  24. What does SWYPO stand for?
  25. T or F Locust Bean Gum is acceptable on the program?
  26. Avocados, olives and nuts are examples of what?
  27. What is the name of the Whole30 Social Media/Digital Manager you often see on their Insta stories?
  28. Epic bars, Rx bars and Larabars are examples of what?
  29. What is the name of the fermented tea drink with probiotics?
  30. What common creamer is used on the Whole30?
  • If you want the answers find me on social media, comment below or email me!

 

Please follow and like us:

Becoming.

This time five years ago I took a really big leap of faith and started chasing new dreams back in my hometown, leaving behind so many important people to me in Birmingham.

There have been ups and downs since I moved from Alabama to Tennessee and then to Georgia, but today I celebrate five years of working as a counselor to individuals with opioid addiction and it’s humbling and full of all kinds of emotions for me.

I was scared to leave my life in Birmingham but sometimes you have to do really scary things to become brave, to become inspired, to become aware of your potential and what you really are  to…………….b e c o m e.

I could sit here and try to name all of life’s curveballs and blessings that lead me to where I am but that would take forever. (Just really thankful it lead to me Columbus where I grew into a wife :))

What I will say is thank you to my incredible dad and brother who had enough faith in me to give me the opportunity, chance and lessons to become the counselor that I am today.

And to my amazing Bham family for sending me off with so much motivation into my new journey and for showing me that miles mean little when the love is so big.

I didn’t think that writing this would bring me to tears, but here I am, tears flowing. Not because of sadness but because change is hard but also that change is growth.

I changed, I became and I am a firm believer that I am still becoming.

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.” Margaret Shepard

Please follow and like us:

Cup o’ wholeness

This month has been hard. Evidently it was not more than I could handle, because here I am typing as quickly or as slowly as my mind and fingers allow.

There were a series of difficult obstacles to tackle this month and when the first set hit I found old habits resurfacing pretty quickly. Maybe not like they would have pre- Whole30 when I would’ve binge ate McDonalds chicken nuggets or a pint of ice cream….or both. But I noticed most vividly that negative self-talk was present and it was heavy and harsh and all I wanted to do was shut it up with food. It was interesting because I found my newer self combating the older self with questions like this “Courtney, are you feeding the emotion or hunger?”

I became angry. WHY did I have to read every Whole30 book and WHY did I have to listen to every Melissa Hartwig and Danika Brysha Podcast? WHY is my Instagram feed filled with constant positivity and clean eating recipes to haunt me when I am miserable? WHY must I KNOW the answer to the question my newer self is asking? Wasn’t life easier before when I could dive head first into a basket of breadsticks and just. be. happy. for crying out loud? Without knowing the truth?

No. 

I  knew I wouldn’t find happiness in breadsticks so I just cried. In my hotel room at my conference when I could have gone and eaten whatever I wanted to with no judgement from anyone. Instead, I  listened to Food Freedom Forever on Audible (again) and filled my “cup o’ wholeness” up as full as I could get it. Through the rest of my many travels that weekend I felt distanced from music and listened to any and every Podcast I could find. Starting with Melissa Hartwig’s episode on MindBodyGreen and that started this incredible domino effect and before I knew it I was fighting the negative self talk without even realizing it.

I went into the next week feeling empowered and proud of how much I had put into my “cup o’ wholeness” really without much effort.

It turns out that during the next two weeks I was going to take and take and take from that cup until there was barely anything left. If you’re familiar with Food Freedom Forever, I view my “cup o’ wholeness” as the vehicle that holds my ability to “let good enough be good enough.”

Now…today…here I am scraping the bottom of my cup for every parcel, crumb, remnant of wholesome, balance, love, gratitude, thankfulness that I can find because this week… I was a lost.

Looking back I know that it was meant for me to struggle those first few weeks of June and submerge myself into those Podcasts so that my cup could be overflowing when I needed it the most.

So today, I found myself gravitating to my computer to write about this instead of pretending on Snapchat or Instagram that I have everything figured out because I don’t.

All I know is that I am so thankful that my newer self had the courage to scrape the bottom of my cup o’ wholeness to take in every last bit instead of falling for the false hope that a large pizza and glass of wine would have given me.

I know there is a time and a place when pizza and wine are appropriate for me but I know that it is not when my cup is empty. It is when my cup is full.

When my cup o’ wholeness is full it means that I am able to deliberately choose to consume the food or drink because I am completely present in the decision making process and in turn will be completely present in the meal.

And that is how it is supposed to be.

If I am not all there when I make the decision then chances are I am just feeding my emotions and I know that will cause a fast downward spiral to making things way worse than they already are.

I have been humbled by this month. It has honestly taken me full circle to my very first blog post in my Whole30 Journey from January 2016 when I quoted my every day words to my patients,

“Recovery is a full time job—a lifestyle change.” “It’s not going to be easy.”

Those words ring true today and here I am living a life I am beyond thankful for hoping that you learn with me and from me as we go through this together.

Filling our cups up with goodness and wholeness along the way.

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:

meaning of coffee, carrots and curls.

To be yourself. To become authentic, to be you, the you that no one else can be. To radiate uniqueness. I find myself at 27 years old, looking back wondering who I really was, who I was trying to please and prove myself to? Who am I now and who am I becoming?

I have been a people pleaser for most of my days, just adapting to life’s circumstances to not shake the waters–desperately wanting to be accepted, loved, and admired.

When I was trying to think of genuine, true to me, titles for this blog, I kept coming back to my curls, coffee and food. Three things that have always been defining factors of… me.

I was always known for the girl with the curly hair… you know, the one who blocked everyones view of the stage during a play or the easy to find person at a sporting event. As a preteen I hated my curls and begged my mom to straighten them out every day before school so that I could “fit in” with the crowd and avoid being the center of everyones jokes.

Eventually I learned that embracing my curls meant that I could sleep in so I put the straightener down. I just made a decision about myself, for myself and I was super proud of that.

I have always loved coffee even before I spent 4 years working at Starbucks, where I began to love coffee on a completely different level. Where I was in love with the people, the smells, the atmosphere.

The smell of coffee became one of accomplishment, friendship, security, love and heartbreak.

When I left the coffeehouse for good, I couldn’t enter another Starbucks without the smell of the grinding beans sending me on an emotional downward spiral where food saved the day. The smell still gets to me but I am strong and have learned to compartmentalize my feelings and emotions pretty well. The smell provides me strength and the taste, warmth and I am comforted. I am proud of the knowledge I have of the creation of lattes and history of the bean. Coffee is still a part of me, not the pain it ended up causing.

In life it is no surprise that we encounter obstacles. I have conquered my fair share and know that there are battles still left to fight.

In the past, food was my comfort and my answer for just about any emotion or feeling I was presented with… fear, anger, happiness, loneliness. Be it from criticism about my luscious locks or for the emotional turmoil I went through working with a few co-workers in college.

Then, when my food intake increased, my pant size did too and I panicked and went to exercise for comfort.

It wasn’t until I was knee deep in It Starts With Food that I realized the extent of my food addiction and was hopeful and scared of what Whole30 had to offer me and my relationship with food.

This is where my love for writing became even more prevalent.

I write for accountability and I find that when I write I become mindful and enlightened of feelings that I didn’t even know that I had.

As I sit here and write this entry from the comfort of my own home, I am reminded that I have a beautiful life. That I do not have to please anyone but myself. That my bouncy curls that sometimes are frizzier than I’d like or the dark roast coffee I prefer that everyone else believes is overpriced are just fine for me.

When I learn, (and I say when I learn because I am still learning) how to be confident and okay with Courtney, everything else will fall into place. When we get rid of the negativity and anything that does not serve us in our lives things will GET BETTER. We cannot continue to mask them with food and numbing them with exercise.

It is in the research of our authenticity that we find what matters most to us and then we become mindful of the decisions that we make and WHY we are making them.

Writing, my curls, my coffee and my new found love of clean eating make me… me. No one has to understand why I pass on the cake for a co-workers party on Tuesday but indulge the next week. Those are the decisions that I have to make… for me whether they understand it or not.

I no longer answer to society… I answer to myself, for myself, praying along the way that it inspires others and makes them want to do the very same thing.

I want to thank YOU for reading this. I challenge you to reflect on your life at the good, the bad and the ugly and think of your story and how it has landed you where you are today.

What would your blog title be?

Please follow and like us:

beYOUtiful.

Lady Gaga Super Bowl performanceNot even 24 hours after writing yesterday’s blog on scale anxiety, I was browsing through Facebook and saw a comment about Lady Gaga’s halftime show and how she should be ashamed… yes, ashamed… of her “belly flab.”

What?

The amount of anger that flooded my (imperfect) body is unreal.

In yesterday’s blog I spoke, briefly, on my negative experience with weighing myself and the consequences that came from obsessing over the number on the scale instead of promoting my non-scale victories and overall quality of health. I did not even touch the negative impact that social media and the public had on my body image.

I understand that it was not the media that shoved unhealthy food down my throat and I have been, and will always be, responsible for my own actions but if I had seen this article, or read these comments 4 years ago when I was so co-dependent on the scale and counting calories…can you imagine how I would have self-destructed?

So to the guy out there who said “Is this a bad time to say Gaga could lose 5-7 pounds” or to the lady who said “Looks like somebody missed a fitting before hitting the stage” or to the one who suggested she do some sit ups?

I would venture to say that your comments are born from insecurity in and of your own bodies, and if that is the case I hope that you find the health, happiness and confidence that you lack, but, while doing so, could you keep your body shaming comments to yourself?

I’m sure some of you are mothers, fathers, aunts or uncles and I am confident that your son or daughter, niece, nephew, or someone that you know struggles greatly when they look in the mirror. And take it from me, it is hard enough for them to fight the voice inside of their head so they don’t need any added stress or negative input from you.

I am thankful that I have found the Lady Gaga’s,  Danika Brysha’s and the Melissa Hartwig’s of the world that regardless of their size, or my size, or their grandfathers size, or their neighbors size, they promote individuality, and health in a judge free zone. Healthy lifestyles are not one size fits all and everyone has a different plan for success that takes some figuring out. And for some of us, it’s not easy. I am thankful that by my own choice I have changed who I look up to, who and what I view as beautiful. And more importantly, what I consider to be healthy.

Eating disorders can destroy a persons identity without any help from society and its unwanted expectations. So, when comments like this surface the internet about a woman who worked her tail off, to accomplish a dream infuriates me.

So, to Lady Gaga, it goes without saying but you rocked that stage, you worked hard for weeks in preparation for the Super Bowl and it showed. I admire your willingness to be yourself. You looked beautiful and your stamina was incredible. Thank you for setting an example to young men and women all over the globe that you can be beautiful, healthy and fit without being sick, frail and zero percent body fat.

Please follow and like us:

To weigh or not to weigh?

I have always had test anxiety. If it hadn’t been for homework and research papers I would have definitely flunked out of school. Thankfully, I was disciplined and could master weeknight homework and lengthy research papers, even with topics I had little to no interest in. But it did not matter how I studied or how much time I put into studying… when it came to tests, mid-terms and final exams, all knowledge gained in that particular semester went out the door and I was left with [unwelcomed] sweaty palms, a racing heart and a fear of failure.

I remember the first time I went to take the SAT. Yes, the first time, and let’s be real for a second… between the ACT and SAT I took them a total of S I X times.

My first experience was a lost cause. I had a full blown panic attack right smack dab in the middle of the exam and left without even completing the test. #epicfailure.

The second time was a little better but my scores were not good… not good at all.

Cue all the negative self-talk.

“Courtney, you are stupid and so inadequate.”

“Courtney, you should be ashamed of yourself.”

 “You will never be successful.”

“You’re not smart enough for college.”

Finally, I went to Sylvan Learning Center where they taught me how to study and methods of mindfulness to practice while taking the exam to help avoid panic attacks.

Since then, my test anxiety has been nothing compared to what it was before. Not to say I don’t get a little nervous, because I do… but that’s natural. I was accepted into an excellent university, and graduated with a nice GPA. I got a job that I love and passed not 1 but 2 certification examinations. Because I dealt with the problem at its core and realized that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness I was able to learn that even when I fail in one area, I tend to excel in another.

I am willing to bet that you can relate to this in some way… even if it isn’t with test anxiety.

When it comes to The Whole30 a lot of people have scale anxietyand I know I am definitely one of them. As most of you know, I’ve had a pretty unhealthy ride with food and exercise addiction. At one point I was exercising 2-3 times a day and was being extremely restrictive with my food. Counting calories and weighing every single time I worked out. Sometimes that I meant that I was weighing 2-3 times in 24 hour period. During this time I had entered a weight loss contest at the gym and was determined to win. That’s when the true scale addiction began.

When we think of unhealthy behaviors we usually think of things that impact our health directly. Maybe, drinking too much alcohol or eating too much junk food. I justified my relationship with the scale as been not-so-harmful- because, really, what harm could it do? I didn’t view it as something I needed to correct because it wasn’t negatively impacting my life like maybe Taco Bell and a jumbo size Reece’s cup was.

But weighing myself that many times a day fueled my food restriction. Typically when I counted calories I would have 2 smoothies/shakes per day and only consumed on legitimate meal, which was dinner. When I became so obsessed with the scale and saw it fluctuate, the only thing left to cut out was dinner. So my evening meal turned into a blended glass of kale, peanut butter, some berries, protein powder and a lot of hopelessness and obsessive, compulsive thoughts.

I’d basically forgotten what it was like to chew.  

But hey, at least I looked good… right?

Wrong.

I was definitely slimming down but with no muscle, feeling tired, literally all the time. No endorphins or benefit from the gym because I was exhausting my muscles giving them no time to rest and no proper nutrients for repair.

Finally, I let the trainer blind weigh me to keep up with the contest requirements but I didn’t want to see the number because it was interfering with my life. That number was ALL I could think about.

Then guess what happened?

I didn’t win the contest. And I gave up.

Because the number on the scale was not what it “should” have been, that negative self-talk I encountered after my SAT experience came flooding back.

I told myself I wasn’t good enough, that I hadn’t been successful, I was never going to be thin enough and I was ashamed.

So I started eating my feelings, effective immediately and I gained nearly every pound I had lost, right back. I had lost all control. Again.

I weighed myself before my first Whole30 last January (2016) and again at the end. I had lost some weight but for the first time, ever, that number gave me no feeling at all.  

The Whole30 became the Sylvan Learning Center to my health habits and relationship with food needs.

Since then, I’ve been weighed on doctor’s office visits and that’s it.  I hopped on the scale for the first time on January 1st of this year, just as the January Whole30 (2017) was about to kick off and the batteries were dead. That was my glorious sign to step off the scale with control and not replace the battery.And I haven’t.

My non-scale victories serve the same purpose to me now as my homework and research papers did when I was in school. It’s the NSV’s that keep my head above water and my self-confidence cup overflowing.

I can have my dream job with a history of poor test scores because I am smart. That test score is no reflection of my  true intelligence.

I can have a truly beautiful life with improved health, habits and relationship with food without knowing how much I weigh. The number on the scale does not define me… and for the first time in my life… I don’t want it to.  I won’t allow it to.

I can’t say with certainty that I will never weigh myself again. However, I am pretty confident that when I do, that number will no longer give me anxiety and steal away my self-worth like it has so many times before. I can also say with confidence that that number will no longer determine what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat. I love being able to prepare, eat and enjoy my delicious, nutrient dense meals.

There is a reason that getting rid of the scale during your Whole30 is a RULE and not a recommendation. Terminating your relationship with your scale does not mean you have lost all control. It’s hands down one of the most liberating victories you will experience.

 
Please follow and like us:
Journey to food freedom.

Journey to food freedom.

“I’ll do better tomorrow.”
This mentality or way of thinking is what got me into this mess in the first place.
This mess being, my unhealthy relationship with food.
Being a “foodie” for me is different than it is for most people. Food was my best friend and my worst enemy. There were times in my life where food was the last thing I thought about at night and the first thing I thought of in the morning. The kitchen was my safe haven and my biggest temptation.
Thankfully, conquering and successfully completing several Whole30’s has taught me more than I even thought possible, but it doesn’t mean I’m “cured.”
Just like my patients are not “cured” of their pain pill or heroin addiction, my relationship with food, like any other relationship, is something I am going to have to put effort into for the rest of my life.
I didn’t realize my thoughts had backtracked so much until I was talking to my sister in law this morning. Our conversation made me think back to my husband. I cooked dinner last night and left a plate for him in the microwave. He came home, took a shower, watched some TV, played on Facebook a little bit and finally ate dinner.
I don’t think I could have done that. Would I have been able to focus on anything knowing there was a plate of food with my name on it in the microwave?
That was a shocking realization for me and a definite wake- up call that I have become complacent. The thing is, I’ve seen the warning signs and have ignored them.
 
In the past couple of week I’ve found myself:
  • To be restless at night
  • Irritable during the day
  • Bloated
  • Sticky complexion
  • Zits that have appeared on my face
  • Even worse PMS Cramp
Now, most of these things I’ve listen were non-scale victories I had after my first Whole60! I was sleeping better and had energy and positive spirits during the day. I was NOT bloated, had a much better complexion and less painful cycles!
Which tells me one thing… the way I’ve been feeling is due to how I’ve been eating. Or, how I have NOT been eating.
It’s really easy to get off track and thankfully, even easier to get back on track when you start to re-implement whole 30 principles meaning, your habits and your RELATIONSHIP with the food, not just the food or how it is prepared.  
I was watching Melissa Hartwig’s live video on Whole30’s Facebook page where she talks about the Whole30 Concept of “Sex With Your Pants On” (20 ish minutes of inspirational, humorous tough love that’s worth your while- promise).
During this video she said something that resonated with me (also, no matter how many Whole30’s I complete I still find there are always things to learn and revisit or to improve on. Remember, I don’t consider myself “cured.”). So, she was discussing the re-creation of certain foods that might influence the out of control relationship that you have with this certain, delicious dessert or pancake, and all re-creating it does is allow you to abuse it even though it’s a little healthier. It’s not quite the same but still good… cue SWYPO.
That’s not the point. Just because cashews are whole30 compliant doesn’t mean you need to eat the entire bag. Just because you can make a Whole30 compliant brownie doesn’t mean you should…
I find myself (lately) eating to satisfy an emotional or mental craving not a physical one. That my friends is a major issue that can lead to health problems and obesity. Learning the difference between the two is crucial— at least for me. I am longing to be able to enjoy my food freedom and I do think I’m headed in that direction, I just may not be there yet.
So no more of this “I’ll do better tomorrow” nonsense…
I don’t know about you but I DO NOT want to spend another day with low self-esteem, feelings of restlessness or bloating OR have a sticky, zit crazed face.
I want to feel good about myself and even though sometimes I forget, and I make mistakes it always comes back to one basic thing. When I eat well… I feel well.  It can’t be a coincidence every single time.
“You are what you eat” may not be the best analogy but I definitely think I suffer the consequences of what I eat when I am not in control but.. when I am in control I reap the benefits of all the nutrient dense foods I consume.
If you’re doing the September Whole30, PERSEVERE! It is going to be so worth it.
Or, if you feel like food controls your life and consumes your thoughts more than it probably should… contact me for more information about Whole30.
If you’ve done a whole30 before and you feel like you’ve lost your way… It’s okay. Reassess where you are, be proactive and implement those skills you learned before. That’s the beauty of Whole30. It never left. That lifestyle is right there waiting for you to take control of the reigns again.
 
Let the journey to food freedom continue <3

 

Please follow and like us:
Peace, Love & Whole30.

Peace, Love & Whole30.

Today’s blog has been a work in progress in my mind since June 11th. The day that I found out that my favorite former ‘Voice’ contestant Christina Grimmie had been shot and killed after her concert in Orlando, FL. Just to find out that in that same week a terrorist attack would hit a night club in the same city.

Following many more shootings, deaths, violence and acts of hate on our country, in our country and others, including Nice, France.

Initially my thoughts were consumed with me. With my upcoming back surgery. With the pain and numbness that the degeneration in my disks created for me each day. Night after night watching the headlines scroll across the screen quickly transferred that pain and numbness to a different area. My heart was broken for these lives being taken; Black lives,  White lives, French lives, Law Enforcement lives, Gay lives, Turkish lives and the life of a youtube sensation and rising star with the voice of an angel.

Life is short. 

All of the breaking news segments definitely changed my perspective on my, then, upcoming surgery. I was excited, nervous, and felt guilty for how much it was going to cost. Life is short, look at all the hate in the world…is having this surgery even worth it?

Yes.

My husband looked at me in my tear filled eyes and said, “I want your quality of life to be better and this surgery is going to give that to you.”

So it was scheduled. June 23, 2016, and it went as smoothly as it possibly could have.

I have been out of commission for the past 26 days which has resulted in a lot of time to think and, well, over-think.

Due to all the hate pouring through all social media outlets and television it was hard to stay positive.

I remember prior to my surgery everyone telling me that this was an “old persons” surgery and that I was way too young to be having it.

Well, that’s true but it didn’t change the fact that I still had serious medical issues that could result in far more damage if action was not taken.

I remember prior to my surgery everyone telling me that I should eat whatever I wanted to because of the “delicious” liquid diet I’d be forced to comply with for several days post surgery.

I remember prior to my surgery everyone telling me that I should get used to the ceiling because walking was going to be difficult, painful and uncomfortable.

Notice anything? They’re all negative.

Did I only have people that care about me tell me negative stuff? NO. But, it’s all that I remember because unfortunately that’s how our minds are geared. So, I had to tell myself OVER and OVER again that I was worthy of this surgery. I had to turn the negative into the positive and FOCUS so heavily on the optimism and encouragement that I did have from so many people.

This is an “old persons” surgery and unfortunately I was dealt a crappy hand of joints in my genes, but that’s okay, and there’s nothing I can do to change it!

I am young, but I am able to have this surgery because of the strength that I’ve gained since beginning my Whole30 journey in January of this year. My core was strong, my body was well-nourished. I finally found a surgeon that was willing to do whatever it took to RESOLVE the issue and not just put a bandaid on it because I was finally STRONG enough to handle it and HEALTHY enough to handle it.

I had the energy and the drive to start physical therapy as soon as I was cleared to do so and work so hard that I am (hopefully) going back to work after just 4 weeks post op!

Thanks to W30 and the lessons I’ve learned throughout this journey my actions have resulted in SUCH a better quality of life ALL the way around.

In the midst of all the hate and negativity in the world (which I am in no way comparing a spinal fusion to hate crimes and terrorism) but it is up to me to find happiness in my day to day life.

Life IS short. So does that mean, throw in the towel to the hate in the world?

No.

Life IS short. So does that mean, eat whatever you want and throw in the towel to your diet; to your health?

NO.

Since life is short, lets put down the excuses and look at how much the world does have to offer if you simply work for it. But, you have to want it.

Let’s shift the perspective. The old me would have said, life is short so lets eat Reese’s Cups, pizza and fried chicken every day and binge watch all things good on Netflix, never exercising!

The new me said, clean food makes you happy. Exercising makes you happy. Netflix makes you happy and dark chocolate makes you happy. Find the balance, people.

For me, W30 goes far beyond the food that I eat. It taught me more about myself and has challenged the way that I look at things simply because of the non-scale victory of being happy, of feeling good and most of all, feeling that life is too short NOT to care about yourself and your health.

You may not can change anything you see on the news or know the recipe for world peace, but you do have control and the ability to change your own life.

I promise, it starts with food.

Working hard in therapy with my I am Whole30 shirt for inspiration!
Sweet husband by my side!
Please follow and like us:
Comparisons, judging & then some

Comparisons, judging & then some

Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out I get a hypothetical punch in the gut  (aka, reality check) that {thankfully} kicks me off the pity party train I’m prone to jumping on. Comparison truly is the thief of joy and that’s what I’m experiencing lately. 


I find myself getting frustrated that on the conclusion of my 3rd #whole30 I’m not seeing the physical results that I want…that I desire. But desire for who? Do I truly want to shed the pounds for me? OR is it to look like the beautifully bronzed goddesses of Instagram with their sculpted abs, gorgeous hair, teeny bikini with the good kind of junk in the trunk that everybody swoons over?

 The crappy thing about comparisons are that most of time they are totally useless. Through my fading self-esteem, I can sit back and mope over the bronzed goddess thinking, wishing, that somehow I would channel her inner beauty & wake up with less jiggle and more confidence with a skin tone that magically makes my face look just as flawless as the Valencia Instagram filter does but no matter how hard I try.. 

It’s still my same ole face. My same ole beautiful face. That thanks to the whole 30 is clear, with a glow and less puffy. THAT face that I’ve lost sight of because of my hormonal mind getting the best of me. Yes, I’m getting in my own way. 
Comparisons either make us feel “superior” if we are putting others down or just not good enough if we are constantly trying to be something we’re not. Either way nothing positive comes from this unrealistic train of thought.
 I think in the world we live in its pretty easy to default our thinking to the negative. We have to make a conscious effort to build ourselves up, so today, as I saw my self-confidence plummeting, I decided to take a walk. Get my endorphins pumping, feel the sun on my skin and just have me time. 
As soon as my feet hit the ground  and the music started playing I started remembering the days I wouldn’t have even set foot outside my front door with a tank top shorts on. 90 degrees or not. { give that #nsv a high five) & before I knew it, 30 minutes had past and I felt better. 

Remember ladies and gents. We are human. Unfortunately it’s in our nature to wonder all about the if and when’s and woulda, shoulda coulda’s of the world. 
But the ONLY thing you can change in this crazy thing called life is YOU.
Comparing myself to these models is leading me no where fast. So, my personal goal for the beginning of bathing suit season is…


No more comparing myself to all the things I’m “not” & instead, remembering and APPRECIATING all the things that I am. 
I am Courtney, I am a work in progress, I am married to my dream guy with a kick ass support system and my non-scale victory cup runneth over and well, #iamwhole30. 

So here’s to continuing to learn
who you are and where you want to be. I’m not there yet but I’m well on my way. For me, it starts with food. For you it may be different but keep your head held high beautiful. 
We will get there together. 
Please follow and like us:
Progress Not Perfection

Progress Not Perfection

It’s amazing how the farther I travel in my Whole30 journey the more similarities I find between my story and my hardships and those of my patients.
Just last week I facilitated a group on “the honeymoon phase” of recovery. You know, when you’re first introduced to something new that brings so much joy and happiness to your life, inspiration, love and hope– where you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and embracing the “newness” of it that you think will last forever? For my patients, it’s finding stability on a medication that makes them not sick or impaired, where they are finally able to see a life without chasing heroin.
For me it was new found pride and hope that I could finally manage my food addiction and cravings and see that I can make it through a day without binge eating or over-exercising.

Regardless, the honeymoon phase (for me at least) was full of motivation, inspiration and encouragement from others which kicked my will-power into high gear and allowed for a successful Whole30, and Whole60.  But like with any recovery process, it starts with you. It’s crucial to have a support system but you’ve got to believe in yourself first.

Now a lot of you that have kept up with my journey know that I did encounter some bad days. Nothing that resulted in devouring a dozen doughnuts, but there were days I wanted to, which is why I extended my Whole30 to Whole60.

As I was nearing the end of my Whole60 I noticed that I was starting to get complacent. I am very familiar with complacency because it is something that I remind my patients to be aware of all the time.  To you it may mean simply being satisfied with where you are in your life, but to me it’s becoming too comfortable with my current situation. And me, like my patients, we have adopted the motto of we are either working on recovery or working on a relapse. There’s always room to grow, room to learn, new triggers to identify.

If you’re not careful complacency can stare you straight in the face when the honeymoon phase is over, and that’s what happened to me.

No, I didn’t run wild through a bakery but during reintroduction, I wasn’t as methodical as I wanted to be. I reintroduced a few gluten free items and oats for breakfast which brought up a previous breakfast of choice which included lots of fruit. Yes, you can have fruit on whole30 but the excess fruit hyped up my sugar cravings.

Oh,

and then Easter happened.

“I made it through an entire 60 days of clean eating so I deserve a 4 pack of Reese’s Eggs”
Wrong.

That’s the equivalent of telling an alcoholic that just got their 90 day chip to celebrate with a pitcher or two at Happy Hour.

I realize that no journey is perfect and from time to time we will fall into a rut and the the honeymoon phase will not last. But it’s maintaining a positive attitude (which I let get the best of me this last week) and go back to the beginning. To go back and remember why I started whole 30 in the first place and it was to change my personal relationship with food.

So, I am taking a step back and I am starting a Whole9 today to get back on track. The Honeymoon Phase is over but the journey has not ended.

I plan on staying Whole30 compliant for a little over a week and re-read the reintroduction part of my Whole 30 Book and write a plan of action so that I set myself up for success with reintroduction. Easter, my cousins wedding and a few other events hit back to back after I completed Whole60 and I rewarded myself too generously. I didn’t gain any weight back, but when that started to become my concern, was my first clue that I needed to take a breather.

One of the nicest people I’ve never met (think that one through for a second) told me earlier today that “everybody has their days/weeks/months and it’s great to express as that you are human, too. Being vulnerable means being human–simple as that.”

It’s taken me longer than my usual time span to get this blog written because I felt like a failure because of the way that I was feeling but, I’m human.  I know that we are our own worst critics, but I have learned the good, bad and the ugly about my relationship with food. If I don’t hold myself accountable, cut myself some slack, and have realistic expectations about this entire process… then how can I expect to help anyone else, which has become the second most important thing to me with my Whole30 story.  So I will leave you with this,

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition, but giving up is what makes it permanent.” -Unknown

Keep your head up Whole30’ers, there’s a ‘whole’ network of support systems for you out there, everything from The Whole 30 Website, blog, Facebook and Instagram and regular ole people like me. All we can do is take it a day at a time, strive for progress, not perfection and remember,  It Starts With Food 🙂

Please follow and like us: