When we look back at a year as it ends, it can sometimes feel like it had gone too fast, not enough could have been done or some may think “not a bad year”. 2017 brought so much light on my life and with light there is always darkness before. I struggled with growth and betrayal in the early months and found refuge in the Spring, a renewal of sorts that drove me through the summer months that seemed to go too fast. As Fall approached I found my health challenged but listened as my body gave me the answers. With winter here, although the 50 degree days don’t show it, I have officially found a home. I started as a Full Time Associate at Grange Insurance and today was my first official day after 6 months as a contracted employee. I was told not much would change with my position or the respect I had been given by my team. The feeling I had today walking the hallways felt different than the previous Monday. I couldn’t place the feeling until my drive home tonight. I felt gratitude, complete and true gratitude. Every morning I wake and give thanks for my health, my family and my job – three time repeated to be sure the Gods and the universe hear me and more so that I hear myself. I am grateful but I had not truly felt it in so very long. As I made my way home tonight I thought of those who helped me get there and knew I needed to publicly and personally show the gratitude I felt today.
My former co-worker Angela, names not changed to highlight my deepest gratitude, whom I was instantly impressed by. Angela’s style and grace, how she handled herself in a room, her intelligence, how she was the expert, and mostly her shoe collection. She had a strict personal policy not to get too close with co-workers but I was sure to break her down, because I knew we were meant to know each other as friends. She has a quiet strength and a rock n roll heart – which I love about her. She guided me through tough waters as I found my own truth. Although we only worked together 10 months before she went on to her next adventure and as I watch her family grow I give gratitude that I can call her Friend. Thank you Angela for being my guide. Rise Sister Rise.
My current Boss Lady Stacey has seen something in me that I often hide and although it makes me shy to accept, I am grateful for an amazing opportunity. When we first spoke on the phone I could sense that she was someone who would become an influence in my future path, I know that sounds a little enlightened but I remember feeling I will work with her. A couple weeks later, I was working with her. Inspired by her powerful yet endearing way she can capture a room, her Boss nature, her curious brain that lets her be serious and silly at once, I especially liked her boot collection and her laugh is contagious. As we are still growing our working relationship I am grateful to call her my mentor. Stacey is not of the same nature as I am, she a proclaimed “I” and me a proven “E”, nor do we have similar backgrounds but there is a soulful connection that I have found in her. I am unafraid to share my weaknesses as I know she supports me and guides me to find power in them. She is a Boss and I love that about her. More so I feel gratitude daily that she chose me to be on her team. Thank you Stacey for reminding me that I am worthy, even if I am not perfect #8020rule
There are so many powerful women that have inspired me throughout my life including my close friends and my family. Getting through this year without them would have been harder. As we compete against each other, mock those we don’t understand and pass those by without a hand up, I ask you to think of Angela & Stacey and how their genuine nature provided me a path to reaching my goals. Neither gave me a free pass but provided me a way to find strength within myself and taught me how to harness the power within me.
Today I started a new wellness challenge with my co-workers. I have been working on my physical wellness and feel I have finally gotten over the plateau. To give you a quick update I completed the Whole30, lost 14lbs, and gained a whole lot of education on my relationship with food and the importance of why good food choices are life changing. It has been 4 weeks after my experience and 1 stomach virus/complications from said stomach virus that started on my Cabo vacation and I am down another 8lbs. Even though I was ill for the last 2 weeks, I feel great now and ready to start my next 30 days. The good news is that I believe the cycle of losing and gaining has been broken. As I see the cycle breaking I can feel my emotional wellness start changing too, surprising to me but not unexpected. They, you know who “they” are, all say that if you exercise and eat healthy/clean all the depression and self doubt will go away. HA, I have said over the past years. I can’t believe “they” told me so and I am here to share my experience with you.
For the next 30 days, which happen to line up nicely with Thanksgiving, I will be increasing my fitness game and continuing to eat a green, clean, healthy diet. Largely based on plant proteins with very few grains and animal products. Due to recent health issues I discovered I am not invincible and neither is my body. I am grateful for having the willpower to get through my Whole30 because without it I would not have understood that what goes in your body is so very important not only for your physical wellness but for your emotional wellness.
I am so excited that my co-workers and my dear friend, and work-out partner, are coming along for this next 30 day challenge. I hope I can provide some inspiration for my readers and show you that you are never too old, emotionally scarred, or too deep in the cycle to find your way out. When you put on those skinny jeans you have been saving for 3 years thinking you will one day get in to them, I am proof you can! I did and you will!
Today, is day 29! I can say that the last 29 days have been filled with ups and downs. As I think back to day 1, I feel the same energy as I do today excited and ready to start an adventure. My brother in law and sister asked me if I felt different, I do but not in a mind blowing, oh my goodness I am a different person type of way. I feel stronger emotionally. I feel that food does not control me any longer. I’m just beginning a journey that will take me to a healthier way of living. My next 30 days will be filled with many more ups and downs and I am ready for the challenge. I hear over and over it is mental strength that gets us to our goals. The Whole30 challenge gave me the will power and mental strength to make good choices. I am 30 days ahead of the game, my relationship with food has moved out of the honeymoon stage and into a real relationship. I can’t wait to use what I have learned, to design a health and fitness routine that fits me. We are provided with so many options it can be overwhelming. Challenging yourself to improve on the hardest thing, mine was emotional attachment to food, can sometimes kick start the forward motion we all crave. I imagine you have said the same things I said all those times I attempted to get healthy before my Whole30 challenge…”if only I could get motivated” “if only I could find a work out routine that I enjoyed” “if only I didn’t love and appreciate good food” “if only I wasn’t so busy”. All these “if only” statements kept me from the reality that I was not educated on why I couldn’t change. I didn’t want to look in the mirror and tell Jill I could be better, healthier and oh dear…happier, she didn’t know that was possible because I never taught her how! It is like knowing the answer but not having the confidence to SPEAK UP , SPEAK OUT, Change your life! Those “if only” statements don’t exist for me anymore I have replaced them with “I AM motivated” “I WILL find a work-out routine by doing it” “I CAN still appreciate good food” “I HAVE found the time to make my health a priority”. With the help of the Whole 30 Challenge, texts and messages from supportive family and friends I have learned how to change my life. I have educated myself on the reality of food and the reality that I am stronger than my inner voice that begs for one piece of cheese, one glass of wine, one bite of a Cheeto! She doesn’t get to make those choices anymore. I have learned so much during the last 29 days, the hardest lesson wasn’t cutting food out, it was loving myself enough to eat the right food.
So, what comes after Whole 30? The book says to slowly introduce the dairy, sugar and grains back into your diet over the next week. I will be a rebel and not do that. Don’t get me wrong I respect the process and respect what Whole30 has done but I will be enjoying a celebratory Taco Tuesday with a margarita! But after Tuesday it goes back to business as usual, Whole30 compliant breakfasts, lunches, and dinners paired with a tough work out routine! I still have that White Bikini to get into before 9/29! I still have a bigger goal, a why, a reason to continue to live Whole30. Just because I will enjoy some cheese and wine from time to time doesn’t mean that white bikini goal gets wasted! I mean that bikini is so cute! I hope to inspire and encourage you to choose your hardest thing that holds you back and challenge yourself! If you can stick to it for 30 days – I promise you will only gain positive movement and, maybe like me, the ability to have a grown up relationship with yourself!
Today marks day 21 of my Whole30 challenge. I have given up grains, legumes, sugar, and dairy. I have done really well, I opened a chocolate square and inches from my mouth, correction…in my mouth I realized I wasn’t going to cheat 10 days from the finish line. I was very tired the last part of the week and had some pains in my stomach, I can only attribute this to the low calorie intake for a few days. I was getting pretty bored with my food selections and so I just didn’t eat a lot. I didn’t cheat but I wasn’t consuming enough calories to stay active. I have remedied that with a fresh selection of veggies and fruit. I am having a big bowl of portabella mushrooms with a balsamic reduction. I will say this weekend, day 20, seemed pretty rough emotionally. Thoughts of regret from past decisions or lack of action flooded my day. I felt paralyzed by the feelings of wasted time, pain, and a little regret. I am not sure if this was normal for Whole30 or if this was just something that was changing in me. I have held on to so many things that have happened in my past that occasionally I can see them showing through. They have been such a part of me for many years I have a hard time thinking of them no longer being there. They are a comfort when things go wrong and my expectations are not met. This weekend I could feel a release of some feelings I know have held me back. They have held me back from living healthy and feeling worthy of love. It sounds simple to rid myself of these feelings but if you’ve been there you’ll understand how much a part of you they become. The good side of this story is that I am not sure I could have gotten here without eliminating food that clouds my judgement. Challenging my will to push myself into the next chapter helps me remember daily of my 2 year goal to build the life I know I am capable, worthy, and willing to live. I am excited for the next week, mostly to get to my celebration to have a cocktail. I am also looking forward to putting my new found relationship with healthy food to use.
It is the end of day 13 and to my surprise I have fared very well! My smaller white bikini should arrive on Monday which will mark my half way point – what better motivation than that! There were times this week that I wanted to quit, cheat, drink that bottle of rose´ in my fridge or even a swig of IBC Black Cherry soda but I didn’t. I keep picturing myself as I feel. I feel healthy, happier, and lighter in some places. I made an amazing sausage sweet potato egg bake that lasted me all week for breakfast – my hardest meal. I enjoyed baked chicken and veggies for lunch and even went to a happy hour where I enjoyed some tortilla, and cheese free steak fajita tacos. Happy hour was rather a challenge considering it was my favorite place for margaritas. My willpower has surpassed my expectations. I still have this feeling of looming failure, almost like I am waiting to fail. Each day I get up and wonder if today will be the day I give up on my goal. It hasn’t happened yet so I’m staying strong. I want to thank all of you who have offered words of encouragement and support! Having you all to hold me accountable has given me the will to stick to it. Today I will start planning what happens AFTER Whole30. Other than enjoying a taco and margarita from time to time I am not sure my eating habits will change much from Whole30. Incorporating my new habits and a few of my favorite old habits I will be ready to start a new routine. Phase 2 will be the real work and I think I am ready, I have 15 days to get ready. A new adventure a new goal a new transition to an improved me.
I’ve officially set out on my 2 year goals. Dating, Body, Mind & Business. Officially, I started my dating goals first because they will take the most time and have the most risk. My body goal needed to be a close second because it was going to take me into some rough territory, emotionally. This goal has been fueled by a visualization exercise I had back in March where I saw my future self in an amazing white bikini, much older but still with a great healthy body. It was also motivated by a recent conversation with my Mom whom I seemed to have mirrored many aspects of my life. I had a wake up call, followed by many signs form the universe to get my bubble butt in gear.
On July 10th I started my Whole30 challenge. It is currently day 6 and I feel…good. I have been relaxing all weekend, which 3 week ago means ordering greasy pizza to cure my Friday Happy Hour hang-over. Instead I got up early did some chores and caught up on some Leo snuggle time. I am slowly starting to see my energy pick up but decided to really focus on my predicted nap days. I ordered some healthy groceries from Prime Now and have tried increasing my water intake when I feel a hunger pain. According to the program if you are craving something you should identify what feelings you are having, which at first sounded a little fruity but once I embraced it I didn’t crave those…I can’t really even say it or I will start craving it. I am looking forward to challenging my body and mind to accomplish the goal I have set out.
I have not posted for quite some time. After starting a new opportunity I found it hard to get to my passion project of writing. Now that I have a little more free time, a smidge really, I found it necessary to start writing again. Two weeks ago I started writing down what I was grateful for. When I am done I will have 365 things that I am grateful for in life. Gratitude can be the most difficult lesson to learn for most people but for me it has proven to be more difficult than I thought. I started little and felt it wasn’t good enough just to be grateful for now traffic or that I didn’t spill my coffee or that I was able to breath. I wanted to look deeper but I struggled most days. I had a few awesome lessons of gratitude that ay have come at a price but all the same they ranked gratitude. This week I wanted to focus on the people in my life that even though they may not know, I am grateful everyday for them.
Today I was texting with a wonderful friend who is no longer in my daily view at work and has become a brilliant mother. I miss our jokes and the motivation and support we gave each other everyday. Today I hope I inspired her to do something she would be amazing at. She has given me such strength and support in the last four months that no words could describe how amazing she is. The gratitude I feel for having her in my life has saved me from my own despair many days. I am sure that Angela will show up again in my pledge of gratitude because our friendship is still growing.