Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Whole 30….Round 2!


You know how they say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb? Well I’m totally over lions. I hate winter. It’s been so freaking cold and miserable here in the suburbs of Boston – I’m ready for some sunshine and flowers! I’m going to gear myself up for a spring mentality (and a more fabulous summer body) by kicking off a new Whole 30 challenge this coming Monday. I eased myself in this week – cutting ties with bagels and homemade cookies (two things that were making more frequent appearances than they really should). I also embraced some new things like cilantro (formerly a hate – and I mean hate!) and raw red onion.I’m ready to rock the next 30 days!

Just in case you’re not familiar Whole 30 is an elimination/detox diet created by a husband and wife team who believe in organic, whole foods and no junk. The plan is simple to explain but terribly hard to execute:

Eat real food in these forms:

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Tons of vegetables
  • Some fruit
  • Healthy oils, nuts and seeds.

Sounds simple right?! Yeaaa not so fast….

Don’t eat:

  • Sugar (any kind)
  • Alcohol
  • Grains
  • Legumes (which includes America’s favorite nut, the peanut)
  • Dairy
  • Carrageenan, MSG or sulfites (found in many processed foods)
  • White potatoes (along with Yukon, red bliss etc.) – the only potato that’s Whole 30 approved is the sweet potato

So, it’s a big change…but I’m excited to take it on. I did great last time although the headaches were pretty awful (not excited for those). My hardest challenge will be breakfast. I like eggs – but they don’t always like me back….so I need to get creative. This recipe for Banana Nut Porridge  sounds awesome and would be delicious with dates!  I have my nuts soaking as we speak and I’m hoping this is a tasty breakfast. I love oatmeal and I think it will be similar.

Sunday is veggie prep day and today I got help from Derek and Mom (thanks guys!) – here’s what we have ready in the fridge for the week ahead:

  • Roasted cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and broccoliflower along with asparagus, green beans and broccolini washed and ready to be roasted for dinners.
  • Spinach, arugula and spring mix for salad base
  • Raspberries (to add to porridge)
  • Vinegar pickled beets
  • 3 kinds of tomatoes (variety is the spice of life right?)
  • Sweet potato mash
  • Almonds, cashews, pecans (no peanuts!)
  • Power Salad fixin’s (I stole this from Panera after having one for lunch Friday!)

Here’s the salad I had Friday:

PowerSaladMy take: Spinach/arugula/cilantro base, fresh tomatoes, peppers (yellow and orange) and pickled red onions (homemade!) with roasted chicken and cilantro/lemon hummus. Super delicious and super excited to eat it! I’ll snap a picture later in the week! Derek loves cukes, I hate them so we’ll include them in his salad only. :)

Oh and here’s a shot of the garlic pickled red onions and roasted cabbage/brussel sprouts:

Roasted Veggies and Pickled Onions

They joke that Whole 30 is a commitment – but it really is! I’m not usually a big food planner (I find it constricting and stressful) so this will be a big change to have to think this far ahead. I think I’m most worried about giving up ice cream – I LOVE ice cream and a month is a long time! Oh and if you’re curious I will be having my beloved Starbucks coffee with coconut/almond milk instead of cream/1 sugar. :) See? I’ve thought of everything! Now, let’s see if I see a difference in 30 days!

Some of the annoyances (besides of course the weight) are super, insane dry skin/eczema, random hives (possibly due to coconut so I’m not going nuts with coconut during the challenge) and psoriasis on my head. A lot of these ailments have been fixed with a clean diet – I can’t wait to see how I fare on April 12th!

Are you doing a Whole 30? Have you? Any tips or tricks?

 

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Classy and Fabulous ~ a New Manifesto


I’ve been really introspective over the last few weeks. Maybe it’s starting a new year, taking inventory of what happened over the last 12 months etc. Or maybe it’s knowing my 32nd birthday is lurking around the corner next week. Isn’t there something so monumental about birthdays? Suddenly you need to categorize what 31 was…How did it feel? What victories did I have? What losses? Am I better off right now? Well I’m pleased to say I am definitely going to enter 32 as a better version of myself. I’m stronger, I’m more sure of who I am and I really care a lot less if others approve of who I am. I spent so much of my twenties wound-up and crazy. I hated not being liked, I compared myself to everyone else – constantly. I worried, I worried some more, I lost sleep and frankly I spent far too much of my precious time on shit that doesn’t matter now. You know the old adage “Will this matter in 5 years?” 99% of the time the answer is “This won’t matter in a year”. Sometimes it won’t matter in a week!

I tried an experiment back in June where I kept a little journal at my bedside and jotted down notes about things upsetting me, worrying me or just generally weighing on my mind. Turns out 93% of the things causing the bags under my eyes didn’t matter enough to even register a few months later! Yes, I actually stopped and did some math to figure out that percentage – that’s the nerd in me! LOL.

heavy

Isn’t that the truth? Stress is HEAVY! It pulls at you, drags you down and makes you feel like there is no use in fighting back. I encourage you to let go – let go of the things you think you need to worry about. Go watch “Up in the Air” – the scene where George Clooney does his “what’s in your backpack?” pitch is my favorite. I don’t want you to let go of the people in your life (because those relationships are super important!) but I do want to think about the “stuff” you carry. I truly feel like a happier, more free version of myself since I stopped focusing on “stuff” and started letting go.

I’d like to think I’ve finally cracked the code on my own personal happiness – it looks something like this:

Smile more and stress less (what’s in YOUR backpack?) 

Don’t say yes unless you really want to (because sometimes those commitments made in the heat of the moment lead to ridiculous stress and pressure!)

Don’t say no to a new opportunity just because it’s scary (scary means there is a chance to grow – take it!)

When it doubt – sweat it out (something about sweating your frustrations out just feels good)

No one needs to give you permission to be happy. Period.

I used to look outside myself for happiness. I needed approval from my peers, from my colleagues, from *strangers* to feel like I was complete. I don’t need that any longer. Something has changed inside of me and I realize I am fabulous – and I don’t need that acceptance from the anyone….it came from within!

Life-is-too-short-to-wait_large

What are you waiting for? Seriously. What is it? Stop waiting and just do it! Plan that trip, try something new, go out on a limb, trust yourself and stop putting limits on who you are and what you can do.

I just watching the makeover episode of “Biggest Loser” (one of my favorites – I love Tim Gunn!). I get so excited to see the transformations but man I get so annoyed when I hear “I couldn’t love myself when I was fat. I look in the mirror and now I finally love myself”. No one is going to give you permission to love yourself as is – that’s up to you. Fat, skinny, in-between – you’re more than just a size. You should love yourself regardless of your size!

My new manifesto will be to stay classy and fabulous – I can be confident in who I am without losing sight of the things that make me strong. I’ve come a long way and I’m sure the next 32 years will be 10 times happier (and less stressful) than the previous 32!

classy

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Fitness Goals for 2014


As I said in my last post I am really trying out an unresolution – BE HAPPIER (because really I’m already a fairly happy person). However, I am setting some pretty specific fitness goals for myself – along with a few other goals. Do you make fitness goals for a new year? I really can’t remember if I did last year – but I know I had different priorities coming into 2013. I really wanted to be a runner – I’ve since decided running stresses me out, causes knee pain and is generally not enjoyable. If something doesn’t feel good – why do it? OK the one exception to that is the dentist – I never like the thoughts of sitting with my mouth opened for an hour while I get my teeth cleaned but I always feel amazing after. ;)

I work in Corporate America and we like to use the acronym “SMART” to describe goals – I figured the same principles apply to fitness goals so I kept those in mind when forming  my to-do list! What is a smart goal?

smart goal setting concept

Keeping that in mind – here are my 5 fitness goals for 2014!

1. Log 300 hours of Zumba (yes I realize this one is LOFTY). This means doing Zumba 6 days a week most weeks. Here’s the thing – if I was going to be a runner I would need 4-5 running days a week. I’m replacing those with Zumba and of course I made myself a cute calendar to track! Now of course I travel for work (and for fun). How am I going to accomplish this? Two ways – Zumba DVDs I bought ages ago and “THE ULTIMATE ZUMBA PLAYLIST” I just made in my iPod. It’s a collection of all my favorite Zumba songs from all 5 teachers I take from!

I love color-coding and I like organization. I know I'll be away next week so I'm already accounting for it and planning. Also, Thursday and Friday classes may switch depending on my work busyness!

I love color-coding and I like organization. I know I’ll be away next week so I’m already accounting for it and planning. Also, Thursday and Friday classes may switch depending on my work busyness!

Dying to see this kill mix of mine? Feast your eyes and ears on this! This is a combo of Stef, Kerri, Danielle and Ogechi songs! I don’t quite know Laura enough to know her music yet. :)

Zumba Mix

2. Try one new fitness DVD a month. Originally I said one per week but with my Zumba obsession that just won’t work. Haha. I have a ton DVDs I’ve stockpiled that I need to work through – I’m really looking forward to these two:

DVDs

3. Complete 10 real push-ups by the fall! I can do the kind on bent knees but I want to do legit, straight out push-ups! Since you know I love a funny:

4. Hold a plank for 3 mins by December! I’ve done several plank a month challenges and I always fall apart at the 2 min mark. I want to hold a plank for 3 mins this year. :)

5. Jump rope by the summer. I used to LOVE doing this when i was little and I really want to get a jump rope now as an adult. Along the same lines I want to do legit jumping jacks – instead of the ghetto side step side things I do now. LOL. Of course, this cracked me up so I had to share:

jump rope

There you have my fitness goals for 2014! What are yours?

Have you ever considered making a fitness bucketlist? I saw this while searching for funny graphics and loved it!

Definitely a project for a rainy day. :-)

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2013 Elf 4 Health Challenge & a New Diet Twist….


Last year I had SO much fun participating in the Elf 4 Health challenge hosted by The Lean Green Bean and Nutrionella that I just had to sign up again this year.  All the challenge details (and the sign up!) can be found here: Elf4Health. Basically you complete one healthy challenge each day (be in physical, emotional, self etc.) and chat with an elf buddy randomly assigned to you about your challenge and staying on track during the holidays.

This years challenges are realllly going to take me out of my comfort zone (burpees!? wall sits? meditation? – eeeep!).  I’m nervously excited. Is that a thing? Nervously excited? LOL – well it is now! Behold – the challenges!

I just completed our pantry purge last weekend and I don’t want to brag, but it looks fantastic and is MUCH easier to find things! For Dec 7th I’ll be tackling the spice cabinet – which is a hot mess. I am pretty positive we have at least 4 poultry seasonings and probably another 4 cloves – two things I never think we have and always buy. Haha.

pantry

Foolishly I forgot to look at this week’s challenges and I already have lunch packed for Monday- Wednesday (chicken pot pie soup FOR THE WIN)….sooo I’ll be meatless for every other meal – and on Friday. :)

I got my first email from my elf – she’s really sweet and I’m excited to motivate each other for the week! Shout out to Natalie!

~~~

Oh, I forgot to mention my new diet. Dietary restriction? Meh – the new way I’m eating! I’ve had a problem for a while with retaining water (especially in my feet and legs). A few weeks ago I weighed in at 7am and again at 10pm – I had gained 12 pounds. Yes, I’m dead serious. I scheduled time to see my doctor – but she’s so busy she couldn’t see me until the first week of December. I chatted with my Mom and she mentioned salt – and tracking my sodium intake. Two weeks ago on Saturday and Sunday I tracked everything I ate in LoseIt – -then calculated the sodium – I was at 3500 mg / 4600 mg respectively. I picked up “The Salt Solution” from Amazon and learned I was eating nearly triple the sodium I should aim for (1500mg). Eeep! So, I took action last week (even during the two days I had the flu!) and following the following guidelines:

*No more canned/premade soups – (my favorite is the Autumn Squash soup at Panera and it has a whopping 1400mg per CUP! Yeah no!).

*Swap out morning drink for grapefruit juice (a natural diuretic which helps with fluid retention)**

*Trade chicken broth for the low sodium variety (a difference of 500 mg per cup!)

*Up my fiber (helps with food digestion – and feeling full)

*Amp up the spices (in lieu of salt try to include things like sage, rosemary, chives etc.) – I also need to check out Mrs. Dash (which is sodium free).

*Drink more water! (but I seriously always need the reminder).

These are the food guidelines I am following to see what kind of sodium content foods have compared to each other.

One week in and I’m significantly better – my feet and legs aren’t swollen, I feel 1000X better energy wise AND I’m only 1-2 pounds heavier by 10pm after a day on my feet. Awesome!  Thanks Mom – just goes to show your Mom really does have all the answers! ;)

**Sidenote: by far this is my favorite grapefruit juice EVER:

Ingredients: grapefruit + water. The end! I also love their Simply Orange with Mango – delicious. :)

Happy short-work-week everyone!!

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The Power of the Plan


november

October I went unprocessed and it rocked – I made delicious overnight oats with the help of Bob’s Red Mill Oats and this recipe. I feel back in love with couscous and quinoa (two things I avoided during my gluten-free experiment). But, I got lazy. I stopped doing Sunday food prep (which was one of the keys to my successful summer). I resorted to buying a lot of salads and soups (which is fine, but you’re not in control of what you eat unless you make it). So for November I am focusing on two things:

  1. Planning. Planning. Planning.
  2. Logging 25 cardio hours and 10 strength hours this month

So what do these goals look like?

First – Planning to succeed means Sunday Food Prep  *every* week in November – no excuses. I have no travel until December so this is a good time to focus on this! It also means planning my workouts and sticking to them. I am the QUEEN of lofty goals and poor execution. Queen.  Lastly it means sticking with a calorie plan/sleep plan each day. I have been great about eating my assigned calorie number….however I’m eating WAY too late at night and not getting nearly enough sleep. I am not just the queen of lofty plans but also of procrastination. So, I work until 5/6 most days and don’t get everything I need done because I’m chatting/spending time poorly on projects that don’t require the level of effort I’m putting in…then I go exercise for an hour, come home and have dinner around 7/7:30 (which is fine – except for what happens NEXT). Next I end up working 2-3 hours on things I should have finished during the day – then I have house things to do (dishes, lunch packing, picking out clothes) and of course I need to catch up on my favorite shows (“The Blacklist”, “Top Chef”, “Hostages” and “Criminal Minds”) which I do while munching on a snack….and pretty soon it is 12am/1am and I’m just THINKING about sleep. This means I end up in bed and actually asleep by 2am – then up at 6:30/7 to start my day. It’s not working. I’m tired, I’m cranky and frankly I’m plateauing in my weight-loss when I should be excelling. How can I fix this?

A few thoughts;

Plan breakfast options, lunch options and make them easy to grab before work (overnight oats, Samantha salads, leftovers – whatever!).

During work – limit “chatting” to 15 mins and include a walk or water break – sometimes these visits are project related so they are beneficial, they just need to be structured.

Finish as much of work AT work as possible – take home needs to be minimal. If I could prioritize my day better I KNOW I could do this.

At dinner – include more protein and more water so I feel more full. I’m a big veggie fan so I have that covered!

After dinner – No snacking after 8:30/9pm. One hour after dinner. Brush my teeth and be DONE.

Set a bedtime alarm. I used to do this….then I stopped. New bedtime alarm will be for 11:11 (my favorite number) – by this time I need to have my teeth brushed and be wrapping up whatever I’m doing to be in bed by 11:30.

These all seem doable right? You guys do these things without thinking about them I bet! :)

Now for the second goal:Reach 35 hours of logged exercise by November 30th!

I’ve been slipping slowly into the cold weather slump. Gotta snap outta it  ASAP! How can I hit the magic 35? Let’s add it up:

Sunday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio (class with Stef)

Monday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio (class with Stef)

Tuesday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio + barre class – 1 hour of strength (classes with Danielle)

Wednesday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio (class with Kerri) or Legs class – 1 hour of strength (class with Ali)

Thursday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio + 1 hour Pilates (at home workouts)

Friday: Zumba or Piloxing or Pound – 1 hr cardio (at home or at Studio Poise workouts – TBD)

Saturday: Circuits – 1 hour of strength OR Zumba Toning  – 30 mins cardio/30 mins strength (at YMCA or at Studio Poise workouts – TBD)

This roughly gives me 28 hours of cardio and 8 hours of strengthening this month – that ROCKS!

It’s lofty – I’m not going to lie — it leaves 0 “slack” days….but here’s what I know about myself: When I start my week with Zumba I feel awesome and I am MUCH more likely to stick to workouts for the rest of the week.  When I slack on my weekends I feel awful  for the week and stiff as a board – and I end up off-track all week. So, go big or go home!

So there you have it – my two detailed goals for November – wish me luck!!

I always say I want to try a ToneItUp or Blogilates calendar challenge – but I always end up traveling during the month and then I’m all thrown off! Maybe in 2014 that will be a goal.

What are you tackling this month??

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Fatness in the Media


There has been SO MUCH in the media lately about weight that I needed to roll it all into one blog post and just give my 2 cents on everything fat related!

lets talk
First let me comment on the Maria Kang “What’s Your Excuse” picture/blog. Just in case you’re not familiar this poster sparked controversy like WOAH:

MariaKangWhatsYourExcuse
I had never heard of her before – and I will be 100% honest in saying I really had no reaction the first time I saw it. I’m sorry, I know several of you reached out expecting an eloquent rebuttal – I don’t have one. The picture shows an amazingly fit woman who has mothered three children – good for her! I will ALWAYS get behind someone who is living a healthy life and making am positive change. I read through her FAQ’s and found her to be honest and refreshing:

I have been told she’s big into “fat shaming” and fat bullying….. I did some research before posting this and I could not find any instances of her bullying anyone. She’s a pretty straight shooter – but there’s a big difference between saying “I have a full time job, mother 3 children without a nanny and still get my workouts in” and “You’re a terrible mother because you’re fat” right? Right. I read so many awful things posted  by total strangers about this woman that I was appalled. Sadly I think is as a society we have become obsessed with comparing our selves to others – then tearing them down. Why do we do this? Who cares if she looks like that and you don’t? She doesn’t! Who cares if she promotes a diet eating just elderflowers and doing only tai chi? It’s her life! Please stop acting as if everything on the internet is PERSONALLY addressed to you. #endrant

Now, let me address “#FatShamingWeek“. It’s the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard – so much so that I actually thought the person who told me was pranking me. Alas, it’s legit…. Have no idea what Fat Shaming is? Urban Dictionary to the rescue.

dislike

I was bullied a child (who wasn’t?!).  It sucks. It’s brought me to tears. It’s made me question my purpose and my place in the world. HOWEVER, it’s ten times worse now than it was when I was a kid. There was no social media in the late 80′s/early 90′s – there was just playground rumors and notes passed. Now people can share their hate on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, journals and instagram – and it can go viral. We’ve heard about kids committing suicide because of the bullying. But those are KIDS. Stop for a second and imagine that their parents and other adults take on a campaign to “attack and oust the fatties”  – that is what #FatShaming  week is all about. Now I did look at the hashtags to see who was posting – a LOT of it was saying how stupid the “movement” was and how childish people were to feed into this. That said, just as many posts were adding in things like “Looking at fat people makes me never want to go to McDonalds again” and my personal favorite  (Mom: earmuffs!) – “I would never fuck a fat bitch – I might get rolls!”. Really? THAT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY!  Jeez. If you want to be nasty at least come with something clever! So, that’s my 2 cents on this ridiculous “week”. I think it’s really easy to pick on obesity because as I’ve said before – it’s a flaw you wear. No one hosts national #OutTheWinos week or national #KickaJunkie week – because alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling are all things we can hide from society. Fat is on display. You can look at me and KNOW I’ve got a problem (even if I’m on the mend).

More thoughts on Fat Shaming week that I totally agree with can be found here.

Now, just to be clear I am NOT okay with Thin Shaming either. I get annoyed when I hear people tell my naturally thin friends to eat a hamburger. Come on people, let’s accept we’re all different and move the hell on. It’s 2013! We have put people on the moon and invented cars that run on french fry oil – can we please stop picking on each other’s bodies?!real women
Now my last media mention – Biggest Loser. You guys know I watch religiously because I love transformation stories. I do not agree with some of the practices or some of the hoopla – but I enjoy seeing people change their lives. This season is all about Second Chances. Awesome! I love a second chance – I love seeing folks who have given up try again! Then I saw the cast….out of 15 people 2 are celebrities! Are you kidding me? One is Ruben Studdard (singer from American Idol – I never watched the show so I had to Google him, LOL) and the other is Olympian lifter Holley Manfold. I am not pleased that people who could well-afford the personal attention BL affords you are on the show – it seems like a publicity stunt on NBC’s part. There are a few other changes in the format….Jillian, Bob and Dolvett got to interview the finalists then hand-pick their teams (which just felt like watching a bunch of kids being picked for dodge ball. Weird). Also, there is a “player save”where a trainer can save a contestant from being eliminated once in the season. I would have preferred a “Voice” style Steal – Dolvett’s dude falls below and Bob or Jillian can Steal – which moves the person to their team. I LOVED that it was only an hour – especially since I forgot to DVR it. Two hours is way too long – especially since they just draw out the crying scenes. I might sound heartless but some of these crying episodes make me roll my eyes. “I remember every awful thing someone said about my weight”. Really? You’re 35. That means you’re carrying around twenty odd years of insults and bullshit? Let it go. Honestly. Life is too short to hold on to things said on the playground or at the water cooler. Hopefully this season focuses more on progress and the second chance and less on the sob stories!

BL Season 15

Did you watch? What did you think? Are weight-loss shows overrated?

Did you have a strong reaction to the “What’s Your Excuse?” photo? Share it!

Did you participate in #fatshaming week? If you did please don’t comment – in fact please consider never commenting on anything again. :)

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October: Unprocessed!


I sorta failed at “Blogtember”….I only blogged once! Sorry guys, I have good intentions – then I get distracted by life. :)

So October I am challenging myself to join “October Unprocessed 2013” – an awesome movement to eliminate processed foods, artificial flavors and colors and junk from your diet for one month. I’m *close*….but I’m not 100% on this already in my diet so a little push will be just what I need. I gave up soda and fast food circa 2005. I stopped eating frozen meals and packaged things like mac+cheese in 2010. Most recently stopped eating packaged snacks and I’m much more conscious of where my food comes from (organic when possible, preferably not in a box/bag). Overall I  make good choices 90% of the time….that said I do have a few bad habits that can be kicked …. like my Starbucks Espresso Doubleshot addiction (they’re so cute, so portable and keep me so caffeinated…but they aren’t all natural so they need to go) or my penchant for stealing cheese Doritos. I don’t *buy* them….so I never count it as a bad idea when I look at my food haul for the week – but I eat them twice a week lately and they need to be cut.

I also just noticed my salt and vinegar almonds are artificially flavored. Boo. Why does everything have something artificial these days?! Grrrrrr.

image

I’m also ready for some fall tweaks to come back into rotation – like oatmeal with berries for breakfast and SOUP. I love soup. Right now I’m obsessed with butternut squash. These fall tweaks will not include caramel apple cider from Starbucks – delicious but WAY too high in calories (360 for a grande! without whip!) and they are processed.

I feel like every time a new season starts it;’s a great time to challenge yourself to try something new.

So, will you join me for Unprocessed October? :)

If so pledge to join me and read all about it here!

 

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Whole Lotta Veggies….and May Challenges


A bunch of people have asked how Whole 30 is going and how I’m doing….a few have assumed my silence means I failed. LOL. I’m happy to say I did not fail! I did cheat a bit – but I did not fail. I lost 16 pounds in 30 days – which is pretty phenomenal!

Overall it was pretty amazing. I had no idea how few veggies I was eating….or how much processed crap I was eating! I also didn’t realize how often I turned to carbs for cravings, bad days or boredom. Carbs are my consolation blanket. I can’t say I’m completely over my cravings for cupcakes – but I can say I will never go back to a gluten filled diet. Ever!

I focused on the healthiest options possible every day – and I found ways to make veggies work for my life. I don’t have time in the morning to roast vegetables and pack lunch. Hell most nights I end up working later than I should and packing lunch becomes a “shoulda done” before bed  (a post for another day). So instead I go to Whole Foods Saturday or Sunday and I roast veggies for the week then bag them up individually. Yes, I do realize tupperware would be more ecologically friendly – but I end up not washing it, forgetting it at work or in my car and wasting money. Plastic bags, for the win!

Some of the veggies I simply cannot live without: raw peppers with olive tapende or just plain  -YUM! Spaghetti squash with pesto – oh em gee – SO good! Seriously, an awesome substitute for pasta. No it doesn’t *taste* like pasta – it tastes like squash – but it LOOKS just like pasta! Perfect. Oh and of course, cauliflower- especially purple (which they had at Whole Foods and was all the rage this week in my lunch). Love cauliflower!

So how did I cheat? I had dairy – both cheese (yum) and half and half in my coffee. Oh and I had coffee. I’m sorry, I can’t live in a world without coffee. I know the book tells you that’s crap – but it’s not. The caffeine withdrawals were awful. I couldn’t function one day because I was in the midst of carb flu and without coffee. If anyone decides to do this experiment – make sure you’re not traveling….or in back to back meetings. :-) I will also add that detoxing off a processed food laden diet is horrible, I was nauseous, I was dizzy, my thoughts were jumbled but I also was weak. I got muscle cramps places I never get cramps when exercising – and I was sleeping horribly.

Most importantly -  I don’t WANT to give up coffee. I have one Venti iced coffee with cream daily. That’s it. I’m not drinking it all day long and I’m not willing to live without it. Some things are worth fighting for! ;)

So what will my May challenge be? More of the same, with a twist. May I’m back to traveling – Phoenix, LA, Dallas and maybe a local trip down to CT. I need to be ON m game. No gluten. Lots of veggies, lots of lean protein, fruits. Oh and lots of moving.

Thankfully I have a little challenge to keep me motivated! Stef Sweeney is hosting a Bikini Buddy Challenge (thank god no ACTUAL bikinis are required – I’m a LONG way from there) and I signed up with my girl Layne. We are team Cantaloop Cuties – inspired by our favorite 90′s song ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwBjhBL9G6U

The rules are super simple:

1) Pair up with a buddy.
2) Arrange a time to meet with me (before/after class, etc) to get your beginning measurements taken.
3) Pay $10 each – $5 registration fee; $5 to go into the Winners Pot.
4) For the next 6 weeks, get your booty into gear!! Stay on top of your working out/being active, eating healthy, drinking water, etc.
5) At the end of the 6 weeks, measurements will be taken again. The team with the most inches/body fat lost WINS ALL THE MONEY FROM THE WINNERS POT!!!!

So gluten-free, veggie heavy diet plus lots of Zumba and cardio (more about my new favorite cardio in the next post!) = Awesome track for getting myself slimmed down!!
Wish me luck – I feel like I’ve finally got a secret formula down for success – I’m looking forward to having a healthy summer!
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The Whole Truth ~ Week 1 recap!


Week one of Whole 30 is in the books! It was rough, I can’t lie. I’ll highlight the finer points in bullet points, because I love a bullet point!

*The first three days I was convinced I was going to die. Let’s just say I grossly underestimated how much processed food I was eating. My stomach didn’t take well to fresh foods and veggies. By day 4 I definitely felt like my system “got it” and it was easier. Upping my water intake helped. Taking it easy on the exercise front helped too.

*Long term I can live without gluten. I feel better when I don’t have it and the “missing it” is truly mind over matter. Lettuce wraps taste better and crunchier to me than regular sandwiches. Pretty sure I had lettuce wraps 4 times this week. So good! (note to self: snap pictures next time).

mind over matter

*Long term I cannot live without ice cream. I miss it. My favorite ice cream stand (Kimball’s in Carlise) opened for the season and their ice cream is just to die for – so fresh and tasty. I will definitely incorporate this back in next month – as a treat for occasions!

*When you focus on whole, natural foods you really notice the flavor. I love artichoke hearts marinated in buffalo sauce but I was drowning them in blue cheese before. Now I have them with orange peppers and spinach, no dressing – delicious! One of my best combos was Saturday night. I tried to emulate a salad I had at Craft in LA -  hearts of palm, roasted red peppers, avocado and roasted chicken(I added this, it wasn’t in the original) with a squeeze of lime juice. Incredibly tasty and filling! I wish I could have an avocado tree in Boston – that’s how much I love avo!

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*Whole 30 talks a lot about curing disease through food. I can’t say for sure any of my ailments are cured but my skin seems less dry, my plantar fasciitis seems to be under control (stretching helps too!) and I have more energy. Can’t wait to see how I feel in the next few weeks!

*Prepping is KEY. I think anytime I’ve failed at weight-loss in the past can be attributed to lack of planning. Saturday we grocery shopped (Whole Foods for fruits/veggies, Market Basket + BJ’s for everything else). Sunday I prepped. Roasted, washed, cut, bagged and planned for the week. In the fridge I have ingredients for chicken Thai lettuce wraps (enough for 3 lunches), enough roasted cauliflower and broccoli for the week (lunch or dinner), grilled chicken breasts, sliced peppers for dipping in guacamole, strawberries hulled and popped in the freezer for smoothies and sliced salad ingredients ready for a protein. Fruits (er veggies) of my labor:

veggies

*Whole truth  – I cheated. I love Starbucks iced coffee. LOVE. With cream + 1 sugar. I tried coconut milk, I tried almond milk, I tried black – I can’t do it. I need to conquer this – but if it’s the worst, I’m pretty proud of myself!

*Best part? I noticed my sugar craving are waning. Tonight I wanted sweet. I needed sweet. I did not resort to chocolate or ice cream – instead I opted for some fresh fruit – kiwi, raspberries and blueberries. It hit the spot!

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My best friend Julie is trying it starting tomorrow. I can’t wait to compare notes with her. Anyone else just start it? Email me, I’d love to hear about your experiences! sparklyandslimming@gmail.com :-)

I’m all prepped for week two and ready to get some exercise back into my life. Lots of cardio this week and hopefully a strength training class or two are on the docket.

Looking forward I’m trying to figure out how I can keep this up when I travel. I think it will require finding a hotel with a fridge and doing some grocery shopping – which I’m certainly not opposed to doing – it’s just not always an option depending where I’m staying. I’m thinking I’ll have to get creative!

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Whole 30 ~ 4/8 – 5/8


I have been chatting away about life and love over at my new nook on the interwebz – but I decided to pop back here for a chat about my new nutrition focus. Tomorrow I am launching into 30 days of “Whole 30″ – you can read all the details here. Here are the basics:

What is the Whole30®?

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, and your long-term health. The most important reason to keep reading?

This will change your life.

I just finished “It Starts with Food” and I feel like I need to try it. I need a life change!

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So what can I eat?

* Lots of fruits

*Lots of veggies

* Lean proteins

* NO eat sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or processed junk  (also known as most of my current diet)

Sounds crazy eh?  I’m excited. It’s the butt-kicking I need.

Now, I know dairy is not bad for you – but the program cuts it out and I think I can live without it for a month. Maybe. :-)  (No cheese? Bah…maybe not)

What made me try this? Straight from the book and the website:

Here comes the tough love. This is for those of you who are considering taking on this life-changing month, but aren’t sure you can actually pull it off, cheat free, for a full 30 days. This is for the people who have tried this before, but who “slipped” or “fell off the wagon” or “just HAD to eat (fill in food here) because of this (fill in event here).” This is for you.

It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

—-

I need some tough love! I need some butt-kicking. :-)

This is my fruit bowl right now (usually empty):

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Had I not just bagged up all my veggies I would have snapped a picture of those too!

Breakfast is going to be challenging – I love oatmeal. Love it. No oats. No dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt) so I decided to go with a fruit smoothie made with a bit of coconut almond milk and this:

Hopefully it’s tasty – we’ll see tomorrow!

I’m already going to call it – not having my iced coffee with cream and sugar is going to be the hardest. I love me some Starbucks! Send me some willpower friends, I’m going to need it.

I’m going to snap a before picture before work – we’ll see if you guys notice a difference in 30 days!

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