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My Whole30 - Recap & Final Results!

8/31/2012 *Sara-Marie* 16 Comments


 I couldn't be happier that I stumbled upon the paleo/clean eating lifestyle in June of this year, and even happier that I found the Whole30 program. If you know me personally or have been following my blog over the last couple of years, you know that I've been on this weight-loss journey for a while. I've tried many things - some with success, some with failure. 

In 2011, I lost 25 lbs by following the Weight Watchers program. I felt great and was so proud of myself. But then, I couldn't lose anymore. I kept gaining and re-losing the same 2-5 pounds. I couldn't keep on target. I would stay "On Point" for 5-6 days and then have a "cheat meal." That cheat meal would negate all of the hardwork I had done that week and I would be back at point A. It was an endless cycle and I couldn't break it. 

After my wedding in January 2012, I gained back 8 lbs. I felt awful - but I knew where it came from. We let loose - we enjoyed whatever we wanted - and the pounds crept back up very quickly. I started tracking points again but I still couldn't get anywhere! 

In June of this year, I stumbled upon a post on Facebook talking about the paleo lifestyle and I was intrigued. I did a lot of research and just started slowly incorporating some of the basic concepts. Read this post about when I started to have a paradigm shift. 

Once I started to cut out processed foods and grains, I started to feel better! And I started to lose weight again. It was exciting. I started to read new blogs and find new recipes using only fresh and natural ingredients. But I still struggled with relapse. After eating a carb-loaded cheat meal, I would feel awful. Sluggish. I would develop a migraine. After 3 specific incidents, I knew I had to commit to eating clean for good. 

One night I found the Whole30 program and I was intrigued.  I quickly downloaded their book It Starts With Food, and the mind-blowing process began. I learned so much about how our body works and how important it is to feed it what it is designed to thrive on. Not just survive - THRIVE. On July 31st, I committed to starting the official Whole30 on August 1st - with many people around the world. I was excited, worried, anxious, nervous, not completely confident I could do it. 


At first it was challenging, as you can read through my daily recaps, but as time went on it got easier and easier. I formed new habits. And now, this is the norm. This is just the way I eat now.
So after that lengthy intro, here are the results I experienced while on my Whole30:
  • I have more energy
  • I sleep like a baby (but I NEED my 8 hours)
  • My skin has cleared up
  • My clothes fit way better - I'm actually down a size! 
  • I have a better relationship with food - I don't feel the need to overindulge. I'm fuller faster and don't feel the need to have seconds. I don't have to count points, measure servings, or count calories. It's LIBERATING. Just fill my plate with real food. It's SO SIMPLE. AND NO GUILT.  If I am still hungry - I eat!
  • My food taste better - I don't know how to describe it, but fruit taste sweeter now and vegetables taste so good and my food just taste so awesome lately. And it's not just that I'm a great cook. I have some recipes that are 100% compliant from prior to this change - and they just taste better now. I think since I'm no longer eating artificially enhanced foods, I can now appreciate true flavor.
  • I've experienced new foods - I LOVE cauliflower and Brussels sprouts now -- who knew?
  • I feel empowered/committed/proud of myself/just generally awesome
  • I don't feel deprived of anything - I actually finally feel in control for the first time ever!
  • I have more confidence
  • I lost weight!
From July 31 through August 31st - I have lost 6.6 pounds!

I can FEEL the difference and I think you can see it too:

I have some additional pictures (just in a sports bra) where you can really tell the difference in my stomach. I'm a modest woman so those are only for me to enjoy! But I feel smaller in my waist and I think my face is a little slimmer. But most importantly - I just FEEL GOOD. It's kind of hard to describe.

Other Awesome Stats:


Comparing to my journey over the years:

Again, this has been an extremely positive and eye-opening experience. And it just makes so much sense to me that I don't know why I would stray away or try something new. Now that the Whole30 challenge is over, I have a couple of options. I can either start reintroducing questionable foods back into my diet or keep doing Whole30 until something really delicious and really worth it comes along. Since I don't really miss anything and I want to continue to push myself towards optimal health, I'm just going to continue to do what I'm doing and allow a treat when I find myself in front of something so special and so worth it.

Until then, I'm going to keep on keeping on! 

PS: My hubby is going to start his very own Whole30 journey on Monday! I'll keep you posted on his progress! :) 

PPS: If you want to try this out for yourself, please let me know! I would love to offer any guidance, support, or just help you clean out your pantry! ;)



My Whole30 - Day 30!!!

8/30/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments


DAY 30. Wooooo hooooo. I did it!
And I'm going to keep doing it! 

Tomorrow I'm going to post a full recap of my experience and my new set of goals. For now, I will just recap my DAY 30 - WHOLE30 EATS.

Breakfast: had a busy morning and wasn't too hungry so I just had a banana and a beef jerky.

Lunch: yummy eggs and leftover roasted veggies!

While I waited for hubby to come home from a couple days of training, I decided to get a little dolled up. It is my birthday after all.

Did I mention that my skin has gotten clearer since I started eating clean?
Oh and my wonderful hubby brought home beautiful roses and a tear-jerker of a birthday card!
Love you baby!
We contemplated going out to dinner but then decided it was best to finish up my Whole30 with a bang!

Dinner: I roasted some sweet potatoes with rosemary, roasted some broccoli with garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and pan seared two grass-fed ribeye steaks. Everything was delicious. It was the perfect birthday dinner.
Who needs a cake when I have this beauty?
And now, I officially end my Whole30 with exceptional snuggles.

He was only gone for a few days, but I missed this guy.

Stay posted for tomorrow's full recap!

 I am blogging my way through the Whole30 program, based on the book "It Starts With Food." Click here to find out more and join me if you'd like! I dare you. Triple doggy dare you. ;)


Go, shorty, it's your birthday!

8/30/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

I love my mommy.
As excited as I was to get a Lil Miss Makeup, I'm even more excited today.

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it!

Not only because today's my birthday and I have such wonderful friends and family who always make me feel special, BUT I also proved to myself over the last month that I am stronger and have more will power than I thought! Thank you sweet baby Jesus!

I'm going to do a full Whole30 recap tomorrow, but I did want to quickly share that as of this morning, I am down 6.6 pounds! In 30 days! Best results I've had in a LOOOOONG time. And more important than the results on the scale - I feel great! Like Tony the Tiger, except my energy hasn't come from cereal. Or caffeine pills, but please enjoy this classic segment from the Saved by the Bell episode.



My Whole30 - Day 28-29

8/29/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments


DAYS 28 & 29 - I'm almost there! The finish line is in sight!

Truth be told - I don't really want to change my new habits. Isn't that the whole point of making a lifestyle change? Why wouldn't I continue to do what has worked so well and makes me feel so great? I want to continue to solidify these new habits for good.

I am really proud of myself for sticking with it. This is the most committed I've been to a program EVER. Maybe because it's really just common sense? Eat real food. Eat until you're satisfied. Don't eat crap.

Works for me!


Breakfast: I didn't wake up hungry, so I just had a banana and a little almond butter. Around mid morning, I started to get hungrier so I decided to have a beef jerky. And then that satisfied me for hours. It was kind of weird how I just wasn't all that hungry today.

Lunch & Dinner: Around 2pm, I decided to cook enough for lunch and dinner. I quickly whipped up one of my FAVORITE Giada recipes: roasted chicken in balsamic vinaigrette. Except I used boneless/skinless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken and I simmered on the stove top, while I roasted a tray of cauliflower in EVOO, salt, pepper, italian seasoning blend. It came out soooo goood.

I wish you could smell this dish from the picture - the aroma is amazing!
I can't believe how much I've grown to LOVE cauliflower!
Topped it off with some fresh parsley! VERY satisfying.

2 fried eggs with grape tomatoes and 1/4 avocado
Nothing beats leftovers! Cauliflower & balsamic chicken
My parents invited me over for Dinner so I made sure to roast some veggies to bring along. They went perfectly with the protein of the night! My dad LOVES to roast country style pork ribs. And for good reason. They were delicious. 
After sharing old stories, hours of laughter, and helping my baby sister with her homework, I made my way home. I thought it was an appropriate time for a treat:

This flavor is WONDERFUL. One of my favorites!
 So here we are - just one more day to complete my Whole30! I feel like just yesterday I was contemplating whether or not I could really commit to a full 30 days of clean eating. And now I just have one more day left. AND tomorrow is my birthday -  what a wonderful gift to myself. 

The gift of health, happiness, confidence, and empowerment.

23 years ago! Why wasn't anyone else happy that it was MY special day?
 I am blogging my way through the Whole30 program, based on the book "It Starts With Food." Click here to find out more and join me if you'd like! I dare you. Triple doggy dare you. ;)


Word Filled Wednesdays - Psalm 18:2

8/29/2012 *Sara-Marie* 4 Comments

Inspired by the women of Internet Cafe Devotions, I will be participating in Word Filled Wednesdays. Psalm 18:2 originally states that The Lord is MY rock, but once I was joined to my husband, we became ONE. So the Lord is OUR rock and OUR fortress. Without the Lord, we wouldn't be where we are today, and we are so grateful for His eternal grace and mercy.

Original photo taken by my favorite photographer, Marjorie, another strong woman in Christ. 

Linking up with:


My Whole30 - Day 25 - 27

8/28/2012 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments


Again, I haven't been as good about taking pictures of EVERYTHING, but I will share what I remember!

DAY 25: We decided to surprise Mark's little brother by driving to Williamsport to catch a couple games of the Little League World Series!


Since I knew it was going to be a long day, I had a hefty breakfast of a small baked sweet potato and 2 eggs. We also packed a cooler full of good snacks and not so good snacks for the boys!

While we were enjoying the games, I snacked on the following:

As the hours passed, our hunger grew and we decided to order food from the concession stands. I decided on a plain burger - no bun, no cheese. I thought I would be okay, but after I ate that burger I started to develop a horrible headache. Since the burgers were premade, I had to take the bun off myself and some of the bread was stuck to the burger. I tried to pull as much off as possible, but I may have consumed a tiny bit of bread. I may be over thinking things, but I think that tiny bit of bread caused my headache. I have suffered from migraines for a long time and I was even on prescription meds for prevention.

Once I started to eat healthier about 2 years ago, they subsided but I still experienced 2-3 a month. Prior to the Whole30, I had already started to cutout grains, but whenever I had a cheat meal (had pizza, ate an onion ring, etc) I developed a headache or even a migraine. Since I've started Whole30, I haven't had a headache except for after the concession stand burger. I will keep testing after the Whole30 is over and come to a conclusion hopefully soon. Not gonna lie, its going to stink if every time I treat myself to a piece of gluten I have to suffer the consequence of a headache.

Anyway, on our way home we were able to experience a beautiful sunset:

 Once we got home, Momma Pops quickly made another pizza and I made some tacos. Of course, I enjoyed mine in a red pepper shell:
 And we were off to bed! 

 DAY 26: After sleeping in forever, we had a quick breakfast (it was more like lunchtime by now) before having to lead the Pops family back to I-84 to start their journey back to MA. I used some left over taco meat and toppings over 1 fried egg:

It was yum.
After saying our goodbyes, shedding a few tears, and saying a few prayers for a safe return, Mark and I took a beautiful scenic ride through the Pocono Mountains and then made our way to Wegmans. We had to restock the fridge! 

By the time we got there, we were pretty hungry and its never a good idea to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Luckily, Wegmans has a cafe with yummy eats. I decided to have a "burrito" without the tortilla and with the gluten free cilantro chicken. 

Hit the spot.

 After using our life savings to buy groceries (it's still hard for me to spend so much more on food, but I know the quality is worth the premium), we finally got home around 6pm and caught up on some snuggle time.

 We weren't really hungry for dinner since we had our burritos, but I did enjoy a snack. I have been looking FOREVER for some jelly/fruit spread without any sugar. This one finally did the trick! It's sweetened with organic grape juice, which Whole9 says is okay!


 DAY 27 - Started my morning with a quick 25 minute workout in the comfort of my own home:

BREAKFAST:  I had been craving something different for breakfast so I decided to try a Pumpkin Tahini "porridge" bowl. IT WAS NASTY. So nasty that I threw it out. Then I thought, would fruit jam be good on eggs? I did a quick google search and apparently there is such a thing as a JELLY OMELET! Sweet! So I tried it out and it was goooood.

Mark says I should call it a "Jamlet" :)
 For LUNCH and DINNER, I enjoyed a sweet potato hash with ground beef.
I seasoned the beef as usual (salt, pepper, sofrito) and then added 1 tablespoon of Moroccan Road spice blend.

 It was amazing!!!!  Of course, I had to top off with some perfectly ripe avocado and fresh cilantro.

SNACK: In between lunch and dinner I had a little snack:

organic turkey breast + avocado slices = satisfying snack


 I am blogging my way through the Whole30 program, based on the book "It Starts With Food." Click here to find out more and join me if you'd like! I dare you. Triple doggy dare you. ;)


My Whole30 - Day 22 - 24

8/25/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments


Days 22 - 24. I can't believe I'm already in my final week of the Whole30 challenge. Time really has flown by and this is most definitely the longest I've gone without a "treat" meal. I'm not going to lie, I have been tempted, but I'm realizing my will power is a lot stronger than I thought! I even had a crazy dream the other night that I ate two HUGE slices of cheese pizza and then realized that I wasn't finished with my Whole30. I started to freak out in my dream and I started crying! When I woke up, I actually felt guilty for a few minutes before I realized that I didn't actually eat two gigantic pieces of pizza. The mind is a powerful thing.

Mark's family came down to visit on Wednesday night for Mark's birthday so I've been busy spending time with them and putting good eats on the table. You know, I have to keep up my reputation for being the hostess with the mostess! ;)

With that being said, I have forgotten to take pictures of every morsel that I've eaten. However, I have witnesses that I have stayed on the straight and narrow, despite some serious temptations.

SO, here are my WHOLE30 EATS over the last few days that were captured:
fried eggs and avocado!

amazing mocha rub steak with roasted veggies and salad

sweet potato, sausage, avocado, and cilantro. Momma Pops and Mark really enjoyed this one :)

Apple, avocado, salsa tower. Difficult to eat, but very tasty.

ground beef skillet: indian curry style
mango coconut chicken concoction

fried eggs with roasted veggies

No, I didn't avoid the birthday boy. But I turned the other cheek to that peanut butter creme frosted chocolate cake!

I had a Larabar instead.
And then the pizza. And this was after my crazy pizza dream. I do love homemade pizza and this was VERY tough for me. But I made it through!

Instead of consuming these beautiful pizzas, I grilled some chicken tenders and roasted some cauliflower with a new spice blend called Moroccan Road. YUM. Somehow I forgot to take pictures of my dinner but it certainly was very delicious. Once I had good eats in my belly, the pizza was no longer calling my name.

Only 6 more days before I allow myself a little off-roading. I'm going to reread the chapters of the book on the "Reintroduction Phase" so that I don't totally negate all of the benefits my body has experienced during this challenge. The Reintroduction phase is a 10-15 day period where you slowly and independently test dairy, gluten-containing grains, non-gluten containing grains, and legumes to see how they make you feel. The rest of my diet should be Whole30 compliant during this period. If I experience any negative effects after adding some cheese to my salad or by having a serving of beans, I can then decide for myself if I should continue to include this food group in my diet. That's why I really enjoyed reading ISWF because they laid out their plan for what foods they believe are the best to consume for optimal health and which ones are questionable (like the 4 categories listed above). BUT, they know that everyone's body works differently, so they encourage you to be your own science experiment. If after eating some black beans, I feel fine, I may enjoy them once a week. But if I don't feel fine, its up to ME to determine if the negative effects outweigh the taste or desire to consume them.

It's all up to me.

My goal is to live mostly Whole30 compliant with some treats here or there. I would be naive to think that I could do a Whole365.  But I am loving how I feel while eating this way. I have more energy, I'm sleeping better, my skin is clearing up, I never feel overly full/uncomfortable after eating and I'm not HUNGRY. I can eat as much as I want - as long as its naturally nutritious! Oh and my clothes are fitting WAY better.

Why would I ever go back?

And while it was harder at first, it has become easier and easier each day. This lifestyle change has been the best experience I've had with a "healthy eating" plan.

I am NOT on a diet. This is just the way I eat now.

I am blogging my way through the Whole30 program, based on the book "It Starts With Food." Click here to find out more and join me if you'd like! I dare you. Triple doggy dare you. ;)