Whole30: 20 Days and Counting

20 days into Whole30  (well, at least when I started writing this post) and I’ve had a handful of questions from friends (IRL and Internet alike, or any strangers with whom I’ve discussed Whole30 .

To those strangers, I apologize. Really, to everyone. Sorry. Because I’ve found that, when y̶o̶u̶’̶r̶e̶ I’m on Whole30 , chances are… most conversation focuses on Whole30 . For a life that revolves around food, sweat, and beers, when you get rid of most of the foods (and all of the beers), it’s just sweat (and that’s mostly gross). But hey, in case you’re interested and I haven’t told you already, here are some updates.

How am I feeling?

When I last updated, I was feeling TERRIFIC. And now?

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Flying High

I’m still feeling pretty great. No super-powers, and my energy for exercising has kind of ranged from normal to SUPER HYPE, but mostly normal. My skin isn’t magically clear, and I don’t have rock-hard abs.

But I wake up nearly every morning before my alarm feeling well-rested. My stomach doesn’t feel bloated like… ever (ok there was one day where I ate too many potatoes.) I go to sleep feeling as good as I feel when I wake up. It’s just an even, relaxed, consistent feeling of goodness.

What’s been the hardest part?

Sugar is in EVERYTHING.

I don’t crave anything, not anymore. But I hate reading food labels to find sugar in ketchup, sriracha, salad dressing, this Brussels sprouts dish that sounded delicious but then it contained pomegranate molasses… I feel obnoxious asking to see the list of ingredients when folks offer me things, but sticking to the plan is the only option. Taking a break or veering off never was, not even for a day.

What has been the most surprising experience?

The other day, I went to put on some dress pants I hadn’t worn in a while. And then, they practically fell off. I was swimming in them.

I’ve lost weight before, but this feels different somehow. Like my body’s shape is changing. I wish I felt motivated or energized enough to exercise more. But some days, I feel like I spend enough time preparing my food that I just say “**ck It” to the gym. I’ll be curious to see the scale at the end.

I am also surprised that potatoes are allowed, and MAYBE have abused that a bit, but these smashed potatoes are the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted.

What have you missed the most?

This isn’t terribly different from what I eat typically, or how I eat. But damn, I miss cheese.

What I have NOT missed is fun Philly things. Even as a teetotaler, turns out you can still find some joy in Philly Beer Week activities

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Dunkel Dare 2016 (that pie was NOT compliant)

What tasty foods have I been eating?

Thank the LORD for Pinterest. It’s a Whole30 GOLD MINE! (Click image for source/recipes)

 

 

 

How will you celebrate when you’re done?

I will officially complete Whole30 Wednesday, June 29. Whole30 advocates for a slow “reintroduction” phase. But the thing is…. On Thursday night, I’m going to get pizza. Specifically from Nomad Roman. Maybe a beer (I’m sure I’ll be a real cheap date).

I plan to continue eating relatively clean, but I haven’t drank the Kool-Aid enough to join the Whole9 movement and make Whole30 my WHOLE LIFE.

I’ll definitely be doing a recap post afterwards but, in the meantime, welcome to THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!

 

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Guess who’s doing Whole30? (Spoiler: it’s me.)

Folks make life-changing decisions every day. Maybe you’re going to apply to grad school, get a perm, propose to your partner, get a puppy, or buy a house. You can hem and haw, discuss these major (or less major) moves with friends and family, make lists of pros and cons, weigh your options.

Other times, you just send an email to your husband and BAM you bought a house (shoutout to the Ilagans for really leaning in on the whole real estate thing.)

I’m typically the hemmer and hawer. Lists on lists. Venn diagrams galore.

This time, it was as simple as “I’m game if you are” with a link to this Thrillist article.

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Who wouldn’t be inspired by this guy (eating a disgusting-looking red delicious apple, gross)?

Three days later, Tuesday May 31st, was Day 1 of 30 days.

THE WHAT

Whole30 (click link to go to THEIR explanation, here’s my abbreviated take) is 30 days without:

  • Sugar (we’re talking honey, syrup, Stevia… it’s everywhere)
  • Processed foods
  • Alcohol (during Philly Beer Week, smooth one, JP.)
  • Grains (from corn to quinoa, wheat to farro!)
  • Legumes (BEANS! also, all soy. fack.)
  • Dairy (milk? who cares. CHEESE!)

While the decision was made quickly, it wasn’t without reason. Otherwise, why else would I be facing the shocked looks of friends when I pass on incredible, rare Philly Beer Week offerings as I sip seltzer (with lime juice when I’m feeling totally wild)?

THE WHY

This is the part everyone keeps asking me.

WHY would you do this?!

You LOVE grains, sugar, booze, and cheese. You look GREAT now, you don’t need to lose weight! You’re going to miss Philly Beer Week! You’re going to miss (Insert: my birthday! Some cocktail party! A potluck dinner! Whatever.)

But the thing is, there’s always going to be something to “miss”. Whether it’s a meal or a beer. Doesn’t mean you miss out on the events. The real reason why?

I needed to press “RESET” on things. I was already taking a hiatus from drinking, so I figured let’s just really get down to business. I typically have this tendency of hitting the summer hard. PR events, outdoor parties, beer gardens, day drinking, al fresco dining…  And I kind of started revisiting some old, bad habits (namely: “treating myself” every time an occasion felt “special”).

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Date nights, festivals, food trucks, and beer garden openings: apparently they all require loads of indulgence

But my sleep was crummy and my workouts were severely suffering. I hate to imagine myself as sluggish ever, but I was making excuses to skip fitness, or replacing it with meals out.

Shoot, I was sluggish.

TL; DR: My WHY Whole30? Simply put, I wanted to feel better. I’ve always found that a certain amount of self-discipline is required for achieving highest performance. I thrived with Weight Watchers in 2010, losing 40+ lbs and totally changing the way I ate, cooked, and experienced food (for a wordy look back at those days and a photo of me at probably slightly over 215lbs, check out THIS POST). Whole30 seems like a good refresher.

What’s been tough?

Social engagements based around food, cooking constantly, being “that girl” that talks about her slow cooker recipes… I apologize to everyone that hangs out with me for the next twenty days.  I’ll look at your pizza longingly. I’ll smell your cookies and probably hate you a little bit. But I haven’t stopped going out and doing things. I just typically bring snacks and occasionally leave to go eat a meal I prepared at home.

What’s been great?

Oh gosh. I’m going to say it. I feel incredible. I don’t feel tired. The first week, I had some trouble eating enough, so my workouts were either half-ass or nonexistent. I don’t think it’s tiger blood, or sugar demons, or some of the silly terms they spout. I just… feel good?

We’re not supposed to weigh ourselves during these 30 days. But, even though the focus isn’t weight loss, we are supposed to take before photos. In interest of honesty and sharing my truth, here are mine. I’ll definitely be updating at the end, if not one more time around 20 days. But ten days in… This feels pretty terrific.

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Taken May 31, 2016

 

 

CorePower Yoga in Philly: A Review!

When we last met (digitally), I was talking fitness. Specifically about how Philly is lighting up as far as fitness goes. I’m not the first to notice this (Be Well Philly even put together a list of all the new studios coming to town).

As I mentioned before, I’m definitely not the first to experience most of these. But hey, maybe some of y’all are on the fence about some of them. Maybe you’re not sure what the workouts are like, maybe you wanna know what to wear, maybe you’re just narrowing down your list of which fitness to focus on this week / month / year. So I’ve been checking some of them out. Since we went ahead and got RIPPED, let’s focus on our cores, eh?

CorePower Yoga has come to town.

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They offer new members one free week (click the link for your own!) so, being the budget babe that I am, I jumped on the opportunity. One week (ok, maybe two weeks, I had my buddy’s wedding to attend!) later, I’m ready to write about the 4-5 classes I took (one was outside of the week).

CPY is a HUGE company, it seems. They’re also not that new to the city, opening in December. But I hibernated until the weather was a little closer to the temps of their signature hot yoga classes. I tried three of their four types offered at the Philly studio, descriptions here (didn’t manage to make it to Hot Power Fusion, but the candlelit ones sound terrific!)

CorePower Yoga 1 was nice and easy, a fast moving flow but not so challenging (OR so hot) that I felt out of my league.

CorePower Yoga 2: hotter (like, over 95 degrees), harder, and uncut. The class moved fast, the poses were challenging, and I was definitely pushing the outer limits of “my league”. But I survived, and felt strong (though maybe not as strong as that yogi easing into Eka Pada Bakasana like it ain’t no thing. 

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Dang Julie Wilcox. Show me how it’s done (click photo for source)

Yoga Sculpt, though, was my favorite. By far. This class keeps things sweaty to begin with at 94 degrees, PLUS you use hand weights for things like push-ups, tricep extensions, etc. There’s even a cardio break built in that reminds me a bit of Lithe Method.

This was the most I’ve ever sweat in ANY fitness class. That includes Bikram’s 104 degree temps, and brutal bootcamps in the middle of the summer. Seriously, my workout gear needed to be wrung out before I put it in the laundry basket.

It was all very gross (and weirdly satisfying).

The PROS:

  • Insane workout catered to your skills
  • Lots of classes offered daily (like, 10-12)
  • Beautiful studio, lots of space
  • Variety from your standard yoga class (loved mixing in cardio and weights, even though it was hard as hell)

The CONS:

  • No mat storage
  • Corporate feel
  • Crowded locker rooms for some of the bigger classes
  • (I hate to sound like a cheapskate BUT) The price

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However, with prices of Classpass skyrocketing across the country, maybe this is the cost of boutique fitness now. Scary thought for a gal in pediatric research… However, I will note they have a discount through a “work-study” program if you help clean 3ish hours a week. Worth looking into, if you’ve got the time.

Thank goodness for all the Free Fitness in Philly.

ONTO THE NEXT WORKOUT!