Tag Archives: challenge

Whole 30 – This Seems Impossible

Welp. I’ve already blown my latest whole 30 Challenge.

For some reason, this time around, it was impossible for me to stick to my typical low carb diet. I don’t think my candida fighting supplements were helping me, and I was just completely overrun by candida (my whole tongue is covered in thrush every morning, and I have really bad sugar cravings all of the time). I haven’t experienced cravings this strong in a really long time.

So, I have a new game plan. Unfortunately, this means that I am going to have to go in a more extreme direction.

I’ve talked it over with Sylvia and she has agreed to start a 21 Day Sugar Detox challenge with me next Thursday (21 days before Thanksgiving). At her recommendation, I have ordered the 21 day sugar Detox Cookbook, since it covers the basic program but has more enticing recipes. It should be here in a couple of days, so I hope to use the full week to figure out which recipes I want to try and which ones I want to skip. Going into this challenge, I’d like to have at least a full week’s worth of food cooked and either frozen or canned, so when I’m in the worst of my cravings, I’m not tempted to cheat to avoid cooking (which is my typical reason for cheating).

On top of doing a Sugar detox (which, when done right, really helps kill the candida), I am going to be doing a combination of two herbal cleanses (both by Nature’s Sunshine): Para Cleanse (for yeast and parasites), and Candida Clear. Para cleanse is a three step cleanse: 10 days on, 10 days off, 10 days on again. Candida Clear is just 14 days on. In addition to these supplements, I will be taking a probiotic (at least 50 billion CFU/day), my herbal enzyme formula, and my stomach acid supplement. So, technically, because the Para Cleanse is a 30 day program, my 21 day sugar detox will be more like a 30 day sugar detox. At this point though, I cannot allow myself even a little bit of what I would potentially binge on (*ahem* potato chips). For the purposes of this program, potatoes are poison to me.

It’s terrible, but I feel like as we enter the thanksgiving/holiday season, I will feel more free with a more strict diet. I’m hoping that the combination of this diet and the herbal supplements will finally bring my candida in check and free me. It is so frustrating to get so close and fail, over and over again. But I don’t want to give up. If being free from these cravings will allow me to feel as good as I once did again, then it is worth it to give this challenge my all!

This week, I will be getting all of my ducks in a row for next week, but I plan to spend pretty much every evening this week getting food ready for the challenge. I’ll check back in next week before the challenge begins! Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading, and stay healthy, friends!


Whole 30 – Round 2, Day 4

According to the schedule, I have made it past the ‘Hangover’ phase and am now in the ‘Kill all of the things’ phase.

But, I really don’t feel like killing all of the things, which is good 🙂

Today, I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. On day 2, I felt like I was hit by a truck. On day 3, I LOOKED like I was hit by a truck. But today, I feel and look a lot better!

My only problem is some back pain that I am experiencing, and the source of the pain is a mystery. It started the morning of day 2, was the same yesterday, but got about twice as bad this morning. I did move some heavy things around yesterday, and played racketball, which could have aggravated it, but I didn’t do anything to originate it on day 1 or night 1.

The only thing I can think of that started it was maybe I slept on my back funny that night and pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle. It feels like a muscle ache right above both butt cheeks, but it could be something more. I am going to try to get an appointment with my chiropractor today to have it checked out, but if I can’t get in, I know that I have an appointment already scheduled with him on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’m managing the pain by:

  • Standing at my desk – I’ve noticed it mostly hurts when I’m sitting
  • Practicing good posture – lining up my hips over my knees and ankles, and untucking my hips.
  • Taking frequent walking breaks
  • Using a microwave heating pad
  • Drinking lots and lots of fluids – on the off chance that this is something kidney related
  • Eating healthy food
  • I also plan on going for a nice long walk when I get home to get some blood pumping and my muscles moving!

Though I did ‘kinda’ cheat a little last night by having dried cherries and candied walnuts on my salad at a restaurant I went to with my dad, I’m feeling really good today. I’m going to monitor how I feel tomorrow to see if I get a hangover again for that small cheat.

I’m excited going into this weekend! Tonight and tomorrow, I’m going to get the apartment spick and span (I always feel so accomplished when I clean!), and then I’m going to go over to my best friend’s house for board games and then a haunted house!! I’m going to cook a bunch of protein and the like up tonight so that I can bring food with me and will be less tempted to eat junk food (my bestie, Sylvia, as you know, is also a health food nut, but her new husband is a little slower to get on the bandwagon). Then, on Sunday, I have some time to relax and get some gardening done (pulling up my carrots and getting rid of my dead tomato plants). And, hopefully, I will have some time to spend with my boyfriend on sunday too 😀

I’m hoping this back pain isn’t something serious, and it probably isn’t, but it is important to note that seeing a health professional when you notice something weird is very important!!

Thanks for reading everyone! I hope the hardest part of the Whole 30 challenge is behind me (fortunately I ate well for the most part when I wasn’t whole 30 so I didn’t have AS MUCH cleaning up to do  as I would if I’d been eating a lot of junk!). Stay healthy, friends, and give the Whole 30 challenge a try with me!

Whole 30 Results – and Round 2!

Hey everyone! I’m nearing the end of my whole 30 challenge (in which I was human and did occasionally slip a little), and I wanted to share my results! Unfortunately, I used a different measurement tape for my before and after measurements, so it looks like I actually GAINED mass, but I did lose a couple of pounds, and most of my results are not measurement related!

Quantitative results:

Weight: 172.8 (-1.4)

Waist: 32.5 (-1)

Hips: 42.25 (+0.25)

Bust: 38 (+0.25)

Under bust: 33.5 (+0.25)

Body fat %: 35.24% (-1.17%)

Fat weight: 60.90 (-2.54)

Lean weight: 111.90 (+1.14)

Overall, I definitely look significantly better from when I started, and my clothes fit me much better, so I know it must be that I used a new measurement tape.

Qualitative Results:

I didn’t have time to take ‘After photos’ this morning, so I will try to take them tomorrow, because I truly look so much healthier. A lot of the swelling has gone down in my face and abdomen!

I also feel a lot better. Since I’ve been making more of an effort to chew my food thoroughly, I’ve noticed that my digestion is so much better. As long as I sleep well, I feel great in the morning, and strangely, I very rarely actually experience hunger pangs.

As a matter of fact, I had to fast until noon to take my bloodwork for my annual physical. Not once from 6:30 AM to noon and after would I say I was ‘hungry’ in the traditional sense. I even was around delicious smelling bagels that my coworkers were eating, and though I wanted to eat them for the delicious nostalgia, they were easy to resist because my stomach wasn’t rumbling!

Also, I’ve been drinking my green smoothies in the morning without liquid stevia to sweeten it, since Whole 30 says to cut out all sweeteners, even natural ones. Yesterday, I accidentally put a little stevia in my shake out of habit, and when I drank it, it was TOO SWEET!! Almost disgustingly sweet! I’m pretty sure I put in as much as I ordinarily would, but I was very put off by the sweetness. Weird!

Over the course of the Whole 30 challenge, though, I was under considerable physical and emotional stress. In summary:

  • My ileocecal valve was stuck in the open position, allowing contents from my large intestine to go back up into my small intestine and cause bloating and inflammation.
    • Since correcting this manually, removing troublesome foods, and taking a probiotic, the swelling is almost completely gone. My abdomen is still a little tender, but I am confident that it will heal over the course of the next couple of months!
  • I had to take care of the repairs for my new car and the sale of my old car.
    • Suffice it to say those were both stressful, but they are over
  • I had to find a place to live with my boyfriend.
    • It took two weeks of stressful searching, but we eventually decided just to have him move in to my current apartment.
  • My boyfriend moved into my apartment
    • And my sleep went right out the window. It’s been quite an adjustment, but we’re doing well all things considered
  • My best friend got married, which meant bachelorette party and wedding bad food.
    • I can’t even begin to describe how stressful this was. No sleep, dealing with crowds, dealing with fussy relatives, dealing with a bride who was essentially a zombie, and having no food that I can eat pretty much sums it up. At least it is over, and lesson learned – I will be eloping when the time comes! There is no way I’m putting myself through that kind of torture!
  • My job was incredibly stressful
    • I can’t go into it, but this was seriously the main stressor during the entirety of the above problems.
  • My mom sold her childhood home and moved.
    • This wasn’t too stress
  • All of this stress would be nothing if I could actually handle my stress. It became abundantly clear to me that I never learned how to let things go, and I made so many mountains out of molehills during this challenge

At this point, my life and schedule have cleared up significantly. I don’t have any more stressful things on my plate for a while, and for the most part, things have calmed down at work. I don’t have any gatherings where I won’t be able to control what I eat in my near future, and I’ve definitely gotten back into the habit of cooking everything from scratch again.

So! I want to do another Whole 30 challenge and see how it goes! One particular area of focus that I want to improve on is my physical activity. Unfortunately, it has become really clear that most of the workouts that I love to do, like dancing and HIIT, will aggravate my hiatal hernia, so I should steer clear of them. Instead, I am going to try to do yoga for fitness and relaxation! Also, I want to try to play racketball as much as possible, since that is fun for me and I don’t even realize I’m working out! I’d like to start with 3 workouts a week and try to move up from there.

Wish me luck on my second challenge! I just went in for my annual physical, so I plan to write a post about how paleo food and lifestyle affected my bloodwork!

Thanks for reading, and stay healthy, friends!

I need a Whole 30 Challenge

It’s been a long (but good!) few weeks, but I’ve been on both of my summer vacations, and it’s time to get back into the swing of things! In between my vacations, I wasn’t feeling so great. I had this persistent nausea, wasn’t sleeping well, and generally wasn’t up to snuff. I mentioned these symptoms to my naturopath, and she knew I was having difficulty recovering from the heavy foods (and carbs!) of my first vacation. She was right! I felt like my control had waned, and I went from eating well 90-100% of the time to eating well 50-60% of the time, and I was definitely feeling the repercussions. But, even though I knew what was wrong, I also knew that I was about to go on another vacation, so I planned to get back on track as soon as I got home.

What better way to do that than a Whole 30 challenge?

For those not familiar with the challenge, it is very similar to the way I am used to eating: no grains, added sugars, dairy, legumes, etc. Basically paleo except it does allow for some safer starches for those who don’t do well on a low carb diet. Doing a quick google search of Whole 30 will result in massive quantities of recipes, tips, and tricks. Where I am going to struggle on this diet is the lack of even plant based artificial sweeteners, including my beloved liquid stevia. My stevia transforms my morning smoothie from a bland, bitter green smoothie, to a chocolate delight, and it is going to take some getting used to the bitterness first thing in the morning.

Though I haven’t officially started yet (mostly due to the remaining pastured sausage in my fridge with a little sugar added), I’m trying to get used to my bitter morning smoothie, and 3 days in, it’s definitely less cringe-worthy. Also, after talking with my brother at the beach, I definitely want to work my way toward going to a Muay Thai Boxing Gym in my area. I’ve been to boxing gyms in the past and loved the intensity of the workouts, so, I’d like to see what happens to my body once I go to a boxing gym AND eat right!

Most importantly, in keeping with the Whole 30 program, I am going to take before measurements and after measurements, but NOT in between measurements!

I’ve already taken ‘post-vacation’ measurements and pictures (gained 1.5 in in my waist *gasp!*), and I will take ‘pre Whole 30’ measurements once I get through this sausage (in a few days). Then, it’s GAME ON!

Wish me luck, and thanks for reading! Stay healthy, friends!

Measurements! And Tabata Sprints??!!

Hey everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted my measurements, so I wanted to share my progress with everyone since I stopped eating dairy a little over a month ago! For some perspective, my weight had all but stalled out around the 180 mark, so, I’m really excited to see all of the progress that I’ve made so far. Also (and more importantly), I’ve made a lot of progress with healing my hiatal hernia, so I want to try something (kind of) new: Tabata Sprints. But more on that after results!

Measurements are in pounds and inches with the change in parentheses!

  • Weight: 174 (-4.8)
  • Waist: 32.1 (-0.4)
  • Hips: 41.6 (-0.65) (OH MY GOD IT IS SO HARD FOR ME TO LOSE INCHES HERE!!!)
  • Bust: 37.6 (-0.15) (Though it hasn’t come down much, I recently did some bra shopping and I’m down a cup size… but I still look proportional 😉 )
  • Under Bust: 33.25 (-0.15) (I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that I have HUGE ribs)
  • Right Arm: 12.1 (-0.3)
  • Left Arm: 11.6 (-0.3)
  • Right Thigh: 25.25 (-0.65) (SO HARD TO LOSE HERE TOO)
  • Left Thigh: 24.9 (-0.2)
  • Body Fat %: 33.87% (-1.25%) (WOOOW!)
  • Fat Weight: 58.36 (-3.86)

I’m pretty pleased! But if it isn’t one plateau, it’s another, so I’m going to try to push past the new 170 plateau now!

It’s hard to believe that I’ve lost over 46 lbs since I was at my heaviest! It’s been a long road, but worth it! And I feel better than ever!

I also started taking pictures for progress since I want to actually see the differences between now and what happens when I start my new workout regimen: Tabata Sprints.

According to Mark’s Daily Apple:

“We all (think we) know how to improve aerobic fitness: cardio. Whatever that means. But cardio, at least how most people envision it, takes forever and is pretty darn boring. What if you could improve your aerobic fitness while also improving your muscular endurance — the amount of work your muscles can endure, the amount of time you can keep your force output high — in a fraction of the time?

Four times a week for four weeks, adult females performed a single four-minute Tabata protocol with a single exercise. Exercise choices included burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, or squat thrusts. Another group ran on the treadmill for 30 minutes at 85% max heart rate.

After four weeks, their fitness levels were evaluated. While the treadmill group enjoyed a 7% improvement in aerobic capacity, the interval group improved theirs by 8%. And when it came to muscle endurance, the interval group saw massive gains:

  • Leg extensions: +40%
  • Chest press: +207%
  • Situps: +64%
  • Pushups: +135%
  • Back extensions: +75%

Most importantly, the women found the Tabata exercise protocols more enjoyable and sustainable than the aerobic exercise protocol. Their “intention to engage” in exercise was higher than in the aerobic group.

All that in just 16 minutes of work a week.”

16 minutes of work a week?? And it’s proven effective for women? Where do I sign up?
Now, I’ve done sprints before, and they’re hell. After the first couple, you’re dying just to keep pace with yourself. But the main reason that I don’t work out much right now is because I don’t have time. Seriously. No time. (Okay, maybe I could find time if I REALLY wanted too… *grumble grumble*)
But I also know how effective even a small sprinting session can be. When I first tried them last year, I know that after a session where I sprinted for approx. 2 total minutes, I was SO SO sore the next day. I mean week. Two minutes of work nearly killed me for a whole week!
But I want to give it a try, so I’m going to do it in the form of a challenge! Because why not!
Notes about the Challenge:
  • As I am still recovering from a hiatal hernia, I will be refraining from outright ab movements and crunches for the first few weeks until I’m sure that I’m strong enough to handle them without my hernia slipping again. This does bum me out, because, despite my flab, I have some SERIOUSLY strong abs that I want to make even stronger!
  • I think downloading a Tabata timer App will be essential for keeping your pace. There are approximately 23,470,987,123 available for free for your smart phone or computer!
  • I’m going to try to do this challenge for a whopping 4 weeks. I will also be going on vacation for a week in the first week of August, but I will try to keep it up there. I also plan on walking for at least 15-30 min a day, and having a weekly ‘play’ session of racketball or dance (1 to 2 times per week).
  • When it comes to my diet, you know what I’ll be eating: CLEAN! I’m trying to transition back to low carb, but that may not happen until after my vacation.
  • This is HARD. Seriously, Olympic athletes end up panting and lying on the floor in exhaustion at the end of this. Why? Because the whole point is when you WORK, you GIVE IT ALL YOU GOT. Do as many as you can. Go as far and as fast as you can. Work for 20 seconds, rest for 10. Repeat for a total of 8 times. Four minutes of pure BEAST MODE!
Hokie’s Tabata Sprint Challenge:
Tabata Sprint Overview:
  • 20 seconds of give it all you got, then 10 seconds of rest.
  • Repeat for a total of 8 times
  • Warm up for 5 min before and cool down for 5 min after
  • If 8 times is too many, start with 4 and work your way up
  • 4 days a week for 4 weeks!
  • Monday
    • Pick one Cardio Sprint and one Strength Sprint
    • Alternate them
  • Wednesday
    • Pick Two Cardio Sprints (preferrably with different muscle groups, like legs and abs)
    • alternate them
  • Friday
    • Pick one Cardio Sprint and one Strength Sprint
    • Alternate them
  • Saturday
    • Pick two Strength (make sure not to repeat the strength from Friday) and alternate them

Take measurements Friday morning (so as to not worry about the Friday/Saturday night binge affecting results). Take pictures too!

List of Cardio Sprints:

  • Burpees
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squat Jumps
  • Tuck Jumps (careful with your joints!)
  • High knees
  • Running Sprints
  • Jumping lunges
  • Ski Jumps
  • Box Jumps
  • Globe Jumps (Squat Jumps in a square formation)
  • Attacks (squat and punch as fast as you can in front of you)
  • Suicides (burpees with a jump)
  • Power Jacks (squat when legs are wide)
  • Power knees (try to bring your knee above your waist as fast as you can)

List of Strength Sprints:

  • Push ups
  • Pull ups
  • Plank Row
  • Pike Press
  • Competition sit ups
  • Full Body Crunches
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Side Plank Leg ups
  • Deep Lunge pulses
  • Squat pulses
  • Low Plank Obliques
  • Tricep Dips

So, who dares to try this with me??

Thanks for reading, and stay healthy friends!