Avoiding Dairy but miss creamy soups? Check out this recipe to learn what the secret ingredient is!
I am just 5 days away from celebrating my one year anniversary of starting to reclaim my health and happiness through a healthier lifestyle using whole foods. For those of you that have followed along this past year you likely have an opinion about what I’ve done and how I’ve done it. You many even have thoughts or opinions about what it appears I may have sacrificed to reach my goals. Some of you may wonder if you could make the same changes in your life. I am here to tell you that it is possible but I also need to tell you that it’s not only what you put in your mouth that determines your success!
What I know for sure is that losing weight isn’t actually all about the food. You are probably saying – yeah right… this coming from someone that has just lost 50 pounds eating salads, dozens of eggs and countless heaps of kale! Don’t get me wrong those things are a big huge part of why I’ve been successful this time but they don’t work alone. The real truth behind why I was able to make it work this time was because I did and continue to do the hard work of fixing my mind. Weight loss, can and will become the natural result of you tackling the things in your life that are out of balance. Unfortunately the people selling diet books don’t want you to know this. Most people go about losing weight the wrong way, they try and control what they eat, restrict calories and workout like crazy. While this can work in the short term, this method is too hard and most people can’t sustain those type of changes for long periods of time and they eventually go back to their old way of eating because they feel too deprived. This is also the reason why weight loss is such a personal experience, each individual needs to figure out exactly what is going on in their lives beyond food that may be preventing them from making the changes necessary to achieve a healthy state of being.
For me I had to tackle a series of areas of my life, and to be honest I didn’t even know what they all were at the time I started as some things revealed themselves along the way. The truth is that what I did that was the single most important piece of the puzzle this time is that I learned to love myself. If I can tell you the one single thing you can do that will change the way you think and behave it’s to wake up every day and be grateful for yourself. You need to believe you are special and that you are worth all the joy and happiness that the world is offering you. When you do that every morning it opens up the possibility that doing anything that is in opposition to loving yourself is worthless. Once I learned this one piece of the puzzle I realized that being good to myself produced all sorts of amazing rewards. For me being good to myself meant making health a priority, getting proper sleep at night, eliminating sugar as much as possible to prevent unnecessary mood swings, learning and practicing meditation on a regular basis, drinking lots of water and tea, cooking, doing yoga, walking and strength training. What I still work on is finding more confidence in myself, estabilishing healthy relationships and managing my stress levels. These things can be constant struggles for me but I am more aware of them now than I ever was in the past. I know that they each need focus and attention so that I can continue to evolve to become the best possible version of myself. The beauty of the weight loss journey is that it is a total examination of your entire way of being. It’s doing the hard work of constantly asking yourself who is it that you want to be and then living in the present moment focused on the things that are going to help get you there.
This is why I called my blog “My Whole life” because being healthy is about the whole person, your spirituality, your relationships, your career and then it’s about what you eat and how much you move. A whole life is one that has each one of these areas working in balance. Once you learn this you’ll be on the right path to a healthy weight.
I hope this article helps you if you struggle with being good to yourself and accepting yourself as you are right now. My hope is that by sharing my own personal experiences that I might reach someone else that struggles with the same things. If this post helped you please leave a comment – I would love to hear from you!
Lately I have been getting a little bored of my regular chicken dishes and felt that I needed to change things up. Despite the fact that I have discovered a zillion different ways to cook chicken its easy to forget that there are so many other great sources of protein to cook with. One of the advantages of adding more fish into your meal plans is that its actually faster to cook than chicken, this recipe is a great example of a meal you can whip together in under 30 minutes! Once cooked the fish had a nice flaky texture and the pickled cucumber added a perfect crunch to the dish.
Baked Cod with Cucumber Salad
Preparation time: 30 minutes
- 4 x 4oz wild-caught atlantic cod fillets
- 1 cucumber
- 1 bunch dill
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of an oven proof dish and place the 4 cod fillets skin side down onto the dish. Sprinkle the fish with salt an pepper and add one sprig of dill onto each fillet. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 20 minutes
- While the fish is cooking peel the cucumber, then remove the seeds using a teaspoon. Slice then dice the cucumber into small pieces.
- Finely chop the onion and the rest of the dill, then mix with the cucumber in a bowl. Pour the vinegar and the other 1/2 table spoon of olive oil over the mixture. Add salt and pepper and set aside until the cod is ready.
- Once cooked, lift the cod onto plates and top with a spoonful of the cucumber salad, enjoy!
One of the best ways to ensure you have a healthy breakfast during the week is to make food in advance. These egg muffins are an easy way to stay healthy when you don't have time in the morning to cook. Since they are packed with healthy fat and protein you'll stay full all morning. They are also a great recovery meal after a morning workout.
Asparagus and Bacon Egg Muffins
- 12 eggs
- 8 strips sugar free bacon
- 5oz asparagus
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- sea salt and found pepper
- Preheat Oven to 375 degrees. Use coconut oil to grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
1. Cut bacon into small pieces and cook on medium high in a cast iron skillet until crispy. Once cooked spoon the bacon onto a plate and pour the excess fat into a container for later.
2. Slice asparagus and cherry tomatoes
3. Add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat back into the pan and cook the asparagus until bright green which will only take about 3 minutes.
4. Spoon the crispy bacon and cooked asparagus into the greased muffin tins. Beat the eggs together and add salt and pepper to the egg mixture.
5. Spoon the egg mixture evenly into the muffin tin. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Store in a glass container in the fridge for up to one week.
I'm so excited to share with you my first weekly meal plan for week one of the Whole 30 Program. I've spent the last year cooking and learning as much as possible about food, health and its connection to a healthy mind and body. If you can take back control of the preparation of your own food you can't help but be successful. It seems like a small thing but the act of cooking for yourself or for your friends and family is one of the greatest gifts you can give those around you. The food you eat will either improve your life and your health or take it away. So don't be afraid of the kitchen, grab your apron and your knife and lets get cooking!
One of the challenges I faced when I started trying to lose weight was how difficult it was to find the time to make cooking a priority. I decided if I was going to do this properly cooking and planning needed to become part of my regular routine. I quickly fell in love with the act of cooking and preparing food. I would plan shopping trips to whole foods, try new ingredients, play some music and chop away. Cooking for one doesn't have to be boring it can actually be quite calming and stress relieving. You just need to find the right attitude and realize that nourishing yourself is actually the greatest gift you an give your body and the planet. I could go on and on about this but its more important to get to the details of meal prepping and planning!
Most of the information on cooking I'm sharing with you is very simple and basic and that is because that is all I have time for and its what has worked for me. It might seem boring to eat a salad every day for lunch but I have never minded it and it keeps my mind focused on other priorities during the day rather than worrying about what I'm going to eat. Being prepared and knowing ahead of time what I am going to eat for the day has helped me find the time for other things in my life like starting this blog!
You may also notice that the meal plan and the shopping list are for one person. If you are cooking for a family just increase your groceries by the number of people you are cooking for. I've also provided a grocery shopping list that can be used at any grocery store in North America from Whole Foods to Wal-mart. You can make the choice to buy organic or not, grass fed beef or conventional meats. Whatever you can afford is what you should do. What matters when grocery shopping is that you are choosing whole foods as the main items in your grocery cart. Stay away from the aisles unless you are stocking up your pantry with oils, nuts, herbs, ect.
Once you have your groceries its time to meal prep and get cooking! If you follow the above meal plan and buy the exact groceries on the above list you should have everything you need to prep all the food you need for your week ahead.
Tips for Success
- Purchase all your groceries on Saturday. I find its easier to split the task of shopping and cooking on two different days.
- Review your schedule for the week and be sure you only purchase enough food for the days you are in town. I travel quite a bit for work so my meal prep work depends on exactly how many days I'm home that week.
- Sunday I try and cook as much food in advance of the week as possible
- Before I get into cooking I try and start my morning with a 15 minute meditation, enjoy a glass of warm water with fresh lemon, head out for a walk or run and then enjoy a healthy breakfast
- Prepare and wash veggies and fruits
Today I cooked the following:
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes Hash
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Grilled Chicken Breasts
- Egg Cups
- Salad Jars
- Spaghetti Squash
I'll be posting all the recipes for what I cooked on the blog this week!
I hope you will join me this round! If you are please let me know as I'll be posting weekly grocery lists and meals plans on a weekly basis so stay tuned!
Be happy and healthy!
I am exactly 30 days away from when I started my first ever Whole 30 program. Over the past 47 weeks I have lost 48 pounds and I’m just 2 pounds away from my goal of losing 50 pounds in one year. As a celebration of this life-changing year I’m going to complete one final round of the whole 30 program. I have learned so much this year about how to take better care of myself that all I want to do now is share my experience with the world. My plan for the next 30 days is to share with you as much information as possible about what I’ve learned this past year. I want to give you all the inside tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way that have helped me achieve these results. I’m going to share with you my meal plans, grocery lists, recipes, workouts, restaurant tips and anything else I’ve learned this year that might help you on your own journey.
There is no better time to change your life than right now. You could be just thirty days away from knowing what it fees like to be in control of your life again, to wake up in the morning without an alarm clock, to reduce your mood swings from the effects of sugar and from finding a sense of calm in your life around food. What are you waiting for? It’s not selfish to put your self first and to figure out what you need to do to be the best version of yourself. Being healthy is the best gift you can give yourself and those around you.
If you aren’t sure you are ready to try the Whole 30 program ask yourself these few questions:
1. Is your mind consumed on a regular basis with guilt over what you eat?
2. Do you eat for emotional or stress related reasons?
3. Do you feel like no matter what diet you try you can never lose weight?
4. Do you feel unable to control your cravings for sugary and processed foods?
5. Are you tired all the time or have problems sleeping?
6. Do you rely on restaurants for more that 50% of your meals?
7. Are you clothes feeling tight?
8. Are you unable to find time to exercise?
9. Have you failed at losing weight in the past?
10. Have you lost confidence in yourself?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you should consider trying the whole 30 program. You could be just 30 days away from changing your life and from changing your relationship with food. I can’t promise you it will be easy but I can guarantee you it’s worth it. Changing the way you think about food is the single biggest gift the whole 30 will give you.
If you decided today its time to make a change then please join me for my encore round of the whole 30 program! Before you get started you’ll want to read the book It Starts With Food and you may also want to pick up a copy of the Whole 30 cookbook! Both of these will give you the background on the program and provide you with lots of inspiration to get started.
I’ll be starting on Monday and I look forward to sharing as much information as possible with you over the next 30 days! Tomorrow I’ll share with you my grocery list and how I meal prep day for the week ahead.
August 17th is day one!
One of the reasons why I believe I have finally been successful in losing weight is that I learned to set realistic goals and hold myself accountable to achieve them. Back in September of 2014 when I started my journey towards a healthier lifestyle I set a big goal to try and lose 50 pounds in a year. As I inch closer and closer to achieving my goal what I know for sure is that having stated this goal publically and sharing the ups and downs of my experience with friends and family has helped keep me motivated. I wanted to share with you some of my tips for goal setting to lose weight.
Determine your big goal
This is the most important part of starting a weight lose journey. You need to sit down and figure out exactly what you want to accomplish. Your goal needs to be measurable, time bound and realistic so that it’s achievable. Once you have established your big goal you need to write it down on piece of paper and post it in big bold letters on your bathroom mirror so that you are reminded every day what you are working towards. As time goes on and the excitement of starting something new is gone you’ll need all the reminders & support you can get to keep you motivated.
Share you big goal publically
I believe one of the reasons I've been successful this time is that I put my goal out into the universe and let the people around me become part of my journey. I figured if I told enough people about what I was up too I wouldn't want to let them all down. Use social media platforms like facebook or Instagram to share and talk about what you are doing. Along the way you will be sure to find other people who are looking to do the same thing you are doing and you can support each other.
Create mini goals
After you set your big goal the next step is to break it down into manageable chunks, I call these mini goals. Over the past 11 months I have had tons of these smaller goals, some of them are daily goals, others are fitness related and some have been slightly longer goals like doing the whole 30 program for a month. Keep your mini goals shorter and change them up often to keep things interesting. All these smaller efforts will ladder up to helping you achieve your big goal!
Set goals that aren’t just about losing weight
It’s important to not solely focus on the scale as the only way to determine your success or failure. To be honest at times the scale can be a real downer especially if you are working out and gaining muscle. It can be better to measure you success by the way your cloths are fitting. Find an old dress or pair of jeans you’ve kept from a time you felt amazing; your goal could be to fit into that dress again. Try it on every couple of weeks to see if it fits – you will be surprised how motivating this can be!
It’s important to celebrate your success along the way, don’t wait until the end because a year is a really long time! Rewarding your small victories throughout the process is a way of being kind to yourself and keeping you focused but not depriving yourself of all pleasures during your journey. For me it’s been important that these rewards have not been food related. When I finish a whole 30 program I have never said lets go out and indulge in ton of food that I haven’t been eating for the past 30 days. I don’t consider food a reward since my main priority has been to establish a healthy relationship with food and overeating at any time is not part of my new lifestyle. I did however treat myself to new things along the way that supported my big goal. I would order some special green teas off the internet or a pick up a new kitchen gadget to cook something healthy.
Goal setting is just one small step in the process of losing weight and while it’s an important one it’s not the only area you need to focus on. Most people fail at weight lose because they only focus on the numbers on the scale and they don’t look at the emotional aspects of what lead them to gain weight in the first place. Before you set a big goal for yourself you should dig deep and evaluate why you are overweight right now. Spend time to figure this out and you’ll have a much better chance of achieving your big goal. Getting into a healthy mind set before you start is a very important part of the journey. Losing weight and keeping it off requires daily effort and a mindset shift that you’ll need to maintain every day for the rest of your life so you must be ready to make that change. Once you are ready set your goals and start believing you can achieve them!
So many people ask me when I am going to be done with the whole 30 program and to date I don’t really have an answer for them. This month I am working towards completing my 6th round of the whole 30 program. I have never actually done the re-introduction phase of the program. In between each round I have tried to stay as compliant as possible with the exception of a few treats. This may seem extreme to many people but the reality is that staying on the program has helped me stay motivated to continue to work towards my goal of losing 50 pounds. The whole 30 program is actually a great way for you to learn the optimum way for you to eat that will make you feel your best. For me this has meant continuing to follow the rules of the whole 30 program and staying away from processed foods, sugar, dairy, legumes and alcohol and continuing to eat a diet high in organic fruits, veggies, protein, nuts and seeds.
The first time you do the Whole 30 program it can feel restrictive and like a “diet” but you quickly learn once you start to feel amazing that this kind of eating can be sustainable long term. If you have more than 15 lbs to lose you won’t be finished after the first 30 days so you won’t be able to go back to your old ways and expect to continue to see results. The main point of the program is that you will learn a new way of eating that you’ll be able to stick with for life. If you follow the program properly you’ll learn long-term strategies to help you keep weight off and eventually it won’t feel like you are on a diet.
So if you are in it for the long haul, stick with it. Use the Whole 30 program as a way to stay motivated but also to learn what the optimum diet is for yourself.
Here are just a few of the benefits I’ve experienced after doing multiple rounds of the Whole 30 program:
1. The longer I’ve been on the program the less I’ve thought about the foods I wasn’t eating. Eventually it has became normal to eat this way and its now part of my everyday routine. When this happens you know you’ve made a sustainable change that you’ll be able to maintain for the long term.
2. My cravings are almost eliminated. I have been on many other programs where I was starving by 3:00pm but on this program I’ve almost never been hungry. It’s mainly because what you are eating is higher in fat than most other diets. You’ll feel more satisfied by your meals and remain fuller longer thus eliminating cravings. Trust me, it really works…don’t be afraid of fat.
3. You’ll sleep like a baby and who doesn’t love a good solid sleep.
4. You’ll experience higher energy levels and stronger alertness during your day-to-day routine. You may even find that you’ll be getting up before your alarm goes off!
5. You will continue to lose weight! While its never as easy as the 1st time you do the Whole 30 to lose weight it does continue to come off. Its defiantly much slower each round but I generally lose about 1 lb each week.
The reality of the Whole 30 program is that it is not a diet. If you go into the program with the mindset that you are making a long term lifestyle change rather than going on a diet for 30 days it will open up your mind to learning about the effects that different food groups have on your body and mind and it will eventually help you determine what the optimum diet is for you. Try not to focus on what you’re not eating but rather focus on what you are learning about yourself and the food you eat that will have the most positive effects on your life. Do this and you’ll be able to continue with the program as long as you need to too reach your goal.
Best of luck to you if you are continuing your journey on the whole 30 program! I hope these little bits of my experience keep you on track and help you reach your own personal goals!
So you’ve made a commitment to spend 30 days saying no to grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and alcohol easy right? Well…not so much but trust me it will be worth the effort! Making the decision to get healthy is the easy part, staying motivated can be tough. The purpose of the Whole 30 program is to change your life, so the things you learn in the first 30 days need to be continued after the program and become a part of your daily life. Luckily these days there are so many places to source motivation from that you just need to find the ones that really works for you! Here are a few of the things I did to make it through my first whole 30!
1. Get back in the Kitchen
Cooking is fun…repeat after me cooking is fun! It really is and learning to cook for yourself is the greatest gift you can give you and your family. When you cook your own meals you’ll always know what’s in your food and it’s also much easier to control portion sizes. Regardless of your level of expertise in the kitchen the whole 30 program is based on simple methods of cooking that teach you how to feed yourself properly but don’t take up hours of time. So grab the Whole 30 cookbook and start cooking!
2. Join the food movement
There is a really cool health movement happening on social media and it’s rooted in people helping each other live healthier lives. Why not become a part of this positive change in our universe. How great is it that you can find humans all over the world who can inspire you and who you can inspire with your own journey to be healthy. Nothing is more motivating then knowing you are helping other people. Own your own story and use social media to help keep you committed.
3. Take Selfies
One of the great side effects of the whole 30 program is that your body will change and you will look completely different in 30 days. It may seem a little crazy to stand in front of a mirror and start snapping pictures of yourself but I promise that you will thank yourself that you have these. They will become a reminder of all the work you did to achieve your results. It’s also a great opportunity for you to own what you look like today and be kind to yourself about your body. Always focus on the positive and treat yourself with kindness because you are already beautiful.
4. Treat yourself
Find ways to reward yourself that are not food but that help you feel happy every day. For me it was buying myself a really fancy water bottle, trying different varieties of tea, updating my pantry with fancy salts and oils and picking up some really pretty plates and napkins to make eating dinner feel like a restaurant in my own home. Do whatever it takes to find ways to reward yourself that are not linked to food.
5. Start to get active
Nothing is more motivating than the energy you get from a good workout. I learned on the Whole 30 program that you don’t need to exhaust yourself at the gym to lose weight. Being smarter about your workouts is the trick because you don’t get over tired or too hungry. If you can afford it, hire a trainer at the beginning to set you on the right path. If you can’t afford a trainer buy some fitness magazines and follow the programs they provide. Strength training, walking and yoga are the three exercises I did throughout Whole 30 program and it kept me focused on activities outside of eating that I found joyful!
I hope that you’ll try some of the above tips! If you do give any of them a try let me know how they worked for you!