Whole30 Finish Line & Full Recap

Hi friends, guess what? It’s day 31 of my Whole30! I made it the whole way, 30 days strictly following the plan, absolutely no cheating. I’m going to give the Whole30 plan an overall A+ rating, here’s why.

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My Results:

We’ll start with how I’ve changed in 30 days and how I’m feeling on day 31.  My total weight loss on the program is a whopping 9.5 pounds! I am extremely pleased with this number, I’m only 5’2 and I think that amount of weight is significant for someone my size. I’ve tried losing a few pounds in the past and it has been what felt like impossible. I typically count calories and try to limit myself, leading me to be grumpy, starving and lethargic. All of those feelings lead me to cheat, keeping me at the exact same weight. Losing 9.5 pounds is a really big deal for me and I’m at a weight now where I feel really happy and content.

You might be thinking, well she works out all the time so of course she lost weight, but no, that is not right. Yes, I work out all the time, about 6-7 times per week, however, during these 30 days that has been a constant. I didn’t changed my workout intensity during these 30 days so it is only my eating habits that can explain the weight loss. My workouts have been more or less the same intensity for years and years, unless I’m training for a big race, which I was not doing during these 30 days.

Weight loss aside, I feel amazing. My energy levels are solid, my sleep is pretty good, I don’t feel bloated and I feel really strong. Oh also I took some before and after pictures and I definitely see a difference. I’m not one for sharing sports bra pictures on the internet so I’ll keep those private but believe me when I saw my body and face have changed in 30 days (I think I clearly show weight gain in my cheeks which is really awesome).

The Plan Overall:

The plan may have taken a bit of time to get into it, but once I found my rhythm, following the guidelines and making healthy choices, it kept me feeling good. Really good. I found what food I liked, what I could eat when in a hurry or dining out (although very difficult at 99% of places). I am very conscious of what I eat and have been for as long as I can remember. It hasn’t always been great, being overly aware and focused on what I’m eating, how many calories it will be, will it make me fat, will it make me bloated, etc etc, but it’s just the way I am.

So on this plan, that was all removed. I didn’t count calories, I didn’t worry about if the food would make me feel fat, I just ate what the plan called for. I was nervous to see my end weight after 30 days (you can’t weigh yourself during the 30 days) but I didn’t let it affect what and how I was eating. I ate my three meals a day with some snacks included and didn’t count a SINGLE CALORIE. That is really huge for me. I ate meals that felt decadent, and left me full and satisfied.

I did my best not to skip meals and not to overeat or snack too much. Sometimes that didn’t happen but 90% of the time I was on top of it. I cooked really delicious meals, checked labels to eat the best and cleanest foods and also included foods that in the past scared me because I thought they’d make me fat (white potatoes! full eggs!).

Broken Rules:

There were a few rules that I did not follow. I think the main one is that you are supposed to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. I teach cycling classes at 6:30am and getting up early enough to eat something and get to class just wasn’t happening for me. I did my best on days that I wasn’t teaching to eat within an hour of waking up, otherwise I ate within 30-60 mins of completing my workout. For my lifestyle, that’s just the way it’s going to be. However, I never skipped breakfast! 

Cheating:

I never consciously cheated on this plan and I did my very best to stick to compliant foods. There were a couple of times when I ate out that it’s possible a non-compliant oil was used and once I ate wasabi which may or may not have had added ingredients. I’ll never know. In my mind, I never cheated and yes, it’s possible the grilled chicken I ordered out had a non-compliant ingredient but I did my very best and don’t think I cheated along the way.

Day 31 and Beyond:

Now the 30 days are over and what happens next? The book has a chapter on reintroduction of the foods you cut out, week by week adding in something you had taken out. I’m not going that route. I’m continuing with this eating plan because I’ve realized it really works for me. I feel great, I feel energized and I’m at a weight I’m really happy with. 

There are a few changes I’ll be making moving forward. One is cheat meals, which will be allowed. Not often, but when I’m out to a nice dinner or at a wedding or traveling, I will indulge. I’m going on two trips that will include MANY indulgences (New Orleans and Ann Arbor) and on those trips, I’m going to eat what i want to eat. I won’t go crazy but let’s be real, I’m going to eat a beignet and I’m going to eat a chipati (if you haven’t been to Ann Arbor, go visit Pizza House and get back to me). 

Another thing that is forbidden on Whole30 are compliant food combos that mimic non-compliant foods. For example, paleo pancakes and paleo muffins. I’m going to allow these bad boys back in my diet because the ingredients are totally compliant and I like making these clean and healthy versions of indulgent foods. In fact, I have a shipment of Capellos headed my way and I cannot wait to try the paleo pasta and cookies! I won’t feel bad about these foods because at the heart of it, they are compliant in their ingredients.

Friends on Whole30

I have been singing the praises of Whole30 and got a few friends on board. Five friends started around the same time as me. Along the way, two people dropped the plan as it wasn’t working for them (it’s not for everyone) but three are still chugging along, almost done. I’ll let you know how their experiences compared once they finish up.

Interested?

For those that have followed along, I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey. I will keep you posted as I try to meld Whole30 with a more normal lifestyle. If you are interested in Whole30, check out the site, read the book and also check out the mini blog I dedicated to all-things Whole30, read it HERE. I think I’ll continue to post meals and workouts to that blog to keep me honest.

Any questions, just ask! 

Cycling Gear by Lululemon

I have to give a huge thanks to the folks at Lululemon for providing me with an outfit for my bike ride across Cape Cod. I felt like a pro cyclist in this get up, the same uniform the Specialized Lululemon team competes in. Not available in stores, but you can purchase it HERE. I wore the 2014 Team Edition Bibshort and the 2014 Team Jersey.

The shorts offered the perfect amount of padding to keep me comfortable along our 5 hour ride and the outfit got a bunch of compliments along the course.

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*not pictured are three large pockets in the back of the jersey, perfect for hoarding snacks at rest stops :)

Autumn Escape Bike Trek 2014 Recap

This weekend MM and I headed out to Cape Code for the Autumn Escape Bike Trek, a bike ride across Cape Cod to raise money for the American Lung Association. There are 2 and 3-day options, this was our first time so we opted for the 2-day ride. 

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If you don’t want to read all the details, I’ll give you the quickie recap which is that this ride was awesome! It was expertly run, the volunteers and everyone working were super nice, the snacks along the ride were on point and the route was so scenic and beautiful. The weather was 100% perfect, sunny and 70s. 

And now if you want the details, keep reading, plus get a look at my favorite pictures from the weekend.

Saturday Morning we headed out to Sandwich, MA where our ride would start. We left around 6:30am to make sure we had enough time to check in, drop off our bags and get our bikes ready. By 8:30 am we were on our bikes and headed out across Cape Cod. There were about 300ish riders so at some points you’d be with 10 other riders, at other points you’d be alone. Roads were marked pretty well along the way so we didn’t get lost. Roads weren’t closed for the ride but drivers in Cape Cod are extremely nice to bikers and stopped for us every time we needed to cross or make a turn. Some points of the ride took us through bike paths. Our scenery changed from beaches to wooded areas to open fields, all beautiful.

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There were three rest stops along the way on day one. A few were on the beach which made for a lovely view as we chowed down on snacks. Let me talk about the snacks. THEY WERE AMAZING. I’m doing Whole30 so a lot of things I couldn’t eat (pumpkin bread, mini pies, flavored coconut water, a variety of granola bars, chips, pb&j sandies, candy, fruit snacks, etc etc…) but there were also a lot of things I could eat (larabars, apple chips, green smoothie, raisins, fresh fruit)! While I was lusting after the less-healthy snacks, it was for the best that I couldn’t have them because I likely would have eaten EVERYTHING and ended up with a stomach ache (I did however toss a few really tasty packed snacks into my bag that I can enjoy in a couple of days).

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I’ve done a few hosted bike rides and this one was by far the best in terms of rest stops, volunteers and snacks. Every time you entered a rest stop people cheered for you! 

The first day of riding was great, it was pretty flat and an easy ride totaling 57 miles.

That night we stayed at a summer camp in Cape Cod which was legit cabins with bunk beds. Not going to lie, it was a little weird. Everyone seemed to know each other and most people were a part of a big team that does the ride every year. MM and I were put in a cabin with a team of about 12 people and we were the only people NOT on the team and we were the only people under 30 (or 40 maybe?). They were friendly but it was strange. When we first arrived at the camp they had tents set up and were giving out free food and beer, it was a mini party.

MM had my beer (oh Whole30, you stink).

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The camp is located right on the beach; we spent some time by the water taking in the amazing sunset.

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Then at night they hosted a lobster dinner, yum!

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After that they had a presentation about the ride, the American Lung Association and what we were riding for. And then they encouraged everyone to play games in the mess hall. MM and I played for a little bit (just because we felt rude not doing it) but as soon as it was appropriate we snuck out (not that I don’t love playing Cards Against Humanity with a bunch of 40-50 years olds but…ok that is my actual nightmare).

Then it was bed time. It was a long day so luckily I fell asleep quickly (in a room full of strangers…fun!)

Then we were up really early to get breakfast and head out on our second day of riding. This day was only 40 miles but WAY harder than the first day. Tons of hills that had me sweating. Again, three amazing rest stops with delicious food and people cheering for us along the way.

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We ended the ride in Provincetown around 12:15, got our medals, had a free massage and had a chance to wander around the town for a bit (which is super cute!). At 2:45 we got on buses and headed back to Sandwich where our bags, bikes and car was waiting for us to head home.

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We had an amazing time! MM kept saying how much fun he was having which made me very happy since it took a little convincing to have him sign up. The ride was so scenic and gorgeous and gave me a great view of Cape Cod and the beautiful houses along the way. The overnight stuff was fine, not ideal but totally fine. I would love to do this ride again with a big group of friends. I can see how camping out with a whole cabin of close friends would be amazing (people were up partying, having bon fires and stuff…we went to bed). 

I have to say that everything about this ride was done so well. Our bags were taken in the morning at each location and were waiting for us upon arrival at the cabins and at the end of the ride, everything was well-organized, everyone was friendly and it was a great atmosphere. Also this cost us a mere $55 each (and that was the late sign up cost!) plus fundraising $500 for the ALA. I would expect such a nice, well-run even to cost way more.

I’m considering it for next year (or something like it) so if any friends want to join in the fun, let me know, I highly recommend it!

1. US Weekly posted a big album of LC’s wedding and it was amazing. However, now it’s gone! Why US Weekly, WHY? I was going to use that album to plan my entire wedding and now what am I supposed to do (side note: not engaged or planning a wedding). If it ever gets put back online, check it out, obviously it’s gorg.

2. Love this idea from Cupcakes and Cashmere, Iconic Movies and their Food Pairings. I think this would be such a fun evening activity to host this winter when my desire to go out drops (it’s already low, but you get the idea).

3. I’m working to improve my wardrobe, especially now that I’m trying to look presentable and fashionable at work. I’ve been bookmarking tons of blogs for inspiration, this is a current favorite from Sequins and Stripes, love her style.

4. And speaking of my new job, I’m hoping to do a little desk decorating to brighten up my area. Glitter Guide’s Fun+Feminine Desk Organizing piece is serving as some great inspiration. I’d also love to take some of these ideas to brighten up spaces at home.

5. I’m still working through the big ol’ pile of apples from apple picking last weekend. This recipe from Cara’s Cravings, Sweet Spaghetti Squash Kugel with Apples and Raisins is on my to-do list, looks delicious and only one ingredient is not Whole30 compliant, the coconut sugar. I think I can just leave it out and will end up with a less-sweet version, which is fine with me. I may add extra raisins and apples to make up for it, or I can just wait until after next Tuesday when Whole30 is over and use coconut sugar!  I’ll let you know how it is!

This weekend MM and I are off on a two-day bike tour! This has been on my to-do list for years and I’m so excited it’s finally happening. We are doing the Autumn Escape Bike Trek across Cape Cod, raising money for the American Lung Association. We’ll be riding over 100 miles in two days and it’s important we pack light but also correctly! Lots of things to consider with this packing list. Fortunately we don’t have to ride with everything, a bus will transport a bag from the start to our sleeping camp and then from the camp to the finish line. Even so, I’m only packing essentials, which includes two biking outfits and one “hang out” outfit for night time. It’s going to be chilly in the morning so layering is a must. Here’s my ideal packing list for this ride (some of these things I own while others are on my wish list).

Bike Gear & Accessories (top image)

Apparel (bottom image)

Layering for the ride is key. I’ll need the right technical gear but also items to keep me warm for the morning part of the ride and comfy lounge-y clothes for when I’m off the bike.

Seasonal Breakfast Hash: Apple & Potato Hash Browns

Typically I wake up early to workout, but yesterday I tried something different, I woke up early to cook! It was  relaxing getting up an hour before my normal Tuesday (the only day each week when I don’t teach a class) wake up time to make breakfast. A friend gave me the inspiration for this recipe, a way to slowly make a dent in the countless apples I took home from apple picking this weekend.

For morning cooking, I recommend prepping as much as you can the night before. For this recipe, it meant chopping the onions at night (or rather, having MM chop them because I cry after about 5 seconds) and putting all the ingredients and pans in a pile for easy access.

Ingredients:

  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 apples
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 pieces of grilled chicken
  • 2-4 eggs
  • Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil and/or avocado oil

What to do:

First, chop up the potatoes, apples and onion but keep them separated.

In a frying pan take a splash of avocado oil (just a few drops) and sauté the chopped onions until caramelized or translucent, about 5-7 minutes. 

Next, toss in the chopped potatoes and a few drops of olive oil and cook for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown and are getting close to crispy. Next, toss in the apples. I like to give some time between the potatoes going in and apples since I like my potatoes crispy and they require more time on the stove. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cayenne (if you like a little spiciness) and any other spices you might want.

Next, add the sliced chicken. Chicken in this recipe is totally optional, I just happened to have two large pieces chilling my fridge so why not include them for some extra AM protein!

Once your potatoes are crisp to your liking, make little indents in your hash (not touching the bottom, just slightly indented) and drop in your eggs. I used 2 eggs so MM and I could each have one this morning. With the chicken in this recipe it’s already protein-packed but if you leave out the chicken, perhaps you’ll want two eggs each.

Cover the frying pan and let cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the egg whites become translucent. This picture below is here to show you that sometimes you need to be creative in the kitchen. My supplies are limited but that doesn’t stop me. I didn’t have a cover so I used a baking sheet, whatever works!

A bowl of the finished product! I could work on my presentation skills but it at least it’s tasty!

This cooks up a large portion, we ate half and saved the rest for tomorrow.

My one concern with spending time in the kitchen before work, I now smell like onions. Enjoy new coworkers!