August Progress + September Intentions

I’m doing this a day early because this weekend is a long one. Because it’s full of socializing and family and fun things I want to just get September STARTED already. :)

Despite my eagerness to move on, August went swimmingly.

As I’d hoped, we had a successful Whole 30, and I really set my boundaries in life, at work, and in my friendships. And of course I also had made plenty of time to watch bad television. Gold star, self! There were some difficult times this past month, but you stood your ground and did what you said you would do. Thumbs up!

Sometimes you just need to write the simple, important stuff down and stick to it. Worked for me! Next month is full of stuff already, and I know quickly we will be sliding down hill into the holidays (and then a whole new YEAR of goals — CRAZY!) so I’ve made a pretty simple list of what I’d like to accomplish.

September Intentions

*Dive head first into experimenting with your skin. This should be a fun one (HA! Only a little bit of sarcasm there.) I have a list of things to do and try in order to get my skin under control. Some are easy, some are hard but I’m going to take the plunge and commit to them!

*Give A Successful and Honest Presentation in ColoradoI’ve mentioned that Melissa, Michelle and I are talking about all sorts of Paleo goodness at the end of the month in Estes Park. Wish you would join us. I’m so nervous/excited/anxious/stoked I just can’t wait!

*Run. Um, Some more. — So I haven’t mentioned this too much here because I’m still scared/unsure and not AT ALL feeling confident in my decision, but Sarah has talked me into running a Half Marathon with her at the end of October. That girl is PERSUASIVE. I’m nervous because I don’t know too much about, you know, being a better runner. But I do know that I am in the best shape ever and I ENJOY running, so I figure that’s enough to get me across the finish line. But I also need to do some training that works with my CrossFit schedule. I need to get on that!

*Eat Well — The Whole 30 was indeed life changing, despite my opinion that I already knew all I needed to know. I want to keep that close to me this month while making food decisions. Keep the positivity flowing!

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And I think that’s enough, really! We have lots of social events on the calendar already that I am excited for, plus the start of football season and apple picking season and hopefully cooler weather. My friend Mike declared next month Awesome-tember the other day and I love that. I am READY FOR THAT.

Are you?

Whole 30: Days 22-30 — WE DID IT!

photo

Ladies and (perhaps one or two) Gentelmen — we did it. We completed our first Whole 30 without a single deviation!!!

Holy Guacamole.

Well, actually we still have to finish out today but since lunch and dinner are already prepared I have no question that we will finish with flying colors. I feel sort of proud of us, is that lame? It was a big challenge with many ups and downs and now that it is over I feel pretty empowered.

Surprisingly, I don’t want to run out and have a cocktail. Or even make Paleo Chocolate Chip cookies. I don’t really have any desire to eat any differently than I have been, which is a relief since I did not feel that way on Day 15. This has been an awesome journey and one that I am excited to recommend — to anyone really. Even if you are not really “interested” in Paleo at the moment. It is a pretty great cleansing exercise and I have no doubts that you’ll feel amazing.

Besides the fact that I feel great and have fallen in love with clean eating all over again I also ended up losing 12 lbs in the last 30 days. The tweaks were so tiny that I am actually pretty shocked at that loss. I have been in Plateau City for months when it comes to weight loss so I’m not gonna lie — THAT SHIT IS MOTIVATING. I guess boozing regularly on the weekends does really make a difference, eh? (I didn’t *really* think it didn’t, but I also didn’t *really* want to change my behavior.) Another fun fact — we spent over $200 LESS on groceries this month. Whole 30 as a budgeting tool…WHAT?????

Everything isn’t absolutely perfect though. The Whole 30 didn’t fix all my problems. My laundry is still piled up and there are dust bunnies on my floor. (I thought Dallas and Melissa said this would CHANGE MY LIFE…HAHA) My sleep is still a work in progress and I don’t get enough of it. Also: my skin is still a hot mess. In the last 30 days I have had my worst breakouts in 2012. I’m talking serious, awful, cystic ridiculous acne. Out of nowhere. [Sidebar: Giving up eggs for 10 days didn’t make a difference (it actually got worse) so they are back on the menu for now.] I didn’t put a lot of stock in the idea of detoxing and that causing it, but Garrett also had like 2 weeks of SERIOUS breakouts and that guy has flawless skin 24-7, so who knows?

The biggest bummer is that right now my skin is not showing signs of improvement. That part sucks, but after listening to the recent Balanced Bites Beauty Podcast (episode # 49) I feel pretty comfortable knowing that skin problems usually don’t have short and sweet fixes. I have a long history with bad skin and if nothing else I’m moving in the right direction and will continue to just try and improve my overall health and see what happens from there. What I’m doing certainly isn’t hurting the situation, but I am totally making some changes too, and I’ll be sure to tell you all about those because I know this is a pretty common problem. I’ll get there, I’m sure of it. In the meantime I will just buy stock in Bare Minerals foundation. :)

Next week I’m going to do a wrap up that includes all of my favorite strategies. Foods that got me through, plans that worked and plans that didn’t. Real Life Advice. And I want to do this because I’ve heard from so many of you that you are starting YOUR Whole 30’s soon and you guys I reeeeeeeeeeeeally want you to have success. It is not effortless, but I have to tell you (and I would be honest) it was A LOT easier than I thought. So if I can share some of my strategies with ya, I’m glad to. So if you have a question I can answer, or something that you foresee being a challenge, let me know and I will make sure I address it.

Best of luck to all of you who decide to go for it, and for those of you who could care less about the Whole 30 — thanks for going along for the ride this past month!

Life Snapshot: In The Kitchen

Lamb Meatballs in the making...

I cooked A LOT this weekend, which is perfect as far as I’m concerned. (Super Duper AMAZEBALLS Baby Back Ribs + BBQ Sauce Recipe coming soon that is totally Whole 30 compliant and delicious!) One day I want to have Ina Garten’s “barn” to cook in, although I’m almost positive that her barn is larger than my *actual* house (and also in the Hamptons), so that may be aiming high. (I love that House Beautiful Magazine can’t even say “barn” without quotation marks. Ha!)

Wow, I just fell down a major Ina Garten rabbit hole. Even the shiny parts of my life now seem so dull. :)

Seriously though, a separate space on your property to cook, entertain, write your cookbooks, clean the vegetables from your garden? SIGN ME UP. Which reminds me, we need to talk about the Paleo Cookbook I would like to write. Yes they are a dime a dozen and a lot of them are just recycled recipes for proscuitto wrapped asparagus and whatnot, but I have an idea that WOULD NOT BE THAT. It is a cookbook that I would like to buy but is not available yet. I think this is a good place to start, but that is another blog post altogether. And a whole other project. OY!

What I wanted to tell you though, was in that picture above? I was making meatballs. These meatballs specifically, and man were they awesome. So great that I made them 2 nights later as an appetizer for our Book Club Dinner. A couple weeks ago I also made these meatballs and AGAIN, so enjoyable.

Sun-Dried Tomato Meatballs with Walnut Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Meatballs are the best comfort food! Every year for my birthday my mom would ask me what I wanted for dinner, and without fail I would always request her Rice Meatballs with Gravy. (Especially in those years when I was living out of town and on my own but still not that great of a cook. OMG, those years, when I would get to come home and eat those meatballs? Practically life changing.) It sounds like such a weird dish and I’m always a bit leery of “gravy” but these were THE BOMB. Because of all the Dawson’s Creek I’ve been watching I now spell leery “leary” on the regular.

ANYWAY. All these meatballs lately have made me so ready for fall to show up. Are you feeling it too? I’m excited mostly because fall is when it becomes acceptable to roast vegetables in my kitchen again without it being miserable. And when one-pot meals seem to make so much sense. When I walk in the door from a long day of work and it is almost dark but my house smells amazing because of something sitting in the crockpot. I’ll be sad to see Eating Outdoors Season come to an end, but I am really ready to get my crispiness from the weather and not the grill.

Good food and good times ahead, I think.

*****

Psssst…like the spice jars? I talk all about them here.

On Lists + Running + The Importance of Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

Photo Credit: American River CrossFit

I cleaned out a bunch of crap in my office this weekend. The fun never stops, eh? Much of what I did involved fascinating things like filing bills and receipts and finding the actual homes for things that had started to pile up on my desk, but in the midst of all of it I found a bunch of To-Do Lists.

Here is my philosophy on To-Do Lists: Sometimes just the act of making one is way more helpful than completing the items on it. I am a person who regularly needs to dump her brain on paper in order to be able to relax, so as you may guess I have To-Do Lists everywhere, all the time. I mean, mostly I’m organized about the important stuff, but sometimes I make lists of “Big Ideas” or “Dreams for the Future” or “Things to Look Into” and then I scribble furiously, exhale deeply and then leave it on my desk only to have it get covered up with evidence of trips to Costco, Love Notes from our Utilities company, and other sundry items.

*******

I woke up yesterday morning and, as I always do while still half asleep, grabbed my phone to check out the Workout of the Day at my gym. “Run a 5k” was all it said, and thus the fate of my afternoon was sealed. Happy Monday! You are going to run 3.1 miles today. Ok. Now just 10 more minutes of sleep, please. HIT THE SNOOZE.

I actually didn’t think too much of it, which in itself is pretty awesome, but I did have a recurring thought throughout the day of: “Man, life will be so great when I’m a faster runner.” Which is stupid for a multitude of reasons, but most notably these:

A. Dude, life is already ‘so great’, dummy.

and

B. Well, B is a little bit longer.

*******

And for that we need to go back to my random To-Do List that I found this weekend. You see it was filled with a long list of stuff that I was incredibly anxious about a month ago. I wrote it down because all of it felt overwhelming — things that needed to get done, things I could be preparing for, things I should have done months ago, things to do to prepare for The Apocolypse lest I get eaten by zombies…you know those lists, right?

So I made it to calm my nerves, promptly wanted to pass out over the sheer length of it, made a plan about a few things, but mostly just let it all go. Honestly, I never thought of that list again. But Saturday when I unearthed it, I realized that every single item on it could be crossed off.

EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

They had all gotten completed in some haphazard manner over the last month. I didn’t have a particular strategy for getting everything done, or a plan for efficiency, or a comforting micro-managing presence over it, and yet it all got done. LIKE BY OSMOSIS…ok not really. But still. Done! And honestly, here is the reason why: I try and make a regular habit of showing up at life most of the time.

I try and spend my days being productive, having goals, putting in effort, yada yada yada. And I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again — a lot can happen if you just Show Up and Try Hard. Like seriously. A Lot. These two elements are so powerful, yet so overlooked. An entire To-Do List, actually, can get OWNED without it really even being on the radar if you commit to showing up to life and giving your effort.

*****
So the run yesterday. Did I show up? Yep. It wasn’t even an option. I workout on Mondays, this would be no different. Did I try my best? Despite my negative speed related self-talk, HELL YEAH I tried my best. And did I end up owning it? Weeeeeeeeeeeell, I don’t know if I would go that far. But I did read a funny article prior to heading out for my run that said something to the effect of “The best running technique you can employ if you want to improve is by just putting one foot in front of the other.”

I totally took that advice. :)

I did the best absolute job I could do yesterday, and while a part of me still thinks “hmm…I could probably be running faster” there is another part of me that says “Dude, you ran that 5k 10 minutes faster than you did 2 years ago, without really trying.” Call that a freaking victory already.

I would like to be a faster runner though. But right now I have no Be A Faster Runner Strategy. But I’m not sure I need one really because despite the fact that I’m not really working on it at all, it is still happening. Maybe it isn’t happening at the rate I would like it to, but slowly and surely my trajectory is improving. And this is happening not only in running, but IN LIFE. And while I think it’s awesome to have goals (duh) and to dream of big things, there has been a lot of progress made just because I show up and put one foot in front of the other. This simple act moves the needle of life a lot more than we give it credit for.

*****

So yesterday I did not PR my 5k or show the world that I was an Olympic! Caliber! Runner! Nope. I did none of that. But yesterday I went to work, kicked ass, took names, drove to the gym, warmed up, fought with my sweaty arm to get the god damn neoprene case for my iPhone on it, stuck my headphones in my ear and headed out into the heat of the day and ran 3.1 miles LIKE A BOSS. And that is PROGRESS. Great progress, actually, and I have seen no evidence that makes me think this won’t continue.

Of course I often I think about my lists and my goals and my running and my life. I think about better ways to do things and hacks I could make to my diet or my fitness or my sleep or whatever and I write them down. Because I am a little bit of a crazy person and all of that makes my brain feel better. Exercised, as it were. But sometimes — well sometimes progress doesn’t come from thinking about working on speed, or strategizing about how to better managing life, or pushing efficiencies. Sometimes the best possible thing you can do for yourself is to show up and just keep running. To put in your headphones and focus your breathing and to push yourself just the tiniest little bit. Because even though every moment will not be your Personal Record, all of those small victories eventually add up. In the end, most big changes are just the sum of a million small unrecognizable little changes, right? Eventually over time, one foot in front of the other becomes quite the distance covered when you turn around and look back.

Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers

In our house shrimp is always a welcomed weeknight dish. By the time we get home from the gym it is usually after 6pm and our appetites are ravenous. If I haven’t prepared something on the weekend, I need our post-gym dinners to get on the table quick! This recipe goes from skewering to eating all in under a half an hour.

I love citrus based shrimp marinades (this one is a fave!) but shrimp is so delicate that you can’t let it sit in citrus too long or it begins to cook. While Melissa’s Ginger Lime Shrimp recipe is my go-to when I have an 40 minutes to prep/marinate, I wanted to find something that I could let sit overnight without risking the shrimp getting chewy and cooked by the citrus. This way I could prep it on a Sunday and have Post-Gym protein ready to go on the grill right when we got home on Monday — no waiting required. Then I found this recipe — similar flavors, but a slightly more forgiving marinade. Yay, coconut milk! Totally awesome in a weeknight pinch!

Check it out:

Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Coconut Milke
  • 2 lbs shrimp (21-26 ct) peeled and deveined
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine first five ingredients. Add shrimp, tossing to coat and chill, covered, at least one hour but up to 24.
  2. Meanwhile, soak skewers if using wood for up to an hour.
  3. When you are ready to cook, prepare a grill on high heat (450-550 degrees) and place 3-5 shrimp on skewers.
  4. Grill, turning once, until flesh has turned pink and is slightly charred. About 3 minutes each side.
  5. Serve garnished with salt, a squeeze of lime juice and extra lime wedges on the side.
  6. Enjoy!

;

The flavors almost had me convinced I was enjoying a tropical vacation on a Monday night. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalmost. :)

Shop My Closet

I spent the weekend organizing and updating my closet. Clearly The Organization Bug is still in effect. I have a lot of articles of clothing that no longer fit but have only been worn a few times. I would like to see them go to a happy home!

I decided I was going to sell them on eBay, but before that I thought I would check here to see if anyone was interested. I know a lot of you are shopping on a budget while your size changes, so maybe something here will pique your interest. Most everything is from Gap, Target or Macys so feel free to check out the size charts accordingly.

I tried to include a picture of the garment as well as a picture of it actually being worn if I had one. I’ll be charging $4 to ship individual items, for more than one item we can work something out. Right now I’m only entertaining US Buyers and all sales are final. I will be billing through PayPal.

Email me at hawoodcock {at} gmail {dot} com if you have any questions or are interested in purchasing.

Navy Gingham Shift Dress

*****SOLD*****

Brand: Merona
Size: XXL
Worn: Maybe 3 times
Condition: Good
Price: $7

Black Shift with Rosette Collar Detail

*****SOLD*****

Brand: Merona
Size: XXL
Worn: Less than 5 times
Condition: Great.
Price: $9

Black Ponte Stripe Dress

*****SOLD*****
Brand: Gap
Size: XL
Worn: Less than 5 times
Condition: Good
Price: $16

Pink + Brown Printed Pencil Skirt

Brand: Merona
Size: 18 (runs slightly small)
Worn: Less than 5 times
Condition: Ok. The pull on the zipper came off, but the zipper still works perfectly fine.
Price: $5

Khaki Striped V Neck Dress

*****SOLD*****

Brand: Merona
Size: XL
Worn: Once
Condition: Excellent. This dress is comfortable and amazing. It is a plunging V-Neck and requires a tank top underneath per the photograph.
Price: $8

Navy Striped V Neck Dress

*****SOLD*****

Brand: Merona
Size: XL
Worn: Less than 5 times
Condition: Good. This dress is comfortable and amazing. It is a plunging V-Neck and requires a tank top underneath per the photograph.
Price: $8

Chambray Tank Dress with Rosette Detail

*****SOLD*****

Brand: Merona
Size: XXL
Worn: Less than 5 times
Condition: Good. This dress is versatile and easily belted, but looks cute not belted. The Rosette is not as fluffy from washing but still looks cute on.
Price: $5

Multi Colored Wrap Dress

*****SOLD*****

Brand: Anne Klein
Size: 2X
Worn: 3 times.
Condition: Excellent. I love this dress and have great memories of the times I’ve worn it. It photographs well, looks office appropriate, and I once wore it to a wedding. Super Versatile. Probably equivalent to a size 20/22 but the wrap nature makes it pretty forgiving.
Price: $22

August Favorites

Despite all the fun things I’m about to discuss with you, I have to tell you first and foremost that my favorite thing this month was YOU. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of that because then, that would probably creep you out.) I just want to thank each and every one of you for your comments, emails, tweets, facebook messages and text messages after yesterday’s post. You know how to make a girl feel loved even from far away (even if some of us are *technically* strangers.) I had a rough day yesterday for myriad reasons, but your kind words and positive thoughts made a HUGE difference. So thank you. Really. Thank YOU.

But today I’d like to turn the page and chat about those fun things this month that have made me feel all twitterpated. Here we go!

1. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

A while back Elizabeth mentioned this on Style Lush and I immediately knew it would be my next Target-You-Have-No-Need-To-Buy-This Impulse Purchase. In all honesty though, suggesting I make an impulse purchase at Target is like suggesting a dog consider table scraps at dinner while he is sitting at your feet. I picked up one called ‘Charm’ and then because the nice folks at Target gave me a $2 off coupon, I picked up another one next time in ‘Smitten.’ It is like a giant chapstick crayon with pigment. That doesn’t make it sound at all appealing but it totally is. Trust me.

2. Dawson’s Creek

Shut up. No really, just shut up.

Our Roku box has just brought back the desire to watch old nostalgic television shows and when I came across this one as an option I convinced Garrett to watch it. “One episode, that’s it. This is some chick $h!t,” he said. Guess who has totally made it through the first season??? It is a little girly, I’ll admit that, but you guys it is soooooo fun and 90s. OHMAHGAWD, the clothes are awful. But it is cute and a neat little time capsule and we’ve been having fun laughing at/with it.

3. Limited Edition Orla Kiely Method Hand Soaps

This collection of fall scented soaps is not doing me any favors in this hot ass weather by making me really REALLY ready for autumn to finally get here. I snatched up a metric ton of these cute little bottles with some Orla Kiely signature prints and can’t wait to start using them. They are slightly pricier than the usual method soaps but the scents are divine (Bay Leaf! Vanilla Chai!) the packaging is adorable (obvs) and they made my whole month without even ever using them. That’s pretty impressive, right?

4. The Whole 30 Daily

I signed up for the Whole 30 Daily when I started the experiment this month and honestly, for the first week I didn’t read a single one. Too much on my mind, who needs another email, yada yada. But then I played catch up that weekend and found that they were so densely packed with awesome information I couldn’t wait to read the next one. Each day it has been a little gift in my inbox and a reminder of why I am doing this. It’s a daily high five filled with fun motivation and inspiration. For $15 I highly recommend it if you are going to make your way through a Whole 30.

5. Cilantro


If you hate cilantro, this suggestion won’t convince you, but the fresh and verdant flavors of cilantro have just been making so many of my meals this month. I’ve mixed it up in Mel’s Moroccan Dipping Oil, added it to taco salads, then I made this sauce for some grilled fish at Kathleen’s suggestion which reminded me of this recipe for caramelized cauliflower with salsa verde and then LORDY I have been buying cilantro by the case load. And it’s been delicious. If you have any suggestions for what to do with cilantro, send it my way. I’M OFFICIALLY OBSESSED.

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What’s been rocking your world lately?

Time Flies Whether You are Having Fun or Not

The thing about time is that it just keeps moving. It doesn’t pause for anyone to get caught up, make their way or catch their breath. Every once in a while we stop long enough to do the math, count the days, sing Happy Birthday, note the month, marvel at years that have gone by — but even as we do it, time flies flies right by with no regard to your particular goals or agendas.

For me, today, 14 years have gone by. It’s a day where I always pause and note the passage.

The pain of losing a parent doesn’t get better. People tell you (and genuinely hope for you, I believe) that time will heal all wounds but the truth is that time is ruthless and unfeeling. And the relationship between time and pain is nowhere near linear. When it comes to healing, time actually fails quite spectacularly, in my opinion. I try and re-focus the sentiment in order to assuage my grief: Time does not heal all wounds, but it does allow you to find a comfort level with the pain. Yes, this sounds better. And in a way this is slightly more accurate, but it still doesn’t get to the root of the experience.

This week, as the date has approached and I have paused to feel that passage. I have again sought out a way for my mind to make sense of this experience. Of this loss. It’s a continuous adventure actually, trying to figure it all out, and the event itself is a tiny scratch on the camera lens through which I view every single day of my life. This year it feels very present.

We are trying to plan a wedding. We are taking steps towards having a baby. There is no way to get through these types of moments without being acutely aware that my father is gone and will not be a part of any of it. They are happy and momentous occasions, and to go through them without focusing on what is missing will take discipline, because no matter how you dress it all up, there will be an empty space where he should be.

But emptiness is not the only experience. I mentioned discipline, and the thing about this entire situation — this event that has shaped who I am in how I live — is that I am no stranger to discipline as a coping mechanism. In the past few years I have felt more motivated than ever to get my health in check. People ask me all the time how I stay so disciplined and I always struggle with how to answer. I hear on a regular basis, “How do you do what you do?” “I don’t have that kind of time or energy.” “I can’t be so extreme, but I appreciate that you are so focused.” And I totally get all of that. I wish I could tell you my discipline comes from a pill or a beverage or an inspirational quote pinned on a pinboard near you. But the truth is my discipline comes from a place of self-preservation.

What motivates me to get out of bed in the morning, or to get into the gym, or to eat strictly for 30 days like a crazy person is that one morning I woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast and watched my father collapse on our living room floor. I watched his lips turn blue and his face get puffy and the life slip right out of him in a matter of seconds. It happened in an instant, and from that day forward he was gone. No trace of our times spent together except for what has lived on in my memory. On that day he became a story. He became past tense. He became a bookended period of time.

Things change faster than your brain can process it, and this event for me that has left, among other things, an indelible drive to take advantage of my own life. A drive to make sure I do all that I can to make sure the hole I leave in the lives of my friends and family as small as possible. I am motivated and I am disciplined because it helps me compartmentalize my pain. It helps the world around me make sense. And it is not something that I would want to advise another person on. I am not trying to win at life, or prove that I’m the best or be an inspiration. I am just a girl who is trying to make sense of it all, and more importantly trying to make the most of her time.

Whole 30 – Day 16-21

Diptic

The food’s still good. The menu planning is still working. My pants continue to get baggier, and by Day 21 I was shouting to anyone who would listen, “The Whole 30 FREAKING RULES.” It hasn’t been easy every single step — both Garrett and I have each had an anxiety dream about accidentally eating something “off limits” (mine was an Iced Mocha with whipped cream, his was Chicken Wings and Beer) which is sort of hilarious and very demonstrative of our level of commitment to this project — but overall it has been really eye opening.

One of the things that the Whole 9 folks are famous for — their tag line, if you will — is “Let us change your life.” Listen, that sounds lovely and all, but since I went into this little experiment already understanding the nuts and bolts of Paleo, feeling pretty confident in my choices, and not really needing to be convinced of anything, I wasn’t really expecting my life to be changed. I mean WOO WOO — if it changes someone else’s life, great. Prooooooobably isn’t going to change mine much.

You see where this is going don’t you?

God I’m such a smug, stubborn ass sometimes.

Twenty One days has changed my life. And there are still 9 days to go! And I’m actually excited about it. What a nut job, I am. I’m trying to figure out how to succinctly sum things up but it’s hard. It’s an entire experience and it’s not black and white. I’m not having one specific light bulb moment that I can share in a soundbite, but if I had to force myself to say one it would be this:

Managing Little Things Has Made Such A Big Difference.

It’s very easy to ignore the little things. To say, “Oh a few cocktails with friends, a handful of chocolate chips every night — those things are just small, they don’t matter in the long run.” But it’s also very easy to get SO caught up in the little things. “How many carbs are in these carrots? Maybe I should be eating less fruit. Maybe I should fast. Maybe I should eat 5 meals. Maybe I should try…” But doing an overwhelming amount of either of those things can really get you off course over time. It didn’t happen to me over night, but the combination of not thinking/overthinking allowed me to meander a bit while still feeling productive instead of moving directly and progressively towards my goal.

The goal for me has always been to get healthy, lose body fat, prime my body physically and hormonally so I can have a cute little baby with my very adorable partner in crime. It’s been amazing how freeing this experience has been from both of those thinking connundrums, and it is remarkable the amount of progress that I’ve made towards all of my goals. The commitment to go for 30 days without consuming booze, dairy or any sort of added sugar (in addition to the regular Paleo parameters) is tough. No honey, no molasses, no maple syrup. No glass of wine on Saturday night. No making technically Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies. It’s a little bit Draconian at first. But along the way, there was a tipping point where it became freeing. No need to manage the moderation.

And in the meantime, because I was already adhering to the Whole 30 guidelines, I allowed myself to spend a month on just “Eating food that makes me healthier” with no focus on macronutrient ratios or specific timing or combinations. That meant sweet potatoes if I felt like it, without wondering if I had worked out hard enough. Fruit if I wanted a little touch of something sweet, or to feel like I’m having a treat. More chicken at lunch if I wanted it. A little slab of ghee on my broccoli. Just consuming food that does good work. Not overthinking it.

I gave myself a 30 day window for my brain to be off the hook. The only requirement was to listen to what my body wanted. And what do you know, without giving your body little hits of disruptive things like sugar and booze and cheese here and there that confuse its innate signals — your body tells you pretty clearly what it wants. It is really freaking smart, actually, and works with an alarming amount of efficiency that can totally be trusted. I’m humbled by it, and have really felt in awe of how the body works when you give it good, real food and don’t try to outsmart it. It is recalibration in it’s truest form, with no need to only drink liquids, feel hungry, or eat during specific windows. It’s been 21 days of eating with my heart and not my head.

And IT’S AWESOME.

Now…is this feasible in the long run forever? No, frankly. Not for me, at least. Because life happens, and no matter how flowery and happy I feel about this whole experience right now, I don’t plan to live the rest of my life without sugar or booze or the occasional nose dive into a bowl of corn chips (WITH SALSA!). I plan to see friends and socialize freely and make the best decisions I can in the moment.

In September I plan to BBQ with my family, pick up my wine shipment with Garrett and enjoy some tasting. I plan to make a Paleo Apple Crumble when the air starts to get crisper and the tree branches in the foothills get heavy. All of that is going to happen, and that is okay. But now I have the muscle memory of what consistent, good food decisions feel like. And when you’ve got that, it’s hard to let it go.

What I’m sure of, is that for a while, something is reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally going to have to be worth it to derail me from all this goodness. I imagined myself penciling in Mexican food and feeling relief at being able to drink again, but honestly I don’t feel like any of that right now. EVEN MY GLASS OF WINE…I’M NOT EVEN COUNTING THE MINUTES. I swear. I would not lie to you about wine. I love wine.

I’m sure that I will get to a point again where I will feel the need for my body to reset. Life is long, I don’t have any desire to get through it perfectly and without deviation. I will not always make the best decisions all of the time. But now I know that I am only 30 days away from inspiration. 21 days, even at the most. From feeling like my best self. And I can do all that without to much grumbling really. And knowing that, has given me confidence and a security blanket that I didn’t even know I needed.

And it has definitely changed the game.

So Here’s Some Fun News

You may already be aware of this (I mentioned it on Facebook and my partners in crime have mentioned it too) but I think it is worth sharing again because I am just THAT DARN EXCITED!

On September 29 The Clothes Make the Girl, Nom Nom Paleo and I are combining forces to bring you A Day of Bad-Assery in Gorgeous Colorado. Well, ok so the event is not actually called that, but don’t you think I didn’t suggest it! The event is actually called Do It Better — A Practical Guide to Paleo and it will be a day of information, stories, good fun and lots of informative tips. We are three Paleo-loving chicks who like to chat. And there’s no one we’d rather chat with than you!

We’re coming together in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado to share with you some real life tips to mastering the Paleo lifestyle, and how you can use it to live your best life. I can’t think of a better location, and I’d love it if you’d join us.

Here is the scoop:

Whether you live in Colorado, or are just looking for an excuse for a weekend away to learn something new and see a new place, I would love to see you there.

For more information, check out the event listing. For questions or to register by phone contact Cami at 888-691-9622 or via email at paleoevents@ymcarockies.org.

If you don’t think you can make it but would like to support the event, I’d love it if you shared this post with anyone you think would benefit. Thanks for all of your support!

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