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What I’ve Learned in 30 Days

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So, we finished our office Whole 9 30 Day Challenge on Tuesday.  I lost a whopping 4.5 pounds. Yes, I’m disappointed but I am working out, lifting heavy things and walking the Vixenator every night so the scale is not the end all and be all of what’s going on with my body shape and size. Besides, this experience was about way more than the scale and boy, did it pay off in spades. The biggest being that I can now call myself a non-smoker!

In no particular order – some things I learned or experienced during this time:

  • I can *gasp* live without (and actually enjoy) a diet totally free of sweeteners (artificial or not) – which aren’t good for you anyway .
  • Tazo Wild Sweet Orange herbal tea is da bomb!  Thanks to the blogger who introduced us to it and sorry we forgot who that is.
  • Quitting smoking SUCKS!! REALLY SUCKS!! Even though I know it’s worth it.
  • Alcohol really doesn’t make you sleep better.
  • A really good night’s sleep on a regular basis can do wonders for body and soul!
  • Melissa has a really cool blog with lots of great recipes. (The Clothes Make the Girl)
  • My acne has cleared up.
  • My bra size has gone down.
  • There is something odd going on internally as I am usually one of the hottest people (temperature not looks) in the office. I vehemently defend the cryogenic temperature of our office. Not anymore, I’ve joined the ranks of co-workers who sport a jacket, sweater or parka during working hours.
  • I think Vixen lost more weight (% wise) than I did. I did cut back on her food because she is going to be in a grooming contest in October and needs to be closer to her show weight. I didn’t reduce it that much, but girlfriend is definitely curvier.
  • I have PCOS and insulin resistance. One glorious aspect of that is these hairs that grow on my chinny chin chin. I’ve tried electrolysis but because PCOS related hair growth is hormonal they don’t guarantee the process. As well they shouldn’t or I would be asking for my money back.  I’m not sure which element of the past 30 days is the hero in this situation but my neck and chin are considerably clearer. The growth hasn’t stopped completely but it has drastically slowed.
  • My two fingers that I worried had arthritis no longer feel stiff and painful.
  • Teamwork, support and peer pressure can not be overrated. I honestly don’t know if I would have stuck it out for the Whole 30 days if it weren’t for my coworkers. We talked food, recipes, challenges, favorite blogs and everything lifestyle change related on a daily basis.  I felt obligated and compelled to stick with it – especially the quitting smoking.

So, now that it’s over what happens?

I ventured to the store to purchase some awesomely ripe tomatoes which is what I missed the most. Surprisingly I have only had one tomato and here it is three days after we completed the challenge. I guess I didn’t miss them as much as I thought I did.  I plan to go another week or so with only adding back my tomatoes and peppers before venturing down the dairy aisle. I will continue eating real, wholesome foods – foods that don’t have a label – foods that nourish my body and brain.  I’m so proud to have the earned the “I Finished” badge and so thankful to Steve for challenging all of us jump on board! This has been a great springboard into living the healthiest life I know to live.

By Leia Speia / (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Photo by Leia Speia / (CC BY-NC 2.0)


Written by Sonya

September 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Diet, Whole 9

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Ready for the Weekend!

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We made it to Day 5 of the Whole 9! The weekend will be a real trial for since I won’t be in the office all day where I’m not tempted to smoke. I do plan to clean the car and the house thoroughly to rid it of any lingering smoke smells. I usually do a pretty good job of keeping the house clean and free from smelling bad.  When friends come over they usually think I only smoke outside, so that’s a good thing, but I can make sure there’s no trace of smoke which will help me.

Today was more of the same – egg muffins, leftover beef curry, Pink Lady apple and for dinner I had roast chicken, almond butter and an asian pear – one of my all time favorite fruits. That’s a lot for dinner considering I don’t typically eat dinner. I’m hoping I get the appetite under control.  Quitting bad habits is great for the 30 days but I want some external proof of our efforts, too.

Mark has a whole page devoted to recipes for our beloved condiments. I plan to try the ketchup and possibly BBQ sauce when I’m back on nightshades. I definitely want to make mayo this weekend. His recipe is similar to Melissa’s at The Clothes Make the Girl.  Hers has great tips on making it come out right, so I’ll most likely be on her page for this adventure.

It’s pouring rain and I took a xanax when I got home to help with the nicotine cravings. Between the two I’m feeling very, very sleepy.  I think I’m going to curl up with a book and if I fall asleep so be it.  I’m just going to make sure the alarm is set for me to make it to Group Power at the gym tomorrow morning.

Starting this weekend I add physical activity back into my agenda. Weight training is critical for increasing insulin sensitivity, stoking the metabolism, helping with weight loss and increasing bone strength. I love my water aerobics and look forward to returning to that but also to stepping up the weight training, including body weight exercises like push ups, lunges, squats, etc.  Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try burpees.

Written by Sonya

August 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Posted in Diet, Whole 9

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Navigating the Salad Bar

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Today is Day 3 of the Whole 9 Whole30 program in the office. Everyone is doing well and it’s so exciting.  It’s still too early to really notice much in the way of changes but we’re all anticipating the goodness that we’ll be noticing along this journey.  Thankfully, no one else is quitting smoking so I’m the only grumpy one in our area. I’m still having intensely horrible cravings what feels like 24/7, but I will not give in this time! I’m just stubborn like that.  RJ Reynolds, I am no longer your bitch!

Supposedly by this time all fo the nicotine will be gone from my body. The symptoms of chemical withdrawal should have peaked (I don’t feel like that, though). My bronchial tubes are beginning to relax and breathing should be getting easier as lung function increases. But enough whining – especially since I can’t have cheese with it – let’s talk about food:

I have this thing about freezing meals – If I make a batch of something I just have to eat it till it’s gone. I don’t mind because I only fix things I like.  Anything that goes into the freezer ends up getting lost and forgotten about. Soooo…. breakfast was more ugly but yummy egg muffins.  Lunch was another leftover roast beast salad with grilled asparagus. (If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend the pear infused vinegar – it makes a great dressing.) I also had a Pink Lady Apple this afternoon.

Dinner was a trip down the salad bar at Jason’s Deli with Chucky and his wife, Tiffany. They are a delightful couple and I just love getting to spend time with them. So much so that I forgot to take a picture of my salad.  It was very good and loaded with mixed greens, cauliflower, kalamata olives, green olives, sesame seeds, slivered almonds, egg, cucumber, artichoke hearts and sprouts.  Because I wasn’t sure of what was in any of the salad dressings I just poured basalmic vinegar and olive oil over it.

I tried to get a picture of the very long, good looking salad bar but there were too many people around and, really, it looks just like every other salad bar. It’s the company that was spectacular.

Written by Sonya

August 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Posted in Diet, Whole 9

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This. Is. Not. Hard.

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I keep repeating that mantra from the Whole 9 website in my head.

It is not hard.  Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Giving up heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard.  Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”.  YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

And, since I’m not buying it right now, I’m also counting up how much money I’m going to save this month by not smoking or drinking my wine.  I’m imagining how nice my house and my car will smell. How delighted I’m going to be as these 30 days get me through the weight loss plateau I’ve been on.  It’s the smoking, not the nutrition aspect of this that’s really giving me a hard time right now.

Breakfast was three more of those ugly but yummy muffins.  Lunch ended up being a pleasant surprise.  My friend Dorothy brought in some smoked butt she and her husband prepared this weekend.  Those two can cook and the butt was absolutely freakishly good – so good, in fact, that Noralynn and I were accused of cheating because it smelled so good.  It tasted even better than it smelled!  Again, it doesn’t look so good but if we had Smell-O-Vision, you’d be crawling through the computer.

Being a true southern gal I’m a sucker for fried okra and it’s one of my “go to” dishes when I’m homesick. Uncle Jones BBQ is where I used to go to get my fix for that and lots of other good soul food. He’s back but out of his food truck so there’s no buffet anymore.  So, I was excited and intrigued when I found this recipe from Melissa.  I safe, Whole 9 compliant way to have my beloved okra. I’m not homesick but something comfort-ish wouldn’t hurt, right?  This was delicious!  I used the almond flour/meal I already have instead of grinding the almonds myself but it turned out wonderful.  Will definitely make this again!

So tonight was leftover beef curry and noodles from last night and Melissa’s okra. (If I can figure out how to flip the picture, I’ll edit the post.)

I didn’t get to go to the gym again tonight because of work.  That means I’ve missed my water aerobics and my water zumba classes which are the things I do at the gym because I enjoy doing them. The weight training and body weight exercises are for the health, weight loss and insulin sensitivity issues I need to fix. I’m pretty bummed but it’s okay. I’ll survive. Tonight will just be an extra long walk with the squirt to make up for it.  She’s not complaining.

Written by Sonya

August 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Posted in Diet, Whole 9

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I’m a quitter (so far)!  I’ve made it almost 24 hours without a cigarette.  It’s hard now that I’m at home where I smoke most but, according to experts my blood oxygen level will have increased to normal and carbon monoxide levels will have dropped to normal. However, tonight anxieties peak in intensity and within two weeks should return to near pre-cessation levels.

Are you looking forward to seeing me at work tomorrow? Here’s what you can look forward to: Damaged nerve endings have started to regrow and your sense of smell and taste are beginning to return to normal. Cessation anger and irritability peaks.

I don’t normally eat dinner but I was starving on the way home from work.  I whipped up some beef curry with snow peas, carrots and turnips.  It’s served over konjac noodles. It was quite good.

p.s. I had a pink lady apple and about 8-10 olives during the day today.

Written by Sonya

August 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Day 1

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We’re all off to a good start!

Steve rendered our beef tallow from Deep Roots Meat this weekend so I have nice buttery looking jars of goodness to cook with. Thanks, Steve!






Breakfast tasted better than it looks. I made Sarah Fragoso’s egg muffins with a slight twist since I’m not eating bacon during the Whole 9. I’m afraid I haven’t quite gotten down the difference between “chop” and “puree” with the food processor.

Please don’t let this picture discourage you from trying the egg muffins.  They are delicious, incredibly portable and I won’t have to cook breakfast for the rest of the week. How cool is that?

I’m not hungry when I get up, so I eat breakfast at work when I do get hungry.  You’ll be seeing those plates a lot over the next 30 days.

Lunch is leftover roast beast on a bed of lettuce and carrots with some grilled asparagus (yum!). I made a vinaigrette with olive oil and pear-infused vinegar I found at the store. That’s it – I didn’t add any seasonings and it was so flavorful and light.


Written by Sonya

August 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Who do you want to be?

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I’m into psychology, energy medicine and nutrition, etc…. the whole package. How our emotional, physical and spiritual selves all meld together to make us who we are. Life is more than just what you think or how you eat or whatever “spiritual” path you follow. It’s a whole conglomeration interrelated making up the whole person. I’m not sure what the balance is or how it all works but I know that when I’ve been able to vividly visualize where I want to be I’ve seen it come to pass.  Coinky-dink?  I dunno. I’m not up to arguing about it either because I only remember when it does happen and not when it doesn’t or because I really don’t like to argue. I am into investigating other viewpoints and opinions though there was a time when I wasn’t.

I vividly remember sitting behind the driver’s side of my Mazda Protege and visualizing myself higher up in the seat with less front end vision saying “this is what it is going to be like behind the wheel of my Subaru Baja” (my dream car at the time). Less than a month after these “pretend” sessions I was talking on my cell phone and totalled my Mazda. I used the insurance money and my savings to buy that Baja. I love, Love, LOVE my Baja!! I would not have bought it without the impetus of having no other options at that time.  I looked at the situation as being a “all things work out for the good” situation, however, I do not ever talk on the cell phone or text while driving anymore.

I likewise, do visualizations with my body. I have pictures of me when I was much younger and thinner and healthier than I am now posted on my refrigerator along with pics of really fat girls to discourage me from those late night binges. These have not worked as well and I don’t want some life-changing, serious situation like totaling my body to get me to the health I want to experience.

This is where Whole 9 comes in. This is where I have run out of excuses for living the life I dream of. This is where I have a reason to take control of my life before some catastrophic event forces me to make the changes I need and know I need to make. I am intimately familiar with the mind~body connection (yes, I believe in this). I know balancing nutrition will help balance mental health will help balance physical health will help balance addictions (to processed foods, cigarettes, alcohol, destructive behaviors/thoughts) will help balance etc….

Donna Eden, Candace Pert, Jimmy Moore, Mark Sisson, Nora Gedgaudas, Julia Ross, Michael Shermer, etc. have all impacted my life and how I think , eat, breath and move. Some of it may seem like quackery to you and that’s okay. Maybe it is. *smile* I was in a very high demand religious cult for 10+ years and not able to think for myself. I was told what to do with my mind, my heart, my time, my money, my thoughts for so long that I’m still trying to figure out what’s what. I don’t think nutrition and diet are the end all ~ be all of health – I think it encompasses more than that but not sure how habits, lifestyle, thoughts, mentality and nutrition all tie in to make the healthiest, happiest person we can be. I am convinced that it’s different for different folks because we all have different situations.

Whole 9 with friends and co-workers, basically, is my excuse to give up cigarettes and alcohol – two of my biggest challenges – it gives me an excuse to go “hard core” into the healthy lifestyle of eliminating everything that might be a problem in my life. Could I have done this on my own? Sure. But I haven’t. Could I do it without admitting my challenges publicly like this? Sure. But I haven’t despite my best intentions – those same “good intentions paved the road to hell” intentions. I’m 42 and not where I wanted to be when I turned 40, but nobody else knew at 39 where I wanted to be by 40 because I never shared that with anyone. This is it. This is where I “put up or shut up”. I plan to “put up”. (Thanks, Melissa!) I have in other ways, but this whole person transformation is what I’m looking for this time…uncovering the real me, the “me” I want to be and am proud to be. I’m rather excited about it.

Written by Sonya

August 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Diet, Getting Started

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