Go Sugar Free Course: First 2 Weeks

Whew, we’re on Day 14 of the Go Sugar Free Course!

Although at the beginning of this course, having completed Whole30 was a huge advantage for me, now I’m finding it’s created a unique challenge for me. As I mentioned, GSF encourages its students to determine what form of sugars they want to give up. For me, I chose to eliminate everything but honey because that was how I defined my Food Freedom Forever. But, my Food Freedom Forever also included other forms of added sugar that I was defining by the foods they were in rather than the types of sugars. For example. I determined that I could and would eat a chicken sausage that included added sugar in the ingredients (some have very little sugar). It is these types of foods that I’ve struggled to eliminate since I only just welcomed them back into my diet. Honestly, I decided to re-introduce a limited amount of select foods simply because I determined that they were what made the Whole30 feel like an inconvenience and unsustainable long-term. If my husband or I wanted to use a recipe that included sausage or some bacon and I simply couldn’t find it sugar free, then I wanted to be able to make it anyway!  And as a result, I’m finding I’m less motivated to fully eliminate them now (since I know they’re not a ‘problem’ for me). Basically, the GSF course is stricter on sugar than how I have defined my Food Freedom Forever and it has proved harder than I expected to reverse course.

With that said, I’m really enjoying the course. We receive a daily email chock-full of information with a lesson such as a cliff notes for a book we should but don’t have time to read or a video to watch, etc. The Facebook group is also pretty active and I’ve used it a  few times to post about my frustrations, to share a success story, or to ask a question. Once you take the course, you are a lifetime member and can retake it whenever you want so the FB community is a big mix of newcomers like me and people on their 3rd or 4th round.

So far my takeaways are this:

  • I feel better off sugar and refined carbs.  Actually, grains in general. But, when my friend brings over a beautiful white baguette, I still struggle to say no to it.
  • Grains are my gateway drug. Much more so that a piece of milk chocolate. Give me a piece of white bread and I’ll immediately eat 5 more…
  • I asked my husband to hide our scale until my next weigh in and I can’t believe how good it feels (look out for a separate blog post on this).
  • My diet has never been clean enough to be able to determine how particular foods were making it feel and I’m finding it fascinating to learn about it for the first time in my life (this is an extension to what I was already learning with Whole30).
  • I am sleeping better.  Well, I’ve actually always been a great sleeper in that I fall asleep and stay asleep pretty easily.  But I struggle SO much to get up in the mornings.  When Im eating a sugar and grain free diet and don’t eat anything after dinner, I have a much easier time getting up and feel lighter and less bloated when I do. In fact, Toby and I have been getting up at 6am and going on a 2-mile walk with my friend and her 4 yr old each morning. Im also getting in a 21 Day Fix workout 5-6 times a week.
  • Im super frustrated that I’m not skinny and in a size 2 yet 😦

Examples of clean, fresh meals I’ve been devouring this week:

Breakfast: Scrambled egg, sauteed kale, sweet potato, guacamole

Lunch: (1) Tuna, guac and veggies and (2) taco salad (leftovers)

Dinner: (1) Peruvian Beef Stir Fry from Skinnytaste and (2) grilled chicken, asparagus and squash.

Go Sugar Free Course (Days 1-4)

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Jacqueline Smith’s Go Sugar Free course – 67 days to free yourself from sugar addiction. They say it takes 66 days to break a habit so they went with 67 for good measure. 🙂

Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 9.09.43 PMI feel like I’m at a significant advantage (over my previous self) because of the Whole30. I’ve completed two round of Whole30 – a 30 day elimination diet that excludes added real or artificial sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and baked goods – since January. The ultimate goal of Whole30 is to help people find what they creator Melissa Hartwig calls your “food freedom forever.” Hartwig defines Food Freedom Forever as being in control of the food you eat, instead of food controlling you. “Resets like the Whole30 can jump-start the process,” she says, “but as anyone who has dieted knows, holding onto that freedom and creating healthy habits that last is the hard part.

I successfully completed two rounds of Whole30, learned so much about my relationship with food and how it affects my body and mind and I know what I want my food freedom to look like but my addiction to food – especially sugars (and related grains) – is strong. And soon after I complete the program, I fall back into my old ways.

With the foundation set from Whole30  I am embarking on my Go Sugar Free journey. What draws me to this course is more than just the extended time period of 67 days but also the:

  • The abundance of information we receive based on up-to-date research (so we dont have to read all the books and studies ourselves).
  • Practical guides on how to handle various personal and interpersonal issues that will arise throughout the 67 days.
  • One-on-one support that Jacqueline provides through email and phone calls.
  • A private group where we can engage with current and past students.

Days 1-4

My overall diet has improved tremendously following my first Whole30 and my sugar intake, even during a ‘relapse’ has certainly been lower or at least the ‘bingeing’ has been minimized. So, these first 4 days have been pretty easy for me:

  • No physical symptoms
  • Very notable increased energy
  • Cravings have definitely existed but pushed aside relatively easily

Major Goals

  • Free myself from my addiction (obviously!)
  • I’m not going to lie – weight loss is a close #2
  • Related to #2 – An after photo!!!
  • Improved sleep (specifically, not feeling tired in the morning even after 7-8hrs of sleep)
  • Increased energy – increased intensity of workouts

It’s too early to make any judgement about the overall quality of the course. Although I am very lucky to have received a scholarship to participate free of charge, I know everyone else has paid $399 and to be personally honest, Im expecting my mind to be blown for that type of money. It’s a huge investment and not one that I would have been able to make. I learned about the course from a favorite blogger of mine – Iowagirleats.com and she certainly raved about the course, so I have high hopes on account of that.

I am looking forward to what the next 63 days hold. You can follow me on Instagram to see the great stuff I’m eating!

A 3.5 and 1.5 year old…Must I say more? + Expanding the blog

We’re still here! It’s been 6 months since my last update and so much has changed.

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waterplayMaya is 18mos today and she is a firecracker. She is strong-willed, opinionated, and stubborn as hell. She challenges me daily with her tantrums and fits but she also brings so much joy with her contagious giggles, her ongoing chatter, and the pitter patter of her little feet as she hurriedly toddles around the house.

She’s the kid who wants to turn left when everyone is going right. She wants to sit on the table rather than at it. She won’t sit in the wagon because she has to push it. You hand her milk and she throws it and then whines because she’s thirsty. It’s draining at times. But it’ll do her good in the face of peer pressure at 16…right!?

But compared to just a few months ago, she’s an angel. I swear some version of her colick lasted for 14 months. Now, she’s just kind of a badass 🙂

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Toby-roo is freakin’ awesome. God I love that kid. He is still so sweet and sensitive. He asks me all the time if I’m happy. He says, “you are loved, mommy.” He loves to cuddle and to share a long kiss while making the sound, “Mmmmmmwa!” He’s also super competitive and gets angry when he loses races with friends. And he’s got a hefty control streak in him and can fall apart when friends don’t want to play the game his way. We’re working on it. All I can say is parenting is emotional, tiring and so hard. Each kid is so different from one another and so different from you. But my god do I feel so lucky to have them both in my life.

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MomandTobes

TobesAndMommyonPillowsI’m really enjoying being home with the kids (Toby is in school 3 half days per week) and have put off going back to work full time for the forseeable future. I have some contract work that’s bringing in some extra money which has been nice and makes me feel like I still have my head (a little bit) in the game. We’ll see where life takes us this next year…

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I also started the new year with a desperate desire for self-improvement. I’ve been working at it, but I’ve struggled. But I’m still working on it. I’ve completed two rounds of the Whole30 – a 30 day elimination diet – and it has had an enormous impact on me. I have learned so much about food science and nutrition, how much my body responds negatively to crap food (of which I still eat too much of!), and how good my body feels when everything I’m putting into my body is healthy, whole foods.

On Wednesday, I am to begin a 67 day course called Go Sugar Free that i hope will help me kick bad foods, namely sugar, out of my diet once and for all. The course is $399 but I was one of four lucky winners of a scholarship based on the submission of a personal statement about why I wanted to be a part of the program. I’m really excited about it but know it is going to be hard with lots of challenges so I plan to expand this blog to include my journey throughout the course and hope a few people may find it interesting.

 

 

Maya is 1 Year Old!

We’re baaaaack!!! Whew, it’s been a whirlwind of a year and I’m here to give you the cliff notes now that life has settled down!

First thing first – Maya is 1 year old!!!

This girl – she is the most beautiful little being I’ve ever set eyes on. Her smile lights up a room. Her giggles make you laugh along with her.  And those bright blue eyes simply speak to you and make you melt.

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Maya gets excited by the sheer sight or sound of her brother. She begins to wiggle and kick as she and I walk downstairs and her brother’s voice comes into earshot.

She loves to walk, holding ever so slightly to my hand.  She’s been doing it for months, yet still too timid to take more than a step on her own.

She is attached to me with such ferocity that I’m lucky if I can step out of the room before tears fall and she’s chasing after me.  I love the feeling of being needed and appreciate that the warmth of my arms will not be enough to create such a sense of calm for much longer but it is exhausting as well.  She refuses to let anyone else, except Simon (and even with him, not all of the time), hold her, soothe her or care for her.

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Today her ped described her as precocious because she has mastered the ability to throw a world class tantrum at an earlier age than most others in addition to her intense stranger danger. I would not claim for a moment that she is an easy-going baby.  But her intensity also means that she loves deeply and has great passion for things she loves like reading, walking, and her family.

Maya is my sweet, itty bitty (5th percentile for wt. and ht.), fiery little girl.  We love her so.

And then there is Toby. This kid is so amazing.  And is literally changing every.single.day. He’s learning, he’s growing, his passion for the things that he loves is remarkable.

Toby loves all things fire truck, garbage truck, trains, bikes, cars, car carriers, and puzzles. He loves biking, running, swinging.  He loves to wait for the school bus every morning and watch as the “big” kids get on. He loves to sing songs to his sister when she cries, he loves to ask questions and questions and more questions. He loves to make believe. And he loves to wear his big boy underwear.

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Toby loves his little sister. And there are moments – many, in fact – that they laugh and play together.  Moments where he’ll share his trains with her or explain new concepts to her. But he’s struggled to learn how to be gentle with her.  And fun and games can often end in tears when hugs turn into tackles and pats turn in to pushes. I’m struggling to navigate this area of my parenting and find myself at a loss of what to do. Traditional discipline doesn’t seem to work.

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As for our lives – we’ve moved across country. Back to DC and the east coast. We feel so much more ‘at home’ here. The east coast is where I belong, that’s for sure. When we moved in July, I became a stay-at-home mom.  The transition has been a positive one, albeit difficult. It’s certainly the hardest job I’ve ever had.  I plan to go back to work sometime next year, but this time has been so precious and I have had the opportunity to get to know my kids in a way I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to do.

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Simon is working for an organization that has been affected quite dramatically from the recent election so he’s working long hours helping his team rethink their approach to policy advocacy. And he’s rocking it!

My family is now driving distance from us and I am grateful to have them closer although I still wish they were right down the road.

It’s Christmas time and I love this time of year. Life is pretty good over here and I’m happy to have found the time to get back to you.

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We’re Out of the Newborn Phase! Hallelujah!

Life finally feels a little bit settled. We were not blessed with easy newborn babies. With both, the first 3 months were filled with piercing cries, lots of bouncing, and loads of stress.  Maya wasn’t as bad as Toby was, but, well, we weren’t parenting TWO kids at that time.  Nights for weeks on end consisted of Simon and Toby coming home to Maya in a full blown meltdown, me passing her off in frustration and then us spending the next many hours tag teaming both kids – getting Toby fed and to bed and doing everything we could come up with to soothe Maya.  Whew, Im so glad that period is over.

Just like they always tell you (but you never believe when in the throws of colic), Maya’s fussiness went as quickly as it came right around 3 months old. She is such a joy – so happy, full of smiles, playful and fun.

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And Toby adores her.  Absolutely adores her.  He has never said ‘I love you’ without us begging him to say it prompting him to say it, yet just this evening he planted a gentle kiss and Maya’s cheek and whispered, ‘I love you, Maya.’  It was magical – one of those moments that reminds tired parents that it is all so very worth it.
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The one issue we’re still struggling with is Maya’s weight.  She has continued to drop in percentiles and goes some weeks without gaining a single ounce.  She is currently 10lbs 3oz and in the 2nd percentile.  We consulted her ped who has instructed us to add 1 tsp of formula to each bottle of breastmilk she receives (the powder is mixed straight with the milk rather than water).  This is to sneak in some extra calories. While my anxiety makes me worry that there is something terribly wrong with her that we have yet to uncover, my rational brain believes that she is just not a big eater.  Our ped says a kiddo her age should be eating 4-5oz per feeding and Maya usually eats between 3-3.5oz max.  Sometimes 2oz.  But, it really seems like that’s all she needs because like I said, she’s happy as can be these days and she continues to be an excellent sleeper. So, we’ll just have to wait and see…

We have also made the difficult decision to withdraw Toby and Maya from their daycare and enroll elsewhere.  It has just been one thing after another there – mainly terrible management that shows no respect to parents. When Toby’s outstanding lead teacher put in her notice last week because of bumping heads with leadership, we decided that was the last straw (one of the assistant teachers who recently joined the class and has been very cold with the kids was promoted to lead!). We lucked out and found a place with one spot left in each classroom available immediately, is more highly rated in the state’s early childhood quality rating system, is much closer to work, and is $800 – yes $800! – cheaper.  It’s going to be a challenge for Toby. He’s a shy kid and it takes him time to warm up to new people. But, I know we’ve made the right decision.They start on the 28th.

21 Day Fix: Setting Goals

I’m starting week 2 of the 21 Day Fix tomorrow.  I want to kick ass.  As always, I started the past week super strong and then ended it luke warm.  Well, perhaps better than luke warm – I’ve completed all my workouts and eaten pretty well.  But, I stopped using my containers to measure my food over the weekend, I ate too much dark chocolate, and we went over to a friend’s house for brunch this morning and I ate (and thoroughly enjoyed!) everything they fed us including pancakes covered in maple syrup…

I’m going to kick ass this week. I’m determined. I’m going to follow the program to a T and I am not going to let myself fail.  I want to show myself that I have the strength, determination, motivation and faith in my abilities to be successful.  I want to believe that my hard work will actually  result in a me I can truly be proud of.

So, here are my goals for the week:

1. I will not eyeball my food measurements. I will put everything IN my containers even if that means cutting up my chicken or breaking my piece of salmon into little piece.
2. I will only eat what is on the fix approved list.
3. I will eat all my green and reds every day.
4. I will take a 30 min walk during my lunch break at least twice.
5. I will take the stairs from the 2nd floor where I park to the 8th where my office is every morning/afternoon.
6. I will be active on social media in order to keep myself accountable and to look for motivation.
7. I will work out every. single. day.
8. I am going to let myself believe that it is possible for me to have the body that I never thought possible!

21 Day Fix: One Week Down…Almost

I made it through my first week back at work.  It’s hard to be away from Maya but luckily Simon was home with her for 3 of the days, I was home for one of them and she spent one day in daycare.

MayaSmiles

I remember the separation from Toby being really hard, but I dont remember feeling so angry – angry at the system for making me leave my innocent and wholly dependent little girl with strangers in order to keep my job and provide health insurance coverage for my family. It’s bullshit.

A silver lining is that we’ve been really stressed about Maya’s weight and this week of bottle feeding gave us a better understanding of how much she drinks in one feeding and the total ounces from a large part of the day.  I also rented a hospital grade scale last week so that I could weigh her before and after feeds.  I’ve been pleased to see that she was averaging about 3.3oz off of me and has been taking about 3.5oz every 2.5-3hrs from the bottle.  Im guessing she’s getting between 19-24oz per day.  It’s not a lot – most kids her age are likely taking closer to 4oz per feed and 28oz per day.  But, it’s adequate and I feel ok about that.  We have an appt with her doc on Tuesday for a weight check and to talk about interventions if required. Ugh, we’ll see…

Meanwhile, the 21 Day Fix is going pretty well.  I was going strong with the workouts for most of the week which surprised even me because I wasn’t able to do them until both kiddos were asleep and I desperately wanted to be lounging on the couch.  On Friday, however, I didn’t make it.  I was having a crazy anxious day which always makes me want to curl up in a ball, eat chocolate and cry. So, I came home, wolfed down 5 Dove dark chocolates and poured myself a glass of red wine…oops.  But, I got right back on track today and did 2 workout – Cardio Fix and Yoga – in order to make up for it.  So, I’ve forgiven myself :).

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Food this week has gone pretty well.  I really enjoyed my lunches made up from the massive meal prep I did on Sunday.

Breakfast has been a bit tough because I haven’t given myself enough time in the morning to cook something up.  I ate a Lara Bar on my way to work at least twice which, while healthy, is not a good way to get all my containers in for the day nor does it fill me up as much as a big bowl of oatmeal or two eggs and some ezekiel toast would be. Im going to make sure to cook up a batch of steel cut oats tomorrow so that they’re ready to go for the week. I guess I could also try getting up a few more minutes early 🙂 but it’s just hard to plan out the morning when I need to be nursing on demand until the minute I walk out the door.  Oh, and getting Toby up, dressed, fed and out the door with me!

Snacks have been pretty good – usually nuts and an apple, peppers and hummus, yogurt and berries, or ezekiel bread with banana and almond butter.  I ordered shakeology which finally arrived this weekend so Im going to begin drinking shakes as one of my snacks as opposed to using them as a meal replacement.  I’ve realized I need to eat a bit more containers than what I am allotted based on my weight category in order to make up for calories burned while nursing.

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Finally, dinners were fun to experiment with and we had some really yummy, healthy, and satisfying meals including:

Simon’s famous chili (1 yellow, 1 red, 1 blue)

Chili

Quinoa Fried Rice from one of my fave food bloggers, Damn Delicious (1 yellow, 1 green, 1.5 red, 1 tsp).

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Healthy Kung Pao Chicken (1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 2 tsp).

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And Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast (1.5 green, 1 yellow, 1 red).

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I’ll just end with this… 🙂

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