We Did It! Our Whole30 Experience

When my prized pair of skinny jeans absolutely wouldn’t zip… and I seriously couldn’t find one outfit apart from yoga pants that I felt comfortable in, I knew I had to make a change. Here’s the real truth though: I’m great at working out – I love taking new classes and going for runs. But when it came to eating, last year, I made some pretty awful choices… over and over again.

Now, I’m not beating myself up too much – but instead of just going on some diet, I wanted to do something that would really, truly make a difference in my life. I didn’t want to stay on a diet for the rest of my life, but I needed a lifestyle kick to put my habits back into check, changes my cravings and get my portion control back on track.

My lovely roommate, Christina, had a brilliant idea: let’s do Whole30 together!

Pre-Whole 30!

Pre-Whole 30!

For those of you who are unfamiliar – Whole30 cuts out refined/processed sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, legumes and booze. After the 30 days are complete, you gradually add back in those things to see how your body responds – that way you know what’s good for you and what’s not really compatible with your digestive system.

We’ve both learned so much and seen so many changes in how we feel and look. See some recipes, our inches and weight loss, before/after photos and advice:

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My First Week of Whole30, as Told in GIFS

My roommate and I both wanted to make a big difference in our health and lifestyle this year, so we challenged ourselves to do Whole30 – a program that cuts out sugar, booze (which duh is sugar), carbs (except in veggies), legumes (aka, beans) and dairy. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy thing to do, but after a year of overindulging in just about anything I laid my eyes on, I was ready to shed some weight and feel vibrant again.

We’re officially a week in (today is day 9 to be exact) and I do feel really, really awesome. I have so much energy, I sleep better, my skin is clearer and I actually crave carrots and green beans as a snack. (Yeah, I know, it’s weird!).

Even so, this week hasn’t been simple – and I’m sure the three weeks that I have left won’t be either – but I’m excited to see how much of a difference it will make to curve my cravings and shape my lifestyle. Though I haven’t weighed myself or measured (they advise not to until the end) – I already can tell a difference in the way my clothes fit.

If you’re thinking of making a shift in your diet or exercise habits… here’s how my first week of Whole30 has been… in GIFs:

Woohoo! Grocery shopping for healthy things. Look at all these pretty veggies. I’m SO excited. 

 

Holy moly. I can’t believe that’s how much I weigh. I’ve never been more ready for a cleanse…

 

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I Just Want to Dance

I walked from 50th and 7th west to Hell’s Kitchen, listening to old music on my iPhone and silently reminding myself that yes, Frankie, the best is yet to come. I carefully avoided that street where Mr. P used to live — or rather, crash on some girl’s couch — in the months after we broke up. It’s on that block where my favorite South African wine bar with pretty white lights outside is. It’s on that block where I tried the only piece of sushi that’s ever made me sick. It’s on that block that on a smoldering summer day last year that I gave away yet another piece of my dignity to a man who never earned it.

I cursed those thoughts away last night, going uptown only to go back downtown, just so I wouldn’t have to walk past that door. It’s good exercise and it’s finally beautiful outside, I reminded my racing mind. Once I arrived at the Thai place, ordered a glass of wine and waited for my friend K who was stuck on a bus in traffic, I exhaled, relieved and finally, sat down for the first time in what felt like a long time.

I looked around the dimly lit place with overpriced entrees and acceltic decor, analyzing the scene before me. Groups of people still dressed up for the derby, others on first dates, one couple who barely shared a word, another who couldn’t stop laughing. Ladies in tight dresses like mine, men who shouldn’t have another shot of sake at 8 p.m. Champagne in the corner, cocktails to my right, a pile of menus to the left.

And me.

Sitting alone in a busy place, getting lost in a whirlwind of considerations and forgetting, again, to consider myself. I’ve had a hard time admitting it — much less writing it — but I haven’t been in the best of moods lately. I’ve felt guilty for being unsatisfied, for being even the least bit sad, for not being so extremely thankful for everything I’ve achieved, everything I have in my life. I’ve beat myself up over the fact that I’m bored, that I’m flustered, that I’m incredibly frustrated and yes, scared. I’m not the girl who backs down from a challenge and never one to face something without a little questioning, but when nothing is exactly wrong, yet nothing feels right, what’s a girl supposed to do?

I’m not sure, but I’m starting with tonight, I thought as I closed my eyes and I took a sip of wine. With the majority of my friends in budding or settled relationships, I’ve had to try harder to push myself to be social. To go out and mingle, to get out of my cozy little apartment with my cozy little dog so I didn’t cozy myself into complete solitary confinement. And luckily, my lovely — and freshly single — friend K was up for trying a singles mixer. The cure, I’ve found, for feeling funky, for not having what you want, for feeling trapped or suffocated by your own life, is to do something different. I’m not sure if my diagnosis or my prescription will work, but at least it’s better than Chinese and another Netflix movie I won’t actually like at the end of an hour and 31 minutes.

After dinner, we walked through Times Square and giggled at the lights and the tourists instead of rolling our eyes. If we were braving the crowd of a “20s and 30s Cinco de May Singles Party” just a block from the chaos of Broadway, we might as well be in good spirits. As expected, the guest list wasn’t very impressive and obviously far past 39 than what we hoped. While the men were primarily much (much!) older or very (very!) short, there were a few who hung around us long enough to pitch in a margarita and hold at least somewhat decent conversation. We didn’t care though — we were busy trying on sombreros and shaking maracas, listening to the odd collection of music and attempting to dance.

One overzealous man who was nice enough, but not enough to make me want to see him past the bar, kept trying to pull me into him to sway along. He’d try to get my attention or wrap his arm around my waist as I tried to move away, until finally, he pushed my Southern manners too far and annoyance won over. With one more tug, I turned around and said:

I just want to dance! 

And there, with a glowstick wrapped around my head, three margaritas and a glass of wine in, people dancing around me and a drum booming, I nailed what it is that I’ve been feeling. I’ve been so terrified of nothing in my life ever changing. Of never making enough money to live by myself in an apartment I love. Of never feeling beautiful in my own skin. Of never meeting someone that’s special, of letting Mr. P haunt my memory forever. Of being the last single girl when everyone around me finds what they are looking for. Of never doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, where I want to do it.

Of not being able to get away from the wall and dance. Of not being able to let go of all of these silly little fears to find my own beat. My own pace and my own moves. All this time spent worrying and fretting over what’s next or what’s not, of holing myself up in a tiny room I pay too much for, of exhausting myself with trying to be perfect. Of trying to figure out the answers before I know what questions I even want to ask. Of trying not to the do the wrong thing and writing off everything that was good in the process. All of this time wasted anxiously awaiting for my life to begin…

…when really, all I needed was to dance. And all I really wanted was to dance alone. For now. Until I find my own rhythm and can let someone in for a spin.

Don’t Forget Sandy Hook

I’m not a mom –but I’m like one. I’ve always had dozens of cousins and now I work in the parenting space, so I often find myself relating to mothers and tucking away ideas and tips for when that day comes. Maybe it’s that mothering mentality that everyone notices about me that made what happened at Sandy Hook so devastating to me.

It was a day like any other — I received an email from our news editor alerting us that there was a shooter in Connecticut and we planned to follow it to see what happened. I don’t think anyone was prepared for 20 children and the 7 adults to lose their life in under ten minutes at the hand of one shooter. And post-tragedy, I still don’t know what the answer is to make schools safer. Part of me thinks there will always be disturbed people who do these heinous things but a bigger part believes in the good that could come out of it — and in stricter gun control laws, too.

I spent most of the weekend following Sandy Hook in a daze — praying and thinking about those families who just lost a special little light that lit up their entire lives. I thought about their full stockings on Christmas day that will never be opened. About all of the things I’ve experienced that they never will. About how heavy and broken so many hearts were, are and will continue to be.

There isn’t really anything anyone can do. No way to get those moments back, no way to make the moments before last longer. No way to give them one more hug or one more kiss.

But I wanted to do something.

Inspired by what the Running Mama did for Hurricane Sandy, I decided to do something similar through Confessions of a Love Addict for the families affected at Sandy Hook. Regardless if you’re a runner or a walker or just want to give a donation, anything goes a long way to rebuilding lives and to keeping the memories alive of those lost.

Here’s how to get involved in the Run For Sandy Hook Remote 5K

How it Works:
On Saturday, January 19, you and a group of your friends will run/walk a 5K wherever you are and then email your race time to confessions.loveaddict@gmail.com. All who sign up for the race will be entered into a drawing for a fun, awesome grand prize pack. The winner will be announced on January 20. The more money you donate, the more chances you have to win! (**Note — if you don’t want to run, you can still donate!)

Sign up here to join the race
Donate money here ($20 suggested minimum, but any amount is great!)
(Note: you’re not officially signed up for the race until you donate something)
All money raised will go to the United Way of Western Connecticut Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

I will also post photos of runners, so send them race day!

Please feel free to spread the word and to ask me any questions you have. If you’re in NYC, I’ll be planning a run in Central Park — so if you want to join, you’re more than welcome to, just email me.

Thanks for helping out Sandy Hook — there’s not much we can do, but joining together can make a huge difference.

Me, Myself, and My Shadows

I’m usually not forgetful. Really, I’m one of those odd characters who remarkably recalls something that happened six years ago in a fleeting moment. But yesterday – I could not have been more absent-minded.

I won’t make excuses, but this week has been superbly busy. One of our biggest issues of the year is in the making, our office is moving to a new location next week, I’m on the mad search for a new apartment, I’m running daily, attending a happy hour or two, Skyping with Mr. Possibility extremely early or late my time or his, and you know, this, writing daily blog posts. Not to mention some Twittering, Facebooking, Tumbling, and when I’m lucky, maybe getting seven hours of sleep.

I’m not complaining – I consider myself extremely lucky and blessed to have a life that’s full, that’s ever-evolving, that’s full of the best things a city could offer: great friends and grand adventures. Nevertheless, sometimes with so much going on and residing in a place that encourages less rest, hard work, and more play – I’ve found myself a little off my A-game recently.

Case in point, after work and after viewing yet another vacancy on the Upper West Side, I made my way to the gym, excited about releasing all of my stress with a healthy four-miler. When I arrived, I was happy to see a moderately-empty place and a treadmill readily available for me. I rushed to the locker room to change so no one would take my coveted machine before I had time to dress down and throw my hair up. After putting on my running shorts, I discovered not only had I forgotten a sports bra, but also a hair tie and socks. For a successful, focused sprint, all three of these items are necessary – even if the ladies aren’t exactly luscious, they do deserve and need support.

Frustrated with my forgetfulness, I did a few reps to relieve stress on the abs, arm, and leg machines, and then decided I was brave enough to brave the semi-chilly weather outside. After dropping off my gym bag and Longchamp at my temporary apartment, I hit the pavement…well, running, of course.

Though the sound of my own feet beating the road matching the beat of the music usually soothes me and clears my head, last night, I just couldn’t get the rhythm. I wasn’t losing my breath, but I also wasn’t finding my clarity. Out of my zone and continuously burying myself further into my worrying fit, I felt someone behind me. Suddenly on guard and wondering if it was possible to be unsafe at what I consider an early hour, 8:30, I quickened my pace without glancing behind. Though it was only a few seconds, the moment that passed seemed to be in slow motion, but as I turned the corner, I realized the shadowing I noticed was not an intruder, but just my own shadow.

Somehow, on the edge of the park where I was running, the way the street lamps mixed with buildings hovering above caused me to not only have one dark reflection, but three: one behind me (what I saw), one to my left, and one in front of me. I’m sure this has happened to me a dozen times without my recognition, but on Central Park West in that experience, I couldn’t help but watch my threesome of shadows come together as the light changed as I moved.

Symbolically, I felt like I was witnessing my past, my present, and my future mold into what those things make up: me.

Twenty minutes later, walking back to my apartment and stopping for a much-needed Greek yogurt (current food obsession), I thought about how much of what causes me anxiety or worry is stressing about the things I can’t change. And most of those headaches have to do with wondering what will happen in times I’ve yet to experience. Like on May 1 when I move to an unknown location or when Mr. Possibility settles in New York for an extended period of time, after several bouts of traveling. Or where my byline will appear six months, a year from now, or the networking event I’m attending in a few weeks. And then my forehead scrunches up in such a way I’m sure I’ll have wrinkles there one day (we’re ignoring the fact I already sorta do) -I struggle with letting go of what was. Like the friendships that just aren’t the same anymore or the people I should call more, but don’t. Or the battle I have to apologize for pain I caused years ago, when in reality, the wounds are healed, and if not scared over, they’re most likely disappeared forever.

But worse than wrestling with all the places I’ve been and all the places I hope to go, I often forget to value the place I am today. Though I remind myself (and I’m often told) that the only path leading to peace is not really a paved road at all, but the spot I’m standing – I’m often too busy running away from it to realize its beauty. I’m too scared of the past sneaking up on me, too concerned with where I’m going, that I rarely see how all of the pieces come together, effortlessly, in their own way and right, without much trouble at all.

I don’t really believe there is a way to fully release our experiences, nor do I think it is healthy. We must take from our own educational past to continue to grow, and we must have something to go toward, if we’re going to get anywhere. But without accepting, and dare I say, loving the person we are right now- the past and the future don’t matter.

A few steps before my front door, on the phone with my mom, I stopped in the middle of my block, and took note of the shadow before me. Wildly stretched longer than I’ll ever be or would ever care to be, I saw the shape of my body. Without any distinctive features or coloring at all, I didn’t resemble myself – but I knew the street reflection was me.

It was me, myself, and my shadows. With the most important of the trio not the shades of dark and light surrounding my feet, but the part that was real. The part that would still be, even when I walk inside, and leave the rest behind.