What the health…

I hope you had a lovely holiday! We sure did. I can hardly believe that the year is nearly over and it will 2018 in a few days.

And while it is very cliche to do so, my new year will bring a renewed focus on the scale.

I have written about my weight in the past.  In fact, I drew a line in the sand 2 years ago, to move more, eat less, and get back into my clothes.

It isn’t a secret.  If you’ve see me in person, you know that hasn’t happened.  Between preparation and sale of our old home, the luxuries of resort living, the international travel plus renovation stress, I have managed to eat my way to a weight that I have only seen one other time.

I was 5 months pregnant.

Despite a daily green smoothie for the last month, I feel awful.

So here goes.

I am on a mission to get trim and fit in 2018 – a mission to not only work off the 20 pounds I have gained in the last 2 years, but to make my health a priority.

I am starting on January 1, and I have given myself until my next birthday (June 14th) to hit my goals. I am also dangling a pretty big carrot for myself, should (when!) I hit my targets…more on that later.

If you have big health or weigh loss goals for yourself in 2018, and you’d like to be a part of an accountability group with me for the next 6 months, let me know.  I am going to need some serious partners in this effort.  I learned during my Whole 30 experiences hangry is not my best emotion and friends and partners can keep me from derailing with things get tough.

If you see me, ask me how I am doing (the threat of a public failure is also a powerful motivator for me) and wish me luck!

~ Jennifer





My 2016 January Whole30 Recap

finished-the-w30-fb-coverI finished my 4th Whole30 on Wednesday.  (I also did a Whole30 in June ’13, July ’14, and January’ 15.) This particular span of 30 days included New Year’s Eve, the wedding of a friend, three trips for work and the debut of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Translation: This particular span of 30 days had me on the sidelines of champagne toasts, excellent catered food, meals at the company’s expense with a plethora of non-compliant options and movie popcorn. Ug.

This 2016 Whole30 was initially financially motivated.  My eating had gotten so bad that when I stepped on the scale after indulging my every whim during the holidays, I confirmed what I already knew.  Unless I wanted to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, I had to change.  I had NOTHING to wear that didn’t make me look that dancing wedding guest from Steel Magnolias. (see the part at 49 seconds.)

I am an all-or-nothing kind of person when it comes to diet and exercise.  I know that most people do best when they take everything in moderation; make good choices and enjoy small indulgences occasionally, but that is not how I operate.  I am lousy at having only having one cookie, one slice of pizza, or one glass of wine.  One turns into two…which turns into stuff-my-face-for-days.  Whole30 works for me because the rules are straight forward and there is no gray area.  It is all or nothing.

– Eat clean fish, meat, poultry, veggies, fruits, fats, nuts and good fats.

– Do not eat processed foods, grains, soy, sugar, alcohol, legumes, or dairy.

– Do it for 30 days.

– Reset your body and your mind at the same time.

So here is what I have taken from my most recent #Whole30:

  • I feel better, physically and mentally when I eat this way.
  • I am no longer grumpy about my #whole30 food choices. I have purchased two terrific cookbooks (NomNom Paleo and Whole30 Cookbook). I used Pinterest more and because of it, I was able to find several kid-friendly options that I can feed my family so that I am not cooking two different meals. (Check out my Pinterest Paleo board for ideas, although not 100% of the pins are Whole30 compliant.)
  • Plan. Plan. Plan.  Unlike my last Whole30s, I made and brought my breakfast or lunch to work every day, unless I had a function to attend.  I planned dinner one or two nights in advance and made sure to thaw, prep and wash the night before so that cooking was a breeze. This was key to maintaining a better mood and lower stress.
  • LARA bars = life savers.  Cherry pie and lemon bar are my favorites.


  • I lost 9 lbs. While this is great, it is only slightly more than half of what I need to lose to wear my favorite clothes again, but I’ll take it.
  • My pants and jeans that barely fit in December are not only able to be zipped up now, but look better because I am not bloated and puffy.  A flat tummy is so much nicer than a poochy one.
  • I am sleeping better.  While I never had “tiger blood” this time around, my energy level has been more consistent and mornings are not as tough after a restful night.
  • I am also not dragging in the afternoon.  With no need for an artificial sugar-boost toward the end of the work day, my kids have even noticed that I come home more energized and in a better mood.  (Having dinner dinner planned also helped eliviate post-work day stress…see lessons above.)
  • I have not felt or been sick in 30 days.  No upset stomach, no hangovers, no gurgling digestion issues, nada.  After months of indegestion, headaches, and general malaise, this is HUGE.

I took a more thoughtful approach to rewarding myself as well.  At 10 days, bought myself a new tube of lipstick. At 15 days, I took myself to the movies.  At 20 days, I got a manicure and pedicure.  At 29 days, I took a 45-minute long bubble bath. I had these ideas planned out in advance and I looked forward to them the way I usually to look forward to birthday cake at a party, although in truth, I still look foward for birthday cake.

I missed cheese most of all, so on day 31, I reintroduced some sugar-free dairy by adding a little goat cheese to my grilled chicken, but otherwise I had a regular Whole30 kinda day.  (I had learned from previous Whole30s that when I eat dairy combined with sugar, it is BAD.  The first time I had ice cream, I thought I was having a heart attack.)  I did not notice any significant side effects from the cheese aside from a little tummy rumbling. And it was worth it.  I will try a few more varieties of cheese and milk, before testing legumes and grains next.  And there might be wine.

Ok, there will be wine.

If you are curious about trying Whole30, I say go for it.  There is no real downside.  You won’t go hungry, there is no special powder you have to buy, no appliance you need to mix up your food, no contract you have to sign, and no points or calories you have to track.

Yes, 30 days of denying yourself some of your favorite foods is not fun, but on the other side, you might learn a bunch about your body and your self.

And you might get back into those skinny jeans.







Well, I did it.  Almost.

Thirty days ago, I started the Whole30 eating plan. I cut out dairy, sugar, grains, gluten, legumes, and all processed foods from my diet.  I learned to eat whole foods – grass-fed meats, free range eggs and poultry, seafood, healthy fats and oils like coconut oil and bacon grease, fruits, nuts and vegetables.  Tons. Of. Vegetables.

I learned to read the labels on the backs of foods in the store more carefully.

I learned that there is added sugar and/or corn in nearly everything I was eating.  And that was making me feel tired and bloated and uncomfortable when I did not have to feel that way.

I cooked daily at home and made smarter choices on the road.  I used my Cuisinart more in the last 30 days than in my whole tenure of ownership, which spans 10 years.  I now can make some really good sweet potato chips.

I learned to eat some new things.  I tried scallops, jicama, taro and cauliflower – and I liked all of them except the cauliflower.  I made my own mayonnaise and chicken stock….and they were both really good.   I used up whole bottles of cumin, paprika, basil and cinnamon.  I learned how to cut a mango and pit an avocado. I bought locally-dried beef jerky and road-side Georgia peaches that blew away the imported stuff. I lived without Diet Coke, chai lattes and wine – and I am only looking forward to the wine coming back.

I slept better, stood taller and I even got back into some clothes that were too snug just a few weeks ago, thanks in part to the 5 1/2 pounds I lost.

I learned the difference between craving something because it is available – like the beer, seven-layer dip and cookies on the 4th of July or a Chipwich in the snack cooler at a company meeting  – and craving something because it is special, and rare and a real treat.

And that is why I did not make it to the 30th dinner in my Whole30.

Tonight, on the eve of my dad’s memorial service, I had Skyline chili with my family.  In the company of my mom, my sisters, my brothers-in-law, my uncles and aunt and my children, I enjoyed a small bowl of my favorite food on the planet, a food that my parents used to have packed on dry ice and shipped in styrofoam coolers from Cincinnati to Florida before you could buy it in the frozen foods section of Publix.

Skyline chili is a part of me and my family.  It is part of my dad.

And I enjoyed relished this meal more than words can express….though I did pass on the pasta and the enriched hotdog bun that normally accompany a Three-way and Cheese Coney.   (I guess I did learn something on my Whole30!)

Above all, what I have learned over these last several weeks is that 99 times out of 100, taking care of myself, eating better food and being more aware of where my food comes from, makes me feel better.

And for that 1 in 100, the feel-good comes from someplace greater than the taste of the food itself.

Cheers to anyone who goes on this Whole30 adventure.  May it change you for the better.

It certainly did for me.

Paleo: Good for you or too good to be true?

So first, how do you say it?




From ThePaleoDiet.com:

The Paleo Dietis based upon eating wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on during the Paleolithic era, the time period from about 2.6 million years ago to the beginning of the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago. These foods include fresh meats (preferably grass-produced or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat, if you can get it), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthful oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed). Dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods were not part of our ancestral menu.

So what does all of that mean?

Have you tried it?

Is it hard?

I am needing a boost in energy these days that the Luna bar at lunch does not seem to be giving me.  If you have any feedback about this way of eating, I’d love to hear about it.


~ Jennifer