Journey to the best health of my life (yes, the journey includes olives)


Whole30 made me feel beautiful

I’ve finished my second round of Whole 30. In fact, I finished a few days ago.  I have been wanting to write a post, but (and I’m being brutally honest here!) I had mixed feelings on the day I finished.  I was extremely proud of myself.  I still am.  I did 30 full days of sticking to the rules.  By the seventh day I noticed that my shirt was feeling loose around my tummy.  By the end of Whole30 my pants were falling off as I ran up the stairs for the train.  My energy was up; my skin was glowing; my system felt clean.  Result!  Why wasn’t I jumping up and down? (aside from the fact I did not want my trousers pants to fall off!)

I had to think long and hard about that question.  Like many of you, I have been struggling for years with my weight.  Even with Whole30 success it did not feel like enough.  I started Whole30 weighing in at 238lbs.  I finished 16lbs lighter at 222lbs.  Before you all go crazy and jump on me – I get it, 16lbs is a GREAT loss.  I’ll be honest – it was not enough for me.  I wanted to lose 100lbs yesterday.

I spent the last few days changing the way I think.  My brain needed to be retrained.  Success is measured in small steps, and not just one big step.  It’s all about the small steps we take on our journey that will turn into that big change we want to see.  That decision I made to not consume something off plan was a small step.  That decision I made to to exercise was a small step.  That decision I made to give 110% to Whole30 was a small step.  Small steps are enough.  Small steps lead to big changes.

My results are enough.  To me, the weight loss is a small step. It’s a small percentage of the long journey ahead of me.  However, it took a lifetime for me to get to where I am today and I cannot expect to lose 100lbs overnight. In addition, I now truly appreciate all the results.  I am on this journey to be the healthiest version of myself that I can be.  I have seen many positive changes while completing Whole30.  They are all small wins.  If I can continue the small wins I will reach my goal.

Whole30 did not just guide me to eating nutritious well-balanced meals. Whole30 challenged my mind.  It led me through a path of emotions that has truly changed my life.   It forced me to open my eyes and now I view my successes differently.  I am going to stop putting myself down and instead celebrate all my successes – big or small!

I looked in the mirror this morning and I felt beautiful.  Beautiful because my body is well-nourished; beautiful because I am taking small steps to improve my health; beautiful because I am true to myself; beautiful because when I smile I’m truly smiling.  My husband tells me all the time that I’m beautiful, but rarely in my life have I truly believed it. Today, I believe it.

I have no affiliation with Whole30 – I just think it’s an amazing FREE program.  Check it out here.  Also, I would strongly recommend reading It Starts With Food.  It’s a fantastic book!  



Sweet potato hash with eggs

When I first saw this Whole30 friendly recipe I knew that one day I would definitely make it!  I finally made it yesterday and it was so good.  I’m 6 days into my Whole30 and I’m doing great. Yesterday I definitely felt the need for more carbs though.  I made this delicious meal which was tasty and satisfying.  I had it with a big salad on the side.


1/2 sweet potato
1 large pinch of Himalayan sea salt
A few shakes of a mixed herb powder
1 tablespoon of fresh crushed garlic
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 egg (if you want)

Peel the sweet potato and shred it.  If you have a food processor then you can follow what nom nom paleo did.  If you don’t then you can use a spiralizer like I did.  It was a bit tricky, but once I got the hang of it the spiralizer worked great!  Put the shredded sweet potato into a mixing bowl and add the salt, herbs and garlic.  Use your hands to mix it up.  Feel free to change it up for your taste buds.  You can add pepper, chili flakes and various other herbs.  Melt the coconut oil in a pan and add your shredded yam.  I cooked it with the lid on for a few minutes until I could see the potato browning on the bottom layer.   On the side make an egg (I always use coconut oil to cook my eggs).  Eat while hot!


Whole30: Day 1

As promised, my first day is done! Normally the first day is pretty easy right? I prepped on the weekend, and had all my food ready and planned.  I opened my fridge in the morning and it just made me smile.  I have a variety of freshly cut up and ready to eat vegetables which look so good.  I was ready to go!  I had my breakfast (eggs, a small salad, half a grapefruit).  That kept me going until lunch where I had some pork, a large salad and the rest of the grapefruit from the morning.  Then came the challenge.

Day 1 challenge

A few people at work went to get coffees.  Last week I told my colleagues that I was starting a 30 day clean eating challenge on Monday.  One colleague asked if I wanted something from Starbucks.  I said no, and that I was fine.  She came back with a coffee for me – one of the new ones for the season (caramel something?). She insisted I have it.  I reminded her that I just started a clean eating challenge.  She responded saying that I could just make it a ‘cheat day’ – everyone has them.  I’m not even going to get into ‘cheat days’ right now, and how I absolutely hate that term.  I’ll leave that for another post.  And a cheat day on day 1 – or any day for that matter?!  I don’t think so!

So, I thought, what do I do now?  How to I handle someone at work that is trying to sabotage my 30 days of clean eating?  It may be coming from a good place, but she is still trying to sabotage me.  I have real health issues, and may have even more serious health issues if I do not focus on clean eating.  I’ve been vocal about my 30 day challenge and I just wish that everyone respected that.  At the same time I did not want to offend her.  All to often ‘not offending someone’ has led me down a path that away from my health goals.

I decided I was not going to let the Starbucks coffee sabotage day 1.  I poured it down the sink.  I felt terrible because by taking the coffee and not drinking it I was not being honest with my colleague.  Maybe one day I will be able to just say no, and not worry about offending others.  However, when I evaluated my day I felt really good about the decision I had made to not break a promise to myself.

I will face more challenges over the next 29 days.  I hope I have the strength to make the right decision every single time.

Have you faced challenges like this?  How do you deal with it?  I would appreciate any tips!


Starting the Whole30 Program

I have spoken about the Whole30 program, and I’ve said how this changed my life. It truly changed the way I think about food. I think about all the diets in my life and this ‘diet’, this way of eating, is the one that makes the most sense to me. It is the one program that I know is filling my body with the goodness it deserves.

For those who don’t know, I completed my first Whole30 in early 2012 with amazing results. I have tried to do it again, but have never quite managed to finish 100%. Well, last night something clicked and I decided it was time. I’m officially starting Whole30 on Monday November 3 and I will finish it 100% this time. I plan to be successful.  I will follow the rules. I will give myself the best chance at success.

It will not be easy! I have lots of events over the month of November.  I could wait for a quieter 30 days, but that will never ever come.  There’s always something going on.  The time is now.

Planning is my friend. I need to plan my week in advance, and I must plan for the unexpected. A late night at work, impromptu drinks with colleagues, stressful moments.  I’ll be spending weekend making sure I’m ready!

It’s only 30 days, right? I can do this!


Update: Deal with dad

I made a deal with dad on August 10.  We would each challenge ourselves to eat well, and also include more exercise in our lives.  I told him – do this for 30 days and you will notice a difference for sure!  He would stay away from processed food, diet pop (or any pop!) and juices.  At that time, Dad did no exercise so he committed to start walking and swimming.  I decided to try Whole30 again, and commit to at least 4 days at the gym.  Our start date was August 11.

I’ve been speaking to dad as the month progressed.  He has made improvements, and I’m proud of him for that.  He is eating more home-cooked food, and has been for the odd walk.  However, 50% of his diet is still based on processed foods and take-out.  Also, he rarely drinks water, but instead still chooses juices and pops.  He did not go swimming once.  It hurt that he didn’t even seem to want to try getting into an exercise routine.  He says he is starting to feel better, but did not notice anything significant.  I encouraged him to stick with it, and to keep taking baby steps to a healthier lifestyle.

My month started off well, and has actually improved over time.  I stuck to Whole30 for 98% of the time – so cannot say I completed it.  However, it was still 110% better than my last attempt.  I had the odd cafe mocha, slice of cheese and spoonful of yogurt.  I also had a single Lindt truffle (my favorite!).  But that was it.  It wasn’t often, and certainly not daily.  I experienced loss of appetite so it was hard to always eat all my meals – and I didn’t always make it.  However, overall I’m proud of my progress.  The exercise part was easier for me since I was already exercising.  I increased my gym workouts, and now I’m even doing the challenge which means I’m exercising every day.  I’ve definitely noticed a difference, especially since I started the daily workout challenge.  I’m feeling more positive and have a definite spark inside of me!

I’m going to keep working with my dad.  I truly worry about his health, and will keep trying to do whatever I can to help him improve himself.  I know from experience that people can only improve if they want to improve themselves, but when you love someone you will keep encouraging them and will never ever give up on them (even if you feel frustrated with them!).  Change does not happen overnight, especially when you’re a 69 year old man – and even when you’re a 30-something year old female!  I’ll keep giving dad ideas to help him improve, and will be that little voice in the back of his head that tells him he can do it.  At the same time I’ll lead by example and continue on this health journey to the best health of my life.





Deal with dad

Taken by @Foxy_O in San Diego, California

I don’t speak with my dad much. It’s not because I don’t love him or care for him. It’s just that we really don’t have a lot in common. I don’t usually have a lot to say to him. I have a very close relationship with my mum, and speak to her a few times a week – sometimes a quick call, and sometimes a long call. Yesterday it was a long call.  Oh, I should mention my parents do not live in Canada. 🙂

We spoke about dad’s health, and an operation he has chosen to do. Without going into too much detail – the operation is on his spine.  He doesn’t have to do it, but he wants to do it.  There are possible benefits, but also risks involved.  There may be no improvement on his condition.  He could lose the ability to walk.

Dad’s diet is terrible, and that he doesn’t move a lot, let alone exercise. I’m not a doctor and I don’t know if his condition can be improved by a better diet and exercise. I have researched and read a lot about health over the years. I know for sure that it couldn’t hurt. Hell, I know that without the research.  I spoke to my dad for a long time yesterday. I explained to him my concerns, and that I worry. I want him to have the best life he can have. I made it clear that he can’t do that if he doesn’t help himself.  I have had this conversation with dad many times in the past.  It always ends the same.  He says he will change, but the very next day he is back to his old habits.  I wanted this time to be different.  I wanted to show him my support the best way I know how.

I made him a deal.

30 days of eating well – eating whole, non-processed foods, together with walking and swimming.  Drinking no pop, only water. I said that if he agrees to that then I will stick to my plan 100%. For me, that means completing Whole30 again, and going to the gym at least 4 times a week. My current diet is good, but not great. I’ve slipped into a 80/20 routine, and I haven’t been as regular at the gym. I have tried doing Whole30 a second time, but just haven’t been able to pull it off. However, I cannot and will not lie to my dad.

My dad agreed, and my mum even jumped in. The start date is today, August 11.

So this is it. A challenge for myself and my dad, and even mum.  I will report on this in 30 days!


Sometimes things change

Photo by @Foxy_O taken July 2007 in Rurutu, French Polynesian Islands

Photo by @Foxy_O taken July 2007 – Rurutu (French Polynesia Islands)

I’m a strong believer in evolution. Not just on the topic of how humans came about, but also on the evolution of my mind. When it comes to food: I’ve gone from eating meat, to vegetarian, to vegan, back to eating meat, to the ‘forks and knives’ philosophy and now to paleo (and lets not forget all the random ‘diets’ during all these stages). My thoughts evolved over time and they were based on things I read and my personal experiences. I have never felt as good as I do eating paleo (Whole30 changed my life!) so I know this is the right way of eating for me.

In this post I said how I will beat PCOS the natural way.  I still will beat PCOS, but after conversations with my doctor I decided to start taking Metformin.  For those of you who don’t know, Metformin is usually given to patients with diabetes to help control their blood sugar levels.  It is also common for those diagnosed with PCOS.  Many people with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance and this medication can help.  I have tried for years to shift the weight permanently.  It has always been 1 step forward and 2 steps back.  After a lot of research and consideration I started taking Metformin about a month ago.  I suffered from terrible diarrhea for the first couple of weeks, but that passed.  I have not noticed any other side effects.  According to my doctor this should also help regulate my monthly cycle (which is extremely irregular).  My husband and I have been talking of family planning and this is one of the steps in that process.

I really want to stress that just because I’m taking Metformin does not mean that I am going to neglect my diet and exercise program.  Everything that I have read in my research tells me that Metformin works best in conjunction with a clean diet and regular exercise.  I still strongly believe that diet and exercise are the two most important things when it comes to my health.  I don’t plan to be on Metformin for the rest of my life, but I do plan to eat well and exercise until the day I die.