Endure Run Conquer

Patience. Persistence. Perseverance.

Are your goals holding you back?

 

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Goals can be too comfortable.

There. I said it. 

To be clear, just because a goal is comfortable doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, a comfortable goal may still be very challenging. For example, for a long time, qualifying for (and actually running) the Boston Marathon was a goal of mine. (I’ll spare you all rehashing the Boston saga, but you can read more about it here.) Is qualifying for the Boston Marathon “easy”? No. (At least, not for  us mere mortals). Was it a comfortable goal for me? Absolutely.

Focusing nearly exclusively on qualifying (and re-qualifying) for the Boston Marathon was an “easy” goal for me because it was a known entity. Was the act of actually running a qualifying time easy? Heck no. But the goal itself was something I was comfortable with. I knew how to train for a marathon. I knew how to run a marathon. I knew that I had already previously qualified for the Boston Marathon. I knew  exactly what I needed to do and I was completely in my comfort zone.

In some cases, exclusive focus on a  single goal is necessary and commendable.  Perseverance and persistence are qualities that I believe are imperative to accomplishing anything worthwhile. However, at some point it is important to ask yourself why you are focusing on what you are. Is your goal your goal because it’s truly a desire? Or is it simply a goal because it’s what you think you should be doing (or because it’s what everyone else is doing)?

My own longtime focus on running the Boston Marathon has held me back from growing in so many other ways (both athletically and personally). Focusing exclusively on running Boston meant I was constantly training to someone else’s standards (and not to my own potential). For every long run that I spent on the road, I was leaving other aspects of running unexplored (for example, trail running or ultra running). For every morning I spent adding “junk miles” to my total weekly mileage for the sheer sake of “keeping up with the Joneses” on Strava , I was failing to actually challenge myself to learn a new skill (for example, through weightlifting or CrossFit). It is easy to show up on the path to run with my friends. It is not so easy to show up somewhere where you have no idea what you are doing and silently praying that you don’t look too clueless.

Don’t get me wrong. I love running. It has been (and continues to be) a fundamental part of who I am. But I have come to realize how by maintaining such a myopic perspective has held me back. I have essentially held the same running goal year after year for no reason other than it was comfortable and it was something that I knew I could accomplish (heck, I already had). Something that I thought was a mark of my drive and perseverance was actually no more than an excuse to stick with what I knew and what was comfortable.

There is something liberating in just trying to learn new things. To start at the beginning and to establish a whole new set of goals. Pending getting my body back on board, my goals for 2018 will be completely different than years past. Some may seem small (actually be able to do a strict pull-up) and others may seem big (run an ultra marathon(?)), but I can assure you that they will all be outside of my comfort zone.

What goals have held your back? What are your new goals for 2018? 

 

The Heart of the Matter

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Off the grid (yet again) plagued by an unknown health issue. Countless doctors, tests, theories, and more questions than answers. All I know is that something is going on — and  this isn’t something that a few visits to PT and a couple of runs on the Alter-G is going to fix. 

Since July, running has been extraordinarily difficult. I had a fairly strong marathon in June and was *hoping* for a PR in the fall. At first I thought it was just a hip flare up (which happens from time to time post surgery) or a running “funk”. Then I realized that there was something going on at a physiological level. Overnight, EVERY SINGLE RUN became hard. Which made sense, given the fact that my heart rate was spiking 20-30 beats per minute higher than what it should have been at the same effort previously (based on months of training data).

For example…

On July 15th I ran a 20 mile run, with my last 8 miles between 7:40 and 7:00 pace (overall run average 7:58). It was warm and humid. My HR average was 150.

The next weekend I ran the same course under similar conditions. My average pace was 8:30. My HR average was 164.

By the end of September, a 5 mile run at 9:15 pace put my HR average at 163 (with temperatures about 20 degrees cooler than the two prior comparisons). A 3 mile run at 8:00 pace would put my HR close to 180.

Each week got worse. I reduced my weekly mileage to pretty much nothing (thinking that if I was overtraining, this would at least bring some relief). It didn’t. Of course, just around the time things started going from bad to worse is when I found out that I had missed the Boston cutoff. While Boston was a bummer, not being able to refocus my energy on something else because of this unknown issue was far worse. Disappointment compounded by an inability to reenergize and refocus.

I know that I have a number of autoimmune issues that may be contributors, if not causes, of what’s going on. But there is no one “test” to make that determination. If anything, there is a lot of trial and error. And patience. Which I am just about tapped out on, given I have essentially been dealing with one challenge or another over the course of the last 5 years. I know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s just running. But it’s still hard.

Most of the times I’m fairly certain that there really isn’t anything wrong and it’s just some minor issue that will be eventually figured out with an “AH HA” moment. Other times, I’m scared.

It’s funny how things change when your goals change. Injury (or illness) is isolating in a number of ways. You realize a lot about others. You realize a lot about your relationships with people. You realize even more about yourself.

In the meantime, I’ve backed my mileage way down. I am constantly monitoring my heart rate during all portions of my runs. I’m trying not to lose all my fitness (yet again) because I can’t stand the thought of having to start all over. Because (dramatic or not) it’s heartbreaking to constantly be thinking of how far I am from where I once was and constantly wonder whether or not I will ever have the opportunity to explore my potential.

I just needed to vent. I started really writing on this blog back when I was dealing with my hip diagnosis and found that having documented the journey made things more palatable (and helped keep perspective). Hopefully, someday I will look back at this saga the same way.

Burned by Boston

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I tried updating my Facebook status about 15 times today but was at a loss for words.

Or there were too many words.

For those who have been following my journey, trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon has been the ever elusive target. When I first started running marathons back in 2011, I thought there was no way I’d ever be able to run a qualifying time (and that’s when the standard was 5:59 slower than it currently stands). In 2012 I missed qualifying by 23 seconds. I tried in early 2013 and ended up suffering from heat exhaustion. By fall of 2013 I was ready — and ran an 11 minute qualifier.

Then life happened. I had surgery (ironically, registration day was the same day as my surgery). I spent a year recovering from surgery. I had a baby. I had more hip pain. I had pelvic floor issues after the baby.

Then, I gutted it out and decided to go for it again. I wasn’t in my best shape, but I was in qualifying shape. So I went for it.

The race was much harder than it should have been, even given my current fitness. I ran a little slower than I knew I was capable of, but it was all I had in my on that day. I ran a 3:31:48 – 3 minutes and 12 seconds under the qualifying standard. Every other year it would have been enough. By a long shot.

I was going to make a second attempt this fall to give myself a bigger cushion, but quite frankly, I didn’t have it in me. My June race was 7 1/2 months postpartum. I trained completely sleep deprived (waking up every 45 minutes during the night only to wake up for the day at 4:30 a.m. – netting about 2-3 hours of sleep each day) while also working full time as an attorney. I gave it what I had. I went right back into training, but a few weeks in my body started rejecting running. Physically and mentally – I was tapped out. I decided it was wiser to take a break than to keep pushing through and setting myself back even further. I was almost certain that my cushion would be enough.

As registration day creeped up, I found myself distancing myself from all of the Boston chatter. I’d been down that road. I’d been disappointed. I’d made it and that still hadn’t been enough. I’d revolved my life around Boston for so long it started to take on a life of its own. All I wanted to do was run the damn race. I’d been in “Boston shape” for 5 years and just wanted the opportunity to check the box and move on. I truly thought that this was my year. That the lessons had been learned from the adversity. That hard word and perseverance would finally pay off.

It didn’t. Not in the way that I had hoped. Yet again, I found myself on the outside. This time by 11 seconds.

I have been advocating a drop in the qualifying times for years. I believe that a qualifying time should mean something and that those who meet it should have the opportunity to run. A flat time buffer isn’t fair percentage-wise either, as it’s far more difficult for a 3:05 marathoner to run over 3 minutes faster than a 3:30 or 4:00 marathoner. I would be far less heartbroken if I had simply missed my goal rather than been good enough, but still not good enough for the ever moving target. But that’s a whole separate post.

I found out when I was at lunch with clients. Since I couldn’t let my emotion get the best of me, I became numb. Surprisingly, it was a few hours before I finally cried. Then the sadness turned to anger. But I realized something — I don’t think this is a “get back on the horse” and try again situation. Quite frankly, I’m so sick of the obsession that that fire just isn’t there right now.

The reason I am taking this so hard is two-fold. And neither reason is about the race itself.

First, it’s the sheer principle of the situation. I feel like I have been through my share of adversity in going after this goal. I know that I deserve to be there. I am hard enough on myself. I don’t need someone (or something) else adding to that feeling of inadequacy. But life’s not fair. I get it.

Second, and more pressing, is the fact that I feel lost. My first few marathons were transformative experiences and have left me with a sense of purpose. Even after qualifying (whatever that now means)  my most recent races haven’t left me with the same sense of accomplishment. I know that I need to take a break from the BQ-marathon goal. I just don’t know what that looks like. Or where that leaves me. I don’t do well aimless and goalless, so this needs to be figured out sooner than later. Right now I just feel like I’m floating along, having some sort of athletic identity crisis.

These are my feelings. So I’m putting them out there, despite the fact I feel like a petulant child. Because really, it’s just a race. I have wonderful friends and family. I have my health. I have the things that really matter. I know in the big picture I am very fortunate. Regardless, I am laying low for a bit, because even though I know these things, I need to grieve. I need to cry. Even if it’s just a stupid race. Because for better or worse, that’s how I feel.

The highlight of my day today was picking up my daughter after work. She reached out her arms for me and gave me the biggest gummy smile. I realized that while it’s okay to let myself to have a pity-party today, I need to move on and reenergize. Because there is so much more to life than just one race.

 

Mother Runner Mondays – Priorities

Lately I have been thinking a lot about priorities. Somehow, the hours of each day slip away even quicker than the one before. I wake up and immediately hit the ground running (literally squeezing in my workout before my eyes have even completely opened), yet my to-do list remains untouched.

Being a working mom is hard. That is not to say being a stay at home mom is easy (quite the contrary, as the weeks that I was home on maternity leave were some of the most challenging weeks of my life). However, working full-time means time away from my family, which makes the hours that I am home all the more precious. It means that sometimes dishes remain unwashed and laundry piles up because I want to spend time with my daughter. It means my time over the weekends are priceless and sometimes (most times) I’d rather choose to stay in than go out.

My weeks are crazy. I not only work full-time, but I work many nights as well (often meaning I will be gone until after 9:00 p.m). A typical day for me may mean waking up at 4:30 a.m., feeding the baby, squeezing in a run (finishing before 6:00 a.m.), and leaving for work by 7:30 a.m. On days that I know are going to be long I try to come home for a few hours, but that is not always possible. I then will go back to work and not return home until 9:30 p.m. (or sometimes later). On days that I don’t have meetings I am often so exhausted that I fall asleep early. I enjoy my job. My employer is understanding. But it doesn’t always stop the mom guilt.

Which has got me thinking a lot about priorities.

Obviously my family is my top priority, however, I’ve realized that I can’t always be a good family member (mom, wife, daughter, sister) if I don’t have “me” time. I am fortunate enough to have an incredibly supportive spouse who supports me in my endeavors – but it is still far from easy. Most of my “me time” comes at the expense of an extra hour or two of sleep. I will disappear for a few hours on a Saturday morning for my long run, but still manage to make it home shortly after the rest of the family has awaken. I do often treat myself to coffee with friends on those mornings, but even then I have to fight off the guilt that I should be home.

Work poses its own challenges. I am constantly trying to find the balance to be career motivated while still trying not to miss a moment in my daughter’s life. Some days I think I have it all figured out. Other days (especially when I feel like I am missing milestones) are much harder. I know that I am not alone in this struggle.

I don’t have the answers. To be honest, I’m not sure that there are any. But there is comfort in realizing that balance is not about having every area in our lives equally full at all times. Rather, it’s about being okay with the fact that there will be ebbs and flows. The important thing is knowing that your best is good enough.

 

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Mother Runner Mondays – Thoughts on My First Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day From A Fellow Mother Runner

I used to cringe at the term “mother runner.” I didn’t understand why some women felt the need to distinguish themselves from others. (To be honest, there are a lot of things I used to say or think that I find myself backpedaling on these days. Just ask my friend Sarah for some of my comments circa 2010.) To me, running was running, plain and simple.  As a “non-mother runner” I felt excluded by these types of designations and found them to be self-righteous, if not condescending.

The reason that I have changed my mind on this topic is because there are certain things about being a mother and a runner that are hard. Both motherhood and running pose unique sets of challenges. Combining the two creates a significant subset of the population whose needs all too often go unaddressed.

This is not to say that balancing motherhood and running (or fitness) is harder than other types of challenges that others may face (mothers and non-mothers alike). For example, working full time (or going to school full time) and training is hard. Training while dealing with personal or family issues is hard. There are countless scenarios that one may encounter that makes training hard (and I would venture to guess that everyone out there can offer an antidote demonstrating this). But through my own experience I have learned that motherhood presents its own set of challenges that are seldom addressed anywhere else.

I have now come to realize that the term mother-runner isn’t about being self-righteous or exclusionary. It isn’t about having an “us-vs-them” mentality (as I used to think). Instead, it’s about finding solidarity amidst the chaos. It’s about having someone to ask about how to go about pumping before a big race (In the car? In a port-a-potty? Out in public?). It’s about having groups of other women who you can message at 3:00 a.m. when the baby won’t sleep and wondering how you are going to wake up in an hour to fit in your run (because they are still awake and wondering the same thing). It’s about being able to candidly discuss the “gross” things that happen to your body after childbirth without being embarrassed (and learning that you are not alone in your experiences). It’s about recognizing that your body may never be the same and learning to be okay with it. It’s about the guilt that manifests when you know that going for your daily run takes away precious time from your family (but recognizing that in the grand scheme of things that hour away grounds you and makes you a better parent in the long run). It’s about being able to talk openly and unabashedly about those things that no one else wants to hear about.

Finding other mother runners to commiserate with has been a blessing during this postpartum period. At a time where my emotions are swinging all across the spectrum, having others who can offer wisdom and support has been imperative. I am especially thankful for the women I have met in virtual groups (and especially my Oiselle mamas), many of whom I will never meet in person but who have provided countless answers to my incessant questioning. Women who know certain things about me that my closest friends might not. Likewise, in “real life” I have been lucky enough to share my miles with women who have “been there, done that” and who whole heartedly assure me that I shouldn’t stress and that it will all be okay.

This is why this Mother’s Day, I will admit that I have now adopted the term “mother runner” as a badge of honor. I have embraced being a #motherrunner. Because it is who I am and it’s someone I am proud to be.

Mother Runner Mondays – R-E-S-T (and why it shouldn’t be a 4 letter word)

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For many runners, the word “rest” may as well be the f-bomb. I don’t know if it’s our personality types (most runners I know are fairly Type-A) or just part of the overall running addiction – but suggesting a rest day to a runner is akin to asking them if they want to walk barefoot across hot coals (and truthfully, I think some  would prefer the coals).

Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t sit still. Literally. I can’t watch TV or read a book unless I take periodic breaks to clean something or write an e-mail. Heck, I can’t walk from one room to another without trying to multi-task. It’s a blessing and a curse. However, last weekend I was sidelined like I never have been before (giving birth and hip surgery included)! I ended up having a dental abcess (read: really really REALLY bad infection) in my jaw. I have had an embarrassing amount of dental work done before (4 root canals prior to this as well as impacted wisdom teeth) and any discomfort I had with any of those procedures pales in comparison. It felt like having the flu (chills, sweats) with a broken jaw and migraine headache — all at the same time. My face swelled up to the size of a baseball. The worst part was that because I am nursing, the medication that I could take was extremely limited (it happened over the weekend and I had difficulty getting a straight answer from anyone about the safety of the prescriptions).  Most of the weekend was spent on the floor curled up in a ball or sticking my face under scalding water. It wasn’t pretty. For two solid days I was in pure survival mode.

The problem came once I started feeling a little better (i.e. no longer dying). I started feeling guilty for not jumping right back into a routine, notwithstanding the fact that I was still in significant (but not completely incapacitating) pain. I initially took Monday off of work, but tried to go back Tuesday (thank goodness my employer knows how I am and just told me to go back home when they saw me). I ended up being off of work for 3 days in a row. I have never been off that long in my entire career for any reason other than surgery and giving birth.

Mentally, while I was home, the hardest part for me was forcing myself to sit. Not to worry about paying bills. Not to worry about making phone calls to straighten out insurance issues. Not to worry about making a grocery list. Not picking up toys left around the house. Just resting and regrouping. I had to keep reminding myself-it wasn’t just about me anymore. My health matters to Isabella too – and she deserves to have a healthy mom. Which meant that I needed to be serious about letting myself recover.

Too often, we get caught up in what needs to be done and just wear ourselves down further and further instead of just pausing that extra second. We feel guilty for taking care of ourselves. However, in the long run, rest is just as important (and sometimes even more important) than doing. Resting is a way to prevent overtaxing ourselves and is a necessary step back before we can keep pushing forward.

Mother Runner Mondays

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Life has changed. So have I.

My tolerance for all-things-gross has reached an all new level. In some ways, it’s not all that different than some of my running conversations (pooping, snot, and all sorts of other bodily functions), but instead of it being a part of a larger conversation, it has now graduated to a central topic of discussion. I can have an entire conversation about poop at the dinner table or go to work covered in spit-up and not be phased by it one bit.

That being said, my life as a mother has obviously impacted all areas of my life, including my life as a runner. I have found overwhelming support and information through groups on Facebook (and particularly my Oiselle ladies) but there are certain areas where I feel like the voices are lacking. I frequently see the question”when can I return to running” in my running while pregnant groups or message boards. Heck, I know I asked that question across multiple forums throughout my pregnancy. And if there are two things I have learned, they are: (1) everyone is different, and (2) what you are able to do/not able to do during pregnancy may not be the best indicator.

As I wrote about before, I had a number of unexpected issues come up during my postpartum recovery. When asking around, I learned that others have too. This has encouraged me to dedicate Mondays to the issues plaguing my fellow mother-runners.

So moving forward, I hope to make Mondays a day to discuss these issues. While it may not be every Monday (because, life right now can be a little crazy) I will try my best!

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How to Beat the Winter (Running) Blues

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Living in Chicago can be tough weather-wise, especially during the winter months. There are only a few runners I know who truly embrace the cold, rather than simply put up with it. The bitter cold and dark, combined with the lack of sunshine, truly makes getting my butt out the door extremely difficult. I have found that February is the worst for me. I am able to maintain some sort of motivation in November (as I am often still coming down from the high of my fall marathon training) and December. Right around when my motivation starts waning, New Years resolutions give me a renewed sense of purpose. However, by the time February hits I am ready for spring.

There are a few things that I have found help me to stick with my training schedule during the winter months.

  1. Dress Appropriately 

What it means to “dress appropriately” can be different for everyone. Admittedly, I am always cold and tend to overdress. However, certain things should be non-negotiable for any runner once the temperatures start to drop.  When I left for my run yesterday morning it was 12 degrees. I left the house wearing two tanks, a long sleeve top, jacket, warm socks, two layers of gloves (my hands are the worst), an ear warmer, and a neck gaiter. I actually think I may have been a little overdressed (there was no wind) but I was comfortable, if not borderline hot, the entire time.

Other pro-tips: I cannot stand cold water during the winter, so I drink a cup of decaf tea during my drive to the run to hydrate. I also love using Hot Hands during those runs where it is really cold (and not only in my gloves — I will also stick them in my sports bra to keep my core warm).

      2.  Set a Goal 

Signing up for a race is always a good motivator. As the spring racing season creeps up, signing up and setting a goal is a great way to stay motivated and to force yourself out the door. If you feel like you are in a slump – find a coach to take your training to the next level. Accountability is key!

      3.  Get Creative With Your Training

Until I joined CrossFit, I was horrible about cross training (see above discussing accountability). The winter months can be the perfect time to try new things — yoga, spinning, swimming, CrossFit — the options are endless. It’s perfectly okay to back off the mileage during the winter (or any time that your body needs a break for that matter)! Trying other activities also helps the body to stay healthy as it wakes up muscles you aren’t necessarily used to engaging and gives other muscles a rest.

      4.  Create Treadmill Workouts

I don’t love the treadmill, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.  Especially now having a newborn, the time that I have to workout can be unpredictable. If I run a steady pace on the treadmill I will undoubtedly become bored in minutes. Instead, I play games with myself. Most often, I will bump up the pace after a certain amount of time and work my way up and back down for the duration of my run. For example, after a warm-up, I will start at 6.6 for .1 miles and bump it up a notch every .1 miles (or .25 miles or .5miles or however I am feeling that day). I will then either start over or go back down the ladder. I have found that because my mind stays engaged the run goes by much faster.

How do you stay motivated during the winter? 

Postpartum Care – The Things Nobody Tells You and Why It Needs to Change

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I am shocked at how little (if at all) that women are educated about the stresses of labor, giving birth, and their bodies postpartum. Having a baby is a huge physical stressor. Yet the extent of care that most women receive is a 1-2 night hospital stay and a sparse computer printout containing general discharge instructions. There are so many things that nobody talks about  (probably because most of it is pretty gross and embarrassing). The only “heads up” I had was from my close friends during hushed conversations. But why? Why are we so ashamed to talk about something that so many women experience?

I was lucky. I had a short labor and minimal pushing. While I did have some scary moments during labor due to stacking contractions, the overall time that my body spent in “distress” was much shorter than most. I was certain that this meant that I would rebound fairly quickly and be back to my normal workout regimen in no time. However, that was far from reality.

When I had my hip surgery, I received very clear instructions from the surgeon as to how to prepare my body for the stresses of surgery (both before and after). I had a very intense physical therapy protocol (both home exercises and 3x a week office visits). My doctor and my physical therapist each worked with me to create a clear path to returning to my optimal activity level.

Giving birth is very different. And it shouldn’t be. I know that the issues that I am facing are not uncommon – but they are things that no doctor ever warned me about. I have a weak pelvic floor. I have abdominal separation. I have other internal issues as well. The only reason I know this is because when I tried to resume physical activity – things felt wrong. Not just “I just had a baby” wrong – but wrong wrong. My OB knew that I was a runner but never mentioned any of these warning signs or things that I may be feeling.  She never mentioned the conditions that I am now receiving treatment for. I was lucky that she had no problem making a referral to a women’s PT practice – but had I not requested it I don’t know if I would ever have been referred for treatment. During my pregnancy nobody mentioned the pelvic floor or recommended that I do exercises to strengthen prior to giving birth. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case for most women. It truly is a shame.

I encourage all women to educate themselves and to learn to be their own advocates. Being in good physical shape does NOT necessarily correlate to an easy recovery. The pelvic floor is a whole separate area of fitness that I wish I had understood sooner. Certain damage is inevitable – but the extent of it can be mitigated.  Why are our doctors not talking about it? Why are women not being educated about this? Why is treatment not being offered and encouraged? When so many women experience one issue or another – why aren’t we talking about it more?

Here’s to opening the conversation. Let’s talk about it. 
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Whole 30 – Take 3

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For the last three years, I have attempted a Whole 30 at the start of the New Year. (For those of you unfamiliar with the Whole 30 Program – you can read more about it here). My first attempt was half-hearted. Mike’s CrossFit gym (which is now mine as well) was hosting a gym-wide challenge. He had decided to participate – and because he cooks all of the meals in our house I ended up participating by default. We were strict for a few days, however, after a few minor “cheats” we were back to our old eating habits within the first two weeks.

Last year I tried again and did much better. I remained completely compliant for about 2 1/2 weeks until our vacation to San Diego. While I know that Whole 30 is about “no excuses,” we take such few vacations (only one every few years) I wanted to fully enjoy the experience (food included). I did notice a significant change for the time that I was following the program – but couldn’t muster up the motivation to try again once we returned back home.

This time is a little different because my motivation is different. Isabella has demonstrated a number of minor digestive issues that seem to be linked to certain types of food. My hope is that by eliminating many of the traditional “trouble” groups she will see some relief. Moreover, my own autoimmune issues are flaring up something fierce and since I am nursing I cannot take my normal medication and am hoping that such a diet will also help to reduce the inflammation. Because I am nursing, I have to be sure that I am still eating enough calories, which means adding in more snacks than I typically would otherwise.

To be successful with a Whole 30, the most important thing is to go in prepared. This means doing a grocery shop BEFORE starting the program. Although there are a ton of great Whole 30 recipes out there – food doesn’t have to be complicated to be compliant. Through my prior failed attempts I have learned that complicated meal planning increases the probability of cheating (because who wants to spend a lot of time cooking when they are hungry?) Our staple meals are fairly simple – chicken breast or hamburger patty, veggies, and/or potatoes. Compliant condiments or sauces help alleviate the boredom and keep things easy.

Today is Day 7 and I feel like I am starting to get into the grove. My cravings have subsided as I get more familiar with my options. Snacks continue to be the hardest – especially with a newborn. Whereas I typically would reach for gluten free pretzels or cheese sticks, my current snacks tend to require a bit more preparation. If I don’t have the time (or a free hand) I have found Lara Bars and homemade trail mix (walnuts, raisins, and unsweetened coconut flakes) to be easy options. I’m excited to see what the next week will bring!

Who else is doing a Whole 30? What are your favorite meals/snacks? 

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