Lifestyle, Recipes

Whole 30: Week 3 Review

If you’ve been following along with my Whole 30 journey I want to take a second to thank you. You’re a rockstar for reading about my sugar cravings and digestive problems. 😉 I have heard of one friend who is starting her own Whole 30 journey which is SO exciting, and I hope a few other people can look at these posts and form a belief that it’s something they can do, too. You are SO WORTH taking control of your health, and I’d love to support you along the way! Shoot me a message over on Facebook or Instagram and I’d love to chat. 🙂

Now it is time for a Week 3 review! This was definitely not my strongest week, but I still learned a lot through it! I’m also getting to the stage where I need to form a plan of what will be next once these 30 days are over. I failed in this area the last time I tried Whole 30, and I’m not going to let that happen again! I will share my plan with you on the next recap.

If you’re new, here are the previous posts from this Whole 30 mini-series:

Why I’m Doing It

Week 1 Review

Week 2 Review 

And now for Week 3…

The Good

During Week 3 I saw an improvement in my digestion, HALLELUJAH! This was one of my biggest goals that I was hoping to accomplish. There is still room for improvement, but I’m grateful for every small step forward. For this week I slept great again, my skin is staying pretty clear, and my energy levels were normal. I’m learning more and more how to be in-tune with my body and give it what it needs. I’m learning how much I need to eat for breakfast in order to be full until lunch time and that I don’t need as much fruit as I’d like to have. I’ve been noticing a huge JOY in not having to focus on losing weight. I love the fact that my scale is hidden. I feel more beautiful because I know I am taking care of myself, and if I’m doing that, who cares what I weigh… ya know? I have noticed a little more room in my jeans which feels great along with a confidence in who God has made me to be. I love knowing that I’m taking care of the body He’s given me! This is an area where I’ve always struggled to honor Him and I’m super thankful that I’m growing and changing.

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A new recipe we tried this week was Pesto Baked Chicken with homemade pesto and it was great! I also got 4 workouts in (1 less than my goal), but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I have grown a love for T25 the past couple of weeks! Nothing like crazy sweet for 25 minutes and then being done. 🙂

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The Bad

You will notice that I only shared one recipe up there because I failed at meal prepping this week. Our schedule got crazy on Monday, which threw off my meal prep, and then, well, you know how that goes. Thankfully another batch of buffalo chicken helped the week not turn into a disaster, but I did end up eating some random combinations! (not recommend)

I have been missing things like gum and Shakeology, and I had to turn down delicious looking cake balls at a birthday party. On Day 15 I had thoughts of “I’ve done fine… I’ve learned my lessons… do I really need to keep going?”, but thankfully I talked myself back to reality and kept pushing. Otherwise, I’m becoming more and more ok with saying no to things I don’t need which feels pretty amazing.

Another struggle I’m having is afternoon snacking. Yes, I’m still eating compliant foods, but I’m usually not super hungry for dinner because of it, and then I overindulge because I want the nutrients dinner is going to provide. This is my next giant to tackle with self control!

Week 4 Goals:

  • Less snacking in the afternoon
  • Figuring out how much I need at lunchtime to fuel me until dinner
  • Workout 5 times
  • Make a plan for Day 31 and beyond

It’s crazy to be on the final week of this plan! It truly has gone by quickly. Like I said earlier, don’t be afraid to shoot me a message with questions or if you’re needing support in your own journey. I’d love to walk beside you in it! Have a great day my friends!

 

Lifestyle, Recipes

Whole 30: Week 2 Review

Well my friends, Week 2 has come and gone which means it’s time for a recap! The second week of my Whole 30 journey was a little more difficult than the first, which I think is normal. The newness and excitement of it all wore off, and visions of ice cream danced in my head basically every day. Ha! BUT I am praising the Lord because I’ve been able to stay strong and stick with it.

If you’re new here, you can read about why I’m doing the Whole 30 here, and about Week 1 here! Now let’s discuss Week 2…

The Good

My energy levels felt way more normal during this week which was a huge bonus for my workouts! I hit my 5 workout goal, and not only did I get them done, but they felt really awesome. It’s crazy how great my stomach felt on my run without any artificial nastiness in there.

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I loved trying more new recipes throughout the week and we found some major winners! They included pizza soup and buffalo chicken meatballs (great for our March Madness watch party. I substituted almond flour for the panko and it worked just fine!). But the biggest winners this week were breakfast items. We made these sweet potato waffle breakfast sandwiches (but with russet potatoes) and this sweet potato apple bake and I’m pretty sure I could eat both of these things every single day. Please do yourself a favor and try one or both! Even Brady loved them. 🙂

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Also, I have been sleeping like a rock. I get to where I can’t keep my eyes open much past 10 and I’m feeling better rested throughout the day. I still struggle with waking up, but hey, maybe I’m just not meant to be a morning person?

 

The Bad

Like I mentioned earlier, my cravings hit a lot stronger this past week. When my sugar monster would start roaring, I would try to think about something else, or get busy with a different task and usually I’d forget about it. But it was hard! I would love a scoop of ice cream or a nice warm cookie right about now. Even though I’ve had more cravings, it feels really good to know that I can say no to them and move on. It’s a strength I’ve doubted I have so many times!

My stomach did a few weird things during Week 2. There were a couple of days that any food (especially fruit) gave me some weird stomach pain and I got a lot of random headaches. I was also PMSing, so I’m sure that added into it as well. I’m a little frustrated that my digestive issues don’t seem to be getting better yet, but I’m still hopeful!

Goals for Week 3:

  • Drink More Water– I can always improve on this, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t been getting enough
  • Eat More Veggies– My go-to is always fruit and protein. I need to up my veggie intake!
  • Workout 5 times
  • Watch portion control/eat when hungry

Thanks for stopping by! Is anyone else out there doing Whole 30? How’s it going for you?

Lifestyle

Why I’m Doing the Whole 30

I’ve followed Whole 30 on social media for over a year now. I’ve heard of different friends doing it and having great results. Heck, I even gave it a shot in February of last year. So why am I doing it now?

I came to a breaking point in my relationship with food about a month ago. I know I know, it sounds weird to say that we have a relationship with food, but we do! Mine has been pretty broken since I can remember (overeating/binge eating/emotional eating). I’ve used food as a crutch. As a rock in times of struggle. As a reward for any and everything. Basically, I’ve turned to food instead of Jesus with a lack of self-control to the point that it made me feel sick, physically and emotionally.

So, like I said, I hit a breaking point about a month ago and knew something had to change. I’ve gotten better about eating healthy foods over the last 2 years, but I’ve still had a crazy addiction to sugar and carbs. As in if there was candy or sweets or anything of the like around, it would find its way into my mouth and be polished off without a second thought. I got to a point where I was disgusted with my lack of self control and the hold that the enemy has on this area of my life. I knew something intense needed to change, and I was ready to put in the hard work to do it.

Enter: Whole 30

I chose Whole 30 because it isn’t a diet or fad, but it’s an eating plan that is meant to change your relationship with food. You can learn more about it here. The basics are no grains, sugar, dairy, or legumes for 30 days. That’s it. No calorie counting or set meal plans, just crazy good recipes to help you get over the food addictions in your life. I love that the program asks you to weigh yourself at the beginning and the end, but THAT’S IT. You will most likely lose weight with this diet shift, but they don’t want that to be your focus.

So, here are the things that I am hoping to accomplish through this program:

  • break my addiction to sugar (yes, it’s a scientific addiction)
  • clear up the acne I’ve been dealing with for most of my 20’s
  • be less bloated/lose the extra pounds I have
  • learn to eat to fuel my body
  • solve my digestive issues (chronic constipation if you must know)
  • sleep soundly
  • and most of all, let this become an area of my life that Jesus has control of

Now that I am on Day 10, I’m already noticing some of these things changing and I couldn’t be more thankful. God has been walking with me on this health journey for almost 2 years now, and I know I can only keep going by leaning on Him. If I need to do a Whole 60 or Whole 90 to truly break my habits, then I’ll do it. I’m excited to pray through this and see where it all leads.

A week 1 recap will be coming soon! If you’ve thought about doing the Whole 30, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions! And if you’ve done it before, I’d love to hear any tips you have. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and have a beautiful day!

Lifestyle, Recipes

How to Meal Prep for ONE

I am so excited to have our first guest writer on the blog today! Jacque and I taught together for 2 years in the Philippines at Faith Academy, an international school for missionary kids. More recently, we’ve been challenged to take our health seriously and honor God with the bodies we’ve been given. I’ve loved having this lady as part of the journey! Jacque has had great success by using 21 Day Fix Extreme and portion-control containers along with Shakeology, and I’m pumped for you to hear some of her golden meal prepping tips!

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Jacque lost 10.5 pounds and 26 inches after 4 rounds of 21 Day Fix Extreme!

So, you’ve signed up for a healthy lifestyle challenge and you’re ready to tackle your fitness goals. You’ve heard some friends talk about how meal prepping has changed their life and you think, “How hard could it be? Make some food, plop it in containers. I got this.” Soon it’s time to plan your meals and shop. List in-hand, you walk into the store and stare at the veggies. “Wait, how many green peppers do I need? Should I buy bagged salad? What do I do with the food in my pantry? Do I have to eat the same thing everyday? Well, I can’t afford to buy too many organic berries. What can I buy that fits my budget, meal plans, AND won’t go bad before I can use it up?” And finally, the big question: “Is this really worth it?”
Eighteen months ago I had one of those moments in a grocery store. I was prepping for my first challenge group and had never disliked grocery shopping more. It was paralyzing to try to shop for one (do I buy in bulk or single serve?), stay on budget (hello preschool teacher paycheck…), and find “clean” items that didn’t break the bank (organic is HOW much more?!). I’ve been around the block with this meal prepping gig and I’ve managed to create a method to my madness. This blog is an attempt to save some of you the mental gymnastics of meal prepping for one.

  • Use versatile ingredients so you can buy in bulk, especially if budget is a concern. Stick to chicken breast/tenderloins and beef cuts that are commonly used (hamburger, stew meat, roast, etc) or turkey. I learned several different ways of seasoning and preparing it so it didn’t taste the same. My stand-by flavor combos are Tex-Mex (taco mix), Asian (orange ginger), homestyle (Lawry’s and/or Mrs. Dash Onion and Herbs), and BBQ (Sweet Baby Rays and onions). Mix any of these seasoning combinations with rice, quinoa, sautéed greens, fresh bread, or noodles and there’s usually a winning combination waiting for a few final touches.

 

  • The freezer is your friend. Buy in bulk and then freeze at least half of what you buy. This weekend, I intentionally bought far more spinach, meat, bread, quinoa, feta, and berries than I could eat in a week. Of the 4 lbs of berries I bought, I made 7 snack packs (1 cup each) and then cut up and froze the rest for smoothies/Shakeology. I bought 4 lbs of beef stew meat and made 4 crock pot meals (3 of which are in the freezer). I opted to buy bread, even though I can’t eat a whole loaf myself in a week, much less the family pack of 2 loaves! So I froze one loaf and will freeze whatever I don’t eat by Friday. Same goes for the giant box of spinach – the rest will be put in quart bags and frozen for smoothies or baked pasta dishes. For about $140, I strategically bought enough food to last a full 3 weeks. The first time I did 21 Day Fix Extreme, I easily spent $90 for one week of food. Ouch!

 

  • Make your Fix food visible! Re-organize the fridge, pantry, or even your counter space to direct your eyes where they should go instead of where they’re used to going. (Somehow, I always see the Doritos first…) For me, this means the first thing I see in the fridge is a box of snack packs (fruit or veggies) and next in line are my pre-portioned meals. In my pantry, I put junk food in an entirely different container so it’s not just staring me in the face when I go looking for something else.

 

  • Find 3-4 hours to meal prep and knock out the whole week’s worth of food prep. Grabbing a lunch is so much easier when it was portioned out the day before. I always prep on the weekends because weekdays are too busy to find 3-4 hours. And when I don’t prep… I pay for it. I’ve also kept a list on my fridge door with all the things I prepped because sometimes a container gets pushed to the back and forgotten.

 

  • Choose one mid-week night to do a crock pot meal, which can be prepped and frozen days or even weeks ahead of time. Hands down, the hardest part of meal prep for me is feeling like I have to eat the same things for 6 days. When I can come home to a delicious smell that’s different than what I prepped and have eaten for lunch for the last 2 days, I’m a happy girl.

 

  • Always buy extra bananas. They’re one of the cheapest clean foods available. You can easily peel and freeze them if they brown quickly, so you’ll rarely waste them. I have a banana in my Shakeology every time. And who doesn’t love banana bread made with coconut oil? So good and you’ll have the main ingredient always ready.

 

  • Choose recipes that freeze well and portion them into freezer-friendly containers. If by Thursday, you have meals left in the fridge, throw them in the freezer and grab one some day you ran out or need to make sure you have supper as well as lunch. It’ll also help with variety. Sometimes, if I prep something like chili or soup, I’ll throw 2 containers of it in the freezer right away. They’re perfect for a night you don’t feel like cooking but don’t want to eat out.

 

  • Always have a Clif Bar or Lara Bar in your purse and a container of Shakeology. There are few things worse than mid-morning “hangry” crashes or an unexpected delay in meal times. My go-to flavors are Clif’s Nuts and Seeds or Pomegranate Berry Chia bars. I also keep a container with oatmeal and craisins in my desk at work, which has saved me money, time, and bad decisions by just adding a cup of water.

 

  • Consider doing a meal prep swap with a friend who also meal preps. My mentor recently told me she’s trying 21 Day Fix and we’ve talked about meal swapping for variety and as an act of solidarity. I love the idea of cooking for someone else, especially when I know they’ll notice it and appreciate it.

 

  • Give yourself grace enough to go out when you’re sick of what you’ve got. Honestly, there’ve been a few meals I prepped that didn’t turn out well and I did my best to eat it up, but by Thursday lunch, I was so over it. Panera looked SO much better. I know myself well enough that if given the choice and no accountability, I’d opt for junk food instead of another less-than-awesome-recipe of my packed lunch. In those moments, my best choice is to go to Panera, order something I like that’s nothing like whatever I didn’t want to eat, and just move on.

Jacque Olson is a native Minnesotan with a love for Jesus, solid community, and coffee. She spends her days working for a suburban church and her evenings diving into ways to move people God-ward. In her 27 years of life, she has personally worked with 2,800 kids of all ages and various backgrounds. Her motto in life is simply “Choose joy!” You can find more of her writing on her blog, Consider the Ravens.

Question of the Day:

What meal prep tricks and tips do you have? 

In the Word

The Heart Behind the Name

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com·mu·ni·ty (noun): a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals

For the majority of my life community has been a gift I’ve taken for granted. When I look back, I see the Lord’s provision through different friend groups in each stage of my life, where it was easy to find fellowship. It wasn’t until I entered a major transition period — moving back to the States from overseas– that I realized what a gift the ease of community had been thus far. Not that I was completely on my own, but finding a group of people in the same life stage as myself was a huge challenge that left me feeling dry, discouraged, lonely, and craving relationships.

Have you been in that place before? 

Through that season of life, I learned how easy it is for us to take God’s good gifts for granted. I grasped the importance of why God created us to live as a body and not on our own. I started praying desperately for a community again.

Since then, the Lord has been so sweet to me in answering my prayers. (Thank you Jesus!) He is providing me community in a way I never expected and through new and old faces that I’m so glad are part of my life. Through this process, he has shown me the value and need of community, and put a vision on my heart to provide this gift to as many woman as possible.

I adore the passages in Acts that tell about the first body of believers forming. We are told that they were together, that they had all things in common, and were of one heart and soul. (Acts 2:44, 4:32) Although it is a couple thousand years later, I believe God has the same desire for his people today. You and me. His chosen ones.

We aren’t meant to do life alone. 

Along with all of this, a passion for honoring God through health has grown like crazy in my heart. Living a healthy lifestyle has improved every area of my life. I feel more confident to branch out and be who God created me to be. I am letting go of a sin issue with gluttony that I’ve struggled with my whole life. I am learning to honor the temple I’ve been given for the Holy Spirit to reside. And I’m learning to have grace for myself in the process, because it is far from perfect.

I started to ask, If we aren’t meant to do life alone, then that includes health… right? Are other women struggling to find community here, too? 

As these passions have grown, I’ve loved seeing them collide in full force. I started praying for vision. For a community for women to grow in health together. And with that, the Lord led me to 1 Peter 2:9:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 

We are chosen. We are His people. And we are called out of darkness into HIS marvelous light to proclaim His excellencies! Pursuing this calling with a community gives me the chills, friends!

With this, a mission statement was born.

Called Into Light is a community for women to honor God in all areas of health together; spiritually, physically, and emotionally. 

The exciting yet nerve-racking thing with a vision and a dream is that God doesn’t lay out every single step for you right away. But with that comes the journey of following the Lord, stepping out of your comfort zone, and living in faith. I’d be honored if you would pray for this community. That we would seek the Lord in all we do and be reminded of our purpose in every effort. 

If you are seeking community, fellowship, accountability, or motivation in your health and life, Called Into Light is here for you. Please email me if you are ready to find your place!