My Gut Health Journey – The First 30 Days

Welp. Amidst my MIA-ness on here, I had full intentions of starting and keeping you all up-to-date on my recent health journey – but instead you’ll get the cliff notes since I’ve just completed the first part of the journey. This journey is the most drastic thing I’ve ever done, for a prolonged amount of time, consistently and food wise.

How We Got Here.

It’s funny, really. I’ve had the book ‘Gut Balance Revolution‘ saved on my Amazon account for years — I can’t remember who first recommended it to me, I think a family-doctor friend. But, it was recommended because about five years ago, I started having and experiencing a lot of odd intolerances to a variety of foods i.e. dairy, Chinese food, certain vegetables and even alcohol like beer and liquors. I was eventually “diagnosed” with IBS with #2. So, I either learned to cut those things out — or I just dealt with the consequences when I wanted to enjoy some ice cream or pizza. Fast-forward to this year and with my lingering health issues, I started to read and see things about how our gut health can be linked to many other chronic issues (anxiety, sinuses, acid reflex, IBS, etc.). So it was at this moment, when I was finally ready to take charge of my body and health and learn a bit more about all of this. I ordered that book from my Amazon ‘Saved For Later’ — and as soon as I started reading, I felt a mix of emotions – I wanted to cry because this seemed like the answer to a lot of my problems and I also just wanted to keep reading and consuming as much information about food and everything that affects our gut health and health in general, as quickly as possible.

The gist of it.

This book has a specific program that helps people first, cleanse their gut, then rebalance their gut and then sustain a healthy gut, healthy weight and lifestyle, while still being able to enjoy some of the finer things in life — but all with moderation. So the first 30-days was a focus on forgetting foods that promote dysbiosis, inflammation, blood sugar imbalance and insulin resistance. AKA no sugars, no starchy carbs, no dairy, low gluten, no alcohol and fewer FODMAPs. We ate a lot of greens, pasture-raised chicken, wild salmon, cod, shrimp, tuna, berries, eggs, quinoa and nuts – just to name a few things!

what i learned

We jumped into this pretty quickly to get this started, yes, B has been a champion alongside me helping with meal prep and even doing the program himself. Since we started so quickly, we jump straight in from eating like shit to shocking our bodies — I had some major keto flu-esq symptoms which mainly consisted of horrible leg aches for two days. Once we got past the hump… aka the first two weeks, it was pretty easy to maintain the routine of eating Breakfast, Lunch, a Snack and Dinner.

Besides learning more about food and food we think might be healthy — this program has been a bit of a shell shock with portion control. We’ve been following the recipe serving sizes to a T – and I will admit the first few dinners, I would look up at B and fake sob asking; “This is it?” But our bodies adjusted over time. There are also a ton of great recipes in this book that we will be pulling in for future breakfasts, lunches and even dinners for us or even if we’re hosting friends/family — so that was a plus.

The other huge part that allowed these 30-days to be a success, which was also in large part of B – was the prepping. We cleaned out the fridge and pantry of bad junk food, yucky condiments, beer and other things we wouldn’t need — so there wouldn’t be any temptations. The second part of planning, was working through meal plans and extensive shopping lists. From there, prepping the foods ahead of time for breakfast to be ready, or for me packing up my meal for the day when we had stuff going on was crucial and didn’t allow any room for error.

My 30 day results

Well the biggest result of the first 30 days, was loosing 15 pounds. Which, I definitely needed to do, especially after a strong year of pandemic living. I lost 2.6% body fat and 1-inch around my chest and 3.5 inches around my waistline. My upper thighs even shrunk by 4-inches within the last two weeks. Also, I think my lingering cough that I was having since November is gone away. *knocks on wood* I’m still waiting to see some of the other physical results, especially as we jump into Phase 2 of fertilizing our guts – so more to come. But I am hopeful and optimistic that this is a lifestyle that we can maintain as well, and hope to reap even more health benefits moving forward. The testimonial stories and research in the book are pretty incredible. I’d also like to preference, all of this weight was lost without working out – this was strictly diet related.

what’s next?

As I mentioned, we’re jumping into Phase 2 – which will be about two weeks. This has a focus on prebiotic and probiotic rich foods focusing on certain fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, wild game and fermented foods. And from there, we’ll go into a final Phase that adds in a bit more food variety! In general, I’ve learned so much and want to continue to learn more about how foods interact with our bodies. In addition to that, continuing to focus on my immune support along with starting to integrate more actual exercise so that I can tone and continue to get into a more balanced and healthy routine. This 30-day jump start is just the beginning!

P.S. I also can’t wait to drink some bubbles and eat a donut!

Fitness Friday 01.21 – 2021 Fitness Goals

Do you make fitness goals? I love making goals each year, and think it’s important to split out personal goals and fitness goals – so we are about to talk 2021 fitness goals! Fitness goals are also super important for our mental health just as much as our physical health — it allows us to take care of our homes, gives us dedicated ‘me time’ and allows us to push ourselves to grow stronger.

Ok, so really quick before we jump into my new fitness goals, I’m going to grade how I did on my 2020 fitness goals. There were two goals that I completely failed at — goal #1: building and maintaining my core strength and goal #4: maintaining healthy food balance. But here are two that I did good with!

Goal #2 = Bootcamp 3X a Week | My Score: B-
I was going to rate this as an F, but I looked back at my Streaks app and I didn’t do as horrible as I felt — the workouts weren’t the same, but I was pretty solid for the first 6-7 months keeping a consistent workout routine. The last 5-months of the year, not so much!

Goal #3 = Finish 6 Runs in 2020| My Score: A++
Yes, this one was definitely the priority and easiest one to check off with each race completed. I ran four 5k’s, a 5-miler and a 10-miler race to complete this goal! Each race brought new challenges, no matter the distance, I struggled through the 5-miler, even a 5k — but breezed through the 10-miler, surprisingly with ease. It was a great accomplishment to complete this, gave us something to plan and look forward too even with them being virtual!

Now let’s get to what we are really here to talk about – my new fitness goals for 2021! Learning from my successes and failures, while also understanding the shift my fitness has needed to take over this past year and moving into this one, I’ve pulled together these three to focus on.

Finish 6 Runs in 2021 – including a half-marathon. Plot twist I want to still get at least 6-races in, but want to plan and get a half marathon in this year. I was hoping to do one this past year, but everything got post-poned for the larger, longer runs. B also wants to do this with me, so I’ll have a good running mate (as always) to work to accomplish this one!

Workout 3-4x a week. And for me a workout is at least 30-minutes of sweating, pushing myself and being physically active. I’ve recently purchased a Bosu ball, which allows me to do a lot of different types or workouts a little easier, and I’ve already found a fun Bosu workout on YouTube! I’m also hoping to add a few more hand weights, medicine balls, and step bench to my workout equipment to allow a bit more versatility!

Loose 15-lbs. I really hate goals like this, number goals, but sometimes they’re needed to help kick you in the ass. I know where I’m at, and I know where I should be, where I have been, what is attainable and still healthy — and I’m not there. Through better eating habits and more consistent exercise I plan to hopefully attain this goal, so I can then make a new goal of maintaining (because that might just be harder than loosing the weight!)

Are you making 2021 fitness goals? These goals are good to keep us grounded and focused to work towards the best versions of ourselves.

My 2021 Goals

Happy New Year! It’s that time again — that time to reset and refocus our energy, our priorities and look back at successes and even failures from the previous year, things we’ve learned about ourselves. And with that, it’s important to review your previous goals – and if you didn’t have any, you can only go up from here – so here is a quick update on how I did with my 2020 goals.

My 2020 Goals Successes: I paid off my credit card debt, before my 30th birthday — and even better, I’ve kept the credit card paid off. It’s so refreshing and freeing to have that under control. I also successfully completed one of my fitness goal of running 6-races, which proved more challenging because they all got delayed into Q4. We were also able to squeeze in one trip, which I will take for how 2020 went. And, I think that I fulfilled my goal of saying “No” which was also a bit easier, because you know, covid — and maybe one of the few things I’ll thank covid for.

Here are my goals for 2021:

Pay Off My Student Loans by December 2021. With the pandemic, student loans got a break with 0% interest among other things for most of the year — so I made sure to take advantage of that, while also paying more on my loans due to the money I’ve saved without having other expenses (car, gym, spa). With the help of my rain-man hubby, we’ve calculated for me to be on track and student debt free while I’m still 31! Being able to pay these off all by myself, while I’m still relatively young and 9-years post graduation is something I am truly proud of and fortunate to be able to do.

Monthly Volunteering. I unfortunately got out of dog walking volunteering, which I was doing almost weekly pre-covid. I then was trying to get a goal of at least monthly, which I was doing pretty well with, but the end of the year not so much. So my goal is to get back to that monthly volunteering for at least 2-hours, and then if things get better, I’ll start going more frequently. This will also help push me to do more “social” things without actually being social.

Good for the Soul. Focusing on things that are good for the soul and things I enjoy doing is going to continue to be a priority. Things like: Friends, travel, good food, bubbles, saying no, house projects, decorating, speaking my truth, reading, creating, dogs, sleeping in, and watching Bravo. Traveling is always a priority and on our to-do list (& oh so good for the soul), and we already have two trips outlined. This past year has also proven to enjoy the simpler things in life, like hanging out just B and I, playing games, listening to music and laughing the night away — hopefully we can just add a few more friends and family to that scenario.

Continue to Invest in Myself. This is both mentally and physically. Due to affect effects of covid, I’ve found that working out and staying healthy is going to be more of an effort, also sadly, because my former gym ended up closing last year due to financially hardships. So I’ve already started to purchase more at-home fitness equipment to help workouts become more attainable, without an excuse of not having equipment. Mentally, I’ve been needing to find someone to talk too since the spring. Again, I’ve made excuses not being able to find anyone that feels right — but I need to get it started. I spoke to someone in college and it helped immensely.

As you may have noticed, a lot of these goals, seem to be getting back to a normal life and piecing together the after effects from the pandemic (which BTW is still happening). And one of those biggies will be my fitness goals. I’ll be sharing those more specific goals on my upcoming Fitness Friday post — I think it’s important if you want your health and fitness to be a priority and is a personal goal, to make specific goals attainable and specific to fitness without just saying; “stay in shape” or “work out.” And I’ll be sharing my fitness goal failures too.

I also recently did one of those word scrambles, where you look at a bunch of letters and pull out the first four words you see. My four words were: Health, Family, Love and Strength. I think these are good mantra words to hold onto and focus for my new year — even if it’s a silly little internet thing.

What’re your goals? Share one or one of your focus words in the comments below!

Fitness Friday 12.20 – 10-Miler Virtual Race Recap

It’s been a minute since I’ve shared a dedicated race recap on the blog, but this one was special — so I wanted to share. If you’ve been reading along on monthly Fitness Friday posts, you may have recognized a pattern and my focus on one specific fitness goal: running 6 races in 2020. Which all came from 2019, where we only ran one race and we usually do a couple!

The one race that we did run in 2019, was our annual 10-Miler race we always run in April. This is always a no brainer that we like to sign-up for no matter what and we always make sure to sign-up early in the year. And 2020 was no different, we were registered and then the pandemic hit. As the April race day approached, we knew it would be pushed… we kept waiting, and waiting, nothing in the summer came up and then finally it was rescheduled for an October date. Woo! October came, and the date approached and the decision to push indefinitely to 2021 was made. Runners could opt to run virtual or defer to next year. For B and I, we had planned to run this in 2020 and we were going to run it in 2020, so we switched to virtual and waited for our packets.

Welp! Long story short, I got sick in early November, we got hit with a ton of snow and now it’s December and we have this 10-miler race to still run… in December in the Midwest. We knew we would have to keep an eye out on the weather and plan quickly — which didn’t really help for me, who hasn’t been running, training or working out. And a 10-miler run, isn’t such a breeze when you’re not doing anything. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to running this and anticipated a lot of walking/running. But I needed to finish it and mark it off the list.

Two-Days Before the Run. It was Wednesday night, B and I have both been watching the weather separately and saw that the temps and conditions Friday and Saturday would be a possibility — but Friday morning was looking like the better option and without rain. Thursday, we confirmed that we would have to plan for Friday AM and account for at least 2+ hours. This was not a lot of time to mentally prepare, except that it was going to happen.

Race Morning. We woke up early, got ready and hit the pavement by 6:45am. I told B that we needed to start slow — the weather was surprisingly perfect around 41-degrees. And we stayed at a steady pace, didn’t have to worry about traffic, people or icy sidewalks. We continued at a speed for the distance we had ahead of us and stuck around an 11-minute + pace. Mile 8, I was feeling good and we took about a minute off with our pace and continued at a slightly quicker pace for the last two miles. As we hit mile 9, I started to get a bit emotional, I couldn’t believe we were still running and feeling decent and the end was in sight!

We finished at 1:53:10, with plenty of time to walk a bit, cool down and get back to the house before we started our work days! And even better yet, although I ended limping a bit and hunched over, I still had a smile on my face. This 10-mile race, went better than planned and as good as it could’ve went — I’m so happy that I was able to accomplish this. Now, I just have one more race to run before the end of the year to officially complete this 2020 fitness goal.

Fitness Friday 11.20 – Turkey Trot Recap

Morning, bee readers! How was your Thanksgiving? Ours ended up being a well rounded day, which was in many thanks to us signing up to run our city’s virtual Turkey Trot! This was also my fourth race of the year, as I’m still cranking towards my goal of 6-runs in 2020 (more on that at the end).

In fact, the last two weekends we’ve checked off two of our virtual races — which for me, both have been a little more of a struggle than I’d like, but I have also not been working out! Usually my cross training saves me when I’m not able to run as much, because it keeps me in shape and toned — but when you’re not doing any of that, I can only expect it to not be as easy. Last weekend, we ran a 5k and for our Turkey Trot we opted to a little 5-miler, because why not?!

It’s a little funny, because all of the races have been hoping to be rescheduled for in-person — that a lot of these turned virtual last minute, so we’ve been waiting for race packets and more specifically, for our annual 10-miler (that is usually in April). Which we just received our race packets a week ago, so now we’re trying to get all of these runs in, right as the weather has turned and grown more unpredictable. We’ve also pushed some runs even more, because I was also sick for a few weeks, so running with a cough and congestion isn’t really ideal and knew I wouldn’t be helping myself out there either.

Long story short, my 10-miler is probably going to be my 5th and last race of the year, making me fall one short of my goal of 6. And it’s going to be the hardest, because I know I am not in shape to breeze through 10-miles as I’ve done in previous years, so I’m feeling a repeat of 2017 coming in.

Our Virtual 5k Race from the Previous Weekend

I wanted to push myself during our Turkey Trot to get through 5-miles, because I know I have this 10-mile race looming that I want to and will complete. I’m also not sure if I want to get one or two more mid-size mile runs in before going after 10. I’ve trained and not trained for a number of half-marathons and 10-milers, and especially without my cross training — and I know, I’m not helping myself out.

So! As we jump right into Christmas, I’ll definitely be sharing my 10-miler journey in all it’s pain and glory within the coming weeks once I finally check that off this list.

Fitness Friday 10.20

News flash! There are less than 3-months left of 2020. Mostly that is a good thing, because this year has mostly been a disaster — but if you’ve been working towards any goals, it’s go time, to crank that butt in gear to check off every single one of those goals! I just took a peak at my 2020 goals, and per usual, my fitness goals are always a constant roller coaster – and this year hasn’t been any different. But there is one goal, I am bound and determined to check off this year.

The one fitness goal, I’ve been really focused on is getting six races in — which pre-pandemic was going to be a piece of cake, but all of our races have been postponed, rescheduled or turned virtual. So with a few races, JUST NOW turning virtual — our Q4 of running is quickly becoming jammed packed. As of today, two runs have been completed and two runs are queued up. Which means, I need to still sign-up for two more and just plan for virtual. I was really hoping to have a half-marathon included in my six runs, but our 10-miler will just have to do.

This past month I just finished my second race, which happened to also be our first virtual race! Have you run a virtual race yet? There were a lot of things I liked about running a virtual race, like we could plan and run on our schedule – pick your own location/route – we got the race packet and medal at the same time! Not to mention, this race was benefitting a organization that is near and dear to us, so that made it extra special. Some things I missed from a traditional race, was the crowd and team mentality — you sort of get amped up to run a bit faster than you might if it’s just yourself running through the park. We did make sure that we woke up early to run our race, because what would race day be without an early morning wake up call?

As I mentioned and you may see — our virtual run was a quick 5k, which helped raise money to support Friends of City Dogs Cleveland, which provides financial assistance to City Dogs is the adoption division of Cleveland Animal Care and Control which is an open intake facility – meaning they don’t turn dogs away. This nonprofit steps in and provides additional resources to support medical expenses like HW+, torn AC surgery, general enrichment and training. B and I also happen to volunteer for City Dogs and walk dogs – so we love this organization a little extra – but more on that, another day!

So as I work my way towards finishing 6 races, I encourage you to continue to work towards your fitness goal(s) to make a small part of your year a success!

Fitness Friday 08.20

Hi my bees! It’s time for a ray of optimism in a year that is seemingly turning out to be one shit storm after the next. And I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t been able to maintain the optimism as much as I was in the early months of quarantine.
FitnessFriday08.20-beelifeblogGoal #1 is to meet my running goal of 2020 and run six races. Since last Fitness Friday, I’ve been able to sign-up and add another race to our fall list — making a total of  four races (including my January run). Which makes me only two away from hitting my six! I was hoping to get a half in, but I’m not sure if that will happen — maybe it still will, we will see!

Goal #2 is to run at least 2x a week, starting tomorrow! I have been recently reminded that my workout routine has been less than consistent — and I need to lean in a bit more on fitness, exercise and getting outside more consistently than I have been, especially to help deal with my stress and anxiety in a healthier way (which FTR, has been through the roof 24/5 lately).

So I’m taking my race obstacles and anxiety obstacles and I’m going to step on them to more opportunities and reaching my goals and ultimately feeling better inside and out. What’re your current obstacles, and how can you jump on them to new opportunity?

Here’s to staying strong, staying active and reach our goals!

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Fitness Friday 03.20

Hey Fitness Bees! How are we holding up? It’s almost one full week down of this quarantine — have you totally rocked your fitness routine or have you completely stumped it? Last week when all the news started changing within 48-hours and schools started closing, my gym proactively closed for the same amount of time. I figured if anything, at least we will be able to workout and stay healthy!

Needless to say, I was selfishly upset, angry and super bummed — I was doing SO good staying in a routine with my workouts, getting my days checked off each week, while also sticking to a good routine with my food and nutrition. And now, that was going to get thrown away with 3-easy weeks of no workouts… and later to become quarantined and even working from home. Anyone else feel the same way?
FitnessFriday032020-beelifeblogBut, here’s the thing. I quickly changed that attitude into a mindset that I wasn’t going to let this 3-week (at a minimum) quarantine throw off my workout routine and all the progress I’ve made in the last 4-months. Sure, it’s going to change and look a little different and will be an adjustment — but I told myself I’m going to stay committed to getting my four workouts in each week. To help this first week, my coach and trainer has been INCREDIBLE and posting workouts every day, the first one ‘Corona FREE Body Weight Workout‘ was also clutch and I’ve been sore since Monday from it! This is definitely going to be a go-to for the next few weeks.

I’m also hoping to incorporate a few runs into the mix — of course, when weather permits. We are also making sure to get out almost each day to get Moz on a few walks. However, I’ve also come to realize and will again be faced with more fitness goal road bumps. I imagine and know that the two races we have planned in April will most likely get cancelled or rescheduled… meaning I’m again being pushed back from a few of my other 2020 Fitness goals that I felt like I was easily crushing.

It has been easier to get outside with Moz after I’ve gotten my work done by just walking downstairs — no commute home, no stops at the store, not to mention I’m ready for some fresh air! I’ve also been able to incorporate and be a little more flexible with my workouts, squeezing them in during lunch or late afternoon to adjust around work.

So, as a lot of us are feeling knocked down, we have to jump back up and push through stronger and focus on the positive, while taking care of our minds and bodies. We got this!

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Fitness Friday 02.20

Happy Fitness Friday! Since the start of the year, I’ve been sticking tight on sticking to my workout routine and making sure I’m checking off the boxes each week. I’ve been feeling great, feeling slimmer and my jeans and clothes have been fitting great! Although, I was recently quickly reminded at how easy it is to fall out of a routine. FitnessFriday 02.20 - bee life blog
This Valentine’s Day we definitely over indulged on a few sweet treats and I also missed a workout or two, in addition to enjoying leftover cookie skillet for a few extra days (so good!)!  So what I quickly realized was that it’s easy to fall off a bit if, I’m not sticking to the workout routine that works for me.  I know myself, and I know I need to stick to a minimum of three days of a good workout, stick to a stricter diet and limit my cheat days — and any derivation of that hurts more than it helps!

Bonus is we’re only two months into the new year, so this reminder definitely comes at a good times, especially as busy season is quickly approaching.  I’ve been sticking to my goals and also know which ones I need to continue to work on, like my core strength!  What lessons have you learned about your fitness journey so far this year?

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