exhale

So that thing I was talking about… That thing I really really wanted. It happened! The biggest opportunity in my life so far. There really aren’t words for how incredibly honored and grateful I am. During my interview process for my dream job, I went back and forth between being incredibly humble, and having the confidence to know I was the best person for the job. You never know how your skills and personality match up with what an employer is looking for and how you compare to your competition. I have always gotten really good jobs. Jobs that are hard to get, that hundreds of people have applied for. So I have a reasonable level of confidence in myself, and I know I’m good at what I do. But just getting an interview at this company is an honor, so I am still in shock that I’ve been selected to join this incredible team.

Every interviewer I met with answered my question: “What do you like best about working here” with: “Hands down… the People”. It’s why it took 8 weeks, six interviews and a two day design test project to narrow it down. They only hire the best of the best and I am so proud to be a part of a forward-thinking and innovative group of people who will continue to inspire me to raise the bar in everything I do. I hate to sound so cliche, but everything does happen for a reason, and some doors need to close before others can open. I know that what is waiting for me on the other side of this door will lead me to the greatest adventures of my life.

I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Holding my breath

I’ve had numerous things in life that I’ve wanted very very badly. Things that I knew would change my life. Waiting in the space of the unknown is tough. I know that even when things don’t go the way you plan, they end up working out the way they were supposed to anyway. I have enough perspective and positive outlook to know that for sure. Each time something wonderful and amazing happens, I am reminded again of the power of God’s Grace. THIS is how he works and moves in our lives. Opportunities present themselves to us, and we are guided in the right direction by the whisper of His strength and encouragement. By the desire and ambition He puts in our hearts. 

So here I am on the brink of a life-changing opportunity. Holding my breath. Praying gratefulness for the opportunity this far and for the strength to accept it if it is not meant to be. One thing I know though… the bar has been raised. 

Boop

My favorite thing about this video of my precious niece…  is not her dimples. her smile. her little hands. or even her little giggles and squeals.

My favorite thing is my sister’s laugh…

We both watched the (really awful) Lifetime movie, Return to Zero the other night. It was about a family who had a stillborn son, and their journey following it. It was sad, and yes, it brought up a lot of emotions, but I wanted to watch it to support my sister. She needed to have someone to talk about it with if she needed to. She said that she didn’t cry, and that she is afraid that she’s emotionally numb. That she’s incapable of feeling…  I told her that there is nothing wrong with blocking out painful memories and the emotions that go with it. But she IS capable of feeling joy. happiness. and love. Her laughter in this video proves it.

It’s a marathon run or a mountain you scale without thinking of size

I saw Lorde in concert a couple weeks ago. Her song Bravado is one of my favorites right now. The lyrics are really meaningful to me, and it definitely echos the way I’ve been feeling lately. My birthday is tomorrow, and I think the beauty of where I’m at in my life is finally becoming apparent to me. Man, the pressure that you feel in your late 20s just goes away once 30 comes and goes. True, the pressure from society is THERE. But I’ve become confident and satisfied enough to choose not to feel it. I’m finally living in the moment, and not trying to make sure that every little detail fits along with a pre-detemined plan. Even if where I am is not where I thought I’d be… I’m enjoying every day and I couldn’t be more thankful for the life I’m living. 

This next year is going to be a good one. 

One more week

The Whole30 challenge that I have bestowed upon myself has been going really well. I only have one week left and I’m still going strong. It has been such a great experience! I would recommend it to anyone who wants to start making better choices for optimum health. If you tell yourself: “I’m just going to try and make better choices” It becomes easy to slip up, make excuses, and fall back into old routines. It is SO true, that we need goals and discipline to keep us in line. It has been a lot of fun to talk to others about this food plan, and feels good to inspire other people. When I hear people say that they give me props or admire me… I kind of laugh it off. What I’m doing is NOT THAT HARD. Sure it takes a lot of planning and some modifying of habits… but once you get into a routine, it gets a lot easier. My friend Hannah asked me what the hardest part was. I would say, it is definitely the social aspect of it. There are so many parts of our culture that revolve around eating and drinking. Beers after Frisbee, dinner dates, happy hours, culinary festivals, brunches… it goes on and on. I miss having a beer, or glass of wine with dinner. But it hasn’t been that difficult to give up. I still partake in the socialization and it gets easier to just say, no thank you, when offered a drink. Most of my friends have been extremely supportive.

As for the next steps after the 30 days are up… I think the first thing I’m going to add back in is alcohol. Haha (I love beer!) Then I’ll probably do dairy for a few days and see how I feel. From other online reading, it looks like dairy might be the cause of many allergy symptoms, so I would like to see how I react after eating dairy. I plan to continue to consume sugar, but very sparingly… I really don’t need to be snacking on sugary things, maybe just once a week gelato, or another dessert of some kind. I really enjoy not having a sweet tooth that results in consuming hundreds of calories that only satisfy an emotional need, but that does nothing for me nutritionally. Gluten and other grains I also plan to re-introduce, but only once in awhile. I no longer want to revolve meals around a large portion of simple carbs. Whole grains will be fine once in awhile, but I really can get by without nutritionally low foods like bread, pasta, chips, crackers, etc.

I am really loving the way I feel when I eat predominantly paleo. I have super high energy all day long. I fall asleep immediately most nights, and wake up before my alarm. And the quality of my sleep has never been better. I put on my size 4 skinny jeans the other day and they fit great. Today, I’m wearing size 8, so it’s not THAT big of a deal. But it is fun to be able to wear more of my clothes and feel really good in them. It’s fun that other people are starting to notice that I look more fit. To see and feel changes so quickly has been very rewarding and motivating! I wish everyone could make a commitment to go through this experience and see how the things that we eat have a direct impact on how we feel. Everyone knows this, but actually going through the program will teach you so much more than reading about it. There is just no excuse for complaining about being un-healthy as a result of poor choices. Maybe it’s true, that people are victims of our society and the American diet, but I wish that people would not just sit back and be the victim, but learn to empower themselves to take their health into their own hands. I know that I can say with confidence that this experience has taught me lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Que Sera Sera

“So are you married?”

“No Grandma, I haven’t found the right one yet!”

“Well that’s alright dear. It’s better to wait for the right one.”

“exactly! I’d love to be married, but I’m not in too big of a hurry. I’m fine with being alone for now.”

“Well that’s great, you just have to learn to make the best of it either way… whatever happens, you make the best of it.”

“You sure do. I have a great life and I’m happy.”

“I was lucky… I got a good one early.”

“Yeah, grandpa was a pretty great guy”

“We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we make the best of it… OH… I love that song!”

[the song, Que Sera Sera is playing in a commercial for some product I can't remember. I love Irony.]

This conversation repeats itself 4 or 5 times throughout the 8 hours I spent with my grandmother last weekend. Snippets of wisdom from a woman who helped to raise me, yet doesn’t even remember my name. Alzheimer’s disease is just a heartbreaking disease. I was exhausted after just one day, and my dad has been her full-time care-giver for a year now. I don’t know how he does it. I don’t even think he knows how he does it. I was happy to give him a break, and have committed to giving more time to help him with her when I can. It’s important that he knows he can count on me. Certain things she remembers. She knew that she grew up on a farm. had 12 siblings, had three children of her own. Other times, she talked about packing up her stuff and being ready to go home. And wanting to go check on the “others” in the other room. She said she was anxious at the end of the day… “I just get a little anxious waiting for them, don’t you?” “Yeah, grandma… sometimes I feel that way too. It’s hard.” “Yeah.” she says. “It can be hard waiting. But you make the best of it anyway”

“Yeah. That’s all you can do.”

crunch

So I guess I started the Whole30 on Tuesday. (No sugar, grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, dairy products or alcohol) I’ve heard that the first couple of days are difficult… but meh. I think I’m doing pretty good so far. I haven’t come close to falling off the wagon. My reasoning for doing this somewhat radical diet are mostly because I’ve been eating WAY too much bread, cheese and ice-cream… Combine over-indulging on carbs with the stress of the busiest deadline month I’ve ever had at work and I just feel really blah. I also had kind of a bad experience drinking too much in Vegas a few weeks ago and realized it was probably time to take a break from party-mode for a bit. Any weight-loss that occurs over the next month is just a bonus, as I’m not specifically trying to shed pounds. But what girl wouldn’t be happy about slimming down in time for bikini season club try outs?

One of the biggest challenges I THOUGHT I would have to deal with was drinking coffee with no sugar or milk. However I had some instant black coffee while camping over the weekend, and that gave me the extra encouragement that this was in-fact going to be possible. I think it was kind of a spontaneous decision, but that’s kind of how I roll. The most challenging thing so far though, has been the lack of crunch. There are just SO few things in nature that are crunchy. I’m not talking about crunchy apples, carrots, and bell peppers. I’m talking about Chips! Crackers! Cereal! Achieving that delectable and addicting crunch is something that the food industry spends a lot of time and money to get. Not only the crunch, but with chips and crackers, having something vanish quickly when you put it in your mouth is also something they try to accomplish. This causes you to want to eat more and more. Oh so sneaky! Our food addictions have been specifically engineered by the food industry.

But! I’ve found the ONE saving grace in the Whole30 world. Plantain Chips from Trader Joes. They are exactly what I need to satisfy my crunchy, salty craving! They taste and feel just like a cracker or chip. I think you could dip them in guac for an even better option. And, there is a cute lil monkey on the bag! :D I’ve also taken a liking to salt and pepper pistachios. It’s funny how everyone craves different things… I’m keeping track of food on MyFitnessPal again, so feel free to creep on my food diary to see what I’m eating. ;)

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I’m excited to see how I feel after this month is complete. I was also worried about diminished energy, due to the lack of carbs, but on the contrary, my energy level has been super high. I can tell that my blood sugar has been much more steady and there are no crashes, or afternoon slumps. When I played ultimate last night, I felt really good. Still having some quad trouble, so I’m trying to take it a little easy, but everything else felt great. I’ve been back on the astaxanthin antioxidant supplement, which in addition to making salmon pink, and giving them energy to jump up waterfalls, can increase strength, stamina and enable quicker recovery in people. I used to take it regularly and I remember just never getting sore after practices, and I felt like I could run for hours.

A few of my teammates have also decided to join me on this Whole30 challenge, which is great! It is nice to inspire others as well as have the support and accountability along the way. We can do it!!!