The End of Whole30, and the start of something new.

It felt like as soon as my Whole30 journey began, it was over. It was a fast month, and the time flew by like nothing, leaving me realizing more than ever: you can do anything for 30 days. Excited by my changed body structure/composition and weight loss, I set out for the next step in my journey. How was I going to take myself to the next level? How was I going to maintain this new, healthy lifestyle?

My blood results showed great improvements in my T3 and T4 levels, as well as my TSH. I definitely cannot stop with this lifestyle. I have removed gluten, and incorporated a mass amount of fresh, organic (wherever possible) fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. I have re-introduced dairy, non-glutenous grains, and sugar (yikes!) with no problems. My journey is far from over.

Although I had formed all these new, healthy habits, I was beginning to dread making my way to the gym, bearing the cold outside (it’s still very much winter here), and trying to plow my way through some form of routine. I ended up dreading every second of it, and coming out feeling like I could have put in way more effort. I hated that feeling. I mean, come on, you just gave it your all for 30 days..who are you? After hearing all the hype about Shakeology (and researching the heck out of the ingredients), I decided to try a Beachbody Challenge. One week in and I knew it was going to work for me. I am SO EXCITED that I found this. So, what does this have to do with anything?

If you’re interested, please head over to my new blog: https://healthhypefitness.wordpress.com/

My first blog post explains the “WHY” on my new decision, and I have a lot of exciting information for you. I am so excited to get in the best shape of my life (and only have to work out 30-minutes a day 😉 )

If you’re interested, contact me today and we can chat about your goals! I can even become your free coach! If you want more information on Shakeology, or the Beachbody programs, here are a few links to help you get started:

http://www.beachbodycoach.com/astefanson

https://www.facebook.com/healthhypefitness

Your (new!) Beachbody Coach,

Ashley

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Day 2

My life lately has been defined by the fact that I am either working or on days-off. It shouldn’t be like that, but for some reason it is. I spend both too much, and not enough time strictly deciding what needs to happen during my too-few hours at home with the fam. Working days consist of merely making it through, and not thinking of how many more I have left, what I’m missing out on, or how lonely the bed feels at night. It’s like my head is in the clouds. I should never wish away time. Not working consists of celebration, hugs, kisses, cuddles, waiting for J to come home from work, waiting for the weekend, way too much sleep, and making up for everything (I think) I missed out on during my previous week. Both feel too fast, too un-tasted and under-appreciated. My life is like a whirlwind and days are flying by like they don’t even count. . I want to take time, live like in a movie or the cover of a great novel, sit on the front porch and count the minutes with the people and things I love.

This year, instead of making a resolution, I thought back on 2014 and talked with J about our memories from the year. Not surprisingly, we had very few. I don’t know how many memories one should be able to recall from a year, but a mere handful seems too few. 2015 will be the year of remembering, a start to making memories and a stop to wishing time away. I hope this time next year we will sit down and think of many times: from hikes to adventures to camping trips, to cuddle sessions and breakfasts in bed (we had dinner in bed for our first time and it was magical).

Since I am resolution-less, and surrounded by the madness of January dieting and gym-goers, I have decided to do the Whole30 (just to fit in 😉 ). Today is my Day 2.

Near the end of the day yesterday I was sitting at my desk thinking “Ha! I don’t see what the big deal is. This is easy-peasy“. I then went to the website to check out how other people have felt on Day 1. Well, it appears I am not alone. Day 1 is easy for most people, and the euphoric high you get from following through for an entire day (go, you!) is a happiness booster for many. The information also informed me to be prepared for Day 2 and 3 to feel less than ideal. I got this.

Day 2:

I woke up with a slight headache (very minor) and it has gone away since then. I feel okay, but I would have liked to have toast for breakfast.. I will survive. I thought about why I wanted toast, and all I could come up with was that I liked it. I had raspberries instead, I like those too.

It’s 30 days of the rest of my life, so even if I learn one single, tiny thing about myself, it’s a challenge, and it was worth it. What else do I really have going on?

Whole30 is supposed to change your relationship with food, and how you think about what you put into your body. I tend to do best when my options are strictly limited, anyways. One bite of chocolate and I’m eating the entire cupboard. I don’t know why I am like that, but for me, I am easily de-railed and the flood gates open wide after a small slip-up. I have an all or nothing mentality when it comes to food… This will be good for me, I think. I need something  to focus my energy on (or maybe not focus my energy on). Something to succeed at and something to force me to check in with myself, my feelings, and what is happening my life —  daily.

Love,

A

New goals, fresh start.

Before the wedding, I was getting a bit obsessed with ‘getting fit’. I was working out to exhaustion, eating specifically according to my ‘plan’, and working with a ‘coach’. I say coach in quotations because, looking back, I should have listened to my husband: she had no idea. She made me cut out foods that I loved, and I listened. I’m not talking chips and cookies here, either. I’m talking organic, unsweetened coconut milk in my smoothies. But she told me it was bad, so I listened. She made me stop eating carbs at lunch, and I listened.

Guess what happened? I was cranky, upset, hungry (at times), over full (at other times)..but most of all, I wanted coconut milk, and carbs at night. BADLY.

I was so worried about the wedding. I was so, so paniced. The used-to-be fat girl inside of me kept worrying that when I got my wedding pictures back I would regret it. This was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. If I hated the way I looked in my wedding photos, I’d always regret it.

The big day came, I had my hair and my makeup done, my Mom laced me into my dress, and I put on my earings. Guess what? Not once did I think about what size I looked. Not once. For me, this was a miracle.

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I went the entire day, and I felt like a princess. I was so happy, and so surrounded by people I loved. It was magical. And I didn’t think about my size. Not once.

On our honeymoon, I walked around in my little bitty bikini…and I rocked it (at least I think I did). I ate way too much food, and I had absolutely anything and everything I wanted for two whole weeks. I didn’t worry about a carb, a fat, and a protein with every meal. I didn’t have 6 meals a day or stop eating carbs at lunch, I just ate. I just lived.

After 14 days of this craziness, we flew back home. I mustered up the courage to climb aboard the scale to judge the damages. Pulling the blue glass scale out from beside the bathroom sink, all those feelings came back. I hadn’t even weighed myself yet and I was thinking “you shouldn’t have eaten all that”. Guess what? I lost 4 pounds during our trip.

I joked with J that the ‘burger’ diet was good for me, and he smiled. He loves seeing me confident in myself, I can tell. “I told you,” he said “you just have to eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full. I know you’ll never let yourself go overboard”. I love him.

So that, my friends, is my new plan. Since we only really buy organic fruits and veggies, grass-fed meats, and whole grains, I should be good to go. Noted that this ‘plan’ probably wouldn’t work for someone who’s taste buds are in a loving relationship with oreos and lucky charms, but I think I’ve got this in the bag.

I am going to up the workouts now that we’re back, and I’m going to eat like a normal, healthy person. Lots of fruits, lots of veggies, and carbs whenever I damn well feel. If I want ice cream, or frozen yogurt, I’m going to eat it..just not for five consecutive days. I am excited to see what happens next. I want abs, and we all know those are made in the kitchen. Come on kitchen, get cooking! 😉

I feel happy…and I feel healthy. I could get used to this wife stuff.

Defining Moments

Yesterday, my Dad must have been taking a trip down memory lane as I received a few consecutive pictures in my Facebook inbox. There I was. A beautiful, dark haired little girl with her bangs cut straight across, wearing my early 90’s finest and blowing out the candles on my birthday cake. What was I thinking in that moment? I bet I was excited it was my birthday, and even more excited for cake.

I wonder what my wish was?
I wonder what my wish was?

The picture made me sad, almost instantly. I’ve never seen it before and I feel like I have no idea who that little girl is. I can see my round little nose and my big brown eyes and my dark hair..I can see it all. That’s me. That’s where I started. It made me wonder where things changed. When did I stop being this innocent, happy little girl? When did I become this person who is so critical of herself? This girl who spent years crying when she looked in the mirror, wishing she could have a different nose and a skinnier body, and no stretch marks, and even longer agnoizing over her future and what it would be like. What changed?

I wasn’t born fat, but I got there pretty quickly. I was a chubby kid (not quite unhealthy, but plump). When I started kindergarten I was bigger than the other kids, but I was always tall and had a large structure (I won’t say big boned, because we won’t go there…haha). I didn’t feel weird or out of place then.

My Dad left when I was 3. I have no memories of my family as a perfect little “unit”. My mom went to school and worked a night job–I spent most of my younger years at my Grandma’s. She fed me whatever I wantedfood is love, you know. It is abnormal for a 7-year old child to feel like I felt. I developed OCD and ate like crazy. Food made me feel safe. Hiding in my room made me feel safe. My Mom was stressed and she was busy.. She had so much going on, but she still did everything she could have done. She yelled sometimes like any normal parent, but I don’t think it ever crossed the line of ‘normal’. I hope one day I will be as amazing of a parent as she was. I don’t know what distinguished me from the other kids, or what made me have these feelings, but I don’t believe anything my family could have said or done would have changed it.. It was something deep inside of me. It’s who I was. By the time I was in my first year at University, I was 220lbs and miserable. I was just existing.

There are several, defining moments that stick out when I think about when everything changed. When did I loose that happiness, and that innocence? When did I stop feeling like that happy little girl in the picture and star feeling like the fat, unhappy  girl (the one that still lives in a big part of my heart and soul). Now of course, my life isn’t defined by these moments but they definitely made an impact. They are so small and so seemingly insignificant, but I think they’ll always be etched in my memories.

I remember in Second Grade, measuring the school field with a partner–we had one of those wheels on a stick that clicks for every meter travelled? I was pushing it around and he was walking slightly behind me. He said he was cold and I said I wasn’t.

“It’s because of all your whale blubber.”

It’s funny now, I guess. It was a witty comment for a second grader, but man it hurt.. I remember waiting until I got home after school, locking myself in my room and crying. I’m sure that little boy doesn’t remember that. I’m sure he said it, and that was that. Funny how that works.

I vividly remember standing outside my fourth grade classroom in my purple leggings and having kids tease me as they walked by.  I remember leaning up against the hard, brick wall with my backpack in front me, feeling so alone and trying to hide my pants from the kids as they walked by. All the other girls could wear leggings..but I was different. I was fat. I remember trying to hide the fact that I got teased. I didn’t want my Mom to think less of me or to be embarassed of me. From such an early age I was so worried about disapointing her..I didn’t want her to know she had the fat daughter that no one liked–she deserved more.

And then there was  back-to-school shopping. The one, dreadful year that I transitioned into adult clothes. I hated them. I didn’t want to wear old lady clothes..but I didn’t fit into kids clothes anymore. This was probably around Grade 5. I remember my Mom standing outside the change room while I tried to hold back my tears, telling me it wasn’t her fault I didn’t fit in kids clothes–I was just too big. I remember this day so vividly. I remember the feeling I had, and being so hurt by my Mom.  I’ve never told her this, and I’m sure I never will.

I wish I could go back to that happy little girl blowing out her candles and tell her she was beautiful. I wish I could help her become a confident, happy young lady. I wish I could go back to that 14-year old who quit basketball because she didn’t want to wear shorts and tell her she was GORGEOUS. I wish I could run back and tell her everything would be okay, and she’d be getting married to the man of her dreams (who is SO, so, so, SO, SO, SO handsome), and that she’d have a beautiful home, and beautiful puppies, and a happy, happy life. But I can’t go back, all I can do is go forward…and going forward, my outlook is going to change.

I can’t explain how this strange, random sequence of thoughts has occured in the past few days since receiving those pictures…but this is one of those moments. All I’ve been thinking about is how I wish I could go back and change so many things, but I can’t. All of them are just thoughts, and feelings, too: I wish I had more confidence, I wish I was happier and that I’d made different choices. But maybe I don’t need to go back, maybe all those things made me the woman I am today. I am learning to love her. She is a beautiful, compassionate person. She has more empathy than a lot of people, and loves deeper than anyone I’ve met. From this day forward, I am going to start loving that girl. I’m going to eat chocolate when I want and not feel guilty, and I’m going to run like the wind. I’m going to wear a bikini on my honeymoon and rock it, stretch marks and all. Everything is going to be okay. I’m going to make that little girl proud.

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Monday, Monday, Mondayyyy..

I usually spend a good 2 minutes trying to think of a witty blog title, but today this just seems fitting.. because it’s Monday and that is all. I don’t like Mondays (surprise)… I’m just not destined to be employed (bahaha…I wish).

Friday I met up with my trainer. I weighed in at 2.5 pounds lost (nevermind that this morning I am back to my regular, static weight that just won’t budge), and I lost 0.9% body fat. I am pretty sure that the margin of error is greater than 1%, but I’ll take it.. small victories.

As for my measurements, someone please try and explain THIS sequence of events:

My last round of measurements (with one month difference in between):

  • Gained a 1/2″ around my chest.. I found a way to be happy with this (what girl wouldn’t be?!)
  • Lost 2″ around my waist (woohoo!!)
  • Gained 3/4″ around my hips (I have been squating like CRAZY and I had virtually zero bum to begin with…so I also found a way to accept this..)

This month of measurements (as taken on Friday with one month difference in between):

  •  Lost 1/2″ around my bust
  • Gained 1″  around my waist ( 😐 )
  •  Lost 3/4″ around hips

Okay, what in the hell is going on?! I swear I go into these weigh/measure/body fat days and I am feeling soo great, and then I come out wanting to cry (and being SO confused).  I don’t have a copy of my pictures yet, so I will post them as soon as she sends them over..but part of me doesn’t even want to look. UGH!

Part of me wonders if I am simply not working hard enough, do all these girls that look amazing really work THAT much harder than me? I mean, I work out to the point of absolute exhaustion and wanting to puke AT LEAST 4 times a week (I aim for 5-6), and I eat PRETTY FREAKING GOOD!! I dont want to make excuses and thyroid this, thyroid that..but I just don’t get it..

Well, I sucked it up and resisted the urge to go home and cry in my bed. I went home, got my gym stuff on and headed out. In order to combat my I HATE CARDIO attitude, I have been running to the gym and getting Jamie to pick me up after he’s done work. This gives me a solid 15-20 minute run, and a good 45-60 minutes at the gym. Friday night workout = lots of space at the gym. I was literally the only girl there. I was lifting hard and angry, I was sweating like crazy and I had a sad, empty feeling in my stomach. I had taken up shop in the corner of the gym and I was hoarding gym equipment in a cute little array next to me on the bench (in a way you can only do on a Friday night), when a guy started walking towards me. Oh god, I thought, I have too much stuff….I’m an ass. *panic*. BUT GUESS WHAT HE SAID?!?

“I don’t know how to say this in a non creepy way…but I saw  you here a few months ago and you are looking REALLY good. I have really noticed a big change and you must be working really, really hard.”

Seriously, I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face. I must have said thank you 15 times.. I NEEDED that. I probably needed that worse than I’ve needed it in my entire journey. 70+ pounds lost and this was the time that I really, really NEEDED to hear this…and it happened.  I definitely took it as a sign that everything is going to be okay.

HAPPY MONDAY everyone! Thanks for reading.

Oh, and just because I love this picture, here’s Ben yesterday with his new bandana.. Can you say crazy dog lady??

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Hi, I’m Ben and I’m a model.. 🙂

 

Fancy Friday and Body Fat Testing

Good Morning! It’s Fridayyyy!

Usually when I wake up on Friday’s, my first thoughts are:

  • BABE!! We can stay up LATE tonight and SLEEP IN tomorrow
  • Tomorrow is cheat day and I’m eating Indian food (I am addicted and it’s my ‘cheat’ choice every single week)
  • I get to wear jeans today

Point 1 and 2 were right on time…however today I decided not to wear jeans (our office has been letting us wear jeans for the past week to celebrate the Calgary Stampede). Instead, I have opted for a Fancy Friday..hehe. My mom bought me this dress in Vegas, and I have to fight not to wear it a few times a week (in love). I don’t have a lot of ‘expensive’ (the dress was about $100, so only really ‘expensive’ to my small-town budget) clothes, and I think I just love the way the fabric feels. Oh, and it makes me feel fancy –hence Fancy Friday..Ben really likes it too, as you can see. He spent the entire morning following me around, flopping down, and licking my ankles (weirdo).

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After work, I am meeting with my trainer getting my measurements done, progress pictures taken, and body fat tested. This will be my second test as I did another one exactly one month ago. I’m pretty nervous. I’ve been working so hard, and I really hope the number has gone down. I don’t really feel like I look any different. With my luck, it’s probably gone up a few percent.. haha.

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These are my previous progress photo comparisons. These photos were taken one month apart, I was working my ASS off and eating clean, clean, clean. As you can see..I look exactly the same.In fact, I may even look worse in the front facing one.. lol 😦 Boo!!!! But I didn’t give up!! I am still working out 6 days per week, eating careful, and remaining hopeful.

P.S. I know I don’t need to loose any weight. But I do want to build muscle and tone my body. 3 years ago I was 220 pounds, and I’ve fought HARD to get to this stage. I’ve sweat, and cried, and thrown up from working so hard. It’s been a serious struggle…but I made it to this point. Maybe someday I will post “220lb me” photos..but not today.

 

FINGERS crossed for tonight!!! Wish me luck 🙂

 

 

“45 Days Out”

It was a long, hot day. I got home around 6pm and had mentally prepared myself for the gym the entire ride home. I was hot, sweaty, and my feet hurt. “Why can’t it just be Saturday?” crossed my mind more than once (rest day!). I got home, opened the door, and my two crazy monkeys came running over to see Mom. My goodness they make me happy beyond words (that’s another post..or seven).. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

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After our workout, we came home and devoured these delicious, extra-lean, grass-fed beef burgers on lettuce buns (something you wouldn’t have caught him dead doing when we met) that my wonderful man made for us. The patties were weighed out and ready to grill! He isn’t 100% ready to be a passenger on my ‘ I weigh my food ‘ train, but he does what he can to support me and for that I am grateful. So, so good…and worth the workout, even after my long day. I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, but that’s just the way it is for me some days. Some weeks I sleep for probably about 70 hours..others I sleep for about 35. Hashimoto’s you’re silly..and a pain in my ass.

On another note: Today marks exactly 45 days until I walk down the aisle! I’ve decided to spend the next 45 days doing WHATEVER it takes to feel like (at least) 2- million bucks on that day. It’s time to step it up a knotch! I’ve always struggled with my body image, and although I am now at a ‘healthy’ weight, I still feel like I am that 220-pound girl who was too shy to even glance up from my own little world. I know that for myself, the better I feel about myself, the happier I am. I want to ROCK that honeymoon bikini with NO fear, no regrets, and a huge smile on my face.

My lunch today was DELICIOUS. I tend to get sick of salads, especially since I don’t eat salad dressing, but this was just perfect. It’s really just a normal salad..but the avacado ‘dressing’ is TO DIE FOR (and guilt free!!)

  • Cut up half a ripe avocado and “mix” it with your greens ( I used spring mix and baby kale) until they’re ‘coated’..I find it easiest if you use your hands for this 🙂
  • Add some lemon juice (I used half a lemon), salt, and pepper (this made a delicious, creamy, guilt-free “dressing”)
  • I also added some basil from my garden into the greens..this is optional, as you have to like basil. I LOVE basil..
  • I also added 3/4 of an apple as my carb (the other 1/4 went directly into my belly while chopping..apples are my weakness!)

I also used snap peas, cucumber, baby tomatos and orange peppers, but just throw in whatever you have/like. That’s the beauty of salads.. haha

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(I ate this along with a leftover burger patty with mustard and sirracha–PROTEIN is important 🙂 )