3 Reasons I Didn’t Do the September Whole30

Why didn’t I do the September Whole30? Here’s why.

If you know me or have been following my blog for a while, you know I’m a big fan of the Whole30. I’ve done at least 5 rounds in the last few years and will probably do more. And I always recommend it to others who either want a better relationship with food or who are trying to learn more about how specific foods affect them.

A couple times a year, usually in January and September (September is the new January), there’s a massive group Whole30. It’s great for people who aren’t ready to go it alone, as they share tons of resources and support, and there’s literally thousands (or more) of others doing it with you.

I briefly considered doing the September Whole30 this year, but decided not to for several reasons:

  1. Until recently, I’ve really struggled with my energy levels. While eating Whole30 would certainly help boost my energy, I was worried all the planning and preparation that goes into it would zap any energy I did have.
  2. I wanted to focus more on the things I know I’m sensitive to already without limiting too much else. That meant avoiding dairy, eggs, and gluten, but being free to eat things like rice or corn tortillas (because tacos are basically a food group in our house).
  3. I also wanted to be able to eat at places like Chipotle when I was too tired to cook (the only compliant meat they offer is the pork, which I’m allergic to). Not doing a Whole30 also means I can have store-bought, egg-free mayo because I haven’t found a homemade recipe I like (I buy Just Mayo—it has sugar in it, so it’s not compliant).

After a tough summer struggling with depression, low energy, and almost no exercise, I wanted to focus more on the baby steps: exercising, eating mostly healthy, and doing as little meal prep as possible so I have plenty of time to actually rest and recharge.

I imagine I’ll do another round of Whole30 later this year or early next year when I’m ready for another reset.

Have you ever done (or thought about doing) a Whole30? Did you do the September Whole30?

The Harder to Kill Challenge

It’s been a little less than a week since I completed the Harder to Kill (HTK ) Challenge with Steph Gaudreau of Stupid Easy Paleo. The only other “challenge” I’ve done is the Whole30 (several times), and that is focused solely on food. The HTK Challenge focuses not only on the food we use to fuel our bodies but also how we move, energize, and think about our bodies.

The challenge consisted of daily lessons on one or more of these four pillars. It comes with a meal plan for four of the six weeks of the challenge, as well as a fitness plan. The fitness plan places a lot of focus on functional movements, which was really fantastic. Almost all the movements were based on ways we move our bodies every day and were aimed at improving that movement.

At the beginning of the program, we took “before” photos and measurements. About halfway through, I felt really anxious about what my “after” would look like. By the end of week six, though, I realized I had no real desire to take any after photos or to weigh myself or take any other measurements. Over the course of six weeks, my clothes had begun to fit better. More importantly, I noticed my strength improving. I ran a 5k without stopping and in just under 36 minutes.

These changes have been subtle for sure, but I have noticed them, and they have been enough. The fact that these changes were enough also shows me how much my mindset has improved over these six weeks. The two pillars I really wanted to work on during the challenge were energy and mindset. My mindset has improved, but there is still work to do.

My energy has improved significantly. I began tracking my sleep with the app Sleep Cycle. I also adopted Steph’s 90/30 rule. This is similar to the Pomodoro Technique. With the 90/30 rule, I work for 30 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. This repeats 3 times (or until you’ve worked for 90 minutes), then you take a longer 30-minute break. The real key, though, is using your breaks to do things that renew your energy rather than drain it. So instead of checking Facebook or responding to emails, I’ve done things like stretch, color, and read. It sounds counterintuitive to take so many breaks throughout the day, but it has really helped.

Projects that would normally take me from 8am to 6 or 7pm to complete I can now finish by 3 or 4pm. The best part, though, is that I don’t feel completely exhausted when I get done working for the day. I have the energy to get laundry or dishes done, or to exercise if I haven’t already. For me, this has been the most life-changing aspect of the challenge.

Some days I don’t do the 90/30 rule. It’s usually when I have errands I have to run in the middle of my day, so it throws everything off. On those days, I notice the negative effects. It’s still a work in progress, but my energy is so much better in just six weeks.

If you’re thinking about doing a health/fitness challenge to start the new year off right, I highly recommend Harder to Kill with Steph Gaudreau. She is an excellent coach and I’m so grateful for the experience. If you have any questions about the challenge, let me know!

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-AB

 

Review: Jaybird X2 Wireless Earbuds

Finally getting around to writing up my review of the Jaybird X2 Wireless Earbuds! The past two weeks have been crazy busy, but that gave me more time to test them out!

The package includes the headphones themselves. Also included are different sizes and types of earbud tips (foam or silicone). So far, I’ve only used the silicone tips. They also come with three different size “fins”, which fit over the earbud and help keep the buds secure in your ear. Then there’s a USB cable to charge them and clasps to make the wired portion adjustable.

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My first experience with them was running my first 5k of the year. I charged them up the night before the race, and then the next day, I tried them on. I thought for sure I would need the smallest silicone tips because I think earbuds are always too big for my ears. I ended up using the largest silicone tips though. Their instructions (which I found online after a little digging) recommend trying on all the sizes so you can get the right fit. I didn’t try any of the foam tips, though.

Next, I had to put the ear fins on. Even the smallest ear fins seemed too big. They really don’t fit my ears the way they show in pictures on the website. I have to sort of fold it up to get it to slide into place. While not uncomfortable, they don’t provide quite the level of security I was hoping they would.

I’ve had these earbuds for almost two weeks now, and I’ve worn them for about six runs total. They have not fallen out once, but I did have one run where they felt loose the entire time and I had to keep shoving them back in there. Aside from that, the earbuds have stayed put. I’m still getting used to the controls though. The instructions say to turn the headphones off, hold the middle button down for four seconds. Maybe I’m just a fast counter, but it’s usually more like six or seven seconds for me. I haven’t quite gotten around to figuring out how to skip songs, answer calls, etc. yet. Fortunately, I don’t typically need to answer a call during a run, and I’ve created some pretty good playlists, so I don’t usually need to skip any songs.

There is definitely a learning curve with these headphones, and they don’t “fit like a glove” the way I’d hoped. But after six runs and only one instance of them feeling loose (not actually falling out), I’d say these have been a good investment so far. The sound is great, there are no wires for me to accidentally pull on and rip the ear buds out of my ears, and so far, they’ve been comfortable. I may give the foam tips a try at some point just to compare fit.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase, especially since I got them on sale! My only complaint is that the ear fins are still too big for my ears. If you have normal, non-toddler-sized ears, I would definitely recommend them!

Thanks as always for reading!

-AB