Look how far you’ve come!

Sometimes, when life gets hard, you need a reminder as to how truly amazing you are.

My ALL TIME Favorite line is from the movie The Help: “You is smart, You is kind, You is important.” From time to time, when you’re actively immersed in your life, you forget how truly incredible you really are… A mantra like this is a nice reminder.

This June, will mark 10 Years since I graduated High School. T-E-N. I find that beyond insane. I’m not old enough to attend a 10 year high school reunion, that’s for “old” people.

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Where did the time go? I feel like in the past 10 years, I’ve accomplished so much and yet sometimes I feel like it isn’t enough.

Yea, sure, I have a great job, loving man friend, wonderful friends and a supportive family. I have a great apartment, 2 adorable furbabies and make a decent living. But sometimes I feel like my poor choices in my early twenties have made my late twenties an up-hill battle.

  • Why did I let myself rack up so much credit card debt that it took me nearly 3 years, debt consolidation and the limitations of a terrible credit score to pay it off.
  • Why didn’t I save the money I should have while an Independent contractor, which forced me to make payments to my Taxes…. Interest EATS YOU ALIVE FYI…
  • Why can I not stop shopping and buying “cute” things – If i were smarter and didn’t buy new boots every season, I could have a heck of a lot more money in my savings.
  • Why do I still take silly things so personally… Why can’t I be stronger and more confident in my convictions, not taking things so personally.
  • Why haven’t I kept to my 18 Year Old Weight… Why did I let myself gain over 40 lbs in the last 4 years…

Its easy to be hard on yourself and only see the negatives of what you haven’t done… But seeing what you have done and have accomplished is SO VERY CRUCIAL!

  • Damn 18 Year Old Aly – You were so thin!!!! If only my 27.5 year old metablosim could still eat whatever I wanted, drink whatever I wanted and be this thin from just working out! #Fappy (Fat Happy) (Credit to my amazing friend K.C.)

But in the same regard, I have accomplished so MUCH

  • I graduated from college in 4 years, with transferring!
  • I’ve held 2 jobs at the same time for 6 years, running on fumes at times, but getting everything I needed to be.
  • I’ve paid off my credit card debt
  • I’ve paid off my Tax Debt
  • In 6 months, I paid off nearly 15K towards my student loans
  • I’ve moved 3 times, and now reside in a great apartment that feels like home.
  • I’ve held the same incredible job for 6 years – and continue to grow and learn, becoming a total Girl Boss and mentor to younger women.
  • I’ve kept 2 fur babies alive for over 2 years and continue to learn more and more about being a “cat” mom
  • I’ve maintained a healthy, loving relationship with the same man for almost 7 years. While it hasn’t always been easy, as no relationship is, we’ve truly grown up together and there isn’t any other person in the world, i’d rather share this ride with.
  • I’ve become a better sister and friend – Actively working at becoming less judgmental and more accepting of differences.
  • While victim to bullies throughout my whole life, I’ve come out the true victor and have maintained long lasting incredible friendships with smart, beautiful, kind women.
  • I’ve FINALLY gotten into a great workout routine, one that I absolutely LOVE!
  • I’ve learned the benefits of eating healthy, and made the decision not to live that way 100%.

While I am not where I thought I would be at 27.5, and life has taken unexpected turns, I couldn’t be more grateful for this life I’ve been given and the challenges faced… They made me a stronger, more independent woman!

For 2017 – I have some goals… They’re not resolutions because those don’t last.

  1. I want to pay off at a MINIMUM 25K towards my student loans
  2. I want to save at a minimum 1K each month
  3. I want to become more patient and kinder on a regular basis to my loved ones and strangers
  4. I want to do more good deeds and make more people smile!
  5. I want to not only lose weight but get fit and toned! I want to be comfortable in my own skin…. The number doesn’t matter…
  6. I want to buy less STUFF! I want to stop shopping less and saving more
  7. I want to be a better partner,  daughter, granddaughter and sister
  8. I want to be less emotional and stronger in my convictions
  9. I want to make 2017 the best year yet
  10. I want 2017 to be MY YEAR. And it starts now!

 

 

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A New Year, A New Me?

Everybody makes New Years resolutions right?

  • This year I will go to the gym EVERYDAY!
  • This year, I will eat 100% clean!
  • This year, I will be nice
  • This year, I will get in shape
  • This year, I will make more money
  • This year, I will be kinder to my family, friends, spouse, etc…
  • This year, I will clean my house every day
  • This year, I will not shop…
  • This year, I will put XXX per week into savings

But how many people really keep those resolutions? I know I sure haven’t! I’ve made and broken resolutions probably within the same day! Because resolutions are just words, unless you actually take action.

I started this journey, to become a better, stronger and healthier me, in March, 2016. Nearly 3 months into the year, but it wasn’t a resolution. It was a strong desire to make a change… See I strongly feel and believe that resolutions are only as good as the person making them, and if you’re not ready to make a major change… then you won’t stick to it. Full disclosure, I have, by no means been faithful to being my best self, eating healthy or exercise.

I SURELY did not stick to the lifestyle portion of the Whole 30… I have probably worked out more in the last 3 months than I have the entire year and while I’ve grown exponentially as a person, I have picked petty fights with my Man Friend. I’ve been an instigator and pushed my sisters buttons when I know I shouldn’t have and I’ve been feisty to loved ones & strangers when unnecessary.

But for the most part…? I can honestly say I am proud of myself this year and the major changes I’ve made to grow as a human.

I am proud of the woman I have become and am still working on. I am proud of the Girl Boss I am learning how to be, I am proud of my relationship with my Man Friend and the amazing bond we have… I am also incredibly proud of the daughter / sister/ friend I am, and that I am someone my friends and family count on for advice and help!

I am proud of the fact that I am FINALLY seeing results (after 9 months of working towards them… ok, its probably only been about 4 consistently, but whose counting!) I am beyond happy that I’ve found a workout program that I love and can truly see results from! You know you’ve begun to achieve goals when friends begin to comment… that may be the BEST feeling ever!

2016

Jan 2016 —————————– Dec 2016

I am proud of the confident individual I have become and the personal issues I have overcome.

So, Instead of making “resolutions” because they mean squat. I am going to keep working on myself, continuing to be a good person… Continuing to work hard and achieve my goals and continue to strive to be the best I possibly can be!

I am going to continue to be kind.

I am going to continue to stop law enforcement, first responders and members of the armed forces and say “Thank You”.

I am going to continue to grow.

I am going to be the BEST possible version of myself.

I am going to succeed!

Happy New Year! Make 2017 GREAT!

 

Time to put 2016 to bed!

So….I decided to send out a holiday card this year. Featuring, our fur-babies… Naturally…

A “Cat Card” as my friends lovingly referred to it, when I asked for their addresses, was ordered through Simply To Impress… Who by the way does a FANTASTIC job and ships the cutest packages!

Well, I shopped, chose the layout (then changed my mind about 27 times, chose the right picture, customized the text and placed my order.

It wasn’t until I unpacked the cards… All FORTY of them, to realize I MAJORLY F*&KED Up! Can you spot the mistake below???

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Collective AW SHIT…. Commence!

If you still can’t figure it out… I’ll give you a hint! My ManFriend is not named Aly… Awesome.

So… Since these obviously cannot be sent out, and ordering new ones would not only cost me more money but would be here AFTER the holiday, I have decided to share my holiday wishes and year in review, here. You’re Welcome! 

Towards the end of March, 2016 – I started this blog to track my journey through weight-loss, healthy living, turning my debt around, as well as following the growing pains of being a 26 (now 27) year old woman.

This year has most certainly been one that can come to an end ASAP, while a year of immense growth, it was also one that was extremely trying… and I’m not talking about all the political turmoil and nation divided.

This year I learned a lot about myself… Since this was a year of growth, I really put a lot of energy into becoming a better person.

  • I learned I am a Strong, independent woman. I am strong mentally, physically and emotionally… Even though I cry every chance I get!
  • I learned that when the going gets tough, you hunker down and figure it out. There isn’t any problem too big, when you have an incredible support system!
  • I learned (but already knew), that my ManFriend is the greatest guy in the whole world and has strength like none else. He consistently amazes me every day and is a true inspiration of perseverance and goals!
  • I learned that my sisters are the epitome of strength! They are so incredibly smart, beautiful and funny! Whatever they put their mind to, they achieve and I am forever impressed by their perseverance.
  • I learned that I will NEVER stop needing my parents, but that I am capable of standing on my own 2 feet, and figuring things out for myself. All the values and morals they instilled in me are starting to come to light and I am extremely grateful for that!
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The Fab Five

  • I learned that 27 is not too old to make new friends and this year, I made some incredible new friends. This amazing women came into my life at the right times and have become some of my most trusted confidants!
  • I learned that your girlfriends are one of the most important things in life, especially carving out the time to take trips together.
  • I learned that I am beautiful in whatever skin I am currently fitting into, whether I am at my biggest or my smallest and that only I can control my diet and exercise. Nothing is going to happen unless I am determined to make it so.
  • I learned that working out is more than just physical fitness, but is also about mental fitness and once you find something you love doing, working out isn’t such a chore!
  • I learned, I really don’t have the cooking gene. I’ve documented my attempts here several times, I know I am very good at many things… Cooking just isn’t one of them. Thank God my wonderful Manfriend CAN cook and does it so well! Otherwise I’d probably starve.
  • I learned that I can eat very healthy if I really want to… But I really enjoy bread, pizza and tacos too much to eat 100% clean all the time!
  • I learned that I CAN cut out wine… Something I never thought I could do…
  • I learned that when I put my mind to something, I can achieve anything!
  • I learned that hard work pays off… debt!
    • In the last 6 months, I paid off 5K (down from 7) in credit card debt.
    • I paid off 3K in Tax Debt
    • Increased my credit score by 70 points in 6 months! Successfully breaking into the 700’s
    • I also paid off nearly 13K total towards my student loan debt (in SIX months!!!) <– I don’t think I’ve paid that much in the 5 years since I graduated college!
  • I learned that I REALLY need to stop shopping, because I don’t need ANYTHING else in my life, especially more clothes.
  • I learned that when I stop shopping, I have MORE MONEY!!
  • I learned, I am a #GirlBoss (in training) and am VERY good at my job, but still have SO much to learn! I am very Thankful for my father who is the greatest mentor and coach I could ask for!
  • I learned that when I shop around and find the right pieces, I can have the Glam Office of my dreams! (Still a Work in Progress!)
  • I learned being a #GirlBoss is a lot of work, but so utterly rewarding in the end!

This year, we also became a family of 4, when we added my littlest love Dash! Its a Mad Mad Mad World. I didn’t know our little family was incomplete (for now) until we got this tiny fluff-ball! Dash has changed our home in SO many ways its hard to believe he hasn’t been here all along! He added a level of chaos (we didn’t need, but now have), gave Piper a playmate and gave me the cuddly kitten I’ve always wanted. While Piper is the absolute sweetest and cuddly, it is only on her terms. She is ALSO very independent and likes to be left alone! Dash on the other hand, needs to be with us, or on us, at all times… Even sleeps in our bed at night, and gives the sweetest kisses!

Becoming a kitty mom of 2 has been quite the experience though! These 2 give me a RUN for my money! Dash is constantly into something or bugging Piper in some way, that I feel like I am forever saying “what’s in your mouth?” “What do you have” “Stop biting your sister”… #CatMom – Parenting Lesson 95

All in all, this year was one of major growth, major trials and tribulations, major amounts of love and patience and massive amounts of kitten kisses and cuddles!

I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and VERY Happy New Year! Make 2017 the greatest year yet… While I don’t know what 2017 will bring, I know it will be a great year, both personally and professionally. I CAN’T wait to see how it all unfolds!

Thanks for following me during the journey, the journey is only just getting started and the best is yet to come?

Love Always,

Aly

 

 

 

 

 

Eighty. One.

20161104_201757096_iosToday, on SATURDAY…I went to a training session class. After taking 2 weeks off from working out, while plagued with a flu-ish sinus infection, and not loving the 7 new lbs on my body from not working out and eating crap :(. I felt the need to kick my ass into gear, which requires additional classes!

As I got back in my car to drive the half mile home from the gym… I couldn’t help but think about the class I had just had at Synergy and the eighty-one year old woman I just met.

I LOVE working out at Synergy, you get a personal trainer, one-on-one attention and the group atmosphere for a fraction of the cost a single personal trainer would charge. But what I love most about going to this gym is that I have met some incredible women during my classes and am thoroughly enjoying the diversity this studio yields. My town is a large city, but has a VERY small town feel, since EVERYONE knows EVERYONE! Especially working at a neighborhood bar, I ALWAYS run into someone I know / or share a common connection!

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Today’s class had one woman in her 30’s (who actually happens to be the Aunt of an acquaintance, love the small town feel) and a older woman (I guessed in her late 60’s early 70’s). After the 2nd strength and weight segment, which had some mat work, I noticed the older woman was squatting and wasn’t getting up as easily. I went over and asked if she needed a hand up. She gratefully accepted, noting that she was light headed.

I stayed by her for a moment, until she said she was OK, she then told me she had just changed her blood pressure medicine and getting up was difficult sometimes.

We went onto our cardio segment and got to talking. She stated that she recently had a fall, while trying to save a lamp and that combined with the change in blood pressure medicine was making her a little light headed at times… The fact that she was 81 had nothing to do with it!

EIGHTY-ONE… I was blown away! EIGHTY-ONE YEARS OLD and working out with twenty/thirty somethings! I said that I hope to be in as good of shape at the same age, she said, she wished she had started working out like this at my age. I told her I will continue, to aspire to be as fit as she is when I am 81 years old!

*Side bar: she held the plank for 45 seconds without problem… I couldn’t even do that for the whole time without breaking… 

We continued talking, she told us that she has been coming to Synergy for 9 years (coming 3x a week), is a lifetime weight watchers member, does 10,000 steps a day (averaging 30 flights of stairs), does yoga once a week and lives a very active lifestyle. She has 4  grown kids, who live all over the country, several grandchildren, she and her husband have been married for 60+ years and just traveled to Europe this past year. While she is in perfect health, she mentioned her husband, while still VERY active (working until 3 years ago as an engineer) is in very poor health. Which won’t let them travel as much anymore. 20161105_011015470_ios

EIGHTY-ONE!

I couldn’t believe it. She was not only was in impeccable shape and held her own during the workouts, modifying when necessary, but was sharp as a tact and told me she had met some VERY impressive women named Aly… Including myself.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but I may have just made a new BFF… My only regret was that I didn’t get a picture with her…

Oh well, Maybe next time!

What inspires or gives you motivation?

Where my elves at!

Life has been CHAOTIC lately – which hasn’t left much time to blog, let alone sleep or relax… 😦 At this current point in time,  I feel like I am on life’s express non-stop train…

Being on such a busy train has left me stressed, overwhelmed and working HARD to stick to my moderate paleo lifestyle…. Which isn’t really working out all to much at the moment. I am finding new respect for those who work out of the house, meal plan, pre-cut, wash, cook, etc… Because I. JUST. CAN’T. DO. IT. ALL. I cook when I can, have himself stock the food with only healthy clean options and I am giving it all I got to balance.

I am doing the best I can at the moment, especially as a stress eater, to eat SUPER clean and well all day, including dinner (if i am not at the restaurant…)… While I do my absolute BEST at the restaurant, sometimes the craving for anything / everything FRIED takes over my will power is gone…

One thing I have realized is that I am NOT by any means drinking enough water… I chalk it up to the busyness of life lately… But I have been so frustrated because I am bloated, have a headache and my skin is breaking out…. Realized this morning, it is probably from lack of water intake during a heat wave…..

*Pause to Chug*

Another recent addition to my daily routine is going to the gym. Which doesn’t make up for the poor food choices, but is better than NOT going to the gym and making poor food choices…. Did I mention I could rationalize anything???

Sample of my recent weeks:

Away Friday – Sunday, Change clothes, go to Night Job

Wake up Monday start the week, all ready stressed

Monday: Gym, Dishes, Day Job, Dishes, Straighten up the house, Night Job

Tuesday: Gym, Dishes, Day Job, Laundry, Cook Dinner for the rest of the week

Wednesday: Gym, Dishes, Day Job, Dishes, Think about folding tuesdays laundry, Night Job

Thursday: Gym, Day Job, MAYBE Fold Tuesdays Laundry, Night Job (Sometimes… If no night job, FOLD LAUNDRY

Friday – Travel Day – SPEED CLEAN HOUSE – Family, Weekend Trip, Etc… (BTW… Family visits are NOT a vacation, since I have so much going on, when I do go down, which is probably once every 6 weeks, its for something or an event… NO REST FOR THE WICKED…

Race back Sunday, drop off dirty clothes (which the elves are on strike, so they don’t make it into the hamper or get done…

Now, thankfully this isn’t every week, but it has become a semblance of the norm and while its wonderful that I work from home and don’t have to worry about packing a lunch or ironing clothes, none of the previously mentioned house work EVER gets done… Because I am thankfully INSANELY busy with my day job….

4584039Today I did take a minute to make this hysterical meme, because sometimes you have a funny thought and need to turn it into a meme! #Life

I really wish the elves (who magically get all your housework done) would come back from their vacation, or that I could train the cats to fold the laundry… because in the little free time I have, laundry and house work are the last things I want to do.

Thank Freaking God for Tequila ❤

I know life is ONLY going to get busier, and more chaotic, and for some this is NOTHING… But for me, this is pretty nuts and only keeps getting busier. Despite needing to work this weekend, I am giving myself any free time I have OFF from civilization… I plan on sleeping, cuddling with kittens (I BECOME A CAT MOM x 2 on FRIDAY!!!!!), and not getting dressed for as long as physically possible.

Words to Live By – CLOTHES = COMMITMENT!

BRB while I put my head down and power through the next 2.5 days

 

 

Progress!

Progress is the key to success!

I’ve always been one for the quick fix. The magic “supplement” to help me lose weight… I’ve drank all the teas & juice cleanses, done all the wraps and have counted calories FOREVER… Never once have I experience prolonged progress… Probably because they were QUICK fixes and not lasting methods.

Since I’ve started my weight loss journey and clean eating path, I’ve had major revelations and life changing moments today I’ve had 2!

Side Bar and Quick note on my other goal set of paying off debt! 

In the past month I have been working extermely hard at paying off my debt! Tax Debt waCredits first, followed by Credit Card Debt and now my student loans are being tackled with serious aggressive force!

I received an email the other day informing me my credit card debt had been OFFICIALLY paid off!

This was wonderful news since I feel like all I’ve been doing is paying out my hard earned money and not getting any where, it was nice to receive this as certificate of completion and accomplishment!

WOOHOO!!!!

Now back to my weight loss journey.

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Jan 2016 – June 2016 – MAJOR PROGRESS

 

After the whole 30 (really 20) – I’ve been living about 85% paleo & clean. I am living as clean as possible, while still enjoying my life and feeling great! I know I should be exercising more, but I have to get there mentally and I unfortunately am not there yet… But I hope to be soon.

The fact that I am still seeing weight loss, while living 85% clean, drinking moderately and not exercising is just reaffirming that I am on the right track and that eating clean is the way to go!

I have officially STOPPED drinking wine (unless its a special occasion) and now only drink Tequila and Soda… Exclusively!

Today, my neighbor and friend, who is size SUPER TINY asked me if I wanted to look through her clothes she was cleaning out. As I’ve mentioned, I am a shopping and clothes junkie, so of course I said yes..COMMON it was FREE! But was super skeptical ANYTHING would actually fit…20160616_171238000_iOS

Well, I took a bunch of dresses, blazers and shoes and excitedly ran upstairs to try them on…. THEY FLIPPING FIT!!!! Best of all was one of the blazers she gave me was a SIZE FREAKING FOUR!!!! I haven’t even been able to look at a size FOUR since mid 2013, seriously even a glance at my size four clothes and they mocked me for looking (there might have been some laughing too)…. NOW THAT IS PROGRESS!

Major Non-Scale-Victory, on top of being down 2 lbs and in an entirely new set of 10 lbs, that I also haven’t seen in a while!

Its safe to say it has been a really good week, especially since it started out with me not feeling myself! I am finally starting to feel and look like myself again and I couldn’t be happier!

 

 

 

Tubthumping

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“I get knocked down, but I get up again – You are never gonna keep me down – He drinks a Whiskey drink, he drinks a Vodka drink – He drinks a Lager drink, he drinks a Cider drink” – Tubthumping, Chumbawama
I’ve been on a 90’s music kick lately, but this song speaks to my soul right now…
I have been a VERY bad girl…
Overview:
  • I have been drinking less than pre-30, but more thank I would like to post-30.
  • I have been having 2-3 cheat meals per week
    •  I don’t feel 100% guilty because I am overall making clean / healthy choices and MUCH better decisions than pre-30!
  • I’ve been eating a LOT of cheese -_-
Well this week I was BAD… I gave into cravings which isn’t something I want to have happen. I want to be strong and live clean because I can honestly say I feel 1000 times better!

I won’t lie to you, I will continue to eat Nachos, Pizza & Tacos… But I want it to be a couple times a MONTH thing, not weekly!

Tonight, I identified why I’ve been tired, lethargic and moody all week… What I thought was a hormone imbalance, I feel was in major part to the un-healthy choices I’ve been making!

 

On the heels of just having eaten an ENTIRE small pepperoni pizza and feeling pretty bloated / stuffed, I am going to list off all the things I have succeeded at post-30 and all the things I will continue to work on… Change isn’t something that happens over night and it most certainly isn’t easy, but I am committed to a lifestyle change and I will accomplish that!

As I am sitting here writing this, I have officially identified that it is the dairy that makes me so tired & will be cut down to once a week (if at all)… I HATE feeling this lethargic.

I knew going into this process that slip ups would happen and that I would continue to enjoy life and have a cheat meal here and there… It seems I’ve let myself get carried away and have identified it before I slip all the way back into my old habits…

To catch myself before I completely fall, I am going to do a cleanse (whole plan) for 12 days – to reset and allow myself to clear out the toxins and remind myself how good I felt… (Only doing 12 days because my birthday is on day 14 and YOLO)

What I’ve Learned:

  1. I had to CUT OUT THE WINE – too much sugar! Sugar has such a negative affect on me, that I had 2 spiked seltzers the other day and immediately passed out….
  2. Soy is NOT my friend
  3. Coconut is EVERYTHING – especially Coconut Tequila (1800) 🙂
  4. Milk is NOT my friend and I LOVE almond milk!
  5. Cheese (Mozzarella, Goat & Feta) are OK in small quantities (one meal / week)
  6. I truly am starting to ENJOY cooking & paleo baking is actually kinda fun!!
  7. I need to keep protein in the house at all times, or I start to crave
  8. Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies are BOMB DOT COM!
    1. Always read the instructions (blog) when paleo baking…. Important notes are in there :/
  9. I don’t drink / feel the need to drink nearly as much – Now I have 1-2 drinks 3-4 times a week vs 2 -3 (or 4) drinks EVERY NIGHT…
  10. I’ve learned that eating actual MEALS is more beneficial to weight loss than eating DIET food…
    1. I now eat 3-4 small-ish meals per day with 2 protein snacks – I try to never be hungry.
    2. I start every day with 3 eggs and fruit 🙂
  11. I actually enjoy eating clean and healthy because my body feels so good!

What I Need to Work ON:

  1. GETTING TO THE GYM – seriously, I can someone come and kick my ass to get me there?
  2. Drinking Less (3 days per week is the goal)
  3. Eating Healthier – Just because its clean, doesn’t mean its necessary 100% healthy!
    1. I LOVE cooking with almond meal & hate plain chicken, I’ve been making batches of baked chicken and mixing up my meals… But I need to get more adventurous.
  4. Paleo Baking is GREAT, but everything in MODERATION…
  5. Just because I CAN eat cheese, doesn’t mean I SHOULD! – Just because it doesn’t affect me negatively in small quantities, doesn’t mean I should start eating it all the time! I don’t want to go back to where I was and consuming too much cheese is like a gateway drug…
  6. Being in Control of my cravings
  7. GETTING TO THE GYM!!!! – I’m supposed to run a 5K end of August (I am TOTALLY FUCKED).
  8. Losing 15 More LBS (or a pant size) by end of Summer!

I’ll get there… I am grateful for this outlet to hold myself 100% accountable and responsible for my actions… Failure is not an option… Do or Do Not there is No Try!

Refocusing — Here. We. Go!

 

 

 

 

Family Affair – Cooking Edition

I am kind of OBSESSED with my Auntie N. She is amazing, and has always been more of an older sister to me than an Aunt. She guides me when I need guiding… Is a sounding board when I need sounding, offers incredible words of wisdom & logic, makes the BEST most KICK ASS (Gluten, Dairy, Sugar FILLED) Chocolate Lava Cakes and is the funniest person I’ve ever met.

I have the most special relationship with her and am SO grateful for it! That relationship has also transferred to her offspring Z & L. When all of us (My mom, Sisters and Aunt and Cousins) get together, it is the absolute BEST time, where nobody ever shuts up!

Auntie N is the best cook / baker in the family and given my new found interest in eating healthy and cooking I felt it was only appropriate to learn from the master!

I came armed with recipes, ingredients and my sparkling personality.

Menu: Chicken Parm (my go to), Garlic Knots, Spiraled Zucchini, Homemade Tomato sauce & Coconut Cupcakes with a Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Side Bar: I am grateful for my teenage cousins who have taught me to snap chat and humored my desire to do the double dog face!

OH MY HOLY DELICIOUSNESS! I have never made anything as amazing as THIS meal!

I found this Blog and have not looked back! Her recipes are delicious, of all skill levels, and allow you to have incredible food without feeling sick!

Her blog has also led me to other incredible sites that offer amazing recipes! Like these Garlic Knots that will 20160603_225438359_iOSactually CHANGE your life… Seriously go make them right now!

Since becoming Paleo, I’ve OBVIOUSLY cheated and had a slice or 2 of Pizza, Tacos, etc but very small portions… However, I have been desperately been missing BREAD, like bread rolls and especially garlic bread! (Note: I went to a Seafood restaurant in Hull, MA this past weekend and have a MAJOR weakness for rolls at seafood places… I don’t know what it is about them, but they are SERIOUSLY my kryptonite, so I may have had 1…. Or 3)

OK, back to the Paleo Bread & clean eating! OUT OF THIS WORLD! It was easy to make, please read ALL the instructions and her notes… Tasted like it had butter in it, even though it didn’t and was warm, flaky and utterly bread like.

I made Chicken Parmesan “breaded” with Almond Meal (seasoned with Everyday Seasoning from Trader Joes & Garlic Salt) – we did put Mozzarella cheese on the chicken, because YOLO and everything in moderation! Additionally we made homemade tomato sauce! OH and spiraled zucchini as “Spaghetti”.

Best. Meal. Ever!20160603_231724000_iOS

We then capped the meal with Coconut Cupcakes with a Dark Chocolate Ganache.

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They’re delicious and fill that incredible need we all have for chocolate!

All in all it was a wonderful night, full of fun, laughs and delicious food!

 

#TacoLife

#LifeAfterThe30 IMG_5211Let me level with you… Tacos are life..

Thanks to the whole 30, which I officially completed today. However, if I am being honest (which i have been so far), it was more like 25 days. I wasn’t as strict of the last 5 days.

There were celebrations, travel and delicious restaurants galore. I made a calculated decision that I had learned enough and accomplished enough in 25 days that I felt I could eat clean and enjoy a couple cheat meals, because I knew I was in control of my food!

I felt that I had, had such a wonderful relationship with the Whole 30 and that I would resent it if I went to these celebrations and “couldn’t” eat or drink what I wanted. Thus I made better decisions because I was the one in control!

The whole 30 teaches you how to live after the 30 which I have implemented already several times! I have TAMED the sugar dragon and came out the victor! BOO-YA!

Now, back to Tacos. *Inset Taco Emoji Here*  Yesterday I realized I REALLY wanted a taco. The craving was intense! Thankfully, the Whole 30 prepared me for this! So instead of eating something i’d regret, or running out to get a taco, I stepped back and put some distance between myself and the idea of a Taco… I gave myself time to think, then today it was ALL I could think about!

I took myself out for 2 tacos, with the works (Ground Beef, Hard Shell, Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato & Guac) no sour cream or extra cheese… Which was usually my MO. I also had 2 Tequila Sodas with Lime & Orange INSTEAD of a 2-3 Margaritas.

I didn’t have any chips and I ordered a Salad (no dairy) to go!

I felt so good, enjoyed my tacos thoroughly and was completely satisfied that I didn’t want anything else! Again, all part of the learning process from #LifeAfterThe30

Life is about Living… Otherwise there isn’t a point. I am committed to eating clean and living healthy lifestyle, but that is within reason of still enjoying my lifestyle. Life is about making choices and thanks to the Whole 30, I now feel free and in control of my food & drink choices.

Here is my Week 3 Comparison as well as Weeks 1 & 2! I am so proud of this transformation and I can’t wait to continue to grow and learn to cook and fuel my body!

 

 

An Open Letter to the Whole 30

Written after completing week 2

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Dear Melissa,

My name is Aly, I am 26 years old. I’ve been “thin” but curvy my entire life and able to maintain my weight by smaller portions, limited sweets, but a diet consisting of unhealthy foods and work outing (on occasion)… Over the last 3 years I’ve really let myself go and gained 30 lbs. this was from a combination of comfort in a great relationship, boyfriend who cooks rich wonderful foods, not working out, not taking action, not eating healthy and medication changes. I lamented and self-deprecated, repeatedly said the words “omg I look so fat” but NEVER taking action (aside from quick unhealthy fixes) to do anything about it… – I’ve tried everything, from teas, pills, cleanses and fad diets to “quickly lose weight” but never actually ate REAL FOOD!

13 Days ago, after feeling like utter crap for a solid week, seeing the success of friends and family losing weight / getting healthy, feeling fat and miserable when looking at pictures, I decided to stop talking and lamenting and bsing and finally make a change…

13 Days ago, I did decided to change my life despite resisting for the longest time. I resisted because I felt it would be too hard…. I resisted because I didn’t want to have to meal plan or cook for myself…. I resisted because I didn’t want to give up my daily glass (or 3) of wine… and most importantly I resisted because I was scared that I would feel horrible during the 30 days and turn into a monster.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. My experience, over the last 10 days has been nothing short of wonderful. I had a sinus infection the first week, which typically knock me out, but surprisingly I was able to function, cook and still work… I began meal planning and cooking for myself, which became oddly satisfying,  and I realized around day 5 that I wasn’t sweating in my sleep anymore and was actually sleeping through the night. The sweating had gotten so bad, I saw a doctor a month ago to try to see if there was something wrong… (there wasn’t anything medical).

During my first 10 days, I haven’t experienced any cravings, hangry, kill all the things or headaches… I think this is partially because sugar was never really my problem (dairy and carbs were), and aside from milk and sugar from white flour, I never really indulged too much in typical baked sweets… never saw the point and would always rather eat an entire pizza than a cookie. I also learned I wasn’t really feeding my body, by eating low calorie (diet options) but not actually real food, I continued to crave because I wasn’t properly nourished… I believe my body was so ready to feel better than it embraced the healthy food change with open arms… but I’ve had such a wonderful (easy) experience, I re-read the rules and consulted a friend who is an alum to see if I was doing it wrong because it felt too easy. I also believe the sinus infection helped mask some of the first week head aches.

I have more energy, I am sleeping better, I don’t have stomach pains, my outlook on life is completely changed and already my relationship with food is different. I look at something delicious that I’d typically crave (then indulge) and now think “Wow, that looks great, but I don’t want it”… I’ve learned that I can enjoy a cran-lime seltzer from a wine glass, just as much as a glass of wine and I’ve also learned that eating strictly paleo (no baked goods or cheese) satisfies my body so much, I no longer crave and have learned food is just food, to fuel…. It is not emotional and doesn’t make you feel better if you’re sad….

I’ve learned all of this in 10 days and have never felt better… So much so I can’t stop talking about it to friends and family and have already inspired several close friends and family members (who were resistant) to get started!

I can’t thank you enough for this life 180 and am BEYOND excited to see what the next 20 days bring… I already know I want to limit my dairy intake (which previously was on everything I ate) and live a primarily paleo life (which exceptions of special occasions). ß which is crazy because I always thought paleo was strange and hard and people were crazy to live that way….

Forever Grateful,

Aly