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Day 8 – Time Doesn’t Fly

Time doesn’t fly… and neither will I, apparently. Delta Airlines had a mechanical issue on my first plane today, for which I traveled 90 miles by car in the middle of the night, for a timely 4:30am airport check-in arrival. We were all seated and ready to take off; next thing you know, we are being asked to deplane and find another flight.

The next flight was seven hours later.

Travel Entropy

I have been sitting in the airport for two hours and I still have five hours to go. I am so tired and very hungry. I only brought enough snacks to get through lunch (when I should have been arriving home)… now, I won’t be home until almost midnight.

This will be a huuuuge challenge. The three hours of sleep I managed to get are all taunting me to lay down right here on the floor. My hunger demon is begging for pizza, and my brain is too mushy to immerse myself into work. The universe is really testing me today, as if it’s saying, “You thought being at your parents’ house was tough? Hold my beer!”

Mmmm… beer. I miss beer. And even though it’s only 8:30am, I’ve been up for six-and-a-half hours, so it actually doesn’t sound bad right now.

I guess I’ll peruse the airport to find some suitable grub, and maybe get in a few steps on my Apple Watch.

…..

Freshii to the Rescue

Freshii! You beautiful life-saver, you! In the middle of the grease pit food court is a little green gem with Whole30 options! Oh, bless you, Freshii! I was dreading having to live off snacks until midnight. Instead, your menu revealed a “Metaboost Salad” from which I only had to ask that they remove the cheese and edamame! And your chicken is boiled! No oil! And your dressing is compliant! Oh, how I love thee in Terminal A! Thank you thank you thank you!

Fast-forward a few hours (I slept for most of it. On the table. In the food court.), and my second plane was delayed by a little girl cracking her head open in the waiting area. We finally boarded 45 min later.

I get to my layover destination, where the same family with the little girl demands to see another medic before boarding the next leg (of course they’re on my flight); another 20 min delay. I guess one medic before the first flight wasn’t sufficient?

I finally get to my seat, upgraded to first class, and I’m sitting next to a jittery old man who appears to have Tourette’s or some other affliction, which is causing him to convulse, snort, and gargle his own snot every 30 seconds. Hellloooo noise-canceling headphones, thank you very much!

I’m 500 Calories under my target and haven’t had a warm meal all day, so I hope first class is serving something that’s at least partially Whole30-friendly. Otherwise, I’m going to drink tons of water and look forward to hubby making me some scrambled eggs and turkey sausage when I finally get home… around midnight.

Hubby said it’s snowing at home, so the 22 mile drive from the airport in the middle of the night should prove interesting.

I nearly lost my shit when the captain of my third airplane of the day got on the intercom and said, “Folks, we have an issue with the lavatory, so we are going to be a little delayed…”

All I could think was RUFKM?!?!

It was only a ten minute delay… thank goodness.

Delta had a chicken Niçoise salad! Hooray! They also served bread and cheesecake, which took way too much willpower to ignore…. but, I did. I gave the farewell wave to the cheesecake as I dismissed my tray.

My Food Today

All meals from 2am PT through 11:30pm ET totaled 1897 Calories

  • B: Rx Bar, Nick’s Sticks
  • L: Freshii Chicken Metaboboost Salad, Mixed Nuts
  • D: Chicken Niçoise Salad, Mixed Nuts
  • S: Dried Mango, Nick’s Sticks

Now, I’m finally home. Goodnight.

Day 7 – Ketosis

My mom politely offered me a sugar-filled mint (I had no idea that Altoids are basically sugar discs!), then some sugar-substitute-laden-cancer-causing gum as she explained my breath has a “funny smell.” My brother, a scientist, piped up and said, “She’s in Ketosis. That’s normal.”

Ketosis? Sounds like a type of disease. Fortunately, I knew it had to do with weight loss, and it was a good sign that fat burning was in full-effect, but I still had to look it up to see exactly what it was.

Unfortunately, mints and gum don’t jive with Whole30, so I just had to dragon-breath my way through conversations today.

According to WebMD:“Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones.If you’re healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don’t normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy.”

There is also an interesting article about the Top 10 signs you’re in Ketosis (bad breath is #2) at Healthline.com.

HealthyWage

I’m currently leading in individual weight loss percentage for the HealthyWage competition. We do still have 11 weeks to go, though… and my team keeps drinking beer!

I am not too keen on weight loss competitions, as it can lead to something unhealthy and damaging, but there was a lot of peer pressure at work to partake, and I figured there would be no better time to try Whole30.

Plus, my boss thinks his team will win this, and I have this pressing need to beat him *grin*

Scale-down Victories

When it comes to the scale, there is a conflict between HealthyWage and Whole30. HealthyWage encourages frequent weigh-ins on their shitty website in order to feed the competition. The Whole30 program emphasizes staying away from the scale for those 30 days, and paying attention to non-scale victories; they even have a Non-scale Victories Checklist you can download and print out!

You can check a box next to things like “fewer blemishes,” “less diarrhea,” “learned how to cook,” “less sleep apnea (apropos),” etc. I looked through the whole list and I couldn’t find “You have stank ass Ketone breath” – I think that should be considered a non-scale victory as well! According to WebMD, it can take seven (7) to 30 days to experience Ketosis, once you start a low-carb diet. I experienced it in about seven (7) days! Victory! “Friends/Family back up/offer mints when you’re speaking to them” would also suffice in the non-scale victory checklist.

I am participating in both; weighing myself when I feel “lighter,” and looking for non-scale victories.

Tomorrow is my last day of travel for awhile. I can’t wait to get back on a normal schedule that involves home-cooked food at regular hours.

Le Menu

1688 Calories today, and a semi-funky breakfast, since I stayed in a hotel and I don’t trust hotel buffet eggs from a carton:

  • B: Mixed Nuts, Mandarin, Nick’s Sticks
  • L: Tuna Salad Cups
  • D: Salmon and Blasted Broccoli
  • S: Eggs, Dried Mango

Day 6 – Piece of Cake

Cravings and temptations were the themes of the day. We celebrated my niece’s and Dad’s birthdays today.

I arrived at my parents’ house around lunch time, and the only Whole30-acceptable food I could find was lettuce, tomato, and a can of tuna. Mom only had Best Foods “bad” mayo, and she didn’t have any avocado oil, so I whipped up some EVOO Whole30 mayo. EVOO is not ideal for mayo – it is very heavy and creates a green tinge, but it did the trick for me in a pinch.

I made tuna salad lettuce cups. I was only able to eat half of what is in the picture. One can of tuna with “heavy” mayo is extremely filling!

Making your own mayo is simple. If you’re interested, a Whole30-friendly Mayo Recipe is below. If not, scroll-on.

W30 Mayo Recipe

Tools:

  • Food processor with ability to add ingredients while operating; or
  • Immersion blender and bowl; or
  • Mixer with wire whisk attachment; or
  • A hand whisk, mixing bowl, and a strong arm!

Ingredients:

  • 1 free-range, grass-fed, organic egg
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil & 1 cup avocado oil divided (light olive oil will also work)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • Lemon juice

Instructions (Hubby always calls these “destructions,” which, for some reason, irritates the living shit out of me – he says he thinks it’s cute. I tell him it’s cute only if you’re three years old):

  1. Put 1/4 cup of oil, egg, and seasonings into mixer/bowl/processor. Mix until emulsified.
  2. VERY SLOWLY drizzle in remaining cup of oil.
  3. Once completely emulsified, gently stir in lemon juice to taste.

That’s it! Homemade mayo! Makes approximately one cup. Season it however you like. Just beware that too much lemon will cause it to separate, so you always add it, slowly and to taste, at the end.

Birthday Dinner

Tradition in my family is that my mom will cook a meal of our request on birthdays. Her cooking is better than going to a restaurant, so it’s always a great smorgasbord of fantastic food. Tonight’s feast included BBQ chicken, wine, Marinated Tri-tip, wine, Shrimp Scampi, wine, Lasagna, Garlic Bread, wine, Green Beans, and Salad… annnnd more wine.

Did I mention wine? I miss you, wine.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but only one of those things (and my least favorite) is Whole30 compliant; salad…which, by the way, I kind of had for lunch; that tuna salad cup thing with the lettuce.

Thank goodness, Mom set aside a few raw shrimp and had a non-marinated steak for me. I made my own Balsamic Vinaigrette from scratch, for the salad, just to be sure I was not consuming hidden crap from all the other bottled dressings (have you read those labels? Scary!)

Red Meat Mayhem

I ate a bit more steak than I should have (6oz of meat instead of 4oz), and my tummy was not happy about it. Angry, in fact. Maybe that was just a little too much fat for the day. I’m thinking red meat should be consumed the least of all meats while on Whole30. It makes me very sad to even think that.

Desserts Backwards is Stressed

Time to blow out candles! I watched both my dad and niece blow out the candles together, with a high-five. By the time everyone was eating what looked to be a silky, delectable chocolate cake with layers of creamy chocolate mousse, I convinced myself that Dad and Niece had spit all over the cake in their synchronized extinguishing of the candles.

I came very close to making this the Whole 5.5 + Whole Maybe 24, if not for the mental image of raining spit.

Still, I was salivating like a rabid animal the entire time, trying to be social at the table; feeling crushing of my soul with every bite I saw and “mmmmmmmm” I heard.

Pure Torture.

Chocolate goes very well with some wines… and with milk, which is also Whole30-forbidden.

Dried mangos are totally a substitute for dessert, right? No. No, they’re not. Not even close.

I made it through the day and evening, feeling like I had endured a physical fight with my will power. It’s pretty bruised up, so I hope I can withstand tomorrow.

All My Boring Eats Today

All meals and snacks for the day totaled 1827 Calories (27 over Target):

  • B: Eggs, Nick’s Sticks (Spicy Beef)
  • L: Tuna Salad Wraps
  • D: Steak, Salad, Shrimp
  • S: Dried Mango, Mandarin

Day 6 is a wrap! Mmmmmmm…. wraps. Ugh.

Day 5 – Travel

Only five days on the Whole30 plan, and I’m faced with travel; 11 hours of it, mostly by plane. I went to the airport armed with an arsenal of snacks:

  • Nick’s Sticks (of course)
  • Snack bags of mixed nuts
  • Mandarins
  • Dried Mango; and
  • Rx Bars

I’m pretty sure TSA thought I was heading to California from Ohio to partake in their “special” laws.

The bag of dried mangos was gone before I even got on the second plane. I went to four different CBS News stores to find more, and they’re all out! Is there a mango shortage???

All was well until I was bumped up to first class on the second flight. Immediately, upon sitting down, they asked what I’d like to drink.

“Water.” *big sad face*

Next, are the meals. Airline food gets a bad wrap, but Delta food is actually REALLY good. My seat neighbor let me take a pic of her dessert before she ate it….Slowly… little bites…Red. Velvet. Cake.

THEN she described all of its delight in detail to the flight attendant, who romanced with her over other similar desserts while I felt my inner sweet tooth kick me in the gut. Of course, my seat neighbor weighs all of 90 lbs, so she couldn’t possibly finish a dessert barely bigger than a strawberry… so, it sat there… staring at me. As the flight attendant cleared her plate, she says to me, “We have a salmon and a red velvet cake left if you’ve changed your mind.” My seat mate said, “Oh no… she’s on a special diet.”

I forced a smile and reached for a packet of nuts and a mandarin. *sulk* My appetite was bordering on ravenous pig by the time we landed in Sacramento, and I was already at 1100 Calories for the day!

I told a friend I’d meet her at a restaurant for dinner. I mentioned I was doing Whole30, so she picked the place. Sushi again. I love sushi, but I love other foods too. Tonight’s sashimi was really fresh, so it really didn’t need sauce of any kind. Lemon was more than enough.

My friend had tempura – one of my favorite things.

I love food. I want to eat something besides sauceless sashimi when I go out. Why do so many options have to be so darned unhealthy?

The Day’s Eats

  • Only 1600 Calories today. Even though I came in under my target, I’m actually not hungry. B: Eggs w/ Spinach, Kale-Spinach-Apple smoothie
  • L: Nick’s Sticks; Spicy Turkey & Spicy Beef
  • D: Sashimi
  • S: Mixed Nuts, Mandarin

Day 4 – n<1800=Nope

I know better! Eat ALL my calories! My actual intake (n) was too far under my target (1800) at the end of Day 4 (in case you were trying to figure out today’s cryptic title), but I had dinner early, and arrived home late, so I chose not to eat anything else before bed. I went to bed hungry. The domino effect ensued; tummy demons growling, restless legs, pouting, cravings for cupcakes… and then I was wide awake and hungry at 5am! Dumb.

Setting the Bar

Overall, my energy is still up, and I breezed through a very active, long, and stressful work day. I also had an HOA meeting at a downtown bar at 8pm – talk about a danger zone! I LOOOOOOVE beer. I love bar food! You may as well tell me I can’t breathe if you deny me those things and then flaunt them.

I drank water. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be! Aside from wiping away a few tears and a little drool, I came away unscathed. I was sure to eat a healthy and satisfying dinner before I left, and that helped a lot! Two hours in a bar and all I consumed was water; I deserve a freakin’ ribbon.

Changes?

My boss gave me a coaching session yesterday about my tolerance to certain personalities. We are embarking on a whole new journey, expanding the company, and going global. If I’m to be leading a global organization, I need to behave like nothing jilts me. I’m a highly emotional, intolerant-of-malicious-ignorance, demanding, middle-aged woman, working with some very snakey, untrustworthy douchebags. Every once in awhile, my patience is exceeded by the aforementioned triggers. I’ve worked on this over the years, but it’s a lot like maintaining a fitness regimen; some days, you just say, “fuck it.”

I told him I was confident my attitude would get better and I’d have more balance in the near future as a result of this Whole30 and HealthyWage competition and lifestyle change. While that may be somewhat true, the whole truth includes that I can’t stand liars and back-stabbers, so I’ll just have to find an alternative to walking out of meetings, yelling, or flaming them on email. Ironically, suppressing those urges will likely be more stressful! Ha!

Tomorrow, I’m taking my first flight while on Whole30. Being away is going to be tough! I can only eat so much sushi and lettuce. Plus, I’ll be visiting my parents, and my mom makes dessert every day. From scratch. Ugh. I’ll just consider this weekend to be Whole30 bootcamp!

Today’s Eats

I only consumed 1572 Calories – I don’t recommend being more than 100 Calories under your target; it does more harm than good – like middle-of-the-night whimpering:

  • B: Eggs w/Spinach, Kale-Spinach-Apple Smoothie
  • L: Zoodles (zucchini noodles) w/ Whole30 Meatballs
  • D: Lettuce-wrapped Turkey Burger w/ Whole30 Mayo
  • S: Dried Mango, Nick’s Sticks: Spicy Beef & Spicy Turkey,

Day 3 – What’s This? Energy?

This morning, for the first time in months, maybe over a year, I woke up without an alarm… feeling RESTED! I wasn’t groggy or lethargic. I popped right out of bed like I NEVER do. Is this Whole30-related, or am I just so stressed and nervous about the big changes at work, that I’m in overdrive? I suppose we shall see over the next few weeks! However, last night, I got six hours of sleep (I normally require eight), and I woke up energized as hell! Yasss!!!

Choo Chooooo!

Unfortunately, I’m still snoring like a train, according to my poor hubby, who hasn’t been sleeping well at all. It’s my hope that losing weight will take the extra fat away from my neck and chest, and make the locomotive leave the station. However, this could be months away…*sigh.*

Hubby keeps bugging me about doing a sleep test and getting a CPAP, but I went that route once, recently, and the test was inconclusive. They wanted me to take more tests and I was already into it $1000 for the preliminary tests, so I decided it was all a scam and my snoring couldn’t be that bad; if it was, I’d have a prescription for a CPAP, right?

Hubby begs to differ and there’s no convincing him otherwise. I think he just wants me to look like a plastic elephant while I sleep, expelling human exhaust. (Why do they make the air come out like that? The inventor of CPAP was obviously not a cuddler or snuggler. CPAP is an unsexy, loud, spoon-blocker.) I would rather buy earplugs for him.

Nick’s Amazing Sticks

I received my Nick’s Sticks (Whole 30 compliant snacks) in the mail today. They’re all scrumptious, but my favorite is the spicy turkey! Between dried fruits (Whole Foods dried unsweetened mangos and stuff we dried in our dehydrator), Rx Bars, Nick’s Sticks, mixed nuts, and mandarins, I think I’m well-stocked for evading my hangry self.

The Green Monster (named by my staff) AKA “WTFisKale?”

I’ve also incorporated a Kale, Spinach, Apple smoothie into my morning for 94 Calories, which has helped stave off cravings until lunch time. It’s made of kale, spinach, 1/2 Granny Smith apple, 1/2 banana, tbsp lemon juice, coconut water, and ice. Very yummy! Blend it all in a magic bullet for 45 seconds, and voila!

Day 3 has me feeling MUCH better. Days 1 and 2 sucked ass.

Today’s Menu

Here is what I ate today, totaling 1764 Calories:

  • B: Kale-Spinach-Apple Smoothie, Eggs w/Spinach
  • L: Chicken Soup, Mandarin
  • D: Sashimi w/lemon (instead of soy sauce. Next time I’m bringing my own aminos with me. Lemon doesn’t cut it)
  • S: Rx Bar, Dried Mango, Spicy Turkey Stick

Day 2 – Migraine Misery

Day 2 was hell. My headaches from sugar withdrawals turned into the worst migraine I’ve had since I moved to Ohio. I had the auras, blurred vision, nausea, and pain, all of which intensified with light and/or sound.

I sought information and advice online about the cause and potential remedies for what I believe to be Whole30 headaches. You may not be surprised to know that I would’ve gotten better advice from a Kindergarten version of Wikipedia.

To Drug or Not to Drug?

Ok… I have a problem with the fact that, technically, medicine is not Whole30 compliant. It’s not natural; I get it… but am I TRULY derailing my progress and being waylaid by a pill? A pill that makes me human again? I even had some Whole30-purist friends tell me to just “ride it out” to remain Whole30 compliant, but… and I can’t be more clear on my perspective about that advice…. fuuuck that.

Obviously these people have never had a migraine. How about you let me pound you on the head with a mallet and jab needles into your eyeballs, while punching you in the stomach, and spinning you around until you puke….for three days…and you just “ride it out.” Sound good?

If taking a Naratriptan, just so I don’t shoot myself in the head, makes this become Whole32, then so be it. No diet in the world is worth a debilitating three-day migraine.

Holy Shit. It’s Working!

The amazing thing about all this is that I’ve already lost 8 lbs of bloat and inflammation in TWO DAYS, even though I’m consuming 100 – 120oz of water per day!! I was so swollen from all the crap I was putting into my body, that just two days of eating clean made that big of a difference!

However, even though I’ve lost 8 lbs of swelling, I don’t yet feel a difference in my clothing. My pants are still tighter than a sausage casing (and resemble as much), and my undergarments are still screaming for mercy. I’m looking forward to the day I can bend over without my pants threatening to split at the seams alongside vehement zipper protests.

Menu

Here was my food for Day 2 @ 1727 Cal:

  • B: Kale Spinach Smoothie (looks like a pulverized muppet, tastes great), Eggs w/ Spinach
  • L: Chicken Soup, Mandarins
  • D: Naratriptan, Turkey Burger w/ Lettuce Wrap, and a 13-hour coma.
  • S: Dried Mango, Mixed Nuts, Rx Bar

Day 1 – Hangry AF

Today marked the beginning of the weight loss challenge at work, and it also marked Day 1 of Whole30. Hubby excitedly explained upon my arrival home from work, “Guess what! Great news! Now it’s Whole29!” For the love of all that is edible, I hope he doesn’t make that joke every day for the next 28 days; I will totally lose my shit.

I Weigh What???

The weigh-in… yahhhh…. so… it was bad. Not car-with-no-brakes bad, but definitely picked-last-for-kickball bad. I squinted at the number to see if I actually read it correctly. I’ve gained 37 lbs since July. Thirty. Seven. Freaking. Pounds. That’s more than a pound per week. I gained a three-year-old.

I knew I was getting up there when all my shirts started shrinking at the same time and my pants started showing signs of surrender around the thighs, but I convinced myself that they were just washed in too hot of water.

Whole30 Kickoff

Whole30, Day 1 started well; I had a light breakfast of two eggs and a cup of spinach cooked in coconut oil. As it turns out, it was TOO light. I progressively got more hungry, despite snacking on an Rx bar, two hard-boiled egg whites, and a cup of grapes over the next few hours. By 5pm, I was downright hangry, stuck at work, and ready to murder anyone who even smiled at me. Withdrawals are definitely setting in for the copious amounts of yumminess I’ve allowed myself over the last 18 months; my craving tonight is a glass of wine. And by glass, I mean bottle.

Today’s Menu

My food today consisted of approximately 1650 Calories:

  • B: Scrambled eggs with spinach
  • L: Homemade chicken soup, two hard-boiled egg whites, and grapes
  • D: Pork loin and blasted broccoli
  • S: Rx Bar and mandarins

I’m going to try a bigger breakfast tomorrow, and maybe one more snack. Getting off work before 7:30pm may also help, if I can swing it. I hope I can find my motivation to exercise; he’s been hiding for more than 18 months and I can’t find the little bastard.

Day 0 – Prepping for HealthyWage & Whole 30

I’m already exhausted. Does meal prep count as cardio? I’m going to go ahead and say yes, since I’m exhibiting all the signs; out of breath, sweating, sore back, feet hurt…. yup! Cardio!

Hubby has decided to eat Whole 30 with me for the next…you guessed it….30 days. We cleaned out the pantry, read labels of the remaining foods we thought were okay (did you know there is sugar in Seasoned Salt?), and threw out even more food. Three kitchen trash bags full, to be exact.

I heard Taps playing as I tossed items away – more-so because of the aggregate cost of what I was throwing out. Sure, I’ll miss the sugar and goodies, but I couldn’t believe how much money we have wasted on crap like chips, dips, condiments, etc.

With a half-empty fridge and room in the pantry, I hit Whole Foods. I had to change our meal plan on-the-fly because after reading almost every ingredient label on every packaged meat, I discovered sausage, bacon, and deli meat all contain sugar and/or carrageenan. I’m not going to lie – I panicked a bit when I couldn’t find Whole 30 approved bacon IN WHOLE FOODS.

I can do without ham. I can make my own sausage from ground meats. But…How will I be able to cook those gross little cabbage balls (Brussels sprouts) without bacon? Am I supposed to leave my eggs in solitude on my plate in the morning? Deep breaths. Perhaps bacon was my undercover SWYPO food. I can do this. (SWYPO is a Whole 30 term, meaning “sex with your pants on.”)

I prepped chicken soup, and have emergency snacks on hand. We also have dinner planned for every day of the week, but we plan to choose what to cook when we get home in the evenings. We decided lunch-prepping was most important, so we have soup, salads, and a few meats for this week’s lunches. I can already tell my Instant Pot is going to be a hero on this plan. If you don’t already have one, get one. Perfect soups, and perfect poultry EVERY TIME.

After I food prepped, I ordered out for my last supper. Cue ominous music.

I had an entire medium pizza as my “last hoorah.” And a piece of cake. And wine. And a lemon drop drink. Carbs, sweets, and alcohol – I had to have a proper goodbye!

Goodnight, world. Tomorrow, I find out what I weigh. This won’t be pretty.

The Trek Begins in 24 Hours

I am more nervous about this trek to becoming healthy than I was about my wedding day. Why am I nervous? I’ll tell you why… I’ve done this before. I’ve coached people through this before. I was successful before. I was fit before. I remember “before” like it was yesterday.

Going from fat to fit is a lot of work and a lot of pain. It’s serious dedication to one’s self, and the moment you take a “break,” it can all come crashing down, making it even more difficult to get back on track. I remember this. I lived it. I lost it.

In 2008, I was about the same weight I am today. I was miserable. After a really bad break-up, I decided to change my life for the better and take control of my misery. I ate right, I exercised, and I even had plastic surgery when I reached my goal. In two years, I went from a size 20 to a size 8. I felt on top of the world and I could tell you that the size 8 girl could not believe that she was ever the size 20 girl. Miss size 8 SWORE she would never go back to that disgusting, miserable place, EVER again. She would have bet her life on it. The cost was just way too high, and Miss size 8 wanted to live!

Fast-forward eight years.

I found myself working for one of the major tech giants on the west coast – it was my DREAM job. I worked long hours and was getting accolade after accolade, when suddenly my boss went out on medical leave for four months. When she came back, she was seemingly possessed by an evil demon with a high school mean girl’s brain, who didn’t know the first thing about leadership. The environment became hostile and she became somewhat of a cancer to the team. Most people quit within the first few months of her return, but I held out, determined to win her over and be successful once again in her eyes. (Why?!?!)

Being a perfectionist and an empath, I ended up facing one of the most difficult years of my life, trying to stick it out with that devil-woman. I landed in the hospital several times over stress, and my body even started disrupting my heart beat at random occasions. Eventually, I was having migraines and anxiety attacks on the regular, and my weight was starting to creep up, even though I was still very active (daily gym AND yoga, hiking a few times per week, weight training, walks, etc).

During that same stressful year at work, I also discovered a few things were going awry in my personal life; no doubt, a domino effect from being miserable at work. Losing trust and faith in those closest to me at both work and home was more than I could handle. I began to REALLY gain weight. Rapidly. Like a pro wrestler. Seriously. I hopped up to a size 16 in 6 months. Wine and sugar became staples in my diet.

I eventually took a medical leave of absence and decided to get myself back in good mental and physical condition. I abandoned the wine and sugar, and went to a fitness retreat for three weeks. We were hiking and working out every day, and I went back down to a size 12. I felt great! I was back! I wasn’t a size 8, but I felt the energy return!

While I was at that retreat, a recruiter called me about a new role for a different company, in a different state, working alongside someone very well-known in my industry. At first I turned it down, STILL determined to return to my employer and make my current job a success. (I’m a little slow on the uptake)

I returned to work with a whole new perspective; rested, positive, healthy, and excited – full of energy, once again! It only took two days and one major meeting for me to see that my current job was an extremely unhealthy environment and that my boss was, in fact, from Purgatory. I quit and called back the recruiter from the other company. One week later, I was flying to Ohio to rent an apartment.

The good news is that leaving the west coast and starting a new life has so far been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. I moved across the country, started a new job, got married, bought a home, and I’m working for one of the greatest leaders in my industry (who just so happens to not think much of my former boss – and I can’t help but smile about it!) Stress is still fairly high, but the anxiety is gone, the migraines are non-existent, and I love what I do.

The bad news is that once again, I am miserable with how much I’ve let myself go. I lost my youthful look, I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s skin, I hate looking at myself in the mirror. I have no energy, no drive, I’m not working out, I’m eating like a garbage disposal, and I sleep like a hibernating bear with sleep apnea!

I love our new home and there are so many things to like about the area…. BUT, I’ve moved to a place where being health-conscious and active is really difficult, and really unpopular. I’ve been here for 18 months and I’ve slothed and gluttoned myself back up to a size 18. I have a treadmill collecting dust in the basement, I’m wearing sweat pants to work again, and I can’t even remember what kale tastes like!

Once again, I’m the girl who has to unbutton her pants’ top button when sitting down, just so she can breathe…and who gets winded riding an escalator. How did I get here? Miss size 8 promised me 10 years ago that this would never happen again! Lying bitch.

Being fat hurts. My skin hurts. My lungs hurt. I have acne. I sweat a lot. I feel extremely unattractive, and I feel judging eyes on me whenever I eat. I never thought I’d be here again, and it seems even more daunting to get out of this situation than it did 10 years ago.

On January 22, the running shoes go on (I hope my swollen feet will fit into them), and I start that painful trek back to health and happiness, with the help of Whole30 and my dusty treadmill. I invite you to follow me on what promises to be a hilariously chaotic ride back to Onederland. Even though I decided to keep it PG with the website name, this whole journey will be about me “losing my shit” in both good and bad ways. I promise tears, cussing, and truth. You were warned.

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. — Dalai Lama

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