Book recommendation: 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

ImageI follow a blog called Money Saving Mom.  Blogger Crystal Paine is local to me and she writes about all sorts of things: home management.  Deals & coupons.  Recipe ideas.  Her blog posts are always relevant and match up with what’s going on in my life.

Crystal recently did a series of posts about self-discipline.  She has released the series in a new e-book for Kindle.  The book is called 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life and is currently available for $0.99 (through October 26th).

As a blogger, I received a preview copy of the book.  She grabbed me in the first two pages, describing herself as someone who would attempt to overhaul EVERYTHING in her life, only to crash and burn within two days. The changes she made were never permanent.  That is SOOO me.  

Crystal also writes about feeling overwhelmed by life, simply because her lack of discipline created chaos and disorder.  I can completely relate.  I have a tendency to procrastinate and then run around crazy-like at the last minute, stressing about everything I have to do.  Housework gets put off until the mountain of laundry threatens to overtake my children. I don’t have a daily routine, and I constantly feel like I’m behind the 8-ball of my to-do list.

If you are someone who struggles with self-discipline, I highly recommend the book!

Click here to download 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life.


October 23, 2012 at 7:59 am Leave a comment

Mama said there’d be days like this…

I promised I would be truthful here about my journey with Whole30.  As tempting as it is to share only my victories and not my failures, well…let’s just say I’ve never had a good poker face.

Yesterday was day 22.

Yesterday I fell off the wagon.

Well, not fell so much.  Jumped, actually, into a plastic case of Lofthouse Sugar Cookies with pink icing and sprinkles.  Then the wagon circled back around and ran over me, as I succumbed to the siren song of some cheese cubes, bread, and peanut butter.

(Somewhere, my friend Jacque – instigator of this whole change in my eating – is giving me a patented Jacque look.  Kind of a cross between an eye roll and a large facial twitch.  I can feel it from here.)

Not such a great day, yesterday.

My defenses were down.  I was tired.  Haven’t slept much lately, between this stupid chest cold that has taken up residence and my three-year-old who thinks staying in bed at night is “boring”.

I was in a bad mood.  Despite the rules, I got on the scale yesterday morning.  (Again, the Jacque eye roll.)  And the scale says I’m down a whopping three pounds since I started this thing.


I know, I know, the POINT of this process is not just weight loss.  It is a lifestyle change, a physical reset.  There are many, many other benefits to eating this way, some of which I’m already experiencing.  But DEAR GOD ALMIGHTY, would a good loss in poundage simply be TOO MUCH TO ASK???

It was my choice.  I made the choice to go off plan.  And you know what?  It wasn’t a good choice.  I felt like poo the rest of the day.

So what now?  I had a bad day.  But I’m not going to let it derail my efforts entirely.  Not this time.  I’ve been down that path too many times and it has gotten me nowhere.

I’m making the choice today to march forward.  I had already decided to continue this path until November 20th.  So I’ve got 32 days to make the right choices.

Here we go.  Again.

October 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm 1 comment

It’s Just My Competitive Nature. (Subtitled: Why Amy hates sucking at stuff.)

I ran a 5K this morning.  If I am being honest, I should really state that I participated in a 5K this morning, as the word “ran” implies that I’m a lot faster than I really am.  What I do is more like a slog (slow jog).  Or a walog?  (Walk-jog.)

Whatever you call it, it’s slow.  Turtles look at me and laugh.  I was passed by an older lady speed walking the course.

My unofficial / official time was 41 minutes.  Sure, I finished the race.  Sure, I never stopped to walk.  But I’m disappointed.  I had a goal of finishing under 38 minutes. I felt like I was running a much better race than the one I did in September.  Yet I finished at exactly the same time.

Insert heavy sigh here.

Brad asked me why it matters.  I’m not in it to win any awards.  I’ve never been a runner.  I tried, I finished. Shouldn’t that be enough?

Why yes, it should be.  But it bugs me that I’m not better at this sport.  Because I hate, hate, *hate* not being good at something.

We had a guest speaker at our MOPS group this week.  Davis is a former teacher turned speaker / consultant.  He coached me in volleyball and basketball in the 8th grade.  At a relevant point during his talk, he turned to me and asked,

“Hey, Amy, are you still competitive?”

Me?  Competitive?

Does a frog bump its ass when it hops?

I have always been competitive.  I wanted to be the best in school, in music, in sports.  Sadly, while school and music were a natural fit, the sports thing never came easily.  I am not graced with the most athletic ability.  I tried hard.  But I still rode a lot of pine.  (Shout out to my Sisters of the Pine, Angela and Ashley.)

I’ve most certainly never been a runner.  I did my first 5K in 2011, mostly just to see if I could run 3.1 miles in a row.  I finished that race five minutes faster than I did today.

BUT: A year and a half later, I’ve completed five 5Ks.  For a girl that could barely run one mile three years ago, I’ll have to accept that as my accomplishment.  And I didn’t come in dead last today.

So I’ve got that going for me.


It’s Day 19 of 30 on my Whole30 plan.

Somewhere around Day 14, it got easier.  I didn’t say *EASY*, I said *EASIER.*  There are still challenges.

Take, for instance, dinner at my in-laws last night.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were in town, and they made fajitas.  There was plenty for me to eat: chicken and beef, pico de gallo, avocadoes.  I didn’t go away hungry.

Yet I really, really wanted the sour cream, and the cheese, and the tortilla, and the chips – all the stuff that would normally accompany my fajita “guts”.  Maybe a nice cold Corona to wash it all down.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the sweets.  There were cake and cookies for dessert.  My mother-in-law has started stocking up on Halloween candy.  She always has a bowl of M&M’s out for anyone to take.  And I love, love, LOVE me some M&M’s.

I didn’t cheat.  Funny thing is, all of that stuff looked good, but I didn’t want to get off track.  I am finding it easier to say no and walk away from things that would derail my eating plan.

I’ve also decided to extend my Whole30.  I’m going to keep on plan until my birthday on November 20th.  That makes it more like a Whole55 for me.  I know there is more work I can do to clean up my eating and really work through my issues with food.

I hereby amend my statement that it’s Day 19 of 30.  It’s actually 19/55.

The plan for the next 36 days?  Just keep on, keepin’ on.

October 14, 2012 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

It takes two.

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary.  Brad and I are celebrating seven years of wedded bliss overall general happiness.

To mark the occasion, we planned a date night. The girls would sleep over at the grandparents’, and we would go out for dinner.

I woke up yesterday morning fully planning to cheat on my diet. The plan was to eat a fairly clean meal, but I was going to have some dessert and maybe a drink.  It’s my ANNIVERSARY, after all, shouldn’t I be allowed to enjoy it??

Brad saved me from myself.

I told him of my plans early in the day.  He looked at me as if I was crazy (he does this often), and said, “Why would you do that to yourself?  If you cheat now, you’re just going to confuse your body.”

I was annoyed with him at first.  It’s MY decision, isn’t it?  I’m a grownup, I can eat what I want!!  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was on to something.  I don’t want to destroy what I’ve worked on over the past twelve days.

I hate it when he’s right.

So I stayed pretty much on course, although I will say that our meal wasn’t totally Whole30 compliant.  We went to a Japanese steakhouse.  The meat was cooked in butter, which I’m not supposed to have.  But I stayed away from the rice and the noodles mixed with bean sprouts, and just focused on the meat and veggies.  I even gave Brad my pineapple sherbet.

Accountability.  Isn’t that one of the hallmarks of a good partnership?  Brad kept me accountable and reminded me why I was doing what I was doing.  He’s not afraid to call me out on stuff, which I appreciate. He truly wants me to succeed.

I’m glad I have him in my corner.

October 7, 2012 at 9:33 am Leave a comment

Some days are easier than others.

Whole 30 – Day 10 of 30.

I’m struggling today.

Truth be told, I’ve been struggling for two days now.  I woke up feeling flat yesterday morning and can’t seem to shake it.

I am fighting cravings.

It doesn’t seem worth it.

I want to face-plant into a bag of chocolate.  Or chips.  I can’t decide if it’s sweet or salty I want.  Maybe both.

I want to quit.

But I can’t quit.  Because it’s not fair to the other people who decided to do Whole30 or something similar to it with me.

Because it’s not fair to me.

I’m pressing on today.

October 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm 1 comment

Whole30 Week #1 Complete!

It’s day 8 of Whole30.  The beginning of week #2.

I’ve stayed on plan an entire 8 days.  Which is 7 days longer than I’ve stayed on anything else lately.

And I haven’t cheated.  Not once.  Have I been tempted?  Sure.  I had a staring match with a bag of chocolate chips in my cabinet last night.

I ate half a peach instead.  That’s a non-scale victory (NSV) right there, folks.

Here’s what I’m noticing, 8 days into it:

  • I’m not hungry all the time.  High levels of protein are keeping my blood sugar steady.  Before, I would eat a meal and want to eat again an hour later.  Now, not so much.
  • I have more energy during the day.  I’m getting a lot more done.
  • I am more focused and less “foggy”.
  • I have been in a better mood, for the most part.
  • I fit into a pair of pants today that I haven’t worn in a while.  My stomach area seems like it’s flatter.  (Notice I didn’t say flat.  That would take a surgical procedure or an act of God to get me to a flat tummy.)  But I’m definitely smaller in the mid-section.

I miss sugar.  I’ll admit, I like treats.  I also like a cold beer every now and then.  That’s off limits too.

I don’t really miss dairy; I have never been much of a milk drinker.  I did eat a lot of Greek yogurt for snacks, but it lifted easily out of my diet.  I don’t miss beans.

I’ve yearned, pined for, craved, and dreamed about bread.  A good bagel.  A warm roll.  That’s the tough stuff for me, and probably the thing I most needed to eliminate.

Looking forward to the next 23 days, I need to make more Whole30 compliant recipes.  I have been living on the same foods for the past week. Kinda sick of them.  I have several great recipes from different websites; I just need to make them.

Also, I am still fighting headaches.  I hope they disappear in the next week or so.  I’m also interested to see if my IBS – which has improved somewhat – continues to get better.

Here’s to week 2!!

Want more info about Whole30 and what I’m doing?  Go here.

October 3, 2012 at 7:55 am 1 comment

It Starts With Food.

After my little rant earlier in the week, my friend/cousin Jacque sent me some recommended reading.  She told me I should read the book It Starts With Food.  And then, she said, I should do it.  Implement the book into my life.

While I find it humorous to take eating advice from the girl who once thought Kraft macaroni and cheese was the only food group, I also respect Jacque’s opinion in this area.  She has studied exercise and physiology and has always kept up with nutrition. Not to mention she is fit and is a prime example that being a mom in your mid-30’s doesn’t mean you have to let it all go to pot.

I downloaded the book.  And read half of it that first day.


What I read made total sense.  It talks about how most of our issues with food addiction and obesity and weight-related health problems are not because we are lazy or we lack self-control.  Our problems stem from the poor quality of the food we eat and the havoc they are wreaking on our systems.

Not exactly new information for me, since I’ve done a lot of reading in this area.  However, It Starts With Food breaks down the science of *why* what we eat is damaging to us and puts it into simple, concise language.

I decided to implement it.  I was tempted to wait until Monday, October 1st.  I mean, starting a new program on the first of the month that falls on the first day of the week makes sense, right?  However, I knew I needed to start RIGHT NOW so that I can make changes.

The plan I’m following is called Whole30.  It is the plan outlined in the book, and is based on the idea that we need to get back to whole, unprocessed foods that aren’t damaging to our systems.  We need to get off the sugar and away from the foods that mess up our hormones.

The plan is called Whole30 because it’s meant to last for a month; however, you can do a Whole10, or Whole24, or whatever number floats your boat.  I’m shooting for the Whole30, which puts me through the end of October.  At that time I’ll assess and see if I want to extend it.

Whole30 eliminates:

  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Soda

BUT!  You can have:

  • Meats
  • Veggies
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Certain fats
  • Tea, black coffee, & water

I started on Wednesday.  The first day was easy.  Yesterday, I felt like hell.  My head hurt.  I could barely keep my eyes open.  My detoxing had begun.  Coupled with the fact that I messed up my back Wednesday night, I was a hot mess yesterday.

Today, honestly, I still feel like I have been hit by a truck.  The headache is lingering.  I just feel…off.  Not right.  I slept all night and feel like I could lay down and take a good, long nap today.

I have horrible swings between “I can do this!” and “Enough!  No one will care if I eat a cookie.  And I need a cookie RIGHT NOW.”  However, *I* will know if I eat the cookie.

And now all of you will know if I eat the cookie, too.  That helps me to stay the course.  According to everything I’ve read (and Jacque’s own testimony) this fog I am in should pass in the next two weeks.  The fog should lift as I start to shake off the effects of sugar and Diet Coke and processed junk I’ve been eating.

I know some of you are thinking this is extreme.  It is, somewhat.  But I need something extreme to get me jumpstarted in the right direction.  To rewire my brain from thinking about food constantly.  I need to learn to reach for the things that do positive things for my body instead of destroying it.

This much restriction is not forever.  But it’s a way to get me started towards a healthier lifestyle.

I’ll be talking about it here over the next 30 days.  If you’re interested in learning more about it, you can find the Whole30 plan here.  They have a shopping list over there as well as guidelines for the plan.  Or send me an email and I can do a quick-and-dirty summary for you if you think you might want to get started, too.

September 28, 2012 at 7:29 am 12 comments

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