Posts in Ideal Protein
Lessons Learned from Ideal Protein

When I started this blog last summer, I was following the Ideal Protein Protocol. I'm very thankful for that season of my life. It was intense, hard and it revealed more about myself than I thought it would. I followed the Ideal Protein Protocol (I'm using the term "follow" loosely. I did really well in the beginning and waned off over time) for about 4-5 months. When following the program/directions, I lost weight really quickly. I lost around 40lbs in that time span.

I had never lost weight before. Correction. I had never tried to lose weight before. This was the first time where I really took a good look at myself and knew that drastic changes needed to be made. You can read more about that here.

Restricting certain food groups was a brand new experience for me. I'd never passed on the bread or cheese before. I'd skipped dessert occasionally, but really making the effort to avoid carbs, dairy, and sugar was a much needed shock to my system.

When Luke and I examined our budget for 2016, I realized that Ideal Protein didn't really fit in. We made some BIG purchases in fall 2015, our house and car, and came home from Christmas with a 100+ pound dog (who we love very much and couldn't dream of life without him). Although, I didn't lose as much as I would've liked or stuck to it as long as I would've liked, I'm looking forward to branching out and doing something new.

I want to share things I'm thankful for about my time on Ideal Protein:

  • I CAN exercise self control. Probably the main take away from IP was knowing that I could say no to certain food groups, that I would be okay without them. Again, prior to last year I had never restricted food groups. I can say NO. That was really good to learn.
  • I CAN lose weight. It's happened. I've done it. I succeeded. Prior to last year, I thought I was a hopeless cause. Now, I know that it's possible for me to lose and that I'm not too far gone.
  • I can trust people. I've never been this open about my life or my feelings. The way that everyone has rallied around and encouraged me is unbelievable. I totally didn't expect it to this degree.
  • I need a new normal. The month of December was when I officially quit Ideal Protein. I stopped weighing in and using the products. Even before that I stopped applying all of the good stuff I'd learned. I regularly indulged in foods that I knew I should've savored sparingly. I was kind of lost. I didn't know what I should eat. All I knew was that I wanted to eat every cookie, pie, cake, side dish, and candy that was sitting in front of me.
  • The faster is comes off, the quicker it can come back on. This was tough. For some odd reason I thought that I would continue to lose or maintain, when I was indulging a little more every day. Crazy, right? Because I didn't follow through with phasing off the products like you're supposed to, I didn't enter back into a no rules situation the best way. Actually, it was the worst way. It was December, party month, and I didn't want to miss out on all of the special food. 20 pounds came back on faster than I realized. It seemed as if each pound gained, a valuable lesson or truth I learned was lost. It was a nasty balancing act. That goes to show there is always loss and gain. For me it was loss of motivation, self control, and knowledge and a gain of 20 pounds. (I didn't gain all 20 pounds back in December. The gains started happening mid to late October up til now).

Those are my main takeaways from my time with Ideal Protein. I know now, more than ever, that I can't just be on a diet or a program. I had my first shot at maintenance and I flopped. This is one of the major things I'm going to work on this year: Healthy Habits. I want to give myself time to let these good decisions sink in.

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I'm also thankful that I didn't put all the weight back on. I can officially say I lost weight in 2015! The left is Thanksgiving 2014. The right is Thanksgiving 2015.

Do I regret doing Ideal Protein? Not at all! It was the right decision for me at the time. Do I still recommend Ideal Protein? YES! Just do it correctly and phase off properly. Would I ever do Ideal Protein again? I want to say yes, but I also don't want to give myself an out for when I can afford Ideal Protein again. I want to lose this weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

Let's get to work! - JJ

 

 

Round 2: My 1st Week

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset I shared last week that I'm starting over with a blank slate and I'm calling it Round 2. I went into the week trying to remember what I did in my original first week and let me tell you something. It was WAY harder this time around. Why? I'm not sure.

Part of me thought it would be a little easier to jump back into the strict train because I did it really well the first time. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I did decent. There were some moments where I walked past the snack cabinet at work with no problems. There was one big time where I grabbed 4 snacks out of the cabinet and ate them at once.

But, I can honestly say that I made progress. I cooked in my kitchen more this past week than I have in the past month (moving probs) and it felt good. It felt good to spend time making my own food. I appreciated it more. I have a new Turkey Chili that I'm literally obsessed with and I made a modified Jambalaya recipe with "riced" cauliflower. I plan to share both soon! I also made a huge amount of vegetables and chicken to last us through the weekend. I ate out twice and ordered salads both times.

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Here's to my first week officially back! R2 Week 1: -2.2lbs -31lbs total -- I'm going to continue using the overall total number.

These pictures were taken fresh out of the salon. I got my hair cut and colored! I love a good afternoon spent at the salon. I think this big change will help me make changes and progress towards not being lazy in my food life. I have a theory. Let's see if it works.

I don't know if you know this about me or not, but I'm a nail biter. I've been biting my nails for as long as I can remember. I read this article and decided that it was probably time that I stop the nail biting madness. As of right now, I've gone 2 days without biting! That's more progress to celebrate!

Round 2

Let me share a little snapshot of what my life has looked like these past few months:

  • House Closing
  • Packing
  • Crochet
  • Packing / Moving
  • Major Deep Cleaning
  • An overwhelming need to organize, but not knowing how or where to start
  • Crochet
  • Birthdays
  • Moving
  • Unpacking / Can't find what I'm looking for
  • Crochet
  • Big work events
  • Family Time
  • Booked up weekends
  • Oversleeping
  • Staying Up Late
  • Crochet Markets

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All of those things listed are good things. Nothing on that list is a tragedy or was a traumatic event. Everything was good and necessary for the time. Amidst all of that busyness, I lost focus, took my eyes off the prize, and honestly quit trying to make healthy decisions. I quit.

I let my circumstances take control and tried to fit my life in between them instead of recognizing that I had complete control the whole time. In my mind busyness is not a bad thing. I like having things going on, events to look forward to, and a list of things to do. I never want to be bored, but sometimes in the midst of the busyness I have the tendency to crumble under the pressure. It's not my favorite character trait.

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To supplement my caving in feelings, I typically stop focusing on myself. Instead of becoming laser focuses on my health goals, I put them off telling myself (and others) that "I just need to get through moving..." or "I just need to get past this conference..." or "once my crochet market is behind me..."  then I'll get back on track. I just kept putting it off instead of figuring out how to be healthy and stay on plan when I was stressed.

Looking back, I know that I could've been stronger, both mentally and physically. I could've been prepared. I could've stayed away from the candy. It doesn't help to dwell on what I could've / should've done differently, but I can totally learn from it. That's what I'm going to do. I am starting over with perspective.

The truth is that there is always going to be something. Something going on, something good, something bad, something busy. It's naive of me think that the world would give me a break because I'm trying to only focus on one thing. I MUST learn that just because I'm busy and overwhelmed, my health cannot suffer. It actually made everything worse because I felt sick and had less energy.

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I'm not proud of the decisions that I made, the weight that I gained back, or the nights where I binged on everything terrible because I couldn't deal with my emotions, but it happened. Now, I have to learn and move on.

Some of you have asked why I haven't been posting regularly or if you've missed a post (always SO flattered when people talk to me in person about my journey and this blog - thank you times a million!). That's where I've been. I've been out of the game and too ashamed to admit it.

I think it will mentally help me if I completely start over. I'm counting this week as Week 0 - Round 2. Here we go! Next Tuesday, you're going to read a blog about how I fought temptations, officially broke off my relationship with dairy, carbs, and sugar, and how good it feels to write about progress. I'm calling it!

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I hope that my sharing details of how I quit or pressed the pause button doesn't discourage you, but encourages you to evaluate where you are, look at your circumstances, and tell them that they don't have power over you. -JJ

My 14th Week: A Roll Call of Cheats

If you couldn't tell from yesterday's post, I'm having trouble keeping up with my week to week progress. Honestly, I've let the strictness slip and that results in me not taking this whole process seriously. So starting this week I'm going to start posting my Weekly Weigh Ins on weight in days instead of a few days later. Let's re-cap this week. Heads up: it wasn't pretty.

This past week was a holiday week (Labor Day) so I should've approached it with my shields up and defenses ready. It was actually the opposite. I went in weak and knowing I would call in the "it's a holiday" and "I don't eat like this all the time" excuse. Anyone been there?

I kind of went off the deep end when it came to what I ate. I'd start every day saying, "I can pick it up strict tomorrow." or "I'll be able to bounce back from this." Unfortunately, that was not the case. I started snowballing Thursday after my weigh in.

You may not be interested in the play by play of the things that I ate, but its healthy for me to confess where I messed up and more importantly why I ate the way I did.

Here are my cheats in no particular order:  Panda Express - sweet fire chicken + honey sesame chicken (twice, once at Panda, leftovers the next day) Fried Chicken Biscuit with pepper jelly Fried potatoes Ritz Crackers + Cheese (a few times) Hershey Chocolate Nuggets Almonds + Toffee Party Food at a family party on Sunday night. Can't even remember what all I ate! Mashed Potatoes Homemade Chicken Nuggets Cheeseball + Crackers Party Punch, lemonade, sweet tea, ginger ale Cereal Hazelnut Butter Tomato Basil Soup from Newks with croutons

I'm calling myself out with this roll call of cheats because I have to. Seeing it listed out and knowing that it's going to be read by someone else is a powerful motivator to regroup and do better. The list may not seem that long, but a lot of them are repeat offenders, as in I didn't eat it just once.

I almost broke down in tears when meeting with Brittany today at my weigh in. What is the disconnect between my meetings / weigh ins with her and the weekend? The real question is "why". Why did I eat the way I did? Why did I not stick to the program? What is driving me to food and eating in secret? I think the best answer is not prioritizing my relationship with God.

Life got busy. Life got stressful. Things happened that weren't in my control. Sleeping in seemed better. These food cheats were little releases. I took my stress to food instead of to God and it resulted in this.

But, where's the joy? If you've been reading along with me for a while now you know that I believe that there is joy in everything and that our circumstances don't define us. The joy is that I've once again realized that pursuing Jesus (spending time in the word, having an inner monologue of prayer, talking about what I'm learning, depending on Jesus to get me through temptations) keeps me healthy.

The joy is knowing that I'm not alone. The joy is knowing that I don't need to eat to celebrate. The joy is knowing that God wants what's best for me. I'm the best version of myself when I look to God before I look to food.

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Week 14 | STATS +2lbs -36lbs total

My 13th Week

You guys, I'm having trouble keeping up with my weeks. I can't remember what all happened my 13th week! I'm actually having a hard time remembering my 14th week. The week I'm currently at the moment finishing up. I need a new system of writing  posting. 11238257_10205092177165915_939931999239221534_o

My 13th Weigh In was awesome! I made progress!

-2lbs -38lbs total

My 12th Week

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset 12 Weeks Y'all. We've been on this journey together for 12 weeks. Hard to believe right?

In my 12th week I was finally able to move past a standstill in my progress. For the past few weeks I haven't lost, gained a pound back, and stayed at the same place. Looking back, I know what I did and more importantly, what I didn't do. In my 12th week I finally broke through the wall!

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Let me tell you about these jeans I'm wearing. Well first off, let's talk about wearing pants in general. Over the past 3 years the majority of clothes I've bought for myself have been flowy, empire waiste, A-line style, dresses and skirts. I haven't invested any money in pants.

Pants were uncomfortable. The waist of the pants were pulled so tightly around my waist and thighs that they burrowed into my skin when I would sit down.  Unpleasant. So I stuck to wearing tights and dresses. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE and always will love wearing tights and dresses, but I didn't only wear tights and dresses because they were my favorite "uniform." I wore them because pants were uncomfortable and I didn't like the way that shirts hung between my waist and pants.

I was embarrassed by the way I looked in a t-shirt and jeans. During my anti-pants phase, I worked in an office where I would periodically have to wear khaki pants and a polo shirt tucked in with a belt. I was also anti-belt. Something else to add to the pants pain? No thank you! I

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Today I'm singing a different tune. The jeans I'm wearing in these photos have followed me around from apartment to apartment, silently waiting for me to put them back on. Let's call them memory pants. They were the last jeans I remember buying. FYI they are GAP circa 2008. That's a long time to not buy pants.

Also, these aren't stretchy jegging type pants. They're the real denim deal.

Did you expect to read a whole blog about pants?

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Obviously, the objective of this journey isn't to fit in my memory pants. It's to be healthy. It's about making a life change. Wearing these old jeans just happen to be a perk. - JJ

Week 12 | STATS -4 lbs -36lbs total.

Reflecting on the Past 11 Weeks

I am in my 12th week of Ideal Protein. I honestly can’t believe that 11 weeks have come and gone. I can remember being in my 3rd or 4th week thinking double digits (week wise) was so far away and that I’d never get there! I haven’t been perfect during this time period, but I’ve grown in more ways that I even thought was possible. IMG_1127

Prior to starting Ideal Protein at the beginning of June, I was in bad shape both mentally and physically. I wasn’t myself. My unhealthy laziness had, over time, seeped into every area of my life. I seriously lacked drive, energy, and self confidence. I was confident in a few things like God loving me no matter what, that my husband unconditionally loved me, and that I was not happy.

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I can honestly say that Ideal Protein has changed my life. I’m very thankful that I didn’t let doubt and insecurities stop me. Throughout my journey there has been a lot of ups and downs. Successful weeks and unsuccessful, weak, weeks. We can take it a step further and have successful days vs unsuccessful days. I’ve come a long way since June 3rd. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been the best thing that I’ve ever done.

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The first leg of my journey, we’ll call it the honeymoon phase, was exciting! It was fun to challenge myself to do something new and see if this could actually work. Now, I’m in the second leg of my journey. It’s not as fun and exciting. It’s hard. It’s a lot harder than my first few weeks.

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You start to bargain with yourself with thoughts like “You’ve done so well! You can have a cheat night and order a pizza. You deserve pizza.” I thought that once I really got into the IP rhythm my temptations would go away. That my new routine and lifestyle would be so strongly ingrained in my mind that I wouldn’t want food I can’t have.

It’s been the opposite. I’m figuring out that you have to be even stronger than you were in the beginning! That’s not something that I saw coming. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I’m thankful that I’m learning it. I see myself at a new crossroads now. Either I can quit and go back to the way I was, which I vowed would never be an option, or I can challenge myself to higher standards.

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Even though the cheats that I make are significantly better than any normal day I used to have a few months ago, that’s not good enough for me anymore. I’m mentally ready to tackle the temptations and stick closely to the system. I want to be better than I am today. I want to keep making progress both mentally and physically.

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I hope that you’re encouraged by this. I can feel myself becoming motivated again just by sitting down and reflecting. If you’re just starting your journey, then keep it up! If you’re further along in your journey, then continue grinding it out and know that you’re worth saying no to the temptations, and message me with tips on how to survive after the honeymoon phase! We’re all in this together! - JJ 11844924_10204967335364948_5045959912398335531_o

IP in Real Life: When You've Hit a Mental Plateau
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Guys, I've been struggling. The best way I can describe how I've been doing is a see-saw. Like on a playground. On one day I'd be doing great, the motivation was strong, I wouldn't cheat, and just having a great time. The next day all I could think about was cheeseburgers, make little cheats here and there, and end the day begging Luke to take me to Wendys, or Chick-fil-a, or Dairy Queen, or anywhere really.

I'd wake up not knowing which side the day would lean towards. Ideally, they'd all lean in the positive, let's strictly stick to the protocol direction and I'd never even think about cheating. Unfortunately, it's been the opposite.

So I'm coming to you today not as someone who has all the answers, but as a fellow traveler who is barely hanging onto the edge. Slowly I'm coming back into a strong mental place where I can look past temptations and make the best / healthy decisions. Here's how I'm doing it:

  1. Talk to people about how you're struggling.

Sometimes we, especially women, feel like people don't want to take the time to listen to our problems, or hear about what we're struggling with. We don't want to burden anyone with our issues. Let me honestly tell you that thoughts like that are poison and hinder more than help.

I can confidently tell you that those thoughts are poison because I've had them. It's tempting for me to think that people only want to hear happy things and not the real life, nitty gritty, struggles. When I've actually engaged in conversation, been vulnerable and honest about what I've done and how I'm feeling, it's liberating and helpful. I made it a point to engage with people that I trust and tell them that I'm struggling. Once the secret is out, I can regroup, refocus, and move forward.

2. Remember why you started.

The reason why you choose to be better, be healthier, make changes doesn't change. It's still there. It's still waiting for you at the finish line. It's been good for me to really pause and think about all the original reasons why I started this journey.

You can write them down in a notebook or post it note and leave them beside your bed. Read them before you go to sleep and as soon as you wake up in the morning.

Don't let your reasons for starting make you feel guilty. Let them push you back into a good mental place.

3. Go back to the basics.

This has been really helpful. Being on the protocol for 11 weeks now, I've got a routine down pat, I've looked at every Pinterest recipe for Ideal Protein multiple times, and I don't have to think about it as much anymore. For me, not thinking about it as much is actually what's causing me trouble. I need that laser focus like I had in the beginning.

Go back to the basics. Re-read the original material. Remind yourself of how the program works and how everything works together.

4. Write about it.

Processing these changes through writing has been monumental in my journey. Maybe blogging isn't for you, but you could write in a journal or notebook. I have a friend who started a Facebook group and it's a safe place for her to share how she's doing and what she's learning. I'm so thankful I decided to consistently write about everything I've done so I can go back and read it when I'm un-motivated or discouraged.

5. Hold yourself to higher standards

I let myself get away with little cheats unscathed. It's like I don't expect myself to follow through or something. I want to rise to the challenge even if the challenge is with myself. You are valuable. You are worth good decisions. Expect change from yourself. You are worth it. You can get through the day without cheating. Hold yourself up to a higher standard. (If you couldn't tell, I was writing this to myself)

Don't be disappointed in yourself. Disappointment leads to not taking each day seriously. Not taking each day seriously leads to giving up. Giving up leads to not believing that you're worth it.

I don't want that for you and I definitely don't want that for me! Let's rise to the challenge and be as excited and confident as we were the day we started! I want to be that girl who cried tears of pure joy when she lost her first 8 pounds.

It's time to get over this mental plateau! We. CAN. Do. IT. Do you have any advice on getting re-motivated? Do you have a story you'd be willing to share about getting past a mental plateau? I'd love to hear about! - JJ

My 10th Week
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Hello! Thanks for clicking over to my blog today. I'm still flattered every time when people talk to me about this blog. I LOVE IT. Keep the conversation coming. I don't remember much about my 10th week other than it was not that great of a week Ideal Protein wise. I don't have a detailed food log, but I think I want to start doing that. Take it to the next level you know?

I'd like to get something like this. Who else loves fun journals?

I don't remember what I ate, but I know that I had a lot of fun. I'm also celebrating fitting into my old skinny jeans! I wore these jeans all the time a few years ago, but I was never THIS comfortable in them.

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Week 10 -0lbs -33lbs total

My 9th Week + Month Two Milestones
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Hi friends! I took a short blogging break last week and now I'm back! Here are a few words that describe my past two weeks: insane, wheels off, busy busy busy, and crazy exciting. I wouldn't have it any other way! I was having so much fun, that I didn't even take any pictures...

Because I'm having a total lack of recall about Week 9, I'm combining this Weekly Weigh In post with my August Monthly Milestone post. Week 9 was my 2nd full month on Ideal Protein. Not as many monumental things happened in my 2nd Month as my First Month, but it was still incredible. The fact that I even followed through with the plan for two whole months is reason to celebrate!

Month Two Milestones:

  • I stuck with the program. I've never followed through with any "lets get healthy!" plan for longer than 2 weeks... okay a week and a half.
  • The food I can have tastes better than the food I can't have. I've cheated a few times with a piece of chocolate or a little scoop of mashed potatoes. I built them up to taste better than they did. I wasn't that impressed.
  • I hit - 30lbs! Making JJ History. I've never lost 30 pounds before. Never.
  • I made some major heart and mental progress when I opened up about shame and the effect it had on me.
  • I made rutabaga fries... and LOVED them. Recipe to come later.
  • I cooked shrimp for the first time - roast shrimp and broccoli together and squeeze a little lemon juice = AMAZE
  • I thoroughly cleaned out my closet and sacked up 5 huge bags of clothes to donate. Some were old and just not my style anymore. Some were too big. I think the best part was getting rid of a size 3X shirt that I wore this spring and early summer. It felt good stuffing it in that bag.
  • I've had the opportunity to talk to so many people about my journey and what I'm learning. I think that's the best result out of all of this effort. Connecting with people.

There were more milestones than I thought!

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I'll update my Progress Page with more pics later. Guess you'll just have to come back and see!

STATS | Week 9 / Month 2 - 4lbs - 33lbs total

My 8th Week
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Hi friends!! Let's dive straight in. I did what I said I wasn't going to do. I said last week that I was going to have 2 solid weeks in a row. For the past month now I've had a big number week followed by a no loss or a gain. Well it happened again. I fell victim to the pattern.

Along with falling prey to the pattern, I fully realized my kryptonite in this lifestyle change: group dinners. First off let me explain that it's no one's fault but my own for making poor food choices. I'm not blaming anyone else for what I ate. I recognize it was all me.

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Despite not having the best food week, I had an extremely wonderful week. The Vertical Church staff loaded up Sunday after church for a 3 day retreat to Birmingham. It was good for the soul to talk about plans, standards of excellence, and the importance of being relational. Amazing.

But, the group dinners. That was the most restaurant food I've been exposed to in the past 2 months. Normally, I'm very limited on my restaurant food and cook at home for the majority of the week. There's just something about a big group of fun people. It kind of makes you throw your plans out the window... just me? Nah. I didn't think so.

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Now that I've got that out of the way. It's time for the good stuff. I might've gained a pound, but there was so much progress and joy! I ate better than the old JJ would ever be able to do. I ate salads, I skipped desserts, I took the bun off my burger. Along with making significantly better, I also got rid of some emotional weight.

Last week I wrote a blog post about shame. There was an overwhelming response that led to countless conversations with people about the work God wants to do in our lives. I can't be upset for week 8 at all. Too many good things happens.

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Week 9 better watch out. I'm coming strong - JJ

STATS | week 8 +1lb -29lbs total

Also... I work with amazing people.

My 7th Week
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7 W E E K S. Wow. I am so thankful at how fast the time has gone. The days and weeks don't drag. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. Its the contrary really. I feel like I'm doing more! My mental space isn't filled with food cravings or what I'm going to eat next. I've honestly never felt like this before. Free from food. It's quite liberating.

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FullSizeRender-2My 7th week was a big week! I came off of a +1lb gain in my 6th week, so I was ready to make some major number progress. Week 7 included a trip to the beach (again :) ), a dinner party, and a very normal / routine week. Routine is SO good. I get in hot water when my routine is thrown off.

Now that I've got my weekly routine nailed down, I've got to start working on a better weekend plan.

I've also been watching So You Think You Can dance. I'm a huge fan! Seeing how hard those guys work is inspiring to me. I've also been watching the past season of The Biggest Loser. That show is straight motivation. Don't tell me who won, I'm not there yet. Isn't it funny how random things can inspire you!?

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I'm happy to report that week 7 brought on a major milestone: - 30lbs. THIRTY POUNDS. I've never lost that much before! It was only a dream until now. I'm now back down to the weight I was a couple of years ago. I've also been able to fit back into dresses I used to wear all the time. It's like going shopping in your own closet!

I'm pumped up for week 8! - JJ

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STATS | week 7 - 7lbs - 30lbs total

IP in Real Life: Going to the Grocery Store
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I have a love hate relationship with the grocery store. I love it because I need food, but I hate it because I literally hate going. I'm not a good shopper. Just because I hate it doesn't mean I don't go to the store every week. This isn't a post about how you should love going to the store. This is a get in, get out survival guide. I am always subconsciously timing myself to see if I can get everything I need, check out, and get to my car faster than the week before.

Here are a few tips that I use to get in and get out fast!

1. Know your store. 

Most people go to the same grocery store every week. I do. I'm very familiar with the layout of the store and what is on each aisle. More importantly, I know which aisles to stay away from. I know that I have no reason to glide through the candy aisle or the chips and crackers aisle.

2. Stick to the perimeter of the store. 

I've heard this tip for years. The healthiest food is on the outer perimeter of the store, not the aisles. Crazy right? Try to notice this the next time you go to the store.

3. Get a small buggy / cart 

The bigger the cart, the more you subconsciously fill it up. If you stick with a small buggy or a basket even, then you'll walk out with what you need instead of what you think you need.

Those are my big strategies for going to the store, but what do I buy?

I've gotten to where I don't even make a list anymore! If I need something out of the ordinary, then I'll jot it down, but for the most part I know what I need. That's the benefit of consistently sticking with a lifestyle change.

Here's what goes in my buggy (for me to eat) every week. Remember, I only shop for 2 people.

  • 3-4 heads of broccoli
  • 4-5 zucchinis - I'm panicking for the fall when zucchinis won't be so cheap or available!
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 or 2 Sweet Peppers of each color depending on the sale
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 head of cauliflower if it's on sale. If they aren't on sale, I'll buy frozen cauliflower.
  • 1 bag of brussel sprouts - this one is only occasional because they aren't in season right now. If the sprouts look nice and green, I'll buy some though.
  • 1 Egg Plant - I'm experimenting with egg plant
  • 1 Bag / box of Lettuce
  • 1 head of Cabbage - I LOVE roasted cabbage
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2-3 packs of organic chicken breasts
  • Eggs
  • Walden Farms product(s) if I need a refill - at most stores the Walden Farms products are located in the medicine section. Weird, but I get it.
  • The rest of the items in the buggy are toiletry items or food for Luke. Let me brag on Luke for a second. He isn't as strict as me on his eating, but he's made some significant changes too!

As you can tell, I spend most of the time in the produce section. That's a good rule of thumb to use when you're trying to eat healthy. Think about where you spend the most time when you're at the store. Before this, I spent most of my time on the pasta aisle. Now, I don't remember the last time I walked in that direction.

Do you have any tips for grocery shopping? Would love to hear! - JJ

My 6th Week
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Remember a couple of weeks ago (week 4 to be exact) where I didn't have the best week on IP? You would think I'd learn my lesson, but I didn't. My 6th week was full of not so little cheats and I was definitely not rewarded for them. I hate to admit this, but I lost perspective and focus last week when choosing what would go from my hands to my stomach. Again, I let my cravings and excuses take over instead of staying strong and doing what I knew was right.

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Like I did a couple of weeks ago, I need to confess what all I ate this past week not for you to skim over, but for me to get out into the open. Gotta be honest about everything.

Friday - cheeseburger and french fries Saturday - rich wedding reception food Sunday - kettle corn Tuesday - kettle corn and a pack of peanut butter crackers Wednesday - Kettle corn

I was around a lot of Kettle Corn as you can see. Our church is currently doing a movie themed series and we've had popcorn for everyone! So I'm not just going to a carnival every night.

I also didn't use my products correctly. A couple of those days I had 2 restricted products a day instead of just 1. I also skipped vitamins and IP products in general. All in all, I wish I could have a do over of week 6.

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Thinking back, one of the reasons why I let myself slip this week was because I had a big number the week before, In my mind I knew that I might not have a big difference on the scale. I let that justify my actions. That's setting a very dangerous precedent and wasting time.

I don't want to be a one week on, one week off kind of girl. This whole process is bigger than that! I wish I could have a do-ver, but there were some moments of progress this week. Instead of feeling guilty and throwing in the towel, I'm choosing to find positives. Remember, progress doesn't just happen on the scale.

After I ate that cheeseburger and french fries, I immediately felt sick. I was sick the rest of the day. It was like there was a balloon expanding in my gut. I hated it. The feeling of hate wasn't toward myself, but directed toward the way I felt. The progress "a-ha!" moment came when I realized that was the way I used to feel all the time. That was my normal, every-day-feeling a month and a half ago. How much have I missed out on because I was eating bad-for-me food all the time?

I'm better than that. Now, I know how bad cheeseburgers and french fries paired together make me feel and they are the absolute last thing that I want. I never want to feel like that again. I think that's major progress! Sometimes you have to fail in order to be better.

STATS | week 6 +1 lb -23 lbs total

You'll be reading a very different weekly weigh in post come next week. I'm motivated, determined, and focused. No more wasting time. No more caving to temptations because the food is there.

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Non Scale Victory - I haven't worn this dress in the past year and half!

I hope that you have a better week that I did. I know that we can all encourage each other and continue to make progress. - JJ

Ideal Protein in Real Life: The Beach Trip Edition
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As most Southern girls do, I love going to the beach. There's something magical about leaving your phone in the room and getting lost in a good book while baking in the sun. I even like the smell of sunscreen. IMG_0842

A major lesson that I've had to teach myself is how to stay on track while on vacation. I've done it before (twice!) and I can do it again. In the past two months I've lost weight during a beach trip and a road trip to Dallas.

Typically our beach trips consist of breakfast in the room, hang out at the pool / beach until lunch, come up to the room for a sandwich, go back outside, come back inside to get ready for dinner, go out for a fabulous meal, go get dessert, snack until bed time. Unfortunately, that is not the best way to stay on track.

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In preparation for my upcoming beach trip, I thought I'd share some tips on how to stay on track while at the beach!

1. Get Mentally Prepared

This is KEY to getting through the trip on plan. For me, I know that I'm going to be tempted by fried shrimp and snacks in the condo. I'm already coaching myself on saying no to old temptations. It may sound silly, but visualize yourself in situations and coach yourself through saying NO.

2. Bring your own food

The best way for me to stay on plan is by bringing my own food for breakfast, lunch, and snack. I'm not just talking about Ideal Protein products. The day before you leave cook up a bunch of vegetables and pack them in an insulated lunch box or bag. That way you aren't stranded only sipping on a protein shake while everyone else is piling up their sandwiches. You'll be living large with your vegetables!

3. Stick to Grilled Food when Eating Out

The first thing I want to eat when I'm at the beach is fried shrimp. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Shrimp is Phase 1 approved, but not fried shrimp. Most seafood restaurants offer broccoli or asparagus as a side. Order grilled shrimp or fish with a side of broccoli and skip the french fries, bread, and corn.

4. Focus on Yourself

The most challenging part of vacations is eating with other people who probably aren't on your diet. When you're the only one who isn't eating french fries, burgers, or shrimp po-boys, it really does a number on your mind. There's a little voice inside your head that says things like, "everyone else is doing it. one little bite won't hurt. you're on vacation! don't be so strict." That voice can be really convincing.

Focus on yourself. Focus on the food that is on your plate. Eat slow. Take small bites. Drink a lot of water. Eyes on the Prize.

I want to pause for a minute and talk about treating yourself on vacation. It's totally fine to treat yourself on vacation! It's just not fine for me to do that right now. I need / want to be committed to my program for the whole year. That includes vacations. I need to prove to myself that I am strong enough to make good choices while I'm on vacation.

5. Travel for Experiences not just for the Food

Vacationing is not just eating in new places. It's all about experiences! Focus on enjoying the feeling of your feet in the sand instead of the burger you want in your hands.

Like I mentioned above, I want to stay on plan during my beach trip because I need to prove it to myself that I can do it. Am I going to deprive myself forever? No. Once I've lost the weight and in the maintenance phase (Phase 4), I'll be able to splurge on vacations because I'll be eating well during normal life. You better believe I'll be eating a  Fried Shrimp Po-Boy when the time comes!

Do you have any other tips for staying on track during a trip to the beach? - JJ

Bonus -- this is one of my favorite pictures from a beach trip last year!

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My 5th Week

You know those clothes you buy that are just a little too tight, but you buy them any way? You tell yourself "I can get away with this fitting a little tight, right?" or "fitting into this dress will motivate me to cut back and drop a few pounds!" or "I'll fit into it one day, but it's on sale today!" I did that pretty frequently. Okay, I did it all the time. I'm a sucker for a clearance rack. unnamedunnamed-1unnamed-3

This was one of those dresses! I bought this at H&M 5(ish) months ago. I've only worn it just a couple of times because it was really tight around my hips and my shoulders. I was trying to force this dress to fit, not because I liked the way it looked (who doesn't love/need a cheetah print dress??), but because of the number on the tag.

I didn't want to admit that I'd yet again gone up another dress size. I didn't want to admit to myself that I had a problem. Instead of doing something about it, I wore a tight uncomfortable dress. This isn't a forgiving dress with stretchy fabric either. I would've rather been uncomfortable than skip the bread at a restaurant.

I'm happy to report that the dress fits perfectly! It's no longer tight around my hips and shoulders! I'm going to proudly wear this dress until it's too big!

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This week was a big deal. As I wrote a couple of days ago I went cheat-free through a 6 hour road-trip, family vacation weekend, and two 4th of July cook-outs. I even brought a dessert to one of the parties! ( PRO TIP -  make something you don't like so you won't be tempted to eat it.) I've redeemed myself from Week 4 where I cheated every day. I love making progress!

Here's to another strong week of progress! Let's DO IT! - JJ

STATS | Week 5 -7 lbs lost -24 lbs total

INCHES | Week 5 Arms: - 1in Chest: -2.5in Waist: -8in Hips: -3in Thighs: -2in

My 4th Week
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4 Weeks. 4 whole weeks of major life change. Kind of blowing my mind. My 4th week was very different from my first 3 weeks (week 1, 2, + 3). I didn't stick to the system. I let old habits seep back into my life. I let my circumstances determine my actions. I didn't thoroughly plan. And I didn't lose any weight.

I wrote a blog about overcoming cheat guilt a couple of days ago and it sheds a little more light on how this week went.

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Did I meet my goals for this week? No. Did I make progress? Yes.

The progress came in more ways than a smaller number on the scale. I saw progress when I felt sick after little cheats. I saw progress when I realized my face looks different compared to a month ago.

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I walked into The Women's Clinic praying for a miracle. I knew that it was a slim to none chance that I'd see a difference in my weight. I think the miracle I was praying for was that I didn't gain any weight back. I stepped on the scale and saw the same number I saw the week before. No gain (hallelujah!). No loss.

It was good for me not to be rewarded for the cheats I deliberately made. I left the clinic  not wanting to feel disappointed in myself or the choices I made, but determined to think forward, rally, and plan, plan, plan.

I now have a new experience under my belt and it's now ingrained in my brain that cheating isn't worth it. Let's start fresh and have a great week! - JJ

STATS | week 4 - 0lbs - 17lbs total

Also -- Luke and I spent the weekend in Dallas celebrating the 4th with family! We didn't  get to have our photoshoot so these pics will have to suffice. 

My 3rd Week

First off, I want to thank you for reading my blog and encouraging me through comments in person and online. Support is key to a lifestyle change / weight loss journey and I hope you know how grateful I am. My 3rd Week was a normal week. I didn't travel to anywhere like last week, but just enjoyed a very routine week. Just like support a steady routine is key to success... well for me anyway.

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Looking back we celebrated Father's Day with a Campbell Family Grill out and I made mushrooms for the first time. Those two instances were not related...

Like I shared a couple of blogs ago, I really started noticing this week that my mind was working differently. No longer am I thinking through the rolodex of food that I don't need to eat, but focusing on new ways to make old favorite vegetables. It's been a big week in the mental progress department.

This week I saw a -3lb difference on the scale. Not as glamorous or exciting as a -6lb or -8lb loss, but it's still progress! It's crazy to think that I'll pull big numbers like that every week. That's not a healthy way to lose. Slow and steady.

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This week my goal is to get to the -20lb mark! I'll be making "JJ History" as I've never lost -20lbs before. What can I do to celebrate?! I sincerely hope that you have a great week. We can all make good choices together. I'm here rooting for you! - JJ

STATS | week 3 -3lbs -17lbs total

4 Reasons why I chose Ideal Protein

Today I wanted to share some reasons why I decided to follow the Ideal Protein (IP) Method. A few people have asked why I chose Ideal Protein and I thought it would be fun to give you the behind the scenes information.

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Over the past year I watched a couple of friends follow the IP Method and have great success. Digging a little deeper, I went to the Ideal Protein website and read story after story of other people’s successes. I read testimony upon testimony about how committing to the effort of being healthy dramatically changed those peoples lives.

I decided that it was time for me to stop watching other people succeed. It was time to stop standing by the starting line and actually jump in and join the race.

I first heard about Ideal Protein a few years ago on a routine trip to the doctor. I wasn’t wise enough to listen to my doctor’s counsel as we walked through the information pamphlet. I was too arrogant to admit that I needed help. I thought I had my diet and lifestyle under control, but in reality it was the opposite. Food controlled me.

Timing is Everything

That little statement is so true. For years I talked the talk of, “wow, I’ve got to start making changes” then the next day tear up a Chick-fil-a Sandwich and fries. Nothing stuck. No conviction or motivation was present after a week or two. I'd just fall back into old habits. 

I hate to admit this, but I just didn’t care enough. I didn’t care enough about my body to actually take care of it, treat it like a temple, and put in healthy fuel. I lived in the moment and was more concerned with how the ice cream and french fries would taste instead of going up a pants size. Thankfully, things are different now. I can look ahead. I can see past right now. The timing is right and I am committed to keeping it up.

The Plan Makes Sense

When my dietician went over the guidelines to the program it totally made sense for me. I need the guidelines and black and whites. Left up to my own decisions, I’ll indulge too much and too often tell myself it’s not a big deal. That’s one of the reasons why Weight Watchers didn’t really work for me (it’s a great program and people have been successful at losing the weight and keeping it off, it’s just not the best plan of action for me personally.) I don’t need the option to eat what I want even if it’s allowed in my points allowance. I need the gutter guards.

I know what I can eat at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time. Nothing is left up to chance and nothing is up in the air. I can’t have the option to track as I go because I’ll leave things off. I’ve done it too many times with tracking apps and food journals. I’ll skip writing down that piece of cake because “I don’t know how many calories that is” or any other excuse I could come up with. I know myself and I know where I struggle. Free will to eat anything in moderation is not my strength. It’s my kryptonite. 

Weekly Accountability

This is another major factor of why I chose Ideal Protein. Once a week I go to my doctor’s office to talk with my dietician, weigh in, and get IP products for the week. Just knowing that someone is going to look at the number on the scale, make eye contact with me, and talk to me about my week is enough to keep me motivated and on track.

Phasing Off and Education

There are 4 phases to IP. You stay in Phase 1 until you’re almost at your goal weight, then phase off to 2, then 3, then 4. I’ll be living in Phase 1 for a while, but I know that when the time comes for the next steps I’ll be educated on how to maintain and keep the weight off without using the IP products.

I like knowing that people will be with me along the way. Helping me and educating me as I back all the way up to learning how to eat in moderation. 

Those are the major reasons why I chose this particular program. I would LOVE to talk with anyone who has done Ideal Protein or knows anyone currently on the plan. - JJ

Thoughts Everyone has on IP Weigh In Day

Thought I'd share my inner monologue on Weigh In Days with you.

  • Yay! It's weigh in day! I wonder how I did this week?
  • Should I be excited or should I dread it?
  • What did I do this week?
  • Wear something light so it won't get picked up on the scale
  • What all did I eat this week?!
  • Did I dream that I ate that dessert or was that real?
  • Nah it was a dream. Just a dream.
  • I'll be seeing a lower number I'm sure of it.
  • That cookie dream sure felt real...
  • Stop worrying about it. Be proud of yourself even if the number on the scale stays the same. You tried
  • Be proud of any progress.
  • But.... I really hope the number is lower.
  • What did I weigh last week?
  • My clothes are a little looser so I definitely lost
  • Is it normal to be excited about weigh in day?
  • Just a few more minutes till scale time
  • What all IP food do I want this week?
  • Chocolate Drink Mix obvs
  • How many restricted items can I swing this week? I wish I could eat multiple restricted items every day....
  • Pre-Made or powder drinks?
  • Definitely Powder. Shaking my own drink makes me feel independent
  • Did I eat enough vegetables this week?
  • Do Southwest Cheese Curls really taste better than normal chips or am I just used to them?
  • They definitely taste better. 
  • Ahhhhhhh it's time! What number do I want to see?
  • What was my number last time?
  • Should I take my shoes off? They have to weight like what a half a pound right?
  • Here I go! What is it? What is it? What is it?!
  • Ow-Ow!! LOWER! You did it!
  • I forgot how to do math. Where am I now?
  • Tell me how much I lost!
  • Can we High Five?
  • Clean slate. Let's kill it this week

Be honest. We all get a little crazy on Weigh In day. - JJ