Life after the #Whole30

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This is the final article in a 4 part series that started on Paleo Foodies about my experiences completing the #Whole30 after being a vegetarian for 25+ years.

Image courtesy of

Congratulations on making through the Whole30! You should be very proud of yourself.  You overcame bad habits, battles of will power, constant challenges from the haters and doubters and many hours of food prep and dish washing.  You made it to the end.  Now what?

You can keep it up- During days 25-30, I am sure you have given this a lot of thought. Most people are feeling good, have tiger’s blood running through their veins and have mastered meal planning and maybe even eating out. If you are finding it easy, you might consider keeping up the lifestyle (but with bacon).  Or perhaps you aren’t seeing the results you were hoping for and want to hang on a bit longer to see if things improve.  Either way, if you can keep on going- why not?  You are eating fresh healthy foods, avoiding sugar and added food chemicals, and probably sleeping better too.  Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Go back to your old ways- I am sure that during the first ten days of the Whole30 you were counting down the hours until ‘normal’ eating again.  Some people simply don’t enjoy the experience of detoxing and breaking the emotional food associations.  Or they don’t see the results they were looking for.  Or they experience a lot of resistance from friends and family so it just isn’t worth it.  Of course if you are encountering negative experiences you will just want it to be over as quick as possible.  Don’t count yourself short though and consider it a fail.  You tried something new that not many other people can say they have done. This trial was a major undertaking to better yourself and your health.  That doesn’t happen very often.

Try a combination of the two- This is what I have been experimenting with.  What is the right ratio for me of obliging vs ‘cheating’ (although I hate using that word).  My Whole30 ended the day before my wedding anniversary.  I took the day to eat a nice meal out with my husband and have a glass of wine.  Honestly, I was worried my body would rebel against eating foods that I had avoided for so long.  But after that day was over, I had to consider what was next for me?  My husband wasn’t keen on eating meat three times a day or even keeping meat in the house at all.  We tried a compromise of non-complaint vegetarian meals for dinner (when we eat together) and then I could do that I like for breakfast and lunch.  A friend was going to try this 60% compliance too.  We both found that this gray area was really a black hole that sucked all of your willpower away.  Why be good during the day when you were just going to eat whatever you liked in the evening?  For me, I need the clear list of rules to follow and stick to so there is no question over what I can put in my mouth.

Now what? I definitely want to get back on the Whole30 program.  My husband and I talked about it a few times a week.  I have offered to buy my own meat from the butcher at the end of our street.  Next time around, I want to plan out my meals farther in advance to reduce cooking time and allow my husband to decide when he will eat the same meals I am.  Hopefully the 2nd round will bring pain relief from my fasciitis and tendinitis as I was close to complete relief at the tail last time.  We think my body spent the first three weeks acclimating to eating meat so it couldn’t do much else.

Do you have any tips for starting up the Whole30 or trying paleo again after a break? How did you find it?

Quickie Workout #120

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (

Warm  up- 1 min- skipping rope;  1 min- hop-hop-squat; 1 min- walking squats
1 min-  Up and down plank. Start on elbows and then raise yourself up to your palms.  Then go back to elbows.
1 min-  Leg lifts
30 sec each direction-  Small arm circles
1 min-  Tricep kickbacks
1 min-  Reverse fly
1 min-  Role back and reach
1 min-  Hip raises
1 min-  Boat pose
1 min-  Swimmies
1 min-  Bear walking
1 min each leg-  On all 4's, perform 'fire hydrants' by lifting one leg with knee at 90 degrees.

Weekend Challenge

Friday, December 26, 2014

Weekend Challenges have been a staple of for a few years now.  I am happy to say that I am very proud of each and every one of your achievements during this time.  With 2015 right around the corner, I am working on developing the site a bit.

With this change, I have decided to retire the Weekend Challenge feature.  It is sad as I want you to keep growing and developing outside of your comfort zone.  On the other hand, I have a few things up my sleeve for the new year.

Your last challenge is twofold.  First, leave a comment below of your favorite weekend challenge and what you learned.  Second, choose one from the many already on the site and give it a try.

Keep trying new things in your pursuit of health and happiness.  If you keep doing when you have always done, you will get what you always have got.

How to keep paleo lifestyle cost effective

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This is the 3rd article in a 4 part series about eating paleo and exploring the #Whole30.  The first 2 articles can be seen on Paleo Foodies.

Money is often a factor in preventing people from being healthy.  There is a stereotype that eating healthy is expensive and while this can be true at times, there are ways to work around it.  Paleo eating embraces eating local and buying meat from happy animals.  Supporting your local economy will make you feel good about yourself and the ‘happiness’ from the animals will come through in your cooking.

If you are considering trying a paleo lifestyle, don’t let the cost hold you back.  Here are a few tips and tricks to ease your budget into the change while filling up your pantry. 

1.       Plant a garden- If you can, grow your own fruit and vegetables.  You can’t get more local than your back yard.  Keep in in mind the planting season as some types of seeds can be started indoors before the weather changes outside.  Or look for local nursery that sells starter plants (such as tomatoes) that are about to flower.  Coordinate with your friends and neighbours so you can each grow something different and then share to keep the recipes interesting and tasty.

2.       Try the discount shops but be sure to read all the labels- In the UK, we have a shop called Iceland that is mostly frozen foods, tinned goods and a few fresh fruit and vegetables.  I was able to buy my coconut milk there for a fraction of the price of the grocery store.  They also have  plain frozen salmon fillets, frozen vegetables (which are always good to have on hand) and tins of beans Before you place anything in your basket, read the list of ingredients because you might not realize from the packaging if an off-limits preservative or seasoning was added.  If there are more than 5 ingredients or you can’t pronounce one, you should ut it back on the shelf.  You might have to compromise the shopping local with this tip, however once you are more accustomed to eating and shopping paleo, you can begin to fine tune your shopping.

3.       Make a lot. Then freeze it- Personally, I don’t mind eating the same thing every day for a week.  But that doesn’t go down well in my house.  To keep everyone happy , we tend to make a big batch of something (soup, chili, lemon garlic chicken) then divide up portions to put in the freezer. Label each container with the date and what is inside.  Remember when placing your food order you can’t freeze meat twice.

4.       Visit the local farmers’ or street market- These stands can be a treasure trove of affordable finds.  Often times you will need to use the ingredients right away as they will not have been treated with nasty chemicals (either while growing or for shipment) and won’t last as long as something from the shop.  Practice your bartering as some merchants will be willing to make a deal if you are buying a few things.  One additional tip would be to bring canvas bags or a shopping trolley to make transporting your buys a bit easier.

If you have any other tips on making paleo lifestyle affordable, let me know in the comments  below.

Quickie Workout #119

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (

Warm  up- 3 min  brisk walk, jog or run until you have started 'glowing' (sweating)
1 min-  Plank
1 min-  Reverse curl
1 min-  Push/Press ups
1 min-  Prisoner squats with 180 degree jump
1 min-  Tricep dips on a sturdy chair or low step
1 min-  Run in place with high knees
1 min-  Wall sit
1 min-  Plank
1 min-  Crunches
1 min-  Push/Press ups
1 min-  Low squats (go for quality over quantity)

Next virtual training group (VTG) starts 5th January- please join us

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It is that time of year again, where we start to think about the things we would like to change in the following year.  The 11th session of my virtual training group (VTG) is starting up on 5th January and could be instrumental in your success.  Read testimonials from previous participants here.


How does it work?

For 8 weeks, a group of people motivate and support each other over email.  At the start, each person sets 3 SMART goals. During the weekly check in, we let people know if we achieved our goals the week prior.

When will it run?
We start Week 0 on Monday 5th January, 2015.  Our last email check in will be on Monday 9th March.

How much does it cost?
It is only £10/person (via PayPal or bank transfer) for the 8+ weeks of coaching.  This is about $15 (depending on exchange rates).

What do I get?
You get individual coaching from me over email as we determine your SMART goals during Week 0.  Then I send out weekly updates that include recipes, health article links, and motivating quotes. Every week, 1-2 people will also share recipes and quotes to keep the group engaged.  We also have a VTG Facebook group, to which you will be lifetime member.

I don't know what I want to work on for these 8 weeks.
That isn't a problem.  This session, I will be working on eating paleo (focusing on meat, fruit, and
veg) and de-cluttering my house.  Maybe you would like to try these too? Other ideas are: drinking more water, taking part in Jantastic, unplugging for an hour a day, calling your best friend more often, or trying new foods.  The possibilities are endless!  As the 'Happiness Personal Trainer' I will encourage you to work on things that will make you happy (regardless of whether they are fitness or food related).

How many people can take part?
The group is limited to 12 people to make sure you receive ample individual attention.

Does it matter where I live?
Absolutely not!  The beauty of the VTG is that anyone in the world who has an email account can take part.  Alumni of the program are men and women from many countries and ages ranging from mid-20s to 60+. You simply need to want to make positive changes in your life to achieve health and happiness.

How do I sign up?  Or can I ask you more questions?
Send me an email ( to reserve your place today!  I am also happy to answer any questions that I may have missed here.

Update on training for #prague2015

Monday, December 15, 2014

Part of the Prague route. Might be a bottleneck?
It has been several weeks since I started my 25 week build up to Prague. I have booked flights and been granted annual leave to run and explore a new city. A Prague guide book is in my Christmas list (fingers crossed Mom!).  My midweek runs are going well so far even though it is dark and cold in the morning before work. With a heavy heart I had to stop bringing my dog, Oldland, with me; he has no interest. He is 11 years old and doesn't even pant at my pace yet I am still having to drag him along.  He prefers to sleep in and then go for a walk with me when I get back. (What a life!) I guess I would do,the same if I didn't have a goal to be working towards.

I really like that my plan has Fridays and Mondays as rest days. It breaks up my week. Some days, James works from home with Oldland so I can head out on a #runch in the sunshine. On Wednesday a few weeks ago, I headed out and had my best pace so far for this training program.  My body seemed to take 3 weeks to dust off the cobwebs and remember what the heck it was doing.  Usually I manage a 9 min/mile pace and am always chasing the elusive (for me) 8 min mile.  

For now, my plantar fasciitis (PF) is under control.  I diligently stretch after each run and have been taping my foot all day every day for additional support.  I am debating about investing in new running shoes this week (as I am back in America) to keep the foot support at an appropriate level during my training.  Although I don't like speed work, I was thinking about incorporating some into the plan in a few weeks time to increase my pace.  Even though my goal is to finish, I will always have a time to best in my head (5:30 seems doable, right?). This is depends on my body falling into pieces on the road to Prague.

But wait! There's more!

Recently, I found out my ballot was accepted for Berlin Marathon 2015. Thus race will be at the end of September 2015 and friends/fellow teammates from RODS Racing will be there! I even have a couple friends in America who are offering to come cheer me on.  Plus some fabulous London runners  are going to be there too (but I am sure they will be much faster than I).  This race will keep me focused through the summer as I will have to maintain a baseline level of fitness for Berlin.  As one of the fastest marathon courses in the world, I hope to achieve a PB on my 2nd marathon.

For now, I will distract myself on training runs planning sightseeing routes and what I will eat in a foreign land in the days leading up to race day.  I must abide by the 'nothing new on race day' rule to avoid any instance of runner's tummy on the course.

Have you ever traveled internationally for a competition? What would you recommend I see/do pore-and post- race?

Quickie Workout #118

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (

Warm  up- 1 min forward lunges; 1 min push/press ups; 1 min bicycle abs
1 min- Reverse lunges
1 min- Star jumps
1 min- Upright row with tins of soup or light weights
1 min- Lateral raises with tins of soup or light weights
1 min- Low squat with pulses
1 min- Low squat with pulses on your toes to target inner thigh. Breathe through it!
1 min- Bicep curls with tins of soup or light weights
1 min- Hands on sides of head. Bring opposite elbow to raised opposite knee. Keep alternating until the minute is up.  Aim quality until you are comfortable with the exercise, then increase speed.  Knees up!
1 min- Press up position on toes.  Bring opposite knee to opposite elbow.  Alternate.
1 min- Plank
1 min- Toe touches

Weekend Challenge

Friday, December 12, 2014

This weekend I would like you to donate your time. This can be by helping am elderly neighbor set up an email account, spending time ringing bells for the Salvation Army, arranging a date in the future to lead a run with A Mile in Her Shoes, or singing carols at the local library.  It is the time of year where we get wrapped up in holiday parties and shopping yet some people who value your time and attention much more.

Spread joy.

Gymbox Collab for a Christmas Wish List

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gymbox was kind enough to invite me to share a fabulous Christmas wish list on their blog this year.

Here are a few things to help you celebrate and show off how hard you have worked in the gym this year.  What else is on your list?

Quickie workout #118

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (

Warm  up- 1 min star jumps/jumping jacks; 1 min speed skater jumps; 1 min run
1 min- Bicycles abdominal exercise
1 min each side- Side plank
1 min- Prisoner squats
1 min- Explosive press ups off the wall or floor (try to get time in the air)
1 min- Boat pose
1 min- Hip raises
1 min- Supermans
1 min- Reverse lunges
1 min- Inchworm
1 min each leg- One-legged squats
1 min each side- Side crunches

Weekend Challenge

Friday, December 5, 2014

We are sticking with simplicity as the festive season is rapidly approaching and time is precious.  Your challenge this weekend is to run for 10 minutes.  Set the timer on your watch or phone (ideally, this run would be all at once).  Once you get moving, I hope you will want to continue after your 10 minutes are up.  Speed doesn't matter, just put one foot in front of the other.

The hard part is getting out the door, so lace up your trainers and go!

Race Review: Royal Parks Half Marathon

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Due to a family emergency, I was unable to take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon this year.  It always gets rave reviews from my fitness friends as one of the prettiest courses in London.  My Mill Hill Sports Centre co-worker, Anna, took part in the event this year and loved it.  Here is her race review:

In the start pen
Having not run more than 10km in over a year, I made my way to the starting line a little pessimistic. What was I doing?  I was in no way ready for a half marathon.

With the help of my Dad, back home in South Africa, I signed in to enter the ballot for the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon in early April. I was so upset about missing the beautiful Two Oceans Half Marathon back home in Cape Town that my Dad, a fanatical runner, made a deal with me. He would pay the entrance fees, as long as I got myself from the start line to the  finish line, preferably in the same day.  At the time I was so excited, now, standing amongst all the thousands of keen London fitness fanatics just before the starting gun was about to go off,…not so much. My ambitious plans of regular endurance training in preparation for the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon had slowly slipped away as the weather grew dimmer and the days shorter, leaving me at the start line with little more than 5 training runs under my belt.

The tube ride into Hyde Park was relatively easy and stress-free; it took me a little under an hour from Mil Hill East tube Station, where I am currently doing my gap year. At every stop more and more runners would hop onto the tube. We were a sea of bright blue t-shirts, brand new Nike shoes and top of the range sportswatches all humming with excitement, the adrenaline starting to kick in. By the end of the line you could hardly move between the mosh of bouncing athletes and bulky tog bags.

As we all hoped off the tube at Hyde Park Corner and made our way to the festival area, you could feel the energy. The Festival area was packed with food stalls, private tents, toilets, stages and thousands of people jumping from one leg to another in desperate attempts to do a last minute warm up. Our time had come.
It being my first Royal Parks Fountain Half Marathon, I was seeded in the Yellow group, second to last. The first group started at promptly 9am, something one would never experience in South Africa where “on time” means 20 minutes after the advertised time.  The Green, Blue, Yellow and Maroon groups followed at 5 minutes intervals. The moment I set off to join the infectious rhythm created by thousands of determined footstep the nervous ball in my stomach dissolved.  I turned the first corner towards Wellington Arch and forgot all about how little training I had done. I couldn't help but be memorized

by London’s beauty. It was such a breath-taking morning. I couldn't think of any better way to experience the magnificence of this country’s capital city.

From running past the guards at Buckingham Palace to checking my watch against Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament, to exploring London’s beautiful Green and St James’s Parks and enjoying Embankments exquisite riverbank. I hardly had time to feel tired. Before I knew it I was on my way back passing under Admiralty Arch and then Marble Arch.

Then came Hyde Park…

I had been warned that this last stretch was always a lot longer than anticipated. Having saved up some final energy I started the long zig-zag in-between the beautiful lawns in high spirits. The hundreds of spectators and Sunday picnickers scattered throughout the park, ensured that you were never alone. The camaraderie between fellow runners also made the race that much more enjoyable.

With 2 miles to go I took a look down at my watch. Where had the time gone. I didn't feel tired at all. 

Look kids- Big Ben!
With the finish line in sight I began to pick up the pace. With every step being cheered on by the fantastic crowd, I crossed the line in 1:52:45.  I couldn't believe my eyes, despite my lack of training I had managed to beat my personal best. I wore my medal and cheesy smile with pride. What an incredible experience, one that I would remember as an unforgettable highlight from my year abroad in England. London with its beautiful old buildings, amazing gardens and infectious friendly atmosphere had inspired me to achieve something I thought was quite impossible on a gap year characterized by little to no physical activity.  I am proud to call London home for the year. 

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, December 1, 2014

I am very happy to say that the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar is back for the 3rd year running.  My co-founders, Christine and Becca, and I have been working on bringing you our best version yet by taking on board feedback from last year.

Each day, we feature a new video workout, recipe, and health-related business deal or giveaway.  All of this for FREE.  Businesses pay their advertising fee directly to our official charity, A Mile In Her Shoes.

Please bookmark the calendar and check it out every day this month in the countdown to Christmas.  Rather than eat a piece of chocolate (hence 'zero calorie' aspect) we encourage you to find balance this month as your social calendar starts to fill up.  A workout here, a glass of prosecco there, a new pair of leggings under the tree. Celebrate the holiday season with us!