Monday, June 22, 2015

Whole 30

I started my first Whole 30 on February 16, 2015. When most of my family and friends found out about this "diet" I was doing, they thought I was absolutely CRAZY. Yes, many people did call me crazy.

"How can you go 30 days without cheese or tequila?!" (two of my most favorite things) people would ask me.

Not only did I give up cheese and tequila for 30 days, I gave up ALL dairy, sugar, grains, beans, and alcohol.

"What do you eat then?" Was commonly the next question I got from folks.

I ate vegetables, fruit, good quality meat, and healthy fats such as nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, etc.

When I told people this, most people just looked at me like I had 5 heads.

"So... we can't go to happy hour this week?"

To be honest, it was very difficult for most people to understand what I was doing and that I couldn't just "have one cheat meal" or "just one drink".

You may even think I was crazy as you're reading this. So why did I do the Whole 30?

The first and most important thing that swayed me to attempt the Whole 30 was that IT MADE SENSE. Every word in the book It Starts with Food made complete and total sense to me. The entire concept of the Whole 30- removing the foods that cause an unhealthy effect on our bodies completely for 30 days, then reintroducing them slowly to see the effects they have on us. As It Starts with Food explains, many people have food allergies without even knowing it. It isn't until we remove the food and reintroduce it that we can see how that particular food really effects us. For example, many people have an intolerance to dairy without knowing. We don't know because our body is so used to feeling poorly from the food that it becomes "normal". It isn't until we remove the food that we realize how great we can actually feel.

Now, I KNEW that food was the reason to many of my ongoing health issues. My problem was fighting cravings and emotional eating. But after reading It Starts with Food, everything really clicked for me. I was able to deal with the cravings much better than I ever had before.

And as I had with Insanity Max 30, I told EVERYONE I knew what I was doing to help me stay accountable. Tim (hubby) even offered to do the Whole 30 with me for support.

In 30 days I lost 13.4 pounds and 11 inches off my body by doing the Whole 30. I felt AMAZING on the inside and out. Most of my health issues either went away all together or decreased significantly. More importantly I felt happy and sexy. It was like a total reset for my body.

Left: Day 1, Right: Day 31

In exactly two weeks from today I will be starting a Whole 30 challenge group on Facebook offering advice, tips, recipes, and motivation. If you are interested in completing the Whole 30, please email me at so I can add you to our group!!

In Health & Happiness,
Coach Jessica

Monday, June 15, 2015

The first time I cried during a workout...

The date was January 6, 2015. It was my second day on the program Insanity Max 30. I was so incredibly sore from the previous days workout, Cardio Challenge. I literally came home from work that day telling Tim I was thinking about skipping the workout- ON MY SECOND DAY.

I had told Tim the week before- do NOT let me miss these work outs and do NOT let me go off my eating plan, no questions asked. I told him no matter how mad, sad, bitchy, or whatever mood I got in, he HAD to make me do it- and like the wonderful husband he is, he did despite my displeasure with it. I know it is really difficult for Tim to “make” me do something or tell me “no”, just as it is for me to him. I had asked his help with this numerous times over the years, but he never liked seeing me upset or angry, especially when I couldn’t have pizza (I know, I’m a pathetic baby). However, as my last post indicated, I was dealing with some significant health problems and had become significantly overweight. This was no longer a question. I needed his help, and he knew it.

Before I jump into why I cried during this workout, let me give you a little history about my previous athleticism. I was very active growing up. I played a variety of sports including field hockey, track and field, and even basketball for a short period. I loved going to our high schools gym and lifting weights (especially squatting) and running. Whenever I was upset or mad about anything, I laced up my sneakers and went running. It was time for myself, and time to think. I never really ate very healthy, but I was also active which helped keep me thin (although at the time I thought I was fat).

Anyway- to make my point here, I am no stranger to working out. In fact, I used to love it. However I had come to the point where I had damaged my body so much that I absolutely hated it. It was no longer easy for me to run or even walk a mile. I couldn’t really jump. Everything left me extremely sore, exhausted, and feeling defeated. Working out no longer had the relief that it used to. Instead it was replaced with dread and a lot of pain.

On January 6 I did something I typically did not do- I pushed through the negative thoughts and made myself work out (well, Tim made me do it). So why did I cry during this work out?

It wasn’t because it hurt, or that I was tired, or even that I was so pissed that Tim made me do it, it was because of something Shaun T said during the work out.

The workout was Tabata Power. It was near the end of the work out and Shaun T said something that brought me to tears right then and there: “It’s more than just exercise, it’s your life”. I remember that moment very specifically. First, it lit a fire under my ass and I finished the work out strong- if you’ve ever done Tabata Power you know how damn hard it is. Second, I went upstairs and looked at myself in the mirror and started bawling.

As silly as it may sound and despite all the health problems I was going through at the time, I truly never looked at exercise that way. I was viewing exercise as a burden when I should have been really been viewing it as medicine. Those words completely reshaped how I view exercise and I continue to carry that with me, especially on the days I don’t want to work out.

Let’s face it- looking sexy and losing weight are obviously two big perks to exercise, but the biggest is what it does for your HEALTH. It’s always great to fit in that dress, or to get that compliment, but the real success is what you get long term- a long, happy life with the ones you love.
I never shared this moment with anyone, even Tim. I think it’s important to show that vulnerability, because it truly gave me a lot of strength. Eating clean and exercising is all about how you view it. If you view it as a burden, it is going to be miserable. If you view it as your LIFE, it is going to motivate you. Change your mind set, change your life.

In Health & Happiness,
Coach Jessica

Sunday, June 7, 2015

New Beginning, Part 2

On January 2, 2015 I wrote my first post in my first blog, When I look back at that first post, I cannot believe the person I used to be. More importantly, I cannot believe the physical and mental changes I have experienced in the past 6 months.

To recap, from around October 2014-January 2015 I was battling severe anxiety and depression. I had been struggling with anxiety for over 6 years, but it had gotten to be at it’s worst in late 2014. To try and describe just how bad my issues with anxiety had gotten- I was experiencing regular heart palpitations that absolutely terrified me, I had tachycardia which is a fancy term for saying my resting heart rate was way too fast, and I constantly worried that my health and life were in danger. All of these problems made it very difficult for me to focus on my “regular” life. I was panicking about having panic attacks, which caused me to have more panic attacks. I was living in a constant state of fear, just hoping to make it to the next day. When Tim and I realized just how bad things had gotten and how it was effecting my health, we decided I would take a medical leave from work. Now, I had been dealing with anxiety for a LONG time. In my mind I thought taking a few weeks off work would “fix me”.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. It took me months to begin showing any improvement. It was extremely discouraging, and left me feeling very depressed. I was upset I wasn’t contributing financially to our household, although Tim always assured me we were fine. After a month of being on medical leave, Tim and I made the decision for me to permanently leave my job so I could “get healthy”. Leaving my job was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I had really come to love my job, and they were willing to keep working with me, but I knew I needed to focus on myself in order for this to ever improve long term.

Obviously these problems didn’t occur overnight. There was an underlying reason I was struggling with anxiety, my health, my weight, and my happiness.

I have always been a strong believer in the power of exercise and food, although I didn't always know how to implement their power. When I was younger I used to be very fit and physically active, but never really paid much attention to what i fueled my body with.

When I went to college and after losing someone very close to me, I fell completely off the deep end. I became very aware and paranoid of death. I started eating a lot to distract and comfort my mind. I also started drinking alcohol more than I ever had to numb my pain that I could not deal with.

Within a few months of that unhealthy lifestyle, I had my first panic attack. I had no idea at the time food and alcohol could be contributing to the panic. Hell I didn't even know what was wrong with me or what a panic attack was. My lack of knowledge led me to continue my new unhealthy habits. I ate horrible food at all hours of the day, consumed too much alcohol, and even took up smoking cigarettes. These habits were my way of “dealing” with the pain and grief I was going through.

To be quite honest, I don’t know how my current husband, Tim, stayed with me at that time. Our relationship was still somewhat new, and I was turning into a train wreck (although I think I hid it pretty well). I don’t think he even realized that I was doing these things because I was in pain because quite frankly, I didn’t either. By the grace of God, Tim has stood by my side through everything. He has been there by my side to comfort me from the very first time it happened.

I realized soon that “fixing” myself was going to take much more than a couple weeks off work. I really needed to deal with the terrible things I went through and also nurse my body back to health. I saw a therapist, I did meditation and yoga, practiced deep breathing, read self improvement books, completely changed my diet, and exercised myself into the ground.

I had tried to lose weight countless times, always failing. I always felt deprived, miserable, and unhappy when I was “dieting”. In December 2014, I began doing the work out program T25 and made a New Years resolution to lose weight, become healthier, and be happier by my wedding in May. At the time I honestly kind of thought I was just bull shitting myself like any other time I said I wanted to lose weight. But starting January 1st, I hit the ground running and never looked back.

I had been extremely secretive about my issues with anxiety. Tim and my mom knew from the get go, because I was scared I didn't know what was happening to me. Other than that, I tried to hide it from anyone I came in contact with. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my best friends what was going on with me until years after it began happening. I was extremely embarrassed by it and slowly began to isolate myself from a lot of people.

I say this because if you understand how secretive I had been about this and how embarrassing it has been for me, you will know how difficult it has been for me to share it. However, right before the new year I saw one of my friends from high school began a blog. I was inspired by it and love writing, so I had the idea to “share my story”. I thought to myself numerous times, “if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what will”. The next day on January 2, I wrote my first post and I haven't looked back.

The amount of support and love I received after sharing my story astounded me. As scary as a anxiety disorder is, I didn’t feel as alone anymore. The blog and support from others helped push me and kept me accountable. I ended up completing Insanity Max 30 (the hardest workouts I’ve ever done), started running again, switched my diet to a mostly paleo lifestyle, and I completed the Whole 30. I also lost a lot of weight and inches off my body.

I still struggle with anxiety, but not nearly as bad. I have really bad attacks when my diet is off. It’s still scary, but it’s easier to deal with. One of the biggest things I struggle with now is driving. I have had A LOT of panic attacks in the car, and it has kind of just become a trigger for me. Even being in the car stresses me out. I was certain the plane ride (my FIRST plane ride) to our honeymoon was going to be sheer panic, but I was actually fine- which goes to show how far I’ve come.

Ever since I started seeing results in my weight loss and health goals, I have been wanting to do something more with it. I have always loved sports since I was young, and being healthy is something I am now truly passionate about. I have educated myself tremendously on food and how it effects our mind and bodies. I have grown to absolutely love the paleo lifestyle. While I continue on my journey to health and happiness, I am hoping to help others do the same. I know that the majority of overweight and obese people out there have deep reasons as to how they ended up that way. The journey starts with exercise and food, but it goes way beyond that. That’s why in this blog, The Plate and Beyond, I hope to inspire others to dig deep in their minds and truly transform their lives. Exercise and food will only get you so far on this journey, but it takes a strong mind to maintain it and love your body enough to take care of it.

In addition to the blog I have decided with the help of a good friend to become a Beachbody Coach to help others attain their fitness and nutrition goals. I also recently enrolled in a program to receive a Nutritional Therapist certification.

My hope is to help others with the tools that helped me reach my goals. If you are interested in speaking to me more about your goals, my story, or whatever- please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for reading.

In Health & Happiness,
Jessica Ozimok