Y’all, how is tomorrow already February?! This last month I’ve gone into hibernation while working a big health/lifestyle overhaul, and January has just flown by! It’s nice to brush the dust off of this blog again!
I’m so excited to share the changes I’ve been working on this month. After the 80-hour work-filled weeks of the fall photo season (and eating my weight in cookies in December), I dedicated January to getting my health back on track.
After E and I got married in 2016, I started to focus more on running my business and less on exercising and eating healthy food. For awhile, I was able to get away with it…but after that, my health and fitness level started to decline to the point that I was just really uncomfortable in my own body again (both mentally and physically). The weight that I had worked so hard to lose for the wedding slowly crept back on until I was back where I started. I hated that I got super out of breath just going up the stairs, and I felt totally dependent on my fast food/coffee habit.
Getting my fitness back on track was the one 2018 resolution that I didn’t make the time for last year….so as I rang in 2019, I vowed to put in the work and time to be healthy again.
As I’ve been learning more and more, this month has turned into a total lifestyle reboot. E and I have changed everything from our morning routine to how we spend our evenings and weekends. It’s been a LOT of change – so much change that by a couple of weeks in, I felt like throwing in the towel and giving up. But I made a promise to myself, so I kept powering through. Although it’s still not easy, I feel like I’ve found a good rhythm with all of the changes! AND I’m feeling SO much better than I did on January 1st, so I’ll count that as a huge win!
A couple of things to note before I kick off the list:
- I’m definitely NOT claiming to be a health expert, since I’m still at the very early part of this clean(er) living journey! It’s easy to keep up the good habits during the winter since my work pace is slower until the spring. The real test will be whether I can keep it up when I’m stretched for time. But I’m hoping that the more I commit now, the easier it will be to keep the routine going! I feel so great from these changes that I know it will be worth it.
- This post contains affiliate links, which means that I earn a very small commission if you choose to purchase something after clicking on the link. This doesn’t cost you anything extra, and (as always) I only recommend products that I genuinely love. Your clicks help support the hosting costs for this website so I can keep creating content for you! 🙂
Soooo, here we go – here are the 10 changes I’m most excited about!
1) I hired a nutritionist for the first time!
I knew if any of these changes were going to stick, I needed someone to guide me and keep me accountable! Enter Abby at Above Health…I am SO LUCKY I found her! She has been worth every single penny and more!
Abby REALLY knows her stuff – I have never met anyone as passionate as she is about food, the digestive system, and how what you eat affects your overall health!! Plus, she also feels like a friend who’s cheering me on, which is huge.
I look forward to every meeting and always leave with TONS of notes scribbled down. Afterward, she emails me this beautiful PDF packed with recommendations, yummy recipes, and other tips (for example, she’s helping me improve communication with my doctor!) She is hyper-organized and always so fast to respond to my emails when I have questions.
One of my favorite things about her is that she encourages the 80/20 rule…in other words, get 80% right and give yourself grace for the other 20%. For me, this has translated to making breakfast and dinner at home but still getting to eat healthy takeout (like Sweetgreen and Dig Inn) for lunch. I’ll take it!
Seriously, go hire her (even if you’re not in Boston – she also does remote appointments)! And if you’re not ready to work with a nutritionist just yet, follow her on Instagram in the meantime…her posts are super informative and filled with emojis (just my style 😉)
2) Plastic bottled water —> tap water
UM. I’m super embarrassed to admit this, but for the 6.5 years I’ve lived in my apartment, I only drank plastic bottled water until now. Our building is 100 years old, and I wasn’t sure if I could trust the old pipes…and I never got around to testing the water to be sure. I can’t even count how many times I lugged huge packs of water bottles home – city living at its finest!
This year I decided to eliminate as much plastic from our kitchen as possible, so I knew the plastic water bottles had to go. After tons of research, I ended up deciding on a reverse osmosis filter that installs underneath our sink. The water tastes WAY better than those plastic bottles, and I can rest easy knowing that anything unsafe is filtered out before we drink it. As an added bonus, the system we chose adds natural minerals back into the water so the water isn’t “overly pure.”
E and I now pack water bottles when we head to work to drink throughout the day! I splurged for this gorgeous insulated Swell bottle and I’m kind of obsessed with the beautiful marble pattern. I drink way more water now because I always have the bottle with me. AND, we’re no longer wasting plastic – hooray!!
3) Plastic Tupperware —> glass storage
Along the same lines, I did a HUGE Konmari-style purge in our kitchen (all the cool kids were doing it!) and got rid of our plastic Tupperware, plastic glasses, and plastic utensils. The biggest mystery is how I accumulated so much crap in our kitchen when I barely even cooked until now?! After trashing/recycling/donating EIGHT GIANT BAGS of stuff, I boiled our kitchen down to the essentials and it’s now a much happier place. It makes me want to spend more time in there!
Here are some changes I made in our kitchen:
All of our shelf-stable products (oats, chia seeds, etc.) now get transferred into these glass mason jars. I made the switch to eliminate plastic, but I also love the “pretty factor” – our shelves look so clean and streamlined now without all the busy neon packaging!
I replaced our plastic Tupperware with two sets of these Glasslock containers from Sam’s Club. At $27 for 12 containers, they are a total steal and they’ve been so useful! I can even take the containers out of the freezer and put them straight into the microwave without worrying about exploding glass. (PS: They’re on SALE right now and even cheaper!!)
The two-part lids that come with mason jars really bug me, so I switched them out for these one-piece plastic lids. The food rarely touches the lid, so I’m OK with a little bit of plastic in that case. Same thing with the Glasslock containers!
4) Invested in a Vitamix + Instant Pot
The Vitamix has been so much fun to play with! I’ve already used it to make 30 smoothies (E is a fan too!), blend soup, and crush nuts and dates for these yummy protein balls (another winning recipe courtesy of Abby!)
The Instant Pot replaced my old slow cooker, and I’m IN LOVE!!! The cooking time is SO FAST, and I love that I can dump in chicken + veggies, set it, and forget it. I won’t lie – I ran out of the kitchen the first time I turned it on juuuuust in case it exploded, but after the first couple of cycles, I got used to staying in the kitchen while the IP worked its magic.
Some of my favorite things to make in the Instant Pot? Hard-boiled eggs that are SUPER easy to peel (five minutes), quinoa + veggies (ONE minute!!), and savory soups. I’m glad I went for the 8-quart version so I can batch and freeze. If you buy yours from Target, make sure to price-match on their website – I got $50 off the store price that way!
5) I joined Pure Barre!
I didn’t want to just get skinnier – I wanted to get stronger. Usually in the winters I love to join a yoga studio, but this year I decided to try something that might give me a better shot at continuing when my work schedule gets crazy again in the spring. After seeing yet another friend post an impressive Pure Barre before-and-after photo, I decided to take a trial class.
Honestly, that first class was so hard and so exhausting that I left class in tears…and somehow, the wonderful instructor convinced me to keep going! That trial class turned into a one-month membership, and after 13 more classes, I just renewed for a second month. Fair warning: they are really good at getting you hooked in! 😉
Here are some things I love about Barre:
- The classes are 45-60 minutes, and I can arrive just a few minutes before class. This means I’m in and out with only a one-hour commitment – a huge difference compared to those 90-minute yoga classes
- The instructors are SO FRIENDLY and constantly walk around offering hands-on adjustments. They took me under their wing to help me learn the ropes, and they keep encouraging me as I make progress in class.
- The workout is HARD…those tiny isometric movements may look easy from the outside, but those 2-pound weights are no joke! As much as it burns, I give it my all in class because I didn’t set aside the time and money to do something easy. I love that every class is challenging and I leave feeling tired (in a good way).
- I have zero dance background, would not consider myself remotely flexible or graceful, and I have to take breaks more than most people in the class. But little by little, I can see and feel strength developing. I stayed in the entire 90-second plank for the very first time yesterday. And that’s the coolest feeling. 🙂
6) Quitting Starbucks
OK, this was a huuuuuge one for me. Over the last four years, Starbucks had become my daily routine…and it brought me a lot of joy! Every single day, I ordered breakfast and a venti cold brew. I freaking loved it. But I wanted to see what could happen if I kicked the coffee, plastic cups, food additives, and the high prices.
I do miss the routine of grabbing Starbucks on the way to the office just a *little*. But I’m doing just fine without the caffeine…in fact, I feel less tired in that mid-afternoon slump than I used to!
I replaced my morning Starbucks routine with a different one at home: waking up and drinking a green smoothie! I make a huge batch of these over the weekend, freeze them, and then put one in the fridge each night to drink in the morning. It’s delicious and I feel super cool for getting a full cup of spinach in before I’m even out the door. 😎
I’m doing fine without all that caffeine, but on the days when I do need a bit more energy, I’ve made a cup of matcha at home (this particular brand is amazing – not bitter at all!) and it keeps me alert for a loooong time without the coffee jitters! (Lesson learned the hard way: do not drink this in the evening because it will keep you up all night!)
7) Platejoy + dinner at home
Smoothies and overnight oats for breakfast are straightforward enough, but I got really stuck when it came to making a dinner plan. As much as I admire people who can eat plain chicken and broccoli for dinner every night, I tend to like recipes with more ingredients and seasoning.
BUT, with minimal cooking skills, I had trouble finding recipes that weren’t overly complicated and hard to put together. OR, I would find recipes that looked delicious but were filled with unhealthy stuff. Plus, I needed help knowing exactly how many groceries to buy so that we didn’t end up with an expensive fridge full of food waste.
During one of my late-night Google binges, I stumbled upon Platejoy, and I’m SO GLAD I did!
Platejoy is a meal-planning service that generates recipes customized to your dietary preferences. You fill out a quick survey, choose the meals in your queue, and then the algorithm creates a weekly menu based on how many meals you’d like to make.
At $12 for the entire month, it’s cheaper than meal delivery services like HelloFresh because you buy the ingredients locally.
The best part is the grocery list! Platejoy converts the ingredient lists into sizes you’d typically find at your grocery store, and then you have the option to automatically send that grocery list to Instacart for grocery delivery…which brings me to my next change!
If you want to give Platejoy a try, you can use this link for $20 off!
8) Instacart Delivery
Along with Platejoy, we have wholeheartedly embraced Instacart, and now our bags of groceries magically show up at our door on the weekend. ✨
This definitely beats our old, painful method of lugging our grocery bags home without a car – plus, when I order online, I magically skip all the impulse buys that used to get me in the store (oh hello there, candy bar that’s perfectly positioned at checkout!)
Less energy spent shopping = more energy left for cooking, so now I’m able to cook and freeze our entire week’s worth of meals in one day. It’s well worth the cost of delivery + tip for us.
And speaking of food costs: our overall food spending is DOWN since I started making our breakfast and dinner at home, which is amazing considering we are buying almost everything organic! Now I know exactly what’s going into our meals. And it’s been really nice for E and I to sit at the table and eat dinner together every night…a nice bonus for our marriage! 🙂
If you want to give Instacart a try, you can use the code KLEMMON1911A8 for $10 off your first order!
9) Clean beauty products
I’ve been diving into the world of clean beauty this month, and I’m not gonna lie – it has been kind of overwhelming! I’m definitely a creature of habit, and I’ve been using some of my makeup products for 15 years.
After Abby encouraged me to download the Think Dirty app, I’ve learned that a lot of my daily products included harmful chemicals and preservatives, so I’ve started to switch over to clean beauty products one at a time.
I’m not sure I’ll ever become a woman who uses natural deodorant (I just don’t like to sweat!). But I did have some luck with these products (some from Follain and some from Whole Foods):
- Kjaer Weis Foundation (for reference, I used Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse before this)
- W3ll People mascara (this is better than any mascara I’ve ever used, including for my wedding!)
- Ilia tinted lip moisturizer (I use this in place of lipstick)
- Josh Rosewood night cream (helps with my dry skin!!)
- Burt’s Bees shampoo (it was so tricky to find one that smells good, and this one definitely does!)
My next project is to start replacing our cleaning products… to be continued! If anyone has any recs, I’m all ears! 😉
10) I’ve been reading some great books!
For the ladies reading this post, I’ve been really enjoying these two books this month. E and I are not expecting, but as we talk about family planning, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about women’s health and nutrition.
Real Food for Pregnancy – an excellent, thoroughly researched guide to the nutrients your body needs before, during, and after pregnancy. To all my mama clients, I would definitely recommend this one!!
The Fifth Vital Sign – this book is full of everything I never learned about women’s health and how your cycle is a necessary part of understanding your overall wellbeing. If you’ve ever taken hormonal birth control, had extremely painful periods, or struggled with fertility, this is an empowering and eye-opening read. The author writes like a cool, wise big sister (with tons of research to back herself up!)