We have had a blast this month watching amazing women from all over the world rock Whole30 like nobody’s business in our Facebook group. I love seeing women come together to support each other. Our Mom Crush this week has an incredible transformation story that we’re excited to share with all of you!
Meet Dawn Nicole. Not only does she have it going on in the health and fitness department, but Dawn is the creative genius over at ByDawnNicole.com. Her flawless Instagram feed is to die for and if you’ve got any sort of artsy bone in your body you will love what she has to offer. She’s also got some amazing Whole30 recipes that I’ve used on my own personal Whole30 journey this month. I hope you enjoy Dawn’s wisdom and genuine spirit as much as I did!
SFM: Tell us about yourself. How many kids do you have? What do your hobbies include?
Hi Stay Fit Mom readers! My name is Dawn. I’m an Air Force Wife and mom of 3 kids. With birthdays around the corner for my youngest two, they’ll soon be ages 4, 6, and 7. We also have two dogs, Jax and Lola.
I’m a full-time Hand-Lettering artist, Author, and Creative Blogger so my work and my hobbies are kind of one in the same!
In my spare time I love to run, read with a coffee in hand, and go shopping (now that I’m back to a healthy weight, anyway)! I really missed the fun of shopping for many years. I joke with my husband that the only reason I’m back to working full-time is so I can shop.
Random side note, best “mom” jeans ever: Express Mia Mid-Rise Jeans. They are the perfect rise to hide the “imperfections” of my 3 c-sections and are as stretchy as my beloved yoga pants. I think I own well over 12 pairs.
SFM: Tell us about your health and fitness journey. What peaked your curiosity about Whole30? How many rounds have you completed?
I’ve always had to eat right and workout to maintain a healthy weight. I got mono in college so a good deal of my 20s I never felt good. I suffered from migraines that often landed me in the ER and would sleep whenever I wasn’t at work. Not normal in your 20s, right? Doctors wrote it off as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and had no answers regarding my migraines. I tried some really weird treatments including shots between my toes! I was desperate to feel good.
Looking back, while I was at a healthy weight, I attribute it to the “low fat diets” of the 90s and all that nasty Splenda.
And then I got married and had 3 babies in 3.5 years. I used pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything and not workout. With each pregnancy, I added a few more pounds. Between my 2nd and 3rd babies, I found out I’m hypothyroid which made it even harder to lose weight. (Finding out I have low thyroid took a lot of self advocating because doctors always wrote my off saying, “Of course you’re tired all the time, you have 3 babies!”)
A healthy weight for my 5’9” height and body type is around 150-155 pounds. I was weighing in at 215 pounds in 2012. I started slowly but surely losing the weight with clean eating and workouts but plateau’d around 180 pounds for at least a year.
In January 2015, I did my first Whole30, hoping it would help me continue to feel better and lose weight. And it did! But it did so much more for me too. Before that first Whole30, I was eating largely vegetarian (with a lot pasta) and had zero interest in Paleo.
Long story short, I’m now a happy Paleo devotee! I rarely have migraines, the “brain fog” from my Hypothyroidism disappears with the elimination of gluten (and my energy goes up), my seasonal allergies and belly bloat go away when I avoid dairy, and I lose weight much more easily (like after I over-indulged in things I normally avoid during the Holidays).
I’m currently about 5 pounds away from my goal weight!
SFM: What are some of your go to recipes for Whole30? We know that you have several Whole30 posts on your blog that we frequent often!
I think my favorite recipes are the ones without an actual recipe! I love two poached eggs over roasted Brussel sprouts or a scrambled breakfast bowl with egg, avocado and some bacon. I also love oven-fried chicken breaded with almond flour over spaghetti squash. It’s my Paleo comfort food meal.
When I’m not on Whole30, I love, love, love Danielle Walker of Against All Grain’s Paleo Honey Biscuits recipe and Cappello’s Grain Free Pasta (kinda pricey but so worth it…even my Hubby loves it).
SFM: We are nearing the end of our January Whole30 cycle. What’s your diet look like after the 30 day journey? How, if at all, has Whole30 “changed you.”
I kind of answered this above in the book I wrote for question 2, so I wanted to share two of my proudest moments from my journey and share pics for those.
First, getting to the point I could be comfortable wearing shorts again! The shorts I’m wearing in this picture had not fit since college…until this past summer. I’d been keeping them all these years as a goal! We love in the South and summers are H.O.T. It’s so nice to be able to wear them again.
Second, I finally fit into my wedding dress again! I had tried it on a few years back and couldn’t even zip it half way. There were a lot of tears but it also motivated me. This year, with my hubby’s ok, I turned my dress into a Corpse Bride dress. Some people think that’s crazy but I think it’s crazy to leave a dress in a box for 25 years…so now I can wear it each year and enjoy it! It was SO fun to wear it on Halloween this year (which is also my birthday!).
SFM: How has your journey and transformation impacted the rest of your family and the people you surround yourself with?
My husband has always been the kind of guy who has to get his workouts in to be nice to be around, ha! So that’s helped motivate me over the past few years of my weight loss journey. And of course my kids motivate me as well. It’s my job to teach them that we have to take care of our bodies. This is the only one God gave us! Overall, my kids love to eat like most kids, we just choose “clean” version of classic kid food (or create a homemade version) and there are certain treats they can have at a birthday party, but that we don’t keep in the house.
SFM: What’s your exercise of choice?
I actually wrote “Workout at least 30 minutes a day” into my business goals for 2016. Last year was so busy for me, that my workouts suffered (i.e. I skipped them!). I also bought a FitBit Zip and it’s crazy how that little thing motivates me each day. I usually workout 60 minutes just to get those precious steps in!
For cardio, I love running (ok, love/hate) but it’s such a great workout to burn a lot of calories in a little time. I’ve run a lot of 5k and 5 milers, and I ran my first (and only) half marathon in 2013. I’d love to run another one when all my kids are in school and I have proper time to train again.
For weight workouts, I love Insanity, T25, Piyo, and my most recent favorite is Rip60 (with the crazy looking suspension straps that hang from the ceiling). The workouts are hard but they make me feel strong…and they definitely workout!
SFM: What advice do you have for women that are interested in trying out Whole30?
Do it. It’s only 30 days. What do you have to lose (literally)?! It could change your life like it did mine.
My favorite quote from Melissa Hartwig is: “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”
Thanks again, Dawn! We wish you all the best in every area of your life! We just can’t get enough of that corpse wedding dress!
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Did you catch our last Mom Crush Amanda?