#30DaysofDope Week 2 and 3 Update

During Week 2 of #30DaysofDope, I somehow managed to be not dope... I didn't post anything! I didn't e-mail you guys, barely posted to Instagram...I mean sheesh!

My bad.

I didn't mean to leave you guys high and dry. So as to not be late two weeks in a row, I'm combining my week 2 and 3 update to share with you guys - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the delicious.

Let's dive in!

Dope Mind
Am I the only one wrestling with Necessary Endings right now? Although I've read much further into the book, I find myself stewing around Chapter 4. The title alone is a gut punch -
When Stuck Is the New Normal: The Difference Between Pain with a Purpose and Pain for No Good Reason
Listen.

Currently, I'm assessing that thing we talked about a few weeks ago via e-mail - yep, The Mane Objective. After a long, hearty conversation with Samuel, I'm trying to determine whether it's a necessary ending, or if I've succumbed to "learned helplessness". According to Dr. Cloud, learned helpnessness is "a condition in which the person adapts to the misery because they feel there is nothing they can do about it."

In the learned helplessness model, we interpret events in a negative way, seeing them as personalized (I'm what's wrong), pervasive (everything about this is wrong), and then permanent (nothing is going to change). In learned helplessness, we shut down in the face of things we can't control - to the point that we do not execute the activities and outcomes that we can control.

Was I hasty in my decision making and declaration about the future of my blog? Maybe. My goal for the weekend is to execute the activity on page 57 and:

  • Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns
  • In column 1, write down all the things that I cannot control that are affecting me as it relates to my blog/business
  • In column 2, write down all the things I do have control over
  • Take action on the column 2 items
If you're hitting a wall with a particular area of your life, please do feel free to join me in this activity. We'll push through together!

Dope Body
Can I brag a lil' bit?

I'm PROUD AF of myself!!!! I said I was going to workout 8x/week, and after falling 1 workout short during week 1, I went #beastmode for weeks 2 and 3! It feels SO good to set an uncomfortable goal and smash the crap out of it. Two weeks in a row, at that! Well, almost. It's Saturday morning of week 3, and I've already hit 7 of my 8 workouts - including one at 4:30am (lol). I've got all of today and tomorrow to make it do what it do - so I'm 137% sure I'll hit my goal between today and tomorrow. Heck, I might even go super ham and hit 9 workouts! I'll keep you guys posted via e-mail!

#30DaysofDope Week 2 and 3 Update

Meal prepping has been meal prepping has been meal prepping - has been meal prepping. No new news - except I've been obsessed with broccoli for like 3 weeks. Other than that, meal prep has become second nature to me. I'll be sure to do a post soon about #MealPrep101 to help those of you guys looking to get on board with this time saving practice!

I've been trying my best to go 80/20 with my Avatar Nutrition macros, and I won't lie - it's a day-to-day struggle. Eating meal preps is easy, but consuming enough protein is HARD. Some days, despite how delicious my Syntha-6 Edge is, I just don't can't even. And there are times, like womanly events, that throw you off course in a real way. I've learned to just go with the flow (ha!), and bounce back later. It's all a process.

Dope Spirit
I don't have a whole lot to say here, because I've been at peace for the most part. But I do have my moments where doubt and comparison envy creep in. In those moments, I take a look at my screenshot from Chase The Lion and let it marinatemarinate - The God who did it before can do it again. 

When I find myself frustrated, upset, or feeling down about not being where I thought I'd be by now, I take a moment to look how FAR God has brought me from where I was. I've seen in my own life how God has moved, promoted, blessed, sustained, made a way, and been gracious and merciful toward me. His track record in my life is flawless. 

In those moments when I'm preparing to RSVP for the Pity Party, I challenge myself to stop, remember, and celebrate all that God has done.

And then I find peace :)

How have the past two weeks been for you? Let me know in the comments below or shoot me an e-mail at christina[at]30daysofdope.com! Enjoy the weekend fam!

During Week 2 of #30DaysofDope, I somehow managed to be not dope... I didn't post anything! I didn't e-mail you guys, barely post...

#30DaysofDope Week 1 Update - March 2017

I'm a few days behind in posting this, but can you believe we're about to walk into week 2 already? This cycle is flying by.

And even though Daylight Saving Time is giving me the business right now, I wanted to make sure this post (and my #DopeFam email) made it out before Monday rolled around.

My first full week (and some change, since we technically started mid-week) was full of ups and downs - and I'm pretty sure i'm not the only one.

Let's dive in.

Dope Mind
Reading Necessary Endings again is blessing me in ways I didn't think possible. It's funny how you can read a book during one season of your life, and then read it again at another time, and it takes on a totally different meaning. That's exactly where I am with Necessary Endings. When I first came across the book about 6 years ago, I was reading through the lens of  necessary endings for relationships. In this season, I'm reading with my business lenses on, but also finding ways this applies to my fitness/wellness journey, too.

As I mull over and absorb the content of Necessary Endings (I'll go deeper in my e-mail with you guys!), I always return to one central point -

Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes (I don't know who said it) - every next level of your life will demand a different version of you.

#30DaysofDope Week 1 Update - March 2017


In the coming days, I'll be asking myself a few tough questions about my focus, my time, where I'm directing my energy, and if it all aligns with my goals and God's plan. I've got a feeling I'm not going to like some of the answers I'll have for myself...

But that's what Necessary Endings is about, right? Taking an honest self inventory and learning to proactively end things before they're allowed to siphon off resources that could have been devoted to to other areas of our lives that would bear more fruit (or roses).

What things in your life is Necessary Endings challenging you to confront? Let me know in the comments below!

Dope Body
In my first e-mail to you guys, I shared that my goals are to follow the 80/20 rule for eating according to my macros, and working out 8x per week. Let's break that down some more, and shed some light on what actually happened.

#30DaysofDope Week 1 Update - March 2017

I had a heart-to-heart with myself about my eating habits, what worked, what didn't, and how I can create positive progress for myself that sticks beyond this cycle. I realized that my previous meal plan set my carbs way low - and for me, a carb lover, that's simply not sustainable over the long term. I took a leap and signed up for Avatar Nutrition - it costs $10 a month, and I'm giving it a go just for this cycle of #30DaysofDope. If I end up liking my results/progress, I'll keep going. If not, I'll be a'cancelling!

The craziest difference between my previous numbers with MyFitnessPal and Avatar Nutrition is that even though I've set my goal target for "fast fat loss", my calorie and macro totals are still wayyyyy higher than they were. It's a mental thing that I'm trying to wrap my mind around - eating more to actually lose fat and build/maintain lean mass and strength. I got so alarmed that I e-mailed the Avatar Nutrition CEO (because I'm extra like that lol), and expressed my concerns. Mark was super responsive, broke the information down for me, and just asked that I trust the system. So I'ma trust the system until 30 days is up. I'll do a full review of Avatar Nutrition once my first month is up - but for now, just know I'm throwing back BSN Syntha-6 Edge (Strawberry Milkshake is to DIE for!) protein shakes and Isopure drinks (love mango peach!) like a mad woman.

#30DaysofDope Week 1 Update - March 2017
Tastes just like Strawberry Nesquik. Y'all have NO idea. I'm HOOKED!
Meal prep is still in effect though - no changes there. Making it happen one lil' black container at a time. I haven't stopped meal prepping since the September 2016 cycle of #30DaysofDope - it's a habit now (in a good way)!

Now, about this workout thing. I decided that in order to break through my plateau and really go next level with my fitness goals, that I needed to do something that I've never done before. Make myself uncomfortable. Like really uncomfortable. So I decided to commit myself to working out 8 times per week. Yes, I know there are only 7 days in a week - so to avoid being in the gym every single day, I'm doubling up and doing two-a-days on some days. Gave myself a "trial run" from February 27th thru March 5th, and I hit 7 out of 8 days. The first full week of March (6th thru 12th), I hit 7 days again. In truth, this past week was a rough one. Family emergencies and special assignments took me off my rhythm, but I hung in there and did the best I could. In fact, as I write this, I made a conscious decision not to make today (Sunday March 12th) workout #8. Not that I didn't want to actually meet my goal, but I had to be honest. I'm late in getting this blog post up, late in sending my week 1 e-mail out, and I need to go to the grocery store to buy veggies and meat for #MealPrepMonday. I decided that instead of hitting workout #8, it would be much more beneficial for my sanity (and stress levels) to do the things I need to do in preparation for a successful week.

Plus, Lord willing - I'll be in the gym bright and early Monday morning.

Dope Spirit
HOW DOPE WAS CHASE THE LION THOUGH?! Oh my God, this second reading around blessed me in a mighty way! If you're anything like me, you've got several screenshots of various quotes from the devotional text. MAN. I was totally blown away again. I love it when two seemingly unrelated texts "talk" to each other - I totally believe in confirmation and I'm convinced that God put it on my heart to re-read Chase The Lion while re-reading Necessary Endings.

For me, the gut-check is knowing that God has put me on a path to achieve the goals and dreams He's given me - but there are some things, some detractors, some behaviors, practices, and projects that I've got to put down to actualize all that He has planned for me. I've got to assess and execute some necessary endings in order to give full chase to my lions.

Throughout the rest of the month, I'll be sharing some of my most memorable takeaways from Chase The Lion here and via e-mail with my #DopeFam. Stay tuned!

How did the first week of #30DaysofDope work out for you? Let me know in the comments below!

I'm a few days behind in posting this, but can you believe we're about to walk into week 2 already? This cycle is flying by. ...

Welcome to #30DaysofDope - March 2017 Cycle!

What up #DopeFam?

Can I just tell you how excited I am to get this ball rolling? I stopped and started and stopped and started and stopped planning the first 2017 cycle of #30DaysofDope. I wanted to launch in January, but didn't wanna prey on the New Year Resolution type folk.

I started to start in February, but I knew I wouldn't be able to give it my all. And I'm very much of the mindset that if I can't do it right, I shouldn't do it at all.

That said, I'm so glad to have you joining me on this journey. I can already feel it - this cycle is gonna be something special. Something new. Something more dope than the previous iterations.

I know it's late in the day, but I hope you had an amazing day 1. Before the day is totally over (or before we get too far in to tomorrow), I need you to do 4 things for me:

1. Make sure you're on the list. When you go to www.30daysofdope.com, there should be a pink bar at the top of the page saying "Join the #DopeFam". Once you add your e-mail and first name to that list, you're in. If for some reason you can't make it do what it do, just drop me an e-mail at christina[at]30daysofdope.com and I'll add ya!

2. Download/pin/save/screenshot the official prep list for this cycle. You can find it on this post here, or download it direct here. We'll be chatting about experiences with Necessary Endings and Chase The Lion intimately on our weekly e-mails and posts here, and I want to make sure you've got everything you need to be on the same page with the group!

3. Write. Down. Your. Goals. Part of the journey to personal excellence is holding yourself accountable to the things you said you would do. When I e-mail the #DopeFam tomorrow morning, I'm going to share my personal goals for this next 30 days with you all. Feel free to write me back with yours. #accountabilitypartners

4. Document where you started. In the same vein as writing your goals down, the only way to measure your progress is to know where you started. If you're looking for a mental shift - say, going from feeling frustrated about xyz, start by journaling what frustrates you, why you're frustrated by it, and how you wish you would be able to handle/address the situation in an ideal world. Same thing with physical and spiritual. If I want to lose 5 pounds this month, or cook at least 2 meals a week, I need to start by being honest with myself about my current state. This may also involve a "before" picture - although you don't have to. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but I promise you'll be looking at yourself on March 31st like GO ME!

If you need a little more guidance, or a few tips on how to make this cycle of #30DaysofDope a success, click here to read my kickoff thoughts from the last cycle. Some of the info has changed, but the principles still apply!

Day 1 is almost done. The next 29 is going to be nothing short of amazing!

What up #DopeFam? Can I just tell you how excited I am to get this ball rolling? I stopped and started and stopped and started and stop...

#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!


Has the "2018 is gonna be the year for me" mentality set in yet? Are you throwing in the towel on 2017 and calling it your warmup year already?

Don't.

There's still time - and lots of it. Although it seems like March came outta nowhere like a Remy Ma diss, we're far from the end of 2017 - and 9 months is plenty of time to get back on track and start really crushing those goals you set in January.

But let's face it, a lot can also happen in 9 months. That's why we've gotta tackle this thing in bite-sized increments until we get some steam rolling to really take off.

And that's what #30DaysofDope is about - setting aside 30 days to reboot, refocus, and reroute ourselves in the journey to personal excellence. To get the super nitty-gritty details on why I started #30DaysofDope, click here. 

If you're rip, roaring, and ready to go on this journey with me, here's what you'll need:


And if you really wanna go all out, at the end of this post you can pin the prep list to your Pinterest!

Dope Mind
#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!

Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud
Giving up things is hard. Letting things go is harder. But in order to break through that plateau and really go after the things that God has for you in life, some things (and people) have got to go. Through this book, we'll journey together in how to maneuver endings - both personally and professional - in order to experience growth.

Full disclosure - I bought this book years ago from Family Christian Bookstore (which I hear is going out of business), but never finished it. It's been on my heart to re-read and make it through to the end - so let's do this together!

You can find the book here on Amazon, and here on Kindle. If you're a better listener than I am, Audible has a free 30 day trial and you can get the book here.

Dope Body

#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!


Meal Prep/Meal Plan
Beginner: If changing your eating habits is something new, the very first step is to take the time to track your food intake. You can use regular ol' pen and paper, the notes app in your phone, or my personal favorite - MyFitnessPal. Just make sure you document every single thing you eat and drink (including water!), and do your absolute best to accurately reflect portions.

Intermediate: Use MyFitnessPal (or any method above) to track meals - but take it a step further. Invest in a food scale like this one, or use measuring utensils to parcel everything out. Begin monitoring your food intake and making adjustments (or healthy swaps). In my first #30DaysofDope run in July, I used measuring utensils. By September, I was on the foodscale. Now, there's no looking back.

Advanced: Go full on meal prep status. Create your own meal plan, weigh everything out, and prep like a crazy person. Or, get a custom meal plan from my friend Kohran of A-1 Lifestyle by e-mailing a1lifestyle247365[at]gmail.com (that's what I did..and yes I paid for it!). Then weigh everything out and prep like a crazy person. I can tell you right now it requires the most discipline, focus, and effort. You have to be mentally ready for this one. And if you are, welcome! (P.S. - you're going to need meal prep containers like these that I got from Amazon.

Looking for some meal prep and healthy recipe inspiration? Click here for a few dope recipes (that I'll be adding to this cycle!)

#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!


Physical Activity
Set your own goal here - just make a plan to be more active. Whether that means walking every day at lunch, or challenging yourself to do more than just the elliptical at the gym. You know truthfully how much you work out, and what you should be doing. At minimum, I'll suggest that you're active for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.You can feel free to take it from there :) And if you want someone to keep you accountable - e-mail me at christina[at]30daysofdope.com and I'll check in with ya.

Dope Spirit
#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!


Download the YouVersion app, and set the daily scripture notifications. We're going to make it a habit to get into God's Word. Taking it a step further, add the Chase The Lion devotional to your reading plan.

Again, full disclosure - I read Chase The Lion earlier this year. But it's SO dope, I want to do it again. And with you guys.

And lastly - I cannot stress this enough - GET ON THE LIST!

Get on the #30DaysofDope e-mail list! This is where I'll be checking in with my peeps, answering questions, and providing exclusive information. I'll even be enlisting support from some of the dopest folks I know - and you can only get this stuff if you're on the list. GET ON THE LIST. I don't mean to yell, but it's super important :)

And remember - you're dope for doing this.

Her's the Pinnable March 2017 checklist!
#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!

Has the "2018 is gonna be the year for me" mentality set in yet? Are you throwing in the towel on 2017 and calling it you...

#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.

Y'all.

Y'all.

YAWL.

Can you believe the 30th of September has come and gone?! I can't. Last month quite literally flew by.

As my e-mail peeps know, I skipped week 3 here on the blog. No excuses - I just didn't make time for it. I didn't even read The Four Agreements on time - I had to play catch up on week 4!

None of this means that #30DaysofDope was a bust, though. It was quite the opposite. The July cycle was about discipline. September was all about balance. I can't wait to see what December brings (whoops! just dropped a hint right there lol).

Without much delay, let's dive into the last 2 weeks of #30DaysofDope for September. And #DopeFam, we'll be chatting via e-mail this Thursday!

Dope Mind
The third and fourth agreements took me on a roller coaster ride, literally. It was bad enough to be challenged to not take anything personally, but to follow that up with not making assumptions? I was literally reading the pages like, "c'mon, son!" - but there was so much truth and value in Ruiz' words. Making and then believing assumptions is the root cause of a lot of frustration and drama in our lives, because we allow ourselves to live in this space where we're afraid to ask questions and feel burdened with the assumption that we should "already know". We're going to dissect this a little bit more in this week's e-mail, so make sure you drop your e-mail addy in the topbar above this post to get on the #DopeFam e-mail list.

#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.

On another note, how awesome was the fourth agreement, and the awesome timing of #30DaysofDope? Always do your best sent chills down my spine and put a huge grin on my face. Ya'll shoulda seen me in the gym, smiling on the stairmaster. Literally nobody does that.

The reason why the fourth agreement excited me so much was because the message coincided so well with #30DaysofDope. In fact, that pretty much sums up the challenge in four words. Not to mention, Ruiz echoes the sentiment I have expressed throughout the entirety of this challenge - excellence is relative. Your best will look different day to day, hour to hour. Doing your best is about more than X-ing tasks off of a to-do list. Excellence is about being able to look yourself in the mirror and say, "I gave it my best."
#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.

Dope Body
Honestly guys, my body is changing. It's a slowwwwwwwww progression (Jesus it's slow), but it's happening. I don't spend every day in the gym, and every workout isn't on 10. But it's happening, and I'm finally in a space where I feel like hard work and consistency is paying off.

#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.
The Transformation... on the outside.
As I mentioned previously, I started a new meal plan about 2 weeks before #30DaysofDope launched. From then, to the time #30DaysofDope ended, I was able to drop 12 pounds and 4 inches from my waist. It's not one of those surreal 30 day transformations you see on Instagram, but it's movement in the direction of my goals, and for that I am happy and grateful. After all, I'm on a healthy lifestyle mission that won't have me sacrificing birthday parties and family dinners for bench presses and front squats all the time. But I like them all the same :)

#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.
Lower Carb (and fat!) Ground Turkey Tamale Cups. Want the recipe? Let me know in the comments!
Meal prep is still bae, and I'm about that lowered carbohydrate intake life, and finding creative yet palate-pleasing substitutes and tweaks for my favorites. What started out as a test of discipline ultimately has become a way of life. Even Samuel is on board with meal prep. September didn't come without its challenges (it seemed like somebody's birthday was every weekend, lol), but I did the absolute best I could in every situation. Sometimes that meant turning down the glass of wine I really wanted, or having just a spoon of rice with my meal.

And sometimes it meant eating the cake.

Overall, I committed myself to improving my eating habits and following (as best as I could) the macros laid out in my meal plan. Now that I'm learning more about food and fueling my body, I feel a lot more comfortable experimenting in the kitchen. If you follow #30DaysofDope on Instagram, then you know exactly the kind of meals and recipes I'm talking about. Plus, I share the recipes here on the blog too.

Question for my #DopeFam - would you guys be interested in a #DopeRecipes e-book? Just let me know in the comments :)

Dope Spirit
I haven't finished the Fruit of the Spirit devotionals. I said I wasn't going to rush through them, and I meant it. I've made it through love, joy, peace, and patience...and I feel like I want and need to go back and read them again before I move on. Sometimes I feel like when it comes to the Bible, we can pride ourselves on how much we read, or how many scriptures we know by heart.

But how many do we walk out in our daily lives? How much do we commit to understanding?

That's another reason why #30DaysofDope is set up the way it is. I didn't want to take a one-and-done approach to my relationship with God. It requires work, day in and day out. This time around, #30DaysofDope has given me a little something more than just an improved prayer ethic, or scriptures to commit to memory. Through everything that's going on, I've been blessed enough to experience the tip of the iceberg when it comes to God's peace. I'm not anxious or frantic. I don't feel overwhelmed. I find myself praying for others more than I pray for myself. I'm working on spreading positivity, and letting God truly shine through my actions and interactions with others. I ain't nowhere near perfect - but I'm trying. Some days are better than others, but I'm giving it what I got.

Sometimes you gotta....
The Big Takeaway
Peace. Perspective. Balance. Just three of the things that this cycle of #30DaysofDope has taught me, and continues to teach me. #30DaysofDope isn't a magic bullet or one stop shop solution. It's about truly connecting mind, body, and spirit on the path forward to personal excellence. Just because September is over doesn't mean I stop or you stop. We keep going. The dopeness continues, so stay tuned for more. And don't forget to drop your e-mail in the topbar above this post - I'll be sharing testimonials from September cycle participants, tips on how to keep forward momentum, and more!

Stay tuned, #DopeFam!

Catch up on the September 2016 cycle here!
Week 1 Update
Week 2 Update

What is #30DaysofDope? Read about the challenge here!

Y'all. Y'all. YAWL. Can you believe the 30th of September has come and gone?! I can't. Last month quite literally flew...

#30DaysofDope Update: Week 2

It's day 15. We're at the literal half point of #30DaysofDope.

Crazy, right?

Summer is pretty much officially gone. As I type this update, I'm in my office, at my desk, wrapped in the most heavenly of blankets. I would show you a picture, but the truth is, I've probably got eye crust going on and I know my hair is a hot mess. So I'll spare you that tragedy.

Let's dive in to week 2. I've got some juicy deets for ya!

Dope Mind
Straight up, The Four Agreements is taking me on a journey. And this week's stop along that path has totally thrown me for a loop. I have been simultaneously juggling trying to act out the first agreement (be impeccable with your word) while digesting the concept of the second agreement (don't take anything personally).

Here's me, having an imaginary conversation with Don Miguel Ruiz in my mind while reading the second agreement:

Me: So... like...I'm supposed to not take the fact that this man gave me the finger on the freeway personally?

Ruiz: Yep.

Me: And if someone talks ish about me behind my back, I'm supposed to let it just ride?

Ruiz: Pretty much.

Me: Oh, and the chick that keeps plagarizing my work? That's supposed to be cool?

Ruiz: It's not cool, but it ain't got nothing to do with you.

Me: Hmph.

Clearly, I'm wrestling with this chapter - even though I'm very familiar with the concept. See what the second agreement requires is a shift in perspective, a move beyond yourself and your particular set of lenses for viewing the world and everyday interactions with people. And in the weeks ahead, I'm gonna be grappling with this agreement, because I'm the person that looks for the underlying meaning in everything. I read between lines that ain't even there.

The Four Agreements
If I'm walking into a building behind someone and they don't push back the door to keep it open, I'm ready to pop off - because I feel disrespected. Oh, and don't even let me get started about the time I almost went bats**t crazy when a girl in a fast food restaurant called me a "stupid b***h" (I told y'all, God has brought me from a mighty long way). I don't tolerate rudeness, disrespect, shade, or being called out of my name well AT ALL. Oh and don't even get me started about what happens if I detect a hint of racism.

I say all that to say, I've got some work to do. If I'm truly going to be who God has called me to be, I have to take the second agreement and live it out. And just like last week, I'm talking about this a little bit more in depth with my #DopeFam via e-mail. So look for that later this morning! Not on the list? Drop your e-mail in that pink top bar!

Dope Body
This is one area in which I'm legitimately proud of myself. Last week, I said I was in the process of pushing out of my comfort zone in the gym. This week, I'm keeping that move going strong - and it's paying off. What's funny is that at the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to be able to squat 200lbs, deadlift 200lbs, and bench 150lbs before December 31st.

About a month ago, I hit that squat goal and exceeded it by 5lbs. Deadlift, I'm maxing out at 185 (my hamstrings need some work). And my bench goal? I'm nowhere near it - currently maxing at 95lbs. And we're on the precipice of the 4th quarter of 2016. My goals aren't changing, but my approach is. See, a few months ago I was in a rush to get there, so I was lopping on plate after plate - seeking to be the "strong girl" in the gym. But my form was wack. My motivation was off.

Now, even though it's late in the year, I'm taking a few steps back. Working on form. Building the stamina. The endurance. The strength. Doing things the right way, so that when I hit the goal, I know I worked for it, chiseled away at it, and didn't rush the process.

#30DaysofDope Update: Week 2

Ultimately, I'm realizing that through consistent effort in the gym and in the kitchen, the goals I want to achieve are within reach. It's not gonna happen in 30, 60, or 90 days (like some folks on Instagram want you to believe) - but I'm really casting my vision 2-3 years out and celebrating the small wins along the way. I'll be sharing my wins at the end of this cycle - so stay tuned!

My #mealprep game is on point - and even though I'm still doing this low carb, high-er protien situation, I don't feel super deprived or like I hella miss carbs. In fact, in some ways my meal plan has re-ignited my passion for cooking. Every few days or so, I find myself itching to test drive some internet recipe (to see if it's actually good or not), or challenging myself to make a more macro-friendly version of the foods I enjoy. And it's fun. As a matter of fact, if you haven't already, check out the Dope Recipes tab here on the site, because I'll be updating as I discover new recipes and ways to create food that's better for you and actually tastes good.

#30DaysofDope Update: Week 2

But I'm by no means perfect - I have my weak moments and it seems like there's been challenge after challenge this month. Restaurants every weekend for birthdays. Special gatherings with food. I shoulda took a picture of my meal at California Pizza Kitchen for y'all. It was hilarious. I literally ordered Kung Pao Spaghetti with chicken and shrimp, and ate the meat and 1 forkful of spaghetti. I literally left a bowl of wet noodles behind. Next time, I'll order Kung Pao Spaghetti with no spaghetti, lol.

And I did eat a crazy amount of cookie dough on Tuesday this week, but on this Instagram post, I share why I'm not trippin.

Dope Spirit
This week, I spent some time reading in the Before the Cross: Fruit of the Spirit devotional lesson centered on peace. And this is where I start getting excited about #30Daysof Dope, because the texts that I'm reading start speaking to each other. In truly seeking God's peace - the peace that can't be swayed by the thoughts, opinions, and actions of others, nor by my circumstances - I have to actively learn to not take anything personally.

Did you catch that?

God's peace - the peace that surpasess all understanding, isn't something fleeting. It doesn't disappear when my bank account looks funny, or only exist in me when everything's all good. But I have to do my part. I can't be tossed about by every situation and circumstance. I have to make it a priority every day, to trust God.

And for someone as strong-willed as me, it's definitely a process.

But God has shown me more than enough times, that He is in control. So whenever I'm feeling anxious, antsy, stressed, or like a certain situation isn't moving how I planned for it to - I have to seek God's peace. My favorite scripture for this - which turned up in the devotional - is Philippians 4:6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
One thing I love about this passage of scripture is that it doesn't say "tell God what you want, an you'll get it". God isn't some cosmic genie that we call on to get a new car, job, house, or boyfriend. But what he does give us is his peace - something that money can't buy. Peace is what holds us over when we're looking for that new job, car, or significant other. Peace is what allows us to approach these situations with the perspective that God has tailor-made blessings for each and every one of us

We just gotta trust Him :)

Well folks, that's all I got for this week! I wanna know how your week went too! Drop your updates  in the comments below - or e-mail me at christina[at]30daysofdope.com.

Talk to you soon, #DopeFam!
If you missed the week 1 update, click here to catch up!

It's day 15. We're at the literal half point of #30DaysofDope. Crazy, right? Summer is pretty much officially gone. As I ty...

#DopeRecipe: The BEST Low-Carb Pizza EVER! Fat Head Pizza is REAL.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Shrimp Low-Carb Pizza
One of the hardest things about going low-carb is having to exercise extreme moderation or eliminating altogether some of my favorite things in the world.
Like hunks of Celebration and Chocolate Marble cake from SusieCakes. 

And Pizza.

Not to say that I haven't been to SusieCakes since starting my meal plan (Samuel's birthday was definitely the 3rd), but I kept it reasonable. Instead of a lifetime supply of cake in the form of one gargantuan (albeit delicious) slice of cake, I had a cupcake and kept it moving.

But the one thing I hadn't been able to do? Pizza. I love me some pizza - Pizza Hut or Blaze Pizza used to make a weekly or bi-weekly appearance prior to the #mealpreplife. And as much as #iffym (if it fits your macros) is a thing for me, some foods just make it really difficult to bounce back and round out macros for the day. 

You guessed it - for me, Pizza is one of those foods. 

So I took to the internet, wondering if there was such a thing as low-carb pizza that actually tastes like pizza. Not some protien-crust infused monstrosity that I'd have to delude myself into thinking tastes like protein - but a legit delicious crust that looks, tastes, and feels like pizza crust. 

And I found it!

I discovered tons of low-carb and keto websites talking about something called "Fat Head Pizza", and I'm not gonna lie to you guys - I didn't have the desire to research the backstory on why it's called that, the documentary it came from, or why any of that even matters. Sometimes, I just need the solution. 

So without further delay, I'm gonna hit you with the recipe and how-to for my newfound favorite pizza crust that allows me to enjoy a MUCH more reasonable version of one of my favorite fork-less foods.

#DopeRecipe: The BEST Low-Carb Pizza EVER! Fat Head Pizza is REAL.
Top Row: Ingredients for my Jamaican Jerk Pizza. Bottom Row: Ingredients for pizza crust.
Ingredients for Pizza Crust
+ 170g (6oz or 1 and 3/4 cups)  mozzarella cheese (I used Market Pantry Part-Skim Low Moisture)
+ 85g (3oz or 3/4 cup) almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Super Fine Almond Flour/Meal)
+ 2 tablespoons cream cheese
+ 1 egg
+ optional: seasonings to taste (I used a pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt, garlic, and dried basil)

Ingredients for Pizza Topping
So far, I've made 3 pizzas using this crust recipe - Ham & Cheese, BBQ Chicken, and a spinoff of CPK's Jamaican Jerk with Chicken and Shrimp. This is where your personal preferences come in to play. To keep your carb count lower, avoid tomato and pizza sauces with tons of sugar - although I've used BBQ sauce and Pineapple Habanero sauce and still managed to keep things reasonable (under 20g of carbs per slice). As an example, I'm going to share with you what I used to craft the BBQ Chicken Pizza:

+ 1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (same as used in the crust)
+ 368g (approximately 4) cooked boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced
+ 1/4 green bell pepper, sliced
+ 1/2 cup Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Marinara, cooked (to thicken)

Tools & Utensils
+ small microwave-safe bowl for mixing crust
+ non-stick or silicone spatula for mixing
+ baking sheet or pizza pan (here's the one I have - it's amazing)
+ measuring utensils or food scale
+ cutting board and knife (for toppings prep)
+ cheese grater (if not using pre-shredded cheese)

Instructions for Pizza Crust & Toppings
The key to this pizza is to fully prepare the crust and toppings first. Pre-heat your oven to 400F. 

While your oven is heating, take the time to prep your toppings. If you're going to be using meats like chicken, shrimp, sausage, etc - cook them first. For my BBQ Chicken Pizza, I cooked the boneless, skinless chicken thighs on the stove, then chopped them and mixed in the Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce. Sautee any veggies (I did a quick sautee on the bell pepper as well), and shred cheese (if necessary). Also prepare your sauce over low heat. Set aside.

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the mozzarella cheese, almond flour, and cream cheese. Do not mix - just toss the bowl in your microwave on HIGH for 1 minute ONLY. Remove the bowl after 1 minute and stir with a non-stick spatula. If your cheeses have sufficiently melted enough to soften and start taking the shape of a dough, do not put it back in the microwave. If it has not, put it in the microwave again for another 15-20 seconds - but no more than 30. It's super important to not overcook the cheese in the microwave. I find that 1 minute is enough time.

#DopeRecipe: The BEST Low-Carb Pizza EVER! Fat Head Pizza is REAL.
Mix. Knead. Roll. Bake.
Once your cheeses have melted, begin mixing to form dough. Fold in 1 egg and your seasonings (optional). At this stage, I find it works best to knead the dough by hand. Kneed the dough into a ball.

After mixing your dough, grab two long (at least 16-20 inches) sheets of parchment paper. Place the dough between the two sheets, and use your rolling pin to flatten the dough into a circular crust (or shape of preference). Feel free to roll the dough as thick or thin as you like - I prefer the dough on the thin side to make more generous slices.

Once you've achieved the desired thickness, remove top sheet of parchment paper, and place the crust (with parchment paper still underneath), onto your baking sheet or pizza pan.

#DopeRecipe: The BEST Low-Carb Pizza EVER! Fat Head Pizza is REAL.
Crust looks like this while baking
Bake on 400F until the crust begins to brown (about 12-14 minutes for thinner crust).

#DopeRecipe: The BEST Low-Carb Pizza EVER! Fat Head Pizza is REAL.
After baking: top side
#DopeRecipe: The BEST Low-Carb Pizza EVER! Fat Head Pizza is REAL.
After baking: bottom side
Remove crust from the oven and set aside to cool for a moment.

DO NOT turn your oven off yet. 

Gather your sauce and toppings that you had previously prepared. For my BBQ Chicken Pizza, I spread the Tomato Basil Marinara evenly around first, following up with mozzarella cheese.

After that, I distributed the BBQ Chicken and bell peppers. 

Once your pizza has been crafted, pop it back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes - enough to melt the cheese down. That's why it's important to prepare your toppings ahead of time - the amount of time required for them to cook in the oven would cause the crust to burn.

#DopeRecipe: The BEST Low-Carb Pizza EVER! Fat Head Pizza is REAL.
The finished product.
Remove, cool a little (until the cheese stops actively bubbling), slice and enjoy!

#DopeRecipe: The BEST Low-Carb Pizza EVER! Fat Head Pizza is REAL.
A lil' closeup on BBQ Chicken Pizza realness.
Macros for my BBQ Chicken Pizza (per slice - makes 8 'large size' slices):
+ 258 calories
+ 22.6g protein
+ 9.1g carbs
+ 15.4g fat
+ 5.2g sugar

Compared to a generic/general large slice of BBQ Chicken Pizza
+ 350 calories
+ 19g protein
+ 41g carbs
+ 13g fat
+ 6g sugar

#DopeRecipe: The BEST Low-Carb Pizza EVER! Fat Head Pizza is REAL.
A cross-section of the crust. Looks, feels, and tastes like regular crust.
Tip: If you want to further cut carbs and fat, try experimenting with 2% mozzarella on top of the crust and eliminating sugary sauces. 

But overall, we're talking less calories, A LOT less carbs, a little less sugar, and more protein. Not a bad deal at all! And not to mention - it tastes GREAT! I'll take this pizza over Pizza Hut ANY day. Plus, it doesn't leave me feeling heavy and sluggish...and it's KID & GROWN FOLK TESTED! I gave the BBQ Chicken and Ham & Cheese pizzas to my newphews over the weekend, and they LOVED it. Samuel loved all three - BBQ Chicken, Ham & Cheese, and his favorite is the Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Shrimp. My sister was mad skeptical at first - but she sho' did grab a slice of BBQ Chicken when dropping off my nephews, and a slice of Ham & Cheese when picking 'em up. Lol.

If you try this one out - let me know on Instagram or in the comments below!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Shrimp Low-Carb Pizza One of the hardest things about going low-carb is having to exercise extreme moderati...