Tips for Job Searching While Pregnant

About this time last year, I was more than halfway through my pregnancy and for a variety of reasons, I found myself pursuing a job search. Job searching not pregnant? Daunting. Job searching while growing a human? Daunting — and also doable. Because I’ve had a few girlfriends reach out in similar situations this past year, I’m sharing my (very limited) perspective in case you are someone in a similar situation, looking for advice or comfort in knowing someone else has done it, too.

So, what did I do? 

As I began my job search, I applied to a whole host of jobs – a couple I was really excited about and a handful I felt lukewarm on the role or company but interested in learning more – and I was able to land some intro phone interviews. As with any job search, this helped me really perfect my story/pitch before the stakes were much higher for an in-person interview and a pregnant belly harder to hide.

During this time, I was extremely critical in what I was looking for. I knew that changing jobs with 2-3 months before having a baby, I likely wouldn’t have access to maternity leave benefits and certainly not FMLA (have to be employed for 12 months) so I wasn’t going to pursue a job that I wasn’t 100% certain was the right move for me. I considered things like:

  • who would be my manager and how much management experience they had
  • team size/structure and how many direct reports my manager would have
  • any travel requirements
  • salary structure (base pay only? base pay and variable? variable based on what?)
  • company culture and values
  • parental leave policies and any intel about how many/if any parents on the team and at the company
  • how buttoned-up the interviewers and recruiters who conducted interviews were

As I whittled down my list  to a select handful of companies that had a role I was excited about and a company mission I could get behind, I was fortunate enough to move to in-person interviews with my top choice…at 25 weeks pregnant.

25 weeks pregnant // lynnepetre.com

I had definitely started showing at this point and as I prepared for my face-to-face interview, I decided to disguise my belly as much as possible. I had asked what the full interview process looked like and knew if I moved all the way through the process, I would have 2 face-to-face interviews so for the first one, I wanted to minimize my pregnancy so that my skills and experience were front and center. If I made it to the second, I planned to let the hiring team know of my pregnancy at that point. I’d decided that if this was the right company for me, my pregnancy wouldn’t penalize me. I also considered that if I were in their shoes, I would want to know before a candidate started that she would be having a baby pretty quickly after her first day to help inform a ramp up plan.

25 weeks pregnant interview outfit // lynnepetre.com

I couldn’t find much help on the internet for ‘how to disguise a pregnant belly for a job interview’ and as you can see, I am not the most stylish person (and also definitely not a fashion blogger!) so I opted for this high-waisted, flowy skirt and a blazer and crossed my finger that these people who’d never met me before wouldn’t notice my 15-20 extra pounds, primarily at my midsection, too much.

I passed this face-to-face interview session (4 interviews!) and was back on-site later that week for a second round of face-to-face interviews. No photos of this ensemble but I wore black jeans, a black shirt and an oversized kimono-style wool cardigan, again aiming to minimize. My first interview of this session was with the hiring manager and the person who would be my peer — both parents of small kids — and at the end of our discussion, I disclosed that I was pregnant and due mid-January. Fortunately, my disclosure was met with much excitement and I immediately felt at ease and knew I made the right decision.

When the team called to make me an offer soon after my second in-person interview, I was overwhelmed with excitement (a really great role at a really great company), gratitude (for the people who had cheered me on during the process – and for this company taking a chance on a pregnant woman) and pride (in myself – I frickin’ did it!!). I started my new role, 30 weeks pregnant, and worked exactly 10 weeks before giving birth to my baby.

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Enough about me, here are some tips for you. 

If you find yourself job searching while pregnant, here are some things that helped me and hopefully can help you, yoo.

  • Apply to more places than you’re interested in. Because you’ll likely phone screen first, this will give you a chance to internalize/perfect your story and build rapport before you’re in-person. Additionally, this can help get you salary data points in the market to aid in negotiating later.
  • Let them know! This is a personal choice – you’ll have to feel out the company from research and your initial phone screens and consider how far along in your pregnancy you are. For me, I do recommend sharing your news with the hiring manager and/or recruiter before you accept an offer. If transparency is a value of the company, work that in!
    • I said something to the effect of: ‘I know transparency is important to you and it is for me, too, so I wanted to let you know that I am pregnant; I hope that this reaffirms for you how excited I am about this role! I wouldn’t be interviewing during this season of personal transition if I didn’t feel strongly about this role and company.’
  • Own it! It’s easy to jump to a place of speaking timidly during job searching – and especially so when pregnant. It feels riskier so we might want to downplay/minimize the potential negative consequences. But I so encourage you to own it and speak matter-of-factly. If you share the news, own it and speak confidently. You are a badass woman who knows her worth and is about to be an amazing working mama! Any company would be lucky to have you! The fact that you’re interviewing while pregnant speaks volumes – you are unafraid of challenges, you are ready to tackle problems head on and not shy away. Hopefully the folks you interview with will recognize this and if not, that is their loss and they’re not right for you.
  • Be excited! As a follow up, talking about your excitement, sharing thoughts about what you’d expect for maternity leave (how you’d ramp up before baby, what you’d plan to tackle after baby), assuring them you’re just as excited to come back after the baby, etc, can all be helpful to share, too. Employers can’t legally make a hiring decision based on your pregnancy but it’s hard to argue it might not affect people’s perception of you (unfair but true). So demonstrating that you’ve put some thought into how it will work for both you and the employer can go a long way in making them feel even better about moving forward with a badass future mama.
  • Be deliberate. If you’re job searching while pregnant, you won’t have access to FMLA (12 months at a company) and probably not able to access mat leave benefits (generally, must be employed 6 months), so be deliberate in the companies you choose to focus on. Pursue only roles that are exciting enough to take an unpaid mat leave for and still come back to work after.

Since my job change last year, I’ve known 2 other girlfriends who have applied, interviewed for and changed jobs mid- to late-pregnancy so it *is* doable – so if you’re reading this and if you need a pep talk, email me! Always happy to chat and be a cheerleader in your corner. And if you’ve similarly interviewed for jobs while pregnant, please feel free to share your tips/comments below so we can all learn from and support each other.

We Had A Baby!

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Well, my baby is now 2 months old and he’s snoozing in the carseat on the floor next to me (I’ve learned it’s not worth it to disrupt an infant’s sleep to move him) so it seems as good a time as any to update the ol’ blog.

I probably don’t have enough time to share a full birth story (#infantschedule) so stay tuned for a future post! The condensed version of the past 8 weeks:

After a discussion with my midwife, Alex and I made the decision to move forward with inducing labor on Friday, 1/11, a few days before my actual due date.

38 Weeks Pregnant // lynnepetre.com

The first meds we tried, Cervidil, didn’t kickstart my body as we hoped so on Saturday morning, we started Pitocin and by Saturday afternoon, we met our son!

Family Photo - Hospital // lynnepetre.com

We stayed in the hospital for two nights and came home on a Monday afternoon. After a couple of days at home, we went BACK to the hospital because of some (er, a lot) of unexpected bleeding and we stayed overnight – in the same postpartum recovery room with the same nurses working as a few days prior which was nice it felt familiar but because of the sleep deprivation, also felt like maybe it was a dream and we’d never really left. (side note: If we were analyzing this story in a high school english class, you’d probably tell me this ‘groundhog day’ feeling would be strong foreshadowing for early days of maternity leave. You would be right.)

After being discharged again, we celebrated the peanut’s 1 week birthday and then welcomed family visitors for the next 4 weeks.

Visitors - First Month // lynnepetre.com

We’ve now had a few weeks with no visitors and have started to get into a little groove; it feels like we might be getting the hang of things a bit. And, truthfully, it helps that our baby has also been a LOT less fussy in recent days, too.

Lynne Birthday Dinner // lynnepetre.com

Maternity leave has been a strange transition – I went from being very busy at work, commuting downtown, seeing lots of people, having a routine, to spending my days mostly solo with an infant and very little free time. Sometimes, it does feel very redundant in what we do but at the same time, this baby is different every single day so it’s also new and fun. I wouldn’t trade this time for anything but it definitely has taken lots of adjusting, patience and resilience.

I am officially halfway through my leave and am excited about the next 2 months with this little guy; I feel like I’ve mostly got my head above water and am getting some life-giving air again. (That’s a little dramatic because we were fortunate enough to have several weeks of visitors and help but regardless, it’s still a major transition that makes it sometimes hard to breathe fully.) We have also recently figured out how to wear the Tula baby carrier which is opening so many new activities to us. Case in point, we went hiking earlier this week! So the next 2 months will be fun. 🙂

Hiking at North Table Mtn, 2 Months Old // lynnepetre.com

Things I Wish ‘Early Pregnant Me’ Did (or: Notes for A Future Pregnant Me)

Pregnancy Must Haves // lynnepetre.com

Coming into this pregnancy, I was pretty clueless about what to expect over the course of these last 8.5 months. I did no pre-reading, no research and had very few close friends who had walked the pregnant walk before me so I was really flying blind.

And when I started to realize all the *stuff* that goes along with pregnancy and babies, I became somewhat indignant about needing to (seemingly) spend gobs of money on specific maternity clothes/things and refused to give into (what I perceived to be) the ‘traditional’ maternity mentality for as long as possible.

However, now, at 38 weeks pregnant, there are some things that I’ve bought recently out of necessity that I wish I would have invested in much earlier on for my own comfort. There are also some things I wish I would have done much sooner in my pregnancy. So this post is a note to Future Me, should we try for another kiddo, to have a more enjoyable experience – and, maybe it can help Future You, too, if you’re newly expecting or hoping to be expecting.

  1. Invest in maternity jeans that fit well and make you feel great. I did not do this and really wish I would have. I squeezed into my non-pregnancy jeans for as long as possible, using a Bellaband and the rubber band extender trick and when my belly (and booty) got too big for those pants, I hunted for maternity jeans at Goodwill. The thought of spending $60-100+ on a pair of jeans that would only be used for a few months seemed outrageous! But now… I know better. The maternity jeans I found at Goodwill fit, but don’t look or make me feel great (but, hey, they cost less than $10 total). Since I’m able to wear jeans to work, I should have invested in 1-2 pairs of maternity jeans that I really felt great in – I would have been physically more comfortable (vs. squeezing into pants that don’t really fit) and would have felt much better about myself.
  2. Same goes for exercise clothes. And PSA: Old Navy has some really affordable activewear options that look cute and fit great.
  3. Exercise – but specifically, keep up with strength training as long as possible! The first half of this pregnancy was constant nausea and puking so exercising regularly (or at all) was really difficult; I often opted out of my 1x a week Orangetheory class in favor of a nap on the couch. While I’m glad I listened to my body, I also wish I would have mustered up some energy early on to keep up with a semi-regular routine that included strength because after the nausea faded, my back and hips started to hurt in ways that I think could have been alleviated if my quads, hamstrings, IT band and back were stronger as my belly grew. I’ve kept as active as possible but once that belly starts to get bigger, it’s harder to stay limber and strong in the same ways.
  4. If possible, swim for exercise. I am not a swimmer. I know how to swim but I am terrible at it. But I tell you what, getting into a lap pool to swim laps is 1) a full body workout and 2) weightless and amazing. I didn’t start swimming until about 30 weeks and will definitely do so much sooner next time (though, I’m not sure I’ll stop, post-pregnancy!). In the same vein as #1, I recommend investing in a larger swimsuit as you feel the old one getting too small. I waited as long as possible which was uncomfortable (<– understatement) for everyone involved.
  5. Prenatal massage (or a prenatal chiropractor) is WORTH IT. My friend, Nancy, gifted me a certificate for a prenatal massage early in my pregnancy and I held off cashing in until just a few weeks ago. HOLY. COW. It changed my world. My hips and back have been sore/tight/painful since about week 25ish and no amount of at-home stretching or prenatal yoga had seemed to help. When I asked my midwife what to do about it, she suggested seeing a chiro who specializes in prenatal techniques, specifically the Webster Method. Of course, I changed jobs soon after and did not prioritize this. But during my prenatal massage, some of the chiro techniques were used and I walked out of the massage feeling like a new woman. I was pain free for multiple days! So next time, I’m either going to the chiro regularly or booking regular prenatal massages, starting on/around 20 weeks. (Also, being able to lay on my stomach…HEAVEN).

2019 One Little Word: Embrace

2019 One Little Word: Embrace

Here we are, the last day of 2018. Most of this year has been preoccupied with figuring out job stuff and figuring out baby stuff. We ‘officially’ found out we were pregnant on Mother’s Day (I had a strong suspicion the week prior, though); before that, I recapped here. What a weird year with unexpected turns that landed us here today. And seems to always be the case, my 2018 word, Intentional, helped guide me through this past year in ways I couldn’t have expected 365 days ago.

As I’ve been thinking about 2019, I’ve settled on Embrace as my word, my mantra. I have very little idea about what’s to come next year but I know I want to embrace all of it. The unknowns and knowns. The friends and family offering help. The ‘what the hell are we supposed to do now?’ feelings. The sleepless nights and crying baby. The returning to work. The struggle and beauty of finding a (momentary) new normal. The wonder of watching our kid learn about the world around him.

While I don’t know what it will look like, I’m certain 2019 will be a year of intense learning, living and loving and my goal is to embrace it ALL. (Including this not-so-patiently waiting for a baby part. Embrace it, Lynne!) 

Intentional Updates: New Jobs! (#OLW2018)

Job Change Bus Ride // lynnepetre.com

As if gearing up for a new family addition wasn’t enough, Alex and I both intentionally changed jobs this fall, within 6 weeks of each other.

While we both targeted our new companies intentionally, I’d say that my timing was much more intentional than his. For me, after 4+ years at Ibotta, I was seeking change, a new challenge. My role and team had shifted in my last few months at the company and while it was an interesting change, it wasn’t the direction I wanted to take my career.

As I was weighing my options, I knew that if I were to change jobs while pregnant, I’d need to be extremely intentional about my next step since I wasn’t sure what to expect from a benefits – and more importantly, maternity leave – perspective. I carefully considered my options throughout the process and decided that starting a new role at 30 weeks pregnant would mean I should expect nothing from a paid maternity leave benefit. This is to say, I would 100% take a maternity leave but that it would be unpaid time off since I would only be at a company for a handful of weeks before the baby. This helped me really focus my search to companies whose mission and work I was really excited about – I didn’t want to take unpaid leave for just any old company and role!

In early November, I walked into my first day at the top company on my short list and into a role that is a great fit for me. My team is customer-focused, newer in it’s product//team lifecycle and staffed with smart, interesting people. It’s a new industry so there’s a ton to learn and a lot of opportunity to do impactful work – both within the company and for our customers. And as icing on the cupcake, I have full access to their (very generous) parental leave policy and have felt so supported as an employee and soon-to-be mom; I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure this is real life! I couldn’t have predicted things would work as they did but man, am I ever grateful they did.

And for Alex, his change was more serendipitous timing but he was similarly extremely targeted in his search/company consideration set. He wasn’t actively looking to change companies but when this new company posted a very similar role to his own, he couldn’t not put his name in the hat – the ‘quality of life’ considerations/benefits were too great to not try. Needless to say, he was offered and accepted the role and started in mid-December; his team functions as a startup within a larger company so there’s a ton of opportunity for him to make significant impact, too. This change is great for our family in a whole host of ways but what I’m enjoying most right now is the fact that we now commute into downtown together on the bus and work mere blocks away so can meet up for lunch or happy hour after work. After years of his 45+ minute commute each way, it’s so nice to have more of my husband back!

As we’ve been reflecting on the year the past several weeks, we couldn’t have anticipated the wealth of change that this year held for us – hilariously, this time last year, we had vowed that 2018 would be the year of ‘settling in’ and ‘less change, less chaos’. Instead, we piled on the big life changes but truly, couldn’t be happier about how it’s all worked out, mere days before 2019 and the imminent arrival of our baby. It feels like this is how it was meant to be and we’re both so excited about the future.

So, dare I say it…here’s to less change in 2019! 🙂

Intentional Updates: We’re Pregnant! (#OLW2018)

Baby Petre! // lynnepetre.com

As a follow up to the previous intentional updates, I can’t not acknowledge probably the biggest news of the year for our little family: I’m pregnant!

I’m now solidly in my 3rd trimester with this baby due mid-January; overall, still feeling good and very excited to meet our kid in a few (short) months.

I picked ‘intentional’ this year partly because we knew this was the year we wanted to start trying to grow our family; our life had calmed down somewhat. We were/are finally living in the same place, at the same time, with no impending significant life changes on the horizon; we live in a house and neighborhood we love, are gainfully employed and just felt *ready*.

And now, we’re here, mere weeks away from meeting our baby which is exciting, and crazy, and amazing, and exhausting, all at the same time. As I type, this little peanut I’m growing is kicking like crazy and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to or get tired of this weird and incredible sensation…even at 2:30a in the morning which seems to be a preferred time to get some exercise. This week, I head back to Cincinnati for a shower our families are throwing us and I’m excited to spend an afternoon with so many women I love in one place who are all gathering to support and celebrate our growing family.

We (obviously) really have no idea what’s in store for us but have been doing our homework, taking birth classes and generally preparing as much as it makes sense to (I hear little infants like to run their own show in the first weeks/months). But overall, we’re feeling really *good* about this impending life change, ready and excited to adjust our lives to bring a new one into it and to figure it all out as a family of 3.

Until then, we’re enjoying these last weeks/months as a party of 2. 🙂

Intentional Updates (#OLW2018)

olw2018

Earlier this year, I set my word for 2018 as INTENTIONAL for a whole host of reasons. After spending the past couple of years just trying to keep my head on straight, I wanted to be more deliberate in how I approached life this year. My focus has been using my time, words and money more intentionally and, like words I’ve selected in past years, it’s been exactly the right word at the right time.

TIME

This year, I gave myself the gift of slowing down. I’ve pared down my extracurricular activities and prioritized the things that bring joy and value to my life. Less time running around, more quality time with family, friends and myself. More time exercising, more time sleeping.

I also quit Facebook this spring which I haven’t regretted for one second. Like most of us, I was spending most of my Facebook time scrolling mindlessly which brought very little value to my life so I downloaded all of my data and deactivated my account. In my post-Facebook days, I have realized that I found out about a lot of events/things to do via Facebook and without it, I know a lot less about what’s happening but right now, I’m okay with that. It means I have to work a little harder to find the cool things to do and I have to be more proactive (ahem, *intentional*) in reaching out directly to friends to coordinate activities.

WORDS

At the outset, I had meant this to mean reaching out to friends and family more regularly and to be more thoughtful about the words I say to myself and others. While certainly unforeseen at the beginning of the year, I found this reminder very helpful during some challenging situations mid-year in which delicate/thoughtful wording and conversations were key. I’ve been working to strike a balance between audience, content and emotion so that I’m communicating the right thing to the right folks at the right time.

MONEY

My primary objective here is to spend my discretionary money more intentionally. Instead of shopping for brand new clothes, could I instead shop for new-to-me clothes at the thrift store, Poshmark or Ebay? And while I’ve bought some brand new things, I’m proud that my of my clothes this year have been upcycled from someone/somewhere else. It also meant really asking myself, do I need that (THING) or do I just want it? Most of the time, I just want it and taking the time to really consider it has helped me see this.

Throughout the year, this goal has grown in scope to include also bringing in money more intentionally. Alex and I have a monthly ‘inventory check in’ (borrowed from THIS podcast episode) and during this, we talk about our short and long term financial goals. Most of our friends know that Alex has an impressive side hustle that inspired me to see what small things I can do to bring in some extra cash to help accelerate progress towards our goals. Through watching dogs on Rover.com and selling clothes/shoes on eBay and Poshmark, I’m bringing in minimum of $150+ extra a month for minimal effort. Not bad!

The other area of intentional focus for me this year has been reducing my environmental impact where possible. I’ve invested in reusable utensils and a metal straw that I keep in my purse to avoid plastic flatware and single-use straws as much as possible. I’ve replaced tin foil on our baking sheets with silicone baking mats, paper coffee filters with a cloth filter, disposable cotton face wipes for reusable cloth face wipes and I try to refill through bulk bin purchases where possible (thank you, Zero Market!). These tiny changes we’ve made have reduced the waste in our house as well as money we spend on single-use items. We’re so far from perfect but I believe these small efforts do make a big impact, holistically (especially if we all made similarly small changes!)

I’ve appreciated the perspective and mindset this word has given me this year and am looking forward to closing out the year with continued deliberate action.

Mid-Year Check In

Sunset // lynnepetre.com

Hi, hello, howdy. It’s been a minute! As we approach mid-year reviews at work, I thought it was appropriate to do the same in my non-work life.

So what’s been going over here in PetreLand in 2017? Let’s see…

…I cut a bunch of hair off for my birthday. New ‘do for 32!

Birthday haircut // lynnepetre.com

…we took a French vacation for the second year in a row (and celebrated Alex’s birthday while we were there).

Paris trip 2018 // lynnepetre.com

…spent some time outdoors with a little brother who isn’t so little anymore.

Hiking with Q // lynnepetre.com

…celebrated my youngest sister’s high school graduation (WHAT?!)

Graduation 2018 // lynnepetre.com

…and totaled my mom’s car immediately after the ceremony, short hours before our family hosted a massive graduation party at my mom’s house (sorry, Mom!). Thankfully, no injuries!

Car Accident // lynnepetre.com

…I sang and danced with my long-distance bestie and Taylor Swift over Memorial Day weekend.

Taylor Swift at Mile High // lynnepetre.com

…we broke out our tent for the first time this season for some good ol’ fashioned car camping.

Car camping // lynnepetre.com

And that brings us about up to speed! I’m really bad at snapping photos these days but, whatever. Ya only get one life and I’d rather live mine mostly away from my phone screen.

Overall, the first half of this year has felt really GOOD. Settled. For the first time in a long time – years! – it feels great to be in lock-step with my husband, aligned on our goals, sharing a schedule and a home. I’m excited about this summer season in life – we have plans for family to visit us, for us to visit family, to spend weekends in the mountains, to slow down and savor the moment as much as possible.

I hope your mid-year review turns up several happy memories as you reflect back and start looking ahead to the next several months of 2018.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women’s Plaza Vest + Pentane Tights (#ORInsightLab)

Outdoor Research Winter 2018 Review // lynnepetre.com

This winter has been a strange one in Denver – it’s felt more like spring with mild temps and little snow. So our decision to not get a ski pass this year has felt like the right one with the sporadic snowfalls. Knowing we wouldn’t be spending much/any time skiing this season, I opted to test out the Outdoor Research Plaza Vest + Outdoor Research Pentane Tights to take along on snowshoe/hikes, bike rides, runs and urban adventures.

OUTDOOR RESEARCH WOMEN’S PLAZA VEST

Outdoor Research Winter 2018 Review // lynnepetre.com

Outdoor Research Winter 2018 Review // lynnepetre.com

Outdoor Research Winter 2018 Review // lynnepetre.com

I’ve really appreciated this vest through this mild winter. I don’t need much more than a long sleeve shirt, liner gloves and this vest to keep warm. The front and back are insulated with 700 fill down and side panels are a stretchy, breathable fabric so it keeps me snug and happy but not overheating when moving. Both hip pockets include zippers which I love so I don’t loose snack wrappers on a hike or keys while running in the city. There’s an interior zip pocket on the chest and 2 non-zipper, deep interior pockets for even more storage. From a snowy trail to a chilly Seattle bike ride, this vest gets 2 thumbs up.

OUTDOOR RESEARCH WOMEN’S PENTANE TIGHTS

Outdoor Research Winter 2018 Review // lynnepetre.com

Outdoor Research Winter 2018 Review // lynnepetre.com

What drew me to these tights was the reflective pattern printed on the fabric (which is hard to photograph in light or dark!) since it most of my weekday runs are dark after work. These tights are stretchy and breathable, super comfortable and warm to exercise or hike in. The waistband is a softer fabric, rather than stretchy, so can sometimes get a little loose but the drawstring helps keep things in place. They’re a bit short on me (not sure if it’s because I’m a giant or it’s the intended fit) so these hit me at/slightly above my ankle so I tend to pull these out on non-wet/snowy runs. Overall, solid pair of hi-vis running tights.

What I love about both of these items is that they’ll transcend seasons – both will be great for spring running, summer backpacking/hiking and fall camping. They’re lightweight and warm, easy to pack in a backpack or suitcase so you’re ready for adventure as (and when!) you get where you’re going. And great for keeping warm while biking to wineries with friends. 🙂

Outdoor Research Winter 2018 Review // lynnepetre.com

Whole30, Round 2

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In the vein of being more intentional in 2018, I decided to embark on another round of Whole30 this January. For those new to Whole30, it’s a 30 day stint of clean eating – no processed food, no dairy, no gluten, no added sugar, no alcohol. The goal is to focus on healthy, whole foods in an effort to curb a sweet tooth, reevaluate food relationships, and/or overall, be more mindful of what and how you’re consuming food.

I tried the Whole30 once before and I stopped after 19 days. At the time, I was working from home so found that the focus on not eating out and no drinking was too challenging on my (limited) social life so I prioritized my mental and emotional well being over completing an arbitrary 30 day goal and called it quits early.

This time, though, in a better frame of mind. I (mostly) did it!

I went into this exercise to focus on making healthier decisions vs. curbing sweets or wanting to break bad food habits. My workdays generally consist of me running around most days so I often opt for quick, on-the-go foods or a carry out lunch because I didn’t plan ahead. I know I can – and I want to – make healthier choices with a bit of forethought which Whole30 forced me to do.

whole30-5 // lynnepetre.com

In the first 2 weeks, I groaned about meal planning and packing my lunch every night, constantly cleaning tupperware and dishes, but it soon became the norm. I’ve also chosen to majorly slow down in my personal life which made it easier to feel less stressed about the additional prep/cleanup I was doing since I’m not running to/from various activities all the time.

 

whole30-4

I researched dinners I liked that Alex could modify for himself (add cheese, pasta, hamburger bun, etc) and learned to make enough at dinner to bring for several weekday lunches. I had a hot/cold/warm relationship with eggs (so many eggggggs!) and am still obsessed with my go-to salad (chopped romaine, shredded cabbage, chopped veggies, avocado, protein). Sometimes I add O/V for dressing but mostly, I eat a dressing-less salad these days. What?!

whole30-2

I found that making a sheet-tray or two of veggies makes a great carby addition to a meal (sometimes I add to my above salad) and that I really didn’t miss much. Okay, I missed the taste of wine and I certainly missed the convenience of grabbing a quick snack when I came home from work and we hadn’t yet gone to the store but found workarounds. I stuck to my no-alcohol rule at my company holiday party – and no one gave me a hard time! – which felt awesome.

Overall thoughts? (Wrap it up, Petre!) During the month, I slept better, felt extremely hydrated, had efficient and strong workouts, got a complement on my glowing skin (literally, first time ever – my skin is generally unremarkable) and overall felt more pep in my step. I lost ~8lbs of water weight? bloat? Who knows but my clothes fit better and I just feel *good*.

I 100% see the value and encourage you to look into it if you’re curious about making more intentional choices in your diet, too. I won’t be adhering super strictly to whole30 forever but do plan to keep an 80/20 effort – 80% of the time minimizing/eliminating dairy and gluten from my diet and 20% of the time enjoying a glass of wine, pizza with friends, a Christmas cookie (thanks Dad! Finally broke into ’em this week).

(Closing out as I finish the last sip of a tasty glass of wine. Cheers to you!)