Monthly Archives: April 2013

Days 4 through 7

Food cravings have begun where food dreams have left off. The desire for sweets has remained about the same but cravings for dairy have kicked in. I especially miss cheese and sauces that are sour cream and/or mayonnaise-based (tartar and dill sauce specifically). There is a recipe for tartar sauce in It Starts With Food (ISWF) but it contains eggs. I am allergic to eggs and since I am supposed to avoid all things inflammatory, I can’t even have small amounts of egg for the entire 30 days.

Day 5 was the first time I had to be out of the house during a meal time so I was faced with my first challenge. I had to eat Meal 2 (lunch) at work (remember, I am supposed to be thinking in terms of meal numbers, not breakfast, lunch and dinner).  I packed left-overs from the previous night’s Meal 3 (dinner – Tarragon Cream Chicken with roasted veggies…YUM!) and some chopped macadamia nuts with white raisins in case I needed a little “help” between meals. As it turned out, I did need some help because I ate Meal 1 ( breakfast) at 6:30 AM in order to get out of the house on time. I ate half of my nut/raisin combo before Meal 2. Then, I needed help again before Meal 3 (because I ate Meal 2 at 11:15 AM) so I ate the other half. In the interest of avoiding TMI (too much information), let’s just say I think I overdid it on the macadamias and raisins. My stomach did NOT agree with the excessiveness of this snack choice and rebelled in a big way. I won’t make that mistake again. Lesson learned!

Day 6 brought my first opportunity to eat out in a restaurant. I didn’t find the link to the Whole30 Dining Guide http://whole9life.com/book/ISWF-Dining-Guide.pdf before my excursion so I went into it a bit blind. I was quite stressed over the situation because I didn’t want to have any slip ups. My family and I ended up eating at a steakhouse chain restaurant where I knew I could at least find baked sweet potatoes. I ended up ordering from their “healthy” menu and had a plain baked sweet potato (which was HUGE…I brought half of it home with me) grilled salmon with lemon pepper seasoning (no sauce, butter or oil) and steamed broccoli. I was even able to persevere while my family had some of the yummiest yeast rolls you will ever taste. I would call that first time eating out a success!

Day 7 brings me back to the grocery store and another round of prep for next week. My stomach is still a little “off” from Day 5’s over-indulgence but it doesn’t hurt any more. I hope this gets a little easier by the end of next week. If that “fat burner” switch flips, I know my energy will improve.

Here is a photo of Meal 1 on Day 6. It is 10-Minute Chili. YUM!

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First 3 Days

Before I begin, I have to make a small public service announcement. My last post had some good and bad information. That’s what I get for posting in my blog before I finished the book! 😉 The good info is Whole30 is designed to help you find the way of eating that is right for YOUR body. The bad info is that Whole30 is a diet. While the very strict segment of it IS meant to be temporary (like a diet), the writers of It Starts With Food hope Whole30 participants will choose to eat this way for the rest of their lives (like a lifestyle).

The premise is to eliminate all foods that can cause systemic inflammation. The foods being eliminated are grains (all types), dairy, sugar and sugar substitutes, legumes and alcohol. Your diet will consist of meats (poultry, beef, chicken, fish), eggs, fruits and veggies, and some nuts and seeds. There is a reintroduction period at the end of the 30 days (or 45, 60, 90 days or longer depending on the individual) where you slowly add the eliminated foods back into your diet. By paying attention to how your body reacts in the reintroduction phase, you will discover the foods that cause inflammation in your body and you will know to avoid them completely or eat them only occasionally going forward. That is where the lifestyle phase kicks in and you continue to eat the optimal diet for you for the rest of your life…hopefully 🙂

My Whole30 started on Sunday. I did some prep work on Saturday afternoon but wasn’t able to do quite as much as I would have liked due to limited time. I made some vinaigrette dressing and some pesto. I also browned 2 lbs of ground pork, 2 lbs of ground beef and 1 lb of ground turkey. On Day 3, I am starting to grow a little weary of all the ground meat so today I had Moroccan Fish with cauliflower rice and tomatoes for breakfast and salmon cakes with a large salad and vinaigrette for lunch. I am looking forward to experimenting more with different recipes I find online when I have the time and I get more adapted to this way of eating. Cauliflower rice is something I found online and it is really great.

In Chapter 18 of It Starts With Food, the authors tell you what you can expect as the weeks progress. In week one it says you can experience “withdrawal” symptoms like headaches, lethargy and crankiness (aka “carb flu”) as your body adjusts to not having carbs (or sugar) as a fuel source. I haven’t really been cranky but I have felt drained of energy and find it difficult to do simple things like walking up and down the stairs without being winded. I also had a headache yesterday afternoon and I’m beginning to get another one. But I know this is temporary and very soon my body will become fat adapted (burn FAT for fuel) and I will have more stable energy levels and even some extra energy. I am looking forward to that!

Apparently, people also have some pretty vivid food dreams during this first week. I have had dreams containing food every night so far but nothing too vivid. I am finding that I want sweets but I wouldn’t say it’s an overwhelming craving at this point. I do miss hazelnut creamer in my coffee though. I have been using coconut milk instead. It’s better than drinking it black but it is a far cry from sweetened, flavored creamer.

I took some measurements on Sunday and was not surprised to see that I had gained inches. My waist was probably the most astounding. At my best fitness level back in September I had a 32 inch waist below my belly button. On Sunday, I measured 42 3/4!! No wonder my jeans and skirts are so tight!! I have only gained 6 lbs though which is interesting (from 166 in Sept to 172 on Sunday). I am attributing the difference in size to bloat and inflammation as well as fat accumulation.

During the Whole30 I am not supposed to weigh or measure again until the end of the 30 days so I will update you on my stats again at that time. Until then, I will continue to write about my experiences along the way.

It really DOES start with food

When last I wrote in January I was beginning to experiment with a new running program formerly known as Couch to 5K (now known as Ease into 5K). I found the program interesting and for a while I did OK with it. Then in early December, I took a deep breath, looked at all the holiday events coming up during the month and decided to just leave the gym alone for a while. Trying to force the issue and “just go” after work when it was late at night and I was way too tired only served to make me miserable and guilty. So for the month of December I was persona non grata in the gym.

Even though I was trying from September until December to at least run on the treadmill, it wasn’t enough to maintain the fitness level I had attained over the previous 15 months. While the scale wasn’t moving much my body composition changed A LOT! I lost my muscle tone and my jeans became uncomfortably tight. I am a walking example of what our trainers tell us all the time about the number on the scale. Skinny-fat is the real deal, people! I’m still a size 14 but it is a very different feeling/fitting size 14 (or 12 depending on the jeans) than the one I had back in August and it’s getting worse.

In January, I put an end to all the slacking and finally…FINALLY…went back to the gym and ventured into the weight room for the first time in 3 months. It wasn’t quite the fish-out-of-water feeling but it was close. Not wanting to over-do, I only did 2 sets of 12 reps for the 3 muscle groups I chose to work (chest, shoulders, tris). The most sobering aspect of it all was how low I had to go on the weights. I basically had to start all over again at square one.

I went with less sets and lighter weights because I didn’t want to be immobile the next day. I know that was a good move because I’m old and I didn’t want to risk injury right out of the gate. 🙂 But seriously, it was sobering and even a little humiliating to realize how far I had fallen in 4 months. It took me 15 months to get where I was previously and only 1/3 of that time to lose it all.

I also decided to start all over at Week 1 Day 1 with the 5K running program. It felt pretty easy starting there but just like the weights, I didn’t want to over-do after not running at all for a month and I also didn’t want to discourage myself by trying to pick up where I left off and not be able to do it. I felt it was best to give myself the opportunity to work out and finish strong.

I wish I could say that since January I have progressed steadily along and have made it back to my former weight levels but I can’t. While I have made some advances, I continue to struggle with wanting to be in the gym. Even the Couch 2 5K program isn’t motivating for me. I can’t put my finger on it. I seriously do NOT understand it. The passion for it is just gone.

One thing I am finding a renewed passion for, however, is eating healthy. Both diet and exercise are important for good health but about 80% of the battle is diet. Fueling my renewed interest is a book I recently learned about called It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig. I am about 2/3 of the way through the book and I am fascinated by the improved health possibilities offered by following their diet regimen called Whole30. Whole30 is designed to be a temporary change in dietary habits (for 30 days) in order to reset your hormonal and digestive health. However, sometimes people stick with it for longer than 30 days because they get such amazing results from following it. I’m not just talking about weight loss either. Their testimonials chronicle reduced or eliminated symptoms from things like chronic fatigue, migraines, Chrohn’s Disease, depression, fibromyalgia, ADHD, MS and so many more.

I think what I’m learning is having muscles and a tight physique are not a big enough motivator for me to make changes in my life in order to obtain them. Neither is trying to gain enough stamina to run a 5K. What got me interested in fitness in the first place was being 42 years old and in the worst health of my life. I felt 82, not 42, and I wanted to have a life. So I made drastic changes to my DIET, and the resulting renewed energy lead me to want to be more fit, too. It was how I FELT physically, not how I LOOKED physically that was my driving motivation.

That being the case I have made a decision to improve how I feel once again. On April 21st I am going to start my first Whole30. I am apprehensive and excited because I know from prior experience with the Master Your Metabolism way of eating that this will be difficult. But I also know from that experience that the results will be WORTH IT and I will FEEL BETTER.

I’ll be honest…I’m waiting till the 21st because I am going to a party on the 20th and the person throwing it is a great cook. 🙂 I want to be able to indulge in all that will be offered and not have to abstain because of my new diet. And this will be more of a “diet” than Master Your Metabolism is. The Whole30 is meant to be temporary. It is designed to help you find what is the optimal way of eating for YOU and it is NOT about weight loss like so many “diets” are. It is about feeling better and achieving optimal health.

Since my blog was such a huge help in keeping me on track and accountable when I did my summer fitness challenge last year, I thought I would use it again to do the same thing during my Whole30. I will be posting statistics again but probably not in the same “no holds barred” fashion I did before. I will also be posting pics but not pics of me. I’ll be posting pics of yummy food instead 🙂

I hope you will come along for the ride to offer your comments and encouragement along the way. I hope during the process or at the end I will find myself wanting to get into the gym regularly again. I also hope that this will inspire others to do the same thing and maybe even take this challenge along with me.

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