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Days 15 through 30 and Reintroduction

Sorry this has taken me so long to write.  I started a new job and life became very busy and active.  The results are in and it’s a mixed bag of good and bad.  First, let’s recap the last days of my Whole30.

I completely stopped eating nuts of all kinds and my face finally cleared up again.  I did have one more large blemish but I think that was hormonal, not chemical.  I do hope I can go back to eating nuts again post-Whole30 because I love them.  I am also happy to report that my digestive distress finally cleared up completely during the last 2 weeks.  Both of these are very good things.

According to the book, the “Tiger Blood” phase was supposed to kick in during the third or fourth of the Whole30.  This is when people get very high levels of energy and often beat personal bests in sports and at the gym.  That was one of the benefits I was hoping to receive.  Sadly, I did not get this benefit.  I also did not get the benefit of better sleep.  Both of these things were big reasons for trying this and I am disappointed that I didn’t get either of them.

On the other hand, while I didn’t get an increase in energy, my energy levels did even out and I stopped “hitting the wall” in the mid-afternoon.  My hunger signals also changed from being ravenous, shaky and light-headed to just slightly light-headed.  In fact, my stomach hardly ever growled during the entire 30 days.

The best part is I lost 10 pounds!  I also reduced my measurements on nearly every part of my body except my arms.  Not surprisingly, my abdomen had the greatest reduction in size.  I lost 2.25 inches from my upper abdomen and 2.5 inches from my lower abdomen.  My BMI went down 1.5 points, too.  I am at the lowest weight I have been in 13 years.  I am thrilled about that!

Even with the weight loss and measurement improvements, I am not sure I would ever do an entire Whole30 again.  I have read comments from participants online and in the book who say they could eat this way forever.  I am not one of those people.  The authors of the book make it a point to say that the Whole30 is not hard…cancer is hard.  Well, when you put dietary changes in the same category as fighting cancer then I have to admit, the diet isn’t hard.  However, when you put the Whole30 in the category it belongs in…with other diets, not diseases… it IS hard.  At least it was hard for me.  I missed things like whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat English muffins with almond butter, and steel-cut oats.  I also really missed cream in my coffee, although I think I could drink it with just cream and leave out the sugar-laden flavored creamer now.

In fact, the first day of reintroduction was Dairy and you guessed it…I had CREAMER in my COFFEE!  It was heavenly, to say the least! 🙂  During reintroduction you add back one of the food groups that you have eliminated, while keeping the rest of your diet Whole30 compliant.  I had some dairy with Meals 1, 2 and 3 that day and then I waited 2 days to see what would happen.  The next group was wheat (or gluten).  After 2 days I added non-gluten grains and then 2 days later I added legumes.  I am happy to report that the only “side-effect” I received from adding Dairy and non-gluten grains was a little bit  of gas an hour or so after eating it.  The other groups, including legumes, did not give me any side-effects at all.

All in all, I am glad I did the Whole30.  I needed to clean up my diet and get things back on track.  I also needed to stop eating carbs (aside from natural carbs found in veggies) with my evening meal and stop eating 2 hours before bedtime.  I had allowed too many unhealthy foods and habits to creep back into my diet and doing the Whole30 helped me eliminate them.

If you are looking for a way to thoroughly clean up your diet and make some drastic changes to the way you eat, I would recommend trying it.  But be prepared for it to challenge you in ways you have never been challenged before.  If I had done this before making the changes I did 3 years ago, I’m not sure I would have been able to endure it.  I have a lot of respect for those who start a Whole30 from a diet that contains mostly processed foods.  It would take a tremendous amount of perseverance for that.

Mission Accomplished

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The summer has gone by quickly and my challenge has ended. At the beginning I stated my goal as follows:

My challenge is to be in the gym every morning before work Monday through Friday. The only reason I won’t be in the gym is if I’m too sick to be there. Otherwise, no excuses. My goal is to gain more muscle mass, shed more fat and reduce my BMI.

I was in the gym every, single morning this summer except for when I traveled for and was on my vacation. While I battled a couple of “bugs,” none of them were ever bad enough to keep me out of the gym. I did gain more muscle and shed fat. I also reduced my BMI. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

I’m glad I said early on that I wasn’t going to focus on the number on the scale or set a specific weight goal for myself. Even without that goal, I was frustrated numerous times by the scale. I worked harder in this last week than I ever have in the gym and the scale didn’t budge. I weighed in this morning at 166 lbs. That has been my weight for the last 2 weeks…even during the week of crazy hormones.

But the rubber met the road when I measured. There were a couple of areas that didn’t change much or actually got slightly larger. Where I found the biggest improvement was in my abdomen. I lost 4 inches around the lower part of my waist. I lost nearly an inch in the upper part. You’d have to see my abdomen to understand the size differences (and no, I’m not posting pics of that…sorry) between my “upper” waist where the curves are and my “lower” waist where my belly button is (and where the waist in the style of today’s jeans sits). I can visually see the difference in my abs since before I started. That alone was reward for all the hard work I put in this summer.

Here are my final stats as measured this morning and compared to June 3:

September 2, 2012                                                    June 3, 2012

Weight: 166 Lbs                                                          168 lbs

BMI: 26.8                                                                       27.1

Upper Arms: L 11 5/8 R 11 1/2                             L 12 1/4 R 12 1/4

Forearms: L 9 7/8 R 9 7/8                                     L 9 7/8 R 9 5/8

Chest: 34 7/8                                                               35 6/8

Waist: (lower) 32 (upper) 30 7/8                       (lower) 36 (upper) 31 3/4

Hips: 42 7/8                                                                 43 7/8

Thighs: L 24 3/8 R 24 7/8                                      L 24 3/4 R 24 3/4

Knees: L 16 1/4 R 16 1/8                                         L 16 R 16 1/2

Calves: L 15 3/8 R 15 5/8                                       L 15 1/2 R 15 1/2

I want to thank God for helping me do this. I talked to Him a lot in the gym and throughout this journey. I am so grateful to have the Lord in my life, not just for times like this but always…no matter the circumstance…no matter the significance…He is my Rock and my Salvation every single day of my life and without Him I can do nothing.

Next I want to thank my friends and my family whose support and encouragement have meant the world to me. I love you all. Thank you to those of you who have told me you’ve read my blog. It is always humbling…and a little embarrassing…to know you’ve read it because I’ve been pretty detailed and honest in the things I’ve talked about here. But the support you give me in telling me you read it is something so wonderful. You will never know how very much it has meant to me.

Finally, I want to thank my readers & subscribers. I don’t know who most of you are but your numbers show up in my stats on WordPress so I know my blog is being read by others. The kind comments and encouragement I have received from total strangers is so amazing to me. Knowing that you are even interested in what this average woman in her 40’s decided to do with her summer is overwhelming. Thank you for your interest.

I haven’t decided what to do with my blog now that my summer challenge is over. My journey certainly hasn’t ended. I will still be in the gym every week but not with the intensity I was this summer. I will be “striving for fitness” for the rest of my life. I may continue to use this blog to document my ongoing journey.

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Stats Update 2.0

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I’m up 4 lbs from my last weigh-in 2 weeks ago. I’m not surprised by that. In the last week I went on vacation for a few days and for the most part, so did my diet. I allowed myself to eat junk that I don’t normally eat. I still exercised on the days I would normally (Mon & Tues) and even did some activities on my “off” days, but it wasn’t at my normal level. I mentioned in my previous post that I was worried about today’s update because I could tell that I hadn’t lost any weight.

What I am surprised by is my measurements. I’m up in nearly every category.

Here’s how my current measurements compare to last month:

Sunday, July 1, 2012 (4 wks)                     Sunday, August 5, 2012 (9wks)

BMI: 26.8                                                           BMI: 27.4

Weight: 166 lbs                                                Weight: 170

Upper Arms: R: 11 5/8″ L: 11 6/8″           Upper Arms: R: 11 6/8″ L: 11 7/8″

Fore Arms: R: 9 5/8″ L: 9 7/8″                  Fore Arms: R: 9 5/8″ L: 9 6/8″

Chest: 35.5″                                                       Chest: 35 1/4″

Waist: 31.5″ (upper) 33 6/8″ (lower)       Waist: 31 3/8″ (upper) 33 5/8″ (lower)

Hips: 43″                                                              Hips: 43 3/8″

Thighs: R: 24″ L: 24.25                                  Thighs: R: 24 7/8″ L: 24 6/8″

Knees: R: 16.5″ L: 16.25″                               Knees: R: 16 1/2″ L: 16 1/2″

Calves: R: 15″ L: 15.25″                                  Calves: R: 16″ L: 15 3/4″

Could some of these increases be muscle? Possibly. The increase in my upper arms and calves could be muscle. I suppose the increase in my thigh measurement could also be muscle. I did get into a smaller size of jeans this month (pictured below) so I know there have been improvements in my body composition but my BMI number doesn’t show that because my weight went up.

I’m glad I am starting a new routine tomorrow but I wish I felt stronger going into it. I am STILL having trouble with my glutes (especially the right side) after the workout I did with my sister a week ago tomorrow. I am starting to think I’ve irritated a nerve or something because the pain seems to come and go. I really hope it is better tomorrow morning.

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Week 6

This week marks the midway point of my summer workout challenge.  Time sure is flying by!  I really feel like I have to make the most of these next 6 weeks.  I am trying to remind myself that this isn’t about the number on the scale but after last week’s diet disaster, it’s hard not to focus on that.  I didn’t set a particular BMI goal level…only to reduce it.  If I’m honest with myself I have to admit that what I really want is to be out of the “over weight” category…which will require a 16 lb weight loss.  But do I want to focus on that?  I know from past experience that if I get fixated on a number on the scale I will not be able to enjoy the progress I do make if I don’t make that one goal.  I don’t want to do that to myself.  So what is the answer?

MONDAY:  Today was chest, shoulders and triceps day.  There was nothing really remarkable to speak of during my workout except the gym seemed crowded this morning with 2 other people there besides me.  I’ve gotten used to having the place all to myself this early in the morning.  I also had a little bit of an issue with my left shoulder but nothing that made me think I should alter my workout in any way.  Aside from that, it was fine.  My mood and hormones, however, were NOT.  I can’t wait for the next couple of days to pass so I can get back to feeling more like myself again.  Sometimes it really stinks to be female.

I still have no food in the house so finding a good lunch & dinner today is job #1.  I am going grocery shopping tonight so tomorrow will be a better nutrition day.

TUESDAY:  I can already feel the hormone fog beginning to lift.  It is amazing what hormones can do to how I feel, think and act.  I am beginning to get a better perspective on what happened last week and how to move forward from here.  It also helps to have a new supply of food in the house to make better choices with.

I did my first 45 minute cardio workout on the treadmill this morning.  It has been several weeks since I completed an entire workout on the treadmill.  I forgot how hard it is.  It amazes me that I can get so breathless and feel so exhausted by the end and I only burned 3 more calories than I do on the elliptical for the same period of time.  That just seems patently unfair, doesn’t it?  I did go a slightly shorter distance but really it’s basically all the same.  Several times I wanted to give up and only go 30 minutes.  But instead of doing that I backed my speed down a little bit from 7.0 running to 6.5 running for about 4 or 5 intervals.  I also added about 7 seconds to when I switched from walking to running.  That seemed to help.  At the very least, it allowed me to finish my full workout and not succumb to the difficulty.

I noticed some pretty major tenderness in my upper left back today.  I had some shoulder difficulty on the left side on Monday so I wonder if it’s connected.  It actually itches it’s so sore and it feels like I got hit with something and there’s a bruise back there.

WEDNESDAY:  Today was lower body.  Again, nothing remarkable to speak of regarding my workout.  The tenderness in my upper left back is still there but better than yesterday.  I also feel like I’m walking funny today and I wonder if it has anything to do with yesterday’s treadmill workout.  My right foot feels “off.”  I can’t put my finger on the problem.  It just feels like it doesn’t want to work right and I’m slapping it down on the floor when I walk.  It doesn’t hurt but I’m definitely walking funny.  Hmmmmm…….Maybe it’s my shoe.  I have a pair of Birkenstocks I’ve had for about 6 or 7 years.  I LOVE them!  I know my feet are smaller (or rather thinner) than they used to be.  I have adjusted the straps.  Maybe I need to adjust them again.  I have one hole left!

THURSDAY:  I decided this morning to split my cardio workout between the elliptical and the treadmill.  I did the first 25 minutes on the elliptical which was pretty uneventful.  I stuck to the 15 minute mile pace (or slightly under).  When I switched to the treadmill, however, I encountered problems.  First, my left ankle felt like it needed to crack and I couldn’t get it to.  I even got off the treadmill for a minute to stretch and still nothing.  The sensation made me feel like my footing wasn’t sure.  In addition, my right foot was still flapping away on the treadmill whether I was walking or running.  I did 2 running intervals and decided that was enough.  I walked the rest at a 3.5 pace (approx. 16 min. mile).  I still managed to burn a total of 345 calories between the 2 machines but I was unimpressed with my treadmill performance.  It was during this ordeal that I realized my foot flopping issue has nothing to do with my Birkenstock shoes (I wasn’t even wearing them!) and EVERYTHING to do with my rapidly tightening right hamstring muscle.  My leg doesn’t want to fully extend which causes my foot to “flop” about mid-stride.  I guess I need to spend some time doing hamstring stretches tonight.

FRIDAY:  I am always glad to get to this point in the week.  Workouts on Friday are much more motivational because I know I get 2 days of blissful rest after this.  🙂 Today’s workout went pretty well.  I didn’t slack and I tried a new bicep exercise my nephew suggested.  It’s called a French Curl.  You use a barbell with lighter weight than you would use for a traditional bicep curl and place your hands on the bar palms down.  I can already feel some soreness in my arms because I worked muscles that rarely get used.  I love trying new things and seeing/feeling the results afterward.

I also want to give a shout out to my friend, MHH from Sustainable Health and Fitness (http://sustainablehf.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/the-journey/) for helping me with my wretched hamstring muscle.  She reminded me how to stretch it and I spent about 20 minutes rolling around my living room floor and putting my feet on furniture trying to stretch that sucker back into the proper size.  I felt like my leg was slowly shrinking on me!  It is MUCH better today and I am grateful.  So, thanks, MHH!  I love you to pieces!  xoxo

I asked at the beginning of this post what the answer was to my dilemma with the scale.  The answer is proper perspective.  I have to regain the perspective I had at the beginning of this.  I know I am making positive progress because I can feel it in my body and others have commented on it.  Forward motion…no matter how small…is the goal.  Progress….baby steps in the right direction.  Any weight lost will result in a lower BMI which is what I want.  I might not get out of the overweight category this summer and that’s OK.  That doesn’t mean I won’t eventually and when this challenge is over, it gives me something to continue to strive for.

Stats Update 1.0

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I must admit, I was pretty apprehensive about doing this today. After having the “getting skinny” feeling and then seeing my weight swing up 3 lbs I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I am happy to say I’m relieved and excited about my measurements. In fact, I had to go back and double-check a couple of them. I re-measured my knees because there was an increase in my left knee and my lower waist because the reduction was so big.

Taking into consideration that it’s hard to measure the exact same spot every time, I think I did pretty well. I measure my upper waist in the middle of where the curve starts and my lower waist just above my bellybutton. For knees, I measured the fat above my knee. For calves, I measured the top part to include a pocket of fat I have just below my knee. For my thighs, I measured the top part that has the most fat (that area that always seems to touch). For my chest, I measured the upper part just under my armpits because there is an area of fat there that I want to get rid of. For everything else, I measured the largest area.

Sunday, June 3, 2012                                   Sunday, July 1, 2012 (4 wks)

BMI: 27.1                                                           BMI: 26.8

Weight: 168 lbs                                                Weight: 166 lbs

Upper Arms: R: 12 1/4” L: 12 1/4”         Upper Arms: R: 11 5/8″ L: 11 6/8″

Fore Arms: R: 9 5/8” L: 9 7/8”                Fore Arms: R: 9 5/8″ L: 9 7/8″

Chest: 35 6/8”                                                 Chest: 35.5

Waist: 31 6/8” (upper) 36” (lower)        Waist: 31.5″ (upper) 33 6/8″ (lower)

Hips: 43 7/8”                                                   Hips: 43″

Thighs: R: 24 6/8” L: 24 6/8”                   Thighs: R: 24″ L: 24.25

Knees: R: 16 1/2” L: 16”                              Knees: R: 16.5″ L: 16.25″

Calves: R: 15 1/2” L: 15 1/2”                    Calves: R: 15″ L: 15.25″

As you can see, I went down or stayed the same in every area except my left knee. For some inexplicable reason, I went up 1/4 inch there.

I hope the next 8 weeks go as well or better than the first 4 have.  The pictures below don’t show that much of a physical difference (except the current one is blurry and I smiled at the advice of my sister…haha!) but by measurement, there is a difference.

Me on June 3, 2012

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