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.
Ok…remember when I said I overdid it on Day 5 with the macadamia nuts and raisins? Well, it turns out my stomach problems didn’t have anything to do with what I ate that day at all. In fact, the problem persisted and got worse on Day 10 and I hadn’t even so much as sniffed a macadamia or a raisin.
I posted a question about it on the Whole30 Facebook page and then I remembered something I had read in It Starts With Food. In Chapter 18 there is a timeline that gives you an idea of what to expect (I think I mentioned this in a previous post). On days 8 through 14 people often have digestive distress. The book explains that the distress is happening because my intestinal lining is healing and during this time some gut bacteria die off and the protective layer that has formed as a result of all the inflammatory foods I’ve been eating begins to leave. I am very glad to know that while this has not been a pleasant experience, it is a good sign that my gut is beginning to heal. Who knew digestive distress could ever be a good thing?
This week I began to experiment a little bit with some other Whole30-friendly recipes because I’m already getting tired of the ground beef, turkey and pork. I did some searching on a Pinterest board from a blogger called ChowStalker. I found lots of great-looking recipes on there and decided to try one called Slow Simmered Spaghetti Sauce http://chowstalker.com/2013/01/slow-simmered-spaghetti-sauce/. My only complaint was that the recipe wasn’t specific about the size of the cans of tomatoes to use. I put in 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes and that did not look like near enough. So I added 2 more thinking perhaps the recipe really called for 2 28 oz cans of tomatoes. However, after it fully cooked it had way too much fluid in it so I’m thinking it probably was 2 of the smaller cans. Even with the extra tomatoes, it was still very tasty. I would make it again but probably not with so many tomatoes.
I was also inspired by another recipe for shrimp that I found on Chowstalker and I decided to make some alterations to it and had it for Meal 3 on Day 8. I sauteed the shrimp in clarified butter with salt, pepper and paprika. Then I added a clove of crushed garlic near the end. The shrimp was starting to stick a little bit so I used a small amount of chicken broth to deglaze the pan just before I took the shrimp out. All I can say is YUM! I don’t usually do very well with food experimentation but I have to say this one was really, really good. In fact, it was so good, I made it again for Meal 3 on Day 10 and added scallops to it. I didn’t end up needing to deglaze the pan this time so I didn’t use any chicken broth. It was still fantastic. My daughter said she would eat it again so I know it really was good 🙂
During the first week I made the recipe for Classic Pantry Vinaigrette dressing in the book. It was ok but it didn’t really do anything for me. I also didn’t care for all the fresh parsley in it. This week I decided to do an online search and I found a recipe on Food.com that didn’t call for any sugar http://www.food.com/recipe/garlic-red-wine-vinegar-salad-dressing-37183 . This one tasted better to me and was very easy to make. I will likely continue to make it for the rest of my Whole30.
I definitely feel like I have more energy this week. I haven’t been feeling extreme fatigue at small exertions like last week. I have been able to get through the day without hitting the wall around 2 or 3 PM. I am very encouraged by that. It gives me motivation to keep going. I am also starting to notice that my clothes are fitting better, especially around my abdomen which is a HUGE encouragement 🙂 I can also visibly see a difference in that area but I am attributing most of that to the reduction of inflammation as opposed to fat loss at this point.
Sunday will mark the half-way point. In a way it seems like it went by really fast but in another way I can’t wait for it to be over. I have been without a full-time job since early February and today I had my very first face-to-face interview and I was offered the job. I am very happy and excited about this change of events and I would have loved to have a celebratory dinner with a decadent dessert but that will have to wait a bit longer.
This also means I will have to be much more diligent in my prep work and shopping because I will have to make sure I bring enough food with me to get me through the work day. I can already feel the added stress this will cause but I am not going to quit in the middle of my Whole30. One way or another I will make it work. I want the best results I can possibly achieve. There’s no turning back.
Here is a picture of the shrimp and scallops:
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!
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.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Weight: 166 lbs.
Aaahhh…progress! I am down 3 lbs from my weigh-in last week! EEK! I am very excited about that. If the next couple of weeks go as well as this week did, I will definitely reach my goal.
I’m not just seeing the difference on the scale. I’m also seeing it in how my clothes are fitting and in appearance. I’m finding that I have to restrain myself from getting too excited. I have to keep my nose to the grind stone and not lose sight of my goal. I can’t get complacent. If anything, I have to be more diligent. I can’t start thinking I can loosen up on my diet and eat too many things that are not good for me….like junk food. I have to keep making smart choices and giving my workouts everything I’ve got.
Being this close to the end of my challenge does not mean the work is almost over either. I will need to maintain what I accomplish, too. This was never a “diet” or something meant to be temporary. This is a lifestyle…a way of living…who I am. I’m doing this because I want to. I’m choosing to feel better, be better, live better.
I’m also a little sad to be so near the end. I’m going to miss my morning workouts. I have the most energy in the morning. Going back to evening workouts after work is not something I am looking forward to. It’s really hard to motivate myself to change clothes and get up to the gym after working all day. I’d rather roll out of bed before the chickens and go than do it at night. But if I want to keep the progress I’ve gained, I’ll go. No excuses.
It’s been a while since I posted my diet history so I’ve attached a spreadsheet of what I at this week for anyone who might be interested.
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.
I didn’t do very well logging my meals last week….especially over the weekend. Sunday was a bit of a diet disaster. I did well in the morning but for lunch I ate Chinese with a bunch of people from my church. I love Chinese but I feel so bad the next day it’s usually not worth it to eat it, even when I try to order something with veggies and no breading like on Sunday. I was also careful not to eat until I was stuffed. Then dinner was a combination of whatever I could find in the fridge….cucumbers, veggie dip, a small piece of shortcake with butter and crab rangoons. Not a lot of protein there and too many carbs! UGH!! Then I crashed out on the sofa at around 7:30 PM and was out for the night…for the most part. We won’t even talk about the lack of water for the day.
Oh let’s just move on, shall we? One thing I know for certain is without this blog, I would have caved by now. It is knowing that someone might read this and not wanting to write a post that says “I decided to wimp out and not go to the gym today” that has kept me going every day. So thanks for being part of my daily motivation. It means a lot that you’re interested.
MONDAY: Upper Body Day 1 for the week which is chest, shoulders and tris. My workout went so well that I had extra time at the end. Just for my friend, MHH, I got on the treadmill and did 10 minutes of cardio intervals instead of heading out the door. I’m still tight in my right hamstring so I didn’t push it too hard. I’ll throw in more cardio at the end of weight days from now on if I have time at the end like today. I’m still of the mind that strength training is more important than cardio…at least for me…at the moment so I’m not willing to cut out sets in order to make time for cardio every day. But….I won’t slack and blow it off when there is time to get it done.
TUESDAY: Today is an all cardio day. I did the full amount but I decided to take it a little slower today. My right hamstring is better but still wanting to give me grief so I decided it was best not to push it. I went 45 minutes on the treadmill at 3.5 mph. I was able to do that with hardly any tightness in my hamstring until after the workout. Tomorrow is lower body so we’ll see how the hamstring feels on Thursday when I have to do cardio again. It may just be a light cardio week this week.
WEDNESDAY: Another morning thunderstorm at the gym 🙂 Not like the last one…less thunder and lightening. Today was lower body and it all went fine. I didn’t have extra time at the end to get more cardio in today. My right hamstring is still tight but feels a little better. I’ve been in a perpetual state of soreness since I started this new routine. It’s good because it means I’m working my muscles but sometimes it just makes me tired. Today is a tired day.
THURSDAY: What I’m learning this week is that it’s as much psychological as it is physical…maybe more. Not long ago, cardio was my favorite part of working out. I had no problem jumping on the treadmill after 45 minutes of weights and doing 15 minutes or so of cardio. It’s not that I don’t like it anymore but I sure don’t love it like I used to. Since I’ve increased my time to 45 minutes, it’s been a real psychological battle to get through it all. I find myself watching my time a lot. After the first 4 minutes I’m thinking, “Great! I’m 1/10th of the way through this!” At 10 minutes I’m trying to talk myself into switching to a different machine (today it was elliptical to treadmill) at the 25 minute mark. At 20 minutes I’m coaching myself through the next 5. At 25 minutes I’m telling myself to suck it up and stay where I am. At 30 minutes I’m berating myself for not switching. At 35 minutes I’m telling myself that it’s only 10 more minutes. When I get to the end, I’m not sure if I’m more exhausted because of the physical stress or the mental stress!
FRIDAY: Wow….where did the week go? I am amazed to wake and discover it’s Friday already. Today’s workout was “routine,” I guess. Everything went well and I had 10 extra minutes at the end so I did some walking at 3.5 on the treadmill. I met a nice woman who just started coming with her son in the mornings on her way to work. Her son is 11 and he’s a little chubby. I wouldn’t call him obese, exactly, but he does have a weight problem. She said it was his idea to start coming to the gym. She thinks he’s getting teased.
We humans can be so cruel to each other. I was not very nice to some people when I was his age and I had it returned to me in spades in junior high. What a waste of time and energy. I am glad to see this boy reached out to his mom and asked if they could do something constructive about his situation. Too often, kids who are teased or bullied keep their pain hidden inside until it manifests itself in violence against others or themselves (or both). Maybe this little boy’s experience of finding something positive in the gym will allow him to positively motivate someone else down the road who is getting teased about his weight.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Weight: 167 lbs.
Back down 3 lbs. I’ll take it.
I have high hopes that this will be a good week. Hormones and mood are back in check. Hopefully my energy levels will stay the same or increase and I’ll see some good progress. I’m trying not to panic over being on the “downhill” side of this adventure and having a vacation coming up soon. I will only miss 2 days in the gym but I know it will be harder to eat right and not eat late in the day. I’ll have to be diligent with the workouts I do to replace what I will miss in the gym.
I had some back and forth discussion this week with my friend, MHH, about adding more cardio to my fitness plans. I’m rather resistant to the idea, mostly because of time constraints in the morning and lack of energy in the evening, not because I dislike cardio. I just read a very interesting article on weight loss vs fat loss and resistance training vs aerobic exercise. If you’re interested you can read it here:
There are benefits to doing BOTH but HOW you do them is key to your success in losing fat and not just losing weight. Furthermore, you need to be careful not to lose muscle. For myself, personally, I want to lose fat and gain muscle. I already have plans for kicking up my pace and doing interval-type resistance and cardio exercises in the 3rd month of my journey this summer. Reading this article has reinforced my plans.
I hope you have a good week of learning and progression.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Up and down the weight roller coaster we go! That “skinny feeling” was no where to be seen this week. I know the reasons, too. They aren’t excuses but facts that made up a week of bad decisions. Bad hormone levels and a mid-week holiday provided an atmosphere for low will power that lead to an entire week of bad eating.
I have been pretty diligent about filling out my food diary on MyFitnessPal.com but not last week. I didn’t even bother with last Sunday because we had a church cook out. No…I didn’t make good decisions about my diet on Sunday. On Monday, my choices weren’t bad, I just ate too much and went 469 calories over my 1540 allotment. Tuesday was a good day. The only day I was legitimately under my allotment. Wednesday…the day started off good. I was in the gym on a holiday! But my lunch and dinner came from 2 different 4th of July parties. Again…I didn’t make good decisions. On Thursday, my husband and I arrived at work to find our office had flooded in a storm on Tuesday night. We spent the day getting it cleaned up and came home to a house without a lot of healthy food in it. I allowed my fatigue from the day to rule and I made a poor choice at dinner and ate 993 calories in that one meal alone. That put me 314 calories over for the day. Friday wasn’t horrible as far as types of food but I still went 336 calories over due to the amount I ate. Yesterday, was OK. I didn’t log all my food but I think I stayed within my allotment or maybe went slightly over but I did a lot of walking with a friend at Frankenmuth so I’m not too concerned about yesterday.
That brings me to the weigh-in today and I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t gain more than 4 lbs. This week was a perfect storm of hormones, holiday parties and unhealthy choices. If we’re honest, we know that we all have weeks like this. The good news is I had my butt in the gym every, single day and I did the workouts without slacking even though I really didn’t want to…especially on Friday. I am going to feel good about that. Not long ago, I would have eaten like this (and then some!) and not done a single physical activity to counter act all those calories. I may still make bad diet decisions occasionally but it is not a constant way of life any more.
It’s a new day in a fresh, new week. I’m looking forward to advancing in my new workout schedule for the month and to seeing progress at the end of this week. No looking back…just moving forward.