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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.

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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.

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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Weight Update 12.0 – The Home Stretch

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weight:  166 lbs

It’s the eve of the final week of my summer challenge and I wish I felt better going into it.  My hormones are all askew and I’m basically feeling blah.  However, we live in the land of no excuses so I won’t offer any.  I’ll face tomorrow with the same attitude I have faced all the other mornings and carry on with the business of getting a great workout.  Period.

No change in weight this week but that’s OK.  I dropped 3 lbs last week.  I expect with the added difficulty in this week’s workout, among the other factors, I will lose some more weight this week.

So here I go…taking a deep breath and jumping into Week 13 with everything I’ve got!

🙂

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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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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