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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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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 11.0

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.

Diet

Weight Update 10.0

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weight:  169 lbs.

I’m down one pound this week.  I truly hoped for more than that because I have been making a good effort with my workout and diet.  I can’t deny that I’m a little disappointed.

I’m also beginning to wonder about my body type.  I’ve read articles on body type before but today I found one that was particularly helpful.  It was called Determining Your Body Type – For Dummies (http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/determining-your-body-type.html).  After reading this article, I have come to the conclusion that I fit best into the endomorph category.  As described in the article, I tend to gain fat easily, while muscle is harder for me to put on.  I also carry the vast majority of my fat in my abdomen, hips, thighs and butt and my metabolism is slow.

I did further research and read 3 different articles with suggestions for workouts that are suitable to my body type and got mostly 3 different opinions.  The common threads I saw were weight and cardio training, with emphasis on cadio.  Given that I am in a weight/cardio combo training routine until the end of my summer challenge, I still hold out great hope that I will reach my goal of weight loss and BMI reduction at the end of August.

On a good note, my glute muscle injury has improved greatly so barring any further difficulties, I am confident I will be able to do my cardio on the treadmill on Tuesday 🙂 .

Week 10

It’s a new day…a new month…a new week…and a NEW WORKOUT!  I’m so excited!  It’s also the last leg of my summer challenge so it’s do or die time here.

MONDAY:  Today is the first day of my new Fat Blaster 4 week workout.  If every day is like today, this is going to be a “blast” for sure.  Every week I will do circuits.  Mon, Wed and Fri are weight days.  Tues and Thurs are cardio days.  In the first week I will do a circuit that contains 5 sets of exercises on weight days.  Each set is a weight/cardio combo.  For instance, the first set in the circuit is dumbbell squats and high knee runs.  I take a 90 second rest between sets.  With each week, I add one new weight/cardio combo set to the circuit until the last week when I will do 8 combo sets per circuit.  The minimum goal is to get through an entire circuit at least 2 times.  Today, I did 3.  For cardio days I’ll do intervals on the treadmill that consist of jogging and sprinting….no walking.  This will be the biggest challenge for me, I think, because I have very little endurance.  The first week has 8 intervals.  By the 4th week there will be 12.

I am excited about this workout and I have high expectations of a good fat burn and nice results.  I am NOT going to sabotage my hard work with poor nutrition either.  After last month’s loss of almost all progress, I can’t afford to mess around now.

TUESDAY:  I spoke to my nephew Monday afternoon and he also believes I have suffered an injury in my right glute muscles.  He told me the name of the muscle but I don’t remember it now.  He said I should not still be sore after a week from doing that new exercise.  He believes I overworked the muscle.  So at his advice, when I went to do cardio this morning, I didn’t use the treadmill except for my 5 minute warm-up.  During warm-up, my muscle was pretty sore so I took cues from my body, like he told me to, and I used the bike today.  I’ve never used the bike at the gym before so it was a fun, new experience for me.  It was fun to lean forward and really “dig in” when it came time to “sprint.”  However, I never got my heart rate as high as I like to see it.  The highest it went was in the low 160’s.  I will likely still take it easy on Thursday and use the bike again if it’s available to give that muscle more time to heal but I think I’ll set the resistance higher on the bike.

He also told me to try jogging during the treadmill intervals but if my heart rate stays too high, I should walk instead.  The purpose of the slow jog or walk is to bring my heart rate back down to a normal level before I sprint again.  I already know I have heart rate issues and I’m sometimes sensitive to adrenalin so we’ll see how that goes.  Again, I’m not going to push it.  If my  heart rate stays too high, I will take the cue and drop down to walking instead of jogging.

WEDNESDAY:  Day 3 of my new Fat Burner workout.  I did pretty well this morning.  I pushed myself hard on all the combo sets in the circuit.  I did 3 circuits again this morning.  I was pretty spent by the time I was done.  Execution was a little easier today because I am more familiar with the routine.  The tops of my shoulders and back are still a little sore from Monday but I did the entire workout with no variations anyway.  I’m working hard not to screw up my diet, too, so I can get all the benefits possible from this last month.

THURSDAY:  Cardio again today and my butt muscle still isn’t quite right but it is getting better.  There is lots of improvement over how it felt on Sunday so I think by next Tuesday I should be ready to tear up the treadmill.  For today, I used the stationary bike again only this time, I kicked up the difficulty to 5.  Not extremely difficult but enough that I actually felt some resistance when I pedaled.  My nephew suggested making it hard enough to stand up and pedal but I wasn’t comfortable doing that so I still stayed seated but setting the resistance higher made a big difference.  This time when I got to the 30 second sprints I got my heart rate up into the 180’s.  That’s a little higher than where I’d like to be.  During the 90 second “jog” period my heart rate only came down into the 170’s….which is typically where I like it to be when I sprint.  So in contrast to  feeling like I didn’t get quite enough out of  Tuesday’s cardio workout, today I feel like maybe I got a little too much.  I was dizzy nearly half way through it and I backed off on my “jogging” speed a bit to let my heart rate settle down.  I got through it but by the 8th interval I was glad I was done.

FRIDAY:  Week One is in the books!  I think I did pretty well.  It was a little harder this morning than it was on Wednesday.  I’m not entirely sure why except this was a challenging workout and perhaps I’m still not getting enough water (ok…I know I’m not getting enough water).  Next week I will add a weight/cardio combo set to the circuit which means I will need to get up a little earlier than I have been or I won’t get all 3 circuits done.  I can’t settle for just 2.  That won’t be enough of a challenge.

I’ve done pretty well watching my diet this week, too.  The only indulgence I have allowed myself is a handful of potato chips dipped in low fat sour cream…and we’re talking like 3 or 4….not a whole bowl full.  All in all, I am happy with the way this week has gone and I hope to duplicate it again next week.

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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Weight Update 6.0

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:

http://blog.metaboliceffect.com/2012/03/10/weight-loss-or-fat-loss-which-would-you-rather-have/

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.

 

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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