Whole30: The Results are (almost) In!

Today officially marks the start of my “Reintroduction” Phase of the Whole30. Following the guidelines (loosely), I began to re-introduce grains today, dairy on Monday, and possibly legumes after that. Sugar is hard to ‘re-introduce’ as it is present in almost all ‘processed’ foods, such as the bread I ate for breakfast this morning (we will get to that in a second). I didn’t eat that much sugar before Whole30, anyways, so I’m sure I will be ok without having a day dedicated to eating spoonfuls of it.

So this morning, I woke up, SO excited to weigh myself…because that’s how they tell you to judge progress on the Whole30, mmk? (extreme sarcasm, for those who are not familiar with the program). I had to stop myself from RUNNING to the gym..and what do you know, the scale was MIA. Seriously. I scowered every inch of that room with my hawk eyes and sad wandering..it was gone. Perhaps this is a sign?

Slightly saddened, but trying to take it as a sign from the Whole30 gods, I reluctantly gave up on the idea and set my sights on the next major event of the day: the piece of toast I was going to have for breakfast and had been craving for 30 days. I got it, along with my usual eggs, tomato slices, and half-grapefruit. I felt a bit guilty putting that piece of toast on my plate..I thought this was supposed to help with food relationships? (I suck at that, though). I persevered..this was all part of my plan! And guess what? It sucked. It wasn’t good at all, and I was severely dissapointed. That is NOT what I thought I was missing. It may have had something to do with the lack of almond butter, but I was still dissapointed. I felt fine afterwards, and didn’t notice much of a difference in my mood, energy, etc. Maybe my tastebuds really have changed. I stayed full until lunch. My second-go at bread was half a tuna-sandwich for lunch. When I started this whole thing, I was SUPER anti-“gluten free”. Yeah, you read that right. I DO NOT like, or agree with the fact that “GLUTEN FREE!” has become the new fad diet. Stupid. Wrong. Uneducated. Ignorant. Now, that’s not to say that some people don’t genuinely have issues with gluten, but it’s not a “GET SKINNY” fix for people with no intolerance (IMHO).. Pre-Whole30 Ashley would NEVER go gluten free, because she has absolutely NO problem with gluten…and really, really loves bread….

My Whole30 in Summary:

  • 20 minutes after eating my lunch sandwich I was in the bathroom and remained in there for close to 15 minutes (TMI?). I am not feeling good, and have (what I would consider to be) extreme bloating, gas, (TMI AGAIN –>) diarrhea, and overall discomfort. <– Does this mean post-Whole30 Ashley is gluten intolerant? Now I am scared, and I dont ever want to eat bread again (honestly, that’s the thought I am having). I will discuss further with my doctor on Tuesday.
  • I didn’t get the whole “TIGER BLOOD” phase, at all. Whole30 will lead you to believe that this means you need to take on a Whole45, or Whole60. I don’t think this would have been the case for me, so I decided against an extension (that, combined with the fact my husband may have left me..). I ate pretty darn good before Whole30, with cottage cheese and toast with all-natural peanut butter at breakfast being the only common ‘offenders’ I had to remove. I think for someone who ate a lot of processed foods, sugar, etc. that you would probably get this. However, my energy levels are always pretty consistent (and good) throughout the day. I didn’t notice a huge change here.
  • I am VERY interested to see what changes my blood test (which I get on Tuesday) will show, when compared with the one done prior to starting the challenge. My hypothyroid symptoms have definitely improved, and I feel good about the changes I have made in my diet.
  • My bloating and digestion did not improve. Weird how that works. I will definitely be discussing this with my Naturopath, but I am attributing this to a combination of my thyroid monster, and a potential nut (or fruit, or egg) sensitivity. I am going to try an elimination diet of these foods, next. (ugh)
  • I am going to continue eating this way, unless a really great treat comes along. I wont make some kind of “80/20” rule, because I don’t think that is creating a healthy relationship with food (for me, at least). Instead, if I happen to come across a delicious, homemade, to-die-for treat at some point, I will likely eat it. But I won’t be eating Subway cookies, shitty donuts, or any kind of pre-packaged grocery store ‘treat’.

And, this wouldn’t be a Whole30 Results blog post if I didn’t include my “Non-Scale Victories”:

  • I am able to eat three meals a day, happily, and without hunger. Coming from the girl who LOVED to snack, and ate at least 6 mini-meals a day, prior to Whole30, this is a serious accomplishment. I have always avoided giving myself the chance to feel ‘hunger’, as it usually leads to binges for me. It is hard to binge on lean meats and vegetables. Win.
  • I have more stamina at the gym: noticeably and consistently. Although I mentioned above that my energy levels throughout the day didn’t really change from pre-Whole30, my gym performance definitely improved. I was able to run further, harder and for much longer than usual. I also didn’t have the lazy, lagging muscle feeling that I often had before (which I attribute strongly to my good friend, Hashimoto’s).
  • My before/after photos show a real difference, especially in my legs/waist area. I am contemplating posting them..but they were taken without the intention to do so, and are a bit less G-rated than I’d like to share with the general population. We will see. I am also going to take my measurements on Monday, when I get home from camp.
  • I actually enjoy black coffee now? and will continue to drink it this way, or occasionally with organic coconut milk (the real stuff, from the can). [I also have a thing for coffee as a ‘green smoothie’ base..add a bit of raw cocao powder, tons of kale/spinach, and a banana or berries..you’ve got yourself a serious treat (try this)]
  • I learned soo many new recipes and no longer feel as though my meal is ‘incomplete’ without adding rice, pasta or some other form of grain.

Overall, I am definitely happy I did this. I do feel as though Whole30 has changed my life, but not in the typical “OMG. TIGER BLOOD HOLY SMOKES I NEVER WANT TO EAT SUGAR AGAIN” sense. Rather, it has given me a better understanding of foods, cravings, hunger, and given me TONS of awesome new recipes and ideas. I am happy eating this way. And, as mentioned, aside from the occasional treat, should it ever NEED TO BE EATEN, I will continue to do so. Every single person seems to say that in their Whole30 wrap-up rants..but I truly mean it. I guess only time will tell, along with how my body reacts to the dairy re-intro..

 

Defining Progress

What is progress? It really depends on how you choose to define it. I haven’t been blogging daily about my Whole30 adventure the way I had originally set out to. I wanted to create a journal, and hopefully have it provide guidance and information to others doing Whole30 in the future. Things have changed. The first few days of my Whole30 I spent constantly searching for other people’s accounts of the program. How did they feel? What happens on Day 6? Am I going to lose these last 10 pounds? It only took me a few days to realize that it really doesn’t matter. The details of what happens to me during these 30 days dont matter to you. And shouldn’t matter to you. What should matter to you are your next 30 days, and what matters to me (now) are mine. There are a few things that matter, though: I feel good. I feel happy, I feel confident, I feel in control and so can you.

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Roasted veggies (beets, zucchini, onion, and sweet potato) and salmon..

I have failed on many ‘diet’ plans. Actually, I usually last less time than the average person. If I make it a full week with no slips, ‘cheats’, or ‘off-plan’ choices, I feel accomplished and celebrate with some ice cream (litearlly). That’s the way I am. It’s the way I’ve always been. It’s not that I don’t want to commit, and I don’t want to be healthy; it’s just that it’s exhausting. There is too much guess work for me. Too many choices, too many decisions.. You set out on the latest diet: you eat 1200 calories per day (but no fruit, because fruit has too much sugar), feel STARVING, are constantly focused on/thinking about food (maybe your body is trying to tell you something?) and are surviving off only whole-grain rice cakes and low-fat peanut butter, because you seem to get the most ‘bang for your buck’, calorie and taste wise. Then you start to question if this is even working. You haven’t lost any weight and it’s been 4 days. Your body is craving everything in sight and your brain is foggy. You’re not sure how much longer you can go on. You’re exhausted. Working out is not going to happen. Before you know it you’re head first into a Big Mac and fries (or whatever your thing is). It’s all a blurr, and you feel out of control…next thing you know you’re crying yourself to sleep because you’re such a failure. Sound familiar?

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Apple chicken sausage (so tasty..find this!) and sweet potato ‘stir fry’ with broccoli (and a salad on the side).

Today is Day 17 of my journey. I don’t feel the Tiger Blood. I don’t feel extremely energized, or super focused. But, I haven’t cried, I haven’t eaten ice cream, and I feel good. I don’t feel hungry, and I have almost mastered the art of not constantly obsessing over food. I sleep well through the night, wake up without snoozing, and at 3pm I am still in an up-right position at my desk. I am eating large, healthy, satisfying meals. I have no idea how many calories I consume..but they taste delicious, and each one of them is helping fuel my body. I have learned to distinguish between hunger and a craving. Wanting something sweet after a huge, delicious lunch is not hunger. It’s a craving, and it needs to get away from me. My pants feel looser and my stomach isn’t bloated. My digestion has improved 10-fold and my skin is clear and glowing. I haven’t given up, or even thought about it, because it’s only 30 days, I’m not starving, and I’m seeing positive changes. The expectations are reasonable,  attainable. It’s actually kind of fun…like an experiment with yourself. If this was just like any other typical diet, I wouldn’t have any of those things by this point…and they all seem pretty damn important to me.

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Delicious steak with sautéed onions and mushrooms..complete with a white potato (worth it) with broccoli and green onions!

My pre-Whole30 self is still there, but I’m slowly helping her learn to get her shit together. I still badly want to weigh myself. Every day I wake up, feel good (and skinnier, for lack of a better word), and I think “HOW MUCH WEIGHT HAVE I LOST?!” (in the interest of fulfilling every last detail and rule of the plan, I have not done this). This is something else fun that I’ve learnt, so far. I have let the scale define my progress, sense of worth, and my happiness for too long. I know that if I jumped on the scale right now and saw I hadn’t lost a pound,  I’d stop feeling good. I’d be sad, feel defeated, and want some ice cream. But in reality, why does it matter? If I’m feeling good, gaining energy, learning lots, and fueling my body for physical activity…why do I need to weigh 10 pounds less?  That’s right. I don’t. So basically, you should try this. Go to the website, take a read, and do it for yourself. Spend 30 days commited to yourself. Be selfish. Eat nuts and coconut and free-range eggs. Read labels, learn where your food comes from, and see what works for you. This is life changing.

Now I know what some of you are thinking, because I’ve heard it multiple times already: “one bite won’t hurt”, “it’s too restrictive”, “I could never give up bread”. Wrong, wrong, and very wrong (coming from the queen of bread, herself). It’s actually kind of fun to sit there, knowing you aren’t going to eat something, but just checking it out, and thinking “would that even be that good?”. Is a plain old donut from your local supermarket really worth it? Probably not. Maybe if, after 30 days, you still really want that shitty donut, you can go find a really yummy, deliciously fresh donut…and you can enjoy it without guilt because it was worth it. But trust me, that stale donut sitting on the lunch room table is not that donut. I mean, come on. For 30 days you can’t cut out crap, and just see how you feel? Maybe you’ll think it’s stupid, and maybe after 30 days you’ll go back to your old ways, but I highly doubt it..and really, that’s the worst thing that could happen.

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That’s my Whole30 take, so far. Yours will be completely different. You might lose 20 pounds, you might gain 2 (muscle, of course!). But I can guarantee you one thing, it will change your life.

More than I can swallow

I keep thinking maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew…but how could that be? Maybe it’s a reasonable amount to bite, and a fair amount to safely chew, but the swallowing isn’t really working for me.  

In reality, I’m not doing any more than the average person, but wow, I am exhausted. This, my friends, is a whole new level of tired for me, it’s not the ‘Oh, I need to get 8 hours tonight” kind of exhaustion, but it’s more like “I need a week where I don’t have to do anything but sleep, and all my responsibilities are being taken care of by someone who has the same motivation as I do”…haaaaa. Ya think that’ll ever happen?

The best way I can explain this is emotional exhaustion..but it’s almost past that point. It’s Monday, I just had a full two days off to relax, and I simply cannot fathom sitting here at work all day.. I won’t make it. I have a pounding headache, and my eyes can barely stay open, nevermind focus on anything. I have no patience, and I am uninterested in doing my work. What the hell is going on?

People with children, I have no idea how you do it. I cannot imagine ever having that ability. You are amazing.

I am trying not to be a whiner. I am 25, I don’t have kids (see above point…and again, HOW do you do it?), I work full-time (but who doesn’t?), try to work out at the gym daily, and I have dogs (too. many. dogs.). I have a husband, and a house which is way too big for us (no one informed me that even if you don’t use your two spare bedrooms, they still manage to need cleaning..or they end up as storage areas for everything you don’t want to deal with). Still,  sound’s do-able, right? It’s a moderate work load. So why is it that I am so exhausted? I honestly don’t get it…and trust me, I’ve tried to put on my big girl panties and get it done. I can’t. Not without crying and having a break down about how everything is just too much. Every day I try to think of something to quit to lessen the load: my job (please can I win the lottery and be a puppy rescuer?), the gym (but I know that will make things 10X worse), the dogs (hahahaha…kidding, never). None of those things are reasonable. I need to get it together.

Since I was diagnosed hypothyroidism/ Hashimoto’s, I promised I’d never use it as an excuse. I will not gain weight, I will not say I can’t lose it, I will never be too tired to get out of bed, or not have the energy to stay awake at work. Nope. Screw you, Hashimoto’s. But I’m starting to think that might just be the cause of this problem…

Ahh, I need a snuggle, and my naturopath. I missed my appointment this weekend, too, and now I can’t get in for another two weeks.

Why? Because, well, this happened:

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Yeah, that’s a cast, for his broken knee. I cried like a uncontrolable baby when they told us the x-ray results. How could I let that happen?! (Again, people with kids….? HOW?!). Oh, and did I mention that I am IN LOVE with this little guy? Did I mention that the day after this little incident occurred, we had someone coming to meet and adopt him, and I was happy he would be leaving so I didn’t get even more attached? Oh, and now he has to stay with us for 6+ weeks while he heals? Oh, and did I mention that he’s SO snuggly, sweet, and possibly even cuter than before with his little yellow cast? Great, just great, Sam. Please don’t make me keep you, Dad will be so mad.. ❤

Thanks for listening. 😉

 

 

Defining Moments

Yesterday, my Dad must have been taking a trip down memory lane as I received a few consecutive pictures in my Facebook inbox. There I was. A beautiful, dark haired little girl with her bangs cut straight across, wearing my early 90’s finest and blowing out the candles on my birthday cake. What was I thinking in that moment? I bet I was excited it was my birthday, and even more excited for cake.

I wonder what my wish was?
I wonder what my wish was?

The picture made me sad, almost instantly. I’ve never seen it before and I feel like I have no idea who that little girl is. I can see my round little nose and my big brown eyes and my dark hair..I can see it all. That’s me. That’s where I started. It made me wonder where things changed. When did I stop being this innocent, happy little girl? When did I become this person who is so critical of herself? This girl who spent years crying when she looked in the mirror, wishing she could have a different nose and a skinnier body, and no stretch marks, and even longer agnoizing over her future and what it would be like. What changed?

I wasn’t born fat, but I got there pretty quickly. I was a chubby kid (not quite unhealthy, but plump). When I started kindergarten I was bigger than the other kids, but I was always tall and had a large structure (I won’t say big boned, because we won’t go there…haha). I didn’t feel weird or out of place then.

My Dad left when I was 3. I have no memories of my family as a perfect little “unit”. My mom went to school and worked a night job–I spent most of my younger years at my Grandma’s. She fed me whatever I wantedfood is love, you know. It is abnormal for a 7-year old child to feel like I felt. I developed OCD and ate like crazy. Food made me feel safe. Hiding in my room made me feel safe. My Mom was stressed and she was busy.. She had so much going on, but she still did everything she could have done. She yelled sometimes like any normal parent, but I don’t think it ever crossed the line of ‘normal’. I hope one day I will be as amazing of a parent as she was. I don’t know what distinguished me from the other kids, or what made me have these feelings, but I don’t believe anything my family could have said or done would have changed it.. It was something deep inside of me. It’s who I was. By the time I was in my first year at University, I was 220lbs and miserable. I was just existing.

There are several, defining moments that stick out when I think about when everything changed. When did I loose that happiness, and that innocence? When did I stop feeling like that happy little girl in the picture and star feeling like the fat, unhappy  girl (the one that still lives in a big part of my heart and soul). Now of course, my life isn’t defined by these moments but they definitely made an impact. They are so small and so seemingly insignificant, but I think they’ll always be etched in my memories.

I remember in Second Grade, measuring the school field with a partner–we had one of those wheels on a stick that clicks for every meter travelled? I was pushing it around and he was walking slightly behind me. He said he was cold and I said I wasn’t.

“It’s because of all your whale blubber.”

It’s funny now, I guess. It was a witty comment for a second grader, but man it hurt.. I remember waiting until I got home after school, locking myself in my room and crying. I’m sure that little boy doesn’t remember that. I’m sure he said it, and that was that. Funny how that works.

I vividly remember standing outside my fourth grade classroom in my purple leggings and having kids tease me as they walked by.  I remember leaning up against the hard, brick wall with my backpack in front me, feeling so alone and trying to hide my pants from the kids as they walked by. All the other girls could wear leggings..but I was different. I was fat. I remember trying to hide the fact that I got teased. I didn’t want my Mom to think less of me or to be embarassed of me. From such an early age I was so worried about disapointing her..I didn’t want her to know she had the fat daughter that no one liked–she deserved more.

And then there was  back-to-school shopping. The one, dreadful year that I transitioned into adult clothes. I hated them. I didn’t want to wear old lady clothes..but I didn’t fit into kids clothes anymore. This was probably around Grade 5. I remember my Mom standing outside the change room while I tried to hold back my tears, telling me it wasn’t her fault I didn’t fit in kids clothes–I was just too big. I remember this day so vividly. I remember the feeling I had, and being so hurt by my Mom.  I’ve never told her this, and I’m sure I never will.

I wish I could go back to that happy little girl blowing out her candles and tell her she was beautiful. I wish I could help her become a confident, happy young lady. I wish I could go back to that 14-year old who quit basketball because she didn’t want to wear shorts and tell her she was GORGEOUS. I wish I could run back and tell her everything would be okay, and she’d be getting married to the man of her dreams (who is SO, so, so, SO, SO, SO handsome), and that she’d have a beautiful home, and beautiful puppies, and a happy, happy life. But I can’t go back, all I can do is go forward…and going forward, my outlook is going to change.

I can’t explain how this strange, random sequence of thoughts has occured in the past few days since receiving those pictures…but this is one of those moments. All I’ve been thinking about is how I wish I could go back and change so many things, but I can’t. All of them are just thoughts, and feelings, too: I wish I had more confidence, I wish I was happier and that I’d made different choices. But maybe I don’t need to go back, maybe all those things made me the woman I am today. I am learning to love her. She is a beautiful, compassionate person. She has more empathy than a lot of people, and loves deeper than anyone I’ve met. From this day forward, I am going to start loving that girl. I’m going to eat chocolate when I want and not feel guilty, and I’m going to run like the wind. I’m going to wear a bikini on my honeymoon and rock it, stretch marks and all. Everything is going to be okay. I’m going to make that little girl proud.

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Monday, Monday, Mondayyyy..

I usually spend a good 2 minutes trying to think of a witty blog title, but today this just seems fitting.. because it’s Monday and that is all. I don’t like Mondays (surprise)… I’m just not destined to be employed (bahaha…I wish).

Friday I met up with my trainer. I weighed in at 2.5 pounds lost (nevermind that this morning I am back to my regular, static weight that just won’t budge), and I lost 0.9% body fat. I am pretty sure that the margin of error is greater than 1%, but I’ll take it.. small victories.

As for my measurements, someone please try and explain THIS sequence of events:

My last round of measurements (with one month difference in between):

  • Gained a 1/2″ around my chest.. I found a way to be happy with this (what girl wouldn’t be?!)
  • Lost 2″ around my waist (woohoo!!)
  • Gained 3/4″ around my hips (I have been squating like CRAZY and I had virtually zero bum to begin with…so I also found a way to accept this..)

This month of measurements (as taken on Friday with one month difference in between):

  •  Lost 1/2″ around my bust
  • Gained 1″  around my waist ( 😐 )
  •  Lost 3/4″ around hips

Okay, what in the hell is going on?! I swear I go into these weigh/measure/body fat days and I am feeling soo great, and then I come out wanting to cry (and being SO confused).  I don’t have a copy of my pictures yet, so I will post them as soon as she sends them over..but part of me doesn’t even want to look. UGH!

Part of me wonders if I am simply not working hard enough, do all these girls that look amazing really work THAT much harder than me? I mean, I work out to the point of absolute exhaustion and wanting to puke AT LEAST 4 times a week (I aim for 5-6), and I eat PRETTY FREAKING GOOD!! I dont want to make excuses and thyroid this, thyroid that..but I just don’t get it..

Well, I sucked it up and resisted the urge to go home and cry in my bed. I went home, got my gym stuff on and headed out. In order to combat my I HATE CARDIO attitude, I have been running to the gym and getting Jamie to pick me up after he’s done work. This gives me a solid 15-20 minute run, and a good 45-60 minutes at the gym. Friday night workout = lots of space at the gym. I was literally the only girl there. I was lifting hard and angry, I was sweating like crazy and I had a sad, empty feeling in my stomach. I had taken up shop in the corner of the gym and I was hoarding gym equipment in a cute little array next to me on the bench (in a way you can only do on a Friday night), when a guy started walking towards me. Oh god, I thought, I have too much stuff….I’m an ass. *panic*. BUT GUESS WHAT HE SAID?!?

“I don’t know how to say this in a non creepy way…but I saw  you here a few months ago and you are looking REALLY good. I have really noticed a big change and you must be working really, really hard.”

Seriously, I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face. I must have said thank you 15 times.. I NEEDED that. I probably needed that worse than I’ve needed it in my entire journey. 70+ pounds lost and this was the time that I really, really NEEDED to hear this…and it happened.  I definitely took it as a sign that everything is going to be okay.

HAPPY MONDAY everyone! Thanks for reading.

Oh, and just because I love this picture, here’s Ben yesterday with his new bandana.. Can you say crazy dog lady??

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Hi, I’m Ben and I’m a model.. 🙂

 

“45 Days Out”

It was a long, hot day. I got home around 6pm and had mentally prepared myself for the gym the entire ride home. I was hot, sweaty, and my feet hurt. “Why can’t it just be Saturday?” crossed my mind more than once (rest day!). I got home, opened the door, and my two crazy monkeys came running over to see Mom. My goodness they make me happy beyond words (that’s another post..or seven).. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

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After our workout, we came home and devoured these delicious, extra-lean, grass-fed beef burgers on lettuce buns (something you wouldn’t have caught him dead doing when we met) that my wonderful man made for us. The patties were weighed out and ready to grill! He isn’t 100% ready to be a passenger on my ‘ I weigh my food ‘ train, but he does what he can to support me and for that I am grateful. So, so good…and worth the workout, even after my long day. I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, but that’s just the way it is for me some days. Some weeks I sleep for probably about 70 hours..others I sleep for about 35. Hashimoto’s you’re silly..and a pain in my ass.

On another note: Today marks exactly 45 days until I walk down the aisle! I’ve decided to spend the next 45 days doing WHATEVER it takes to feel like (at least) 2- million bucks on that day. It’s time to step it up a knotch! I’ve always struggled with my body image, and although I am now at a ‘healthy’ weight, I still feel like I am that 220-pound girl who was too shy to even glance up from my own little world. I know that for myself, the better I feel about myself, the happier I am. I want to ROCK that honeymoon bikini with NO fear, no regrets, and a huge smile on my face.

My lunch today was DELICIOUS. I tend to get sick of salads, especially since I don’t eat salad dressing, but this was just perfect. It’s really just a normal salad..but the avacado ‘dressing’ is TO DIE FOR (and guilt free!!)

  • Cut up half a ripe avocado and “mix” it with your greens ( I used spring mix and baby kale) until they’re ‘coated’..I find it easiest if you use your hands for this 🙂
  • Add some lemon juice (I used half a lemon), salt, and pepper (this made a delicious, creamy, guilt-free “dressing”)
  • I also added some basil from my garden into the greens..this is optional, as you have to like basil. I LOVE basil..
  • I also added 3/4 of an apple as my carb (the other 1/4 went directly into my belly while chopping..apples are my weakness!)

I also used snap peas, cucumber, baby tomatos and orange peppers, but just throw in whatever you have/like. That’s the beauty of salads.. haha

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(I ate this along with a leftover burger patty with mustard and sirracha–PROTEIN is important 🙂 )

 

Crazy eyebrows and lots of snuggles.

Last night was just like our average, every day night. I got home from work, went to the gym with my fiance (I can bench 65 pounds, but I still can’t do a pull-up!), came home, did our Costco run, ate dinner (yay for green smoothies with protein and flax..lately I have not been feeling solid meals for dinner) and relaxed for a bit. Oh, and we had our first dance class for the wedding. I definitely have two left feet and a very, very hard time ‘following’. Apparently I need to let go of all control…not something I am good at.  But all in all, it was a great night.

After we got home and I showered, I perched in my usual, comfy spot on the bathroom counter and begun on the ever so tedious task of plucking my eyebrows (which had been neglected for far too long). Well, guess what? They’re falling out. The edges used to be full, and now they’re falling out. They’re pencil-thin and it’s not from plucking. This made me sad. My skin is also getting even drier. The inside of my nostrils is cracked and raw and has been for months, but now it’s spreading to my cheeks and forehead, as well. This has been one of those symptoms that no doctor can explain. It could be from the Hashimoto’s, and it could be from any number of other causes. Oh well, all I know is that I look like a lizzard and it hurts.

I ran downstairs to my fiance and asked him the question he has to receive at least 3 times per week… “Is it too late to call Grandma??!” (she is in another time zone). Grandma is my go-to for times like these, she always seems to understand. I think we are ‘soul sisters’, or whatever you want to call it. She just understands me. Even when I’m being crazy, she has a special way of making me feel like she knows exactly what I am going through. Well, despite his answer of “probably”, I decided to take the risk. Sure enough, Grandma was sleeping. I’ve made this mistake before and had her groggily answer the phone, knowing I’m the only one who would call that late, but luckily this time I did not interrupt her. Grandpa and I had a quick talk, but I didn’t want to keep him from his Baseball game he was currently watching on PVR (oh, to be retired..). I called my Momma and gave her my sob story. She worries about me and told me to go to the doctor. Blah, the doctor cannot do anything for these crazy brows. I said goodnight, got off the phone, snuggled my fiance while I felt sorry for myself for a bit, and forced myself to walk upstairs to bed. Goodnight eyebrows, you a-holes.

I woke up this morning and felt great! I wasn’t bloated, or tired. I actually felt skinny (yayyy for no bloat!). So I thought, what the hell, painted my eyebrows on (hehe) and jumped on the scale. Afterall, I’ve been WORKING MY ASS OFF at the gym AND eating out of tupperware. Oh scale, I hate you. I hate, hate, hate you. Every time I think maybe I lost a pound or two you squash my hopes and my dreams and bring me back to reality. I can feel like an absolute supermodel looking in the mirror, and as soon as I see that stupid number I feel like a beached whale. Psychological abuse, I’d say.  I know, I know, it’s ‘just a number’. But why can’t it be a number that is 10 pounds less?! So, I concluded that I need to stop weighing myself…which I probably will until two weeks from now when I am feeling SO great that I must have lost weight.. 😉 and so the vicious cycle begins again!

 

Go pink plaid!
Go pink plaid!

 Today is going to be a good day. I am waiting for a cab to take me downtown to our office’s annual client barbeque for a “Stampede celebration”– I live in Calgary, so this is a big week for us! It is supposed to be almost 30 degrees and I will be downtown all day mingling and watching others enjoy delicious BBQ steak (while I eat salad and lean turkey breast from a tupperware container)…but hey, I won’t be at work! Enjoy your Tuesday, everyone!

Forgive me while I backtrack..

I was unsure if I should start this blog. Does anyone really care? Well, maybe not..but I can tell you that in my recent quest for as much information as I can possibly find, I’ve come to love blogs of other’s with the same symptoms, or ‘happenings’ as I have.  It’s one thing to google hypothyroid, or Hashimoto’s, and see the “common symptoms”, and it’s a whole other thing to laugh and cry and feel relief by reading someone else’s personal accounts of their life. If even one person reads this and feels some kind of relief, it’s worth it. Plus, maybe it will help me get everything out on paper. I can bring a copy to my next Naturopath appointment, in-lieu of an update on my symptoms 😉

SO! The whole self-detoxing from Cipralex experience (as mentioned in my previous post) happened about a year ago. I felt great for about three months, then I started getting tired, and cranky. I fought with my fiance about everything. WHY DO YOU HAVE THE TV SO LOUD!? I was such a b*tch..and I knew it. I had begun losing the friends I had made while feeling great. I didn’t want to go out, I wanted to stay home with my puppies.. ONLY. EVER.

I went to the doctor several times, he told me I was fine (we had recently moved provinces and been lucky to even get a family doctor, so there was no time to be picky). Maybe it was just PMS (all month..). Maybe I should go back on Cipralex. I didn’t want to.. At this stage, I stopped going to the doctor. He had offered me a solution (medicate yourself, crazy!) and I wasn’t willing to accept it. What more did I want from him, really? Oh I forgot to mention (TMI, maybe), that I COULDN’T poop. Nope, I couldn’t. I ate healthy, I tracked my calories compulsively (something I started doing when I was 220+ pounds in University–it helped me loose over 70 lbs!) and I WAS EATING ENOUGH FIBRE!  I was drinking 3-4 litres of water, per day, and I was exercising like a crazy person. Help meeeee!

This went on for about two or three additional months. I had started a new ‘exercise and diet’ routine ( I was working with a fitness coach and entertaining the possibility of doing a Fitness Competition) and had been working my ass off for two months with NO change. And I mean nothing, not one pound. What in the hell was happening to me?! Then, suddenly, I realized I had extra money in my “Healthcare Spending Account” at work, and realized hey, you know what? Maybe I will go to a Naturopath.. Side bar: my family is anti-natural ANYTHING. If you asked my Grandpa what he thought about this it would be along the lines of “some kind of hippy doctor feeling your aura”. So, I kept this a secret and trecked off to see my new doctor. My fiance tagged along, as he had witnessed first hand the ‘fail’ of our family doctor.

Wow. Just wow. He listened, he asked questions, he had a true, genuine look of concern for my well-being. He knew my symptoms without even asking me. He felt my stomach and he looked in my mouth. He listened to my heart and checked my reflexes and blood pressure. Are you kidding me? I hadn’t had this done ONCE yet and it felt so good to have someone care. I was in there for an hour and a half, which was a big change from my recent 3-minute in-and-out visits. My fiance and I looked at eachother many times during the appointment with smiles on our faces like, “Is this actually happening?!”. He sent me home with some ideas: eating avocados and lemon juice, a special, natural sugar for my dry skin, and lots of great advise. I was given a requisition for blood work, and after everything was said and done (I had to pay upfront for the appointment and blood work), the bill came to almost $200. I didn’t bat an eye.

I went to get blood work the next day, happily, excited to have some real answers maybe. The doctor called me within two days and let me know my thyroid function was still low (despite being on synthroid), there were some signs of Hashimoto’s disease, and he wanted to try some new medications alongside the synthroid. This was last week. I have been following my “plan” for five days, today, and I feel better already. Honestly, even if not being so constipated is my only up-side of this entire thing, I’m SO happy. I go back in next week for a follow-up and we will discuss my results further and plan for more blood work in a few weeks. I have been researching like a crazy person. Every time I come across a new symptom I am astonished. I feel understood for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like such a failure. I’ve always wondered why my body was seemingly so much different than everyone elses, and now I am starting to understnad. I want to understand everything there is to understand about this disease. I am going to control it so it doesn’t control me.

❤ I am filled with so much hope!

The Monster in the Room.

This is going to be a long one, so bear with me.

I’ve suffered from ‘Anxiety’ for as long as I can remember. One day I just lost it, it felt like all the walls around me were caving in. Against all my previous beliefs, I headed to the doctor. I needed to be medicated. Up until that point, the thought of medication to ‘supress my feelings’ had seemed so foregin to me; but on this day, the thought of gaining back some hope seemed refreshing and gave me a feeling I can’t describe. I headed in to the doctor’s office, almost excited at the prospect of ‘feeling normal’. He ordered blood work and sent me to a “specialist”, who asked me about my feelings, and dug deeper to the root of my problem. Well, after an hour of spilling my life story (who knew I had THAT many feelings), sure enough, I was diagnosed with anxiety and ‘possible depression’ and put on Cipralex.

I wasn’t depressed, I was just sad. I was upset, and I was scared. Every situation freaked me out, and most days I wanted to stay in bed. I had lost all my friends..literally. I just didn’t have the energy to call, or make it out to events. I didn’t care, I was too tired. I was worried about my family, I was worried about my fiance leaving me, I was worried about my weight (paniced, actually), and I felt out of control.

The blood work came back, the doctor called, and I went in, not having a clue what to expect. “Your thyroid is too low. You have hypothyroidism and you’re going to need to be medicated for the rest of your life”. By this point, I had been on Cipralex for two days and I was feeling crazier than ever before. Sure, let’s start up some Synthroid while we’re at it! Honestly, the whole thing was kind of a blurr, the doctor never really explained anything to me, just wrote me a prescription and off I went to the pharmacist, I never questioned, just did. A small part of me was happy that I had yet another ‘condition’, maybe these pills would make me feel better! In the interest of complete disclosure, I will say I never even so much as googled ‘hypothyroid’.. I just started on the pills. For the first two weeks, I was convinced my fiance was going to leave. I would have left. I was a crazy, crazy monster. I cried hysterically over dropping something small, I laughed over sad things, I got angry, I felt fatter than ever before. I ate like crazy, and cried about eating too much. I researched Cipralex and decided all my symptoms were normal. My body was just getting adjusted, so I fought through the hormones. My fiance kept assuring me that everything would be okay, only a few more weeks. Well, I woke up sometime during week 3, and there it was. I felt better. I felt ‘normal’. I remember calling my Mom and telling her I had never felt normal and it was amazing. I cried because I was so happy.

I was on this combination of Cipralex and Synthroid for 6 months. I had a blood test at the 3 month mark and the doctor told me I was fine. I was better than fine, I felt great! I saw the ‘specialist’, or who I happily referred to as my “crazy person doctor” a few times, and he taught me ‘how to cope’. Mostly it was breathing exercises and starting at a single point on a wall until I could calm down. I was calm, I was happy. I didn’t need to breathe deeply because life was beautiful! It was at this stage in the game where I decided I didn’t need Cipralex anymore. In case the story up to this point hasn’t told you, my doctor was very…hands-off, to say the least. Every time I went in, he wrote a new refill prescription, looked me up and down and seemingly noted I still had all four limbs–good to go! I never asked questions, he never asked questions, but things were fine. SO! When I came to the brilliant determination, at 6.5 months in, that I didn’t need Cipralex anymore, I decided to stop them. Yep, on a Sunday evening I decided “I’m not taking these pills anymore. I’m fixed!”, and that was that. (P.s. NEVER do this).

HOLY. CRAP. Now this is going to sound absolutely ridiculous, but throughout the next three or four weeks, I had NO IDEA that what I was feeling was attributed to stopping the Cipralex. I honestly didn’t! You’d think ANY normal person who just went off a ‘psychiatric’ medication (for lack of a better word), would have SOME thoughts on whether that was what was affecting their overall mood/well-being. Nope, I was just pretty sure I was dieing. I could barely lug myself to work in the morning. It was a physical struggle. I was SO tired. I slept in until 7am, made it to work for 8, slept at my desk, and went home to bed. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t even think. This was survival. I was on auto pilot. I had no idea what was going on. I made it into the doctor on week 2 and he gave me a blood test. He never asked me anything, just said “well maybe your thyroid is out of wack again”. I didn’t think to tell him I went off the medication, in all my madness I didn’t think it was relevant. Looking back, I sure was an idiot.

Blood work was normal, doctor never called back. I. Am. Going. Insane! Things eventually mellowed out. I started feeling better, and started using my ‘coping mechanisms’ that I had learned. Everything was good. I was going to be okay..