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.

Where have you been all my life?

On Saturday we went to get takeout Vietnamese food (Yesssss, salad rolls!!). While we were waiting for the food, we decided to take a stroll through some of the stores in the little strip mall. There was a used sporting store next door that we’ve never been in so we decided to pop in and take a look. Oooh there were so many things (I’m a stickler for good deals..so cheap stuff is my forte). After a bit of browsing and grabbing a new ball for the dogs (we can’t go anywhere without getting them something), I stumbled across the rollerblade aisle!

I’ve always wanted to try rollerblading, but I am not really one to stick with hobbies (guilty…). I usually give up pretty quickly for one reason or another. For this reason, my Mom was never big into buying me sporting goods when I was younger.  The first pair of rollerblades I saw were my size (I have GIGANTIC feet, so this was quite the find). I was laughing with my fiance about my feet, and asking him if he thought I’d be a pro now that I’m a ‘grown up’… They have the store set up so you can try everything out inside, on carpet.. Next thing you know I had my foot stuffed into this rollerblade and I was skating around the store with one shoe, one rollerblade. Eeeeeeek! This is EASY, I kept saying.

Jamie made me put the other rollerblade on before I jumped to that conclusion. As I laced them up, I could feel my feet getting comfy in the soft boots. They fit SO perfectly. It was like they were made for me (or already broken in by someone else’s stinky feet..hehe). I did up the buckles and off I went, cruising through the store. It was remarkably “easy” for me to catch on–especially being my FIRST time ever on rollerblades. Funnnnnn!!! I was so excited.

Enter: Salesman:

“Those are a great deal for $35, you know! You should try them outside on the sidewalk!”

So, looking back at Jamie with my confident, goofy smile, I headed for the door. SOLD! I came back inside and Jamie was picking out pads for me (which I argued that I clearly did not need!). We walked out after 20 minutes with a dog ball, rollerblades,  and wrist/elbow/knee pads–all for under $100!!!!!

We grabbed dinner, went home, ate fast, and I headed out to the road!

DAY 1: I can’t explain how much fun it was! I can’t believe I haven’t tried this before! I am ABSOLUTELY hooked!!!!! I had one major wipeout from being a little too confident…haha

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Day 2: No falls! Granted I drove to the smooth biking path near our house and focused only on this area..

Day 3: Tried to venture to mentioned path on rollerblades from home..bad idea. Wipe out number 2 on the EXACT same area of my leg… Come on!!  Now it really hurts..and is swollen (?!) but I’m not giving up.. haha

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Anyways, long story short: I LOVE ROLLERBLADING!!!! I am SO excited that I found a form of exercise that I truly love. I mean, the gym is okay and it makes me feel good when I leave, but I always have to drag myself there. This is definitely my new cardio!

 

 

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.. 🙂