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..

 

Day 19: Eat all the Food.

Today I am hungry. I want to eat everything in sight.

Last night I dreamt of pizza. Cheesy, meaty pizza. I was only going to eat one slice, and “still be on Whole30”, but next thing you know I was eating the entire pizza, while crying. Is that really what my subconscious thinks of me?

Boo. On the bright side, it’s my Friday 🙂 I will be on the plane in 2 hours from now!

Is it dinner time yet?

-Ashley

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.

IMG_20150125_122827
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?

IMG_20150125_122900
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.

IMG_20150125_122944
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.

untitled

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.

What’s life without sugar?

I don’t like fad diets. They bother me. I’ve heard of the Whole30 before, and brushed it off, because who wants to stop eating bread? No one. And that’s probably why you  need to think about doing it, but that’s besides the point.

Anyways. Since then I clearly changed my mind, and since I’m pretty much half-way done* (Day 4, baby!). My husband is not supportive. All the other blogging chicks are like “Omg! My husband made me compliant chicken for dinner!”, or “Aww..my husband made me this delicious breakfast.” *insert fancy-ass breakfast here*. Not this girl. Nope. In fact, last night during our phone call, and me trying to tell him about how I ate eggs four times yesterday, he said “We’ll go for pizza when you get home.”. NO WE WON’T, HELLO? Then, his exact words were: “This is ridiculous. Just eat some sugar.”  Ummm…you’re ridiculous? OF course (sugar-detox induced or not), this made me cry. Trust me, we do love each other.

Sometimes we are too hard on one another (aka mean). I blame it on us both being Taurus…and the fact that we have not learned how to communicate in a healthy manner yet..but we’re working on it. #blameyourchildhood (hehe)

Long story short, this prompted me into a spiral (as I usually do when upset) of talking too fast and spouting too much information and words that I often question the meaning of, mid-thought.. After a solid week of too-much-research (what did we do before Google?), I felt like a professional, and in that moment it ALL. CAME. OUT. Seriously. I should make an infomercial.

Well what do you know? Now he’s asking questions… “WHY can’t you eat bread?”, “You love cottage cheese. And think of the protein!”. I think he’ll at least pretend to be supportive now, but I wont be expecting any breakfasts.  Whatever, he can eat all the sugar he wants, because after all, WHAT’S LIFE WITHOUT SUGAR?

Overall, the way I see it: it’s one freaking month of the rest of your life. 30 days. What’s the WORST thing that could happen? You are sad and sugar-achey all day for 30 days (which wont happen), or you’re hungry? You wont be hungry. You might be bored of eggs, and miss donuts and cheese, but you wont be hungry. If you’re hungry, eat some nuts, or some steak, or some bacon! Big whoop. Pull yourself together and do something with your life. If nothing else, you’ll learn that you have an inability to follow through with anything (I’m mean, too).

So after we got that bomb outta the way, I felt even better about my plan.

I woke up this morning feeling READY to take on another day. Again, I have a slight headache, but it’s totally liveable. Where’s my detox?!

Instead of telling you about my eggs today, I figured I’d compile a few fun-facts from my short little journey, so far:

  1. I actually am looking forward to black coffee in the morning (weird)
  2. I’m starting to think less about food (amazingly enough). Day-dreaming about the mid-afternoon muffin you’re going to have is not nearly as enjoyable as dreaming about a vegetable stirfry with hard-boiled eggs.
  3. Reading ingredients is interesting and eye-opening. The apple-cinnamon or lemon tea I usually drink in the morning has nine ingredients (?!), one of which is SOYBEAN OIL.
  4. I feel bloated when I eat fruit
  5. I have been sleeping the entire night, which is miraculous considering I usually cant manage to sleep in camp (when’s the last time you slept in a twin sized bed?)

Loveee.

*They need to invent formatting for sarcasm: bold, italic, underlined, sarcastic. Clearly someone missed the memo.

Whole 30: Day 3

I have been toying with the idea of doing daily entries/updates for my Whole30 plan I’ve recently embarked on. But does anyone really want to hear daily about how I eat salad for breakfast, can’t find grass-fed bacon without 75 ingredients, or am so. over. eggs. it hurts? Probably not. Then, when I woke up this morning feeling okay, and searched frantically on Google for other people’s Day 3 symptoms, finding very few matching mine, I had another idea. Maybe the vast majority of you don’t want to hear about my weird little adventure..but I can tell you right now that I’d LOVE to hear about as many people’s Day 3 as I can get my frantically-typing fingers (hands?) on.

I woke up feeling okay. I have a faint headache, but can’t be sure if it’s attributed to the ‘The Hangover’ the Whole30 timeline references, or if it’s a case of ridiculous pressure systems in this crazy province. Can one really be sure? I will tell you one thing though: this is no where near as bad as I expected. I’ve gone low-carb before, cut out bread (and fruits, that time), and the withdrawal symptoms hit me hard. Granted, I was eating a lot worse at that time in my life than I was before started this little endeavor. So I am questioning myself now…where am I going wrong? Is my body using the few pieces of fruit a day I have been consuming as a crutch? Stop it body! You know you have problems when you’re wanting a splitting headache and to feel like absolute garbage..that’s how you know it’s working, right?

Camp food has limited options (for breakfast and lunch especially), so I am really looking forward to the variety I will have when I get home. I plan to pack some snacks, and definitely some lean proteins for my return back. That will save me from eating hardboiled eggs for lunch every day (they also offer assorted lunch meats and bacon for protein sources..but I’m going to go out on a limb and say the camp offerings here are definitely not Whole30 compliant: sugar, nitrates, soy, anyone?).

So, right now, my typical day consists of:

Breakfast: Egg whites with tomato slices and “fruit-of-the-day” on the side (which is either strawberries, blueberries, mangos, or raspberries).

While technically, I’m sure Whole30 would prefer me to eat whole eggs here, and not just the whites, but they make the whites like an omelette (with no fillings), and I’ve grown to love it. It’s like a blank canvas and can be eaten like a crepe with fruit in every bite (I know ..I’m a freak).

Lunch:

Salads, with whatever lunchtime vegetables they offer me that day (with hard boiled eggs)…and usually a banana (because I am a fruit addict, which I am weaning down slowly).

I am lucky enough that I have a mini-kitchen at work. I brought a big bag of vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, onions, carrots and celery) and I’m going to make a veggie stir-fry today (with hard boiled eggs on the side ;)). Can’t waittttt.

Dinner:

Usually they offer two entrée choices which so far I’ve been able to select a plain-looking meat (no sauces!) and lots of delicious vegetables. There is also a salad bar that is far better than anything I would do at home and gives lots of different vinegars and oils to make your own dressing. Go camp! Last night I had two turkey burger patties with mustard, tomato, and lettuce,  a small roasted sweet potato (score), and a salad creation, and an apple for “dessert” (I love apples..).

Snacks:

Whole30 does not encourage snacking, and suggests you consume 3 meals a day (plus pre and post-workout mini-meals). I’m so used to eating 6 or so mini-meals a day that it’s been super difficult for me to stick to this so far.. I’ve decided to give myself a week..and if I’m hungry between meals I will eat a compliant snack:  celery sticks with nut butter and a hard boiled egg, for example..

Anyways, that’s my “only interesting to a very small percentage of the population but I simply don’t care” blog post for the day.

Love!

“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.

1231

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

12323

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