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..

 

Go Home, Thyroid, You’re Drunk..

I think I am getting the flu. My body aches like I can’t explain: it feels like I got hit by a bus. I have had a headache for 9.5 days (yes, I have been keeping track). I never get headaches. Yesterday was the worst. It felt like my body was giving up…my muslces hurt!!! This morning I woke up, expecting to be bed-ridden, but nope, still the same, except now my throat is a bit sore. If you’re coming to play, flu, please come now. I am not interested in prolonging this experience any further. GET OUT OF MY BODY.

On another note, I had a follow-up appointment last week with my Naturopath.

We have determined that I have very low stomach acid production (who knew?), and I am now on supplements. When I say low, I don’t mean low, either. I mean low like “you should only be able to take 2 acid pills max per meal without pain” and I can take 5..no problem.   Now before you roll your eyes (or is that just the old me?), please understand that I used to be anti-“hippie doctor”, too. I thought it was bogus, and people who took oil of oregano made me giggle. But after this thyroid fiasco started,  I began feeling like an 80-year old woman, and my MD said “Get used to it. You’ll be on the medication for the rest of your life”, I decided to burst through my conservative bubble and try it out. Oh boy, I’m glad I did.. he’s awesome. While I’m sure there are some cases that Naturopaths are, in-fact, glorified “hippie doctors”, Dr. M rocks! Everything he says is so logical, hey did you know that low stomach acid means low protein digestion means low amino acid digestion and low mineral availability? And that, combined with the fact that my thyroid is in constant underdrive is probably contributing to my feeling like a bag of poo all the time? OH and probably why my body is holding onto these last 10 pounds like a life raft? DUHH!!! It makes so much sense. Everything he says makes so. much. sense. I love him.

 

Besides that, I got another blood test. He called today with my results, and we chatted for a while (it’s so nice not feeling rushed by a doctor). With the blood results in hand, he thinks my ‘flu’ is actually my thyroid. I’m hoping for the flu…seems more short term.  So what’s up with my thyroid? HAHA good question, I’m not sure it has any idea.

Keep in mind, I am currently on Synthroid, which should, in my non- hippie-doctor’s opinion, be a cure-all treatment (P.S. I hope that’s not politically incorrect, since I’ve now said it three times.. I’m only trying to relate to the old me 😉 )

June 26 Blood Test:

  • Free T3: low, outside normal range (but borderline acceptable)
  • Free T4: low (but acceptable)
  • TSH: okay, but low
  • TPA (Antibody): too high

Based on this, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and given a new medication *supplement* to help faciliate the T4 to T3 conversion (Synthroid is T4). At this stage, I asked for T3, and he told me T3 is only really used by people in body competitions who want to get realllly, realllly lean. Uhh…okay, so can I have T3? No such luck.

Last week’s Blood Test:

  • Free T3: Way too low (almost 1 pmol/L lower than last time)
  • Free T4: Too low, lower than last time (but still borderline acceptable)
  • TSH: much better, within limits
  • TPA: much lower..almost within limits

SO! Based on this, I do NOT have an autoimmune disease, I do NOT have Hashimoto’s. BUT, Hashimoto’s is a sneaky little bugger, and who knows, I could have it next blood test. 😐 Yeah, okay, this sounds dumb…is this a real disease? I still can’t have T3. Today, I will start on a new medication, again, to help facilitate the transition even harder..maybe even FORCE it a bit.

Come on T4, lose a T already, would you?!?! I need to get my energy back, and kick this flu.

Xo

Ashley

 

“I want a burger”

I think that has to be my husband’s favorite text ever.. I’m sure many men dream of sultry texts from their wives, illustrating what’s to come that evening. ..but not mine. Nope, he’s just stoked that burgers are in his near future. That’s his favorite dinner, too (I got lucky), and if I throw on a few pieces of bacon and a fried egg, I win the wife-of-the-hour award…easy peasy.  I wish I could see the smile on his face when he got it.. much better than “chicken breast and salad for dinner”, I’m sure.

Mine will be sans bun, as usual, and maybe I’ll go the “grass-fed, organic, triple the price, local, 100% all-natural, Alberta beef” route.. that would be healthy. 😉

 

Go burgers.

 

P.S. I had a Naturopath appointment last night, and thus have a blood test today…soon… I am diabolically afraid of needles..especially the kinds that stab into my veins. This will also be my first blood test in many, many years where I do not force J to accompany, stand too close for comfort, and allow me to burry my head and nails into his body. He’s the best human stress ball there is. ❤ When I am nervous, I’m kind of like a 10-year old who’s had way too much sugar: hence the burger post.

Finger’s crossed they don’t miss my vein..

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:

samson

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. 😉

 

 

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!