Day 9

I know I said I’d post daily and that was a mighty good plan, however, I am a single mother with a job and law school to contend with.  The past few days have been better, but there have been a few patchy (literally) days in there as well.

Days 4-6 I was up all night itching, scratching and going crazy with anxiety.  I had white bumps, hives and little pink bumps all over.  I can only attribute this to some sort of allergy (probably the uptake in coconut to which I have a mild allergy) or to candida.  I am not a believer in junk science, but I do believe that since I was on a strong antibiotic right before I started my Whole 30 and then I took all the sugar out of my diet that the bacteria in my gut was not the good kind and was manifesting itself as this crazy itch.  Nothing I did would stop it, it was like being bitten all over by mosquitoes.  Finally, I took some of my son’s eczema cream and smeared it every where and slurped down some of his allergy syrup just to get some relief.  I did more research and went and got some pau d’arco tea (anti-fungal herb) and started taking a pro-biotic.  So far, the hives have subsided and the itching has gone down a bit.  It would probably behoove me in the future to not ingest the ungodly amount of sugar that I was shoveling down my pie-hole prior to January 6th.

Aside from the crazy skin problems, I managed through some hectic days, my kill all the things phase interspersed with some toddler tantrums and lived to tell about it.  On Sunday (day 7), I spent  most of the day cooking recipes from Well Fed 2.  Yesterday (day 8), I realized that I didn’t cook any main entrees and was sort of bummed about it.  All that time and only sauces and sides.  And breakfast.  The Sunshine Scramble is divine.  Just sayin’.  I did manage to eat a bowl of ground beef with salsa and an avocado before my first night of class, so I wasn’t completely suffering.

During this Whole 30, I am having to reason with myself more than usual that I can stay on the Whole 30.  It helps to have visual aids like my white board calendar with the 30 days marked up on it to look at.  I also have a print out of Ryan Gossling to remind me that a dinosaur would not eat that.  Something in my brain wants dark chocolate or a glass of wine.  I know its the sugar demon and the stress of starting a new semester all rolled up into a nice little tricky hedonic hunger package.  I will keep saying, “no” and move through this.  I’ve done it two times before, I can do it again.

 

I’ve got a bad case of the Mondays on Wednesday

I am not sure that I should be integrated with the general population.  Everything around me is really stupid, I have no time for it, or I feel completely overwhelmed through my sugar and shit withdrawals.  Seriously.  I know that I ate crap from October 8th to January 5th, but really body?  This sucks.  The weight I gained sucks, the tight feeling in my pants sucks, the angry mood sucks, the headache-it sucks, and the fog in my vision sucks.

I forget when it all gets better, but this is the worst out of the three times I’ve done this.  According to the Whole 30 Timeline, this is normal, but it must be like childbirth where I forgot all the bad parts and once considered doing it all over again because I’m definitely suffering over here.  Really.  I felt so bad yesterday when I picked baby Dean up that I didn’t go anywhere once I got home.  Instead I ate all the things.  I had a sweet potato.  I chomped on some coconut meat.  I ate a steak.  I had half a banana.  I drank soda water.  I ate some more coconut meat.  I sucked down an avocado.  I sat on my ass and watched the Biggest Loser thinking that when I decided to not be fat anymore, that I was as big as one of the girls and that even though I am 50lbs away from my goal that I could be there by the end of this year and that was an obtainable goal.  Even still, I thought about the M&Ms hiding in my cupboard and the luscious leftover holiday beer chilling in my fridge.  I think that the beer will stay, but the M&Ms will have a meeting with the trash can this evening when I get home from the gym.

Day 2, feel my f*ing wrath…

Yeah, it may be too soon, but I have a headache, am now just eating lunch at 3:12 and I feel as though I’ve been walking through a cloud since I woke up.  I really don’t care.  I went and got my hair cut at lunch, came back to bureaucratic emails from my son’s insurance plan, spent about 45 minutes on hold and tried to reset my password, which still wouldn’t log me on and I was very vexed.  Very, very vexed.

Last night, I came home to a lovely stew in my slow cooker.  I am eating that for lunch right now.  This morning (and yesterday,) I had hard-boiled eggs and coffee.  I don’t know why this is so satisfying to me, when a few weeks ago, I’d crave a breakfast sandwich and a diet Dr. Pepper.  I don’t have time for that shit right now though, I have real problems.  I’m starting to freak out about school, not having my house in order, and where in the hell is my writing grade?

Stress.  Need management.  I am going to lift later today, hopefully that will help.  I’m thinking that this may be a journey through my various emotions over the next few weeks as I gear up for school, Dean faces the transition of more time away from me and more with his nanny–plus the added bonus of his terrible twos.  For now, a massage sounds nice since wine is out of the question.

Whole 30, 3.0

Today is Day 1 of my third Whole 30.  I woke up, packed my food for the day, weighed and measured myself and got dressed for work.  It’s strange.  I can stick to this when I set the intention in my mind.  My body wants it.  My mind wants it.  It’s the one weird “diet” that I can see all the way through and feel adamant about and even a little pious.  I get disappointed when people fall wayward to a drink of booze or couldn’t find something to eat while they were out with friends.  It’s not a judgement thing, it’s an “I know it’s possible because I’m a broke single mom who works full time and goes to law school and I’ve done it twice” thing.  If anyone has no time, its me.  If anyone has no money, it’s me.  If anyone needs a drink, it’s me.  Seriously friends, you will feel good after you finish feeling like crap.  You will feel good after you have said no to that glass of wine, or vodka soda or gingerbread latte or brownie.  I promise.  Why?  Because it’s only 30 days of your entire life that you are saying no.  You are getting all the anti-inflammatory, gut wrenching foods out just for one month.

What am I doing differently this time?

1. Usually, I take it easy on the exercise for the first week, but this time I am not.  I am doing a 10k in April and I need to start training for that, so I have a lot of work out plans that I am committed to.  I am lifting two times a week and running three times a week.  I am going to derby on Sundays.  I may add a cross fit in there because it’s offered at my YMCA, but I need to discuss changing my work schedule with my boss first so I can work from home on Thursday mornings.  I’m thinking that this regimen will help me through some of those sugar cravings, because one of the things that was different about my second W30 is that I wasn’t doing derby and I was working out on my own, which left me unaccountable–going to derby once a week with my law school schedule is tough because I feel like I have more to prove physically to keep up my end of the bargain.

2. I will post my food and workouts daily.

That’s all I have on the plate for this round.  I’m pretty excited to see my results in February.  My results last time were better than the first, but during finals and the holidays, I gained back my 10lbs, plus a few more, putting me at 8lbs. over where I was when I moved to San Antonio.  I have a serious case of the post-holiday muffin top/gut bloat to work off.  Here I go…

End of the Year Reflections

Well, I did two Whole 30s this year.  I ended my second about two weeks before Halloween, and then went on a candy binge.  That was no good.  I have been so consumed with trying to settle in (we moved to San Antonio in August), complete my first semester of law school, start a new job, and raise my child single-handedly  that I haven’t been giving much credence to my food.  In realizing this, I understand how I got to the point of weighing so much.

My mantra lately has been one word–stop. Last night, I bought some pants because they were cute.  Although my current pants have been tight, I did not get a larger size as I would have a few years ago.  I have decided the best thing to do is just “stop.”  When things are going bad, I have learned to just stop.  When I am not understanding something, I now just stop.  When anything is happening that I want to change, I just stop.  I’m not talking about quitting.  I’m talking about not continuing in the same way.  Stop and reflect, start where you are.  That kind of thing.   For some reason, it works for me and next time I go to buy pants, it will be because I need smaller ones.

I am vacationing next week and I’m pretty darn excited about not having to do anything for a whole seven days.  Nothing.  Of course, there is little Dean, but other than that, there is no house to clean, nothing to distract me, etc.  Rum drinks in San Juan.  That is my goal.  When I get back, there will be some sewing, sorting through photo albums, and little projects I have been neglecting to tend to before I gear up for semester two and start off way more prepared than I did in August.  I know that there will be a group of people starting a Whole 30 on January 6, so Dino Noms will ride again…armed with a CSA membership and a few new appliances.  Did I mention my new apartment has a dishwasher?

Nutritional Off-roading

So day 32 rolled around and I still really wasn’t craving anything, but I went ahead and indulged in some Indian food because I had planned to ahead of time.  For the next couple of days, I had Italian, a cupcake, a milk shake and a blizzard.  I also ate a po-boy.  The sugar killed me.  Literally sick to my stomach, thought I was going to get a cavity shitty sweet.  The bread gave me gas and the milk gave me the shits.  I learned that when you are done, do the induction phase.  Seriously.  I’ve been walking around with a saccharin headache for the past two days.  I can’t say any of it was worth it…and I gained a pound back.  Just one, but that’s enough to put me back on track.

Today, I packed all three meals and brought them with me since I will be here until 10 pm tonight.  There is nothing worse than being hungry and having to eat food that literally makes you sick.  I am back to setting goals for myself, including a whole new plan for the remaining six weeks that I am home, which is a mostly paleo menu which utilizes what is already in my house.  My goal is to use up what I have and not waste anything when it comes time to move.  This will also save me money since I will only be shopping for produce.

Day 31!

I completed my Whole 30 yesterday.  Do I feel amazing?  Do I feel like a different human being?  Look, it’s not a miracle.  It’s not a cure.  It’s a reset.  It’s a journey into nutritional consciousness.  It’s not a lose weight quick with another Adkins-like rendition of paleo.  It’s removing all the crap from your daily eating habits and assessing your health.  Not just your physical health, but your mental health. Although it is not a miracle, it will change your life.

whole30

What did I learn physically?

I learned that I can eat and feel full without snacking.  I learned that my body will take me where I want to go if I trust it to let me know what it needs.  I learned that I do not need to carb load before a running event or a skating event–that a sweet potato, some healthy fat and a couple of hard boiled eggs will do me just fine.  I also learned to rely on water.  Most of the time when I was hungry or foggy, it was because I was dehydrated.

Did I mention that I haven’t had any allergies this spring?  It’s like all of my spring time mucus is extinct.

I also learned that PMS is fueled by inflammation and that if I cut these awful foods out of my diet, I didn’t feel like I was going to kill someone…although I did feel like I was going to bleed to death and got very, very emotional.

What did I learn mentally?

I learned to eat mindfully.  I learned that much of my eating was out of being bored, anxious or emotional about something.  I also learned that I could say no to things like cupcakes, diet Dr. Pepper, pizza, sour cream, whipped topping and sugar in general.  I learned that if a food popped into my head that I didn’t have to make room for it on my plate.   I also learned to push myself.  Most importantly, I learned that I was in control.  Just of myself.

Finished-the-Whole30-LARGE

Other things I learned:

-Paleo is a privileged place to be.  I spent a lot of time and money at the grocery store.  I bought about 5 lbs. of meat a week, but produce really killed me.  Also things like ghee, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flakes, and nuts add up very quickly.  I might add that I’m a single mother living on a very tight budget and I made it through this with careful planning and some sacrifice because it was important to me.

-You have to be prepared and plan ahead.  I was constantly flipping through cookbooks based on ingredients I had (thank you indexes), looking at other blogs, and making lists for the week.  I would start with a few different kinds of meat, a few sides and go from there.  I then pre-packed my meals 1 and 2 for the work week, leaving meal 3 in bulk for plating.  I also made sauces and dressings for the week, because trying to find a sugar-free, non-seed oil laden salad dressing or dipping sauce is virtually impossible.

-Everything in the store is bad for you.  Stick to the meat and produce sections.  Seriously.  If you foray into the middle aisles, you will just be disappointed as you read label after label—soy, sugar, carrageenan,  dairy, etc.  I could not find one brand of bacon that did not have sugar.  Not even the local kind that the paleo food truck sells in its dishes is technically paleo or whole 30 safe.  Tuna has soy in it most of the time, so check before you buy.  Even spices are suspect.  It is really a wake up call to how our society eats and why we are so fat.

-There is no “good” time to do this.  Life happens every single day.  I chose to do this at the end of an academic year, as a higher education professional.  Duh.  I went to at least three parties where cupcakes were being served.  I attended dinners where I had to order off the menu, a staff breakfast where I had to beg the lady at the counter for hard boiled eggs to go with my fruit, a pizza dinner where I ordered a chicken salad, a mother’s day dinner at a seafood restaurant located between two cupcake places, a roller derby road trip, and a day at the Indy 500–not to mention Memorial Day weekend.  In spite of all these tempting “occasions,” I reminded myself that health is an every day occasion.  It’s only 30 days.  Only.  All of that crap will be there when those 30 days are over.  It’s likely that when you get to day 31, you will still think about that crap but none of it will be anything that you actually want to eat.

-Dishes.  I have never done so many dishes.  I have posted about this in my journal entries.  I want to reiterate that the next time I do a Whole 30 (scheduled for September after I move back to Texas,) I will have a dishwasher.

Take Aways

1. I am not afraid to share my food with baby Dean.  He loves coconut flakes on his strawberries and bananas, he likes beef fajitas, and he steals fennel out of my pork and fennel stew and shouts, “mmmm” as he mashes it between his four front teeth and gums.  I don’t wonder if any of this is good for him.  I don’t feel bad for sharing it with him.  I feel good for being a good example and raising him on whole foods and a clean diet.  I can’t eat like I did before and later tell him that he can’t have any of what I’m having because it’s not good for him.  There is more than dietary wealth in doing this and all parents should think about that before they indulge in spite of themselves.

steamed-fish

2. The mental picture of steamed fish is often strong enough to remind me that I’m not always hungry.  I’m starving for companionship, knowledge, and humanity instead.  Instead, I text or call a friend, go for a run or walk, read a book or an article, and make a list of all the things I would like to do in my lifetime.  Not a bucket list, but an experiential knowledge list.  I’m not going to learn anything by sky diving because I already know that I’m terrified of heights and that gravity is in fact a thing.  What can I learn by doing?  In any case, once I’m on a roll, it takes out the need to eat out of boredom.

Results

Weight: -8.6 lbs.
Inches: 11 total

I wasn’t sure how much to expect to lose.  I did lose a pants/dress size.  I went from a 16 to a snug 14.  I haven’t worn a size 14 since 1997 and even then, it was questionable.  To date, I have lost 41.9 lbs. this year and 62.2 since having Dean last April.  I am exactly where I was when I moved to Houston 10 years ago, except for one size smaller.  I’m about four pounds away from my second 10% goal and 55 lbs. away from my overall goal.

I will say this.  I ate more enjoyable whole foods over the past 30 days than when I was losing weight using fake sugar, low-fat, processed foods.  I also ate more food.  I certainly ate more fat.  Guess what?  I still lost weight.

What now? 

I have to admit that I feel a little lost.  No rules?  Oh my gosh!

The truth is that as much as I like a bunch of wrong for me stuff, I don’t really want any of it.  I feel like I’ve worked so hard to get here, to this 30 day mark that I don’t want it to be in vain.  All the dishes, all the cooking, all the shopping, all the bringing my own stuff to staff retreats and eating before parties.  This was not easy.  Making new habits never are.  I can think of one thing I want.  Chicken Tikka Masala.  I don’t want rice, I don’t want naan.  Am I going to eat it?  Yes.  Can I eat this and not feel like I wasted everything?  Absolutely.  To make it easier, when I want to deviate, I will use this Nutritional Off-Roading process chart to help me make my decision.

The upcoming challenges I face are daunting.  I have a divorce I’ve been trying to finalize for nearly 18 months, I am trying to move to Texas to attend law school, I’m working in a job that I am not fond of and I’m barely making rent.  In trying to discern what food was going to look like for the next several weeks while I am trying to not spend any money, I took an inventory of all the food in my house and devised a six-week menu plan.  Not everything on it is paleo, but everything is whole, not fake, not processed, gluten-free, etc.  Except for that frozen pizza in the deep freezer downstairs…  So my next challenge is to use only the items currently in my pantry, only purchasing produce for the next six weeks.  I have already gone through the list, the cookbooks and made the plan–now for the interesting part of following it…

I know that I want to do another Whole 30, but I’m going to wait until I relocate, start a new job and settle into law school for at least two weeks.  I’ve already got September 3-October 2 scheduled into my calendar.