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Found 7 results

  1. quiltbabe

    Arriving at Day 30

    So here I am - on Day 30 of my first Whole30. The sole goal I set was to lower my average blood glucose level (type II diabetic here). That goal has not only been met, but so much more has happened! What worked: - Blood glucose average dropped about 30 points. Still not quite where I'd like it, but an incredible improvement. - 500% increase in energy, from the start of the second week on. - Skin glowing, hair and nail growing like weeds (downside: paying for haircuts more often, lol). - More restful, restorative sleep. - Increased ability to focus at work, particularly through what used to be the "afternoon slump". - Between meal hunger disappeared. - Ankles no longer swell. - Clothes fit much better - in some cases, they no longer fit at all! - Significant weight loss - without really trying, without being hungry all the time, without feeling "deprived". I've not been on the scale :), but I'm guessing about 15 - 20 pounds. Only a couple of downsides: - As a single, I've rarely cooked all three meals a day for more than a couple of days in a row. It's been much too easy to run through a drive through to pick up breakfast or dinner. I'm a good cook, just lazy, lol. Preparing three meals a day for thirty days - yikes, the time it took, especially in the first two weeks as I worked on changing those habits. - Dishpan hands. Seriously. I do have a dishwasher, but don't put the pots and pans and cooking implements in it. Since I generally needed those things again very quickly, a portion of all prep time was immediately washing things so they were ready for the next set of cooking. What I'd do differently: I decided on a Friday to start on Monday, which didn't give a lot of time to prepare. Next time (and I plan to start again the first week of January), I'll be sure to do much more advance cooking and freezing. Compliant soups and burgers, cooked and diced chicken to put on salads, perfect sausage cooked and packaged for breakfast hash. Not to mention hard boiling at least a couple of dozen eggs (thank heaven for InstantPot!). While I'd put the non-compliant pantry food in a box in the back of the pantry, I'd not gone through the spice cupboard to take a look at the ingredients on the blends (ended up mixing my own poultry seasoning at the last minute because my jar had sugar as an ingredient). Time to go through and at least clearly mark which ones are compliant, which are not, and decide whether or not to keep the noncompliant around. So overall... Other than the work involved in planning (and dicing, and cooking, and cleaning...), at which I became more efficient as the days went by, I found the program surprisingly easy. Beginner's luck? The results were certainly worth the work involved. More than that, I think the way I view food, along with my eating habits, have undergone a permanent shift. Here's to healthy eating!
  2. Pop tarts. Peanut butter toast. Pancakes. All just part of my standard breakfast choices. Quick, easy, and, I thought, satisfying. After a 12 hour shift at the hospital with one meal break, I would not only feel hungry but physically crave McDonald’s. After all, it would just be a “light snack” before I lay down to sleep shortly after arriving home. You know—“light” as in just a medium fry and small mocha frappe…but inevitably that middle-of-the-night indigestion would make me sit upright in bed until the burning subsided. Then I started to realize my XL hospital scrubs were getting too tight, and when I would sit in my chair at work, I was resting my arms on my belly. Alarm bell—my SCRUBS are too tight!! Alarm bell--Looking down one day, I realized my belly stuck out further than my boobs. And my boobs aren’t small. Ladies, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about! Even if you don’t notice it as you’re sitting down, it suddenly strikes you when you glance at a casual photo that someone snapped. Thus, I entered the “contemplation” phase of acknowledging there was a problem but not sure what to do about it. A friend on Facebook “liked” the Whole30 page causing it to appear on my newsfeed. I had heard of Whole30 long ago, was mildly aware of some of its elements and then promptly forgot about it. At different times in my life I have delved into the packaged diet food home delivery system. It was successful (lost 25 pounds), but was too expensive to sustain long term and I was always eating separately from my family. Other times I was determined to count Points, so paid my monthly on-line fee for the privilege of obsessing and stressing over what each food “cost me”, until eventually I was just paying the fee and not actually counting Points—which stressed me more. So when I clicked on the link that was generated by my friend’s “like”, I casually read through the info on First I was surprised at the amount of information they were providing on-line for FREE! What? The common sense encouragement and the nobody’s-perfect-but-here’s-why-we-want-you-to-do-your-best style of information drew me in. I purchased the Kindle version of It Starts With Food to learn a little more. The price of an e-book wasn’t much to lose in order to learn more. The information in that book made sense, was an easy read and appealed to my nurse-mind sensibilities. After looking at an Amazon sample of the Whole30 book, I decided it, too, was worth a few more dollars to research further. Everything I read made sense, the recipes in the book were simple with easily accessible ingredients and my For Real planning began. This, now, was the Preparation/Determination phase that Whole30 references. Here’s the honest part: I didn’t experience extreme highs and lows once I started. I didn’t get constipated, didn’t bite off anyone’s head due to lack of sugar. I also did not suddenly get “energy through the roof” or “get the best sleep of my life”, “feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life” during the second week of the program. What I DID experience early on was the ease of the program. It was full of absolutes which were easy to follow—none of THIS, but plenty of THAT. Recipes that my family has also enjoyed along with me. When I say ease of the program, I’m not referring to the ease in finding sugar-free food. I was incredibly surprised at how many foods had added sugar and until I came to terms with that, my trips to the grocery store took a looooong time. My recent visit (on Day 25) consisted of going straight to the vegetable and meat aisles for what I needed and was a MUCH shorter trip! As part of true confessions, I probably did not eat as many vegetables with each meal as the authors describe, but it was a heck of a lot more than previously. And some days of poor planning before heading to work resulted in ordering the Fresh Fruit Entrée from the cafeteria. I chose not to feel guilty but, rather, felt proud that I was thinking of a fruit plate as “junk food”! My biggest success food-wise? When I had just enjoyed a sweet, crunchy handful of plain almonds for a snack at work when a co-worker came along and ate a couple. “Yuk! They’re not salted! Why would you EAT those?” Yet, I had just been thinking how amazing it was that I was noticing the sweetness of the plain nut! Another up-side of this? Your co-workers won’t steal your snack! Tomorrow is Day 30. After-planning is in effect. I’m looking forward to creamer in my morning coffee and plan to use store-bought mayonnaise in my egg salad (sorry—I just can’t with homemade mayo!). Keeping unhealthy carbs out of my breakfast and continuing with my Fast Food boycott remains in my plan. As I look back at this past month I realize I HAVE been sleeping through the night (without indigestion) and waking earlier—many times a little before my alarm. I have a bad habit of sitting with my legs curled under me and I have now noticed that when I stand up, I am no longer hobbling for a few steps while my joints unbend. I am pulling the strings of my scrub pants tighter and my scrub top hangs free instead of binding at my middle. Non-Scale Win? When my daughter asks if I have new yoga pants or were they the old ones that used to be skin tight—it felt great to reply that they were the old ones. I will admit that completing with my first Whole30 is a little scary. Will I go on a crazy binge after I get a taste of sugar again? I think not. I started out the month having to physically turn away from the food commercials on TV and, truthfully, if I look at a Pop Tart today, I can taste the sweetness on my tongue. This is not unlike the cravings of a drug addict, for whom I have a new empathy. Right now, despite knowing the sweetness that could be mine, my second thought is of how it wouldn’t be worth it. So, much like a Half Way House for addicts, I will continue to work toward healthy eating and control. I don’t like the thought of having food control me again. I pray that I can maintain self-control and respect for what food can do FOR me, rather than TO me. No matter where you are on your journey, I wish you the best! Carol
  3. Chante710

    55 and feelin' Alive!

    Whole30 almost done, Wow, what a Journey! People don't usually believe me when I tell them I am 55 because I have tried to watch what I eat and exercised regularly for a long time. However, I was not happy as I looked in the mirror and I also had gut problems and could not figure out why, I was vegan for goodness sake! Enter the Military Diet. I wanted to lose that last 5-7 stubborn lbs. before my birthday July 10 of this year. If you don't know what the Military Diet is Google it. It's 3 days of drastic calorie cutbacks with an ice cream reward at the end of each day. You will lose weight! And NO! I do not recommend it, not anymore after my Whole30 has only 1 more day to go! After I dropped the weight in 3 days and returned to eating my regular, moderate vegan diet the weight came right back in 2 days! Yep! I realized it had to be the carbs, because except for the ice cream you eat virtually no carbs. That led me to researching low carb eating, which led me to Paleo and then.....ahhhhhhhh Whole30! I saw it at my local bookstore and then went back and bought it! I decided then and there to start and not delay. I started July 18th. I also read ISWF during my Whole30. During the Whole 30 I felt.....really tired at the beginning. I felt impatient. I felt angry. I felt exhilarated because I love the adventure of cooking and new ways of eating and taking care of my health. I felt anxious about being able to keep up with all the cooking. I felt discouraged because I didn't know how I would tell my family and friends I didn't want to eat at certain restaurants. I felt empowered when I said "No, thanks!" and I really felt all set and that I wasn't missing out. I felt sad because I knew that sugar was not my friend and this journey was proving it. I felt so dang proud of myself because EVERYTHING I was putting in my mouth was whole and wholesome and yummy and healing and delicious! Now that I am finishing I plan to continue. I plan to see my stomach continue to heal. I plan to cook more delicious meals. I plan to snack smartly and watch how much sugar (fruit) I eat and not go for Larabars, etc. (they are NOT my friends). I plan to see my hair continue to look amazing as it thrives on having more good fats and healthy proteins and carbs in my diet instead of the No Oil Plant based diet I was on that was starving my poor hair and skin! I plan to embrace 55 with a new passion. I plan on sharing this way of life (in moderation) with my family and friends. I plan on going to CrossFit one day and I plan on laughing out loud and say a silent thanks to Whole30 when they ask me the question I love to give the answer to...."How Old Did You Say You Were?!?"
  4. WholeReese902

    Forever Changed

    My paleo journey began over a year ago when I suddenly discovered that wheat was making me ill. I immediately eliminated it from my diet and the changes to my digestion and disposition were almost instant. No more chronic heartburn, no more gas and bloating, no more painful cramping and diarrhea for no apparent reason. No more intense mood swings or PMS. After a few months I was happily adjusted to my new life as a “gluten-free†person, so I sat back and waited for my body to change. Having made such a huge change to my eating habits, I expected the pounds would just float away. They didn't. This was happening against a backdrop of body image, weight management, and disordered eating issues that had plagued me for as long as I could remember. Throughout my childhood, adolescence, and early twenties this was the primary battle of my life. I hated my body and my body hated me. By my late twenties I knew this needed to change, so I devoted much of my time and emotional energy to tackling the underlying issues that had led to this internal conflict. I made huge, life-changing progress. I stopped chronically “dieting†and finally just learned to accept myself. Then, when I found paleo, things finally clicked. It was unexpected, but I realized that it wasn't until I starting eating to care for myself and my body that it became truly impossible to hate myself. How could I hate my body while eating to nourish, love, and care for it? The two could just not exist in the same space. Any last remnant of unhealthy self-criticism or shame simply dissolved. But while the mental and emotional battle had been won, the physical battle was still raging. It turned out that living life in a cycle of bingeing and purging had wreaked havoc on my system. Despite cutting out all wheat products, decreasing other grains and processed foods, and increasing vegetables and healthy fats, the composition of my body stayed exactly the same as when I was bingeing on bowls of cheesy pasta and junk food. That didn't make sense to me. It was frustrating. I had finally accepted my body but knew for the sake of health that I needed to lean down. I began to think I had a thyroid problem. Pursuing that particular avenue was like falling head first down the rabbit hole into wonderland. Confusing. More frustrating than ever. Then a friend who really DID have a thyroid problem told me about Whole30. Of course I'd heard of it in the paleosphere, so I dove right in to see what all the fuss was about. I consumed It Starts With Food like I used to consume Doritos—with great enthusiasm and like I couldn't get enough. I would get so excited while reading the book that I couldn't read it before bed or I wouldn't fall asleep. My heart would race like I'd had too much coffee. THIS. WAS. IT. The mental preparation I did leading up to Day 1 was intense. I entered my Whole30 with a steely and unmovable resolve. But just as important was the preparation I did in my kitchen! If you aren't prepared to cook for yourself, you aren't prepared to eat whole food! Then, as the days rolled by, it was just like everyone said. Hard in the beginning, then….magic. The sleep was the best part. There's no way to describe it other than delicious. For the first time in my life I would put my head on the pillow and be OUT and stay out. For the first time in my life I didn't become overwhelmingly sleepy in the afternoon. I could walk for hours without aching feet and legs. I could rise above the gossip at work because my mood was so positive. And finally, finally, finally, I could feel my body changing. By the second week my pants were baggy. By the third week I could barely keep them up. Even after washing and drying them on hot! And was that a collar bone I just saw in the mirror? I went for a total of 37 days. I fumbled the re-introduction (see that post under OOPS!), but still considered myself wildly successful. It wasn't until after a week of re-intro that I decided to take my “after†pics. I wasn't in a hurry. I knew I looked different, but not that different, right? WRONG. What I saw in my pics truly surprised me. To see the physical manifestation of my hard work and self-love was overwhelming to the point that tears ran down my face. The grand total of my weight loss was 15 pounds in 37 days. I've certainly lost more (and faster) in the past. But this was weight loss for the sake of health, and it was sustainable. Besides, it wasn't about the number itself. It was about the fact that this was the first time in my life that I'd ever lost weight without pills, compulsive exercise, starvation, or any form of self-harm. Essentially, it was the first time I'd treated my body as something to love instead of something to punish. My body had done it on its own. Naturally. Healthfully. I had wondered for years if that was even possible. I'm not sure I can ever truly put into words the significance of this change. But I know I'll be forever grateful to Dallas and Melissa and this community for their support. The best part is, this is only the beginning. Who knows where this journey will ultimately take me? Wherever that may be, I know I'll be healthy when I get there. J
  5. Four days ago I introduced myself, a Baby Boomer, on Day 27. Here I am -- and here's how I've done -- and I'm going to keep going. I started out at 185.2 pounds, though, since I had really started almost everything three days before (all I had included was yogurt and Stevia in my coffee), I was probably higher. I know that I was at least 189 two weeks earlier. Today I am at 172.2 pounds. I'm a little disappointed, since I was hoping to be less than 169.6, which I was two years ago this month on Weight Watchers, before I "lost it." But I have to remember that I had been concentrating on weight loss since February at that time. But really, that's still 13 pounds and probably more, in 30 days. My measurements on the first day of my Whole30 were 45" chest, 43 1/4 waist, 40" hips. Now they are 42.5" chest, 40" waist and 39" hips. Not where I want to be, but still very significant. You can see in my photos that the most noticeable difference is that I don't stick out so much in front anymore. I've been calmer. I sleep better, and I'm far more focused. I don't know if it's the discipline of paying attention to what I eat, or it's a placebo effect, but that last change is a big and important difference to me, and I'm going to watch to see how that progresses. Looking at how I did, I think that I had allowed myself too many fruit, and was not as mindful as I could have been about my portions and when I ate, and I threw on the coconut oil and ghee with probably a little too much abandon. But still, I felt good and I had almost no cravings at all, so this is a good and sustainable (and very enjoyable) way to live. I announced in my Introduction that I'm planning to do a "Whole100." I'm going to write about that in a separate blog on the post-Whole30 thread. Here's to my next 70 days --- and I wish everyone else continued success.
  6. Hi everyone, I am on day 31 today and did 30 days with no slip ups! I had so many benefits. - At the beginning, I was off my depression medication for 2 months and was starting to feel like I may need to go back on again. After a week on the whole 30, I was in a happy mood and balanced all the time. I suddenly loved work again and didn't mind all the little things. I think this is my biggest benefit! - My skin is clearer. - My eczema is reduced. -psoriasis disappeared on scalp - My nails are no longer brittle, they are strong. - The dark circles under my eyes are gone. (My brother kept telling me I looked old, honest right, and he was right, now they are gone, and I look amazing!) - The fog/cloud I always had over me is lifted! - My energy levels have skyrocketed! - My blood sugar is always stable, I'm never hungry until meal time and I thought I was one of those people that had to have 6 meals a day to keep it stable. - I wake up without my alarm clock ready to take on the day - My belt was on loop #1 and now I can go to loop #2 - The fat pants I was wearing, I can pull the jeans and dress pants over my hips without unzipping. They are so saggy and not wearable. - Pants are fitting me that didn't - I lost 6.7 lbs. (Honestly I look like I've lost 12-15, so I was surprised by the scale, but wonder if the body composition changed. Honestly I don't care that It's not 12-15, just glad I feel great and lost some!) In contrast I haven't been able to get the scale to move in a long time, so my metabolism is back. So these are all amazing changes. There are a couple of other things going on this month that I'll still have to experiment with/work on: - Relaxation- I've had a bit of a neck issue creep up right around the starting time of this. I've always had a neck issue but go to the chiropractor once a month. Finally, it's almost better after adjustments every couple days for the last 3 weeks. Now I'm to 3-4 days in between the adjustments. - Eggs or tree nuts or coconut oil? - I did noticed one negative effect of the whole 30 and that is that when I ran (did so about 7 times on the whole 30), I would start wheezing each time and my breathing was more difficult. For some history I do have asthma but take allergy shots for spring allergies, dust, dander and cats. I have no known food allergies, but will find out when I re-introduce. I'm waiting to reintroduce yet until I get some advice on the situation. It's ironic the wheezing started and now I need my inhaler each time I run, when I never did before for the last couple of years. It's rare I do. Well guess what I never ate eggs hardly ever before the whole 30. I always had a breakfast smoothie. I read up this weekend that dairy and eggs are one of the biggest triggers of mucous production in asthma and eggs can be an allergen that can cause food sensitivity or allergies in people. Before whole 30= no eggs to 1 or 2 a week, during whole 30= 2-3 eggs a day. So as of today now I'm cutting those out. And I love my whole 30 mayo recipe, but I'm thinking I should cut it all out for a month. That being said should I start today to cut out the eggs and try it and then in a month reintroduce. In the mean time should I wait a week or so before starting the 10 day prescribed reintroduction plan of grains, gluten free grains, dairy and legumes just to get the eggs out of my system. I'll know if I go running and I don't wheeze that the eggs are likely causing it. I could add them back in in a month and see what happens, just getting them out of the system for a month. Thoughts? Also, I don't think Tree nuts are the issue as I've eaten them prior to whole 30 and didn't have the wheezing so I'd like to start with eggs first. Also I think coconut oil now too as I never ate this prior to whole 30 and got diarreah a couple times after a mass amount of it in curry and then my mom informed me that my dad has an allergy to coconuts and gets pretty severe allergies and hives when he eats it. Wish my mom would have told me. This being said, I feel like the egg thing or wheezing is important but I feel like the benefits far outweigh this. And is it possible to have the egg or coconut sensitivity and still see all these benefits? That is confusing. I'm a little disappointed that the wheezing thing cropped up. Could it be from having no grains? But I'm far happier I'm experiencing all these other benefits. What's interesting without the anxiety/depression you'd think the asthma would be so much better. Would you cut coconut and oils out the same time and wait a month and reintroduce them? Maybe in a week could I start reintroducing the 10 day plan? Thanks, I'm super excited for these changes and will continue on. I'm finally figuring out some bodily triggers. Laura
  7. February 2013 was the worst month of my life, in recent memory. February was not a self-contained little month of Awful, but by the time the giant snowball of Suck was rolling down the mountain last month, it finally triggered an avalanche and I just…lost it. I'm going to back up and tell a longer story. Because my journey to health began a few years ago, and it's been a bumpy ride to March 31, 2013. Before I ever started working out or eating healthy, I weighed almost 230 pounds, and was busting out of a size 16. In January of 2009 – six months before my 30th birthday - I got serious about losing weight and getting in shape. Over the next two years, I dropped almost 75 pounds and started lifting weights. In May 2011 I finished a half marathon and ran nine minute miles the entire way. I was in the best shape of my life. But things for me started heading south in 2011, when I let things slide after my half. I had recently watched somebody I really cared for move away from Chicago, and I was depressed. I started eating to make myself feel better, and I lost track of how much progress I had made over two years, and long before that relationship even became a factor. I just lost myself. Since then, it's been a mixed bag of healthy lifestyle opportunities and poor choices. I started playing roller derby last year, and fell in love with a sport I never dreamed I would play. I've continued to eat clean in fits and starts over the years, but so many unacceptable habits started to creep back in over time – French fries, Coke, pastries, burritos as a regular dinner option – and finally it reached a tipping point in February, when I was in the corner store buying smokes and Cokes. I was a smoker before I got into shape, and I knew if smokes and Cokes were back, that things were in a dire place. Smokes and Cokes were an indication that I wasn't coping, at all, with other things in my life – that my depression and anxiety had reached such alarming levels that I was relying on old coping mechanisms to manage it. I doused an entire pack of cigarettes in water that night, and tossed them in the trash, crying. For the last year, everyone has been saying “oh, your pants aren't fitting because of roller derbyâ€. Uh, no. My pants weren't fitting because I was going out with teammates for burritos at 10:00 at night, or swinging through Wendy's alone, after late practices. Photos were the clearest indicator, to me, that things were going south - people in my family gain in our faces first, and there was no denying that I was packing the pounds back on. I looked ashen, and bloated. My chin and jawline had melded into one. The laundry list of maladies that accompanied my poor nutritional choices is full of your usual poor health behaviors - I wasn't sleeping well, I was irritable, and I was depressed because I could see the progress I had worked so hard to make slowly slipping away. The depression started to infiltrate everything – I felt incapable, in every area of my life. When you stop to contemplate all of this, I guess it's no wonder I spent two weeks on my couch last month, barely able to put on a pair of pants, much less be a productive, functioning member of society. I knew something had to change. A teammate of mine had been tossing around the notion of doing a Whole30 on Facebook, so I looked into the program, and asked her about it. I've been curious about the Paleo trend for the last few years, and this sounded like an opportunity to try it out – it was only 30 days, and I could get a sense for what doing this in the long-term would entail. And – for me – the discussion had shifted to whether it was time to go on medication for anxiety, but I wanted to try and right my ship on my own, before I investigated those measures. The Whole30 sounded like an opportunity to detoxify, and see if it helped with any of the issues plaguing me. For the Whole30 I set two major goals - eat breakfast every morning, and monitor my moods and note where/when/why I began feeling stressed or anxious. So I joined two of my teammates – another girl decided to give this a go, too – and we started on March 1. The three of us joined a Facebook group comprised mostly of roller derby girls from all over the country who were doing Whole30, and instantly became part of a community sharing resources to support each other. I found Juli Bauer's hilarious website, and her Meat Crust Quiche. Accomplishing Goal #1 instantly felt easier. The first few days were rough. I felt like I had gone out drinking every night, when I first woke up during that initial week. I had terrible hangover headaches. I was irritable. I had no energy. I took a whole week off from roller derby and the gym – there was no way I could sustain the level of intensity derby demanded (imagine playing full contact football on roller skates), and lifting a weight sounded about as appealing as running into a wall face first. The food dreams were un-real, and kept up almost throughout my Whole30. Those – while oftentimes pretty funny because they were so absurd – were a clear indicator to me how entrenched my emotional eating issues were, and how unwilling my brain was to let go of old habits. But slowly, things started to feel easier. I got all my cooking done on Sundays, and actually ate my meals throughout the week. I started sleeping better. Sometimes, I still woke up a little groggy, but once I ate breakfast it was like someone had plugged me into an electrical outlet. I had so much energy. I was much more productive at work. The 3:00PM “fog†was gone. I had incredible scrimmages all month, where I was just ON IT, and days in the gym where my lifting was hitting new levels. And just generally, I got so much more done – one weekend I did so many errands and tasks on my ever-growing To Do List, that I just sat on Sunday night for a moment and marveled at how the same amount of work pre-Whole30 would have taken me two weekends to complete. My non-Whole30 teammates started commenting on how good I looked, and asking me how much weight I had lost, so far. When I would tell them I had not stepped on a scale since February 28th, they would gape at me. I think they may have a bet going on how much I've lost, but for me, the weight was the least of it. (For the record, I went from 179.8 pounds to 166.6 during the Whole30.) I took myself shopping, a few nights before my Whole30 ended, and put on a pair of size 6 jeans, no problem. I bought a size 6 skirt, and might have been able to pull off a 4, if perhaps my hips were a bit smaller – but my waist was definitely smaller. Before Whole30, squeezing into my size 10's – my “fat jeans†as I had taken to calling them over the past few years – had become a dicey proposition. A few nights ago, we got our new uniform jerseys, which are white spandex racerback tanks. Before Whole30, I was dreading having to wear that in public for our games – but I tried it on the other night, and – despite white spandex not being an ideal look on anyone – it looks pretty damn good. My muscle tone is incredible. I've suspected for a few years now that my body particularly thrives on a high-protein, low starchy carb diet. Whole30 has totally reaffirmed that for me. The definition in my arms, shoulders, and even my legs, where it's often been hardest for me to see the results of my work, is exciting to see. Bring on warm weather clothes! My skin looks great. I have struggled with acne since adolescence – there hasn't been a day since the age of 11 that I haven't had a blemish on my face, in fact. But my skin is the clearest it has ever been, and feels incredible. My nails are stronger – the woman who gives me manicures commented yesterday on how much less ragged they look – and my hair is shiny and healthy. I got a hair cut yesterday, and spent the rest of the day flipping my hair like a model in a Jhirmack shampoo commercial from the 80's. (If you remember those you know what I'm talking about.) But most importantly to me, my anxiety and mood issues are greatly improved. I still have moments of anxiety, but I successfully tracked over the last month what triggers my anxiety, and how I can cope with it without reaching for cookies, or Cokes. And I haven't thought once about smoking, since dousing that pack in the sink. (Ugh. That was so hard to confess to, on here, btw.) I actually realized that I need to cut back on the caffeine, because I noticed I would have anxiety on those afternoons when I was still drinking coffee at 2:00. Now, I finish my coffee by 11:00AM, and limit myself to 2 cups. If I want something hot in the afternoon, I'll have some green tea. I definitely do not have the same reactions from the green tea, so I'm thankful for that, because I love the Yogi Skin Detox tea. My general sense of well-being is in such a different place. I just feel…better and, frankly, more motivated to do things. I started going to my Baptiste Vinyasa yoga class again regularly, and I think that has helped me tremendously, as well. Even my boss told me that my attitude seemed much brighter – that I didn't seem as stressed and nowhere near as wiped out as I had been on February 7th, when I had walked into her office and told her I was taking two weeks of sick leave because I was so depressed. (Yep. That totally happened.) As I sit here writing this recap, I'm feeling a little nervous about what comes next, but honestly, now that my 30 days are over, I'm not planning on changing much. I think my own plan is a hybrid of Whole30 with occasional off-roading for special occasions. Whole30 was the roadmap I needed to find my way back to health, and I see no reason to jump off the track now that these 30 days are up. I grocery shopped yesterday the same way I have been shopping all month. I do have a date with my best friend tonight to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones. Before I decided to do the Whole30 we had plans to make it a feast night of Indian takeout and Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. We are still going to order Indian, and I'm looking forward to eating a little Saag Paneer and Tandoori Chicken, (which will involve reintroducing a bit of dairy into my diet), but I am in no way interested in having the binge-fest we originally planned. I was a little bit afraid that she was going to be upset with me for not wanting to do that anymore, but she has been super supportive of this, actually, and even emailed me earlier this week to see if there were special snacks I would want for our big night of TV. I really appreciated that, and her response makes me feel like my friends' reactions aren't going to be the hardest hurdle to clear. (If anything, I think it will be the eating out – which I found to be next to IMPOSSIBLE to do, on this plan. I had to eat out five times this month, for work or social engagements, and each time was a trial. It's sad, how hard it is to find things to eat that do not have a ton of junk added to them. Even navigating the Whole Foods food court involved running a gauntlet of junk to find a protein source that was Whole30-approved. When did we decide we needed to add canola oil to grilled chicken to make it appealing?) The Whole30 teammates and I are planning another Paleo Potluck for next weekend. We got together once during the Whole30 to eat and exchange recipes, and it was a very supportive evening. I'm looking forward to doing that again, so that we can all continue to encourage each other to stick with it for the long haul. I recently purchased Melissa Joulwan's Well Fed, and I am excited to try a few new things out of that. (But honestly, that book is worth every penny you spend, if only for her Shepherds Pie recipe. O.M.G.) I didn't think, when I started this, that I could do anything for 30 days, but this Program definitely dispelled that notion for me. I'm looking forward, actually, to incorporating what I have done successfully with the Whole30 into modifying other habits. I have really appreciated what I have learned on the Whole9 and through the forums during this Program. (Thanks Dallas and Melissa!) In the film Whip It, Ellen Page's character walks up to the roller derby girls after their game and tells one of them “you're my heroâ€. The character, played by Kristen Wiig, tells her to put on a pair of skates and to be her own hero. If you're contemplating the Whole30, or you're just starting out, and you're reading my story, I hope it inspires you to be your own hero. It's totally worth it, and totally within your reach. Good luck!