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Whole 30 is done and I feel fabulous!

Lauren SA

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So I haven't posted here before but I am super excited to share my results, because: hey I'm pretty happy and I've become one of those annoying converts who can't talk about anything but paleo! I finished my Whole 30 on June 11th.


A bit of history.... This has been the first time ever in my life I've ever attempted to change my diet. I have always had weird food issues and started life an extremely picky eater. Pretty much the only meat I have eaten my whole life has been hot dogs, bacon and salami. I grew up on bread, pasta cheese and butter and disliked almost all vegetables. I have been mostly vegetarian for the last 10 years since I left college, I have ever so slowly gained weight and became more sedentary. I insisted that eating whatever I wanted of delicious good food (read: cheese and flour based things) was very important in life. When I turned 29 last year, I realized I was no longer maintaining my weight, but had climbed up to about 170 pounds from college at 135. So in the beginning of 2012, I was newly single and determined to finally do something about my health and fitness. I joined the gym in January and roller derby in March, and tried to eat more fresh veggies. I found myself making very few strides, even working out 4 days a week and eating piles of cauliflower. I had no energy from the veggies alone, but I did start losing weight. I went from 170lbs in 2011 to 166lbs, but had 42% body fat.


I had heard about paleo through distant friends for a couple years, but when my best friend went paleo and lost 30 pounds in 3 months, I decided that maybe there is something to this paleo thing. So in December 2012 I started researching it. I decided to start eating my own version of still mostly vegetarian paleo, loaded with lots of cheese, a little meat and still eating soy and managed to keep it up for about 50-70% of my meals. I also started training a lot harder, joined the gym again and did 2 hours of roller derby & intense fitness 4-5 days a week. I started to get stronger, and went from 166 pounds in Dec 2012, to 154lbs and 36.3% body fat in early May 2013. 


I happened upon Whole 30 and suggested it to my girlfriend, who had been sharing meals with me but had not had the significant change in attitude towards food that I had had. I knew after starting paleo I didn't want to go back. I thought that if we both did Whole30, it might change her attitude and give her the shift that I had had. I didn't expect it to be hard (except the dairy), since I thought I had been paleo for 5 months. Boy was I wrong- even eating mostly paleo previously, I had a bit of a panic on the first couple days- what can I eat? I had to start really eating meat for the first time, and no dairy! The Whole9 vegetarian introduction to meat really helped, and I started with eggs, lots of bacon, shrimp, and meatballs. And I'm happy to say that Whole30 has also had the effect I had hoped on my girlfriend, who (after falling off the bandwagon halfway through) has made a huge mental shift and is now committed to living paleo even after Whole30. We're talking about opening up the first paleo restaurant in Johannesburg. 


At the beginning

I had several guilty dreams in the first week where I would eat a cupcake and then realize I had just broken my Whole 30 and be racked with guilt, only to wake up relieved that I hadn't. And in my 2nd week I had to take a 4 day trip for work into a rural area where I couldn't eat at restaurants. I prepared and froze all my meals for the week and cooked them at the guest house kitchen. Slowly it got easier, meal planning and cooking didn't seem like such a humongous task, and I was eating delicious things! And for the first time in my life I had huge energy and didn't seem to need to eat as much. And the weight dropped off.



I also track my sleep quality on my phone and noticed a jump of about 70% sleep quality in December to 80% through May doing mostly paleo, and during my Whole 30 I averaged 90% sleep quality. 



I have way more of it now. Even though I only worked out really for the 2nd half of my Whole 30 (after taking about a month break from intense fitness) I am feeling pretty fit again and feel great.



Weight start:  70kg /154lb ----- end 66kg/145lb---(loss 4kg/ 9lb)

Waist start: 101 cm --------------end 95cm ---------(loss 6 cm/ 2.7in)

Body fat start: 36.3%-------------end 35.6%--------(loss .7%)


Typical Meals:


Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled, bacon, coffee with coconut cream, parsnip hasbrowns


Lunch: leftovers plus strawberries sometimes


Dinner: chicken or pork meatballs with veg side, lemon ghee shrimp with zuchini noodles, cauliflower mash, veg soup with bacon, chicken satay


Post workout (around 10:30pm, so this was tough)- 2 hard boiled eggs.


Change in attitude 

I think the best result of Whole30 has been that I am more open to trying new foods (brussels sprouts? Hello!) than I ever have been in my life. New food was previously such a cause of anxiety for me that I seriously considered not studying abroad in Spain because I wouldn't be able to eat my normal foods. After trolling hundreds of paleo recipes and slowly but surely introducing many new vegetables and meats into my life, I have found myself looking forward to new things and truly enjoying my food. I can taste the sweetness in all manner of fresh veggies now. 


New loves:

Parsnip! This is so delicious in a hash brown with cinnamon and nutmeg and ghee

Beef: I never though I would enjoy beef... now I crave burgers

Zucchini noodles: so easy, quick and delicious



Post Whole 30 Introduction

Yesterday was day 31 and I had my first pizza & beer in a long while- didn't feel any effects yesterday but today I'm feeling bloated and slept I terribly. I think I'll keep the gluten to a minimal treat. 



And now for some photos! I'm pretty proud of how far I've come. 


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Thanks Msssjenna!! It has indeed been a great experience, I think going 'whole hog' paleo made me realize how easy it is after you get the hang of it. I plan on staying paleo (with a one day a week 'anything goes' meal)- and re-introducing occasional paleo treats (chocolate, honey, non gluten breads etc), adding some cheese back in (I'm really hoping I don't have any bad reactions to cheese!), and I'm going to add in some alchohol as well (wine mostly). I might consider a few other primal additions like occasional rice if I don't react badly to it, as it's good to have some extra starches for all the roller derby I do. 


But I want no part of pasta anymore! I've only eaten pasta maybe 4 times in the last 6 months, and the last time I had macaroni and cheese 2 months ago (my previous ultimate favourite meal), I felt sick literally 15 minutes after finishing a bowl, and had to go lie down nauseous. It felt awful! And generally I don't really miss butter, flour, milk, or sugar. 


But I am really considering opening up a restaurant with my partner, who is a chef, to introduce delicious paleo foods to the general public. South Africa doesn't really have a lot of awareness around the paleo diet and I want to change that!


How about yourself?

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