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Jillian's W30 log: finding balance in Brooklyn


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Well, I only just figured out that there's a log section here, so I'm starting on Day 8. Bear with me. I'm Jillian, I'm 35, and I have been between 20 and 30 pounds overweight for most of my life. I have an amazing husband, and a wonderful little boy. Both my marriage and the kid are five years old. I work in marketing, as a team lead, at a media agency. I live in Brooklyn now, but I'm from Vancouver by way of L.A.: I moved to Los Angeles for work in 2004, met my husband, had my son, and moved all of us to NYC last year.

Since moving here, I've lost twelve pounds that have stayed off, just through the NYC lifestyle. I LOVE it here. I love walking everywhere. I take the subway every day to work in winter, which adds a mile of walking and a lot of stairs to my day. In summer, I bike commute. Being in a non-car-based city again has helped me lose some of the weight I put on in Los Angeles. I had a similar lifestyle in Vancouver, where I ate fairly clean, walked everywhere, and went to the gym a lot. Here, I don't get to the gym quite as much as I'd like, but the lifestyle shift definitely helped.

I went on the Whole30 because, while I've tried to stay Paleo, I have not been strict. I know that my body and my brain work better when I don't eat grain, dairy, sugar or alcohol, but the quick easy fix is sometimes too easy. I work in marketing, so there's always food around at work: lunch and learns or dinners and drinks out with vendors or clients. I have a husband and son who eat OK, but there's always still cereals, cookies, chocolate chips, around the house. And I kept seeing it as giving foods up, rather than eating to optimally power my body.

But over the holiday break, I bought Well Fed. And then I read It Starts With Food. And the concept of eating for optimal power, rather than just switching for weight loss, really clicked. I realized that I needed to do this whole30 challenge because I have to have black and white restrictions. And if I am to accomplish the first two goals, of readjusting my emotional relationship with food, and readjusting my hormonal response to food, I am going to need to do a black and white, no excuses, no cheating program.

This has meant a lot of changes in the past week, changes I am just now realizing are more extreme than I thought.  I didn't realize how hard this would be.  I thought my eating habits were good enough that this wouldn't have a noticeable impact...but every day since I've started, I've realized that being on this committed program has kept me from eating something I didn't actually need.  Some example of that things I DIDN'T eat this week: half and half in coffee, a handful of chocolate almonds, sushi for an afternoon snack, a bowl of yogurt after dinner, or half of an incredibly tempting meal, including wine, at a vendor-sponsored dinner last week (I ate some vegetable appetizers and an entree; no bread, bread-related appetizers, no cheese related appetizers, and no dessert...and did I mention no cocktails or wine?).  My committment to this diet has stopped me from buying cheese, from putting honey in my tea, from eating more than 1 - 2 servings of fruit per day.  I simply do not need those things, and they do not help me run at 100% efficiency.

So, that said, here's what I did eat yesterday and today:

Satrday breakfast: leftover Rogan Josh over cauliflower-rice and an apple.

Saturday lunch: three eggs scrambled with kale, smoked chicken breast, baba ghanoush

Saturday dinner: rainbow trout, green beans

Today, so far, I have eaten and/or planned:

Sunday breakfast: buffalo chicken egg "muffins" (from 21 day sugar detox) and a mug of zucchini soup

Sunday lunch: more soup, a raw green pepper with baba ghanoush and a can of sardines

Sunday dinner: rainbow trout, cumin-roasted carrots, green beans, and I'm going to try making kohlrabi for the first time.

I like doing this, and I do think it's helped me a lot so far. With twenty-two days to go, I'm kind of psyched to see what other positive changes this brings me.

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Thanks so much, Tom! I did forget to log some fruit though: a clementine at breakfast, grapes at lunch. And then I had a snack of dried apricots, almonds, a hard boiled egg and olives when I came back from a winter walk with my family. I also swapped out dinner sides, and made spiced butternut squash and spiced creamy kale to go with the fish.

I'm afraid my evening went downhill from there though. While I did remain compliant with whole foods, I feel like I went far outside the spirit of the challenge. I ate a cup and a half of frozen berries with a few splashes of coconut milk, a handful of pecans, and a mango as after dinner snacks. In hindsight, I COULD have probably settled those cravings for fruit sugar with an extra serving of vegetables, a mug of hot lemon water and an early night. But I was on a planning call for my son's Scout group, and then Downton Abbey was on...and I was especially snacking while watching Downton.

So, I'm thinking about whether I need to start my Whole30 over. This isn't the first time I've caved in to a bowl of frozen berries and coconut milk, which has become an ice cream substitute. On the one hand, everything was compliant in terms of being "whole food". On the other hand, there was a sugar dragon component involved. I was tired and under slept, which made me crave sweets for energy, and I also recognize that I go to snacks when I'm stressed out, which I usually am on Sundays when I haven't completed my to-do list for the weekend. I knew I was trying to get an energy fix so I could finish those last few things, but it just wasn't happening.

I welcome feedback on whether over consumption of fruit and/or other technically compliant foods is a reason to start over. On the bright side, I packed a fantastic lunch today, not only for me, but for my son. I am much more cheerful since I started this program,and more energetic, so I was up early writing personal emails and packing my son a grain-free lunch. He got some lettuce wraps with turkey and cheese, carrot coins, an apple with peanut butter and a bag of trail mix. Not exactly Paleo, but better than a sandwich, I thought.

My own meals:

Breakfast: two buffalo chicken egg muffins

Lunch: Asians chopped salad (cabbage, sliced snow peas, chopped peppers, cilantro, carrot, with sunbutter dressing and chicken), along with half an apple and almond butter

Snacks: baba ghanoush and vegetables with another buffalo chicken egg muffin, black coffee, and a handful of raw blueberries

Dinner: planning for an "étouffée" of frozen okra, shrimp, diced tomatoes, over cauli-rice (regular rice for husband and son). I added cup of zucchini soup and a scoop of butternut squash casserole, plus a few olives and almonds.

Tonight, I want to make grain fee blueberry muffins for my son's breakfasts, and prep the root vegetable puree from Nom Nom Paleo in advance for tomorrow's dinner. It's not realistic at this point to phase grains out from my son's existence, but it is realistic to cut down on how many meals use carbohydrates as a main component.

Thanks, y'all, for listening.

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