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Just Finished my first Whole 30


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I started my first every Whole30 on January 13, and successfully completed it as of the end of the day yesterday.


About me: I have been moving closer to Paleo eating for about a year and half, but it has definitely been a long, slow, drawn out process! I've also been - like many - trying to lose weight... well, for much longer than that. Things were slowing starting to come off, but I knew, deep down inside, that I needed to clean up my eating habits if I was going to get where I wanted to be.


I also started attending Kettlebell classes, which I LOVE, so I had further motivation to fuel those workouts properly, because I loved the feeling of getting stronger.


I've been hanging out on the NerdFitness forums for about a year now, and at the start of the year, one of my buddies was really struggling with motivation and a lack of success. Somehow Whole30 came up in the conversation (I had heard of it, but always thought it would be too hard... but another friend on the forums had done one before) and it came about that the three of us agreed to do a Whole30 together.


"Ahh!" I thought. "What have I gotten myself into?" I knew I had to cut out the nachos and gummy candies and what-the-heck-when-did-sandwiches-sneak-back-in?, but could I give up cheese? Wine? And oh-my-goodness, I never realized how many things had added sugar and sulphites!



Well, we gave ourselves a week to prepare: to clean out the cupboards, and re-fill the fridge; to read up on the rules; to prepare our significant others for what was in store. And then we did it.



Things I learned:

- I like my coffee better black.

- Contrary to popular opinion, not eating cheese daily will not actually kill you.

- When you're properly fed and nourished, that de-stressing glass of wine is not really needed.

- I freaking LOVE braised cabbage! It's my new candy!

- There is a difference between being hungry and wanting to snack.

     This is kind of a big one, because I thought I already knew this. But I realized, when I went to play a  video game, and immediately wondered what I could nosh on, that that was a habit, not hunger. But I made huge progress here! Just this past Sunday, I went to a friend's house for dinner (well, I brought my own) and board games. I brought some salty/chili powdered cashews to snack on for when they started to snack on their stuff... and when everyone else started eating ice cream sandwiches and skittles, I didn't even have my cashews, because I was full from dinner! Crazy, I tell ya.



The Benefits:

- Finally being able to read my body's hunger cues.

- Stable energy throughout the day: I never felt like I experienced any "tiger blood", but I also didn't have my mid-afternoon crash. And it took until just this week for getting out of bed to become much easier... so, stick with it, people! It's coming!

- I haven't taken final measurements, but I fit into a pair of pants I haven't worn in a while.

- I lost 6.2lbs. Which I am more than happy with, since I only lost 5 lbs in the 6 months prior to this! I'm just about out of the "overweight" BMI. I know it's not the best measure, but still. Satisfying.




Going forward:

One of the biggest surprises for me, is that I have no desire to reintro wine. Not to say I'm not going to - I plan to have a few drinks socially, once in a while. But the wine-with-dinner, or after a frustrating day, is just unnecessary.. and I really, really didn't think I would feel that way!


Today, I'm doing the dairy re-intro, as cheese is probably still the biggest thing I missed. Although I know going forward that it needs to be in much smaller quantities! I so far have just tried cream in my coffee... and I wasn't a fan. And I used to put at least a couple TBSPs in each of my two daily coffees.


Legumes, I'm sure I will have again, but I don't care enough about them to plan for a reintro right now. I would have some at a good Mexican restaurant, or every once in a while I crave a bean-y chili, but that's about it.


I plan to reintro non-gluten grains on Saturday - I love sushi, and occasionally eat rice and quinoa, and would like to continue to do so, again with moderation being the key word.


I will do gluten reintro on Tuesday then. I know I should probably avoid it anyways, but I'm really curious to know exactly how my body responds to it, and if it should be an avoid-at-all-costs sort of thing, or allowable for the rare occasion.



To Conclude:

This has been a great experience, and I'm so glad I did it. Yes, it was tough at times, but the things I've learned about both my physical and mental self were so worth it. And I'm not nearly as eager to dive face-first into a pizza as I thought I was going to be at the beginning!


Thanks to Dallas and Melissa for making this available for free! (I did this without reading the book, for those interested... I had hoped to get it from my local library, but it was checked out the whole time, sadly) For anyone thinking about trying this, do it! Plan ahead first, but do it, you have nothing to lose. For anyone in the midst, keep it up! It will be worth it, if you commit fully - maybe the pounds won't drop off, maybe you won't fix all of your issues, but you will learn something.


And to anyone who actually waded through that whole wall of text, thanks for reading :) Cheers!

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Sadly, I didn't: I did take pics of almost every meal, to be shared with the friends I was doing it with (which was excellent accountability!) but I'm not sure how to share that in a useful way. I can give you an idea of what I usually ate though?


Breakfast: 3 hard boiled eggs with olive oil mayo, and raw veggies with mayo OR a piece of fruit and some nuts. On weekends, I'd usually do an egg scramble with veggies (spinach, onion, pepper usually) and sometimes some cold smoked salmon.


Lunch: Leftovers from dinners. Supplemented with raw veggies and mayo, or fermented sauerkraut, if necessary.


Dinner: I pretty much recycled versions of the same four meals:


Ground beef: Sauteed with onions/spinach/peppers or mushrooms. Add salsa and avocado sometimes. Or tomato sauce and serve with spaghetti squash. Or else meatloaf or burger patties.

Chicken: Baked with onions/mushrooms/spinach/roasted peppers, or made into curry.

Trout: Baked with orange slices and chili powder. Would be amazing with salmon too!

Shrimp: Stirfry with lots of veggies.

Roast beef, sirloin steak and compliant hot sausage occasionally made a showing as well, but looking back on my photos, this was pretty much how it went down!


Plus, either roasted veggies (cabbage, carrots, cauliflower were in heavy rotation) or a salad of tomato, pepper, red onion, avocado with a lemon/evoo vinaigrette, or, in a pinch, frozen green beans and carrots with ghee.


Oh, and my favourite "treat" became club soda with lime juice and a couple frozen pineapple chunks for ice cubes. I'm not really a dessert eater (or a soda drinker, for that matter), but I felt this had a nice palate-cleansing effect, and anytime I did feel like snacking in the evenings (one of my worst habits, prior) this was a great tool to head that off.

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Well, Dairy Reintro is complete -

 - Cream in coffee in the morning - bleh, moouth-coating and just didn't taste good. 

 - Brie with some salami and roasted peppers in the afternoon - decently bad bloating almost right away, that lasted for about 2 hours.

 - A little sour cream and a sprinkle of cheddar with dinner (mexican chicken soup) - no noticeable response, but taste-wise seemed pointless. The avocado and jalapenos in the soup were much more appealing. 

- Tried another couple bites of the brie after dinner "just to see" - more bloating right away. Hmmm..


Physiologically, obviously it's not my best friend, but it's not going to totally do me in if I decide it's really worth it. In culinary terms.. it definitely does not need to be around nearly as much as I was using it before. I have this lovely beet, bacon and goat cheese dish that I'm still looking forward to having again (and hoping goat cheese provokes even less of a response) but considering how much I thought I missed cheese, I'm utterly shocked at how ambivalent I'm feeling about it now!



Hey! I didn't mean to actually change my life with this whole thing!!

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  • 2 weeks later...


So I did the non-gluten grains re-intro last Saturday. I didn't notice any physical discomfort, and I quite enjoyed the rice I had (not so much the corn tortilla chips - who would have thought I'd lose my taste for nachos?!) However, the rice was a little no-brakes-y, and I'm definitely going to have to approach it with caution. 



Last night, I finally got around to the gluten reintro. I had some pasta and a small slice of banana bread. Cue not only bloating and cramping that night.. but also (TMI alert!) some very mucus-y stools the next day. Um... yeah. I didn't expect that, and apparently I am much more sensitive to gluten that I thought. 


Crazy! I really did not believe I had such definite food intolerances going into this.. 


Plan going forward is 90-95% compliance. My general philosophy is going to be that small amounts of non-compliant ingredients are okay (honey in dressings/marinades, soy sauce with sushi, a sprinkle of parm on the caesar salad, a bit of commercial condiments etc.) and very occasionally some rice or beans or ice cream. I'm sure I'll go a bit overboard every once in a while, but I know I'll pay for it! And I plan to do a week reset if I feel like things are slipping. 

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