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First time Whole 50 Completed


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Although I never had a weight problem until my late 20's I have never had a healthy relationship with food.  I never learned how to handle problems in a healthy way and food is a prime example of that.  I would steal money from my parents, ride my bike to the grocery store and eat an entire cake, a bag of chips or a container of frosting.  You would never have known because I was a very active, very skinny kid.


As I got older life got better and/or I found other releases.  I spent six years in the Marine Corps got married and had kids.  Then I got a job working on computers.  In addition to sitting at a desk for most of the day, I was commuting 15+ hours a week and eating fast food all the time.  I self-diagnosed myself with IBS, acid reflux, insomnia, depression and had various pains and ailments.   In January of 2005 my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  I decided to go to a doctor for the first time in 7 years.  My cholesterol was high (250 with a ratio of 6.6) and they called my fasting glucose “pre-diabetes†(118).  I was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and acid reflux and put on medication.  I went on the South Beach Diet and had some short lived success.  My dad died in December of that year and I stopped taking my meds and fell back into the same old rut.  In 2008 my mother died of a stroke.  My family tree is full of diabetes, high blood pressure, mental illness and overall unhealthiness.  I had pretty much resigned myself to an early death.


In 2009 I got the surprise of a lifetime and we welcomed home a third daughter.  In 2010 I went back to the doctor and I was put on all kinds of different medications (heart, diabetes, cholesterol, etc.).  The doctor couldn't believe my insulin levels (normal is 3-25, mine was 61) and told me my pancreas wouldn't be able to keep up.  My cholesterol hadn't magically gotten better.   Once again I didn't stay on the medication very long.  Fast forward to 2013 and I was almost 300 pounds. I was consuming over 2,000 calories a day just in pop!  My health – both physically and mentally were at all-time lows. 

I guess I finally hit rock bottom on July 10, 2013 when I switched to a Paleo inspired diet and I started exercising.   I started out trying to “run†a mile – it took me 21 minutes to go one mile.  I used to run three miles in less time.  I have always been and still am a picky eater but I started experimenting with different kinds of food.  I eliminated all sweets, pop and most grain and dairy.  I lost 20 pounds the first month, after 6 months I lost 81 pounds.


While researching Paleo recipes I came across the Whole9/Whole30 website and the idea intrigued me.  I'm the kind of person who finds it easier to have a black and white diet.  If I allow myself to cheat a little – I usually end up cheating a lot.  I started planning an entire 30 days of meals.  I kept a spreadsheet of meals and their ingredients and then I went through the process of ensuring compliance.  It wasn't stressing out over the program, I just wanted to make sure I was informed and equipped to excel.  I ordered It Starts With Food and I used a lot of great resources on the web.  I know the point of Whole30 isn't to lose weight but I added that goal to my Whole30.  I also weighed myself, which is the only thing I wasn't compliant with.  I was never hungry, I never counted calories and I ate some really awesome food.  In the middle of my Whole30 I decided to extend it to a Whole50.  I lost 25.4 pounds during my Whole50 but it is so much more than just losing weight.


Since July 10th 2013, I have lost 107 pounds.  I went from size 42 pants to 34;  XXL shirts to medium shirts!  I eat a LOT of peppers, cayenne pepper, ghost pepper infused salt, garlic and onions but my acid reflux is 99.9% gone.  Some of my other medical problems are gone or lessened.  I am sleeping better. I had blood work done in the middle of my Whole50 and my fasting glucose went from 96 in 2013 to 76.  My cholesterol went from 233 in 2013 to 150.  My ratio went from 5.83 to 4.1.  My ratio has never been within guidelines but it is now.  My glucose has never been below 90 until now.  Even after 50 days I wouldn't say I've exorcised the sugar demons but I have more control over them. 


I am a very picky eater but I am getting a little better, baby steps.  I didn't eat any foods that I didn't like, including (squash, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, apricots, berries of any kind, grapefruit, kiwi, nectarines, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, tangerines, olives or avocado to name a few).  I was worried that if I forced myself to eat foods I didn't like because they were on the list, I would be more likely to fail, so I made it work for me.  I also didn't have nut butters, bacon, ghee or clarified butter.  Believe it or not – I did make 150 Whole30 compliant meals without the above ingredients.  I have tried to expand my food horizons along the way.  In the past year I have tried the following foods for the first time in my life (Chickpeas, Hummus, Swiss Chard, Bok Choy, Cow tongue, Cow heart, Oxtail Soup, Mahi-mahi, Ahi Tuna Steak, Swordfish, Kumquats, Mango, Ostrich, Bison, Turnips, Ram, Coconut Oil, Tomatillos, Ghost Pepper infused sea salt, Chai Tea, Peppermint Tea).  Part of the Whole 30 program rules include “You never, ever, ever have to eat anything you don't want to eat. - See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.sung4hrr.dpufâ€.  I took to that heart and made a very personalized plan, which means you can come up with 30 days of meals and not have to eat anything you don't like. 


I'm also trying to make other non-food related changes.  Mathematically speaking Whole 9 should be easier than Whole 30 but not so much.  Nutrition – I've made night and day changes and its working.  Sleep – getting better there.  Healthy Movement – I ride a stationary bike, run if the weather allows, some cardio type workouts and a small amount of weights in the garage.  I was hiking in state parks until Illinois winter hit.  I also signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago, the Sweetness Run 5K and a Warrior Dash.  My oldest daughter Lexie is running all three of those with me.  My middle daughter Paige is running the Sweetness Run.  Fun and play – I have a lot more energy and am able to do more with my kids.  Natural Environment – the whole family loves to be outdoors, camping, fishing, and hiking.  Socialization – my social circle is pretty small but my best friend isn't a volleyball with a face on it.  Personal growth – I'm currently enrolled in 11 semester hours of college classes (I'm 11 hours away from my associates degree).  I started reading books, which is something I used to do all the time.  Temperance and Stress Management – I think Whole 7 has a nice ring to it – doesn't it?  To be honest I have to give myself an F for those last two.  They always says admitting you have a problem is the first step so maybe I'll be ready to tackle those two soon. 


I've made a ton of changes in the last 8 months, it started with food and I can't wait to see where it ends up.

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