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First Whole 30 completed. Some ups; some downs


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I debated about where to put this post. Success Stories or Troubleshooting?  I chose troubleshooting since I have mixed results from my experience and didn’t want to rain on the parades of those who report miracles!


I have successfully completed my first Whole 30, but it’s not an unqualified success, nor is it a complete failure.  Here’s what I’ve experienced. 


First the downs:

W30 has not changed my life significantly in any way.  I am generally highly skeptical of any “this will change your life” claims relating to diet, fitness, supplements, and the like, so I didn’t go in expecting life-altering results.


No improved sleep or energy levels.  My sleep has actually been less sound than prior to W30. Even before W30 I was fairly diligent about trying to get at least 7 hours per night. I’ve always been a light sleeper, prone to waking up at the least little thing.  Now that I’m well into middle age, getting up to go the bathroom at 3am is practically a nightly occurrence as well.  My overall energy level has not improved. Some days during my W30 I’ve had to drag myself through the day.  No “tiger blood.”  Frankly, since I have no wish to emulate Charlie Sheen in any way, I’m not all that troubled by this one! 


My excretory system does not seem to love W30.  Have had a couple bouts of diarrhea and generally too-soft stools throughout the 30 days. This was not a problem for me pre-W30.  I find this very strange considering that the foods I’m eating on W30 are supposed to produce a healthy gut response according to ISWF.


Now the ups:

I have experienced a high level satiety during my W30, which has been a truly excellent benefit for me.  Prior to W30, I’ve been prone to bouts of ravenous, eat-everything-in-sight hunger, which inevitably led to very unhealthy snacking habits.


Sugar cravings are mostly in-check.  My husband’s birthday fell in the middle of my W30 and we agreed ahead of time that we’d find a suitable restaurant for his birthday dinner where I’d be able to find something compliant and he’d be able to have whatever dessert he chose.  Worked out fine.  But then, out of the blue…his friend, who has the same birthday and had no idea of my dietary restrictions, ordered him an ice cream cake at a local Baskin-Robbins.  So, a giant ice-cream football has been parked in our freezer for the past week and a half!  My husband has enjoyed it, but it’s certainly way more than one person can eat, even over a 10-day period.  My dairy reintroduction day is today, so I may sample a bit of it myself.  But, I’m not dying to have it, which is a good and worthwhile benefit.


I stayed off the scale as advised during my W30, and I’m glad of it.  I had enough to think about keeping up with cooking compliant meals and had no desire to harass myself with numbers on a scale.  But I did weigh myself on day 31, and was happily surprised to find I had lost 6 lbs.  My doctor would like me to lose 20-25 lbs.  So I’m somewhere between one-fourth and one-fifth of the way there!!!


Reinventing my kitchen and some of my recipes has been both nutritious and fun.  I was so pleased to discover the work of Melissa Joulwan in her cookbook Well Fed and on her website, theclothesmakethegirl.com. I doubt I would have found that good resource if I’d never embarked upon this journey. I will use her recipes going forward for sure. I’ve always loved to cook, and I’ve always loved good fresh vegetables.  August is such a great time for local produce in our area.  There are farmers markets and farm stands all over the place just filled with all the good summer vegetables and the beginnings of all the good fall vegetables.



I think my biggest concern going forward is figuring out to what extent this experience should influence my food choices.  I detest restrictions in most parts of my life.  I’m defiant and rebellious and skeptical toward most “rules” that are someone else’s idea…not my best quality to be sure, but a truth about myself that I fully own.  So, though I do plan to continue it, I foresee struggles and rebellions ahead as I attempt to maintain a paleo diet unless I see further tangible benefits in the fairly near future.  (and the excretory issue must resolve itself. Can’t deal with that as a permanent side-effect.)


So, for me, basically one W30 is complete and the jury is still out.  Going forward with re-introduction.  Wish me luck (and perhaps a less rebellious spirit!)

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Good for you working with the process! Most people find reading It Starts With Food very helpful. The book explains why specific food groups are eliminated during a Whole30. There is enough science to make things clear, but not so much (in my opinion) to be overwhelming. 


I am beginning to think that a normal American diet produces bowel movements that are not normal. Then when people do a Whole30 and experience more softness than they have before, they think it is a problem. Part of the problem is that changing one's diet tends to disturb digestion and requires an adjustment period, but I think some of the changes are "moving" us to historic norms and away from modern norms. I am not the world's expert on pooping, but I have studied elimination more than an ordinary person and probably discuss bowel movements more often than most MDs. :)

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Thanks, Tom!


You could certainly be right about this, but I do occasionally hear my eons worth of Scottish ancestors berating me to "Eat yer parritch ye daft wee lass!"  But, I don't think I can eat oatmeal without any sort of sweetening in it, so I'm reluctant to reintroduce it!!


I have read It Starts With Food twice, and several chapters additional times in order to gain a good understanding of the premises upon which the Whole 30 is based and I have, indeed, found it very helpful.  


Anyway, onward.  

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I realize this is not a W30 topic, but RE: oatmeal...I didn't think I could eat it without sugar either, but I have found that I really love this combo: steel-cut oats with about 1T of raisins, 1/2t. of cinnamon, and maybe 1/2c. of almond milk poured over it. I have no desire to add sugar to this mix.

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