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I'm Back in Saddle Again


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In March of 2014 I had major foot surgery.  Thankfully I went into the surgery in the best shape I'd been in in over a decade because I was not prepared for the pain and the very long route of physical therapy.. I'm an avid cyclist and I nearly missed the season that summer because I was in so much pain.  I was happy to complete a few rides.


That August I turned 50 and began to suffer from symptoms of menopause (sorry guys) predominately a weight gain of 15 pounds around my middle I could not lose no matter how hard I tried.  That, coupled with knee and hip pain even though my foot had healed left me really unable to exercise the way I used to - weekly spin classes, crossfit, etc.  Finally this past April all of my issues were pretty much solved and I began to the hit gym again and ride 50 or more miles on my bike on the weekend.


BUT even thought I was exercising regularly I still couldn't lose that weight. I could tell I was toning my body but I was bloated and uncomfortable.  I had never had a belly in my life (small waist with curvy hips) and now I did.  I just felt like my body wasn't my own.


A month ago my company sent out a notice that if we wanted to join Weight Watchers they'd pay half. So I did.  In the first few weeks I lost four pounds. It was the first time I'd lost weight in over a year and a half. BUT still I could tell something was wrong because I still felt terrible.  


The day after my 51st birthday I decided to get my blood tested to check for thyroid and hormone levels. There had to be a medical explanation for this weight gain right? WRONG! I talked to my Doctor on Day Three of the Whole 30 and he said there was absolutely nothing wrong with me medically.


Well thank goodness I started Whole30. I'm now on Day 11 and cannot believe the change.  I have more energy. I'm no longer craving sweets.  I looked at the Unsweetneed Almond Milk I'd use each day for my morning smoothie and realized it had all kinds of preservatives and carrageen so I switched to coconut water.


The most important part?  I feel like I am back in my body. I'm losing my belly. I no longer feel bloated, tired and achy. I am making sure to sleep eight hours a night AND I am exercising like I used to.


There has to be some substance(s) that i am allergic to because I feel so great.  


While i know the Whole30 isn't about weight loss, I am looking forward to seeing the scale at the end.  I don't plan on going back to my former eating habits.  I am allergic to diary and gluten so do not eat those on a regular basis anyway. I think the key here for me is getting rid of eating all the gluten free substitutes that were other grain based and the sugar and sugar substitutes I was  using.  I have to admit though I am looking forward to a glass of wine but we'll see.


I am ecstatic at this point. I'm only Day 11 but each day I feel better and better, which gives me motivation to keep going.  I'm also so happy for your emails because without them I wouldn't have gotten through that first horrible week.


Thanks Whole30 for giving me my self-esteem and confidence back.  Can't wait to see where I am by the end of the program.

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I'm so glad you're having such success with the way you've been eating the past 11 days, and that you've been so positively impacted on so many levels.

In the most gentle way I can deliver this next piece of info, with the intention of wanting the best possible results for you, carrageenan is against the Whole30 program rules. It is a major gut disruptor.

It wasn't clear to me what day you realized you had been consuming this ingredient. When folks consume off-plan food, we direct them to this article and let them decide the next step. http://whole30.com/2014/06/really-start-whole30/

Whatever you choose for your next move, I hope you continue to use your reclaimed esteem and confidence to propel you forward.

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Wow jcoken! Loved reading your story.  This is very inspirational.  I'm wrapping up day 6.... can't wait to get to double digit days.  I think i'm going to be okay.  I too miss my wine, and the milk and Truvia in my coffee.  Former casual runner, I am recovering from a second round of plantar fasciitis so this (Whole30) is my kickstart. I just felt bllllaaaaahhh!  I'm excited to reach the end... good to hear that the first week is the worst and things get better...


You are awesome.


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This is inspiring. I have to say, I have Celiac disease so was hitting the GF stuff pretty hard and not feeling much better. I'm on day 19 now and I can tell I'm not going to be adding back grains. I love to have corn be okay but that's it. If you can't get used to black coffee, you could try adding a little coconut milk. It really tastes good but for me turned on some cravings so after 2 days I'm back to black.


Let us know how you are doing!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Chris,


I'm NOT drinking the almond milk with Carageen at all. I switched to coconut water for my smoothies once I figured it out.  I also found that you have to read the coconut water labels very carefully. The Trader Joe brand has all kinds of things I can't pronounce. The NICO brand has coconut and water and that's it so I switched.


Thanks too QuilterinVA - I have started using light coconut milk in my coffee and it works out great.


I'm now on Day 20 but still am having some ups and downs. The biggest issue? I'm bored with the food I am eating. So I found www.paleopaparazzi.com. This woman has some absolutely amazing recipes that are all Whole30 compliant.  I just read a great recipe for chili "cheese" dogs - yes you heard me right!  I'm going to be cooking that soon.


I'm glad I could inspire people with my post.  Hope everyone is doing great.

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I'm NOT drinking the almond milk with Carageen at all. I switched to coconut water for my smoothies once I figured it out.  

Thanks for clarifying on the carrageenan.

As a side note, smoothies are discouraged on a Whole30. The idea is to chew your food vs drink is, as chewing is more satiating. Coconut water is only advised for rehydrating after an intense workout or after working outside on hot days. Don't let it take the place of water.

Besrt wishes on your last 10 days!

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Hi jcoken and QuilterInVA.


I just closed the kitchen in this house... and saying good-bye to Day 15.  I'm feeling pretty good and proud of myself... I made it through two social events this weekend and stuck to the plan.  I'm a visual person and thinking of putting up some post-it notes with 15-0 numbers that I rip down each night.  I saw this on another forum chain.  Do you have any ideas to motivate?


My goal this week is to stay Whole30 compliant, less nuts/seeds and ramp up my exercise routine.  More yoga, spinning and power walking during lunch.



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I'm now on Day 27 and haven't veered off at all (FYI Chris I figured out the Carageen issue on Day One so  I didn't start over after reading the article. It was an honest mistake and I caught it immediately due to the gosh forsaken headache I endured).  


TCT I don't veer off because i feel so darned good and know that if I "cheat" I would need to start all over.  I felt SO terrible before starting this - bloated, discomfort, really full after eating etc. that I had undergone extensive blood tests of my hormones and Thyroid and even did a consult about Ovarian Cancer -- my Mom died of it so I am very clued into the Stage I symptoms and what I was experiencing was quite similar.  All tests came back negative so there absolutely NO medical reason for this unexplained weight gain.  As I said earlier I'm also going through menopause and experienced incredibly discomfort around my knees and foot due to arthritis.


Let me tell you - all of my issues have pretty much disappeared.  No more bloating. No more intestinal discomfort. My right knee has stopped "clicking."  Obviously there are foods I"m allergic to.  Once I complete the Whole 30 I'm going to follow their instructions quite carefully about what to try to see what doesn't work for me. I know I'm allergic to dairy but eat sheep and goat cheese every so often, so may be it is that?  I also know I feel better when I don't eat gluten but I do indulge in "gluten-free" foods like tortila chips, Udi's gluten free raisin toast in the morning. How do I know that these aren't giving me my symptoms? How about the wine I love to drink? How about that Almond Milk filled with Carageen (look up Carageen - it is a natural substance but it is deadly to the gut).


In addition to the Whole30 book, I"m also reading a book called Brain Matter -- about the connection to neurological diseases (ADHD, Alzheimer's, Dementia, etc.) to the health of the gut.


In short I'm using these 30 days to not only clean my body but to educate my mind and learn how to be the healthiest I can be as I get older.  


I think about eating a gluten free dairy cupcake from my friend's bakery and know it will TASTE good in the moment, but how will I feel an hour later? I don't know yet and I want to be sure about what I can and cannot eat. 


The bottom line I feel so good and look so much better (even my SPIN instructor commented on how great I look) that cheating isn't worth it to me.  I value myself far too much to go back on things.


Don't know if that helps but hope it does.

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