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Whole30 Success at 60: What I Learned


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Yeah, I turned 60 earlier this year. So why not celebrate and do something good for me, right? I read about this Whole 30 on Facebook and it seemed several people were doing it. The more I read, the more I wanted to know. The more I learned, the more I knew this would work for me. That was about 4 months ago. First I tried to think of someone who might join me, and almost talked my sister into it, but in the end she was not ready to commit. That's why it took me until October 1 to start this thing. But I had lots of time over the four months to read It Starts With Food and The Whole 30 before actually starting. Since I'm an elementary teacher and the first month or so of school is INSANE, it is probably good that I waited until October. Today I am just finishing up my "Fast Track" reintroduction. And yes, my life has changed!


I do not own a scale, so all my success is not tied to those numbers. I did not take a before picture or an after picture. I did not do the Whole 30 to lose weight or look different. Not that a few pounds off wouldn't be a good thing, but I got hooked on the psychology of the program. As I read about the Whole 30 I could see doing this would help me break some unhealthy habits. I really wanted to reset my lifestyle in the evening. I was in a rut of being bored and alone, so my thinking was that I might as well escape in TV, eat what I want (more or less), and have a good glass of wine with dinner and right before bed. My sleep consisted of tossing and turning, and I felt down and unmotivated much of the time. I would get in a slump and take myself out for a quick Mexican food dinner several nights a week (my comfort food). I knew I was crashing and wanted to escape this nightly pattern that zapped all my energy, joy, and motivation.


My Whole 30 successes are: great sleep, love of good food, a better evening routine, a sense of calmness, more happiness, better focus at work or on projects, more energy, a healthier relationship with food, less joint pain, less joint swelling and belly bloating, not missing not drinking, people have told me my skin and hair look GREAT, and I did lose inches (probably pounds too) since my clothes are fitting loosely now.


I know that compared to some of the Whole 30 testimonials, my successes are pretty small. But they are successes - and my life has improved because of them. I also know that I saw far more success than I was expecting to see. If you are on this journey, I hope this encourages you.


My 7 Whole 30 Takeaways

1. I LOVE a good night's sleep!

What a difference! I followed these evening principles and they worked wonders: No eating or snacking at least 2 hours before bed. No backlit screentime or TV an hour before bed. I replaced the TV and devices with listening to music and/or reading. I have an original Kindle that is not backlit, so it did not affect me. I drank water, not wine.


2. I love eating lots of vegetables with a good sized piece of meat.

I love mixing in nutrient dense starchy foods like squashes and all kinds of potatoes with a variety of other veggies and a huge palm sized hunk of meat. I've never felt so satisfied by meals. I felt no hunger cravings or crashes even though I often went at least 6 hours between meals. The hunger I felt was not that crashing-need-food N-O-W-! feeling, but a calmer, focus on what yummy nutrition I could whip up and enjoy. Everything I ate was so delicious and so worth it.


3. A little planning goes a long way.

If I took time each week to plan one or two big dishes, doubling the recipe and freezing most of it in individual serving sizes, I could have fancier yummy meals mixed in with my simpler meat and veggie meals. I learned some GREAT recipes in The Whole 30, from Instagram, and from Whole 30 blogs. Just incredible!


4. A very little bit of legumes is ok, occasionally.

Reintroducing legumes I noticed mild joint swelling if it was only peanut butter or soy oil. But when I added some cooked beans to my Whole 30 chili, quite a bit of bloating followed. I will probably be very careful with this category and keep evaluating for a while to determine how "worth it" they are.


5. Corn is very likely a problem.

I did not seem to have a problem with reintroducing gluten free oats or rice, but got pretty sick after adding corn to a meal. I will be avoiding corn, I will keep a watch on the other gluten free grains.


6. I need to be careful with dairy.

I'm a fan of raw dairy milk products. I had some raw cream and it felt so good in my stomach. I felt over bloated after eating some greek plain yogurt. I had a pimple break out (at my age!) after having some melted cheeses over potatoes. I usually do not have a lot of dairy, but I want to see if I am really ok with the raw dairy. I will have to decide if cheeses are worth it or not.


7. Eating grains seem to cause me to get hungry sooner.

I noticed this the most when I reintroduced wheat. After only 3-4 hours of a meal it is like I would hunger crash - starving, gonna get sick if I do not eat something NOW feeling. I do not like that feeling and while I do not think this is a gluten thing, I think it might be some sort of carb crash from the grain. I always felt like this on other weight maintenance programs that promote small frequent meals. There is often that hunger crash point and I do not like that. So I will probably eat fewer grains, breads, etc. so that my metabolism feels more balanced out.

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The nightly pattern you wanted to escape sounds familiar. I also live alone at 59 and I completely understand the siren call of tv, snacks and wine - but I intend to live well. Food is a big part of that, along with exercise, self-awareness, freedom... but most important for me is my decision to not choose the comfortable path, most of the time. If something is a little uncomfortable - like saying "no" to the nightly cheese, wine, and Mystery rerun - it is often the right thing.

Congratulations on your accomplishment. Well done and well expressed, Anita. Please keep updating on your post W30 progress and I hope others in this age group chime in. I finished my W30 in September and it brought fundamental long-term change for the better. That's what I'm really interested in. There are desserts in my future, but I don't see myself falling off this wagon in any significant way. N

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