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Whole 30- A lot Learned


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I came across Whole 30 as a result of my foray into Primal Eating. While I was doing a good job eating primally, I could see the slippery slope back to my old ways starting. A square of chocolate turned into a half a bar. Ice cream once or twice a week became a daily treat. I was making room for the “cheats†by eating less good stuff. I was kidding myself that Haagen Daz was healthy because it lacked HFCS. My coffee was getting creamier and sweeter. Yeah, I had beat the wheat beast, but my old friend sugar was creeping back in. I had gotten to 184 in the spring, but over the summer put 3 lbs back on. I struggled to get back on track and made excuses- I need to exercise more, it's the banana, it's nightshades. No…. it's the sugar and you are in denial.

I decided Whole 30 was worth a shot. I knew it would be hard. I also noticed they had a handy daily newsletter tool. I knew that would force me to be accountable. I'm that way, LOL. So I had my last hurrah over Labor Day weekend. A cheeseburger on a bun, cake, ice cream and alcohol. I didn't do much prep for Whole 30, just made a trip to the grocer to make sure I was stocked up on favorite veggies, fruits, meats and helpful items like coconut milk, ghee and coconut oil (no dairy allowed). I could no longer fathom coffee, as without sugar and cream- uh, no.

What I Ate

I tried to focus on what I could eat and just thought in terms of meals. I am a very good cook, and was armed with a few good cookbooks- Well Fed and a mental inventory of compliant meals. It's easy to get stuck in “chicken on a salad†land. I had salad once. It was awesome. But not every day. J For me at least.

Breakfast was a toughie- I LOVE BACON AND EGGS. Except bacon has sugar and eggs cooked not in butter are not decadant. So I ate eggs with salsa and avocado, eggs with asparagus, eggs with mushrooms. Eggs over sweet potato hash. I grew tired of eggs. It was time to be creative so coconut milk fruit smoothies made an appearance, as did my new best friend almond butter and an apple or banana. When eaten for breakfast a few days a week, my more fruit based breakfast makes me happy. All keep me going until lunch.

Lunch was easy. Applegate Turkey and Roast beef plus boiled eggs or avocado. Easiest lunch ever and made me happy. On the weekends, I'd heat up a turkey burger and have some salsa and avocado or home made mayo and mushrooms. I used to skip lunch, but it is back on my radar. I have some ideas too, so hooray lunch.

Dinner was the greatest- Pork meatballs rolled in coconut. Steak. Sweet potato wedges. Grilled chicken. Green beans cooked in coconut milk. Zucchini spaghetti. Dinner was usually meat and 2 veggies and always looked at my plate and was like- yeah…. So not diet food.

Snacks- not a big snacker, but deviled eggs, nuts and fruits.

Dessert- my goal was to eliminate dessert. I fell short. But dessert became much simpler- a few dates, a bowl of pineapple, a banana. I found that these things made me as happy as ice cream. Go figure.

Drinks- good old H2O, kombucha on occasion and learned to love coffee+ coconut milk.

How it went

The first two weeks were awful. I was tired, cranky, angry, tired, cranky, angry. Never hungry, no cravings (except for primal pancakes????). Just anger. After that I got back to my normal self. I felt better and the eating part was effortless. I got a little bored at times, but realized that being bored with steak and veggies didn't mean go eat a pizza, it meant go make pork meatballs rolled in coconut. I want something “rich†didn't mean cheesecake- it meant whole fat coconut milk in my coffee or a dollop of mayo on my sweet potato. I did have some acid reflux issues- thinking it was ghee. When I pitched it, the reflux stopped.

I had only one mess up- a bite of sunflower seed butter that had sugar (didn't realize it). Caused no harm. I also ate some foods at a wedding that may have had weird oil etc.

Stuff I Learned

  • I can live without added sugar and still eat in a way that makes me happy. Coffee with coconut milk was as satisfying at the beach as coffee with cream and sugar.
  • If I don't buy it, I don't eat it. If I do buy it, I eat it. Case in point- dates. I bought dates and assumed they'd be unsatisfying. Wrong. I need to not buy dates. Or buy them in small quantities.
  • If I am bored and mopey about the food I am eating, I need to try a new recipe or think out of the box. There is a ton of variety of things you can make with whole foods.
  • I need to exercise. I felt better with regular walks, but I need more intense exercise that I slack on when left to my own regards. I signed up for regular fitness classes.
  • It didn't make me feel that much better, which tells me my base diet was on track pretty well.
  • I drink because other people drink. I don't even enjoy it. No one notices when I don't drink, nor do they care, so why put empty calories in my body that I don't even want??

Stuff I need to Work on:

  • More veggies at lunch and breakfast
  • Food rituals- I do not always need dessert, it's a habit- now it's healthier, but still a habit
  • Commit to exercise
  • New ways to reward myself. I basically replaced food with shopping. That's not good.

My results

I lost 8 lbs- 187 to 179. I was never hungry or felt deprived. I barely exercised. Clearly, the sugar, and maybe dairy was stalling my weight loss.

I have a better relationship with food. I had 30 days of not feeling out of control or remorseful for that one square of chocolate becoming a bar. I don't miss sugar. I don't crave anything. I get hungry, eat something real and move on. I have better energy throughout my day. Lunch helps. And it helps not skimping on real foods in order to feed the sugar beast. That banana rounds out breakfast and is useful.

The most unexpected thing was that not having the sugar forced me to deal with some emotional issues I ignored for a while. I guess the sugar kind of kept them at bay, and losing that treat made me cranky enough to deal with some negatives in my life. I did. It sucked, but its past. Now it is good. I spoke up for myself. I feel great about myself now, and am at peace with a bunch of stuff.

Next steps

I want to keep the sugar kicked out, so no more cream and sugar in my coffee, ice cream or chocolate. I am going to try butter and bacon and see how that goes. I really don't miss anything except the butter and bacon. I also want to make the next 30 days a commitment to fitness- 3 times a week of classes, and 2 other days of exercise. No excuses. I also want to add back in some social stuff- dining out. Also my goal is to compile a list of breakfasts and lunches – 10 options each and have them posted on my fridge so I love those meals as much as dinner.me


Lastly, my heartfelt thanks to the Whole 30 and Primal creators. You are saving lives making this stuff available. I literally have spent about $60 on this plan- 2 cook books and the newsletter and it has been a god send. A year ago, I was on my way to a bad place, abandoning exercise (I was a serious exerciser-did a marathon, butwas giving up on that), diet getting worse. Had I not seen Primal, today I fear my weight would be in excess of 240, on my way back to morbid obesity. A year ago, I weighed 213 lbs and was barely fitting size 16's in spanx. I was falling asleep at my desk mid afternoon. I had no control. Today, I am 179. Smaller than I was in highschool. The new size 12 dress could be a size smaller. The new Seven jeans are a size 12 and a bit roomy in the waist. I can't find my spanx. :) I rolled straight to Cross Fit from work 2 times this week and finished the work outs. I don't spend the day thinking about my next sugar fix. I feel nourished and happy and grateful to you all for sharing this.

I got a huge compliment this summer from an old family friend- she hadn't seen me in years, since early college years. She said "please don't take this the wrong way, but you have become stunningly beautiful as you have aged. I never thought of you as pretty when you were younger". (She puts her foot in her mouth, LOL, a lot). For thefirst time in my life, I'm the pretty girl and it's pretty that comes from great nutrition, fitness and self love. That I got from the Primal/Paleo community..... from people I'll never meet, who asked nothing from me. XO

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