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I've started several Whole30s in the past, never fully compliant (cheese and coffee cream...), but ended each with renewed enthusiasm for better eating and improved overall well-being.  It's been nearly 5 years since I last did a reset, though.  

In those 5 years, I spent the first 4 walking the line of healthy eating.  I often told myself that as long as I stayed away from bread and pasta I was good.  While that kept me in check to some extent, I was still finding myself eating way too many convenience foods.  The Panera salad soon became Buffalo Wild Wings and somehow morphed into Arby's Market Fresh sandwiches (healthier than the roast beef ones, right???).  I slowly gained 20-30 pounds.  And then this past January I had a personal incident occur that threw me completely off-track.  I didn't care about eating right, ate whatever I wanted.  Gouged on pasta, bread, cookies, fast food.  It didn't matter.  I went to therapy for a few months which helped me regain a more positive mindset, but still didn't bring me all the way back.  I had a health issue which I thought was stress-related, but after several follow-up visits, I was put on medication for hypertension (in July).  The only real lifestyle change I made between my first doctor's visit in April and the addition of medication was increasing my intake of water.  Even though I kept telling myself I was going to walk more, get back in the gym (I was a member of a CrossFit box!), return to healthy eating.  Even though I've gained about 50 pounds over the last 5 years.  

After weeks of unconvincing, "I'm going to do it this time!" and not making it past breakfast, I decided to put goals on my daily calendar with a reward at the end of the week.   I have been experiencing side effects from the medication and have had a significant increase in joint pain (I was diagnosed with chondromalacia and osteoarthritis in my knees about 10 years ago), so that was my catalyst to finally do something.  

On Sunday August 18th, I put these goals on my calendar:  working out 3 days, eating breakfast 3 days, and packing my lunch 2 days.  I also added a reward on the following Saturday for an expensive lipstick I'd just gotten a sample of.  Success!  I did it!  And I ordered my lipstick.     Over the next few weeks I added attending yoga classes and increased the number of days to eat breakfast and pack lunch.  I did this without regard for what I was eating, as I knew that I just needed to get back in the habit.  I continued to be successful.  

On September 1, I added meal prep to my goals.  I figured I had an extra day with Labor Day to get myself together.  I made a breakfast casserole that I could reheat each morning and I made some salads and sandwiches for lunch.  I already subscribe to a healthy mealbox service, so dinners were easy.  I also went ahead and wrote goals and rewards for myself for the month of September so that I could stay on track.   On September 15th, I specified my meal prep "with a focus on Whole-30-type eating."  But then I thought about it over a few days.  Why do I have to wait until the 15th?  Why not just do an actual Whole-30?  I looked up the website and decided that I could start this the very next week.  I have been so excited for myself ever since I made this decision.    

I quickly checked my subscription meals and made changes to include Paleo meals over the next month (I checked ingredients to ensure this also meant Whole-30 compliant).  The one that was to be delivered for this week included one non-Paleo meal, but the others I had ordered were fine.  I made a shopping list, ordered some things from Thrive market, and wrote out menus for the week.

Sunday, I meal-prepped.  I went grocery shopping and bought avocado oil and chamomile teabags (one of my favorites).  I made mayonnaise and then chicken and egg salad for my lunches.  I made a huge broccoli, onion, coconut milk, and egg casserole for my breakfasts.  I planned out dinners to include several things I'll be making this week.  And I unofficially started on this journey yesterday.  

Thursday will be the day I start my 30-day count, as I plan to make my non-Paleo meal for dinner tomorrow night (previously scheduled dinner plans for tonight, delivery box comes today).  However, I started my 33-day journey yesterday.   I will be fully compliant this time, no cheese.  Coconut milk instead of cream in my coffee.  The things I most look forward to are:

     -Feeling in control of myself, and the sense of well-being that goes with that

     -Significant reduction in joint pain

     -Improved blood pressure


I know weight loss will be a secondary gain that I will achieve just by being compliant.  I also know improved mood, sleep, energy levels are additional gains.  I'm so excited to do this, I can't understand why I've been such a hinderance to myself.  But I'm not going to beat myself up, just move forward.  


Yesterday's meals (pre-day 1)

Breakfast-broccoli and onion egg casserole with homemade turmeric-infused mayo

Lunch-chicken salad over baby kale, Whole-30 compliant Pho-beef bone broth


Dinner-Braised chicken thighs with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach, and walnuts

Dessert-hot chamomile tea


Today's meals (pre-day 2)

Breakfast-yesterday's casserole

Lunch-egg salad over baby kale, Whole-30 compliant turmeric Chicken bone broth


Dinner-Ethiopian food.  Friends and I made reservations for this International Dinner night several weeks ago.  I researched Ethiopian food last night, and I think I can manage to fill up on meat and vegetables.  I'll avoid lentils and injera (flatbread) if I can.  

Dessert-hot chamomile tea










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Last night's Ethiopian food was delicious - I talked with the chef about ingredients, and chose dishes that sounded Whole-30 compliant.  They cooked with ghee, which I was glad to hear.  I would have dearly loved to eat the food with the flatbread spread out under my meat and vegetables, but decided it gave me another reason to seek out an Ethiopian restaurant next time I'm in a big city.  My friends were extremely supportive and agreed not to do any wine weekends for the next month!  

I'm feeling good, no cravings, a little bit of a headache.  I know from the last times I've done this to make sure I get enough food.  Dry-roasted pistachios are my go-to snack.  Even though I'm gracing myself into this due to dinner plans last night and tonight, I'm operating as if I'm on Whole-30.  The good thing is I'm getting the 3 tough start days out of the way before actually starting tomorrow.  

Today (pre-day 3)

Breakfast - broccoli onion egg casserole spread with homemade turmeric mayo  - this is so amazingly delicious I'm making this casserole again next week.  It might be the avocado oil mayo-I've previously used olive oil to make it, which was good, but I could seriously eat this one straight out of the jar.

Lunch-Chicken bone broth, chicken salad over baby kale


Dinner-Shrimp tacos with cabbage slaw and queso fresco - my only non-Paleo subscription meal.  I'll make a game time decision about the corn tortillas and queso.  If I don't eat those, my dinner will be compliant.  I LOVE tacos, and I had already decided this would be my last meal.  But if I put the shrimp over the cabbage slaw over a bed of greens...and maybe I could take my homemade mayo and add some chili powder to it, top the salad.  If my Thrive box arrives today, I'll have compliant taco seasoning to use.  By writing this out I'm convincing myself I should make the compliant adjustments and call this Day 1.  

Also making a trip to the gym tonight.    



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After I wrote yesterday’s post, I got thinking that I might be able to actually be on day 3 if I changed my dinner up.  I had arrowroot powder earlier in the week in one of my dinners, so I checked out whether or not that was allowed through the forum.  While looking for that, I discovered that rotisserie chickens are not typically compliant - the chicken salad I had made over the weekend was made from a store-bought rotisserie.  So even though the arrowroot was fine and the two dinners I was worried about ended up being compliant, my chicken salad wasn’t.  I’m glad I finished it up for lunch yesterday.  It was really good!  I guess I’ll be roasting a chicken this weekend...though, I’m wondering if people stay away from regular chicken on the Whole 30 because of the brining issue?  I don’t have access to free ranging chickens.  There used to be a lovely CSA down the road that raised and butchered their own, but they shut down after the state changed some of the organic farming laws.  

My first Thrive Market box arrived yesterday - now I have nutpods to try, ghee, buffalo wing sauce, taco seasoning, almond butter, bone broths, and several jerkies.  Yum! 


So today is my official Day 1:

Breakfast-the final piece of broccoli/onion/egg casserole, coffee with the last of my canned coconut milk

Lunch-Chicken bone broth with ginger and turmeric, egg salad made with homemade mayo and celery over baby kale

Snack, if needed-apple with almond butter

Dinner-turkey chili with riced cauliflower and some other vegetables.

Dessert-hot chamomile tea


I didn’t actually make it to the gym yesterday due to another commitment after work, but will go tonight.  


Positive changes that I’m noticing:

Less pain, my hip isn’t hurting today - I can’t remember the last time it didn’t hurt

I feel better in general, lighter on my feet


Current challenges

Low grade headache

Upset stomach last night

Tired - even though I have a better overall feeling, I think if I laid down for a movement, I’d go right to sleep.

I know these things are expected.  

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As I was walking out the gym last night, my husband called and wanted to meet at our favorite local Italian restaurant (where our daughter happens to work) because it was steak night.  So in my panicked 5-minute drive there, I planned to stick to vegetables, avoid butter, not worry about the salad dressing because I knew the rules regarding oils have been relaxed, and order steak,  Which I did.  I forgot about the Parmesan cheese grated onto the salad until I was driving home :(.  That's what happens without time to plan - little things slip through the cracks.  

So today is Day 1:

Breakfast-4 scrambled eggs served over frisee with homemade mayo and my Thrive Market bacon pieces.  Coffee with nutpods creamer

Lunch-Chicken broth and a handful of bacon pieces.  It's been a very crazy day - I'm just sitting down to my desk a little before 4:00 finally able to take a moment to eat.  So I'm not eating my entire lunch.  I seem to be satisfied with that at the moment.  I was hungry, but not ravenous.  My stomach has been growling since noon, but I had left my lunch in my office (thinking I would be back by 11:30).  Mistake.  The last few years, I would have run through a drive through while going from one place to the other.  

Dinner-The turkey chili and riced cauliflower that was planned for last night. 

Fantastic yoga class last night, best one as far as being able to get into poses, in ages.  Gym tonight to walk the treadmill.  Will get back into lifting starting Monday.    

I need to menu plan for next week and go to the grocery store tomorrow.  


Positive changes

Hip - yay! 

Feel happier - part of this may be that the school year has started and I'm out and about seeing students and consulting with teachers, doing what I love.  

No cravings - Peanut M&Ms on the table during my last meeting (before I finally got lunch) didn't even register as a food with me.  That's huge.  I'm used to stuff like that calling my name until I give in.  In fact, this change was added as an afterthought because they just didn't bother me.  



A little headachy, but maybe because of my lunch issue

Stomach was still upset last night, but better today

I didn't sleep great-up a lot, my body felt sore and a little achy this morning.  I was thinking on the way to work that this was the "carb flu"


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Omg, my hip, knee, entire leg are killing me.  This is the pain I was having a week ago - so bad that it brings tears and all I want to do is curl up in bed.  I didn’t sleep well last night, very restless.  I woke up this morning with pain in my left lower back, but overall felt more energetic than usual.  My usual Saturday mornings consist of being on my laptop in front of the news for 2+ hours, and then not really wanting to get up to move around.  Mainly because I hurt.  But this morning, I was looking forward to going to a yoga class and was noticing my energy and pain levels were very much improved from last Saturday morning.  

The yoga class was fantastic. I surprised myself by how well I could get into some of the poses, the fact that I could actually bend my knees.  My back definitely felt better afterward.  Given the increased activity level, I should have gone home iced and taken meds, but I went and strolled about during a football game for about an hour.  I was in pain by this time, but still had to go grocery shopping.  Lesson learned - while my pain is much better, my arthritis is (and won’t be) cured.    I am also very tired today, but no headache.  

Day 2

Breakfast-yesterday’s egg salad and kale, coffee with nut pods

snack-blueberry RXbar (convenience store purchase - breakfast didn’t hold as long as I expected),

Lunch-the bit of leftover chili from last night, broccoli, ground beef mixed with Thrive Market taco seasoning.  This lunch was amazing.  

Dinner-late lunch, I’m not really hungry for dinner.  On the agenda was steak fajita lettuce wraps.  I dont have anything lighter or leftover.  I’m not sure I want to go without dinner.  I’m a little suspicious that today’s pain may have been impacted by yesterday’s poor water intake and extremely late, small lunch. 

I did my meal planning and grocery shopping.   Looking forward to prepping tomorrow.


a cut by my thumbnail that was having a hard time healing because of where it was located has healed

definitely feel less lazy, though very tired today.  I feel like moving around rather than sitting all day, I’ve not had to fight with myself to get up and go.  

No cravings.  It was easy to find the right snack in the convenience store, even though there were few things to pick from.  I was not tempted in the grocery store.  No willpower involved, just not interested.  To me, this is the most amazing NSV for Whole30, paleo in general.  


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I accomplished so much today!  Not my typical, “I’m too tired to do anything” weekend day.  I changed around some things in my daughter’s room, meal-prepped for two hours, went to Target (usually such an effort to go somewhere!), put together a bookcase, helped my son fold and put away his clothes, did a load of laundry, packed lunches for the week, and cleaned up the kitchen.  I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to do this weekend, but I’m so happy to finally have the energy and limited pain to do stuff.  

Meal-prep consisted of two recipes from Well Fed - chocolate chili and Ethiopian beef stew.  I also made another breakfast casserole and egg/bacon bagel sandwiches for my son’s breakfasts this week.  I was worried my leg would hurt standing for so long, so I worked on somethings at the table.  That was fine. I did experience leg pain walking around Target.  I iced when I got home and have gotten through the rest of my day without problem.

Oh and my reward for last week, a gorgeous new yoga mat, arrived today.  


Day 3

Breakfast-leftover steak and peppers from last nigh’s fajita salad

Lunch-small bowl of chocolate chili as it was continuing to simmer

Treat-I stopped at Starbucks on the way home and got a green iced tea.  So yummy and refreshing.  

Dinner-chocolate chili over kale and riced cauliflower

Snack-hot tea, maybe macadamia nuts if I’m hungry



All the Halloween stuff was out at Target and I had a momentary thought to grab first candy corn and later pumpkin spice almonds.  Both thoughts were very brief, clearly out of habit, but I also quickly remembered, “no.”  Ne feeling of deprivation, no remorse or thoughts about cheating.  But I did get a glimpse into my automatic thought process around certain foods.  

Scaly elbows are clearing up

Definitely more energy today, but not quite where I expect to get  

Still a little achy in the hip


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I am so tired.....I went back to sleep for about 10 minutes this morning after I got up and ate breakfast.  I didn't even finish my coffee - I set my phone alarm and laid my head right on the couch and slept.  And I still want to sleep.  And I have a headache - it feels like tension, everything tight.  Ugh....  I will survive.  

I did eat the macadamia nuts last night and was still hungry.  I'm thinking I didn't have enough lunch yesterday.  Today is another day.  

Breakfast- Reheated egg casserole - eggs, leek, broccoli, red pepper, eggplant, a little leftover sweet potato, coconut milk.  Topped with homemade mayo.  

Lunch-Chocolate chili (Well Fed recipe) over kale

Snack-apple with almond butter, if needed

Dinner-Moroccan beef over riced cauliflower


I take pride in the fact that I don't snack between meals (between dinner and bed was a different story...), but I'm trying to accept that I might need a snack right now until I become fat-adapted.  




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Today is officially Day 5.  I'm tired and have a low-grade headache.  I was thinking this morning as I was dragging myself around the house that I feel worse than I did last week.  I really don't think the rotisserie chicken and the bit of parmesan cheese I had last week precluded my body from beginning the healing process, so I've really been eating significantly better for 9 days (but Day 5 by Whole 30 standards).  As I thought about it, I think "feeling worse" is relative.  It's like when I had a cortisone shot in my left knee - I instantly felt a lot better, I could finally move and walk and bend without significant pain.  But within a day or two, I was feeling the arthritis in my right knee, which had always been there.  It's just that I was in so much pain with my left knee that it masked the right.  I think it's the same with my general malaise - I was in such a fog all the time, that getting a glimpse of clarity last week felt like I was so much better.  But now that my body is really doing the work of coming out of the fog, I'm much more in tune to how unwell I was/am.   I wish I had thought to do a rating of my energy level when I started.  I was probably close to a 1, I'd say I'm about a 4 today.  When I think about this past weekend and how much I did relative to previous weekends (as little as possible), the improvement is clear.  I was too exhausted to even go to a store - I used to love to go grocery shopping or walk around Home Goods.  I haven't felt like doing that in ages.  Until this past weekend. Even though I was exhausted and hurting afterward.  But that's progress.  I can't discount that.  

No snack yesterday.  I am not looking forward to eating all the chocolate chili I made for this week!  It was good the first two meals.  The third it was getting old.  Add a fourth meal with Moroccan beef and I have had just about enough beef.   I have the chili for lunch again today and I'm not excited about it.  I'm actually fantasizing about having tuna fish.  Maybe I'll make that for my lunch tomorrow.    

Yoga class was again great last night.  I loved using my new mat.  I can definitely fold better, meaning my stomach has shrunk some.  I was a little sore afterward, iced when I got home, no problems with achiness afterward.  

Day 5

Energy level = 4, pain level = 1.  

Breakfast - delicious breakfast casserole with coconut milk coffee.  I'm not overly enthused with the coffee.  I often go through stages, regardless of how I'm eating, where I just don't like coffee.  I'm getting to that point.  

Lunch- Chocolate chili over spinach.  I only have one more meal of this after today.  I'm not having it tomorrow.  Lesson learned - I probably shouldn't cook all beef dishes to have everyday, lunch and dinner.  As much as I love ground beef, I'm sick of it.  

Dinner-Mediterranean chicken paleo subscription meal.  The picture looks delicious - chicken with lots of sautéed green and red veggies plus olives.  All drizzled with a lemon garlic sauce.  This is what I'm looking forward to today.   

Gym tonight.  I was going to start back lifting last night, but got distracted and didn't want to miss yoga class.  So I'll start tonight.  A very easy reintroduction.  I haven't lifted since early August.  

A thought as I write out today's plan - maybe the disgust I'm feeling for coffee and beef is tied to my general grouchiness.  Or vice versa.  Is this Kill All Things?  Maybe so.  I'll give myself time.  

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Hang in there!  Day 5 or took me a little longer to in I still am; even yesterday - Day 16 - I was out of energy by 7 and just wanted to crawl in to bed before even getting my kids in theirs and doing the things I had planned to accomplish.

This may not help since you only have one serving left, but we like to make loaded potatoes with chili...white potatoes or sweet potatoes. Not sure if the chocolate chili would be good that way, but might change it up a little.  But I know what you mean. I made a summer squash and broccoli soup for lunches this week and it is lacking in flavor. I mixed today's with some leftover curry I had saved (from making this recipe: ) and it made it better, but I'm sure I'll be sick of it by Friday. 

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1 hour ago, heb2014 said:

This may not help since you only have one serving left, but we like to make loaded potatoes with chili...white potatoes or sweet potatoes. 

This is a wonderful idea for my last serving, thank you!  It actually wasn't terrible once I started eating it today, I really just need more vegetables in it, something to break up the monotony of the meat.  A loaded potato will be perfect!   The meatball recipe also sounds delicious.  

And thank you for the encouragement - it's one thing to *know* this is the way things are supposed to be, it's another to have others in the boat with you!  


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I dealt with yesterday's blahs by not even making dinner.  I went to the gym right after work and did some back squats, push-ups, and barbell rows.  My first weight work since early August-yay me!  I have pleasantly sore muscles today and a little tweakiness in my left knee that I'm dealing with through elevation and massage.  But overall, I feel ok.  After getting home from the gym I told the hubs that I wasn't making dinner.  So he made his own thing.  I fixed my son some of the Moroccan beef (which he loved over rice) and ended up having bone broth (beef!!!) and a watered down orange juice for myself.  When I opened the fridge, the OJ looked like exactly what I needed - I checked the label (orange juice and ascorbic acid) and poured myself 1/2 a glass and filled the rest with water.  It was so refreshing!  I was a little worried it might set off sugar cravings, especially since I've had very little fruit.  Maybe I needed the carbs - my workout wasn't that intense, but who knows...anyway, no cravings, I was fine.  I drank my broth and went on with the evening.  

Day 6

Energy=6  Pain=1

Breakfast - More of the egg casserole.  Half a cup of coffee with French Vanilla nutpods.  I'm done with coffee for a while.  It has no appeal to me whatsoever right now. 

Lunch - Moroccan beef over spinach.  I was too lazy to make tuna last night, made the executive decision to deal with the beef today.  I just finished eating it, it was fine.  

Dinner - Last night's plan for Mediterranean chicken is on tonight's agenda

Snacks - I ended up eating some macadamia nuts with yesterday's lunch.  I have a few of those leftover if I need a snack this afternoon.  Plus an apple and almond butter if needed.  


I guess I feel generally better today than yesterday, since my energy is higher.  I'm just doing the program.  It's not hard today, I'm not having cravings, but I'm not all that enthusiastic about it, either.  I think planning next week's meals might help - I like looking at new recipes.  Ah, but I just discovered a positive when I put my hands to my face - it feels thinner! 


Face feels thinner

No hip pain since Sunday

Falling asleep easier the last few nights and sleeping all night 


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Last night’s dinner was delicious and I was wishing later that I had made more chicken.   I had the apple and almond butter snack.  I was asleep by 9:30, then woke up a little after 11:00 thinking it was morning!   And I was hungry.  This is always my challenge, the middle of the night snacking.  I honestly wanted chicken, though, wishing there were leftovers from dinner.  I ended up making tuna fish and scooping it up with celery.  That did the trick!

Today has been a busy day, but I made sure I had my lunch with me and ate it at a good time.  I’ve had a general feeling of fatigue and body aches, but not terrible.   I actually fell asleep briefly while I was waiting to get my hair done.   I’ll just be glad to get through this part.   I have leftovers and meals to make tonight, but I seem to be craving chicken.  So I stopped at the store and bought chicken breasts and romaine lettuce to make Caesar-type salad.  

Day 7

Energy = 7, pain = 2- lowgrade all day

Breakfast - egg casserole topped with mayo  No coffee!

Lunch - leftover tuna salad from last night, tomato Thai basil compliant soup

Dinner-grilled chicken over romaine lettuce with Primal Palate green goddess dressing  - this is the first time I’ve had this dressing.  It’s good.  I added some salt and pepper and that made it really good.  

I think part of my problem this week is that I feel so full all the time.  My GI system hasn’t adjusted yet, so I think that’s part of it.  

I’m trying t figure out when I get order the Chipotle Whole30 bowl for lunch - I didn’t realize this was a thing until today.  Maybe Saturday, and if not, definitely next week!


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