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My First W30 - Summer in Oz style

Rachel Adkins

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I'm a little behind with the log. I'm starting on Day 11, because it's been a rough day and I feel like I need a little support.

I'm on my first Whole30 and I started the 1st of January.

On the 1st of January last year I gave up bread. I did that because I'm overweight and have been my entire life, and bread always seemed to be the trigger for a bunch of bad habits. But during that month I seemed to stumble across a bunch of things that tumbled everything into place. Firstly, I found some research talking about weight gain in people who had lost more than 10% of their body fat, due to hormone imbalances that can last up 18 months meaning that most people will fail to keep weight off. I'd recently had that happen to me. I spent twelve months sweating 27kg off in the gym, only to have it creep back on over 18 months when I was forced to give up my weekly PT because of a change in my financial situation.

So I knew the problem was food. But I couldn't seem to get a handle on what was going on with my hormones, binging, cravings, etc.

And then I stumbled across Robb Wolf and had my 'ah ha!' moment. I bought and read the Paleo Solution. I bought and read any number of paleo cookbooks. I became forever a fan of NomNomPaleo, bless her and her beautiful app. I then went to my partner of eleven years and said 'I think I need to do this'. We had a fight about it and I went ahead and did it anyway. (we're no longer together now). And I switched things completely around.

That was a year ago.

In the first two months of that year I dropped 12kg like magic. My weight stabilized for the first time -ever- and I finally figured out what it felt like to be hungry vs. bloated. I had amazing energy. I stopped getting my annual sinus infection (for which I'd had swabs/bloodtest/etc and a final prognosis from my doctor of being 'unlucky') and I was able to cut back on my allergy meds.

I felt so great my answer to all of my friends with a health complaint was 'have you thought about Paleo?'. I'm sure they dread telling me they have the incurable sniffles now.

But despite feeling great I knew I got into some bad habits. Nuts. Nuts were everywhere, every day, by the handful. Sometimes even a meal was a handful of nuts. And I like a drink more often than I probably should. So, yeah, I knew I had some more work to do. All of which is why I've committed to doing my first Whole30.

The First Ten Days

My W30 started a few days before New Years, just getting ready. I bought ISFW and Well Fed (my new cooking bible) and started prepping. I bought more veggies than I could practically cram into my fridge, meat in the freezer etc. Everything went well for the first and second days, and then on day 3 the sugar craving hit with a vengeance. I was back at work, ten feet from a box of chocolates left over from Christmas.

I survived that. But it was still on my mind when I got home. I was so focused on it I was worried I was going to rip into a bag of dark chocolate and eat the lot (and we are talking Costco sized back here). So rather than lose my mind, I had a handful of dates alone with my third meal of the day. That seemed to kill the craving.

Over the next few days I added fruit consciously back onto my plates. I put the apricots growing in my backyard into my beef and pumpking curry. I had the occasional banana next to my eggs and spinach scramble. And OMG I cut up apples and fried them up with the basic mince from Well Fed I now keep handy in the fridge, added a liberal amount of cinnamon and fresh spinach. It looked a mess, but I nearly cried it was so wonderful.

So, long story short, the sugar dragon appears to be quietly snoozing now that I am sprinkling my meals with fruit at least once a day.

Physically, I'm okay. I'm not sleeping well and I don't really know why. I wake up with a headache, and have every morning for about the last five days. I'm hoping it's just detox and it will go away soon, because it's starting to get really annoying. I'm supplimenting with a probiotic, magnesium, fish oil and Calcium/D.

But other than a headache in the mornings, the cravings seem under control and I'm eating better than I have in years. So far, so good.

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You're unlikely to need a calcium supplement if you are eating dark leafy greens. And while magnesium is soothing, calcium may jazz you up and interfere with your sleep. Some people report that taking vitamin D at night interferes with their sleep. I take mine just before bed time and don't think it matters, but you might want to shift your vitamin D to mornings if you are taking it at night.

I get headaches if I don't eat enough. I wonder if you are eating enough. Also, I am frequently amazed at how much water I need to drink to do well. I wonder if you are drinking enough water. For me, enough is something like 10 big glasses per day.

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Thanks for the reply, Tom.

Spinach is featuring on my plates at least one out of every daily meal. I love it. So I am probably averaging a cup of raw baby spinach a day. But I haven't added in other dark leafy greens than that.

I've also been drinking a lot of water. I average about three litres a day. That was something I started before my W30, because I was noticing leg/foot cramps when I was dehydrated. Amazing what a lack of water can wreak havoc with.

But I will shift my suppliments around and see if that helps.

Thanks for the advice!

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Hi Rachel, isn't Paleo great. Nuts are also a bit of a temptation for me as well. I've had them a little bit in this Whole 30 actually Whole60 for me but that is because I haven't been eating enough and getting hungry in the afternoons at work with no other options. I seem to be ironing that out though.

Good luck with it all. I'm also an Aussie from Brisbane. Bet it is much cooler in Canberra than Brisbane at the moment :)

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Hi Mich! I'm loving paleo. I never want to go back to the way I was eating before. Yuck.

Good to hear you're working out the kinks.

And yes, the weather down here has finally let up a bit. It cooled right down and rained this afternoon. The heat was amazing over the last week.

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Day 15/4

I've started the recount because of something I've posted about here:


Which sucks. But I think something got to me, because I was feeling slightly ill the day after it happened (and not just because I was back at square one).

Anyway, back in the saddle and I changed my supplements around. Thank you Tom! You're a genius. I stopped taking my D at night, and I've been sleeping like a log. The only downside of sleeping like a log is that I'm finally dreaming. The other night I dreamed I was a model at a photo shoot who was paying no attention to my job, because I was too busy at the prop table eating the vividly colored ice cream that was meant to be -in- the pictures.

I have issues.

Anyway, with sleep finally sorted, I am feeling fantastic.

I'm also trying to cook new things, now that I'm over the panic of needing to have something pre-cooked and ready so I don't give into the temptation of pizza, or something equally yuck. So I've become a massive fan of duck. I tried my hand at a rabbit the other day, but it was an epic fail. I think it was the fact that the rabbit was wild, so it didn't have much fat, but the slow cooker turned it into cardboard. Oh well, I will keep trying.

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I haven't checked in in a while - so I thought I'd take a moment to write about what's happening.

One word. Duck.

OMG! Duck! I heart duck. I really heart duck fat. I've been roasting veggies, usually on the weekend, in duck fat. Pumpkin, carrots, cauliflower, onions. Oh god, roasted onions in duck fat was a revelation. So sweet, so delicious. I keep a little stock of them in the fridge now and reheat them for breakfast scrambles, as a side to some salmon for lunch, just yum!

I'm so keen to use roasted pumpkin as a base for things like a curry (where I'd normally use rice or mashed roast potato in the past) that I'm starting to think I need to cut back on the goodness, because my stomach is -always- bigger than my eyes when it comes to adding pumpkin to my plate. I'm sure I'm round like a pumpkin when I'm done eating.

But overall, the hunger is completely in control. I've even cut back on my "fruit as a side dish" coping mechanism. Cravings are almost non-existent now and I'm so cruisy I don't want sugar or dairy back.

I will admit I want my cocktails back though. That might be my reintroduction plan! Skip the dairy and see how the system handles dirty martinis. :P

Mmmmmmm....martinis and duck.

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Haha, I haven't tried duck fat but everyone raves about it. Must put it on the list of things to try. Today I had avocado oil for the first time. Man it was good.

I realised last night that fruit at night is a coping mechanism so have shifted fruit to lunch for a while. :)

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Hey Mich,

I love avocado oil as well. So tasty.

If you're looking for duck, I can always find duck at the farmers market. But I know Coles also has it. You can buy the fat already rendered and get the breasts separately. I just heat up a pan in the oven at 200c and then put the duck breasts skin/fat side down, put on some salt and chinese five spice and let it cook for five minutes on that side, flip and cook for another 10 - 12 minutes. Pull it out, let it rest for a few minutes and eat. So simple. It also goes nicely with an asian coleslaw. I made Melissa's version for a picnic a couple weeks ago.

I like an Asian-style cole slaw with a hefty dose of vinegar. Try something like this:

bag of shredded coleslaw vegetables

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. EVOO

1 tbsp. coconut aminos

1 tbsp. chinese five spice (or dash each of ginger, curry, clove, cinnamon, star anise)

1 tbsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 cup cashew halves and pieces

Mix all ingredients except cole slaw and cashews. Stir well with wire whisk. Add sauce and cashews to cole slaw and toss, chill and serve.

But if you want to tackle roasting a whole duck, it's pretty easy and then you just reserve the fat, strain it and keep it in the fridge and slather it all over your veg before you roast. *swoon*

Good luck with letting go of the fruit crutch. Giving up the idea of 'dessert' is rough.

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