Success at last!, but still a work in progress


mary-t

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I finished my Whole30 about 15 days ago, but since I knew early on I'd be doing at least 45 days, I hadn't posted here before. However, everything is so much better that I thought I'd check in, even though I'm now planning on 100 days. I apologize for a long post. Every post that I've read on these forums has helped me to stay focused and inspired, so I hope to give a little back.

A bit of background, I was diagnosed with Celiac (complete villous atrophy for those who speak "Celiac") about 20 months ago (and have been stringently gluten-free since). Although I improved and didn't feel actively sick most of the time, I never seemed to "get better" or "feel well" or rebound. Recovery from exertion took days. Energy was non-existent; I went to bed as close after dinner as I could and calculated how soon I could go back to bed when I woke up each morning. My joints hurt, my muscles were stiff, I had frequent headaches, GI problems of all sorts, unbelievably strong food cravings, and eczema and rashes that came and went. I had no energy for other people, so I lost touch with many friends. Month after month, I dropped soy, corn, caffeine, dairy, grains and cereals as old symptoms reappeared. Eliminating each one seemed to help me maintain, but once again I never seemed to start to heal. I had come to believe that I just wasn't ever going to feel normal (and my idea of normal, it turns out, was way below par!). Right before Christmas, I had a bad GI reaction to legumes and removed them. Fresh out of ideas, I happened to see a reference to the Whole30 on a blog in the New Year's Resolutions forum (it was on Mr. Money Moustache, since credit is due).

Now, here I am 45 days later (having followed the Auto-Immune Protocol quite closely), and what a difference those days have made in my life. I have energy all day; it's not quite tiger blood, but it's consistent and reliable. I only sleep 8-9 restful hours now (instead of 10-12 like during the past five years), so it's like I've actually gained time in each day. My weight workouts (which I continued throughout my illness) have become a source of joy and challenge instead of something I had to do to try to stay limber and reduce the pain. The headaches are gone, the cravings are gone, my skin glows. I've lost 13 pounds,my abdomen is flatter, and my clothes are baggy. My digestive system is happy and quiet 90% of the time. Most importantly, I feel like myself again; I'm happy and outgoing and smile all the time. I regularly call friends and catch myself singing with music in the car. I'd lost an important part of myself for a very large time and now I can feel me coming back. I know that my body is healing now, and beginning to function as it should. As I said in my intro post, hope is worth its weight in gold and I know now that this way of eating isn't going to leave me frustrated and looking for different answers.

So, I still have a long way to go, but I'm on the right path. This Friday (Day 50) I have to do bloodwork for my annual physical. I'm hoping that I won't be deficient in anything this time around (I am on a lot of prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements and wish to drop some of them if possible). If those tests go well, then I may look at re-introducing the foods that the AIP eliminates. In the meantime, I'm just going to keep eating good food and enjoying my revival!

Melissa and Dallas, thank you so very much for your work with the Whole30. You've helped me enjoy my life again. And to everyone on the forums, a big thank you as well. I've read many a post throughout this time and will keep reading for wisdom, inspiration, and moral support. :)

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Awesome story, thanks for sharing! I'm curious though...it seems as though you had already removed most if not all of the major NO food groups prior to the W30 without any relief. What do you think finally helped you? Were there some additional things you removed by following AIP that you suspect helped, or possibly the addition of healthy foods (or fats) that you were not eating before?

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Thanks, CAK911 and JJB. It is great to feel better at last!!

To answer your question, JJB, I think it was removing legumes (I ate lentils and/or peanuts everyday until Christmas) and nuts and seeds that finally worked. I started my Whole30 right after the peanut/lentil reaction, so I didn't take much time to recover and know how it was without just legumes. Since I have Celiac and Grave's Disease (both auto-immune), I followed the AIP from the beginning. And I think nuts and seeds are a problem. I say this because I had to travel quite a bit during my first two weeks on the program and ate eggs a few times in desperation and seemed to have no problems. However, I've had nuts twice since Day 30 (as a test) and both times my stomach has not been happy. I also removed the nightshades and have not tested them yet, so they could be part of it as well. The Whole30 addition I think that helped the most was upping my fat uptake (making sure I had some at each meal). I can't do coconut (I currently have an intolerance for it), so I've really depended on avocado and olive oil. And I think that has helped tremendously in increasing my energy. :)

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