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Jenni B's First Whole30!


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Hello all!

Today is Day 1 of my first Whole30.

While I am not new to the concept of the paleo/primal diet, I am new to Whole30. I feel like the structure and support is exactly what I need. I did indeed sign up for the 31 days of support...15 bones is a small price to pay for someone to light the proverbial fire under my bum.

I am currently one pound shy from the heaviest I have ever been. I am 5'7†and 183 lbs. I am not and have never been one to really get hung up on numbers. What I do get hung up on is that 1) I look like I backed up to an air hose, 2) I am woefully out of shape and 3) I feel as good as I look...that is to say- not very. Oh, other possible diet related maladies: terrible nasal allergies (mostly due to the fact that I am allergic to cats and have two), digestive inconsistencies and tendencies for wicked headaches. They say headaches occur during the Whole30? Big deal. I have been living with them for a while now by a horrible diet. Having a few more headaches as I work out the crap is worth the price of admission into Healthyland. And about the nasal allergies- I have been tested and apparently am allergic to all the things, environmentally speaking. Why do I think that food wouldn't have any effect on my allergies? I am allergic to stuff I breathe; it seems only logical that I would have allergic responses to things that I ingest. The Whole30 seems like a spectacular way for me to make an educated assessment.

So, I am here to whip my ass in shape, literally and figuratively. I work full time and am currently pursuing my Masters in Healthcare Administration. That means my time is limited. I intend on posting here daily, but if I miss a day or two, that is why.

Also, I am here to eat better food. I don't want to eat things with chemicals that I cannot pronounce as ingredients. I don't want to eat protein from animals that were treated and/or butchered unethically. I want to support local and sustainable farming.

And I want to meet like minded, awesome individuals on the same path!

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Day One recap:

Day one down successfully. There was never any real temptations, just old habits that had to be squashed. For example, I went into a coworker's office to grab a file. She has a jar filled to the brim with an assortment of candies. My usual habit was to snag a few as I left. This didn't happen yesterday. Also, I made this spicy shrimp & kale saute for dinner. When I have made this in the past, my boyfriend and I usually grab ice cream to follow up. That didn't happen last night. I didn't really miss it. I really didn't miss the typical intestinal discomfort that would follow the dessert.

The main takeaway from day one: I need to eat more. I was pretty hungry by dinner and may have snuck something inappropriate had it been around while cooking dinner. Luckily, I cleaned out the pantry and fridge on Day Zero. Going forward, I need to make sure I am consuming enough. This isn't a starvation program- it is a get healthy program. I know this.

One curious thing happened this morning (start of day 2). Tiny backstory: I went to get my allergy shots a few days ago after eating a large breakfast of pancakes doing the backstroke in syrup (most likely NOT real maple either) washed down with sugared/creamed coffee. I have anxiety. My anxiety was running full throttle when the nurse came at me with the needles. It wasn't good.

This morning, I go in for another set of shots after one full day of clean eating and a healthy, protein filled breakfast. Anxiety level? Nada. Calm as can be. Now, maybe it was because I realized I was not in any danger, the shots are easy and painless. But I can't help but wonder about the correlation between being jacked up on sugar and super processed grain and having a mini-meltdown over two baby needles.

I really look forward to bidding adieu to anxiety. If that is the only result that I gain (or lose, so to speak!) from Whole30, you can consider me a convert for life.

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Hi Alessandra! I am looking forward to going next week after having several days of clean eating under my belt as a true test. If my anxiety is subsided, I think we can safely say that sugar is the fuel to my anxious fire!

Thank you for the good wishes, Derval and Krista!

Day Two Recap:

My second day went well. Again, I was hungry by lunch time. Clearly, I need to bulk up my breakfast. I munched on some Bob's Red Mill unsweetened coconut flakes. They aren't organic, but they are local!

I got a massage yesterday afternoon, which was awesome. Except for one thing. I get massages so infrequently, that after a good/painful session, I tend to get a headache. I got a pretty wicked one in the evening. I think it was a combo of massage and my change in food that created a perfect storm of a headache. But like I said in my intro, I am no stranger to headaches. It is just where my body manifests pain. Regardless of what I am used to, I am looking forward to them subsiding (or disappearing?? Fingers crossed.)

My boyfriend was slightly taken aback when there was no rice to accompany our chicken curry last night. He is a big boy. He can figure out how to make it himself if he'd like it that bad. If I am cooking, he can get what I make. It isn't selfish if it is for his betterment too, right?

I feel more resolute than I have ever before about taking control of my health. I really hope I can keep the momentum up for the duration! I have yet to encounter any social outings that may prove problematic. This weekend may bring those challenges!

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Hi JenniB

My husband is dismissive about the Whole30. I cooked a curry for him and made the cauliflower rice and he didn't even notice until I told him what it was (after he had eaten it). I've found that the less I say about the Whole30 the more I can get away with :huh: I don't know if that is just disingenuous or downright deceitful!!!

Looking forward to following your progress and hope the headaches are one of the first things to improve for you.

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Hi TynCoed!

I need to look up cauliflower rice, that sounds really intriguing. And I don't know if we can be blamed for disingenuous or deceitful behavior if it is for their better health. At least, that is the story I am sticking with. :D

Day Three Recap:

Woke up with no headache, so that was awesome. I made a smoothie with spinach, banana, coconut milk and sunflower butter. Because the coconut milk was unsweetened and I have not acquired a taste for sunflower butter, it tasted slightly off. I may have to toss in some berries for added sweetness, if I want to continue making them. Truth be told, they are kind of a pain to clean up after--not really something I want to do first thing in the morning before work. On the weekends, maybe.

Speaking of first thing- so, shortly after getting to work, a coworker comes to my cube and says, “Don't make me feel bad, I brought cake!â€. My face fell flat. Here we go. Baby's First Real Challenge. I calmly informed her about the program and how I would be refraining. She commended me and understood, thankfully.

And then I walked past the cakes. Tiny little bundt cakes, chocolate filled with caramel or pineapple upside down. They were like baby cakes! Little baby cakes looking so cute all in a row.

I kept walking. I felt sad inside. Now, it could be power of suggestion, but I HAD just read The Five Stages of Food Grief. But seriously, seeing (and passing) those cute, scrumptious home-baked cakes made me feel mournful. But on the other hand, I was ok passing them. I know my behavior around such tiny morsels. They are small, so I would probably have allowed myself to eat way more than what I actually want. Then I would feel like garbage, I would feel artificially full. The fullness would prevent me from eating nutrient dense food. Then I would have a sugar crash and become a heinous {word not appropriate for PG forums! :D }. So really, I just saved myself a lot of grief.

At the end of the work day, I brought a few home for the boyfriend. I am super proud of myself for not even sneaking a taste. That is a huge accomplishment for me. Usually I cave like a cheap bra. The entire tiny bundt cake scenario really exemplifies the changes in my mindset that will be (and are!) occurring during this month...and possibly forever. I used to eat things simply because they were there. Because they sound/look/smell good. Not because I was actually hungry or because they provided my body with some sort of necessary fuel. It is a tough lesson, one I know I will be confronted with for a long time.

We went to a restaurant, my first while on the program. I had a huge seafood salad with vinegar on top. I had some cravings for dessert following. But I am weathering the storm rather well, I think. Better than expected anyway!

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Hi Margret,

I have the tendency to get dehydrated, so even though I try to push water, I probably need to up the consumption a bit.

Day 4 & 5 R(weekend) ecap:

The weekend proved more mentally challenging. I wanted to go out for breakfast. That typically means pancakes or french toast with bacon and eggs. Then I was worried about how I would handle lunch out. Looking at things through a fresh eye I see that cheese is put on everything! Starch comes with every meal. Even meals serves as starches come with another starch!

Sunday: had an inexplicable craving for chocolate milk. I hate the texture of milk as a beverage, chocolate or no, so that craving was mighty weird.

It all worked out though. I got through. I have found this early in the game, it is easier for me to approach this on a day to day basis. If I start to think about planning and thinking and planning and cooking for at the minimum 25 days, I feel overwhelmed. I honestly believe it will soon become second nature. Like learning to type in the 9th grade. I had to look at my fingers constantly, under threat of failing the entire class. It didn't take long before my fingers were buzzing across the keyboard, my eyes wandering elsewhere. It didn't feel like it at the time, but now it is second nature.

It is becoming painfully obvious to me that I not only dislike cooking, I am not that good at it. I am going to have to overcome both things during the next month, and hopefully beyond that. I want to be good at it and enjoy it. Practice makes perfect, I guess. Right?

Something that I loath to admit, but I will to keep it real. For the past few months, my ankles have been kind of puffy. I carry my weight in my torso (true apple!) so my legs tend to be on the chicken-y side. When my ankles were looking less chickeny and more vienna sausage-y, I was a little alarmed. Well, after just 4 days of eating clean, the puffiness is gone! Also, not sure if it is just in my head or not, but my clothes fit a little better today. I don't look like a dollar's worth of sausage shoved in a nickel bag. Perhaps the new approach to food is having an effect on my fat stores or maybe it is just my head. It doesn't really matter to me either way.

Lastly, a person I follow on facebook posted: “FINISH THIS SENTENCE: I really should not have eaten the _____________ this weekend!†Responses varied from copious amounts of baked goods to extra helpings of dip. For probably the first weekend in forever, I have no response to his inquiry. Everything I ate, I should have eaten. That is a really good feeling, one that, as mentioned above, hasn't happened in ages.

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Day 6 & 7- Monday/Tuesday recap

Tiny bit of a headache first thing on both days. I am not sure if it is dehydration, working out the copious amounts of crap lingering in my body or something else. Or it could be a lovely cocktail of all of the above! It could also be the weaning of the caffeine addiction. I love coffee...creamy and sweet. Since those adjectives are not in my life right now, I have been drinking it black. Actually, less drinking and more sipping. That means I consume a lot less than I am used to. I think my blood vessels are getting used to the lesser amounts of caffeine, causing some headaches.

I haven't started an exercise regime just yet. I have the best intentions on doing so, namely in the morning before work. I used to get up and do quickie workouts that were just enough to get the blood flowing but not enough to fully count as a workout. I'd like to get back into that habit. Or do some yoga. Yoga sounds like a splendid way to start the day. I have tried getting on the elliptical while watching the morning news. Talk about dialing it in. Cardio first thing is simply not for me. It just isn't happening. As the season starts to change and the sun is up when I wake up, perhaps I will incorporate a morning walk. I have an overactive imagination that doesn't allow for walks in the dark. I know. I am chicken.

It is becoming easier and easier to walk this path. Yesterday evening as I was leaving to go volunteer at the library, my boyfriend hinted that he was going to hit up Dairy Queen while I was gone. I joked that I didn't want to know about it. But later, I asked if he had gone. He confirmed. I didn't feel the pang of longing that I expected. It was like he told me he had filled his truck up with fuel or checked the mail or some other mundane, uninteresting task. This is huge and it happened within one week. That is my message to those starting out. I am not saying that the Sugar Dragon is dead, but it is laying on the ground with life threatening wounds.

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Day 8-12 Recap

I haven't posted in awhile because there isn't much to report. Truly, no news is good news! I have been trucking along quite well. Temptations pop up but fade quickly. I haven't really had many cravings. Well, except for one. I really want to weigh myself. It is no secret that one of the reasons I am doing this is for weight loss. I chose Whole30 as my avenue for weight loss because it incorporates learned health--something I very much believe in. I am not interested in quick fixes that teach me nothing and leave me less healthy than when I came in. That being said...I still want to shed some pounds and maybe a dress size or two. I feel results and I see them with my eyes, but I want to be vindicated and weigh myself. But I know I shouldn't. You see, the old me would have two reactions to what the scale says. Either I have lost a reasonable amount of weight and I would celebrate--the old fashioned way. By binging on garbage, because “just one dessert won't hurtâ€. And the flip side of that coin? If I had not lost much in terms of numbers, I would have become discouraged and also participated in emotional binging, eating something terrible because clearly it doesn't matter.

But it does! My insides are feeling better already. Things aren't completely peachy keen just yet, but there is a lot of damage to undo in there. Also, I woke up with a spring in my step this morning. Sleep has never been a problem for me. I consider it a hobby, second only to eating. I have typically slept sound and for usually 7-8 straight hours nightly. Waking up though, that can be rough. Especially in the winter when it is dark when my alarm goes off. Dark time=sleep time. But not this morning! I woke up feeling refreshed when my alarm squawked (it sounds like a truck backing up...it doesn't illicit good feelings first thing).

I feel mentally prepared for whatever challenges are ahead. Including those at lunch today. We are having a potluck at work, and I saw on the sign up sheet that there will be 4 pizzas, a berry pie, brownies, taco soup (undoubtedly NOT Whole30 approved...that is to say there will be cheese.) chips and dip. You get the point. Basically a roster of all of my favorite things. Brownies! What the hell! I will look brownies in the face and be steadfast and strong. I will tell them no, then walk to the veggie tray. And say no to ranch dip also.

But you know what? I will feel good after lunch. Typically, after a smorgasbord such as that, my stomach would be in knots and I would experience gastrointestinal distress of the highest order. But not today! I will eat what is right for my body and feel splendid afterwards.

Oh, one thing I am missing. We have an espresso machine in our department. Typically, I have made latte's for myself and a coworker. Since starting Whole30, I have switched to Americano's (shot of espresso, hot water). I made a latte for the coworker today. My foam technique is improving. It looked like meringue! I so wanted some. But I resisted. Again, a pain free stomach is worth it!

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Day 13-16 Recap

Things are still going well. My determination is strong and I haven't wavered.

I have mentioned before that sleep has never been an issue for me. Well, on the sleep front, there has been some changes. Within the past five days or so, my dreams have been incredibly vivid each night. So vivid it is as though I am watching a movie, complete with plot lines, conflict and cast of characters! It is kind of an interesting development. My dreams have never been dull or forgettable, so when I say these are vivid...

I made it through the potluck at work just fine. The pizza wasn't as tempting as I thought it would be, nor the brownies. The berry pie looked good, but since there was no ice cream to plop on top, I was in the clear for temptation! ;)

One interesting thing about eating only protein and veggies whilst my coworkers oinked out on crap: at the end of lunch they were all moaning about how full they were and how they wished it was naptime. I was plenty full from my plate of kale salad, assorted veggies and meat. But I didn't feel like I was going to die from fullness. I certainly didn't feel like I needed a siesta (I would not have turned one down...I just didn't require one. Just so we are clear.)

Today is my fella's birthday. I have been asking him all week where he'd like to go out to eat for dinner. The other day he said he wasn't sure; that he wasn't sure if places would have what I could eat. For one, I thought that was sweet. But then I felt kind of guilty. I admit I felt a twinge; should I take one meal and throw caution to the wind and eat whatever? Well, those smarty-pants who send me the Whole30 daily encouragement apparently have cameras in my house. Because the Day 15 update mentioned the ‘What the Hell' effect and Day 16 update talks about ‘Restraint bias'. I know it seems cruel to make my sweetie pick a restaurant that serves compliant food. But I live in Portland--land of 1000 restaurants. He will be fine. Probably better than fine.

I did stop into Beaverton Bakery to get him a cupcake, since I sure as hell wasn't going to make an entire cake and have it sitting around the house. I will confess: I wanted to dive headfirst into the bakery case filled with fresh eclair's, cupcakes, tarts, wheels, cookies, you name it.

I made it out unscathed. It helped that it was really warm and crowded in there. I got his cupcake and beat feet. Best not to linger, lest the Sugar Dragon wakes up.

PS As I was scrolling down, I saw my post about frequent headaches. I haven't had one in days. Wahoo!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 17-27 Recap

Wow, I hadn't realized ten days had passed! Things are going splendidly. I am not weighing or measuring myself, but I DID notice that I synched my belt 2 notches tighter than before. I am now only 1 notch away from the lightest I have been as an adult!

Most of the coworkers in my immediate vacinity know of my 30 day food adventure. One particular coworker inquired if I had cheated at all. I was very proud to announce that no, I had not! It isn't even in my realm of thinking.

I feel free because of it.

I came to work today, there is a box of what I assume is pastries on the cabinet (designated food area for our department). A month ago, I would have stuck my nose in there and most likely, fished out a pastry whether I wanted it or not. I feel a sense of freedom in not having to stop and check out the stuff in that box. I don't care what is in there, I know it won't make me more healthy.

My only drawback: the working out bit isn't really happening yet. I am not there yet with bounding out of bed with heaps of energy. I get plenty of sleep, just the alarm is a rude awakening. It is still dark outside. And my bed is crazy comfortable. As for after work, I need to cook dinner and usually do homework of some kind. I KNOW I could fit it in if I really wanted to. I mean look- I have gone 27 days eating clean without a problem. I just need to set my mind to it.

As of right now, I want to keep going after my 30 days are up. Well, I may add a nudge of full fat cream to my one cup of coffee when I get to work. But I really feel if I introduced sweet treats, I could backslide easily. If it doesn't do me any good, why bother?

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I just wanted to add that I haven't used this space to keep a food log because I kind of want to stray away from that. Well, I guess that is slightly hypocritical of me to say, since I HAVE been putting stuff into my fitness pal--that is mostly to watch my nutrients. So anyway. Because I oddly find the need to explain myself, I thought I'd post that. :D

No food logs for me, just updates on my physical and mental approach to my breakup with bad food!

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Your log is great!

I am on day 19 and my dreams are wildly vidid, too. I also have always had an active dream life, but these days are bizarre. I also totally identified with your gaps in posting. I've found days seem to be "non-events" lately and that is very much a good thing!

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Whole30 Mission complete!

I finished my Whole30 on Thursday, feeling fantastic and really proud of myself. I participated in NaNoWriMo* in 2011 and finished. The feeling that I experienced on Thursday was similar to how I felt at the end of November. I set my mind out to do something, and I did it. So many times prior to Whole30 I would joke that I had zero willpower, that I was born without a backbone--excuses for poor eating habits. Basically a license to shovel whatever I wanted into my piehole.

I have proven that the excuse is not valid.

Things that were awesome:

I did it.

I drank coffee black and didn't die (or gag).

I didn't use pepto-kaopectate-immodium for 30 days straight (that has got to be a personal record!)

I started fitting into old clothes again.

Anxiety was at a minimum.

Nasal allergies are improving.

Battled the sugar dragon. It isn't dead but it is no longer in control of me. That beast is on a short leash.

I tried new recipes (some better than others).

Things that I need to do differently:

I need to up my exercise game. I have a crap ton of reading to do, so I should prop those books up on the elliptical and get to it. Also, the weather is improving and the sun is rising earlier--time to go for more walks outside! Yoga is one of my favorite things. I need to make it a routine in my life.

I need to keep experimenting with cooking, specifically with veggies. Steamed and/or just heated in a pan gets old. Real old.

I need to find a homemade salad dressing that satisfies my picky palate. I am looking for something tangy and bold.

Things I don't miss:


Bread as a side or appetizer.

Having that artificially full feeling after a carb-laden meal (specifically grain carbs).

Being unsure of what my stomach will feel like after a meal. I know how my tummy will feel. It will feel fine.

Things that I do miss and will likely reintroduce:

Creamer in my coffee. I will go light, with pastured, organic creamer. I really want to try this ‘Bulletproof coffee' that seems to be popular amongst the paleo set. Next time I am at Whole Foods (or the like) I will grab some Kerrygold butter and possibly give it a whirl.

I'd like to have a cocktail. Especially as summer hits, I will want an adult beverage on occasion.

But the lessons I have learned are that I can take it or leave it. I do have the willpower and backbone to say no.

For now, I will continue on plan for the most part. I did go to a favorite french restaurant for breakfast yesterday and had one of their lattes, because they are legendary. I opted for the smallest size. I did notice that I was slightly more sneezy in the afternoon. Noted: amazeballs latte's will be a treat, and only from places that I know make the drink that is worthy of off-roading (I am looking at you, Petite Provence and Baker & Spice!).

I forgot to add the good stuff! I lost 13.5 pounds, 3 inches off my waist and an inch off the other areas of my body! This is a very gratifying feeling, one that I don't want to lose over some bread or cheese. I will be carrying on with my WholeLife.

Thanks for reading and the words of encouragement! It was much appreciated. I will still lurk around these forums because the information is useful and the contributors are pretty awesome!

*for the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is ‘National Novel Writing Month'. It is during the month of November. The goal is to write 50,000 words in an original story. You compete against yourself and the clock. You “win†if you hit the mark. It is actually great fun and one of the biggest drawbacks of going back to school. I cannot make time while in the middle of a semester of grad school to write 50k words (or more accurately, think creatively for 50K words!). But November 2014? It is ON!

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