WholeDONE!


Avalanche

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I made it! What a journey. It both seems like it was forever, and just a blink of the eye.

Overall, I really enjoyed eating this way - although it was not the cure-all for me that it has been for many folks (more details below). That being said, after the reintro process, I plan to keep compliant with the occasional off-roading for foods or occasions that are truly worth it.

Before I started I read the book and spent a lot of time on the site. I also subscribed to the emails, which were extremely helpful.

The good:

My relationship with food has improved dramatically. Several years ago I was eating only real foods (but not paleo) and I felt great. Over time that slipped away and I began to eat poorly more and more. Since last fall I had been ordering take out several times a week, and just generally eating like a not-so-poor college student. I gained a lot of weight and felt generally run down. Now I stick to the template. I eat a diverse range of vegetables throughout the day. I never have a meal without a veggie, a protein and a fat (although sometimes the fat and protein come together). I feel genuinely HAPPY about what I'm eating. I no longer feel wracked with guilt after every meal.

It has reawakened my passion for grass-fed, pastured, humanely raised meats. I have an excellent year-round farmers market at my disposal, with several great 'meat guys', who have options all year long.

I've become a pro at throwing together a quick, healthy meal. It does take some planning, and prep, but it's become second nature.

I no longer get "hangry". I still get hunger signals when it's time for a meal, but I've found that if I need to hold off for another hour or so, the hunger doesn't become painful or distracting. It's just sort of a low-grade nudge from my body that food would be nice. Before W30, I would get hungry after a couple of hours, and would feel weak, cranky, and in pain until I could eat. Now it's more like a gentle wave from meal to meal.

A lot of higher fiber veggies like broccoli that used to give me awful gas no longer do.

Real food tastes so good to me now. Who knew I loved bell peppers so much? Not me!

The in-between:

I can't honestly say if my sleep has improved greatly. It's better, but I don't have that 'magical' sleep described by many. I need to work on being more regular in my bed/wake times. And the change to DST always messes with me.

My skin has actually been more prone to small breakouts. I don't know what this is about. It's nothing major, so I'm not counting it as a bad.

The less-good: (TMI, skip to next section if you don't wanna know)

My gut is not 100%. Before W30 I had regular heartburn, and very loose stools almost every day. Heartburn is mostly gone - there are clearly a few foods that aggravate it like tomato sauce and onions. I would ALWAYS get it after eating bread. I'm probably 70/30 on the stool. Most of the time it's alright, but I still often have issues. I think I would probably do well to explore the IBS protocol, but I'm not mentally ready for that level of restriction. For now I can live with this - I'm not in pain or discomfort. And perhaps overtime things will continue to improve.

Other random observations:

This is not nearly as hard as I expected it to be. Restriction usually doesn't work for me - as soon as you tell me I can't have something, I want it! But it did this time. I had a handful of days where I struggled and really wanted to give in. Usually because of emotions I was having outside of food. It was really helpful to have the program there to say NO, this is NOT worth it.

My stomach is incredibly loud after I eat. It's not gas. Just really loud digestion.

I've been relying VERY heavily on pre-packaged smoked salmon (compliant, no sugar) all month. It's one of my favorite foods, and been a really great, easy, satisfying breakfast food. But I need to add a little more variety to my breakfasts, so I need to explore. Not big on eggs everyday - I prefer them once or twice a week.

I need to work out more often. I have a big mental block when it comes to exercise, but I know if I can just turn it into a habit, it won't be so bad.

Measurements

I lost 8.5 lbs!

I lost 2.5 in from my waist, 3 from my chest (a good thing!), .75 from my hips, 2 in from each thigh, and 1 in from each upper arm. Calves and neck stayed the same - but they don't have much excess, so I'm not surprised.

I have not yet gone down a size, but I was almost too big for my current size - and now things fit more comfortably or are in some cases, loose.

Reintroduction:

So what now? Well I plan to follow the reintroduction protocol. Once I'm done with that, I'm ready to start dipping my toes into the non-W30 paleo/primal world.

Diary
: I'm of two minds about dairy - I know there are many camps in the paleo world about this, and I've done a lot of reading about it. I think I may see how I feel going the Nomnompaleo route and incorporating a little of it into my regular diet every now and then. I miss having it as an option. I haven't had a 'craving' or anything like that, but I'd like it to be a choice. This is all pending how I feel after reintroduction, of course.

Legumes and Grains
(including gluten):
Don't miss them, don't really need them. Definitely in the "only on special occasions, or under special circumstances" camp.*

*The sushi caveat.

Before W30 I ate sushi 2-3 times a week. This month has proven that I CAN live without it. That being said, I can't imagine never, ever having it again.

So the rules for sushi are:
  • It must be of high quality ingredients. No crap sushi, just because.
  • No more than twice a month.
  • No stuffing myself.
  • Savor it.

Sugar
: Not my dragon. I've never struggled with sugar cravings and it's usually something I can take or leave. I will probably be less vigilant with foods that include sugar in the cure (bacon, certain kinds of lox, etc). I don't plan on having sweets on a regular basis. Also in the "special occasions/circumstances" category.

Alcohol
: Will indulge sometimes. I haven't figured out what that means yet. Before W30 I would drink 2x a week, usually less, sometimes more. I may institute a "only when not at home" rule for this, since that makes it much easier to control, and I don't have a super busy social life.

Into the great beyond

This is how I define "worth it" for foods that are non-compliant:

  • The ingredients are high quality, and I'm eating at a restaurant with a great chef.
  • I'm eating something I TRULY adore, and it's a rare event.
  • I'm in a foreign country and I want to enjoy the local cuisine.
  • I'm at a friends or my parents house and they have prepared a home-cooked meal. (Within reason - I'll strive to do the best I can, but won't sweat it if it's not W30. Junk food does not qualify as worth it)
  • My mother-in-laws to-die-for cakes, all made from scratch. (Again, within reason, like 1 slice every now and then, not 1 slice after every meal. We only visit once a year.)
  • I'm stuck in a situation where my options are extremely limited. (Like a long haul flight, or on a desert island)

In ALL of the cases above I will eat to satisfaction. I will NOT stuff myself. I will not use off-roading as an excuse to eat everything under the sun.

When preparing meals for myself:

  • I will strive to use fresh, organic produce and pastured meats to the best of my ability.
  • I will stick to the meal template.
  • I will choose a variety of foods that I enjoy and that make me feel good.
  • I will not let a slip up or special event morph into 3 straight days of eating crap.
  • I will not let my emotions dictate my food choices.
  • I will not beat myself up if I stray off plan - I will simply pick up, dust myself off and move on.

I don't think I'll just straight into another Whole30, but it is definitely a tool I'll keep in my back pocket. I'd like to do it once a year as a reset - more if needed.

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And, I just got my lipid panel results back. Now, the last time I had a blood planel done was almost 3 years ago, so I don't have anything DIRECTLY before the whole30 to compare it to. Three years ago I was overweight (although less so than now) and not at all eating healthfully. So a small grain of salt goes with these as a comparative tool, but I think it's still a good measure of success overall.

2010:

TOTAL CHOLESTEROL 222

HDL (Good cholesterol) 71

CHOLESTEROL, NON-HDL 151

TRIGLYCERIDE 91

LDL (Bad cholesterol) 133

2013, Post W30:

TOTAL CHOLESTEROL 177

HDL (Good cholesterol) 55

CHOLESTEROL, NON-HDL 122

TRIGLYCERIDE 133

LDL (Bad cholesterol) 95

The good: My overall cholesterol and bad cholesterol went down. They were both in "borderline high" range and are now in "normal" range.

The less-good: My good cholestrol also went down, by quite a bit, and my triglicerides went up a lot. Overall i'm not terribly worried as they are both still in normal range. I'm kind of surprised by the good cholesterol drop because I eat good fats like it's my job.

I have a Dr's appt on Friday, so I'll discuss with her a bit to see if I should be worrying about those. I'll also follow up with another round of tests 6 months to a year from now to check in on progress.

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Your TC dropped 50 pts, and given that your LDL and HDL dropped pretty evenly, that looks like a good thing, and something that you should expect! If your TC dropped, it follows that your HDL and LDL totals would drop as well.

Your ratios are basically the same though, so yay!

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