First Whole30--Complete! This was a triumph.


The Captain

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(XPosting from the journal entry I just wrote, as I found this forum and wanted to brag a bit! Hope that's acceptable.)

7 April 2013

30 Days!

Yeah, that's right, I just officially finished my first Whole30. :D

I didn't keep up with the journal, but I DID keep up with the program. There were ups and downs--some pretty tough moments, but overall not as hard as I was worried it would be. As this last week has been going by and I knew the deadline was coming up, I was feeling a little discouraged. I didn't feel like I had lost any weight or inches and I was letting that old demon drown out the other progress I had made. I don't have any friends or family here who are supportive of the program, so constantly turning down temptation and explaining no, this isn't a diet fad, no, I'm not starving myself, etc. and thinking I wasn't seeing as much progress as I was hoping for was getting me down. All week I've been thinking of the first thing I want to try on Day 31.

This morning, I got up and decided to step on the scale. I thought: If I've lost a couple pounds, I'll tell myself it's working, and try it for another week or so. If I haven't lost anything, well, some people need to go longer than 30 days, so I'll make myself try it for another week or so. Not expecting any good news, I sighed and climbed on.

Results:

Post W30 Weight: 190lb (Start: 202)

Post W30 Measurements:

Bust: 42 (43)

Chest: 35 (38)

Waist: 36 (38)

Hips: 45 (47)

Thigh: 27 (29)

Calves: 18 (18)

Upper arm: 14 (14)

Forearm: 11 (11)

Neck: 13 (14)

Post W30 Body Fat: ~33% (~35%) (Almost back in healthy range!)

12lbs!

2 inches here, 3 inches there, 2 inches over there...!

...Okay. I know Whole30 isn't about weight loss, but I'll be honest: I was beaming. I called my mom (she's not on Whole30 yet, but she just started Paleo eating). I've been checking myself out when I pass mirrors all day, trying to notice the changes that I wasn't paying attention to. Constantly amazed at how baggy my jeans are--I had written it off as having them for so long that they were just worn out, but now every time they start to slip down I yank them back up with a secret smile.

It feels great to actually be making progress. And if ONE MONTH got me THIS FAR and made me this happy, imagine how confident and AWESOME I'll be feeling when I'm actually healthy and in shape again! This has given me the motivation to keep going and allow myself to trust that my good choices are working, even when I don't notice the slow (but steady!) change.

That being said, there have been other good reactions to the Whole30 that are just as important (maybe not quite as exciting) as the weight loss.

Sleep:

Since I can remember, I have always had a very hard time getting to sleep. This is still true to some degree--mostly the "I can't make myself go to bed" department. I have noticed that when I finally do wind everything down, turn off the lights, and get in bed, most nights I am falling asleep fairly quickly instead of laying awake for hours, although there have still been a few of those. I think forcing myself to stick to a schedule will help this as well.

I DEFINITELY have been sleeping through the night better. I used to wake up from pain, needing to pee, noises, nightmares, etc. I tossed and turned so much every night that in the morning all of my covers and pillows would be on the floor. For the last few weeks I have slept through the night almost every night, and although I still move around a lot it seems like I'm sleeping a little more soundly.

Morning have always been THE WORST for me. When I was a kid I would sleep through every alarm I set, my mom would come in to wake me a dozen times in one morning, and when I FINALLY got forced out of bed, I would stumble into the bathroom to get ready for school and fall asleep on the rug. :huh:, right? My mom was not amused. I'm not quite that bad anymore, but I'm still notorious for setting at least six different alarms and still waking up late. Miracle of miracles, I have been waking up BEFORE MY ALARMS, ALL ON MY OWN almost every day.

...Unfortunately, I have been saying, "Wow, how awesome is that? Awake already? You still have time to go back to sleep for 20 minutes!", falling back asleep again, and getting out of bed late anyway. Clearly my body is trying to make progress and my horrible mental habits are holding my back. I'm working on trying to get out of bed when my body wants to wake up instead of trying to horde every extra five minutes I can get like some kind of crazy sleep-goblin. It's a work in progress.

Overall: Good news!

Skin:

I haven't been plagued with really atrocious, all-over all-the-time acne, but it is still a problem for me. I usually get really bad flare ups a couple times a month (thanks, lady-parts) and for the rest of the month it's here and there but not very bad. It got unbelievably cringe worth during week 2. Made me very nervous for a little while. Evened out pretty quickly after that though, and since then has been steadily more clear. I don't have gorgeous, flawless skin, but it does seem like there's a marked improvement, and I didn't get my usual flare-up on my regularly scheduled date.

Overall: Good news!

Mood/Stress Management:

Hard for me to judge, and I wasn't paying very close attention to it for most of the month. Although I had a few very rough, overemotional days, for the most part I feel like my mood, quick-to-anger-issues, etc. have evened out a little. I've been able to be a little more relaxed about things, shrug off disappointments that would have sent me into a black sulk before, and in general start trying to be more positive about life. Baby steps. Not sure if it's the food, the fact that I'm simply doing something to effectively take my life back, or, probably, the combination. I'll keep a closer monitor on it for a while and see how things go.

Overall: Good news!

Pain/Inflammation:

For years I've been struggling with chronic pain. All day, every day, not even one single minute without it. It keeps me from sleeping. It wakes me up at night. It puts me in terrible moods on otherwise good days. It keeps me from getting comfortable while I'm playing games, or watching movies, or working. Some days, it's hard but manageable. Some days it brings tears and sends me to the edge of a panic attack. Doctors haven't been able to figure out what the cause is yet, and no pain meds or PT have helped.

Although weight loss was a very large motivator for me to try the Whole30, hoping to gain at least a little relief for this was an even bigger factor.

It's hard to say whether anything has changed. Although the major pain is still there, I feel like some of the surrounding inflammation-feel has died down at least a little--strong medication used to take the edge off on a bad day but not help beyond that, and I feel like that's where I'm at now. Granted, that's off medication, so it's progress. Unfortunately the bulk of the pain hasn't been touched, but since I don't know the problem I can't say whether Whole30 could even affect it, or if it simply hasn't had enough time to work against years of build up.

Overall: I was hoping for a little more, but in general it's still good news. Every little helps!

Although I was a little tempted to add something back in--just for tonight, to celebrate the end!--I'm not going to start "Day 31" just yet. Instead of indulging in a beer, or pasta, or some cheese on my steak, I bought my favourite fruit (champagne mangos) and savoured a piece. I wasn't even disappointed to have "missed the window" to have something non-compliant. Since I did have a couple minor slip ups my first week (sneaky, sneaky sugar and soy, and a dinner with frozen peas, which I remembered right after were non-compliant), I'm going to extend my Whole30 for another week. After that...we'll see how I feel...maybe a Whole45 or a Whole60. I do want to eventually re-introduce and learn how to handle food in situations I don't have as much control over, but for now I'm committed to giving this the full amount of time to see if I can give all the positive results I'm seeing a chance to feel even better.

Here's my focus for this next stretch:

Following the schedule!

I have been incredibly strict about food (after the slips that first week :rolleyes: ), but because of laziness and a currently-hectic work schedule, I haven't been very good about having Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Some days I manage, other days I turn Breakfast into Brunch, have a small and late Lunch, and a late dinner a couple hours before bed. A few days I haven't managed to eat Breakfast or Lunch, and came home starving. At least I stuffed myself with veggies and protein instead of ice cream and crisps! I would like to try to eat properly, though. My sleep schedule is another thing. I HAVE been on a more regular sleep schedule for this month than I was, and I am consistently getting more sleep a night. I have not been on a regular sleep schedule, though, and have rarely gotten eight hours a night (usually in the six to seven range). I'm going to work on setting a firm bed time and making it whenever work allows, which will hopefully also help me force myself to get out of bed when I wake up in the mornings. Adding in a meal and sleep structure might boost my results a little, too.

Last thing I will share:

It was both my weakest and perhaps strongest moment during Whole30, and it's going to stick with me for a long time. Honestly, it's rather humiliating and I hesitate to put it into text out on the internet with my face next to it, but you're all lovely and I trust you, so here goes.

I am a pastry chef. Currently I manage a bakery, but we're in the middle of moving/remodeling so I haven't been baking for a while. On...about the end of week one, I think? I got a large order that needed to be finished, and the kitchen was ready so I set to it. 200 cupcakes, multiple cakes, big giant batches of frosting, and sugar cookies--and let me tell you, my stuff is good. At first, I was okay. As the day wore on, and I got hungrier, and the people working with me were eating scraps and broken cookies slathered with frosting and tasting cupcakes, I wasn't so okay. At the worst point, I was ready to give in. I didn't. I DIDN'T. Not even one bite of cookie. Not even a tiny crumb picked up off the counter. Not once did I take a lick of frosting, although there were a few times where I almost picked up a broken piece of something and popped it into my mouth on auto-pilot. But I didn't. Not even a tiny bit.

Sounds good so far, right? Except...

I was in a foul mood when I left. When I got into my car, I broke down in tears of rage and frustration and disappointed entitlement. I was so angry that I couldn't have any, I was ready to stop this stupid Whole30 thing right then and there. What was the point? Why wasn't I allowed to have one single cookie? All I wanted was one little bite! It was a horrible rush of emotions. So much anger, and frustration, and a very strange, VERY disproportionate sadness.

Because I didn't have a cookie.

:huh:

WHAT?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

For a long time, I was miserable. Then, I was simply ashamed and embarrassed. Was I really that emotionally invested in a bite of frosting? I didn't even eat sweets all the time before Whole30! Despite the rather crude stereotype about 'fat kids', cake was not one of my major dragons to slay!

After the shame, I was able to (mostly) laugh it off. Seriously? I was that upset about a COOKIE? How ridiculous! :D

It was a good "learning experience" too. This was obviously about something bigger than a cookie. This was about cravings, and addictions, and my confused brain begging me to give in to something it was trained to accept without question. And it was hard, and embarassing, but I didn't give in. The next day, I went to the store with my boss and her son, and they opened up some Oreos and Candy Floss as "car snacks" (why yes, they are both stick thin). Not only did I not sweat it when they offered me some, I honestly didn't even want any.

I wish I could say it was that easy to overcome my cravings for the rest of my Whole30, but it wasn't. There were still more than a few times when I almost gave in, when I almost fudged just a little, just one time, but I didn't. I could always look back on that night with a bit of a laugh and say, "If you made it through THAT, are you really going to ruin this NOW?", and then grit my teeth and move past whatever was giving me trouble.

So, ups and downs on the Whole30, some smooth sailing and some very rough waters.

Tonight as I write this I'm sipping on my "congratulations treat": a coconut milk latte with decaf coffee and a dash of cinnamon.

Tomorrow will become Whole31.

Overall: Good news!

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Sounds like you did an amazing job - congratulations! I think carrying on and seeing how much you can improve the inflammation would be really worthwhile. You might well need longer than 30 days to deal with that kind of chronic pain, so sorry you are having to put up with that in your life.

there is a good blog entry written by Robin - http://whole9life.com/2012/01/the-five-stages-of-food-grief/ - about the anger and sadness at saying goodbye to foods, which sounds like something similar to your experience in the car! It's crazy that food can have that much of a hold over our emotions

Good luck - and well done!

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This is a great story. Thanks for sharing.

I suspect your new ability to sleep was very important to your success. And I like your plan to keep working on sleep and breakfast. I lost weight for 15 months after I began eating this way and think sleeping better was the biggest contributor to my success.

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Today is Day 30 for me, and I'm so happy I accomplished this. It's definitely not a diet, but a new way of life. I love all the wonderful recipes. I was never hungry or bored with my food selections. I did, however, wish to have a glass of red wine as a social thing with family and friends, but never even had any major cravings. I went into the Whole30 gradually, using many of the recipes weeks before I actually started, which I think is a smart way to "attack" it. I've lost 7 weight, came off quickly, never felt bloated (loved that one) and just felt lighter and better. I plan to continue eating this way, except for the occasional glass of wine and am encouraging others to at least try it. Such a discipline, and I was so proud of myself, I must say. Yay!!

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Thank you for your post! You did great! Crazy how we have this attachment to food. I just finished my whole 30 yesterday. Last week I started craving Mexican food and chips and salsa. Today I had it and didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, really I like my whole 30 foods Ive been cooking better. I told my husband that I dont think I will be going out as much as we used too, every Friday, and he was happy, go figure!

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