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Flab Rehab


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I did a Whole30. For the entire month of January 2013, I stepped away from grains, legumes, alcohol, dairy, artificial sweeteners, soda, sugar and soy. And I gained a myriad of benefits: a 16 pound weight loss, clear skin, increased HDL cholesterol and other blood profile improvements, diminished hunger, increased energy, and – my favorite of all – complete disappearance of debilitating joint pain. Hooray for me, right?

79 days later, after what began as a controlled reintroduction period, but ultimately deteriorated into a shameless, free-for-all backslide, I am kind of back where I started. Well, maybe not EXACTLY back where I started… the wimpy sugar dragon I made fun of throughout my W30 is back and badder, madder and meaner, large and in charge. (Why, oh, why did I ever poke that dragon?!!!)

On the other hand, I have not forgotten how IT feels. You know: IT. Self empowerment. Striving and achieving. Unlimited possibilities. Liking myself. Knowing that, after all is said and done, I really am the one in control.

And so here I am again. I am rededicating myself. I am taking up my grass-fed, coconut-infused, non-GMO, grain-free, Whole30-approved battle armor, and I am KICKING THAT DRAGON (and all its damn cousins) TO THE CURB!

Right here. Right now. Let's go.

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So why am I calling this rehab? Because, make no mistake, I have an addiction.

Am I being too dramatic here? Well, let's see: the dictionary defines addiction as â€the state of being enslaved to a substance or habit or practice to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.†To that I add: “but that the continuation of which causes severe harm.â€

I am there. The substance is unhealthy food. The habit is using unhealthy food to medicate… just about everything. Boredom. Exhaustion. Unhappiness. Disappointment. Anger. The list could take up the rest of the screen. Does its cessation cause severe trauma? Those of us who have ever attempted a Whole30 can debate that. Does its continuation cause severe harm? Oh, please. If you didn't believe that, you wouldn't be here reading this.

So do not underestimate how seriously I take this. I cannot quit. I will not fail. It's do or die. Worse yet, it's do or continue living a life of… meh.

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Made it through my first day just fine. When I think about it, I actually have a lot more going for me this time around than when I started up for the first time. A whole list of things:

  • I already know a bunch of good W30-approved recipes, and I've finally gotten used to all the chopping.
  • Some of my pre-Whole30 bad habits have never returned. To date I have lost all desire for alcohol, legumes, artificial sweeteners, crappy snack foods, fast food, packaged food-like products, and 90% of dairy.
  • Concerning the bad habits that have returned – I will not list them – I do not kid myself. Eating that stuff makes me feel SICK.
  • My husband is on board from day one this time.
  • I already own a lot of the products that I found difficult to find or expensive to obtain the first time around: coconut aminos, coconut oil, organic ghee, tons of spices, a freezer full of pastured meats, etc.
  • I joined a CSA and get a weekly shipment of fresh, locally-grown, organic fruits and vegetables delivered right to my door.
  • I now have an immersion blender. (Think mayo!)
  • I'm on first-name terms with a bunch of helpful people at my local “healthy gourmet†grocery store.
  • After my first Whole30, I dropped a size, bought new pants, and donated all the old ones. So if I don't see this through and regain all the weight I lost, I will be naked.
  • Finally, and most importantly, I know I can do it. I know because I did it. And, unlike the first time, I know how immensely rewarding it will be.

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Not a bad second day. I made “Paleo Comfort Foods†fried chicken for dinner. It had a crispy, savory crust, and the chicken was nice and juicy. The family enjoyed it.

I also made a project today of going to my favorite bulk spice vendor and loading up on all kinds of fresh spices and dried herbs. Then I came home and spent all afternoon making various concoctions:

-- Rogan Josh, Ras el Hanout, and chocolate chili spice blends from “Well Fedâ€

-- Dad's secret dry spice rub from “Paleo Comfort Foods,†etc.

By the time I was finished, my kitchen looked horrible and smelled GREAT!

On the plus side, I am feeling less bloaty and more energetic. On the negative side, I have been struggling on the edge of a headache all day long. I can't remember if this happened to me my first go-round, but I assume it's a normal symptom of early detox. We'll see if it's still there tomorrow.

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Another one in the hole! Tonight I made eye of round roast with a green salad and roasted carrots and rutabagas for dinner. Delicious! If you haven't tried it, my fail-safe method is to preheat the oven to 500, pop in the dry roast in an uncovered baking dish, reduce the temp to 475 and roast 3 minutes per pound, usually about 21-25 minutes. Then I turn the oven off and leave the roast untended for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open the oven door until it is done, and it will be cooked medium-rare, juicy and really delicious!

I am already feeling better after just three days. Not as puffy. Not as hungry. Sleeping better. Carry on, I will.

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I've been "living a life of meh"... need to rededicate myself as well. Day 2 of a "Whole 25" following up my relapse after a Jan 2-Feb 15 Whole 45. I poked my stupid dragons (more than just the sugar dragon...) and now I need to put them down for good. How many false starts can someone have in a lifetime? Let's see, I turn 40 next month and have been "dieting" since I was about 10 and trying to embrace a "lifestyle" of healthy eating for at least the last 3 years. All the books I've been reading make all kinds of clicks go off in my brain, but it's been hard to REALLY embrace the teachings and LIVE them. YOU are doing a great job so far! Good luck! Slay that dragon!

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Here is a slap-in-the-face kind of truth: I have spent many years and much energy fixing anything that I perceived to be wrong with my life. And I did a pretty good job of it, too. All the things that people think are the important aspects of life -- marriage, family, friends, career, money, education, and even the fun stuff like travel and community service and hobbies/interests -- I worked and worked on until I can say I've got all that pretty much as I want it. Well, bully for me, but I still keenly feel that my life is not right. Because *I* am still not right.

You know that great old Jerry Rafferty song, "Baker Street?" That's kind of been my anthem for the past 30-odd years. "Another year and then you'll be happy, just one more year and then you'll be happy, but you're cryin', you're cryin' now..." Oh, I know that idea well: I'll be happy when I leave my f'ed up parents' home, I'll be happy when I graduate from college, I'll be happy when I get married, I'll be happy when I get divorced, I'll be happy when I get out of this God-forsaken place (Washington, D.C. if it matters), I'll be happy when I get the promotion, I'll be happy when ....... ad infinitum.

Truth is, I'll be happy when I'm healthy. When I'm not in constant pain. When I'm not the heaviest weight of my life. When I like how I look. When I can wear something nice..... Some of that stuff sounds trivial, but I don't care. I'll own it. Anyone who wants to criticize can decide if they like what THEY see in the mirror, and if they do, why be surprised that someone else may want the same?

So, this entire TMI rant boils down to this: I'll be happy when I finally learn to fix me, not just everything around me. So, here I am. Taking care of me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

That said, and two weeks later..... I veered off track for any number of reasons (shipping son off to Afghanistan for one. Yup. Quite a distraction from me, me, me!)

So, let's start this fresh. This morning I made compliant turkey sausages with a sauteed pepper/onion blend for breakfast. For lunch I have some leftover w30-approved meatloaf. Lots of salad greens in my CSA box this week, so I should be fine. Dinner I haven't figured out yet.

Now I am going to work in my garden for the rest of the day.

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Nan, you can do this! Life and it's challenges (shipping off a kid has to top the list) momentarily got the best of you. But you're back and you're strong, you WILL do this and feel terrific.

I hope you were able to enjoy your garden.

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Thank you, calee! The words of encouragement mean so much!

I just got finished eating the best salad of my life. Not even exaggerating! My weekly "locavore" CSA box was delivered last night, chock full of beautiful lettuce, spinach, asparagus, kale -- all picked the same day! Last night we had grass-fed steaks, steamed asparagus and salad for dinner. My husband raved. Repeatedly. :)

Today for lunch I threw together some of the leftover salad greens, tomatoes, a slice of leftover bacon from breakfast, a chopped hard-boiled egg, a few golden raisins and some of my BITCHIN' homemade Caesar salad dressing... ecstacy!

On a day-to-day basis, I may sometimes falter and fail. But the beneficial long-term habits -- things like learning to make my own mayo, ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, etc. -- switching to grass-fed beef and wild fish -- signing up for CSA deliveries, etc. -- are ever mounting. And that counts for something, Keeps me going.

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Let's see, I turn 40 next month and have been "dieting" since I was about 10 and trying to embrace a "lifestyle" of healthy eating for at least the last 3 years.

Shut up, you are not going to be 40!

It's nice to see a few Juanuary whole30 kids still wandering around here ;)

Bonnynancy- you are so right! The long term behavior changes are so important. I have been noting my reintros turning into a free for all as well, but much like you I am still chugging along at changing myself in a positive (not perfect) way. You should be very proud of yourself for looking at your situation honestly, openly and for what it is; and taking the steps to become the person you want to be.



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