My Whole 30 Journey

Wow! What a ride! Well, I am not talking about my amazing trip to Alaska on a motorcycle (that I have yet to finish blogging about…really sorry about that, but the real world took over quickly after I got back…hey, at least I got some blogging done. Who cares about the trip back right…hehehe). Anyway….on to my amazing Whole 30 ride!

About 5 years ago I did Whole30 for the first time and learned a lot about myself and what foods affect my body. It was a great experience. I learned how to read labels, how to prepare and cook delicious foods. I rocked in the gym (which made me very happy). Following whole30 I followed the Paleo way of life. It worked for me.

However, I would say probably the last year I have been slacking. Slacking to me is not going to the gym as much as I believe I should and not eating as healthy as I know I can. Don’t get me wrong, I have been active, but just not as much as I should be. I also do not eat out every day and just come home and sit on the couch and munch on a bag of chips. But, I do know that for me to be a healthy person emotionally and physically I NEED TO WORK OUT 5 days a week and I NEED TO eat what is healthy foods to me!

Back in October, I was thinking of doing Whole 30. Maybe even before that. I don’t know. But, I kept saying to myself,  I don’t want to give up my lattes, or sugar or….whatever my excuse was. Then I picked up this book called “Food For Freedom” by Melissa Hartwig. Wow did that get me fired up and inspired! This book changed my way of looking at a healthy diet. The best part of this book is that Melissa explains that we are all human. We are all GOING to mess up. We. Just. Are. We are all going to have a latte every once in awhile or get our sugar dragon roaring again. We are humans. It will happen. But, she also walks the reader through how to over come all of that. Reading that book really put me at ease for doing a whole30 again and to reintroduce all food groups. Melissa explains that each Whole 30 you choose to do, you will learn something knew about yourself. She puts the reader at ease about how to overcome so many obstacles like family/friends who are not on board with your “crazy diet” decision, or what the heck do you do if you go out to eat etc. She really pushes you to use whole30 as a learning tool to reset your mind about your relationship with food and to explore new foods while putting yourself FIRST!

I would like to share my last 30 day journey with you, in hopes that I will inspire YOU to understand that you ARE important enough to take charge of food rather than food taking charge of you.

To begin my journey, I was feeling pretty lousy about myself. I had gained some unwanted weight, not being as active as I wanted because I was so dang tired at the end of the day to do anything. I was having a latte everyday and not really eating the most healthy meals. The holidays DID NOT help my situation. I was tired at work. Didn’t have the energy to teach my tumblers. Didn’t have patience. Felt bloated. Clothes were tight. It was not a good situation.

After reading Food For Freedom by Melissa Hartwig, I decided that January 3rd was going to be the start of my new life style change. Knowing that I had great results before, was motivation, but also knowing how hard it was before was the kicker. However, I knew I had to do something. I am an all or none type girl. I tried to cut the lattes or only have a latte once a week. It didn’t work, I just needed to complete reset to get me back on track.

Day 1: I was feeling great! I had all my meals planned for the week, got myself the Whole 30 Day by Day book by Melissa Hartwig to journal in every day. Had my Whole30 Fast and Easy cook book by Melissa Hartwig ready to rock and roll. Found all my old whole 30 recipes that I used last time. Started following Melissa on Instgram as well as #whole30, #whole30 recipe. I made sure I was active in ready the whole30 forum. I was on it! I told the people close to me about my new lifestyle change. Life was good! I was super excited that I didn’t have a latte that day!! I know it’s sad…BUT it was my NSV for the day (None Scale Victories).

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Great books to get you started! 

Day 2: For some reason…I DID NOT want to eat breakfast. Over the last year, I would say that I was not much of a breakfast eater. I think my hormones really had changed over the year due to not being as active as I was before, and just not eating right. I had a banana and coffee in the morning. Then by about 10 I was starving and then reach for sugar of some sort. Whether that be peanut butter crackers, candy, animal crackers, fruit snacks and maybe I would have almonds or a piece of fruit. I did find a Paleo protein shake that I did like. So, I had a banana out the door and drank my protein shake with almond milk through out the morning. It was quick and kept me full until lunch.

So this eating breakfast thing….was just not appetizing to me…at all! However, I did find some GAME CHANGING Chipotle sauce that is Whole3o approved. (As well as Mayo!!! ). I am talking GAME CHANGING!! I ate this stuff on almost every meal….delicious I say!!!

My NSV for my day 2 was not having any sweets that was in the lounge and of course no latte! But, I sure was tired! Even though I was tired I was strong mentally and really motivated to get through this!

Day 3-4: I would say these were probably my worst days. Sugar hang over IS a real thing! Wowzer! I had some diarrhea, I was exhausted (slept from 8 pm -8 am the next morning AND had a 1.5 hour nap that day), cranky, had no energy, and dehydrated. I didn’t have much of an appetite either. I ate. But didn’t want to. The whole “Complete just one day of the program” quoted by Mrs. Hartwig, was where I was at on day 4. Day 4 is when I began to realize real quickly that I need to EAT and EAT the meal template that is suggested. I just wasn’t getting enough nutrients in me. From this day on, I made sure that I was eating the protein, fat and veggies as suggested. It was not that I had the “must lose weight” mentality. It was just that nothing tasted good to me. UNTIL I started thinking, “Oh, a piece of pizza sounds good or how about a latte.” That is when I knew I needed to spice up my food and make it delicious to me! The journal and the whole30 forum eased my mind with the symptoms that I was having…..because guess what….a lot of other people shared these same things during their whole 30 journey!

Day 5: I was over the hangover for the most part. Got some good sleep. Food started tasting delicious. I was even waking up a few minutes earlier in the morning to sit down and have breakfast before my busy day. This is something that Melissa suggests to do. So to make the most of my journey, I did just that. To be honest with you, it was really hard to eat eggs in the car on the way to work. I actually like this new NSV! I take 15 minutes in the morning to enjoy a delicious breakfast and I used this time to read the journal for the day. I will now use this time to read my bible:) Life is good!

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Smoked chicken with baked sweet potato and lots of veggies and some Primal Kitchen ranch dressing!

Day 6: Conversations were happening at work at lunch. People commenting on how my lunch looks delicious. Some even inquiring about whole30 and why I chose to do it. I was also being challenged by a few folks. Not necessarily in a bad way, but just asking about whole 30 and how it all works. Having a purpose of why I was doing this really helped people to understand. After I made a quick explanation of “I was having some digestion issues and I needed to figure out what foods were bugging me”, pretty much ended the conversation. So if you are going to do whole30, have an “elevator speech” as Mrs. Hartwig calls it.  A quick description of what it is and why YOU are doing this “crazy diet”.

Something else that kind of got my goat, a lot of people of course think this is a fad diet, that you are restricting calories, and don’t you need milk for calcium?, “I could not eat dairy”….ummm…oh and the “People get defensive about it because you are taking charge of what you are eating and they are not type thing” is a real thing too! I have had a few close people in my life through this journey that I can feel the jealousy. It’s like they know they are doing wrong, but don’t want to change, but are seeing the result in me and maybe wondering if it would help them, but are just not ready to commit or simply don’t want to commit. The restricting calories drives me bonkers!  NO you are not restricting calories. That to me is called a diet. I can eat all the vegetables, and all the meat, and all the fat that I need to nourish my body. If I am low on energy? Guess what? I am going to up my good fats. If I am getting hungry with in a couple of hours, guess what? I am going to up my protein. If I was going to restrict calories I would ignore my hunger and simply not eat when I am hungry. With Whole 30 you need to eat when you are hungry!! The goal, of course, is to not have to eat in between meals, but at the beginning you are learning about how much YOU need to eat for each meal.  Ok…I am off my rant! That felt good:) No…I am not done! The whole “I couldn’t possibly give up……. ( you fill in the blank)”. That is a bunch of crap!! Like Mrs. Hartwig says, “Cancer is hard, whole 30 is NOT hard”! I completely agree with her. IF you choose to put your mind to something, you WILL achieve. IF you believe in yourself and BELIEVE that YOU can and are important and worth doing this YOU WILL ACHIEVE!! Ok…now I am done!

Day 7- 8: I would say that these are the days when I really started feeling great! I had a healthy appetite, food was sounding and tasting delicious. I felt really good about my body composition. I also was beginning to understand what it was going to take to make this journey work! On Wednesdays, I go to a second job as a tumbling teacher. I go right from work to the studio. I usually stop at Starbucks on the way and grab a latte to give me the energy. Day 7 was the day that I needed to prep yet another meal for the way to class. The first Wednesday I didn’t do a great job of keeping the meal template, but I was compliant. The weeks following I did keep the meal template. I am very proud of myself for that! I simply had to prepare for it! This is definitely a NSV for me! This was also my 7th day with out having a latte! BOOM!

Day 9: Another NSV! This was a snow day for me (one of the million perks of being a teacher). Usually on a snow day, I think it’s a free day and eat everything in sight, and take a nap and get nothing done! Well, this snow day was a productive, feel great about it kind of day! I had so much energy that it was AMAZING! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my day. I started off my day by watching The Today Show with a cup of coffee in hand still laying in bed. But, I then got busy. I even tried to lay down for a nap, but wasn’t tired! That NEVER happens to me!

Day 10: Let’s just keep sharing those NSV’s! This day in particular was pretty exciting. My pants were loose when I put them on! My pants had been getting pretty tight there before this journey, and only after 10 days they were baggy on me! I have also been doing some rock climbing and I noticed I was getting better at this as well.

I did need to review my meal template. I was noticing I was getting hungry before lunch. Granted I do eat breakfast at 6:30am and I don’t have lunch until 11:30am.  That is 5 hours. I have a break at about 10ish and usually eat a snack then. However, I was trying to eat enough at breakfast to last until lunch. So I did add a little bit more fat and protein. That seemed to work for me. Lesson learned!

Day 11: I DID NOT want to prep any food. Even though this was only my 2nd time prepping for this journey, I just didn’t want to do it. Even though I prepped the week before, I still felt like I was doing dishes constantly and cleaning the kitchen all the time.   I didn’t want to go make my menu, go to the store, and make the food. But, I did it anyway.  It takes about 1 1/2 hours for me to prep and cook. I have found that it is less daunting if I start working on the menu on Thursday. Then get groceries on Saturday and cook on Sunday. However, the last few prep sessions I have went shopping and cooking on Saturday so that I have Sunday to do other things.  I also found it helpful to make a list on a Google doc and link my favorite recipes. I then keep a tab open of these recipes for when I am ready to cook!

Speaking of cooking….get your kitchen organized! I took my snow day (remember that NSV I was talking about) and organized my kitchen. I have my pans that I use often handy, 2 sets of measuring spoons, 2 spatulas, and 2 sets of measuring cups. I bought a package of 3 plastic cutting boards that are flexible to easily be able to pour my veggies in a pan. I also bought an egg cutter. I then bought an organizer for my utensil drawer. For Christmas, I asked for an oil dispenser. All of these little kitchen gadgets have really helped lessen my time in the kitchen.

Day 12: Another NSV I must share. One of my friend’s had some friends over at her house. Most everyone knew the journey that I was on, but not everyone. I was a little bit nervous going to the party, but I still have to live my life. I decided that I would eat before I went over. Then I just ate the fruits and veggies that were there and all was good. No one asked any questions. It was pretty awesome actually.

Day 13- 15: These were great days! I was reaching my half way mark and I had so much energy I didn’t know what to do with! My clothes were fitting way better. I was feeling great…Tiger Blood maybe….I wasn’t tired at the end of the day. I was a happy person. I felt that I was more patient with my 6th graders. I was just down right happy! But, it was weird to have energy at the end of the day.

About the half way mark, I was also needed to mix up my meals. I was needing something different. When I prep, I prep basically 3 meals for the week. I have the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. For example, I will have a chicken salad for lunch all week. It’s just easier for me, but I am over it by Friday:)

The last time I went through Whole30, I was active in Crossfit. My goal at that time was to be stronger at my lifts etc. It felt that lifting more weight was proof that I was a stronger and healthier person. Which was true, but this time I started off differently.  I simply wanted to be a healthier person. However, I feel healthier, but there is just something missing. So I became active in climbing. I enjoy it. But, I still do want to get back to my Crossfit family!

I miss the Crossfit challenge! I miss hitting Personal Records. I miss every time I leave there I feel that I have gotten a good work out and there is ALWAYS something more to work on! Why haven’t I gone back you ask….to be honest with you, I have been scared to go back. Scared of not being able to do what I use to once do. Scared of others judging me. I am more mad at myself for waiting this long. However, I am taking one step at a time. I told myself that I was going to get my nutrition under control and then slowly get back into intensity work outs. That I have done. Right now, I work out after school with some co-workers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also go to the climbing gym at least once a week. I would not be doing any of these if I was tired after work. Now I am ready to get back to Crossfit!

Day 16-19: All I can say is, hello continued NSV’s! I think I may have just hit the Tiger Blood on these days! Had unbelievable energy and was loving the delicious food I was eating. Fruit is suppose to taste that sweet???  I had also saved up enough money with not having any lattes to get my nails done at the salon. They are so pretty and I really enjoy them:) Life is good!

Day 20: OMG! I only have 10 days left. A little bit of a panic set in I must say! But, the journal really helped me to start thinking about what and how I was going to reintroduce the food groups. I started to think and write down the foods that I wanted to add to my reintroduction days. Organization is key:)

Day 21-30: I am so over this…lol 🙂 Yes, I was over it! I just wanted to be done. I was feeling awesome, eating the meal template, pants for fitting looser, I had a lot of energy….now I just wanted a damn latte! BUT, that was not the purpose of this whole new way of eating. This is where I really had to remember that these 30 days are meant to change my thinking about food. Food is no longer a reward. This is when I had to sit down and make a plan. What was my plan going to be for after my whole 30 was completed? This is when I decided that I would eat a paleo way of life. I followed this type of eating before and it worked for me.

Day 31-42: I have successfully completed my whole 30! What an amazing accomplishment. What I have learned. Sugar is the devil!!! Legumes gave me a little bit of digestion issues. Not too bad, but I know now that I need to have legumes only in moderation. Dairy kicked my butt big time! Wowzer!!! I felt the worst the day after I introduced dairy. I was lethargic, cranky, and just didn’t not feel top notch. I know sugar had a lot to do with that reaction, but I know dairy didn’t help anything either. Non-gluten wasn’t bad, but gluten was another story.  Kind of that same lethargic and cranky mood again.

For MY food freedom, sugar is going to have to be out of the diet as much as I can help it. It just doesn’t do me any good. Dairy just makes me feel bloated, but I can have it every once in awhile. Non-gluten should be ok. Gluten….only if I want to feel irritated the next day. Honestly, I don’t see how the above foods give ME any benefit anyway. Sugar….none what so ever besides psychologically…..the instant gratification….you know…eat my feelings type thing. Dairy…protein I can get elsewhere and calcium I can get from almond milk. I really just don’t miss dairy. Gluten….I don’t see how that is important to my diet either. So for me, Paleo is the best way to go. Now, maybe for YOU ….dairy and gluten area a go! If so….I am jealous!!

I hope this blog has inspired you to do Whole30! If not, read any of Melissa Hartwig’s books and I bet you may change your attitude a little bit!

Until next time….enjoy some new delicious recipes by clicking the following links:

Pumpkin Apple Breakfast Bake

Butternut Squash Fries

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Pumpkin spice latte

Chocolate Coconut Energy Balls

Thai chicken stuffed sweet potatoes

Balsamic Beef Roast and Veggies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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