Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Come out swinging - Prep Tips

We are just a day away from the next Whole30! Excited? I hope you are. I know I am, I'm super pumped and prepared. We've already had one guest post from Sandra the Skeptic, Nicole has some links to yummy recipes in her post, and I've given a few tips on preparedness. Onward and upward from here! I decided to pull the rest of my tips into a single post. Especially since Nicole has recruited just about everyone she knows for this Whole30 and I won't have to worry about struggling for blog topics. Enjoy the few ideas I have below.

More "Trick" than "Treat"

Today is All Hallows' Eve and Whole30 eve, interesting timing. It's another candy and treat filled season for most, and I am no exception. I've been good with refraining from the mini chocolate bars and the like (total count so far: one mini Snickers and and one Mars - both left me with a waxy, sugar taste in my mouth, 3 pkgs. of Rockets), but I have been "treating" myself more lately to foods I am not usually tempted by other times, knowing I'll be going thirty days without as of tomorrow. The psychological impact that has on me is really interesting and explains (but doesn't excuse) the Mexican restaurant dinner I had last night, the tortilla chips, dip and cheezies I have been indulging in since Saturday's Halloween party. It's not that I no longer enjoy those foods, but I am so much more aware of how they impact me. It's helping me decide what's worth it and what isn't  - and what constitutes a special occasion (leading me to ponder how all special occasions are wrapped up in less than healthy foods.)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Round 2: Fight!

Here we are, just over a week to go until Round 2 of the Whole30. And this time, there's a whole pack of us! So keep your eyes open for some guest posts this month. Anyone interested in joining, just let us know! It's always easier with support and when you've declared your intentions to the world! In watching Nicole's Facebook wall, I've been truly inspired by all the friends that are joining us this time around. I open my heart and arms to you all. We may not be nutritionists or dietitians, nor are we even related to any doctors, but with our combined knowledge and passion for food and positive change, we can totally make a difference in our lives. And it was while reviewing these posts that I encountered a really good question that I would like to address in my next few posts. Someone said:
"I have little time for food prep... will that matter?"

Friday, 26 October 2012

Let's get this party started!

Ok, so here we are, days away from Whole30 round two. I am pretty excited about this next part of the journey, a number of people have indicated they are going to be Whole30ing along with us for the first time and we even have some guest bloggers lined up. It will be fun to see the Whole30 through their eyes and sharing the blogging load will mean less posts from us - a richer perspective for our readers. If there is anyone out there who is joining us for November and would be willing to write a post or two about it, please let me know. Those stories are always eye-opening and inspiring for sure!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

And that's a Wrap!

Ever miss a friend's birthday? And a couple weeks later once you remember, you don't know if you should say anything? Yhe more time passes, the more awkward it becomes and you start thinking "maybe I'll just let it slide?". Well that's how I felt about this blog. I started writing immediately after the Whole30 but then... well... then I didn't finish and then I felt awkward, and then a little irritated by the Food Nazi who would not let me get away with it - lol! But that's what friends are for and that's the kind of support I signed up for when I agreed to all this. So without further adieu, here's my wrap up post. 

My thoughts immediately following the end of the Whole30: 

We MADE it! Yay! I suppose now is time for us to do all that soul searching and wrap up the blog with a lessons learned section. There is so much that I want to say so, please bear with me if my post gets unruly (which it will because it's taken me two months to write it).

First I want to give you all a little update. I apologize that the blog posting kind of petered off towards the end of the month. I could blame my still unfixed computer, but that wouldn't be quite true. Part of the reason I wasn't writing, was simply time. I've never been a journal person, I've never kept a diary, which could be part of the reason that my long term memory is so crappy. I barely remember things that happened when I was younger, but my cousin who always kept a diary, can tell me everything about a particular day, right down to what we were wearing. Yikes! I can't do that. Journalling has never been a part of my life and it is not a habit that I've cemented. 

Anyway, the last thing you heard was that I was heading to a wedding. Barry and I traveled to Halifax for 3 nights 4 days and had a great time! I stuck to the Whole30 very well. I interrogated every waiter, asked for a million substitutions, and ate a lot of steak... hahaha! It wasn't always easy, and I did threaten to cry once when Barry was thinking about ordering nachos, but I made it. The only things that kept me compliant were Barry's constant support and reminders and the crazy support that I got from my friends the day/night of the wedding. No one tried to convince me to try the dessert, no one said "aww c'mon, just one drink", I was given multiple mineral waters from the bar every time anyone went for a round. So, thanks everyone! You have all my love and my undying gratitude. 

I spent the rest of the weekend quizzing the waiters at every restaurant and stressing myself out about not knowing what kind of choices I would find. Either way, I always managed to find something, even if it wasn't what I thought I wanted. Overall, I survived the weekend away and stuck to my Whole30. Bad news? It totally broke my stride. When I came home I was counting down the days (only 2 but still) and dreaming of all the things I was going to eat once my Whole30 was over. I couldn't wait for it to be finished. I kept thinking about the microbrews that I missed out on and the desserts I wanted... Those last two days were the worst of the entire Whole30, I struggled with returning to "normal", how I would handle it, and taking a very truthful look inside to see what I was really feeling. I wasn't motivated or excited about the journey anymore and no amount of blog reading helped. I just couldn't get that motivation back. So that kind of fooled me up. In a way, I kind of look forward to doing another Whole30 in the future so I can have the full experience, because I felt like it kind of lost something in those last few days. I still ate according to "plan" but it just wasn't the same. 

But it's done right? Now what?

First, lets take a reading - how did I feel at the end of 30 days? Good news? I lost almost 12 pounds and a total of over 7 inches on my body. Bad news? Internally, I felt alright, but not as good as I expected to. I expected that I had lost a little weight, I wasn't feeling hungry, I was feeling satisfied. But I didn't think there was any miraculous change that I experienced. I still had a few bouts of IBS but I figured it was likely a reaction to dark leafy veggies. My hair and skin felt the same, my fingernails were still soft and bendy. My sleep didn't seem different, the only energy difference that I experienced was that I wasn't tired at 3pm. I just didn't see anything life changing. And I was disappointed. I over analyzed all the food choices I had made over the last 30 days, wondering if I had eaten something that would have caused a required restart of the 30 days. I blamed the trip. I just was expecting something bigger. At one point Nicole commented about how this 30 days was changing my whole life, and I remember thinking, "really? It's not so fantastic". So I ate. And I ate. And I ate. I managed to follow the 10 day reintroduction schedule for about 4 days. That's when I added in gluten grains. And the whole thing went to hell in a hand basket after that. I started to return to my old eating habits, I had takeout multiple times in a weekend, drank beer, and ate dessert. 

Lets skip the dirty part... 3 weeks later... I'm searching in my closet for fat pants, wishing I hadn't eaten all that food. I stepped on the scale I had only gained 3 pounds?!!?! What? If I only gained 3 pounds in 3 weeks, why did I long for the comfort of stretchy yoga pants. It made no sense...  Unless I had wheat belly! I was bloated and tired and generally felt kind of crappy. I could have been any number of things but I seemed to feel the worst when I ate wheat and I even had pain and IBS flare-ups. All symptoms of gluten issues. I don't know if I have a sensitivity, or what but I do know that wheat products are like poison to me. But because I went so far off the rails with my reintroduction schedule, I also can't be sure if it is only the wheat. Maybe it's the bad fats?  Maybe it's something else in my diet. But all I know is that I felt yucky but I didn't feel like this on the Whole30.  Even though at the end of the 30 days I said that I just felt alright, maybe I felt better than I realized? Maybe I felt great and just didn't know it? Because there certainly is quite a discrepancy between how I felt on the Whole30 and how I felt after 3 weeks of off-roading. So, I decided to cut out wheat and make better decisions about the food I was eating; try to return somewhat to a Whole30-ish form of nourishment. 

Skip ahead again a few weeks to the present day. I'm doing better with my food choices but not great. I've gained back about 6 pounds altogether. The scale has stopped moving and even though I don't crave wheat or grain products, I can't seem to work the internal switch that tells me to say no when they are in front of me. So I'm struggling. I need to work more on some things. I haven't unlearned some of my bad habits and I need to give myself time to work on them. I truly believe that every time I do a Whole30 I will learn something new, or make a change that I didn't think possible. Now that I know what to expect, I plan to do some extra things for my next Whole30 to prepare myself, my pantry, and my freezer. I know it was hard on Barry sometimes as the main cook in the household to accommodate my first Whole30 so I want to make it easier for him to accommodate my choice when I decide to do another Whole30. If anyone has any ideas/recipes please share! 

My first Whole30 was interesting to say the least and I did actually come away with a number of good habits. I'm completely off aspartame  I am not having sweetener in my coffee or tea or in any food. And I haven't replaced it with another form such as white refined in coffee or tea. I've been using honey when I cook and need a little something sweet and I've stuck mainly to dark chocolate when I have chocolate. But I still have trouble with cupcakes and muffins when they are available. I have totally eliminated soda pop too! And I was a huge Diet Pepsi drinker. Since the beginning of August I've had half a glass of Diet Pepsi and had such an immediate reaction to the aspartame, that I doubt I'll go back. My head started to pound within a half hour and I can only assume that it was the pop. Not to mention that it seemed exceptionally sweet to me. Now I stock my cupboards with carbonated water and throw in a little lemon or lime when I want a treat. I'm also drinking a lot more teas instead of coffee with nothing added. I found that I really enjoy cuddling up on the couch in the evening with Barry, a cup of Pumpkin Chai tea (from Davids Tea), and a good book. I still can't really get the hang of coconut milk. It's ok but not something I want in my coffee everyday, I have to say I'm enjoying the cream at the moment. 

So, I would say that my Whole30 was a success even for just the aspartame and Diet Pepsi. And I finally posted this wrap up, and now I can start thinking about and planning for the next Whole30, in November!