Thursday, June 06, 2013

In the End

On Day 30 of my Whole30 adventure, I actually felt quite good.  The last couple of days were very easy because I was so proud of myself for making it all the way through with no cheats or slips.  I really hadn’t expected myself to get through the challenge on the first try, so it was truly great accomplishment to me.  Pats on the back all around!


During the process I started to feel quite lean and had a lot of compliments about how good I was looking.  (Not that I looked bad before mind you!)  A slim fitting skirt and favourite pair of dress pants I hadn’t really been able to wear finally fit properly and comfortably.  My tummy was noticeably flatter and I just overall felt a little more comfortable in my own skin.  I realized I was rarely bloated or puffy, and so many of my aches and pains were totally gone!  My sleep was better, and even my hair and nails looked healthier somehow.  (Still worried about the energy though).

On Day 31 I stepped on the scale, expecting maybe a 5-6 pound loss…and was met with only 3 pounds.  I know it shouldn’t matter, and I really thought it wouldn’t matter to me after everything else…but I admit it…I was bummed!  I can gain and lose 3 pounds over a weekend!  The big mistake I made was not getting my post-W30 measurements done right away.  Michael had done them for me the day before I started, and obviously I was down inches otherwise those clothes wouldn’t have started fitting me.  The weight shouldn’t have been my only measure of success.

But, Michael and I weren’t going to see each other for 3 days and I didn’t bother to measure myself.  I let it go, and I shouldn’t have.  If I’d seen those positive results in numbers I may have stayed the course better.  Lesson learned.

Nearing the end, I had spent some time thinking about how I would go about reintroductions of the food groups I’d eliminated… figuring dairy could come back because I don’t eat a lot of it, and aside from the occasional ice cream tummy ache I didn’t think it had much negative effect on me.  After that I would bring back some grains…likely bread and oatmeal.  And obviously I wasn’t going to let sugar and booze go for long! :)

W30 finished on a Tuesday.  I stuck to pretty much the same foods for Wednesday and Thursday, except I did treat myself to a tall latte and brought home some good quality yogurt.  I was still feeling good about the choices and how I felt…then date night came and it kind of sent me into a spiral I’m still trying to get out of 3 weeks later.


As planned, we went for Pizzeria Prima Strada.  It’s the meal I’d been thinking about since before I started Whole30, and I enjoyed every single bite of the perfect pizza, and every sip of my first glass of red wine.  Perfect reward for a job well done (even if I shouldn’t be rewarding myself with food!).

I don’t think that one meal would have been an issue, but that same weekend was Michael’s birthday and because I’m a genius I booked our reservations for an Italian restaurant where we drank wine, ate bread, ordered creamy pasta and shared some sort of decadent dessert. 

Again, I can’t blame the food, I have to blame my choices.  I should have taken it easier on my poor body.  It went into shock and then just craved ALL.THE.THINGS.  Even though my grocery cart was still stocked with Whole30 and Paleo friendly items, treats were finding their way into my grocery bags as well.  I cannot tell you the amount of junk I’ve consumed since that weekend.  Booooo.

I have to tell you…I gained back that 3 pounds in less than a week, gained a few more since then, and just constantly feel bloated and yucky.  Clearly I still have a lot to learn about keeping my shit together.


So, I suppose my take aways are these:

  • W30 is an elimination diet and somewhat depriving, so the reintroduction phase is there for a reason.
  • How you feel in your own skin is the best measurement of all, and numbers on a scale or tape shouldn’t dictate how you nourish yourself.
  • Even though I had some pretty negative thoughts throughout the Whole30, I do want to stick with many of the principals that worked for me.
  • Thirty days is not long enough to kick life long eating habits.  I’ll be fighting emotional and boredom eating until the day I die. 
  • Letting sugar back into my life full force pretty much reversed everything I had accomplished.  Sugar bad.

Would I do Whole30 again?  Maybe. The energy issue makes me say no.

Would I recommend it?  Yes, everyone should try it for themselves. 

Am I considering going Paleo?  Somewhat.  I like the concept but I can’t survive without some grains (for energy) and wine (for sanity) in my life. 

Last night I sat down with the food log I kept for W30 and started a new page with a meal plan for today.  I titled it ‘One Day at a Time’ and for now I think that’s the best practice for me.

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Tuesday, June 04, 2013


Eating real food all day, every day is a ton of work!  I now understand why so many people comment that their second or third Whole30 experiences were better than their first.  It’s because they finally figured out that meal planning, careful shopping, a stocked pantry and fridge, and a bigger grocery budget are the keys!


Being OK with repeating meals for a few days is truly a big thing, especially if you are like me and generally just cooking for one person.  By week two, I knew that if I kept endeavouring to keep things interesting I would never get out of the kitchen!  So I did what I always do when faced with trouble…put on my thinking cap and got some planning done! 

Tricks that saved my life during W30…

  • bake 4-5 yams on Sunday evening.
  • boil at least a half dozen eggs on Sunday evening.
  • every time veggies are being chopped, chop extra.
  • grill up extra chicken sausages while using the BBQ on the weekend.
  • pre-washed spinach.
  • fresh fruit, Larabars, raw cashews, dry roasted macadamia nuts, and organic apple chips.


  • invest in a few extra food storage containers and a box of freezer bags.
  • spend one night each week making homemade mayo, homemade almond milk, homemade chicken stock, and clarified butter when needed.
  • pre-portion and pack as many breakfasts and lunches as possible at the beginning of the week.
  • batch cook.  chicken soup, bison chili, salmon cakes.
  • rely on canned tuna and bagged salad.


What are some other good time and money saving tips for a real-food heavy diet?

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Monday, June 03, 2013

The Day the Energy Died

In order for this series on my Whole30 experience to be complete, I unfortunately need to write about the negative times as well as the good times.   Sure, it was exciting to discover a new food adventure which opened up my imagination to some new meal ideas and recipes, but at the end of the day that isn’t what the experience was all about.  I was signing up for a healthier body, more energy, clearer skin, and better sleep.

I already mentioned that during Week One I really felt my energy wane…like, REALLY wane.  To the point that I was barely making it through a work day before coming home and almost immediately passing out on the couch.  My workouts suffered and my evening sleep suffered.


In reading through the It Starts With Food book and checking the forums on the Whole9 website I learned that this energy zap is not uncommon and was just due to my body adjusting to the extreme clean eating.  Everyone convinced me that more energy was just around the corner.  Great right?!  Since that was one of the reasons I did this in the first place I sucked it up and waited for the fun to begin.

By week three I still wasn’t feeling much better…I wasn’t going to the gym at all…just taking a few longer walks with my dog…and I was still needing a lot of extra sleep.  (Thankfully my sleep had gotten much better by this point.)  After talking to a nutritionally knowledgeable co-worker I decided that the lack of carbs (outside of fruits and veggies) was doing me in.  She suggested that I start adding even more yams, carrots, beets, and other carb dense veggies to all of my meals…in addition to the main daily baked yam at breakfast.  I fully agreed with her and gave that a go. 


I felt like it worked for a couple of days, and while some of my energy returned my mood went down, down, down.  By that third weekend I was SO incredibly cranky, and felt downright blue.  What an awful feeling!  I had definitely hit the ‘wtf am I doing this for’ wall!  I just faked my way through a couple of days, and told Michael that I wasn’t going to be very good company.  When I wasn’t just irritated by life, I felt sad and depressed.  I came thisclose to quitting on Day 21…those feelings sooooo were not worth it.

But…my desire not to quit ended up trumping those blues and I pushed on.  It took a couple of days for that mood to pass, but it did pass.  I never did feel super-duper-awesome after that, but at least I wasn’t ready to cry or kill at the drop of a hat.  It was not a pleasant emotional place to be.

By the time I got to the final days of my Whole30 experience I did start to feel better…and maybe if I’d gone an extra week or two things really would have turned around for me…but maybe not.  As soon as I started off-roading by adding a bit of bread and cheese back into my diet I really felt my energy kick back in.  (Of course, that came with the trade off with the effects of cheese and bread!)

So now, two weeks out of the W30 haze, I do know that there were GREAT things about the program and so much that I do want to incorporate into my life.  I still haven’t brought back legumes, and probably never will…I’m enjoying being relatively pain-free.  And I can tell you that gluten makes my face break out, and too much dairy upsets my tummy.  Those things are certainly worth addressing.


Now that my emotions have levelled out and most of my gym mojo has returned I will be spending some time getting things figured out, so I can do what is right for me and my body.

I’d love to hear from anyone else that had this kind of experience with Whole30, or while transitioning to a Paleo diet.  Drop me a comment or an email, please.

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