January 6, 2014

Whole 30: Day 1

We lasted about twelve hours doing the Whole 30 at my mother's house. We were ready to dedicate ourselves, but it very quickly became apparent that preparation is going to be crucial to all this. There just wasn't anything compliant in the house. My family eats a lot of processed foods, lots of refined carbs. (Which is why I rarely return from trips there without having gained about twenty pounds. My body does horrible things when it is fueled by processed foods.)

So today's our real first day. Day 1. And so far, it's a mixed bag.

I'm feeling mostly good, but Matt is definitely in withdrawals already. Maybe it's all the driving, maybe it's eating better and eating less, but he's a little grumpy and tired. I know it'll hit us both badly in the next few days, and I will be sure to share every detail.

For anyone curious, the Whole 30 is an eating plan that focuses on eating lots of veggies and healthy protein while avoiding processed foods, plus no alcohol, dairy, grains, sweeteners (even honey and natural sweeteners), or legumes. It's restrictive, for sure, but considered to be a very good detox - much healthier than Beyoncé and her lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup cocktails, anyway.

It's something I've wanted to try for quite a while, after reading about Denise and Amy and Rebecca's experiences, among so many others. One of my absolute favorite life-after-weight-loss bloggers, Caroline, loved how she felt during and after the Whole 30 and has now committed to being almost entirely NSNG (no sugar, no grains). Her habits in weight loss maintenance best mirror what I envision my own goals being someday, so of course, I wanted to follow her footsteps and give the Whole 30 a try.

I'm just tired of feeling so tired, you know? Feeling gross and weighed down and depressed, just so unhappy with how far I once had come and how dangerously close I am to my initial starting point from nearly four years ago. I want to lose weight and be healthy for good, and I know that I feel my best when I properly nourish my body, keep it hydrated, get it moving. 

And not just weight loss, but other physical aspects of my body are different as a result of eating too many processed foods. An eczema-type rash all over my fingers that I had as a child but disappeared when I got healthy the first time ... it is back and as itchy as ever. My lips are painfully and severely chapped, something I've heard is an early symptom of diabetes. That terrifies me. My saving grace throughout my pregnancy with the fact that I got pregnant at a time when I was in the healthiest condition I've ever been. Great blood pressure, no gestational diabetes. We would like to have more kids in the future, and I want to be and just as good shape (if not better) before trying for Baby #2.

Let's not forget Baby #1 either. I've become my own mother, in a sense - hiding from the camera, getting rid of pictures that don't show me an unflattering light. I want Noah to have photos of himself with his mother. I want to be able to get down on the floor and play with him without aching, to be able to keep up with him once he starts walking - we can already tell he will be go-go-go, he's so happy and full of energy.

I want to be, too. Enough is enough, right? So back to today.

We woke up and scrounged together a meal with whatever we had in the house - after three weeks away, it wasn't much. We had pears and W30 compliant turkey sausage for breakfast, and I put two chicken breasts in the crockpot with some peaches and balsamic vinegar for lunch. We made a menu (something I did every week when I initially lost the weight but had gotten out of the habit of doing) and then used the menu to make our grocery list. We didn't wander the store aimlessly, grabbing this and that because they look good. We got what was on the list, then we came home. Even that, though small, was a victory.

We took everything non-compliant out of our main cabinets and put them out of sight for the time being. Just easier that way, at least for now. Matt has a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night and stumble out to the kitchen for a snack, so now he will have only compliant foods in his reach.

Our main sources for recipes right now are Pinterest and the cookbooks we got for Christmas - my cousin Sarah sent me two crockpot cookbooks (Mediterranean and vegan cooking), plus I got Matt a cookbook by Michael Symon that features quick and easy recipes, many of which can be adapted slightly to make them Whole 30 compliant. For example dinner tonight was from there: chicken thighs with tomatoes and Kalamata olives. It was exceptionally delicious. One problem I can already foresee, though, is needing to plan lunch better - when meal planning, I figured we would be able to eat leftovers ... but I'm not used to cooking larger meals and having leftovers. We usually cook small, with just enough for the two of us for that one dinner.

The Whole 30 will be a very interesting challenge for us. Our dinners are already mostly meat and veggies, so that's not much of a change. But no dairy means our favorite breakfast of Chobani is out, and no grains/sugar means I'm going to have to be diligent about preparing lunches ahead of time, because I can't rely on Lean Cuisines or the bagel shop in the building where my office is.

It's a good challenge, though. They're all healthy habits that we know work for us, but are easy to let fall aside when we are faced with tempting foods or stressful situations. I love that the website is so no-nonsense about the program, something I think we need a bit of right now:
"It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your 'struggles.' YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.
Don’t even consider the possibility of a 'slip.' Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a box of doughnuts, there is no 'slip.' You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. Commit to the program 100% for the full 30 days. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail before you’ve even started.
You never, ever, ever HAVE to eat anything you don’t want to eat. You’re all big boys and girls. Toughen up. Learn to say no (or make your Mom proud and say, 'No, thank you'). Learn to stick up for yourself. Just because it’s your sister’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding, or your company picnic does not mean you have to eat anything. It’s always a choice, and we would hope that you stopped succumbing to peer pressure in 7th grade.
This does require a bit of effort. If you’re cutting out grains, legumes and dairy for the first time, you have to replace those calories with something. You have to make sure you’re eating enough, that your nutrients are plentiful, that you’re getting enough protein, fat and carbohydrates. You’ll have to figure out what to eat for lunch, how to order at a restaurant and how often you’ll need to grocery shop. We’ve given you all the tools, guidelines and resources you’ll need, but take responsibility for your own plan. Improved health and fitness doesn’t happen automatically just because you’re now taking a pass on bread."
I will likely be blogging more often as a result of the Whole 30, because of the detoxifying nature and the need to be organized with the meal plan and grocery list. I may also include recipes and pictures - please let me know if this would be of interest to anyone! It seems a bit like we're the last ones on the Whole 30 bandwagon, but hey, better late than never. I think a big push for me was, again, Caroline - seeing her share pictures of her NSNG Christmas made it seem doable, attainable, not as impossible as I once thought.

What about you? Has anyone ever tried a Whole 30? Any tips or suggestions? What were some of your favorite recipes? For anyone who has not done one, what are your favorite things to do to get yourself back on track - a new exercise, new workout shoes, new cookbooks?


Anna said...

My hardest thing to give up on Whole30 was beverages! I love love soda!
One good tip that helped me was not thinking of meals as breakfast, lunch, dinner and just think of them as meals. Go ahead and have steak and a sweet potato for your first meal of the day. :)
lots of water and black/green tea. I always feel like hot stuff tea or broth makes me feel full.

Sharon said...

Haven't done a Whole 30 yet but I've read the book and try to incorporate that style of eating for every day. In my household I am cooking for three adults and I like having leftovers around for lunches, etc.. I've found that if I'm going to the trouble of making an entree-type dish it had better use at least 2-3 pounds of meat (more if bone-in) in order to be worth it in terms of dirty dishes and time spent preparing it. Because I'm on a budget, ground meats and stew cuts are generally what I buy.

I frequently make "spaghetti" sauce with ground beef and then roast a spaghetti squash to serve it on. Or I'll make mini hamburgers out of any kind of ground meat (mix in spices and fresh herbs into the meat) and eat with a lettuce leaf wrap. I've never minded eating the same thing (as long as it's good) for several meals. Find a recipe you like, double or triple it and then you will have plenty on hand for lunches and evenings when you come home late.

Anonymous said...

I've never done the Whole 30, so I'm excited to see how it goes for you and what you cook. Right now, I know that I don't have the commitment level to make it through one.

For me, it seems like the important thing is consistency. If I work out, I need to work out every day because if I skip a day it seems like I can't get back on track from there. So, I just do my best to miss as few days as possible at the gym.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see more of how you get on with w30. I've actually never heard of it myself and after a candid word with the hubby about the state of our health and the prospects it brings last night it might be worth a looksee... We really do need to learn how to eat "properly'

CarolineCalcote said...

Aw Mary, thanks for mentioning me! You can do it! It's tough, for sure. The first week is the hardest. Carb withdrawal is a bitch!!! Message me if I can help in any way. After my first whole30 I pretty much fell right off the wagon and didn't have a good "after" game plan. The last time I did the whole 30 (September)I transitioned to NSNG afterwards and have found it to be a fantastic, maintainable in the real world, lifestyle. Our Facebook group is AWESOME and I got involved in it while doing the whole30. Seriously, it is the best group on Facebook, and I'm in about 30 groups, haha. Love you girl!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I really liked the quote you added! Absolutely true. Every bite is a choice and being prepared makes it easier. I'm trying to cut back on sugar (that I succumbed to MAnY times the last 2 months - I tripped and face-planted in a bag of Kit Late, a tub of chocolate icing...) and I'm feeling better. Not sure if I or my family could survive my being so restrictive on the Whole30 plan, though. I know From Fat To Finish Line is doing this, too!

Heather said...

I did my first Whole 30 last August. I thought it was really useful for the detox benefits, but also for shaking up my food habits (a little sweetness to end each dinner, a glass of wine while prepping dinner). I was very tired the first week, but by the third week I had more energy than I knew what to do with! I was waking up before the alarm clock, ready to go. I found the trick for lunches is to prep a week's worth on Sunday afternoons - usually I put together a soup or stew in the crockpot and then divvy it up during the week. That plus some fruit or a small salad and I was good to go. The prep is key. If you can have the whole food ready or at least meals planned/ingredients purchased, you'll be able to follow through. It's not that hard if the prep is done ahead of time. I know you're not supposed to stress weight loss during the Whole 30, but by the end, I lost 9 lbs, which was pretty substantial for me. Even now I still eat grain free and (almost entirely) sugar/dairy free.

Unknown said...

Hi Mary - hope all is well with you!

Wow what a coincidence! I just started Whole30 on Jan 2 too. I had never heard of it until someone in my mommy running club recommended the book. I think the "no room to slip" is going to be tough but exactly what I need to get myself back on track too.

I'm blogging everyday about it too - I'm trying to post recipe ideas and links to recipes I try.

Good luck on your journey! :)


Amanda said...

I've not done a whole 30, or even heard much about them, so I will be interested in following your experience - I'd love to see pictures and get more recipe ideas!

I try and shake things up every couple of months to keep my dieting experience interesting...from smoothies kicks, to vegan kicks, to zumba, running, strength training...I try to learn something new and try it every other month or so. :)

Amy said...

Yay!! Good for you! I am so glad you're doing the Whole 30.

I need to do another one desperately. The holidays and renovating our house was TORTURE for me. So so so so bad.

I have been eating mostly paleo the last week, but there are still some Christmas treats hanging around, and I keep snacking. Terrible.

My advise is to make your own mayo and follow the directions perfectly. Leave an egg and the lemon out for 4 hours prior, then let them sit together in your food processor (if you still have one) prior to following the rest of the steps. I failed 2 times before getting it right, but the mayo is such a good source of fat and delicious!!

Also, lots of starchy veggies, sweet potatoes were my saviour!!

Email me if you have any questions :)

amscpa said...

I've not heard much about Whole 30 but it certainly sounds intriguing! Looking forward to seeing the meals you come up with!!

Christina said...

I am trying to do something similar! Eating more "real" food and trying to eat as cleanly as I can. I have carelessly let an 88 pound loss shrink to a 60ish pound loss and it's time for some accountability on my part.

I find that once I eat a meal that is healthy and filling, it does SO much for my mental state which is big for me. I have spent so many months eating like crap when I wake up and then feeling guilty and adopting a "Screw it!" attitude for the rest of the day or week or month.

I love a good spinach salad with albacore tuna, spinach, egg and tomato. I agree with an earlier post, don't let the label of Breakfast or Lunch limit your food choices.

Anyway, thank you for posting! I love to see you following a new plan, your writing is so honest.