September 3, 2014

Whole 30: Day 3

I think that initially, the hardest thing for me about the Whole 30 isn't sugar and processed carb withdrawal but rather, not being allowed to step on the scale. It's something I have always struggled with: if I know I am eating well, eating enough, and exercising, then why do I need a number to validate it? This morning I woke up before the alarm feeling energetic and less bloated already. Why do I need to see a number to prove that I am doing the right thing?

In my earlier attempts at completing a Whole 30, I've always peeked. I am hoping to be stronger this time around - to be strong enough to shift my focus on making consistently good choices for a month, rather than fixating on what the scale will say at the end.

This time around, I am trying to listen to my body more, or at least listen better. I am trying to notice patterns in my eating, the places where I eat mindlessly or make poor choices because it fits in my calorie goal. Some examples:

1. My sodium intake the past few weeks has been pretty high. When I first lost the weight, I didn't keep a food log, I just ate pretty much the same thing every day. I tried doing that this time too, but changed up a few things - for example, instead of a chicken and veggies meal for lunch, I'd have a sandwich, because it's only a few more calories. Except - the sodium is way higher. Just because foods fit within a calorie limit doesn't mean they're the best choices. Another example that blew my mind was a serving of fat-free sugar-free banana Jello pudding - a 1/2 cup serving has 330 mg of sodium! (To compare, a 10 oz bowl of watermelon has 3 mg of sodium.)

2. My nutrient breakdown has been very carb heavy. Some of them are good carbs - we've been enjoying watermelons and cherries this summer, for sure. But most of the calories I'm logging are coming from carbs - cereal with breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, crackers for a snack. Even though I am under my calorie goal, since most of the calories are coming from carbs instead of protein, I feel hungry all day, and I have to fight with myself at night to avoid snacking. With the Whole 30, I eat a good size dinner full of veggies and healthy protein, and I don't feel hungry again until morning.

3. On that subject, my eating has become very mechanical. Something I notice about food tracking is that it makes me a bit obsessive - I focus so much on when my next meal is, what my next meal can or cannot be, and whether or not it fits in my plan for the day. I find myself eating a snack not necessarily because I want it, but because I have room in my calories and I want to delay dinner as long as possible (because after dinner, the kitchen is closed to me). When I follow the Whole 30 way of eating, I think less about food between meals, and I eat mindfully and purposefully.

I'm sure some things that are easy now will become more challenging, and current challenges may ease up. At the moment, though, things are sailing pretty smoothly.

September 1, 2014

Whole 30: Day 1

I've been doing well with getting to the gym regularly, tracking all my food, and making sure I drink enough water. Still, my weight loss is stalling - up one day, down the next, always the same few pounds.

So, a few days ago, I decided to join a few other bloggers in doing a Whole 30 for September. I've tried one before, and I managed to get most of the way through it before I caved. I really, really want to be successful and finish one.

Something working against me, perhaps, is that my husband does not want to participate, so I am going it alone. Not having his support will surely be a challenge - having non-compliant foods in the pantry, having to deal with being the only one following a plan when he inevitably finds an excuse to go out to eat. On the other hand, though, I don't have to worry about compliant meals - my husband doesn't cook, so as long as I am the one making the dinners, I will be making things that fit my plan.

On Sunday mornings, we wake up and make our weekly menu and grocery list, then we go to the grocery store early, to beat the crazy crowds and lines that show up a little before noon. This week I announced my intention to do a Whole 30 for September, then asked for suggestions of compliant dinners that we enjoyed before. We ran our errands, then came home and I prepped my lunches for the week.

Chicken breast with a slice of sweet potato and a handful of raw spinach. I don't mind the same thing every day for a while - next week, though, I'm sure I will have to change it up a bit.

This morning I made a few days worth of breakfasts too.

Egg muffins, made by blending spinach and eggs (plus a pinch of black pepper and cumin). Also, a homemade turkey sausage patty, and a chopped up nectarine. Very, very good, and very filling.

Since I didn't have to work today, we went to a local garden and zoo with friends of ours who have a son close to our son's age. It was a long day, and very hot - I brought a Larabar for a snack in case everyone decided to go out to eat (thank goodness for thinking ahead). I had one of my lunches when we got home, and made sure to catch up on drinking water. Dinner was roasted asparagus and a piece of a lamb steak that I split with my husband. Overall, a good first day.

I don't plan on posting every meal, or even updates every day - after a few days, it gets repetitive, and a bit boring. But I'll be posting about my thoughts as the month goes by.

In addition to completing a successful Whole 30, I have one other goal for September. At the gym where I exercise, everyone has an account on the machines, and you can set weekly workout goals. I have a weekly goal for calories burned (2250, or an average of 450 calories if I go five times a week), and lately I have been getting pretty close to reaching it.

But skipped workouts here and there have meant that I haven't hit it yet. This month, I want to hit it at least twice.

That, plus the Whole 30, should put me on a good path toward making good choices consistently. It's only Day 1, but still, I'm feeling good so far.