whole30, again

“Hey, it’s been almost a year. Let’s do Whole30 again. It’s so fun.”

Okay, so that’s not really how it went. It really went, “my pants don’t fit, I’m the heaviest I’ve been since I was pregnant, something’s gotta give and I need structure.” So there you have it. I’m doing my fifth Whole30 and I started on Monday. I’m calling this a modified whole30, because of a few reasons.

  1. The obvious – I’m doing it to lose weight and that’s totally not the premise of a true Whole30.
  2. I already know what my body doesn’t like, so I won’t be doing reintroduction like a true Whole30.
  3. If I go out to eat and want bacon on my bun-less, cheese-less burger, I’m going to have bacon even though it might have a little added sugar in it.
  4. I’m still taking my supplements. I take this to regulate my blood pressure and you better believe I don’t drink this stuff for the sugary taste. My bp is more important than the tiny bit of stevia that’s in it.

I’m going to do the whole30 plan for at least the 30 days and then after stick to a strict paleo diet to try to lose the weight I want to lose. I know for me, this is the best way to lose it. Once I make a commitment, I hardly ever waver from it so committing to Whole30 was the best choice for me. I lose 7-9 pounds in the 30 days, so that’s a win for me. Getting over the hump of the first few days is a little bit challenging after allowing myself to let go in the food department, but it’s what I need to do.

If you want to read about my first Whole30 experience, Whole30 Q&A, when I paired Whole30 and P90X3 and my other Whole30 posts check the category here. I’ve also shared just a few of my favorite Whole30 recipes here. Seriously though, beyond the weight loss, there are so many NSV’s (non-scale victories) to doing a Whole30. How about looking younger? Less joint pain? Fewer seasonal allergies? More patience? More energy? So many good reasons to do a reset like Whole30. So let me ask you a question I’ve asked before – what if? What are you waiting for? Join me.

real life P90X3 results

P90X3 real results

Nothing like taking a 4 month break from blogging, huh? I have to be real with you all…I intended to write this post to show you that P90X3 doesn’t really work like they say. I wanted to give you a real snapshot of how P90X3 can work for a real person, with real results. I’m still doing that, but I was pleasantly surprised when I did the fit test this morning. While I didn’t see the results I wanted on the scale, the other results far outweighed that disappointment.

Let me preface the results by saying what I did and what I ate. I eat 90% paleo on a regular basis. In the middle of P90X3 (during Block 2) I did a Whole30 and lost 7 pounds. The rest of the time I didn’t lose any weight (in fact, I didn’t even lose 7 pounds by the time the program was over). I struggle to know if that’s because my body was creating too much cortisol during the intense workouts or if the muscle mass was a factor. I still don’t know. I believe I missed 6 days of the whole program, plus the last week because we’re leaving on vacation tomorrow. So really I believe I did about a P76X3. I did not do a full 90 days but did the best I could. Here are my results:

results

As you can see, while I didn’t lose a ton of weight, all of my other things improved. I can’t believe I lost 2.5 inches on my waist and hips…that’s amazing to me. I was blown away when I did the fit test because I couldn’t really tell with my body that I had improved much.

I can hardly believe I’m putting these awful pictures of myself out there for the world to see, but I think it’s worth seeing. The most difference I see is in my midsection for sure and the definition in my arms. Those are two of the main things that I wanted to see while doing this program. {click the pic for a larger version, if you dare!}

results-all

So would I do it again or recommend it to others? Yes! With a good diet plan I think my results would have been even better. Obviously I have become stronger, my endurance has improved and my flexibility has doubled. I will be continuing with the P90X3 Lean program when I return from vacation to see if that program will lean me down more instead of bulking up my shoulders. I’m eager to see what results I will get from that. If you want to lose weight, this is not the program for you. Studies have shown that to lose weight it’s more about food than exercise. If you want to gain strength and endurance while not getting bored in the process, P90X3 is the program for you.

{p.s. I didn’t post any links to P90X3 because it’s a network marketing company and I am not a beachbody coach nor do I have someone personally that I’ve worked with as a Beachbody coach. If you have someone that you know who is a Beachbody coach, please purchase the program from them so you can get the support you need! If you don’t know of anyone, here is one of my online friends who is an active Beachbody coach}

what if?

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 11.39.10 AMAs I go through this journey this year, I find myself continuing to say, what if? I went into trying Whole30 (and essential oils) with that mentality – what if? What have I got to lose by cutting out these foods for 30 days? I miss out on an ice cream trip with the family and we don’t eat out as often (which actually is good because it saved us money that I could use on real, whole foods). What if essential oils don’t work for us? I stop using them. But I didn’t stop, because most of the time they did work. And cutting out the inflammatory foods DID work for me – it healed my body in ways that my doctor (and hundreds & hundreds of dollars) couldn’t.

So I want to ask you today what you’re waiting for? What if? What if you try cutting out inflammatory foods and your depression symptoms lessen? What if your migraines are able to go away? What if your cholesterol is better? What if you are finally able to get pregnant? I’m not saying these things will 100% guaranteed happen – but what if they DO? Oh mercy, what if it were just that easy? And if they don’t happen, what have you lost? In that 30 days you will gain an understanding of what food does to your body. You will have a heightened awareness of what is in the foods that you eat – even if you go back to eating processed food (although I doubt you will like you did before). You can do this, I know you can! There are people that thought they could never do 30 days that powered through it – so can you!

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 11.39.38 AMWhat if? What’s holding you back? Is it finances? Is it time? Let’s support each other, because that makes all the difference. Tell us what you’re struggling with in getting started and let us lovingly encourage you.

when your body is not ready

Reintroduction after Whole30 was not fun. I basically found out that everything irritated my stomach in one way or another (some were bearable, and some were not). After reintroduction I’ve slowly continued to heal my gut by keeping to a Paleo diet. However, I knew that at some point I’d have to try these potentially irritating foods again. So the other day I had corn chips at Chuy’s when we were out for dinner. They were delicious. I enjoyed them. For 48 hours I felt fine. Then the constipation/bloating/bubbly stomach started again…and lasted for about 5 days. It’s so aggravating to me. I think my body needed more than 30 days to heal. Maybe I should have done a Whole45 or Whole60, but there’s no way to really know that until you go through reintroduction.

I’ve been keeping to the Paleo diet since I stopped Whole30 (minus some servings of dairy every once in a while) and I think it’s healing so much more this week to where I can see more very noticeable results. I had pizza on Monday night with family who was in from out of state and hallelujah I didn’t get bloated or constipated. I can’t even describe how happy this made me. To know that there might be hope that I can heal my gut and have those foods on occasion.

If you decide you want to try to do the Whole30, please let me know! I want to come alongside you and encourage you. BTW, big props to my friend Kate for finishing up her Whole30 yesterday! So proud of you girl.

why I deleted myfitnesspal from my phone

myfitnesspal

I have been a member of myfitnesspal since January 2013. It has seen me lose (and gain back) about 20 pounds in that year and a half. At the beginning of this year I weighed myself and saw that I was at my highest weight ever (except when I was pregnant). I knew that something needed to change. I started counting calories again and exercising 3-4 times a week doing the elliptical and weight lifting. I lost almost 15 pounds doing that at the beginning of the year – I tracked my meals nearly every day with 1-2 cheat days during the week. That worked for me until my health issues started. Then no matter what I did I couldn’t lose weight.

Going through Whole30 and reading It Starts With Food and Practical Paleo has been so eye opening to me. Since starting this wellness journey, I’ve deleted myfitnesspal from my phone. I simply don’t need to count the calories. By eating the right foods (REAL, WHOLE foods) I feel full all the live long day AND I’ve lost the last 10 pounds that I was holding on to. I still have my scale, but I really need to get rid of that too. I don’t have “cheat” days, but do allow for a special treat every now and then. It Starts with Food says this about cheat days,

When you purposefully plan to make poor food choices, you are literally setting yourself up to fail! In addition, devoting an entire day to poor food choices wreaks havoc for days to come. Your sugar cravings, GI tract, energy levels and mental health will take far less of a “hit” if you eat healthy, slip in your less healthy choice, then go right back to eating healthy foods.

Don’t get me wrong, myfitnesspal is a great tool to open your eyes to how much your eating and your calorie intake. But healthy living and eating is so much more than calories. I was eating 1,200 calories each day, feeling hungry all the time and still feeling yucky. It’s because I was eating things like triscuit crackers with cheese, yogurt and granola, coffee with almond joy creamer, etc. I wasn’t eating satiating foods. I wasn’t eating enough veggies or enough full fat foods. I simply wasn’t eating enough food or enough of the right foods. It’s amazing what your body can do with the right food to use as fuel and medicine.

Whole30 Q&A

Since I started Whole30, it’s opened up a ton of discussion with people around me. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog. I thought I’d talk about some of the questions that I keep getting asked regarding Whole30 and this new lifestyle of mine. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them there for everyone to read.

Who is Whole30 for? I truly believe it’s for everyone, health issues or not. You could be like me and be perfectly fine eating anything and everything and suddenly one day BOOM! you have chronic constipation that won’t go away. Or you could have other health issues that you’ve dealt with your whole life: acne, anxiety, asthma, bloating, diverticulitis, eczema, infertility, migraines, etc. Practical Paleo has a list of more than 50 conditions that are caused by chronic inflammation (caused by the foods we eat that are inflammatory). I’m happy to look yours up in the book if you don’t have access to it. I’m not going to go into all of the details about systemic/chronic inflammation in this post but you can look in the books I’ve referenced for a clear explanation. Nobody is immune to inflammation, so it is important for everyone to understand what foods bring inflammation and why to avoid them.

So what do you eat? Lots of things! I eat a lot and I’m always satisfied until the next meal. Snacking was virtually nonexistent during the 30 days because I was always full and didn’t want to eat extras. Here is a good shopping list for all of the things that are allowed during Whole30. There are tons of fabulous resources here as well. You can see some of the recipes I’ve tried on my Pinterest board (please know that some are not Whole30 compliant, but are Paleo). The book It Starts With Food has some recipes in the back as well. Some of my favorite foods while on the program are the following:

  • salmon cooked in coconut oil on the stovetop with coconut aminos (tastes like soy sauce) and toasted macadamia nuts & coconut on the top
  • roasted sweet potatoes (cut into “fries” or cubes, drizzled with coconut oil, salt & pepper and baked at 350* for 30 minutes)
  • salad with homemade ranch dressing (recipe to come but here’s another that I haven’t tried yet) – I did have trouble when I was eating huge salads for 5 days in a row because raw veggies can be harder to digest…so now I just don’t eat quite as much salad or smaller salads.
  • chicken skewers on the grill, seasoned with coconut aminos or simply salt and pepper (chicken, peppers, onion)
  • zoodles!
  • cilantro lime cauliflower rice
  • chicken sausages (really check your labels, almost all have added sugar. I found some at Target & Earth Fare that were compliant)
  • coconut milk – I use this in so many things…you need to get the unsweetened coconut milk in a can because it doesn’t have carrageenan  (which is made of seaweed but is inflammatory and can do nasty things to your body) or other additives
  • Applegate roasted turkey from the deli at Target – wholesome ingredients and no added sugar or carrageenan
  • I could eat nearly any meat, veggie (no corn because it’s a grain and no peas because they’re a legume) or fruit during the 30 days. Just refer to the shopping list if you’re unsure or google “whole30 food” with “food” being the thing you want to see is compliant. For example “whole30 corn” or “whole30 soy sauce”.
  • coconut oil – cold pressed and organic. I use this for everything.

Is evaporated cane sugar okay? No, you can’t have any added sugar at all during your 30 days. Even sugar that’s “better” is off limits. No honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, coconut sugar, etc. Sugar is an addictive substance, so it’s off limits during the 30 days because it creates an unhealthy hormonal response. The more you eat, the more you want. So it needs to be cut out. This is why it’s so important to read your labels. Sugar in some form is in just about anything which goes back to the fact that you should eat whole foods (i.e. not in a package). If you’re not sure what an ingredient is on the label, look it up. I did that so many times when I was standing in the grocery store during my 30 days.

Are protein shakes/meal replacements okay? No. The purpose of Whole30 is to eat real, WHOLE foods. Meal shakes can hardly be considered a whole food and they’re full of ingredients that are not approved in the Whole30 program.

What do I do if I cheat? The purpose of Whole30 is to change your mindset & habits about food and also to heal your body from systemic inflammation that has built up from eating inflammatory foods all of our lives. If you cheat during your 30 days, then you’ve stopped the healing and should restart your count of days. So if you cheat on day 25, on day 26 you will start again on day 1. The creators of Whole30 are very knowledgable and have researched this thoroughly as a nutritionist and physical therapist. They know how long it takes for your body to heal. For some it’s more of a Whole45 or Whole 60 to get completely healed. That being said, if you do cheat – it’s okay. This is a hard program and very much mental. Just get yourself in the right mindset and try again. You’ll be glad you did.

my whole30 journey

I’m going to be really vulnerable and honest (and borderline TMI) with you guys today. I always think it’s helpful to hear from someone who has gone through something, instead of just believing someone who is trying to sell a book or program. I’m going to give you a bit of history, and I can hardly believe that I’m posting this next sentence but here goes…

Back in February I became constipated for the first time in my life. Nothing would really help and I’ve been taking miralax since. I had some nights where the pain in my gut was so bad that I just had to lay on the floor with my belly on a pillow because that was the only comfortable position to be in. My doctor referred me to a GI, who said “just eat more fiber, this is very common.” I have been exercising and watching what I eat since mid-January so truth be told I didn’t believe her. I have been on a steady track to my healthiest body yet so I was confused about what could be going on. I tried so many different things – essential oils to help with digestion, enzymes to help my colon, probiotics, eating crazy amounts of grains to get more fiber (more on that later). I’d have crazy gas pain most evenings and things just weren’t right. There were times that it felt like my colon had sores on it or something. My GI ordered a CT scan because of the pain, and it came up clear (except that I was constipated – duh).

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 4.35.00 PMMeanwhile, my friend Elizabeth said she was doing whole30 to help with some stomach issues she was having so I texted her right away to ask her about it. When we were in Florida in June I decided that I’d had enough – 3+ months is long enough to not know what’s going on. I have always been a healthy person with very few health problems (praise God). This is just not like my body. And I didn’t want to resign to the fact that I would have to live like this for the rest of my life. I was done. So I decided that whole30 would be a great way to heal my digestive system and see what foods might be suddenly causing me pain. (my assumption was the grains of some sort were the culprit, the pain seemed the worst after those foods)

For those of you who don’t know what whole30 is, you basically cut out anything that can cause inflammation in the body. No dairy (no ice cream for 30 days? what?!). No grains. No added sugars (even the healthier ones like honey and maple syrup). No legumes. You can read more about specifics here. If you’re seriously considering the program or just want to learn more about food, this book is invaluable. It has opened my eyes to much to what food does to the body and quite frankly I’m scared of what they put in “food” these days. Reading the labels makes me understand why there is so much cancer and other diseases running rampant these days. But that soapbox can wait for another day.

whole30-meal

a typical whole30 meal: chicken sausage (with no added sugar, date wrapped in coconut, salad with homemade ranch, water to drink…this would keep me full all afternoon until dinner)

So I started whole30 on June 9, after a nice “last meal” at Olive Garden the day before. I think I ate my weight in breadsticks. Here are a few of my thoughts while going through the program:

day 2 – Woke up with another headache today and a cranky mood because I just don’t want to do this for 29 more days. I sure hope it’s not this hard for the entire time because I don’t know if I can make it. Are you kidding me that I can’t have some grilled chicken from Chick-fil-a because they add sugar to it? I guess I’ll just sit here then.
day 4 – Hallelujah for Target having a brand of lunch meat turkey with no added sugar. I never thought I’d be so excited about lunchmeat.
day 6 – I didn’t realize what a fog I have been in for the last 3.5 months. I’ve been so consumed with the pain I’ve been having and trying to remedy it that I haven’t thought about much else. Today was one of the first days where I walked around the house and got stuff done. So grateful for 6 days pain free.
day 9 – oh, now I remember what bloating and constipation feels like. Gratefully I knew this was coming from the timeline…just hope it ends soon. (it did, the next day I was back on track)
day 17 – today marks day 5 with no miralax (hallelujah). the hardest part of today and my least favorite thing about this program is going out to eat. I packed my salad (which was super yummy) and watched my family eat noodles & co. they also went to my favorite ice cream place so instead of watching them eat that too, I dropped them off and went to target and found some yummy dried cinnamon apples. still feeling good in my gut.
day 24 – things are moving right along…I’ve gotten in a good groove. I’ve been able to stay off miralax without issue (although I know my gut is still not healed yet). After the 30 days and reintroduction I think I might have to do another 30 days to continue the healing process and I’m okay with that. I’ve been so encouraged by people interested in learning more about Whole30 and am excited that I can share that path to wellness with them.
day 25-26 – so maybe I threw myself under the bus with my comments yesterday. These were horrible days…the only things I can think of to cause my pain and bloating are that for breakfast day 25 I had something with almonds in it (that can cause irritation in the intestines) and for the past 5 days I’ve had a big fat salad full of raw veggies for one of my meals every day. Raw veggies can be harder to digest. (so day 27 I had only cooked veggies with my meals and virtually no nuts…feeling much better)
days 31-40 – reintroduction has been so eye opening. it’s different for everyone so I won’t go into too much detail, but my main problem area seems to be grains. They’re the ones that caused the most discomfort (and constipation) of the foods that I reintroduced. The hard thing is that the issues didn’t show up for me immediately. I had problems 24-36 hours after eating them. This is why it was so important to wait 3 days between reintroducing each good. I’m so happy I now know my body better and what foods are doing to it. I’m 100% happy that I did Whole30 and would recommend it to anyone I know – health problems or not.

Tips on doing Whole30:
— don’t be afraid…it’s hard at first and mostly mental, but so worth it in the end
— plan and shop before you start the program. part of my frustration on day 2 is that I didn’t have a good meal plan
— research before you try to go out to eat. many places add sugar to their meat (hello chick-fil-a). veggies are sautéed in butter. I learned to pack myself meals when we’d be away from home at mealtime.
— you can do anything for 30 days. even if you don’t have digestive issues or diabetes or arthritis or high cholesterol. this program can (and I’d bet that it WILL) help your body in some way.
— it’s not forever, you don’t have to give up your favorite ice cream or mashed potatoes forever. but doing the program will make you think a little differently about the food you put into your body.
— find meals that you like and make them in bulk. save yourself time by making double batches of things you enjoy. for me this was cauliflower cilantro lime rice. yum. I think I could eat a whole head of cauliflower prepared this way and I don’t like cauliflower. another is zoodles – get this julienne peeler and you’ll be all set.

(By the way, for those who are interested in more than just how I felt while on Whole30, I lost 9 pounds in 30 days)

My friend Elizabeth just posted her experience with Whole30 on her blog, Hello Apricot so be sure to check hers out too!

Why am I doing this?

If you knew me before today, you know that I’m a wife and mother as well as a business owner for the last 11 years. The business and my family keeps me busy most of the time, without a whole lot of extra (like so many other people). So why start a new blog and business? There are a few reasons.

The first is that when I started this journey earlier this year, I was gearing up to be the healthiest that I’ve ever been. I was eating well (or so I thought) and exercising 3-4 times a week. Then I had constipation, bloating and discomfort for the first time in my life and it wouldn’t go away. Months went by, trying different things and taking Miralax every single day. My friend Elizabeth told me about Whole30 and I figured, what’s there to lose? You can read about my Whole30 journey here. During Whole30 I had been sharing things about what I was doing and I had a lot of people asking questions. There were a handful of my friends that started Whole30 because I had shared what it’s done for me. That was a turning point for me…I realized that people were listening to what I was saying about health because they wanted to turn their lives around too. I don’t say that to sound prideful at all, but I felt a sense of responsibility to share what I was learning. I felt pressure, but also honored that they trusted what I had to say. I knew that I couldn’t just keep this information to myself, I needed to keep sharing it with whoever wanted to listen.

Another reason is that I’m a skeptic. While I’m learning new things and trying out essential oils to see if they’re the real deal, I can save you guys some time in not having to research the exact same things I’m researching. Of course, we should all do some of our own research and not just trust one person, but if I can be one place to spur someone on to a healthier life, then I’ve done what I’m called to do.

Another reason is a very practical one. When I started using essential oils, I was a skeptic. I bought the starter kit thinking that it would be all I ever bought from Young Living. I thought they wouldn’t work for me and I certainly didn’t think I was going to share them with anyone else to generate commission for myself. But you know what? They actually worked for my family (not all of them exactly how I wanted, but I’ll talk more about that later) and I was happy to share my results with other people. If that means that they sign up and use God’s natural medicine instead of OTC and prescription meds, then great! If they continue to be customers of Young Living under me and it provides a commission that I can use to buy my family more oils, even better! I’m not going to say that the commission aspect is completely out of my mind, because we all need to do things to provide for our family. But that is not my number one goal with this blog.

Recently I went to a conference and the speaker said something that pushed me off the edge in regard to starting this blog. She said something to the effect of “Don’t be selfish. Tell people in need about oils. People need to know.” I believe that if there is something that I know can be helpful to someone else, but I don’t share it, I’m doing God a disservice and am being selfish in not sharing with others. I’m not an expert and won’t pretend to be. I’m just like a million other people out there – a mom trying to do what’s right for her family. I’m excited to journey with you all in this.

This website is intended to help people find natural options for wellness by using food and essential oils. Information is not provided to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease or injury. Please consult your physician before trying an at-home remedy.