My Whole30 Challenge

I’m not even sure how I stumbled upon Whole30.  I’m sure it had something to do with dabbling in Paleo/Primal blogs and somewhere, someone mentioned it, and I was intrigued.  Before I got pregnant with Simeon, I thought I was having issues with my thyroid or PCOS, so I did a gluten free diet to see if that might help some of whatever was going on.  Little did I know I would get pregnant, and that diet lasted less than a month. :)

Basically, Whole30 is a 30-day challenge to “reset” your body and your eating.  It’s based on the ideas of Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the founders of Whole9 and the authors of the book “It Starts With Food” (ISWF, from here on out).  I’ll talk about the book a little later, but the premise of the challenge is that you cut out all processed foods, sugar and sweeteners, gluten, dairy, legumes, soy, and grains for 30 days.  No cheats!  This gives your body a break from the sugar and other crap that we eat out of convenience and stuff we have a hard time limiting ourselves to.  ISWF labels these “Foods Without Brakes.”

As someone who has battled out of control and disordered eating for half of my life, this really resonated with me and I decided I was up for the challenge.  I’ve yo-yo dieted for the last 18 years and have not had much success in keeping it off.  Adding a diagnosis of PCOS (which I’m not positive is the real issue) and 4 pregnancies in 5 years has not helped with getting the weight off, either.  In the last year, God has really dealt with me and my emotional eating, as I was turning to food for comfort, instead of Him.  It’s been a journey that started last year and everything I’ve picked up along the way has helped establish better habits.

But sometimes the food I ate worked against me.  Remember when I said that the junk food was “food without brakes?”  It’s like my body didn’t know when to stop eating the food because there was no nutritive value in it.  My body was working against me when I tried to go on willpower to not eat certain things.  Even if I limited myself to a small portion, it had such a strong draw to it that I wanted more and more.  It took a clean break to get my body to see the junk for what it really was!  Doing plans with points or weighing or journaling only fed my obsession with food and made the issues even worse.

Something that really helped me with this was coming off of 9 months of a diabetic diet for gestational diabetes.  I have been diabetic every time I’ve been pregnant, but every time it has gone away after delivery.  This last time, though, they had me checking sugars pretty much as soon as I got that little + sign on the stick, and I was on long-acting insulin overnight starting around 10 weeks and until delivery.  I was scared to death that Type 2 was going to rear its ugly head when all was said and done.  I had to do something and take care of this for good!!!

I waited a few weeks after my son was born and got in my “last hurrahs.”  My husband said he’d do part of the plan with me and we decided that we would start when we sent our older kids to their grandparents’ house in St. Louis for a week.  We figured if it was going to be drastic, we should do it when we had less people to worry about in the house!  Having him commit to journey with me through this has been the biggest help and encouragement!

When I started my 30 days, I had a 3 week old, so I’m not sure how much of my results can be attributed to post-partum hormonal changes or whatever, but this isn’t my first rodeo with a newborn, so I can compare it to that time with the other kids.  I didn’t want to wait until after my 6 week check up because I didn’t want to see how much damage I could do with eating in that time!  Keep that in mind when reading about my stats!

Week 1- I noticed that I had MUCH less belly bloat, but other than that, I didn’t feel a whole lot different.  Others say they have withdrawal like symptoms and are crabby and tired as their body gets used to not having all of that stuff they so heavily depended on in the past.  I had a newborn, so crabby and tired are just par for the course, right? ;)

Week 2- It was getting easier and easier to make good choices and I looked forward to new foods.  I definitely learned to “cook once, eat twice” (or three times)!  Anything that lasted for more than 3 meals got boring.  I learned that the hard way with a pork roast!  I did find great recipes online, but since my son is egg free and tree nut free, we were limited to some things that would normally fall under the Whole30 umbrella.  At the end of this week I also had some…er…digestive issues, but those resolved within a few days.  I guess it was just my body getting used to this new way of eating!

Week 3- I noticed that some skin issues that tried to pop up after delivery were fading.  My family history is heavy with psoriasis and seborrhea, and the tiny spots I had that tried to appear were gone!  My skin is also brighter and smoother to the touch.  The biggest thing I noticed this week, though, was that I can BREATHE through my nose more than ever before!

Week 4- My biggest concern this week was having to do a scheduled 2 hour glucose tolerance test for my endocrinologist to see if my gestational diabetes had gone away after delivery.  I was NOT looking forward to that icky drink and I knew it was going to be worse than every other time I had taken the test.  I was SO right!  I was nauseated more than usual and the rest of the day after the test I had a headache.  Thankfully I was back to normal the next day!

I did NOT do this challenge perfectly.  I’m sure there were times that I didn’t know there was added sugar in a balsamic vinaigrette at a restaurant, or that something had added butter.  And then there were the 2 indiscretions involving a frozen chocolate banana and another with a gluten free ice cream sandwich.  Which, by the way, gave me belly bloat and a tummy ache until the next day.  Does that make my Whole30 a failure?  Not in my book.  I’m owning it, learning from it and moving on and not beating myself up for it.

We’re at day 30 and I know you’re dying to know my results, other than what I’ve already mentioned!  I had my check up with the endocrinologist today and here’s what my results were:

  • I am down a total of 13.5 pounds from the start of this challenge!  I started the challenge 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight and this is the lightest I’ve been since before I was pregnant with my 2 1/2 year old daughter.
  • My blood sugars were ALL within normal range.  This was for fasting and one and two hours after the test started.  I was very excited about that.
  • My triglycerides are within the normal range for the first time since I had my oldest son, who is 4 1/2!
  • My total cholesterol and LDL were elevated and it will be interesting to see what happens with those in the next 6 months.  They are BARELY above what is considered in the high range.
As much as I was happy about the good parts of my appointment today, I was not thrilled with my endocrinologist.  In the past, the thing that has kept me from him pushing meds on me has been pregnancy or nursing.  He’s part of the Joslin Center, which makes you think he’s all cutting edge and everything, but the first thing he asked me was, “How many eggs do you eat?”  Then, he recommended a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet (like that’s done a lot of good for people in the last 30 years).  He really didn’t want to take the time to hear about the changes I’ve made in my diet recently and didn’t take time to LISTEN to me.  Since this ticked me off, it made my competitive side kick in and I’m even more determined to get this extra weight off and have it together when I go back in 6 months.  I’m not going to strictly follow Whole30, but it’s definitely going to play a huge part in my journey back to health!

I know I haven’t talked much about what I DID eat on this plan.  I journaled it on Instagram and Facebook, and a lot of my readers said they were inspired to make some of my dishes!  I did get in ruts but I did have times when I was excited about trying new things, especially if I was able to get my kids to eat it!  I think I may do a post about what I ate in the future, rather than making this post any longer than it already is!  If you’re interested in that, make sure you stay connected with Allergic to Air!

So…you have questions?  Comments?  You’re a card carrying member  of the “I can’t give up carbs” club?  Leave ‘em below!  I’d be happy to answer them!  My only request is that you read any other comments before you ask your question, just so we don’t have duplicates.  Remember…I have a newborn…and I don’t get much sleep!  

Please note that these results are unique to me and everyone is different!  You may have better or worse results…hopefully better!  This is not necessarily a weight loss plan, though if you have weight to lose, it will probably happen to some extent.  If you are interested in learning more, please see the links above!

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4 Responses to My Whole30 Challenge

  1. Wow, good for you! This is wonderful!

  2. Pingback: Whole 60 Challenge | Allergic To Air

  3. Melissa says:

    yes i’m part of the carbs club, i’ve been a triathlete and ironman in the past and heavily relied on rice and pasta. After starting crossfit i’ve been considering paleo but i’m not s big fan of meat. whole30 sounds interesting though. Thanks for your blog.

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