DAY 737: There will be tiger blood

Well, here I am on day 14 — almost the halfway point of Whole30.  I’m basically disregarding the timeline at this point, because it has been of virtually no use to me.  All I can do is hope that the tiger blood I’m supposed to suddenly get 2 days from now is really coming, because I am B-O-R-E-D of this.  Actually, that’s not the best characterization of how I’m feeling, but it’s something akin to that.

I’ve finally started getting deeper sleep, but I have to coax myself out of bed in the morning because I just want to keep sleeping.  It’s also taking some time for me to feel calm/relaxed enough to fall asleep at night in the first place, which is weird and annoying.  So, so far, moderate progress on the sleep front.

The digestive issues are far from resolved.  If anything, there are just new twists and turns to the saga.  I had several days of sudden diarrhea (1-2 times those days) in the middle of last week and then over the weekend, which hasn’t happened again since Sunday.  Since then, I haven’t pooped at all.  I am a crabby thing when I’m constipated, so these last 3 days haven’t been my favorite.

And then, of course, there were the low-carb flu days.  (I’ve concluded decisively that this was what hit me on the night of day 3, not an actual cold.  I’ve read a metric shit ton about it lately, and I’m thoroughly convinced.)  It was an unpleasant occurrence that prevented me from good sleep and from working out, so needless to say, I was only too happy to kiss that mess good-bye when it finally started dissipating this past weekend.

Also, the cost of this has been exorbitant for me.  In the past 2 weeks, my grocery bills have doubled.  I am one person, eating and prepping meals for one.  The health benefits are one thing, but it’s simply not financially sustainable.  I’m hoping that much of that has to do with the fact that I really didn’t have any Whole30-compliant staples, i.e. almond butter (which I did cave in and buy, only to discover I’m not a fan >:(), and staples are a big up-front cost that then last a few weeks.  Unfortunately, the other side of that coin is, there really aren’t that many compliant staples — hello, you’re eating whole foods which need to be purchased fresh and consequently consumed pretty immediately thereafter.  I get it.  But holy crap.  I definitely had not anticipated this type of hit to the wallet.

The one thing I’m pleased with, of course, is the weight loss I saw on the scale.  I hope it not only sticks, but that it keeps climbing.

I’ll be taking my ass to the gym tonight, for the first time since starting Whole30.  Ideally, getting fitness back into my routine will have a beneficial impact on all of the above.  And it better get me some pretty potent tiger blood, stat.  I haven’t been thinking about quitting or anything, but let’s be real: I’m in it for the tiger blood.  I was promised tiger blood, and if I don’t get the vaunted Whole30 tiger blood, I might just lose my damn mind.

Just to end things on a good note, I’ll gush about the AMAZING meal I made for my lunches this week.  It’s a Whole30-compliant recipe combining chicken, pecans, and apple chunks with warm fall spices in a fantastically creamy coconut milk sauce.  It’s completely off season, but it made my entire house smell amazing while I was cooking it this weekend, and it’s kept well in the fridge and reheats very nicely.  I’ve just been eating it over crunchy kale greens with a side of Brussels sprouts.  (There’s conflicting information about whether or not arrowroot is compliant; it seems largely acceptable, but if you just want to be totally safe, you can skip it and the dish won’t suffer at all.)  So, the joy of a new meal experience that I really enjoy — especially as someone who typically hates cooked fruit in any setting, including/especially desserts — is a total victory.

Happy hump day, y’all.

DAY 732: Cheater, cheater, healthy eater

It’s day 9 of Whole30.  According to the timeline, my pants are supposed to be feeling tighter on days 8-9.  They’re not.  Everything is feeling looser, including the ring that slid off my finger yesterday and had to be relocated to a neighboring digit to preclude a repeat event.

“Fuck it,” I thought to myself around 9:00 last night.

And I headed to the scale.

And I weighed myself.

Now, there was the inherent risk in this of being completely crushed by the number I saw.  What if it was higher?  What if it was infinitesimal?  What if — heaven forbid — it was completely unchanged?!  I figured it was worth knowing, even though it wasn’t the final Whole30 weight-loss number.  I stood on the scale, looked down at my toes, and saw…

…a 10.6-pound loss.

Yes, honey.

I’ll repeat that:  As of 9:00 PM on day 8 of Whole30, I had lost 10.6 pounds.

Here come ALL THE DISCLAIMERS and a BUT STILL:

  • The first week of any diet change is the best week.  It’s the body’s freak-out-and-adjust period, where it sheds tons of water weight and other crap you don’t need.  So, it’s not like I’ll be dropping 10.6 pounds per week here.
  • My period started yesterday.  (I have a vagina and corresponding lady bits.  I discuss my period sometimes like a grown-ass woman.  If this bugs you, go read someone else’s blog.)  All my period bloat happens during PMS week, and then I lose weight the week of the actual perioding.  So, that’s a factor.
  • I had several bouts of diarrhea on day 8, leading up to the scale reading.  (I have an anus and corresponding human bits.  I discuss my bowels sometimes like a grown-ass adult.  If this bugs you, go read someone else’s blog.)  So, that surely had an effect.
  • I’ve had whatever this illness is since Saturday night, which is often a dehydrating force.  So, that likely showed up on the scale.

BUT STILL…

TEN POINT SIX POUNDS, Y’ALL.

I’m not sorry for weighing myself.  In fact, I’ll probably stick with doing it once a week for the duration of the time I stick with Whole30 (and I phrase it that way because, as of right now, I’m seriously considering just sticking with it through the wedding I’m in in May).  Furthermore, I’m cheating on Whole30 in a couple of other ways that Melissa Hartwig would probably have my head for:

  • I’m snacking between meals.  Yeah, that’s right, I’m intentionally snacking.  I am not changing my usual eating rhythm of eating every 3 hours, even though Whole30 stipulates that you should restrict yourself to only 3 meals per day and not snack unless you’re desperate.  Welp, not this chick.  I’m sticking to my 5 meals because I know it works for me, body and soul schedule.  I don’t think it’s worth veering off of that, so I chose not to from the outset.
  • I’m not perfectly balancing my proteins, fats, and carbs at each feeding.  I mean, I mostly end up doing it just by luck, but I’m not melting my brain trying to make that happen.  I am not adding almond butter to every apple I eat just because I must have healthy fat.  I mustn’t.  I wantn’t.  So I willn’t.  (Coincidentally, I do happen to eat an apple and actual almonds at the same scheduled snack time, but the point stands.)  The balance will mostly work out over the course of the day.  Mainly, I just want to get enough veggies, so that’s primarily been my focus.

I don’t think these two grievous modifications will drastically skew my results in any direction, nor am I quite that inclined to care.  The big point of Whole30, which I am adhering to 100%, is the elimination.  Here’s what I *AM* doing:

  • No added (refined) sugar
  • No legumes
  • No alcohol
  • No grains at all
  • No soy
  • No dairy
  • No coffee (not a part of the program; added by me)

Therefore, the intended anti-inflammatory experiment has room to run, and I’m still doing it “right.”  I hereby absolve myself of my sins.

Deal with it, Melissa.

P.S.  10.6 pounds.  Just sayin’.
P.P.S.  Someone even commented today in reference to Whole30 that “it’s working.”
P.P.P.S.  Shut up, Melissa.

DAY 731: Happy worth day, dear body

Two years ago today, I made The Change.

It was tentative at first, but it stuck… for a while.  For months and months, I gained steam and experienced a lot of successful changes physically, mentally, and emotionally.  After nearly a full year of hard work, I eagerly laced up my running shoes and went for my first-ever outdoor run in the refreshing spring air after work.

It was also my last outdoor run.

I spent the remainder of 2016 undoing most of the work I’d done from March 23rd, 2015, until that date.  I couldn’t even bring myself to post on my first worth day because I was too busy falling off the wagon, sabotaging myself, and feeling 360 degrees of shitty about it.  One little thing went wrong, and then I allowed every little thing to go wrong and nearly ruin my weight loss.  What a waste.

This year, I’m not at the size I thought I would be when I imagined myself two years out at my start date on this day in 2015.  I’m trying to claw my way back to the levels of health and happiness I had managed to reach previously, before I will really be able to believe I can attain my ultimate goals.  If I started out two years ago feeling tentative, that’s amped waaaaaaaaaay up this time around.

Shakiness aside, I am making sure to recognize my efforts today.  The path I’ve taken hasn’t been straight or without significant obstacles, but it’s started taking me back towards  where I’ve long wanted — and needed — to go.  As my mission enters its toddlerhood, I recommit to the girl who has always occupied, and will always occupy, this body:  I will be fearless.  I will work hard.  I will see to it that my last outdoor run was only my most recent outdoor run, not my final outdoor run.  I will one day stop being ashamed of this body and strive to not only accept it, but to see it as beautiful.

I am worth it.

Happy worth day, dear body.

DAY 730: Sick and… not that tired!?

You know you’re sick when you’re shoveling spicy homemade Indian food down your gullet without smelling or tasting any of it.

In spite of that, I’m still trucking along on Whole30!  I’m now halfway through day 7, and even though I’ve been sick for over half the time I’ve been following the program, I’m still going strong.  I’m nearly 25% of the way there!

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Even though I’ve been sick and sleeping even less/worse than I already was, something weird is going on:  I haven’t been feeling extra tired.  In fact, I’ve actually been feeling ready to get out of bed when I wake up in the morning, and I don’t hit a crash point during the day, ever.  I’m ready for bed at bedtime, but I’m not dragging myself there with my last ounce of strength.  On top of that, I have been taking zero medicine or soothing agents (like cough drops), as nothing I could find had no added sugar.  This bears reiteration:  I’m feeling this way in spite of being sick and taking no medicine for it.  I’m not bouncing off the walls or anything, but usually when I’m sick, I’m bedridden and whiny until I feel 100% better.  This is a totally different experience of illness.  It’s… bearable!

I’m also NOT in the I Just Want a Nap phase anymore.  I’m officially in no man’s land.  If I suddenly start tracking the timeline, I’ll be pretty irritated if it’s just in time for the My Pants Are Tighter phase.  That would send me straight into Kill All the Things for totally non-food-related reasons.  Whole30 gods, if you’re reading this, please consider my request to stay off the charted path until Tiger Blood, kay?  Kay.

DAY 728: Timeline, shmimeline

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Well, it’s the start of Whole5, and  I’m still on track.  Thing is, my Whole30 Timeline experience is syncing up, um, in almost no way.

I read and re-read the timeline numerous times before starting Whole30, and many more again since.  I obviously expected and planned for some variation, and I’d say my days 1-3 were more or less in keeping with the timeline (What’s the Big Deal? and The Hangover), although the 3 days combined were more like a hybrid of the two phases merged into one.  Since I’d mostly been eating clean already, the only sign of detox I had was a daily headache, which I’ve concluded is caffeine withdrawal from kicking coffee completely rather than from Whole30, although I’m not a scientist or a doctor, so will concede that it could be a factor.  I’ve mostly been a little nonchalant and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

On Saturday (day 3), I was watching a live show in a theater and suddenly started sneezing in a way I recognized as not allergies.  Over the course of the rest of the day, I became draggier and felt my nose and ears clogging.  By the time I got home at 11:00 PM, it felt like a full-on cold, complete with a sporadic wet cough.  Thanks to the congestion, I got my sleep in small increments that night and finally got out of bed yesterday morning feeling unrested.  I puttered around the house the rest of the day, canceling my Sunday plans and not even making it to the grocery store, let alone the gym.  I crawled back into bed around 4 in the afternoon and napped off and on, then got up around 7 to eat dinner, and got right back into bed as soon as my last dish hit the drying rack.  I slept even less last night, and the crap I’m coughing up has gotten more… non-nondescript.  I guess I’m officially sick, although certain sources on the web suggest this is a bodily reaction to the detox (which was my guess/hope) rather than a proper cold.  (The Whole30 website categorically rules out this possibility.)  I so rarely succumb to any type of illness that I’m always ready to attribute symptoms like this to something else.  Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it’s the detox, or maybe it’s some cruel joke of a joint effort of the two.  In any event, it’s fucking annoying to be getting even less sleep!

Here on day 5, I have to say I’m really not feeling the bloodlust that the timeline’s Kill All the Things phase portends (even in spite of the sleep deprivation).  I’m more in the I Just Want a Nap phase, which I’ve been in since before starting Whole30.  Haha.  I’ve been having food dreams again, which is characteristic of a later phase as well as something that happens to me anyway, but I have no cravings or desires to murder anyone.  I haven’t had another headache since Saturday, so The Hangover feels safely over.  Staying off the scale has been the true test of willpower so far.  I’m a bit incredulous about the effectiveness of this program right now, which is mostly because I’ve been so tethered to the scale as THE metric of results and I haven’t weighed myself since before I started this whole endeavor, and since right now, I feel markedly worse, not better.  I have no temptation to quit, though.

DISCLAIMER:  If I’m making Whole30 sound easy, don’t be fooled.  lot of work goes into this in terms of planning and meal preparation, not to mention real-time adjustments.  (I did great on my day away from home all day Saturday!)  I was also already eating clean before starting this, so it wasn’t too much of a shock to my system to cut out the alcohol I wasn’t consuming, the grains I was eating in moderation, the added sugar I was restricting, the legumes I enjoy but scarcely eat, or the dairy I took nearly exclusively in the form of milk or cheese, nearly exclusively in the early part of the day.  Also, it is only day 5; that’s not enough time for any kind of thorough analysis of anything, especially not a drastic dietary modification.  That said, the scientific part of my brain is curious and eager to see how the full effects will bear out.  This detox flu/head cold needs to GTFO, though.

In the meantime, however, I can’t plot myself on the Whole30 Timeline.  I’m traveling without a guide, I guess.

Off the edge of the map, mate.  Here there be monsters.

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DAY 725: One done…

Twenty-nine to go.

Good news: I survived day 1 of Whole30!  My only unpleasant feeling was a slight headache in late afternoon, which I suspected was from having zero caffeine in over 24 hours.  Within 5 minutes of popping some Excedrin, the headache was gone.  (This confirmed my hunch; Excedrin is 50% caffeine.)  I’m actually feeling a tinge of a headache now, but I’m gonna try to avoid medicine to see if it will go away naturally.  If not, maybe I’ll take just a half dosage of Excedrin a little later.  I guess my body does have some amount of dependency, even if I haven’t been consciously jonesing for coffee (yet).

What I did just get a sudden craving for, through the power of suggestion of scent as I passed by the office of one of my grazing co-workers, is peanut butter.  Oh, peanut butter, how delicious you would be on a bagel right now!  Or an apple.  Or a spoon.  Or just, like, ya know… my fingers.  I miss you, peanut butter.

I didn’t sleep spectacularly well last night, but I didn’t expect to after only one day.  I’m realistically hoping to report sound sleep within a week or so.  I did have some bizarre dreams, but that’s probably unrelated (?).

Anyway, between the delicious aromas of others’ non-Whole30-compliant food and my desperately itching for a little extra sleep in the morning, I’m feeling pretty TGIF.  I am nervous about the full day out of the house I have planned for tomorrow, and I have to mentally (and geographically!) map out where I can safely go for sustenance.  Of course, I’ll arm myself with snacks, as usual, but I’ll need proper meals at some point.  To be clear, what I’m nervous about isn’t slipping up on day 3; what I’m nervous about is not having any options and consequently not eating at all.  THAT will give me the mother of all headaches.  So, research, research, research!

Otherwise, today has been pretty uneventful so far.  I’m supposed to be experiencing The Hangover phase of the Whole30 timeline, but I’m hoping that since I was generally eating clean prior to this (just not Whole30-clean), I can skip or at least go through a lesser version of that phase.  I’m not feeling tempted by anything except that I have already had to check myself on the compulsion to get on the scale!  Last night, I almost wandered absentmindedly to check my weight, but I remembered not to just in time.  So silly some of the things that are almost automatic.  I weighed myself the night before last so that I can have an accurate measurement of any changes in my weight after I finish Whole30, but I’ll have to keep away from weighing in again until mid-month for my Transformer round weigh-in.

Eating so far has been on point, but I haven’t hit the gym in a few days and won’t be able to again until Sunday, unless I happen to naturally wake up early enough to go tomorrow before my long day of plans.  The skimpy work-out time is OK right now, but I’m not letting myself get away with it past Sunday.  Hating my gym is a valid feeling, but not a valid excuse to lose needed exercise.

Things are still smooth 36 hours in!  Ohhhhh, so many hours left to go, though.  Hi-ya!  (That’s what a Whole30 ninja says.  I checked.)

DAY 724: Whole30, the Whole30, and nothing but Whole30

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The day has come:  Whole 30, day 1.

This actually turned out to be as great a day to start as I had hoped.  I selected and committed to this start date a little over a week ago, allowing for a cheese-centric weekend with friends and a catered all-day meeting yesterday to pass.  My area ended up with winter weather on Tuesday, so I opted to telework that day, and it allowed me to prepare one of my favorite meals while I was at home, which magically happens to be Whole30 compliant (although my eyes did spring open wildly as I was drifting off last night in sudden fear that the tomato paste I’d use contained added sugar [I confirmed this morning that it does not]).  I’ll have to cook dinner when I get home from work tonight, which will be a semi-random concoction of things I don’t mind eating, all together in one dish.  *shrugs*  Weekday meal planning ain’t my thing.  I’m looking forward to having this weekend to map out the rest of the 30 days in one fell swoop.

Yesterday’s meeting concluded with a happy hour, so I made the rare exception and had a cocktail and tasted small bites of two sinful apps before heading home and realizing I had no dinner there!  So, it being my last day before Whole30, I grabbed some Mrs. T’s pierogies and some ice cream from the store on my way home.  Right there in the middle of the frozen foods aisle, I was very politely chatted up and asked out.  Seriously.  With no make-up on, face generally looking like trash, and arms full of an ill-advised pre-Whole30 mini binge that was composed of trash.  I did him a favor and declined, as he only would have become a Whole30-compliant meal… but it was very flattering.  And only mildly embarrassing.

Anyway, day 1 is now halfway over!  I’m about to dig in to my lunch, and later, one of the two co-workers who joined in on Whole30 with me asked if we could get together and have a welfare check-in for day 1 support.  I did Weight Watchers in my mid-20s and the thing I liked the most was the meetings; I’ve been so insular with my weight loss this time around that I’ve limited my support system to basically only strangers on the Internet.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s VERY valuable and helpful, but sharing Whole30 — even to the extent that I’ve freely discussed my choice to do it with people I know and see every day — has been great.  I think it’s because it’s not necessarily about weight loss; it’s just about health.  I have explicitly framed it that way, even though I’m sure most people can infer that it’s linked to my overall efforts.  I’m still skittish and uncomfortable talking about losing weight with anyone other than fellow fatties, but this is hopefully a sign that I can come around on that.

In addition to abstaining from added sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, and chemicals like MSG, I’ve added coffee to the list.  I already take it black, so it would have been a cinch to continue drinking coffee on Whole30 without feeling deprived of the cream and sugar, but I think it’s in my interest to give it up, given my recent challenges with sleep.  I am not a caffeine addict by any stretch; I rarely make it at home even though I enjoy the taste because it’s more about the social ritual of grabbing a morning coffee with my colleagues.  I could do decaf, but I’m not going to go out of my way to consume it when I could just as easily cut it out entirely for 30 days (and enjoy the saved cash while I’m at it).  So, that’s my little extra twist on the challenge.

For full accountability, I will share that I have one planned cheat — but it’s not food.  It’s the scale.  Technically, on Whole30, you’re not supposed to get hung up on weight because you should be focusing on your body as a system and see the nutritional changes as a holistic benefit to your overall health.  I think it would be beneficial to me, actually, to completely ignore the scale for a month, and I was kind of looking forward to having a set of rules in place that would make me do so.  However, I’m going to do it exactly once over the course of the 30 days.  You could argue that I don’t have to, and I suppose that’s true and I am making a choice, but I’m currently in a Transformer DietBet, and the weigh-in for round 2 will pop up smack in the middle of my Whole30 experiment.  Yes, I could choose to forego it and still technically be in the bet and eligible to win the whole pot, but why short myself the round’s victory (I was already at my goal weight for round 2 when I weighed out of 2 Kickstarters earlier this week) and the prize moolah for it?  Sorry, Whole30.  I gave you my cheese.  I’m keeping one illicit rendez-vous with the scale.

Anyway, so far so good here on Whole1!  Fingers crossed all over that it stays as much that way as possible on Whole2 and beyond.