Friday, August 31, 2012

Whole30 Experiment Results

Those that are close to me know that I am a total geek when it comes to science. Love it. So indulge me as I present my results as a sort of n=1 (one subject in the experiment and that was me) experiment pseudo-lab report.

Whole30 Results

Abstract: I've spent the past few years trying to learn what works in regards to nutrition and exercise for healthy weight, hormone levels, and well being. I've tried several things and stumbled upon It Starts With Food book. I was sick and tired of feeling like crap from the food I was eating over the summer. After committing to 30 days of eating the Whole30 way I lost weight, a dress size, skin improved, sleep improved, skin glowed. It worked so well for me that I would recommend it to all of my friends and family.

Introduction: I kept seeing the book, It Starts With Food, on various blogs and web sites and decided to read it. I was struggling with sugar/carbs cravings on a daily basis and needed something to get me back on track.  I had gained 30 pounds over the summer but the cravings were so intense that I was having trouble fighting them. The book was based on solid science and made sense so I decided to commit to eating the recommended foods for 30 days to kick my sugar habit.

Methods: For 30 days I ate moderate amounts of proteins in the form of eggs, meat and seafood, healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, and some nuts), as many vegetables as I wanted but I tried to keep the higher carb ones to a minimum (such as sweet potato), and limited amounts of fruit. I kept the fruits and higher carbohydrate vegetables to a minimum because of my insulin resistance. I did not ingest any sugar or artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes (including soy, soy sauce, peanuts), or dairy (except for ghee which has milk solids removed). I was 100% compliant.  Exercise was as I felt like it and I avoided cardio (for reasons I may or may not share at a later date). I walked and biked at a slow to moderate pace. I also performed some strength training.

My variants to the Whole30 plan: I was supposed to take measurements and "before" pictures before I started. My intention was to do it on the first day but at the end of the first day I felt so terrible that I did not do it. The general malaise lasted a full week. I was also not supposed to weigh myself during the duration of the 30 days but I weighed myself anyway.

Results: In 30 days, I lost 13.7 pounds, lost my cravings for sweets, changed my tastes, became fat adapted, sleep so much better, skin cleared up, skin glows, clearer eyes, dark skin on knuckles and elbows has lightened (a sign of pre-diabetes), lost at least 1 dress size, have more energy, no anxiety attacks, no racing heart or irregular heartbeats, nails growing at accelerated rate, seasonal allergies finally disappeared, no energy slumps, higher energy, and I wake up without an alarm clock. My clothes are fitting better and doctor said he could feel a difference in my muscle tone. Blood pressure went down dramatically from being so bad at the doctor's office that it would not register on their machine and he discussed blood pressure meds to 130/80 today. My energy improvements were impressive.

Discussion: The Whole30 experiment was a great way for me to conquer my cravings and get back on track to eating a low carb diet. It exceeded my expectations in results. I will be evaluating items that I would like to add back in my diet on a case by case basis. The things I would like to have from time to time include alcohol and dairy. Sweets will be special occasion only. Now that the 30 days are up, I did taste a cupcake and did not like it at all. Also tasted a corn chip with salsa. The salsa tasted sweet and the chip tasted like rancid oil. I did not like it. Hopefully my tastes have changed and I will continue on this path. Blood work will be performed next week to see how Whole30 has changed my insides. Cholesterol, triglycerides, A1C, and various other tests will be performed.

What's next: I love the food I am eating right now and how it makes me feel so I will continue to eat this way most of the time except for what I consider special occasions. I will add in more strength training and more walking and some interval training. I will continue to monitor my weight (even though it's not the most accurate measurement of health) and body fat percentage (with a digital scale even though it is not the most accurate measurement of BF%, I will be looking for trends) and blood work.

Now for some not-so-sciency stuff: guys, I am surprised at how many benefits I got out of these 30 days. All I was aiming for was to get rid of these stupid cravings I was having. I got so much more. My big belly is actually going away!! Call it paleo, call it low carb, call it clean eating. Whatever. It was just short of miraculous to me. I feel like a different person. I even feel happier. It's just crazy!

Don't tell me it's too hard. Being tired and miserable is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Losing a loved one is hard. Living with the effects of diabetes is hard (I'm seeing that with a relative right now and lost one relative to it). Having an aching back because you're fat is hard. Trying to go for a walk when you're carrying too much weight on your body is hard. Trying on clothes and hating the way you look every time you look in the mirror is hard. Eating good food for a month is not hard. Thirty days is nothing. 

I stuck through this during birthday parties, lunch dates, cocktail parties, restaurants, and road trips. It can be done if you are willing to do it. It's not willpower; it's willingness to make a change.

And if I can do it, you can do it. Try it. What do you have to lose? ;)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Whole 30 days 28 & 29: snakes and pigs

Seriously? We're almost done with this Whole30 thing?

I'm looking forward to giving you my results and review of these past 30 days. Thanks to those who have followed along. I know some days it was boring as hell but I wanted to document this for future reference and for anyone who might be struggling to work her/his way through it.

I'm rarely hungry in the mornings now. We're supposed to eat a breakfast whether we're hungry or not but it just seems so counter-intuitive. Shouldn't I eat when I'm hungry regardless of time? If I'm hungry, I'm hungry!

Started the day off with a nice walk and the skies were just beautiful.
 There was a pretty decent breeze blowing the whole time. I guess it was from the hurricane hitting my neighbors.

After my walk, I took a bike ride. It wasn't a long ride but I sure do enjoy my bike time. I have a little bag on the front of it where I keep my phone and I put on some music and pedal along enjoying the ride. It's therapeutic and calming.
Exercise: 3.25 mile walk and 5.54 mile bike ride

Lunch: tuna salad with boiled egg and chopped apple and pineapple balsamic vinegar. This was so good!!! The apple added a nice little sweet crunch to it all.
 Dinner: Pad Thai from Well Fed cookbook. It uses spaghetti squash as the noodles. I was surprised that everyone enjoyed it so much. Was really tasty. I topped it with chopped cashews, lime juice, cilantro and some fresh chives.
 I saw a picture on Instagram of blueberry pancakes, tracked down the recipe and thought, "Oh sure. Let's make some pancakes at 8pm. That's normal."
 Um, these tasted like ass. I tried putting a little of my sweet pineapple balsamic vinegar which made them only slightly less ass-like. 

Rachel ate a couple topped with real maple syrup and said they were terrific. Well, yeah! Maple syrup. Pancakes without sweetener is not good. Don't try it.

Breakfast: I heated up a couple of nasty pancakes and a homemade sausage patty and made a McGriddle fake. It was halfway decent. The blueberries added a little sweetness. Still not my favorite.
 Rachel's boyfriend brought over a young wild hog a couple of weeks ago. It was nicely wrapped in plastic so I never got to see the little thing. It went straight to the freezer.

Wednesday I had carnitas on the menu so it was time to defrost my little piggy.

Oh lawd have mercy! You could see where it was sawed in half. Even where it's little piggy tail used to be!
 I am SUCH a wimp. I broke out in cold sweats, my hands were shaking and I got queasy. Sweat was running down my back and my legs. It was just a bad situation. But somehow I carved up the thing. Afterwards it looked like a murder had occurred in the kitchen.

I put piggy meat aside and sat down with a glass of water until I could recover. Some paleo chick I am! *shiver* I thought meat came from the grocery store neatly packaged not from animals. (You know I'm joking.)

So got carnitas cooking, went to the library, then to the farmer's market and came back to a shipment on my door. Yippee!!!! My order from Hot Topic! Glow in the dark skull shoes and a zombie shirt.
 Why? Why do women's tee shirts not equal the right size? Large? Nay nay. This was not large. Do they measure these sizes on girls without any boobs? I managed to get it on and over the hills but it looked like I had been covered in black shrink wrap. Won't be wearing this out for a while. Sadness.  BUT the shoes are totally adorable.

Late lunch: leftover pad thai. Oh I love this stuff!
 So the carnitas recipe says "at two hours the magic happens." They weren't kidding! I checked on the meat at two hours and there was a little liquid left so I went about doing something else. I swear it wasn't ten minutes and that stuff was burning! I managed to save it. I present to you carnitas!!!
 I really had trouble eating this. It tasted good but all I could think about was that pig carcass. I ate one lettuce wrap topped with sunshine sauce (recipe in Well Fed).  Ok, it really was tasty.
 And a side of sweet cantaloupe.
 I was pretty tired after dinner but Chuck had a stressful day at work and I knew it would do us both good to get out and enjoy some nature, even if it was in the burbs.

Off on the bikes we went. Got to see a pretty sunset.
 Then the moon came out in all its glory.
 Did you know Friday will be a blue moon? Ever hear that expression, "Once in a blue moon"? The moon isn't literally blue. It just means there will be two full moons in one month. Our first full moon was August 1 and this one will be August 31.  I think the next blue moon will be in 2015.

Saw a snake trying to cross the road. The little guy was almost leaping in the air trying to get away and tried striking at me. Oh, he was tough. Just a little harmless ribbon snake.
 Omg, my nails! Didn't realize they were growing so fast. Cool!

Look at the cute little guy. I helped him across the street.
I guess we rode a little over 2 miles. I didn't wear my garmin (shock!). Was a perfect little ride.

The rest of the evening I spent watching TED talks. I love that stuff. I know, I know. I lead such an exciting life. Try not to be jealous.

Nothing new on the diet front. Losing inches, feeling good, etc. I was a bit tired most the day Wednesday. Not sure why.

OH! And my back is feeling better. YAY! That thing hurt pretty darn bad. Glad it's getting better.

See you tomorrow for my Whole30 review/recap/results. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Whole30 Days 26 & 27: Are you Ready to Change?

Last time we talked I was having issues with nasty, strong cravings. I asked around about this (aren't we supposed to be over these cravings by now?!) and I was told it's perfectly normal for you to have one last burst of cravings towards the end. Stick it out and they will go away.

Guess what. They went away!!! Back to feeling great and having energy.

I've mentioned it here before and I'll say it again: I have trouble during the summer. I just want to kick back and take life easy. I tend to gain during the summer and this one was no different.

Yeah, you can tell that clothes aren't fitting quite as nicely. The back may hurt a little. May not be sleeping as well. Even feel a little down. Something has to spark inside of you (me!) to make a change.

Supposedly, there are stages of change.

  • Precontemplation. "There's no problem. Everything is fine. I don't need to change. I'll argue with you if you tell me I need to do something different!" In other words, denial.
  • Contemplation. "There may be a little problem. I should probably look into changing some things. But I'm just not sure I want to. I'm having a great time! I just don't know. I'll worry about it tomorrow. Pass the cheesecake."
  • Preparation/Determination. "OK. This is getting bad. I need to do something. But what?! What will work?! I need to gather some information and read some books and stuff. I can't keep doing this."  
  • Action/Willpower. "I am doing this. I have the willpower to make a change. I have a plan. I am really going to stick to this and see some results! Let's do this!"  This is like the first couple of weeks of trying to start a new habit.
  • Maintenance. "Look at me go! I'm developing new habits. Yeah, eating that entire pan of brownies is tempting but look how far I've come. I'm feeling great. I need to keep doing this. When I go out, I need to plan ahead. Sure there's temptation, but I am making lifestyle changes. I can do this. Get thee behind me, temptation."
(Adapted from a daily email from Whole30 folks)

Where are you right now? Let's face it, if you're in precontemplation then you're not ready. And the sad fact is no one can do it for you. It has to come from within. Something has to trigger a response from you.

My trigger for doing this Whole30 thing was my clothes and workout and seeing a video of myself. My clothes were fitting tighter. I was having a really tough time with my workout. And I saw a video of myself and thought, "Holy party girl, Batman! Time to do something."

But when I tried I'd have these mind numbing cravings. They were intense folks. Like a druggie jonesing for a hit. Yeah, I'm serious. And I'd be so frustrated with myself that I couldn't overcome them. I needed something to keep me accountable so I could work through it and get back on track.

What I didn't realize at the time was that changing my eating habits would have so many other benefits other than weight loss. My skin is so soft and smooth. I sleep like a rock and wake up without an alarm clock. I have energy to go all day. My hunger is gone. Cravings gone. Things taste more intense. I'm happier overall and can handle stress easier. My heart doesn't race or skip. My fingernails are stronger and growing faster. I have mental clarity.

I'm tickled pink over the progress so far. Out of the stages I'd say I'm in maintenance. I'm still working on making this a lifelong habit. Don't get me wrong....I'm not going to give up splurges completely. But they have to be occasional instead of daily.

Breakfast: eggs and bacon and hot sauce
 Chuck had to go to work on a Sunday, which is very rare, and made a couple of comments about me perhaps going with him. Sure, why not?! Field trip!
 This is where he does things I have no clue about.
 I did sudoku, learned how to use the passkey to unlock the door (only took me like 15 tries), read stuff, and munched on this. I shared. Honestly, how many of you have tried a Larabar and thought, "I bet I can make this!"
 Lunch: Stopped by Chipotle on the way home and got a salad. I got carnitas and guacamole. Did you know Tabasco makes a very spicy dressing?! Don't use so much next time, Kelly. I was sniffling and snorking through lunch. Now that's spicy!
 There was a Jazz apple in the kitchen calling my name. Sprinkled with cinnamon it's like eating apple pie. It was so sweet that I could only eat a few slices and shared the rest. Wow, my taste buds are changing.
 Dinner: Fend for yourself night. The kids had pizza and I had some leftover pulled pork with water spinach.
The morning got away from me. I was busy and totally forgot about breakfast. Finally had something to eat around 11:30.  Just some the last of the leftover pulled pork and water spinach.
 Cooked up some homemade sausage patties and some biscuits. The biscuit recipe is from Paleo Comfort Foods.  These are for Chuck's breakfasts. All he has to do is scramble an egg to top it off.
 Lunch: Well, I had to try one! Oh yum!!!! I really liked this. I think it needs cheese to put it over the top but it's not allowed right now.
 Dinner: Macadamia crusted cod with basil/coconut sauce topped with cilantro, spinach, sweet potato with cinnamon. Mmmm.....perfectly satisfying.
 Hey, did you know that mayo made from extra virgin olive oil is kinda nasty? I learned that. And it's green. Lesson learned.

Snack: some blurry blueberries because the blurry ones are the tastiest.
Feelings: I'm kind of on auto pilot right now. I feel good except that my back is still giving me all kinds of trouble.
I was thinking about what I would want right now if I could have a splurge. It was so weird because I couldn't think of anything that I'm just dying to have. That's a good sign, right?

Have yourself a wonderful day. This Whole30 thing is almost over so you won't have to be subjected to what I stuff in my mouth every single day. I'm sure it gets old but I really want to document this.

See y'all back here tomorrow!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Whole30 Days 24 & 25: birthdays & cravings

I really can't believe I'm so far into this Whole30 thing. Wow, this month flew by.

So I've been doing really good with this. Yeah, there have been some cravings from time to time but nothing too terrible and then Friday it hit hard. I was ready to just give up but the thought of doing that when I'm so close.....well, I just couldn't do it. I know I would be disappointed with myself.


Breakfast started with some eggs of bacon, of course
 Then we took Rachel and her friends to an indoor pool but it was closed for another hour. Grrr. So we took them for pizza. Ok, guys, I can't be allowed around pizza right now. It wouldn't be pretty. So Chuck went in and paid for their food and we sat in the car while they ate.  And you know, it's not even that I was hungry. I just love pizza.

And back to the pool. Look how cool this place is!
 Then back to the house for temptation Rachel's birthday cookie. Her b-day was in June but this is a belated birthday party.
 Hmmm..... maybe I am starting to see why cravings came back in full force. I had to go inside a cookie store, watch Rachel eat cookie, smell the cookie, and go by a pizza place. And, dang it, those teens smelled like cheap pizza when they got back in the car. There's my problem! Too much stimulation.

My lunch was some leftover stir fry crap. Nothing sounds good when people are munching cookie around you. But it did fill me up.
 Deviled eggs are such tasty little snacks. I devoured a few of these.
 Exercise: Chuck and I went for an evening bike ride and got to see a pretty sunset. Just a leisurely 5 mile ride. 5.03 to be exact. :)
 Dinner was some easy pulled pork over sweet tater. Was actually a pretty tasty combo!
Saturday started out wanna guess......

You got it! Bacon and eggs. And hot sauce.
 Chuck's shooting match was rained out so he escorted me to the farmer's market. I got some pineapple balsamic vinegar, a couple of jars of Indian sauces, and a big bundle of this stuff called water spinach. I like trying new things so why not?!
 I sauteed it with some coconut oil and garlic then added some pulled pork (I have a ton of this stuff) and some brown Indian sauce. Good flavor!!! I liked it.  Have you ever heard of water spinach?
 Ran around town and needed a little snack. I had a bit of this blurry Larabar and gave the rest to Chuck. A little carby but that sweetness sure was tasty.
Since watching this stupid video I've been craving a bacon burger.

So I made my own bacon burger...low carb style. Yum!! Hit the spot.
Feelings: I'm pretty ticked off about these cravings coming back! I'm mad. Here I am minding my own business and doing great then BAM! Not fair. But I was told this is normal and will go away in a couple of days.

My back is still spasming which is all kinds of not fun. But hey, muscle relaxers at night for good sleep and funky @ss dreams. Yeah, they're messed up.

Let's end this on a positive note. I've been 100% faithful to this Whole30 and my bod is slimming down and looking good. I feel good overall.

And......I signed up for a butt load of races. I'll tell you all about it on Monday.

Have a happy weekend. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Whole30 Days 22 & 23: Pulled Pork & Creamy Chicken Tomato Soup

Well, those two days sure went by quickly!

My little indulgence is getting eyelash extensions. I just like them so it's my thing I do for myself. But my back across my shoulders has been having muscle spasms for a couple of days and lying on that table for almost an hour was pretty killer.

Breakfast was on the run. A couple of homemade sausage patties. These are SO good!!!
 Super Easy Sausage
1 pound ground pork
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients then mix with pork. Pan fry as patties. Easy!

Lunch: Leftover stir fried rice stuff. Very tasty and filling though not very pretty.
 Dinner: I made pulled pork in advance so all I had to do was heat up dinner. But Charlie asked if we could have cauliflower-rice! Wha? Seriously?! Hell yeah I'll make that boy some veggies!

Holy moly this is good stuff. I'm serious. You want to make this. You really do. So dinner was pulled pork over cauli-rice, sugar snap peas and a little sweet tater.
Pulled Pork recipe HERE.

Feelings: I'm not even sure I need to keep going over these. I did have a sudden craving for Asian sweet chili sauce. Mmm....I had Filipino neighbors who introduced me to that and lumpias. I introduced them to tequila. :) Fun times. 
My back is hurting pretty friggin bad on the left side but it seems to be migrating to the right side. It's so bad that my left hand is tingling and goes to sleep. WTH?!

Exercise: No thanks
 Thursday: I get to go to the doctor and find out what's wrong with those back muscles. I need some sleep! Back keeps waking me up.

Breakfast: a sausage patty and a couple of eggs with hot sauce.
 OK, doctor thinks it's just muscle issues and give anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxer. So we'll see.

Hey, do you know what happens to your weight when you have inflammation?! Word of advice: stay away from the scale. It's not pretty. But clothes are fitting better so whatever.

Rachel is having a belated birthday party so I had to walk into the hall of temptation that is Great American Cookie Company to order a cookie cake.

Omg. Good thing there is glass separating me from those brownies. I tried to fall face first into them. That glass must be bullet proof.
 Oh, and not just cookies and brownies, but pretzels! My other favorite!! And not only that but they had Icees! My favorite sugar drink!
 I made it out a bit shaky but I didn't indulge. Mission accomplished.

Had to stop by pharmacy to get meds so I had Chuck buy me flowers. He even got them on sale! Ok, he wasn't there. I picked them out and sent him a pick and said, "These are from you. Thank you! I love them!"
 Lunch: Finally!! Pulled pork over cauli-rice. I couldn't eat it all but it sure was perfect.
 Surely you know by now that I do things wrong. So many things seem like a good idea but turn out to be bad ideas.

Muscle relaxers say to take at night. But I want to be relaxed right now!! Sooooo.....I wonder what would happen if I take half of one then exercise.

The world is a happy place on muscle relaxers. I went on an 8 mile bike ride with a smile on my face:
 Stopped by the playground to try some exercises. Well what do you know? I still can't do a pullup! *shock!*
 Admired the pretty, yet foreboding, clouds. Oooooh, pretty.
 And after the 8 miles I did my strength training exercises: deep squats, push ups, sit ups, "good girl/bad girl" with a band.

Dinner: I had a soup cooking in the crockpot all day. YUM! Creamy Chicken Tomato Soup! Tasty.
 Then back out to pick up Rachel's cookie. But first I stopped and got her some birthday goodies from Hot Topic including this!! How could I resist? Fortunately she's a lot like me so I know exactly what to get her: anything I'd like!
 I swear the smell of this cookie is killing me. KILLING ME! How do they make it smell so good. I want to lick it.
 I wanted a little something tasty to end my day so I made this up and it was incredible!!!! I put some raspberries and strawberries in a bowl, topped with a little coconut cream (the thick stuff in the top of the coconut milk can), added coconut, peach balsamic vinegar, and toasted pecans.  That's the stuff. Very good. Loved it.
I finally got some good sleep. Back is still not back to normal and I'm avoiding the scale for a while. But I really am losing inches. Clothes are fitting so much better and I really feel good. And strangely very happy. It's weird. Like I am so happy and relaxed and just at peace. I mean, people can still say things that irritate me but I'm doing great.

Exercise: 8 mile bike ride; strength training

I'm shocked how fast this Whole30 thing has gone by! I'm on my last week now. I really am loving how I'm feeling but I do look forward to a glass of wine.

Happy weekend to you all! Make it a good one and smile. :)