Post Whole30 Recap and Becoming More Body Positive

Hello everyone! How has your week been?

I waited until today to make my next post specifically because yesterday (2/2/18) I successfully finished my first ever Whole30!

I've made 2 previous attempts at completing the Whole30 only to fail miserably about half way through. I think I've identified 2 big problems from prior attempts and made big strides to correct said problems before this attempt. My big problems were:

  1. Not having a full understanding of the program before starting it, and
  2. Not having a good support group to help me through the process.
Fixing my understanding of the program was actually pretty simple thanks to some of the newer resources that have been released for the Whole30 program. I already had the The Whole30 Guidebook on hand and that gave me an ok overview of the program, but I still felt like I was winging it and didn't completely know what I was doing. Late last year I actually sprung for a few more resources.  First I got a copy of It Starts With Food and read it from front to back before making my next attempt. It Starts With Food was a game changer for me because it gave me a lot of good insight into the science behind the program and what is actually happening to your body when you eat a certain way.

I made a commitment to get through the last of my holiday meals before starting and picked January 3rd as my start date. I also picked up a copy of the new The Whole30 Day by Day journal so I could use it as my go-to daily resource for my journey. It's small enough to carry around with me in my daily go-bag.

Armed with these tools I started my journey on January 3rd. The first 2 weeks were a struggle because I had a hard time figuring out my personal stride. Then I remembered what all of my Tricerasisters over in the Nerd Fitness Academy do: they all batch cook food! So I got into a routine of batch cooking some shredded pork and chicken in my Instant Pot, I bought tons of eggs when they were on sale, and I even took the time to cook up 5 pounds worth of potatoes in one go!

By week 3 things got more comfortable. I pretty much routinized my meals, I started learning how to ask for food at the restaurant, and I always brought emergency ghee and salad dressing with me just in case when eating out.

The biggest challenge, however, was eating at work. I work in a pizza place, and because its food service sometimes I also don't have time for a sit down meal. My solution to this problem was to eat my lunch and brush my teeth right before going, have an approved snack of something like eggs or deli meat and some macadamia nuts half way through the shift, then eat dinner when I get home. But with my game plan in hand I only had 2 nights where I attempted to eat dinner at work.

Side note: Eating dinner at work didn't go over too well because I always ended up with heartburn.

During my last week of the program I even got brave enough to venture to a Whole Foods to pick up some approved salad dressings and I was even able to find some approved sausage right in my local grocery store!

What I Learned
I learned a lot about myself throughout my Whole30. Here's a short list of those things.

  • I learned that something is causing me to bloat like crazy and something was also giving me nasty scalp eczema, both of which went away over the course of the program.
  • I learned that I can, in fact, go 30 days without having ice cream or pizza.
  • I learned that I feel so much better when I eat (mostly) paleo so from here on out I'll be going back to a mostly paleo diet.
  • I learned that I can push myself to workout while eating clean.
  • I learned that eating clean isn't hard at all.
How My Body Changed and Body Positivity
Note: I'll be talking about periods and weight issues in this section, so if that's something that you might not want to read about you'll want to stop here.

I don't consider myself to be someone who has had issues with weight. While I don't consider weight to be an issue I have had issues with body positivity over the years. I've had issues where I've binge eaten while depressed, gained weight, lost weight due to anxiety, and all kinds of things. It's hard to describe but I just don't always feel confident.

In my late 20's I had uncontrollable periods. They were to the point where I couldn't really do anything when it was that time of the month because I was constantly having to run to the bathroom. At first I was put on the Depo shot but that didn't really work for me. I ended up changing doctors and my new doctor suggested I get an IUD instead. The IUD was a life changer. No more nasty, debilitating cramps, and eventually my periods lessened to barely a trickle every month.

One down side of the IUD is it can cause weight gain for some people. For me, I didn't really gain much weight at all until I hit the big 3-0. After I turned 30 my metabolism slowed down a bit and my weight started fluctuating way more than it used to. At my heaviest I was at about 185 pounds and at my lightest I was at 145.

I tried just about everything to maintain a stable weight. I'm not kidding when I say I've tried shakes, pills, more workouts, more walking... But it still wasn't hitting me that my issue wasn't with the exercise, it was with the food.

That brings me around full circle to this experience with the Whole30. If nothing else it taught me that what you put into your body is 90% of the battle when it comes to just maintaining a healthy weight. These days I'm no longer tempted by the pizzas and sides I'm making at work. I'm able to say no to things the foods that I used to be addicted to pretty easily, and I have a game plan for times when feel like I'm straying off course and I need to realign myself.

And the proof is in the numbers. Here are some before and after stats to show the difference proper nutrition can make.
  • Weight:
    • Before: 180.6 lbs
    • After: 164.4 lbs
  • Waist:
    • Before: 34.5"
    • After: 32"
  • Hips:
    • Before: 42"
    • After: 40"
  • BMI:
    • Before: 27.4%
    • After: 25%
  • Average Running Pace:
    • Before: 11:59/mile
    • After: 11:31/mile
As a last note on anybody looking to do the Whole30... Don't be hard on yourself if you don't lose weight! I didn't do the Whole30 to lose weight, I did it to feel better overall and try and figure out what foods I have issues with. Not only that, but if you're working out you have to remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so don't rely on the numbers on the scale to prove (or disprove) that the program is working for you.

Have you done the Whole30? What were your results from the program?


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