Thursday, February 19, 2015

Whole30 Thoughts

So, as much as we as moms are told that it "takes a year" to lose that baby weight, it never quite went away after I had CJ.  Yes, I started fitting into some of my clothes again, but did they look good?  Not so much.  A year and a half after having CJ I was asked twice in one month when I was due with the next one (I wasn't.)  Part of that has to do with my uterine fibroid that is big enough to make my tummy bulge. (A fibroid is a benign tumor that is hormone-fed; at some point I will be getting rid of it) The other part was that no matter how hard I exercised, I was not losing weight.  We eat pretty healthily as well, but maybe just not enough.  Right before I got pregnant with Summer I was in such a good routine exercising-wise; and I was determined to work out much more during my second pregnancy.  Well, then I started bleeding and was not allowed to exercise.  At 14 weeks, when it stopped, it was 6 degrees outside- for like the the next 2 months.  No desire to take a two-year-old out in that. Then, when the weather finally started turning warmer, I was well into my third trimester, blown up like a whale, and completely uncomfortable.  Yes, excuses, but nevertheless, 6 weeks post-second-c-section and I'm starting over again.  20 pounds to go to pre-baby weight, 30 pounds to go to happy weight.  We begin again.  Walking, running, Shaun T.  Other than some treats here and there, eating real food.  Weight not going anywhere.  I know that I didn't start losing more weight with CJ until I stopped nursing, but I still knew that without something drastic that weight wouldn't decrease much.  I actually ran a half marathon almost a year after having CJ and didn't lose much weight. 

I follow many blogs, and a few of them talked about the Whole30 and the writers' experience with the program. Basically, for 30 days, you cut out grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, alcohol, anything with a variety of "bad" added ingredients.  Grains, dairy, and legumes can cause a leaky gut, which in turn can cause systemic inflamation in your body.  And we all know that sugar and alcohol is not good for you. It's essentially a very strict paleo diet.  I read the book "It Starts With Food," written by the program developers, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and I decided that this may be the thing that really helps me.  Even though for me it was mostly about losing weight, it's not a diet, per se.  You are not supposed to weigh yourself until the end.  The program is supposed to be about changing your lifestyle and just feeling better overall, with the weight loss as a bonus.  Reading enough testimonies online and in the book, it truly does change people's lives.  One woman writes about managing her MS just by this diet.  Some people can go off all sorts of types of meds, and just feel so much more energetic.  It's only 30 days, and then after reintroducing food very slowly, you decide what you want to integrate back in your diet, if anything at all.

So what the heck?  I read the book in the fall, and with the holidays looming ahead, I figured the best chance of success would be starting the program in January when we are stuck in the house anyway and needed a bit of detox from Christmas.  Kevin joined me for support, and because he had some weight and bad habits he wanted to lose.   I made sure to stock up on meat, eggs (not considered dairy), veggies, and almond butter.  We started January 6.  I was ready as the book and the support forums warned that we may not feel great right away- actually hung over for a few days.  I found out very quickly that I would be cooking ALL THE TIME.  With Kevin now not eating his usual breakfast of cereal and cottage cheese and taking his lunch to work instead of going out we went through food FAST.  I also had to make some of my own condiments such as mayo (actually very easy to make) and bbq sauce.  It seems like EVERYTHING contains sugar!  Bacon, beef broth, sausage, the list goes on. Thankfully Kevin helped with many of the breakfasts and lunch so that took some of the load off.  We also didn't feel too badly those first two weeks which I believe is because we didn't eat that unhealthy to begin with. 

While this program is not impossible by any means, we did have some challenges.  Going out was hard.  I had dinner plans with a friend, so I planned my meal ahead of time by looking at an online menu and calling the restaurant to what ingredients were in some of the meals.  I asked the waiter if I could have my veggies sauteed in olive oil as opposed to butter.  Thankfully, they were really cool about it.  I learned to like club sodas with lime.  Kevin had more challenges since he travels for work occasionally and also had a trip up to Rochester.  Those trips required lots of planning on where to eat, what compliant snacks to take, going to the grocery store and cooking his own meals when up in Rochester, and then getting stuck in the airport with no compliant food.  When you can't have something, it makes it that much more enticing too.  But we finished with no slip ups! 

So how do we feel?  Neither of us feels extremely different than we did before.  Kevin definitely has more energy, especially on the weekends (no drinking), but I definitely did not feel differently.  Along with the Whole30 I was finally making myself get up earlier to work out so it takes awhile to get used to that.  I also began to wean Summer from nursing.  I did it much more gradually than with CJ, but I still felt the emotional and physical effects.  To truly see the effects of this experiment, I probably should not have changed anything else in my lifestyle at that point.  Oh well.  We have both introduced all of the foods back into our diets fully expecting to not feel well on some of them.  It seems I can tolerate everything just fine, but the jury's still out on dairy for Kevin.  We both also lost over 10 pounds!  I still have more to go, but Kevin's happy with his weight now (not that he needed to lose much anyway...) 

Of course we don't want to go completely go back to our old habits, so what did we gain from this challenge?  The biggest change, I feel like, is with our snacking habits, especially at night.  It seemed like every evening we would have a snack after dinner to the point that I would feel hungry 30 minutes after eating in anticipation of popcorn or even just a piece of string cheese.  We are trying our best not to snack at night.  I really feel like I do need some grains throughout the day for some carbohydrates (I really don't like sweet potatoes enough to just constantly eat those) but we really want to cut down on bread and pasta.  I will integrate some paleo meals into my meal plans and lunches throughout the week as I did find some winner recipes.  Wildtree even has many paleo-friendly products and freezer meal workshops that will also help keep some of those meals in the rotation.  I have stopped using the artificial (but oh so good) creamer from my coffee.  I'm not drinking it black like I did during the Whole30, but now I use coconut creamer from Trader Joe's.  Kevin is having almond milk with his cereal.  So as you can see, there are lots of little changes that came from this that hopefully will help our diets overall.  If you want to overhaul your diet and have a lot of willpower, I would definitely recommend trying this out- even though we didn't see life-changing results, so many people have that it's not going to hurt to see what it does for you.

I guess I should include a little blurb about the kiddos- hahaha.  After what seemed like cold after cold after cold, they are both good and healthy.  A little stir-crazy (maybe that's just me) but good.  Due to holidays, workdays, and snowdays, CJ has not his full weekly 3 days of school since before Christmas.  Thankfully, he is (fairly) good at entertaining himself, and he also likes to accompany me while I work out in the basement and "help" me cook.  He  has begun to "play" with Summer and she gets quite entertained by him.  (Funny enough, she is the most entertained when he is crying about something!) This helps during that awful time when she starts to get tired but I also need to cook dinner.  We have found that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse also helps.  She is not crawling yet, but rolling around the room and starting to shake her butt when on her tummy to try and move.  She might be one of those babies who drags themselves along the floor.  A tooth is finally starting to break through which may explain why her naps were very short for a period of time.  CJ still is obsessed with his books, where his favorites at the moment are Skippy Jon Jones, and Eric Carle books.  He still plays with his trains and is also now into learning about the planets. 

We are definitely looking forward to warm weather!  Only a month! (Hopefully)!