Day 10: Non-Food Stuff to Catch Up On

I am again two thirds away from the end of the program. Yay, double digits! This feels like a good time to go over some of the non-food related items on the program as outlined by my Whole30 Daily emails that I really should start getting a move on.

Sleep: My problem has never been that I don’t sleep enough. In fact, I sleep too much. However, because I have PTSD, and have struggled with depression and TMJD (temporomandibular jaw disorder) for most of my life, the quality of sleep that I get is not very good. What ends up happening is that I sleep too much, and still feel tired. I could sleep 12 hours, wake up, and then 2 hours later have a 3 hour nap- all without impairing my ability to sleep at night. What I want to be able to do is train my body to reduce its sleeping time, meaning I want to be able to sleep only 8-9 hours a night, not take naps longer than 30 minutes during the day, and still be fine. That sounds like a dream to me! My Whole30 Daily emails tell me I should be waking up near dawn. That idea makes me really sad because I’m a night owl. They also say that I should establish a regular bedtime and waking up time, which sounds more realistic at the moment. If I could go to bed at 1:00 AM and wake up at 9:00 or 10:00 six out of seven days in a week, it would be fantastic. Fortunately, I never developed a caffeine addiction (like most people in my country), so I don’t have that holding me back.

Magnesium: My doctor had already told me that I should look into getting magnesium and lithium supplements to help my mental health. Interestingly, she said taking magnesium supplements may help me because I have night sweats, and these can sometimes be caused by a salt imbalance in the body (and magnesium is a salt.) However, she cautioned me to avoid magnesium oxide supplements, as she said that magnesium oxide is basically useless because we just pee it out. This is apparently the same thing that happens with zinc oxide. Instead of magnesium oxide, she recommends 200 to 400 mg of magnesium citrate, glycinate, fumarate, or taurate twice a day. Interestingly, Whole30 Daily also recommends taking magnesium, and specifically recommends taking Natural Calm before bedtime. I am definitely planning on giving this a try. It is a 350 mg dose of magnesium citrate in the form of a fizzy beverage powder. You mean I don’t have to take yet another pill? Heck yes!

Exercise: Of course I’ve been belly dancing, but I have known for a while that I need to supplement my dancing with another sort of “regular” workout to improve my endurance, strength, and flexibility. My university’s gym offers free group exercise classes, but since I’m not enrolled in classes this summer, I can’t take those until the fall. I hadn’t enrolled in anything else because of money. Whole30 Daily sent me a conveniently long list of exercises I can do without spending any money. Unfortunately, most of them involve running. I hate running. I can’t think of many exercises I’d despise more. And yet… sigh. Maybe I should give this list of 31 exercises a try for the rest of the summer. If I do one each, 6 days out of the week for the rest of my summer break, I’ll finish them all by the time school starts again. I’m more likely to do that than kettle bells, which the emails also suggest. I would probably need to get up pretty early if I’m going to be running anywhere, since it’s summer in Texas and the heat here literally kills people. More motivation to stick to a sleep schedule, I suppose? Also, I hope I’ll be able to go back to yoga again soon, because I miss it.

Look at me, doing all these things I never thought I’d do. Eating eggs on a regular basis. Running. Eating things like beets that I used to hate. Maybe there is something to the “Whole30 will change your life” thing after all. aXm139xjU

I leave you with a slightly confusing, yet oddly insightful InspiroBot quote.

Day 7: One week down!!

I can hardly believe it. I’m a quarter of the way through! Certain things have been easier than I expected, and other things have been a struggle. My Whole30 Daily email suggests that now is the time to spend about 15 minutes of my day to chart the progress I’ve made in the last several days using theirĀ Food for Thought worksheet. I’m not going to go through the whole thing here, but some important things stand out.

When I’m craving sugar, I used to eat: Chocolate, mostly. Pastries. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without the bread. (Yes, that’s a thing.)

During my Whole30 I’m going to reach for this instead: Fruit, unless I’ve had too much that day. I started out the program with a 12 pack of Lara Bars. The first day I ate 3 of them. Then I ate 2 for a few days, and then 1. Yesterday I realized. Omg! I didn’t eat a Lara bar, and I didn’t miss it either! Maybe my sugar cravings are going down after all!

I thought I’d miss eating ___ but I actually don’t miss it at all: I haven’t felt myself hankering for grains of any kind (though I had a dream that I realized half way through a meal that I was eating couscous, and I felt awful about cheating! #whole30dreams). I also strangely haven’t missed cheese too much. I already know that it’s going to be the first food I reintroduce once I’m done, by taking myself out to a nice lunch at cheese heaven, but the urge to grab the block of cheddar that is currently sitting in my fridge is just not there. Another Whole30 Dream? I dreamed I was eating sour cream by the spoonful out of the container. I don’t even like sour cream.

I didn’t think I’d like ____ but I’m actually enjoying them: I’m experimenting with eggs for the first time in my life. It makes me happy to get them from the farmer’s market where I can meet the lady who cares for the chickens myself. I still decided I don’t like scrambled eggs, but I’ve made two kinds of shakshuka and have really enjoyed them! Maybe there’s something to them after all.

I have the hardest time sticking to the Whole30 when: that moment on the 4th of July when I had two delicious looking chocolate covered cupcakes in my hands, and I knew that I had to give them to my roommate and husband instead of eating them myself. That was a moment of great will and determination for me!

When I eat a good breakfast, I feel: SO MUCH BETTER!! OMG. There have been a couple of days when I didn’t eat a good breakfast, and I felt it for the rest of the day. Making sure I have a solid, nutritious breakfast has been one of the biggest lessons from this week.

When I prepare a healthy meal from scratch, I feel: AMAZING!! I love cooking, and I love food. I can’t believe I had gotten as lazy as I have been in the kitchen. I’m loving getting to cook every day, and am even trying to meal plan for my husband and roommate too. If I could make “house chef” my official part time job, I’d be very happy. This has been the other biggest lesson this week. Cooking and eating the food that I make makes me feel great, and I want to continue doing it. I’ll have to find ways to adjust when I’m back in school full time and don’t have the luxury of long summer days to stay in the kitchen.

Since I started my Whole30, I’ve noticed: This is a hard question for me. It is generally difficult for me to assess change in myself in such a short amount of time.

I do think that I’m sleeping better. Not more, but better. My problem has always been that I sleep too much, and in the last week, I’ve felt myself waking up feeling pretty rested. Of course, the exception to that was Thursday when I realized my iron was running 5% lower than normal, so I allowed myself to nap all afternoon, and honestly I woke up feeling like that was just what I had needed. I’m going to try to add more iron heavy foods into my diet in the next week.

I do notice that my cravings for sugar have lessened significantly. Day 2 and 3 I had headaches, but since then I’ve felt fine. I feel hungry a lot more, but I think it’s because I’m still getting used to eating a solid three meals a day and not getting energy from sugar burning.

And I really do think I’m actually hungry and not craving. I tested it with Whole30’s suggestion to imagine yourself eating steamed fish and broccoli, and if you still feel like you could ravenously eat that, then you’re probably actually hungry and not wanting a treat. I haven’t even eaten steamed fish in about 12 years, and my mind was like OMG YES, GIMME, I’M SO SORRY FISHY!!! To be clear though, I don’t actually want to eat steamed fish and broccoli. I just want to eat something. So I do. I eat good healthy veggie food. Honestly, feeling hungry is actually kind of a nice surprise, in a way. Because of my PTSD, which has caused me to dissociate a lot from my body, there have been large periods of time in my life where I never felt hungry at all. Or if I did feel hungry, I’d indulge in some unhealthy “reward food” (and maybe feel bad about it later). Now, I’m actually hungry for wholesome good food. It’s a really nice change.

The Whole30 Daily email also said something about trying to find ways to reward yourself without food. That’s a challenge for me. This weekend, I’m trying it out. It’s our fifth wedding anniversary, and instead of going out for dinner, we’re buying ourselves the Final Fantasy XV DLC package and having a night in playing video games. I’m really looking forward to it!