Day 26-27: The Whole 9 (Yards)

Holy Cow! I’m almost done!! It feels like forever since the last time I had all sorts of things. I honestly barely miss some things (rice? what’s that?) while other things I’m fantasizing about (omnom gimme challah). My Whole30 Daily email today was about the “now what?” moment after Day 30. The people behind the Whole30 insist that “It starts with food”, but it doesn’t end there. Whole Health is an amalgam of 9 interconnected factors:

https://i2.wp.com/whole9life.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/9graphic.jpg

I have to say, eating VegWhole30 hasn’t been the amazing, life changing magic that I expected. Now, to their credit, the website is very clear about the fact that it does not believe vegetarianism is a sustainable healthy diet in the long term. I of course disagree for several reasons. In any case, they include a disclaimer saying that doing Whole30 as a vegetarian could not guarantee you the same life changing effects that doing Whole30 the regular way could bring. Still, I was hoping I’d see a bit more difference in myself. Oh well. That brings me back to the Whole9 point. I have some deep rooted physical and emotional needs that won’t all be taken care of by changing what I eat. So, succinctly, here are some brainstorming ideas for what I would want for living my best life:

Nutrition: continue eating well, even after Whole30. Continue to develop my meal plan and meal prep skills so that I can save money and eat better consistently.

Sleep: sleeping 8 hours a night. The overwhelming majority of what I read about sleep assumes that I, like apparently most people, have trouble sleeping. Even doctors I’ve spoken to start spouting off suggestions about how I should dim my lights and turn off my electronics, yada yada, without listening to me when I say I could stare at my phone for an hour in a brightly lit room after exercising at night and having a big dinner, and I could still sleep for 10 hours and want a nap the next day. I don’t need suggestions on how to fall asleep or stay asleep. I need suggestions on how to stay awake and clear headed! I feel like it’s gotten better this month, but I’m still not where I want to be.

Exercise: supplement my dancing with yoga and strength training, maybe even some fundamental dance skills like beginning ballet or ballet barre. I would also love to learn a new skill just for fun, like aerial circus arts!

Stress management: I have decided that having a massage a month would make my life a lot better. I’ve been putting this off for a very long time, but it’s finally time to make it a priority. It took me waking up with severe torticolis and being stiff necked for days this week to finally get me and my husband to the point where we say “yeah, budgeting for a massage a month sounds like a great idea!”

Temperance: I think this has to do with limiting yourself on certain things? I mean, this kind of feeds into my previous statement of limiting myself to less sleep. However, one thing I’ve noticed? I have trouble eating without something else going on; looking at my phone, watching tv, reading, etc. I should really challenge myself to eating with no distractions more often.

Active recovery: Ooh boy. Physically? I have flat feet. I could get that checked out. But really, it’s my mental health that I should be focusing on active recovery with. I could journal, I could fill out CBT worksheets, find a creative arts therapist, all sorts of stuff. I’d have to look into it.

Personal growth: so many things I want to do! I wish I could learn all the things! I could start by keeping up with weekly torah portions, like I always say I will and don’t actually do.

Fun and play: I’ve been giving myself a lot more me time to play video games recently, and I realized how much I missed it! I hope to keep it up when school starts.

Injury rehab: Well, I don’t have any actual injuries to recover from. Do my flat feet count?

 

So, that’s me and what I’ll be trying to work on for the next while. What about you? What would your Whole 9 look like?

 

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Day 25: Playing Catch Up

I’ve been irresponsible about blogging, obviously. This tends to happen to me. I’ve tried several times to blog regularly about a few different things. I get really excited for a while, and then when the excitement goes away I stop. I’m trying to not do that now, even though I haven’t written in a few days. The good news is that I’m still Whole30 compliant, even if I haven’t been writing about it. The better news is that I’m on Day 25! Honestly, by this point I’m ready to be done. It’s been great, don’t get me wrong. I’ve learned a lot about food and about myself, I’m cooking a lot more, I’m eating better, and my relationship with my food has improved a lot. My singing voice sounds better (thanks, no sugar and no cheese!), my head feels clearer, I’m waking up with more energy (even if I still sleep a lot.) Still, maybe it’s because I’ve been at this for 37 days, but I’m ready to be able to take my friends up on their invitations to go eat dim sum or actually use my drink ticket when I perform at bar shows. I have a plan for reintroducing all the food categories I’ve been avoiding, slowly. I end Whole30 on Shabbat, and am looking forward to having challah. I’ll skip on the wine for now. Challah, of course, has sugar, butter, and flour. I’ll spend the first week reintroducing those before moving on to other things like cheese or rice.

Anyhow, I’m getting ahead of myself. Still 6 days to go (including today). I reevaluated my goals for August. Exercising every day is too ambitious. Instead, I told my husband that I’d work out with him 3 days a week at home. That, plus my regular dance schedule, sounds like a good start. I am also still planning on keeping up with my food goals. “It Starts With Food” after all, right? For me, that means keeping up Whole30 until the 11th and then after that being conscientious about reintroducing food groups; continuing to meal prep for myself, and sending my husband at least one lunch a week to work; and blogging about my progress. As for non-food related things, I’m decluttering and organizing my house (finally) and doing some important school related things before the semester starts. That should keep me plenty busy until the start of my last full time semester of grad school!

I keep having bizarre Whole30 dreams. I dreamed that I had a delicious sugary dessert, and realized after 3 bites or so what I was doing. I was like OH NO! I WAS SOOO CLOSE, WTF AM I DOING?! And then I realized. Wait. I’m at a table with a whole bunch of wizards and witches, there’s a river running through the room with whales and dolphins jumping out of it, and there’s Mary Kate and Ashley. This is a dream. Well then, if it’s a dream I’ll go ahead and enjoy this delicious dessert!

I got my magnesium supplement in the mail yesterday. It’s pretty neutral in flavour, and it’s not a pill, both of which are great things. I’m looking forward to seeing how this further improves my health. In the meantime, here. A picture of something I made myself for breakfast the other day: minted cucumbers and strawberries, from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking. Have a happy week, everyone!

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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, version 2: First Week Done, Again!

Yesterday was the end of week one since my restart. I happened to have had a doctor’s appointment. I have made several significant changes to my lifestyle since the end of June, and a follow up was in order. Besides starting the VegWhole30, I also got an IUD placed right before the start of the program, and shortly before that, my doctor reduced the dosage of my medication. It’s hard to say which factor is responsible for any changes I’m experiencing, but given that no factor can be experienced in isolation, it doesn’t really matter all that much. The medication change and the IUD are here to stay, so the only variable that is likely to change in the near future is my diet. I’ll keep that in mind if I start experiencing anything new.

Doc was pleased with my report that since our last appointment about a month ago, my head feels clearer and I feel overall better. She had taken me off a medication that was only there to treat the side effect of my first medication. It feels really good to not take pills I don’t need anymore, and to be taking the minimum dose I really need from the other one (which thankfully isn’t enough to give me the side effect that was bothering me!). I still get tired a lot, but I generally have more energy. I could be seeing things, but I think my waist looks more defined. My belly dance teacher says she thinks I’ve lost some weight, but I feel like it’s more that my body constitution is changing a bit. The most significant difference is still that now I pay much more attention to the food I eat. The food I make is a joy again. It’s not “I’m going to half ass my way through making some pasta and call it a meal.” It’s not “I’m hungry and want to eat, but the only thing that’s prepared in the fridge is white rice, so let’s just put some soy sauce on it and call it a day.” It’s actually “I am so excited to dig into this stew I made today!” Last night I made a tasty white bean and sweet potato stew with collard greens, and got 5 portions out of it 🙂 I had one for dinner last night, gave one to my husband to take to work, and packed away 3 more. Slowly but surely the meal prep thing is coming along!

Another shout out is in order to my Whole30 buddy across the country, Samantha. I know I can ask her all the important questions:

Me: ok, can I ask you a gross question though?

Her: your period changing?

Me: … how were your poops? lol

Her: oh

 the fox and the hound GIF

Everyone deserves a friend like this.

Day 11: Where’s this “magic” I keep hearing about?

This day was hard. I woke up feeling meh, with no particular reason. Maybe it’s because I dreamed that I met one of my idols, Patrick Stewart, and he ended up being a drunk asshole- after which I dreamed I stepped on a scale, and then quickly stepped off again when I remember I shouldn’t be weighing myself. I barely ate, and I ate more fruit than I should have. I really wanted some sugar. I slept way too much. I thought, I should go to the kitchen and make myself something… but that’s so much work. I basically felt like this.

I was feeling a bit self conscious, because supposedly I should be feeling all sorts of life changing magic happening, right?

Then I remembered. Wait. Didn’t I read something about how one of these days was supposed to be the hardest one? Sure enough, according to the Whole30 Timeline for symptoms and feelings, people are most likely to quit between day 10 and 11. It’s around this time when the crankiness about what you “choose not to eat” outweighs the benefits you might feel.

Reading this made me feel better. It was nice to hear that, apparently, a large portion of people who do Whole30 feel equally cruddy on Day 11. So I decided to cheer myself up by the evening. I was crew for a dance show, so I put on crazy neon blue lipstick and fancy liquid blue eyeliner. I put my hair up in little Princess Leia like puffs. I got to the bar and ordered myself a club soda with lime, and the fact that I had a drink other than water in my hand made me feel surprisingly better. I again gave my drink ticket to a gal pal. And by the end of the night, I figured. You know what? This Whole30 thing isn’t that bad. I can stay at it for another 19 days.

So, onward and upwards! I am a fabulous and healthy being.

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 their 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!

 

 

Day 1: It Begins

My Day 0 was like a Bachelorette Party for my digestive system. I ordered pizza, I ate a chocolate bar, and I stayed up well past my bedtime playing pool and having drinks. It was the big send off before the month of all of the food changes! My only regret is the sleep disturbance. My sleep schedule was all off yesterday. I took a nap in the afternoon and woke up way too late to go sing at the synagogue like I was supposed to, and I was so embarrassed. And then I didn’t get to bed until 4:30 am! If there is one health change that I hope that Whole30 can help me with, it’s my energy levels. It’s really not healthy for me to nap for hours in the afternoon and stay up all night. Today, Day 1, I didn’t nap at all and am going to bed at a much more decent hour. Let’s keep that up.

Last night I took my weight and “Before” pictures, and today a seamstress friend came over to take my measurements and fit me for a dress. Here’s the skinny on the numbers:

Weight: 145 lbs

Chest: 37″

Waist: 31.25″

Hips: 43″

Thighs: 25″

Running that through several indicators of healthy weight, that looks like this:

BMI: 26.5 (slightly overweight)

Waist to hip ratio: 0.73 (normal weight)

Waist to height ratio: 0.5 (slightly overweight/top of healthy cut off range)

So all in all, I’m not doing too badly. I’d still like to get within a comfortable wiggle room of healthy weight rather than being at the cut off point between healthy and slightly overweight. I want to get back into yoga this month in addition to dancing a lot in preparation for my competition on the 27th.

I started off the program in pretty decent shape. I ate only Whole30 compliant foods. Still, I felt really hungry. Then I realized. Oh, duh. I only had a Larabar and a bowl of cherries for breakfast. If I had gotten to bed at a decent hour and made a good breakfast, I could have gotten through the rest of the day in a much better state. Instead, I ate 2 more Larabars as snacks. Oops.

Tomorrow I’m going to the farmer’s market, and then to one of the bigger supermarkets. The little Kroger that’s closest to my house is fine for the basics, but to the surprise of no one, they didn’t have coconut aminos and some other things that could have made my day run more easily. I missed having soy sauce on my tofu scramble today!

If today has taught me anything, it’s that I’ve gotten really complacent with my snack food. For someone who loves food as much as I do, I’ve gotten into a really bad rut of snacking on whatever “no preparation necessary” food item I see in front of me if it means saving myself a few minutes of prep work. That really sucks. Times are changing though! Looking forward to sticking with this. Now I’m off to bed, so that I may have the energy to fight the Sugar Dragon when it rears its ugly head in the next few days.