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Sunday, May 22, 2016

My Whole30 Journey

As some of you may be aware, I've been struggling with weight my entire life. As a child, I was always more overweight than all the other children; I couldn't participate in many activities. As an adult, I ballooned up to over 300 lbs. Not even my own wedding could convince me to get off my ass and lose some weight before the big day. My self worth and self esteem were in shambles. I've documented my argument for hCG here. And using it, I lost over 100 lbs. But, it's an extremely hard diet, and kind of expensive, and technically not legal.

However, thanks to hCG I've (mostly) been able to keep my weight down. I'm now at 185 lbs. I've been trying to eat healthy; making my own food and documenting what I eat in myfitnesspal, along with seeing a nutritionist every month. Whole grains, lean protein, lots of water, etc, and I've started to exercise. But after about 4 months of my scale not budging an inch, I began to get very frustrated. How is it that my body burns 1680 calories a day just by being alive, and I eat less than that an exercise, but the weight doesn't come off? (True, sometimes I'd go nuts in the break room and have treats. It's always been my downfall.)

And then I read the article about The Biggest Loser (found here). Basically the jist of the article says that after extreme weight loss, your metabolism PERMANENTLY slows, and now the contestants barely eat enough to stay alive, exercise, and gain weight. Even though learning the information about their metabolism may have been liberating for them, it was depressing for me. What if, because of hCG, I was stuck in this too? What if the scale my nutritionist uses to calculate how many calories my body burns in a day is off, and it's actually less? And I am over-eating every day and the exercise just burns that and helps me maintain? I needed to do something, and no - more exercise was not the answer for me. 

Then, my co-worker Beverly told me that her doctor recommended The Whole30 to her. At first, I scoffed. Cut out dairy, grains, and sugar? Dairy is where I get most of my protein from in the form of babybell cheeses and greek yogurts. And I knew from experience that eating carbs in the morning (in the form of my healthy breakfast bar) keeps me full better than protein does. But as I was reading the book, I saw the science in what they were saying. Mainly, The Whole30 is an elimination diet. Get rid of the foods that might be causing inflammation in your body, or irritation, swelling, tiredness, sleeplessness, what-have-you, for 30 days. And when you're all clean, slowly re-introduce them back into your life and try to get a feel of how the foods treat you. 

That's not the main reason I wanted to do this, though. It's technically a "side effect" to lose weight on this diet. By eliminating all the sugars and added sugars from the foods and drinks we consume, it forces your body to use fat as its main source of fuel. Thus, the weight comes off. Artificial sweeteners are my weakness. I remember, after doing hCG and then eating out, how fracking sweet sweets were, and how damn salty all the packaged foods have become. I still hold that sensitivity to salts, but my sweet tooth needs to be reset. And I'm hoping to keep Splenda completely eliminated from my at-home diet even when this is all said and done. I've dropped putting crystal light in my water and am now used to drinking it without flavorints. I don't know how coffee will go, though. I'm not addicted to caffeine so quitting the coffee habit was easy. I've tried and failed before to drink it black or with just a splash of milk. So I'll do my 30 days, and see if I can stomach black coffee.

The other thing that intimidated me about this 30-day plan (besides having to cut out artificial sweeteners - this includes mints and gum by the way!!!!!) was the amount of cooking I knew I had to do. And the amount of money I was going to need to spend in order to get it going. It's insane. I don't see anyone living a normal life within this 30 days. I don't want to scare anybody off, though. I'm used to cooking my meals but even this was beyond stressful to me. Here are some facebook posts I made last Sunday about the process:

It was hard work. I didn't want to touch food every again after that day. But, once I got it all prepped, now all I have to do is keep up, and that's quite a bit easier. It sounds totally awesome-tasting though, doesn't it? I already liked sweet potatoes but never really bought them for myself. Now I am in love with my fries and that garlic aioli (which is about the easiest thing in the world to make). That brisket was as amazing as you can get non-smoked, and that was the best tomato sauce I have ever made.

Quitting all the bad stuff wasn't as hard as I'd feared, and probably because I was already eating pretty healthily before this all began. I still want gum. God I want gum. But that's about it. I also miss drinking my crystal light lemonade. But, I've learned to like a couple of green and oolong teas without sugar. I think I'm slowly getting more energetic. I feel a lot less lethargic this weekend than I have in the past. I've taken a week off from exercising (YAY!) to allow my body to adjust to the changes, and I'll be back at it come Monday. The last day of my Whole30 is on June 14th, which is, consequently, the same day as my nutrition appointment and that bloody scale. I can't wait to see if this works.

Wish me luck! 


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