Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Journey

I was really excited to hear recently a few friends have been influenced by my Facebook posts about Whole30 and Paleo. They've written that they have had some awesome results which is really cool and makes me really happy!

In case you aren't familiar I'll break it down quick for you.

The Paleo Diet, not a 'diet' to lose weight, but a way of eating; a chosen lifestyle. Essentially it consists of eating vegetables, meat, seafood, healthy fats, some fruit, nuts and seeds, (and using honey and maple syrup as sweeteners, occasional rice and high quality dairy). Avoiding processed foods, grains, legumes(including peanuts and soy), and refined sugars.

Whole30 is a 30 day challenge to detox your system and address any food intolerances and start to heal the gut. It is basically a more strict Paleo diet which does not allow any sweeteners, grains, dairy, alcohol, or legumes. When the 30 days is over you can slowly re-introduce old foods one by one to see how your body reacts. In most cases people who do the challenge find they were intolerant to a few things(such as wheat) and choose to continue to keep them out of their diet. A lot of people choose to stick to a Paleo diet afterwards.

I love the Whole30 and really think it could benefit everyone in some way. You might wonder what there is left to eat and be worried about cutting out entire food groups, but when you are eating the right foods you don't need 'enriched' this or 'fortified' that from packaged foods. Check out Whole30 here.

I want to share my health and weight loss journey with you. It may not be the most dramatic change, the most pounds lost or the most entertaining. But it is my story and I believe someone might benefit and start a change in their own life. I also want to document it for myself, so on days I'm feeling down, I can come to it and see all of my progress and that I CAN continue.

My Journey:

I started my real 'lifestyle change' as I like to call it almost one year ago. After two pregnancies and continued nursing I was still over-eating and using nursing as the excuse for it. I've had food issues my entire life that I can remember. Not that I always thought it was an issue but as I look back I see some huge red flags. I was picky beyond belief as a child, I would steal food from the cupboards and freezer(gnawing on frozen pizza pops,anyone?). Basically a carb-aholic when young which later developed into over-eating.

I didn't really realize there was an issue until Sophie was over a year old. When the doctor told me I had gallstones and they were the culprit of these huge pain attacks I was having. I was prescribed some pills and he told me about surgery to remove my gallbladder. Maybe I was just in denial, but I refused to have surgery, not that it was pushed on me but it just was not something I was really willing to consider. I started to notice I would have these attacks if I ate too much deep fried food or certain greasy things like fast food burgers even without the fries. (Why do they tell us fast food is bad for us, yet tell us canola/vegetable oil is 'heart healthy'?) I went on still eating those foods occasionally, avoiding many attacks and taking pills if I felt one coming on to relieve it. I started using coconut oil and other oils to replace the canola in the cupboard.

Feb 2012

Fast forward to about July 2012 we were living in a temporary apartment before moving to Coquitlam, when I learned about Whole30 for the first time. I tried it for about 2 meals and quit because I had no idea what I could eat. It was just bad timing with living without my kitchen things and I was not prepared. I was also tracking calories on MyFitnessPal at the time. These minimal efforts were definitely not enough and I believe I was gaining weight due to regular restaurant meals. I was now at my heaviest.

About 4 months later I switched out my whole wheat bread for sprouted grains. After a few months of eating the sprouted wheat bread I read about the book Wheat Belly, cut out wheat and read the book to confirm, I had a gluten intolerance. And there starts the beginning of the biggest change and the healing. I had been having major joint pain especially in my ankles and feet as well as puffy feeling face and skin, painful wrists and bloated stomach, it would be especially bad in the mornings. Walking down the stairs was killer, I'm sure I looked 90 years old with how slow and painful it was. When I cut out wheat the pain miraculously disappeared!

All this time I had wanted to try another Whole30 but was really worried, especially regarding feeding my family what would likely be different meals. I stuck with portion control and no wheat for the most part and I slowly started losing weight. I went to the gym for 3 months and took on running from there. From January '13 to September '13 I had lost 18lbs!!

This picture is incredibly embarrassing, but I see a huge difference and I'm pretty proud of the progress.
(Don't mind the awful shorts I am wearing, they can't possibly look good on even the fittest of people.)
Way before, and at the end of whole30. Photo credits to Sophie.

I decided to finally try out the Whole30 in November and lost another 6.5lbs, for a total of about 25lbs in less than a year! Of course, weight isn't everything(or the main goal of Whole30) and it is definitely not the best measure of success. I also lost a ton of inches and went down multiple clothing sizes. BUT the best parts are that I FEEL better, I don't get gallbladder attacks anymore(unless of course I end up eating the culprit foods/oils that bring it on). My body is not inflamed and I don't have joint pain anymore! I am overall a much much happier person when I eat closer to a Paleo diet. So many nourishing foods, no filler making me tired and bloated, no inflammatory oils causing me pain. Just whole, real, delicious foods.

Before, Sept '13. After, end of Nov. '13. The shirts are loose, but down a size in top and bottom.

Left, about 127lbs Aug. 25th '13.  Right, after Whole30, 118lbs Nov. '13 no weight-training, just clean food (I had also stopped running when I started the W30.)

Unfortunately this is not the end for me. I don't believe health and fitness have a start and end date. I know that I still have a lot of work to do in dealing with my ongoing food issues as I still have tendencies to want to over-eat or go through phases of eating clean and then having a week of terrible choices, fast food, Tim Bits, pizza delivery and so on. Those weeks are painful and depressing and all I want is to not do it, but somehow just can't stop myself. I know how amazing I feel when I feel my best and am eating the way I should, so I will continue to remind  myself and push through the hard times.

Today I had to do something 'drastic' and somewhat embarrassing in my mind.
Notes on my fridge.
To remind me what I really want and what is really important to me.

I get so angry at myself for going crazy, and believe me, it has nothing to do with 'restricting' myself as I have been doing this for who knows how long. I just never acknowledged it in the past. It would just be ongoing. Whenever I could get my hands on something 'delicious'.

With all of my minor setbacks, I am still far ahead of where I used to be and am overall so happy with where I am and what I have done! Of course there is always room for improvement.

Nov. '13

I really encourage anyone in similar situations to read up on the Whole30. They say it will change your life and I truly believe it!


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