Thursday, March 26, 2015

Another Whole30?! + My Meal Plan

Oh God... not again ;)  This time, I wasn't even the instigator! Someone from my January Whole30 facebook support group posted that they were doing another round in April and next thing I know, the post is blowing up with "me too" comments and I started debating.  I really don't want to commit to the prep work required, but who doesn't want to clean things up and look their best right before summer?  We are headed down to TX to visit some friends at the end of the month, so instead of setting myself up for failure (and to make the challenge a little less daunting) I've decided to commit to a Whole24 beginning Monday March 30th and ending Wednesday April 22nd!

If you don't know what the Whole30 is all about go read this guest post I recently wrote for my hilarious blog friend Josie and go visit the Whole30 website!

I'm in a much better starting place than last time when I was coming off a holiday bender of treats and booze.  My diet has been part time Paleo and although I've consumed things like pizza, nachos, and oreos, I haven't let anything take me completely off track which was one of my goals for the year!  I did gain back a few pounds in February, but I've been tracking my weight every morning for the past month and I've been pretty consistent.  My weight has varied from 148 to 152, it goes up and down depending on my diet.  I've noticed that I'm typically at the higher end on a Monday after eating out all weekend.

Thankfully that's a habit I'll be forced to ditch since eating out is so difficult during a Whole30.  My gym just set up a partnership with Kettlebell Kitchen, a Paleo meal delivery service, so I may order a meal here or there if I'm looking for something that I don't have to cook.  But otherwise I need to psych myself up to get busy in the kitchen.  This week I'm mostly sticking with some tried and true favorites to make things as easy as possible.  Here's what the first few days will look like:

  • Lunch: Leftover chicken fajitas that I'll be making on Sunday
  • Dinner: Leftover Paleo Shepherd's Pie
  • Lunch: Leftover Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Mashed Cauliflower
  • Dinner: We're headed to a preseason Phillies game and I know I can bring my own food into the stadium, so I'm going to bring some chicken sausage with sauteed veggies and a sweet potato

A little throwback Thursday action for you, 2 years ago today I was prepping for my first full Whole30 (I did a Whole21 in January) and wrote this How to Succeed During Your Whole30 post! 

So who's going to join us?  Come on, you know you want to!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Guest Post: Leah's Whole30 Results!

I have been looking forward to this post for a while!  Leah and I have been friends for around 10 years, but I had no idea what she was going through with her health until recently.  I was so excited when she decided to do the Whole30 with us at the beginning of the year, but it was a phone conversation we had a few weeks after we finished that really moved me.  Leah told me that she thought she would always be tired and there was a certain sadness in her because of that.  But now, by changing her diet, she is finally free of her chronic fatigue and happier than ever!  To deliver this happiness to one of my closest friends is the reason I just can't shut up about this stuff.  They say the Whole30 will change your life... well it did for Leah.

My First Whole30 

This has been a long time coming.  When Amber started telling me about the paleo diet and how she was committing to 30 days without gluten, grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, alcohol, etc., I thought she was a little crazy…but then again, when I tell people about it now, they think I’m crazy…Until I tell them my story.

Let me start at the beginning: For my whole life I have been the one in my family who never wanted to get off of the couch.  My mom thought I was lazy, my sisters thought I was lazy and I just thought I had tired blood.  I had an active childhood, I played sports and ran around with my friends, but if you were to ask me what my most favorite thing was, I would tell you “sleep”.  My mom began to get worried so I went to a slew of doctors who could not figure out what the problem was.  I was tested for celiac, lupus, and a host of other issues…all results were negative.  I was 10 years old. 

Fast forward to high school: I was diagnosed with IBS and put on prescription medication.  Needless to say, it did not work.  I was experiencing so many side effects of the medication I decided to stop taking it.  I tried to change my diet, but continued to experience severe fatigue.  It was so bad that if I went for a walk in the morning, I was unable to get off of the couch for the rest of the day.  My sisters always wanted to hang out and go out at night, and I just couldn’t.  All I wanted to do was sleep. This was not good for my social life either.  I missed out on a lot of high school social events because I would be sleeping.   

I then came to the conclusion that I was just always going to be tired, and there was nothing I could do about it. This was just something that I was going to have to live with.  When I was 29 other weird things began to happen to my body.  My husband and I had been married for 2 years and we were ready to start our family.  We weren’t trying trying, but it was like, ok we are not going to try to prevent anything, so whatever happens, happens.  One month I was getting excited because my breasts were tender and my period was late, I was tired, all of these things were pointing to pregnancy! Well…not so much. I took a test and it was negative.  A few days later I got my cycle, but then it would not stop.  I thought I was having a miscarriage.  We were devastated.  After 3 weeks of bleeding (I know it seems like a long time, but it was not a heavy flow, so I thought it would stop) I called my gyn and got an appointment right away.  Everything checked out and I was given a clean bill of health.  I was still unsettled and sitting on the examination table dejected, when the doctor popped her head back in and said, “Have you ever had your thyroid checked?”  I responded, “No.” and she immediately ordered a script for me to get blood work.  She also checked to see if I had had a miscarriage, just to rule everything out.  My result came back positive for hypothyroid.  My older sister was diagnosed when she was 16 and this runs in my family.  I was shocked that I had never been tested before. 

So began my journey with hypothyroid.  The research that I did only brought more sad news.  We were going to have trouble getting pregnant.  At this point I’m 30, I just had this diagnosis, and needless to say I was devastated.  I became depressed and my symptoms just perpetuated.  I was prescribed synthroid to regulate my thyroid.  My bleeding stopped and my energy levels did rise a bit, but not as much as I has hoped. 

Enter the whole30: Amber encouraged me to join her (and many others) in January for a whole30.  I thought, what the hell, why not.  There is no way I can feel any crappier, if anything, I can finally figure out what is causing all of my stomach issues.  Backing up a second: My stomach issues continued and were getting worse at this point.  Like so bad, I was literally, TMI WARNING, pooping in my pants whenever I drank beer or ate anything.  So, Amber let me borrow It Starts With Food and my eyes opened.  I began doing more research on hypothyroid and realized that gluten and soy are straight poison for my body.  I was so mad that I didn’t know this information before! And why the hell didn’t my doctor tell me this stuff?!  

I then decided that, yeah, I’m totally in with this whole30, paleo thing.  Amber and Heather had both given me paleo cookbooks and I was set! When I started January 3rd, I weighed 128 pounds at 5 feet 2 inches.  Now, let me just quickly say, I was not in this to lose any weight, I seriously wanted to get to the bottom of my chronic fatigue and other stomach issues.  I dove headfirst into the cookbooks and loved everything that I cooked. 

A peak inside the Against All Grain Cookbook!

My husband was so super supportive.  Whenever I had a weak moment, he would keep me on track.  There were those days when I came home from work and all I wanted was a glass of wine and he would say, “Leah, it’s not worth it!” and he was so right.  We were in this for bigger and better reasons.   While he did not participate fully in the whole30, (he would never give up drinking for 30 days) he was “paleo by proxy” and enjoyed every meal I cooked.

I really enjoyed meal prep every week.  I would look through my cookbooks and mark pages that looked yummy, wrote out my grocery list and got to cooking.  I always made sure to buy in bulk and make things that could be transformed into multiple meals.  This cut down on my grocery bill and kept our palate interested.  I made big batches of soup on Sundays and ate that for lunches and breakfast, (yes, soup for breakfast, it’s amazing) because it was a quick and easy way to get my protein and veg in for the morning.  

I began to notice that my clothes were fitting better, but more than that, my energy level sky rocketed.  I honestly never thought I would feel this good without coffee and energy drinks.  As I said before, my energy levels were always so low, all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and sleep.  Not anymore.  I get up early, sometimes without the need for an alarm clock, and fall asleep at a decent time.  I am no longer sluggish during the day.  I also noticed that I had ZERO stomach issues.  ZERO!! I honestly didn’t even realize that I wasn’t having tummy troubles until I took a step back and reflected on my experience.  Then it hit me…I had not taken any antacids or pink bismuth the entire month.  I could not believe it.  When I told my husband he was shocked and so happy for me.  We had finally found the solution.

I also noticed that I did not miss drinking alcohol and my sugar cravings were totally gone.  I have not had any headaches (other than the detox headache that lasted a week) since I changed my diet. 

Ok, the results:  I lost 13 pounds and 4 inches off of my waist.  I fit into my tiny jeans that I have not been able to wear for years.  What a confidence boost, let me tell you!!  But with that said, if I didn’t lose any weight, it would not have mattered, because my biggest goal was achieved; my chronic fatigue and stomach issues were completely gone.  I am now a believer.  I do have to admit that I have eaten some gluten since ending the whole30, but I can tell immediately that it is not a wise choice because my thyroid flares up and then I regret eating whatever it was that tempted me.  Sometimes it is unavoidable and I have come to terms with that, but I avoid gluten and soy as much as I can.  

What I learned: the biggest thing that I learned during the whole30 was that sugar is in EVERYTHING!! Even in foods it has no place being.  I am religious at reading labels now. If there is anything weird, aka, something that I cannot pronounce or I have no idea what it is, then I will not buy that product.  I have become one of those people who has their smartphone out at the grocery store looking up the things on ingredient lists.  There are also weird preservatives in foods that, in very small doses are “ok” (according to the internet), but they are in everyday foods in a big way and are not healthy for us to be consuming daily.  I avoid these at all costs. 

What I eat now: I totally stick to whole foods.  I try my best to stay out of the middle aisles of the grocery store, and if I do need canned goods (tomatoes, stocks, etc.), I read labels.  I avoid vegetable oils when cooking at home and use butter or ghee when sautéing veggies.  The only starchy thing that we eat now is potatoes, and even then I limit them in our meals or sub it for sweet potatoes. 

I just went to the doctor and she was super impressed with my weight loss.  She said that I was never really overweight, but the pounds I did lose helped my body recover and become regular on many levels.  She said that I am smart for avoiding gluten and soy because of my medical issues, she also told me that many people think that soy is a healthy option, and it really isn’t. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

15.3, 2 Miles on the Trail, & 15.4

I knew a workout with double unders (click the links to see some short demo videos of the movements) was coming up in the Open and I was dreading it!  I can barely do them and when I do it's one at a time with some singles in between which takes forever.  I've connected two in a row a handful of times, but recently I feel like I'm actually getting worse at them.  And when I miss, I whip myself with my speed rope and it sucks!  They are extremely frustrating and the more frustrated I get, the worse they get.

Enter 15.3 last Friday.  The workout was announced: a 14 minute AMRAP of 7 muscle ups, 50 wallballs, and 100 dubs.  Muscle ups are an advanced CrossFit movement and I do not have them.  So I was saved by the muscle ups!  I had no choice but to scale which was 50 wallballs and 200 single unders.  And I got a 10 lbs medicine ball instead of the 14.

This workout was a test of endurance.  The wallballs made me winded and my thighs started burning.  Jumping rope was my rest period, but my calves were feeling the burn too.  I got through the first two rounds and had a few minutes left.  I broke most of my wallballs into sets of 5-7, but I really wanted to get through the last round so I pushed hard and did them in sets of 10.  I finished the wallballs and whipped through 78 singles before time was called and I dropped to the ground to catch my breath.

In 14 minutes I did 150 wallballs and 478 single unders!  And then I forgot the enter my score into the website before the deadline.  Big time womp :(

I skipped CrossFit in the beginning of this week to give my back a break (and to enjoy St. Paddy's Day).  I went for my first run (in possibly 9 months) with Dave on Monday night to shake my legs out for a 5K we're running next weekend.  It was my first run on the trail near our house!  When Dave mentioned that he wanted to run the 5K under a 10 min/mi pace I laughed out loud and told him I'd meet him at the finish line.  I did not think that was a realistic goal for me, but then we ran 2 miles and I felt great.  We did the first mile in 10:08 and the second in 9:17!  Considering I ran my fastest 5K at a 9:15 pace, I was kind of shocked that I was able to run that fast without any training.  I guess all those grueling long WODs have been keeping me in shape after all.  Apparently running uses some different muscles in my legs though because they were sore for days!  I'm going to try to get another run or two in to prep for the race, but we will be facing our last Open workout the night before, so I'm not sure how great my legs will feel that morning.  Either way it will be fun.  The race is the Phillies Charity 5K and our cool down lap will be around the warning track of Citizens Bank Park!

In the meantime, 15.4 is in the books!

When I saw 125 lbs cleans (which is the PR I hit in 15.1a) and handstand push-ups (which I do not usually Rx since I put extra mats under my head), I immediately thought ok I'm scaling, until I got to the gym and my coach was like nope!  My coaches have encouraged everyone to push themselves and see how much they can grow in the Open.  And the way it is scored, any Rx workout, even if you only get 1 rep, beats a scaled workout.  So I loaded up my bar to warm up and see if I could actually lift that weight today.  Max cleans are so mental for me, I lift the bar up where it's basically high enough to catch it... and then I lose confidence and bail.  After a quick freak out, I got it together and cleaned 125 and knew I had to Rx it.

The first 3 handstand push-ups were no problem.  When I came over to my barbell, I was definitely playing mental games.  I bailed a few times and then boom, the first clean went up no problem.  The next two were fine!  I went over to do the 6 HSPU and they were definitely harder.  I did them one or two at a time and before I knew it I was headed back for more cleans.  I wasn't even sure I'd make it this far!  I mixed in a few more head case moments, but I got all 3 cleans and was headed back to the wall!  I busted out 5 messy, but legit HSPU before the 8 minutes were up for 20 reps total.  I guess it's safe to say that I can Rx HSPU and 125 lbs is not my one rep max for cleans!  So pumped!!!!

Thanks for the video Amanda!

When I signed up for the Open, I didn't really understand the point.  I know I'm not headed to Regionals.  I knew I wasn't going to have all the movements in the workouts (I'm looking at you muscle ups).  I thought, what's the big deal anyway?  I signed up because my coach told me to, it was only $20, and everybody was doing it.  But now, I get it!  After each Open workout, I felt like I left it all out there.  I pushed myself, felt the support of my teammates and coaches, and accomplished things I didn't think I was capable of!

And now, I was supposed to be headed to yoga to get my zen on, but I decided to hibernate since we have a few inches of snow and it's still coming.  Happy first day of spring indeed!

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