Monday, June 25, 2018

Running through the Whole 30

So I decided to do the Whole 30...

For over a year now I have been adamant that I would NEVER do Whole 30. 

Mainly because my favorite meal of all time ever is Cheese, Crackers and Wine and my second favorite meal of all time ever is Pizza and Wine! I have given up wine before for Lent and I just was not doing that ever again. Don't get me wrong, I really do not drink a ton but I do enjoy a good glass of wine with dinner several evenings a week. 

One of my best friends wanted to do Whole 30 and I was totally prepared to support her emotionally but had no desire to join her. Then Tess came home from college and said she wanted to eat very clean over the summer and that she might join me on some runs. In addition I felt uncomfortably close to my 40th Birthday (crap...) and I acknowledged that I had let some unhealthy eating (and snacking) habits sneak in. I did a 180 and decided that she and I would join my friend on the Whole 30. 

I proclaimed the news to everyone except here on my blog. I decided to instead use this time to journal my thoughts and my food as I go along and share the details in one big post so you can see where I go with this start to finish.

A LOT of people have been naysayers. I don't  blame them, I have been a naysayer as well. "That's just crazy", "Better you than me", "I just can NOT restrict myself like that", etc.

Even though I felt fully committed I still said "This may end up being a Whole 15 or even a Whole 5 LOL".

I had "read up" enough on the program to understand the rules but hadn't yet read the book. 

My start date was May 20th. I did go ahead an eliminate alcohol on May 13th and eliminated grains and gluten on May 18th. I thought this would help and create less of a cold turkey effect when starting this plan. This would put Day 30 on June 18th. My birthday is June 26th. (Side note: I did not read the part about not doing Whole 30 RIGHT before a big event. Next time I will plan better. My 40th Birthday is a BIG event...)

Another big concern for me was cooking and meal prep. I prefer not to come home from work and have to cook some elaborate meal then have to clean some elaborate mess only to do it all over again the next day! I need easy options. Things I can throw in a pan, in the oven or on the grill with little to no prep and mess.

Spoiler Alert: No matter how "simple" the meal you still end up with a ridiculous amount of dishes each and every single day! You do get used to it though. Be prepared for more dirty dishes then you know you even have...

I asked for a counter top grill/griddle for Mother's Day and along with some beautiful earrings I got it!! This has been the BEST THING for gearing up for the Whole 30 and I can not recommend it enough!

Seriously, if you are thinking about doing the Whole 30, open a new tab in your browser and order this right now. It has been a life saver and I wouldn't have done this with out it!

I also know myself well enough to know that I do best with routine. For Breakfast and Lunch each day I do best when I eat the same exact thing. If I spend time thinking hmmmm what do I want, nine times out of ten what I want is not the most healthy option. If I eliminate the option I will make something I enjoy and enjoy it all week. This made meal prep pretty easy. I originally planned to change up what I would eat week to week but within the week I planned to stay consistent forall the rest of the days. Each dinner however would be different each day.

Throughout the Whole 30 I planned to run as much as I had been before, three-four days during the week and a long run on the weekend. 

{Week 1}

I'd say for week 1 the best thing for me was to have a plan. I sat down on Saturday and wrote out my weeks menu. I then used this menu to write my grocery list and went to the grocery store on Sunday.

(Pardon my chicken scratch please)

Sunday was my Day 1 and that morning I had eggs, bacon, tomato, cucumber and a clementine.

For lunch on Sunday I had a power bowl with Chicken, Sea Snacks, Avocado and Cucumber. It was so good!

Sunday night I had grilled pork chops (salt and pepper seasoned), roasted golden potatoes with a scallion, mushrooms, garlic tossed in olive oil, and roasted Brussels sprouts tossed lightly in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Very Yummy!

Day 2, Monday Morning I ran 4 miles at 5am. Other than coffee I run fasted. 

For my breakfasts all week during Week 1 I had two hard boiled eggs, half an avocado, a whole Italian tomato and a clementine. I am eating breakfasts around 9:30/10 each morning.

Each Lunch during week 1 I had Buffalo Chicken Salad wrapped in Nori (like sushi) with 1 Tbs Tessemaes Creamy Ranch Dressing to dip, I also had cucumber or carrots, dates rolled in sea salt or an apple and Brazil Nuts.  

One day I also had two pickles.

I swapped around my dinners a bit from what I had planned on my menu. I shopped a little too heavy this week and didn't really account for left overs. I also watched my meat dates, I didn't want to waste anything or let anything go bad. 

Monday night for supper we had Jalapeno Turkey Burgers with guacamole and pico de gallo and sweet potato chips. These were delicious!! So good I had two of the small burgers!!

Day 3, Tuesday night, for dinner I had grilled chicken (salt and pepper seasoned), sauteed cabbage in coconut oil with salt and pepper, and a slice of toasted sweet potato with almond butter, apple slices and cinnamon. Mmmmmm Mmmmm!

So far at this point I had not yet felt hungry in between meals. I did noticed that I really only started feeling hungry when it was time for the next meal.

Day 4, Wednesday morning, I ran 3 miles at 5am. But first Coffee!! I already enjoyed my coffee black so I did not miss a thing with my morning routine!

Wednesday night, I had left overs from Tuesday!! It was so so good! I chopped up the chicken and put it with the cabbage like a stir fry.

Day 5, Thursday night, I had Pork Loin, an Apple, roasted potatoes and asparagus with sparkling water. 

By Thursday I was growing tired of my lunches. I also read that chicken should only be kept in the fridge for 3-5 days after its cooked. I cooked it on Sunday and by Thursday I was over it. I plan to prep only three days at a time for lunches going forward. So Friday for lunch I took a left over turkey burger from earlier in the week and had with tomato and avocado, carrots and an apple.

I prefer to take cold lunches with me to work. I have a mini fridge that is in my office suite but we do not have a microwave. It's easier for me just to pull out the cold lunch from the fridge than to have to find a microwave to heat up lunch. 

Day 6, Friday morning, I ran two miles and walked a mile at 5am. Always after coffee!

Friday night, we had Tilapia, a mashed plantain and sauteed spinach. It was great! I used ghee with my spinach and some garlic. 

Day 7, Saturday I woke up early (3:30 a.m.) for a half marathon that was literally at the crack of dawn! I had no real idea how I would fuel but I had half a banana before I left home with a cup of coffee and had the second half of the banana once we got to the race at about 5:30 a.m. I drank lots of water, used a pack of salt to replenish what I was loosing and had a few goji berries on the run. While the race was not my worst time/pace I have to say it was the worst I have felt during a race. You can read more about that here.

After the race I had one bite of a Lemon Lara Bar. My stomach did not feel good at all!

I got home, feeling better, and Tess was still asleep. She got up around 11 am and we had a baked potato with ghee, avocado, jalapenos, tomato and an apple. 

Saturday night we had a wedding to attend and decided we may want to eat before just in case we wouldn't be able to eat the dinner. We went to Ingles and made a big salad. I had planned on there being oil and vinegar for dressing and there was not! We just had salt and pepper but honestly that was all we needed. The salads were delish!

{Week 2}

Week 2 was not fun!!

I stuck to the Whole 30 but my energy was zapped, I was moody and I was no longer a runner!!! I did not run at all!!

Day 8, Sunday morning, we slept in as well so we had a late breakfast of eggs, bacon and an orange with our coffee. We skipped lunch but then had a pretty early dinner!

Sunday night we made a huge pile of Sweet Potato Nachos! James wanted to grill so he had burgers, I made Tess and I the Jalapeno Turkey Burgers (they are so yummy) and we baked sweet potato chips, chopped our burger on top and then topped with avocado and tomatoes! As you will see this meal becomes a steady favorite!

There was so much though that we ended up putting half in the fridge.

Day 9, Monday morning, I was off from work for Memorial Day. We finished of our turkey burger left overs with an over easy egg on top for breakfast!

Monday for lunch we had sesame chicken salad, carrots and apple. 

Monday night Tess worked so I sent her with two burgers left over from Sunday night, a tomato, avocado, lettuce and a kiwi. She also took some sunflower seeds and dates in case she got hungry while working. 

James and I ate Pork Chops, roasted potatoes and cooked carrots Monday night for dinner. 

Elizabeth and I did good through the prior week of sending pictures of our meals. It was kind of part of our accountability but I noticed that through the weekend I totally slacked off on my picture taking. 

Since Monday was a Holiday I made up lunches for the week to last through Wednesday or Thursday. 

For breakfasts I will do much the same as the week before. It was very yummy. Two hard boiled eggs, an Italian tomato and half an avocado with a naval orange. Tess will have a Kiwi instead of an orange.

For lunches Monday - Wednesday I made a super yummy sesame chicken salad! I will wrap mine in nori and have some Brazil Nuts. Tess will have hers in lettuce wraps and have sunflower seeds. We will both also have carrots and an apple.

With Tess working I mixed up some of our meals. More than anything I will use these menus as a guide, as a reminder of what all I have to cook so that I don't have any nights that I am at a loss or think I don't have anything. I know myself well enough to know that's when I would get in trouble!

By the end of Day 9 I can tell you that I was right on track with the Whole 30 timeline. Weird right? Well I actually don't think I really had the hang over but certainly the kill all the things phase and I just want a nap phase I totally encountered. I wish I had not run that half marathon on Day 7. It was pretty rough! Days 8 and 9 I did not have a pants tight moment but I did notice a little bit of bloating. So far through day 9 I have noticed that I have to turn away from the TV when the people on my shows are having pizza and wine... I was totally thinking that Pizza and Wine should be my first thing I have when I am done with this.... No, no, no... I actually will follow the rules about re-introducing foods. At this point I had read most the rest of the Whole 30 book. I would probably recomend reading the WHOLE book BEFORE starting the plan.

Ugggg. Did I mention that week was a doozy??!!

Day 10, Tuesday Night I had grilled chicken that I cooked too long and it was totally dry, sauteed eggplant that I was hoping would be crispy but was soggy instead (next time I will bake) and broccoli that was blah. I had planned to do a Turkey Breast Loin but when I opened it it smelled sooooo bad.... Ugggg.... These are the hardest days!! Are we there yet??

After dinner for the first time I caved and had a snack. I ate the remaining half of the lemon lara bar I had for the half marathon. I really wanted Oreos so I guess I did ok.

Tuesday I also was in the kill all the things mode. I mean I was in a horrible mood!! My sleep had sucked since Saturday, I was feeling so sick and tired of chicken, everyone and everything was making me mad! Like even the dust pan pissed me off!! In addition the rain just would not stop!! Shew! That was a long night! I stayed up till about 1 am cleaning and watching TV thinking about moving into a tent where there were no dust pans... I opted not to move into the tent because of the damn rain!!! 

Tess was also in a terrible mood Tuesday. I got this text from her Tuesday morning:

19 more days to go.... 

Day 11, Wednesday Night I had a baked potato with ghee, jalapenos, tomato and bacon with some cherries. I forgot to snap a pic again!

I am telling you week 2 was not the finest... I totally had brain fog and was just not on my A game!

Thursday - Friday for lunches I had a chicken BLT salad and it was amazing!! I decided to have this every day the next week for lunch.

This was Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Chicken and Bacon with Tessemae's Creamy Ranch Dressing! Yum!!

One tip I have learned so far is to meal prep lunches for three days and then meal prep again for the rest of the week. Both the first and second weeks I got tired of the lunches by Wednesday/Thursday. This gives me the option of making a change. 

Day 12, Thursday Night Tess worked and I wasn't super hungry so I toasted some slices of Sweet Potato and enjoyed with Almond Butter and Sea Snacks.

Day 13, Friday Night I had Butternut Squash Noodles with sauteed artichoke hearts, mushrooms, green onions and sun dried tomatoes tossed with approved pesto and shrimp.

Day 14, Saturday Morning we fixed eggs and bacon for breakfast. I did not run the entire week...

Saturday for lunch I chopped up a chicken breast and made the buffalo chicken and paired with spinach, tomato, cashews and Tessemaes Creamy Ranch, pickles and an apple. So So Good!

Saturday night for dinner I fixed a Pork Loin  but I was not interested in that at all, I did enjoy tri color potatoes roasted with ghee, mushrooms and dill and sauteed Brussels sprouts (which I LOVE).

Did I mention that Week 2 was no fun at all?? In addition to feeling just so blah, it rained and rained and rained. 

{Week 3}

So by Week 3 I was still planning out a menu but honestly I strayed from the plan a LOT!! I still am glad I had it because so many nights I'd come home and think "what do I want?" look at the fridge and see my options. Even if I didn't have the exact meal I did use all of the food I had shopped for throughout the week!

Day 15, Sunday Morning,  I went for a little run walk with my puppy and totally skipped breakfast. I was not hungry at all so I allowed my self to enjoy the fast.

I broke the fast for lunch and enjoyed two hard boiled eggs a tomato and Tessemaes Habanero Ranch with a Kiwi Yum Yum Yum!

Sunday is my grocery shopping day so I loaded up on groceries and spent the bulk of the afternoon meal prepping for the week. 

Sunday Night we grilled Jalapeno Turkey Burgers and had sweet potato chips!! Our favorite so far!

One thing I began to notice is that one of my "things", my vice, I suppose is that I typically enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I have found that having a sparkling water in my wine glass feels just as good! I also generally enjoy sipping on my glass of wine as I cook so instead I have had about 1/4 a watermelon kombucha in my wine glass as I cook and then the sparking water with dinner. Feels so good and super refreshing!

For week 3 Tess wanted to try this banana chia pudding for breakfast with boiled eggs. We had that Monday - Wednesday morning for breakfast. 

For lunches we did a variation of the salads we had the second half of last week! Chicken, Cucumber, Tomato or Bell Pepper, a blend of iceberg lettuce and spinach with Tessemaes Creamy Ranch paired with an apple and some Brazil nits. 

Day 16, Monday, I ran 4 early morning miles. After taking the previous week completely off I was finally feeling pretty good again!

Monday night, I had Chicken Soup with some toasted sweet potato. Madie sent us this recipe that she loves and so we made a big batch of this Chicken Soup and it was pretty tasty!

Day 17, Tuesday I ran 3 morning miles. Feeling great!

Tuesday for dinner my hubby grilled us some chicken breasts and it was soooooo yummy!!! I think anything on the grill (Green Egg) is better!! We had sweet potato chips (oops a tiny bit burned) and sauteed cabbage too. Yum Yum double Yum!

We absolutely love sweet potato chips and sauteed cabbage. For the chips I slice them as thin as I can and toss with avocado oil and salt and pepper then bake until crispy. The cabbage I saute with coconut oil and sea salt! Addicting! 

Day 18, Wednesday morning, I met friends super early and we walked three miles with our puppies. 

Wednesday evening we had bacon wrapped chicken tenders with Tessemaes Habenero Ranch, I finished off the cabbage from the night before and and  had Celery sticks. Delish! Forgot the pic!!!

On Monday I was totally feeling the tiger blood pumping through my veins and by Wednesday I was full on Tiger blood mode! I had so much energy and clarity it was kind of crazy! I felt completely back on top of my game! I really think that in week two my body was like where is the gas? I had been so conditioned to use Glycogen as fuel and I wasn't giving my body the same stuff so my body was all like what do I do?? Once my body learned that fat can be used for fuel too I started to self regulate. 

Thursday and Friday for breakfast we went back to our regular. Eggs, Avocado with Tomato.

Tess was meeting friends to see a movie Thursday night and ventured to the grocery store for some movie theatre snacks on Thursday night... She clearly has not fully read the rules...

Day 19, Thursday night for dinner I had Grilled Chicken with peppers tossed with coconut aminos! It was great!

Day 20, Friday I actually had the same thing as Thursday night. 

Day 21, Saturday I headed out for a Morning Run, we ran three miles and walked two! It was just what I needed!

Once home I had breakfast of eggs with a cucumber and orange.

Saturday I decided to spend the morning (following my run, breakfast and a shower) hitting up the Farmers Market, Penny Patch and Produce Store to see what I could find. I wanted to make a switch to some locally grown foods and see if I could also save some money. Overall I am spending about $50.00 more per week on groceries. In part some of this could be that this summer we are also a house of three again with Tess home for school so I am not 100% sure that is an accurate depiction of the cost changes Whole 30 may have on the grocery budget.  

At the Farmers Market I bought two dozen eggs, 14 cucumbers, two onions, a giant head of cabbage and a bag of peaches. At the Penny Patch I bought 14 Italian Tomatoes and at the Produce Store I bought two red and one green pepper and potatoes. I then did the rest of my grocery shopping as usual on Sunday. 

For dinner Saturday night I had pork loin that my hubby grilled, cooked cabbage and roasted potatoes! Yummmmmm!

{Week 4}

Wait what??? Wow! By the beginning of Week 4 I was feeling like the weeks had flown by!!

I felt amazing! I am a total believer! 

This program has more than anything made me aware of how foods affect your body and what is all in the food we eat! I also have recognized some patterns I had before Whole 30 and some associations I had. 

Associations particularly with wine, cheese and crackers. I have a confession. As you probably already know I was a single mom for a long time. My main single mom (nights it was just me) meal was wine, cheese and crackers. This became one of my favorite meals. It was quick, easy, tasty and required no prep, one plate, one knife and one glass so minimal clean up. It was comforting.

With the girls now of to college this has quickly become a quick and easy option for me again. I still would probably say that if I got to choose my last meal this would probably be it. I mean for my last meal it should be a very expensive bottle of wine and some fancy aged cheeses... Anyway this was the main reason I did not want to do Whole 30. This is my comfort meal, these are my comfort tools. 

During week 4 I began thinking about the re-introduction phase and which of these I missed most. It has become very clear to me that that wine, cheese and crackers is not the most nutritious meal.  I also realize that I wouldn't have one serving of cheese or crackers for that matter. I would cut half a block of the cheese just for me... I also was in the habit of snacking on cheese and crackers when I cooked dinner. 

Again thinking about which of these I would add back most likely I initially thought wine. I would go back to winding down after a long day with a glass of wine. Except that I really wasn't sure I would want wine if I didn't have cheese or at least a few crackers to enjoy with the wine. 

Then I thought maybe I would just choose cheese to enjoy. Except I don't typically enjoy cheese alone either. I like cheese with crackers or at least paired with wine. 

This led me to think about crackers (I generally have Triscuits, Rosemary Olive Oil Flavor). Maybe I should just go back to snacking on crackers. That's not really a good option either because I never have crackers with out either cheese or wine. 

Light bulb moment. One of these is not my vice, it's the combination of two or three of these. Thus if I keep one or two of them at bay I will likely not slip back into that habit. 

I have decided that I will only have wine and cheese out of my house. Maybe out to dinner or if I am at a cookout I would enjoy these but I will keep them out of the house for a while and see how it goes. 

I also started to better recognize the difference in hunger and cravings. In the past I would have a sudden desire for something sweet and go get it. Now I can better acknowledge that I am not hungry for that donut or chocolate. I want it but don't need it and surprisingly within about two to three minutes I have forgotten that I even wanted it. 

Most evenings as of late I have wanted dark chocolate after dinner. I acknowledge the desire and then fix my self a cup of black coffee and suddenly I no longer have that desire for the sweet treat. 

Again for week 4 I made a menu but did not follow it to a T. 

Day 22, Sunday morning I had eggs, bacon, left over potatoes, and an orange.

Sunday for lunch we did an egg roll in a bowl with left over cabbage, pork loin and coconut aminos! So so good!!

Sunday evening we enjoyed our our favorite Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Chips!! 

I also had my hubby grill up 6 chicken breasts for me for the week. (I love them grilled!)

 Monday - Friday breakfasts and lunches I kept the same. I really enjoy them, they are filling and it requires little prep. Breakfasts have been two hard boiled eggs with a tomato and half and avocado this week I paired with black berries. My lunches were the Chicken BLT Salad with and orange. 

Day 23, Monday I ran 4 early morning miles with friends. I felt great!!

Monday night I shredded a chicken breast and mixed with Avocado Mayo and franks red hot, I ended up piling on top of the sweet potato chips and topping with Tessemaes Ranch. SO. SO. GOOD!! Actually probably bad,  I wanted seconds. This has become another favorite! I had this several times in week 4!

Day 24, Tuesday night I had bacon wrapped chicken tenders and roasted sweet potato. This has also been another favorite!

Day 25, Wednesday morning I walked my puppy with a friend bright and early!

Wednesday night we did baked sweet potatoes with Buffalo Chicken and enjoyed with a sauteed onion and asparagus! Who knew buffalo chicken and sweet potato paired so well together!! 

Day 26, Thursday for dinner I had an asparagus and onion omelet with shredded potatoes (Yummmy)!

Day 27, Friday for dinner I had bacon wrapped chicken tenders that were left over, left over shredded potatoes and a cucumber with kombucha and habanero ranch.

Day 28, Saturday I met friends for an early 5.5 mile run! My runs were back to normal! 

Once home I had breakfast of eggs, avocado, a peach and a tomato.

I then spent the first half of the day visiting the farmers market and produce stand to get my fresh groceries. Later in the day I did my grocery shopping for the week ahead.  

For lunch on Saturday I had buffalo chicken with ranch and celery with black berries. This has been one of the greatest things about the meal prep. I grill up chicken breast on Sunday to last three days and then grill up another batch on Wednesday to last the rest of the week. I use that chicken for my lunch salads but also for these meals. I can quick chop the chicken up and heat it up! I'm telling you the key to this is meal prep. 

For dinner we had baked sweet potatoes with buffalo chicken, bacon and ranch and cooked cabbage. Super easy and super yum!

Day 29, Sunday... Man what a hard day... It was Fathers Day and Tess decided she wanted to make James some from scratch cinnamon rolls. she got up at the crack of dawn to make her dough let it rise, make the filling, the frosting, roll the rolls and bake them. The house smelled like cinnamon roll heaven, I could literally taste the sweetness in the air. I will spare you the mouth watering picture of them. It would be cruel to post where anyone in the midst of the Whole 30 could see. I had to control my self in a MEGA way! Oh man oh man oh man. 

Tess caved.... She worked so hard on those gorgeous rolls I can't really blame her. 

Oh. My. Goodness. The temptation was real but I stayed strong and did not indulge. I did think about them All. Day. Long. though!

I instead had eggs, bacon and some berries for breakfast. 

I went to visit my dad and had a bit of fruit there as well. 

For lunch I had a chicken and egg salad with a peach!

For dinner there was another temptation. My mother-in-law did a fish fry for Father's Day. Everything smelled delish! I really hated to be that person that asks for special prepared food but I also hated to blow all my hard work on Day 29. My mother-in-law pan cooked my fish (no batter) and I enjoyed that with fruit, potatoes and a compliant broccoli salad that I took. I soooooo would have rather had the fried fish and hush puppies and corn! I did good but man that was hard!

Day 30, At long last!! Monday for dinner I had chicken with cabbage, peppers and cashews in a bowl with coconut aminos. 

Day 31... On to the re-introduction phase.

I honestly started thinking about Day 31 the week before. I had planned out the foods I would have on the Reintroduction Plan over the course of that ten days. I just was not getting excited about that. I didn't exactly fear those foods or anything I just have felt so good that I dreaded loosing that! I read more about the slow roll and decided on that option instead. I am staying Whole 30ish most days and indulging in off plan foods when I feel it's "worth it".

I can not recommend this plan enough. It was NOT as hard as I originally thought. Overall I felt incredible after week two! My clothes felt loose, my energy was up, I lost a total of 7 lbs in the 30 days and lost 3 inches from my waist and hips! Woot Woot! I will do this again as needed to keep my self in check! I love filling and fueling my body with all this goodness!!

As for the wine, cheese and crackers...

I really did not run very hard through the Whole 30. Aside from the first weeks half marathon I did not have any races to train for. I did drop from a race that I had scheduled for the weekend after the half. My real running goal for the summer is to maintain most of my morning runs with a 6-10 mile long run on the weekend. There have been mornings I felt like I needed sleep more than the run and so I slept. In the first two weeks running was hard. I am not sure what I could have done differently. The runs since then have felt great. I have plenty of energy to power through!

I look forward to seeing where this takes me. I have learned so much about the food I consume and the nutrients I need. I have learned so much from the Whole 30 book and even more through the Whole 30 website and forums! If you are thinking about giving the Whole 30 a go I highly recommend diving deep into the website and learn all that you can before your start. This is not a plan to follow and learn as you go. 

I plan to hang around the Whole 30ish world for a bit and if I do another round in the future I will be sure to share. 

If I left anything out that you are wondering about feel free to reach out! I am happy to share all that I learned, all the tips or hacks that I used in my Whole 30, etc. 

If you decide to do it I wish you much success!! 

#whole30 #iamwhole30

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