Whole30 Round Two: Half Way Point

Dont-Quit-Half-Way-Through-560x374Today is Day 15 of my Whole30 Round Two and I feel great; second time around has been much easier although this past Thursday (Day 12) was challenging. I came home from a productive day at work, an awesome workout with my fabulous trainer, was prepping my dinner per usual when I suddenly started thinking a little too much about a few social events coming up; BBQ on Saturday night, Cards vs Cubs game on Sunday, possible road trip for a surprise party, upcoming reception for Jehan traveling all the way to St. Louis from Sri Lanka, another party here, a party there.

mindWhile chopping some vegetables, the voice in my head was justifying how much easier it would be to simply go buy a bag of tortilla chips and make my own version of loaded nachos (my biggest vice). As I shook that thought out of my head, my mind quickly shifted to mentally cataloging what non-Whole30 compliant things are residing in my pantry or fridge (peanuts, chocolate chips, vodka, wine). What can I cram in my mouth so this whole thing can just be over? It was the strangest mental game that my mind was challenging me to; I eventually realized I was simply tired and cranky. Once I ate my dinner and had my tea, I was fine and very, very, very glad that I did not sabotage this journey.

chompsSo, plugging along very well and decided to splurge on a couple of items to make things easier. For example, the recently purchased Whole30 approved 100% grass-fed beef snack sticks from Chomps save me in a pinch as a pre-workout meal and are so good. I always have liked jerky but most products are filled with  premadepaleoprocessed crap and sugar. The arrival of some Whole30 approved salad dressings and sauces from Tessemae should come any day now.  Can I make my own salad dressing? Of course. Am I occasionally short on time or lazy? YES. I am looking most forward to having some BBQ sauce that isn’t filled with sugar, sugar, sugar. Oh yeah, and the BIG SPLURGE? Ordered ten pre-made paleo meals from PremadePaleo, all Whole30 approved, for when I am tired, crabby, cranky, lazy, or whatever.

sheppieBy the way, I still make a lot of my own food and here are a few of my top favorites from Whole30 Round Two! From the cookbook Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan, Shepard’s Pie is to die for and down-right delicious (the picture is what I made and what I quickly ate!). Instead of mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower is used.  Seriously, I can’t tell the difference. I make my own sweet potato chips and use the chips instead of a fork to eat some ground meat that has been topped off with home-made guacamole. Jicama “Potato” Salad is unbelievable. I skip the slow-cooking step and simply fry up the chopped jicama in coconut oil mainly because I am impatient and I prefer the crunch. Delicious!

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Whole30 Adventure: Mission Accomplished (and then some!)

successAs of this morning (March 12, 2013), I have officially and successfully completed my very first Whole30 program! The fun began on Sunday, February 10 and extended through Monday, March 11. My motivation for doing this was to get healthier. I feel great which is truly enough to recognize that this journey was worth the effort. Having said that, below is a quick summary of objective data showing the gains achieved in improving my health over the last 30 days.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERABlood Pressure: For the past three years, I have been taking blood pressure medication. Despite losing weight and following a low sodium diet, even when I was at my fittest about 1.5 years ago, it was still necessary to control my blood pressure with medication. Whether measured at the doctor’s office or at home with my own blood pressure monitor, on average, my readings always hovered around 130/85 (with medication).

About a week prior to starting my Whole30 program, despite the 130/85 reading, I made the personal decision to stop taking my blood pressure medication. Naive? Perhaps. Nevertheless, during my doctor’s appointment on Thursday, March 7 (Day 26 of my Whole30 program), I told my doctor about not taking my meds for the past month. She measured my blood pressure and it clocked in at 122/70 without medication. I have been medically cleared and no longer have to take blood pressure medication!!!!!!

cholesterolCholesterol: Cholesterol is a fat your body needs to work properly although too much can increase chances of heart disease, stroke, and other problems. Types of cholesterols include: 1) HDL or “good” cholesterol (standard range = 40-60 mg/dL with higher numbers better), 2) LDL or “bad” cholesterol (70 – 130 mg/dL with lower numbers better), 3) VLDL or very low density lipoprotein (5-40 mg/dL), and 4) Total Cholesterol which is the value of all the cholesterols mentioned above combined (less than 200 mg/dL).

Prior to the Whole30 program, my Total Cholesterol was consistently above 200 and technically considered high (219-230), however, since my HDL levels have traditionally measured above average (74), my physician wasn’t too concerned (yet). Wish I had more impressive news but my cholesterol results from last Thursday haven’t changed from my baseline. As I continue with the paleo-life as much as possible, I will be very curious to see my results six months from now.

lab report for cholesterol with pencilTriglycerides: Triglyceride is another type of fat that your body makes although it also comes from the food your eat. Leftover calories are turned into triglycerides and stored in fat cells for later use; eating more calories that your body needs may result in high triglyceride levels. Normal levels are less than 150 mg/dL. Prior to Whole30, my levels have been over 100, averaging around 125 mg/dL. Results from last Thursday show levels of 70 mg/dL which is great news since optimal levels for cardiovascular health are 70-100 mg/dL.

meas tape and forkMeasurements: My trainer records measurements at six specific levels of the body: 1) shoulders, 2) bust, 3) waist, 4) hips, 5) upper arm, and 6) upper thigh. My measurements were recorded first thing in the morning the day before starting my Whole30 adventure; these same measurments were taken first thing in the morning the day after completing my Whole30 program.

Losing inches and/or losing weight is a relative progression as everyone’s body does it at its own pace. Based on my past progress, on average, I would lose about 3 total inches (sum of all six measurements mentioned above) about every six weeks. For example, my pre-Whole30 red-down-arrow-himeasurements taken 30 days ago (February 9, 2013) reflected a loss of 3.75 total inches compared to previous measurements (December 21, 2012); note, the time between these two measurements was longer than usual (eight weeks). Today was a little different in a good way! Comparing my pre-Whole30 measurements (February 9, 2013) to my post-Whole30 measurements (March 12, 2013), in the past 30 days, I have lost an additional 5.75 total inches [shoulders (-1.5″), chest (-0.75″), waist (-1.5″), hips (-1″), thigh (-0.75″), and arms (-0.25″)].

12lbWeight Loss: As mentioned throughout my various posts, the purpose of doing this wasn’t to lose weight; rather, it was to get healthy. Nonetheless, I look at any weight loss as the icing-on-the-cake. For the record, based on my past progress when in the same weight range, on average, I would lose about 3-5 lbs every 6 weeks (yes, even when on Weight Watchers). During my Whole30 program, I never once counted a calorie, approximated a Weight Watcher’s point, measured out a portion, or even worried how often I ate. When I was hungry, I ate and simply stuck to the plan in terms of what foods and ingredients to avoid. Over the course of this 30-day program, I lost 12 pounds.

namasteNext Steps: Moving forward, I am going to continue to integrate many of the principles of the Whole30 program into my life. I have lots to reflect on but the one thing that I know for sure is that I will NEVER cook my food with chicken broth to save calories from fat. Instead, I will use ghee (clarified butter which is delicious), olive and coconut oil. It makes everything taste so good. Beyond that, I am just going to quietly enjoy my little accomplishment and look forward to tonight when I reintroduce myself to a glass of well-deserved delicious red wine. Thank you to everyone for your support. You made the journey much easier to achieve!