Monday, July 01, 2013
I'm on day 45 of what was supposed to be a 30 day food challenge called Whole 30. Eating extremely well, but also eating strict. It IS doable, but one just needs to commit to it like a new love (or a new pair of shoes? New workout clothes? New hairstyle? Ha!!!
The plan focuses on great foods: lean protein, veggies, good fats, fruits, nuts and seeds. And keeping out all things that are thought to encourage inflammation or cravings, like: dairy, beans, soy, grains, sugar and artificial junk (gum, artificially sweetened nonsense), and alcohol.
A spark gal who is near and dear to me suggested the challenge. As she put it once, I 'had nothing to lose'. She was right. I am loaded with inflammation. I have a rare disease that bombards my body from all angles as makes me swell up daily. I rarely sleep more than a few hours without waking from burning pain, and my mobility is quite poor now. I was an avid runner before this who did marathons for fun. Now I pretty much waddle instead of walk, and could not walk my dog around the block if I tried.
I know I don't have a cure (yet), but want less of the nonsense that makes my body feel like it is crumbling in defeat. If I am causing some of that by what i eat, then it is my responsibility to remove those things that cause inflammation so that my body can target my my EM more effectively, right?
Better sleep? Sure. Breaking sugar addiction? Heck yeah! Weight loss and less water retention? I'm in! No more need for snacking due to goofy blood sugar levels? Sweet!
So I quickly read as much as I could on the subject (I'm quite impatient), and I completely bombarded RYDERB with questions, as I wanted to start the next day. Well, I could not count day one or even day two as part of the Whole 30 plan since I simply had to chew gum to keep me from the toolbox of junk food (yes, we have one). Just the effort it took to relocate the popcorn popper thing, clean out the drizzly dressings, protein bars/powders, and hide sugar riddled the items that my husband simply would not let me toss seemed to tempt me.
My husband does not want to be a part of this food challenge journey. We literally argued over him keeping his red vines a while back (really? Yep). While he has come leaps and bounds from the Dominio's pizza and chips-a-hoy lifestyle we led 17+ years ago, he was not budging on this. This journey was my own. He would support me, but not make the same commitment. I am thankful for his efforts to help me stay on plan though, since we needed to add a lot to my pantry. I also felt like I raided a chicken farm with the amount of organic eggs and poultry that he had to pick up from the store my first week!
Everyone has specific trigger foods that we allow to permeate our lives. For me it was diet root beer (one a day), air popped popcorn, crumbled goat cheese, too many pieces of sugar-free gum, Truvia or stevia in my coffee, and chocolate and other sweet gluten-free treats on weekends.
I read It Starts With Food and was intrigued by some of the author's advice:
'If you feel hungry for a particular food, it is a craving. If you have just eaten food and are still hungry, it is a craving. If you are not hungry enough to eat plain steamed fish and broccoli, it's a craving'.
That was so amazing to me. I guess I do have one big ta-da moment thanks to this meal challenge. SO MUCH of what I thought for sure was hunger simple was not.
Warning: whining intro
But it's been 45 days as of today, and those cravings have not gone. While I have not yet caved and opened that toolbox, I cannot say that it's gotten much easier to ignore it. I've read that cravings take an average of 5 -10 minutes to pass. Sorry, not true. I can dwell for hours or more on the scent of grilled cheese my husband made on the grill, and the glass of wine he drank with it.
Ultimately, I was giving myself those 30 days to eat in a way that was nourishing to my body. I was already a mostly vegetarian, gluten free, no processed foods kind of gal. That should make it less painful to cross over than for someone coming out of the McDonald's drive through to try to start a vegan diet, right? Each successful day that passed was supposed to get easier. But that hasn't been the case for me yet.
I don't notice any less body swelling. My clothes are not looser. in fact, they are much tighter. I've actually gained weight, so I get the promise to not weigh in for 30 days. I'd probably freak out. This has been squashing my optimism about the challenge for myself.
I'm not sleeping any better. My swelling is the same, and so is my pain. I've been telling myself that things will improve soon. Certainly my daily medications are slowing down my progress, but when is it going to happen for me?
I didn't want to post a whiny blog (sorry!), and I want this to work so badly. Many wonderful Sparkers have improved sleep and lost inches so quickly, and I gotta admit, I am jealous and discouraged. Perhaps this isn't that recipe for success to eliminate or even lessen my inflammation?
I want to complete 60 days of this challenge though, so I am committed to that. I am crossing my swollen fingers that perhaps the next 15 days to come will grant me some success in some areas of my life. That would be sooooo wonderful.
Of course, rest-filled nights, diminished sugar cravings, and heck, even a smaller toosh would be neat too.