Whole 30? 45? What am I doing wrong?
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.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
I think that you need to check out the auto-immune protocol.
1450 days ago
Oh Bren....I feel awful. However did I NOT know all you've been going through of late on top of your day to day pains and suffering with such a big girl smile and panties). Big girl panties not BIG panties. Can your sweetie sneak your puppy to see you in the hospital?
I hope he gets you those blueberries FAST. You deserve them. Love you girl!
1695 days ago
You are the bravest, strongest person I know! I'm sorry for your struggle, and I've sent you some suggestions and links via SparkMail. I'm still prayerfully holding out for relief for you from your symptoms!
1715 days ago
I am so sorry you have had so many struggles with this. Truly. I read you blog and felt like crying for you. You have endured so much.
I wish I could find some magic cure for you. I keep hoping that some magic moment will click and this will work for you. I don't know you very well yet, or much about your inflammatory disease. I can say that I feel like this has helped me with my auto-immune disorder. I don't know if that is encouraging to you, or just irritates you more, but I say it to help give you hope.
You are in my thoughts!
1719 days ago
I have the hardest time with these types of plans too. Mostly, I realize too late that I had preposterous expectations that I'd have ALL my goals met after 30 days of being SO diligent about staying out of the tool box. You're spot on, sister - cravings don't stop. Dangit!
I put a note to myself in my wallet that says "Note to self: you filled your body with sugar, salt, and white bread for 30 years. Give yourself the next 30 years to fill it with veggie love!" I know it's corny, you don't have to tell me;)
Good for you for keeping at it. Sorry it's not working better.
1720 days ago
I hope it works for you. If it does, please let me know. Hugs.
1721 days ago
"but one just needs to commit to it like a new love (or a new pair of shoes? New workout clothes? New hairstyle? Ha!!! "
* Amen preach it, sister! I'm not getting rid of my "Beiber hair" anytime soon!
"I rarely sleep more than a few hours without waking from burning pain, and my mobility is quite poor now."
" 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?"
* Fight it for all it's worth
" 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! "
"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? "
"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? "
* Perhaps not. As much as I've lost 10 pounds in the last two months. It took me years to get to something that got me there. I know the frustration
"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. "
* Best of fortune to you if you think it worth completing. If not, try something new!
1721 days ago
Comment edited on: 7/2/2013 5:28:48 PM
Sorry this doesn't seem to be working for you. Maybe it takes longer for our inflammation filled bodies. I am going to start this when I get back from vacation. I hope you start seeing some relief soon, even if it's just one symptom.
1721 days ago
I really struggled with the whole30 also, not seeing the same results that everyone else seemed to. I did successfully eliminate cravings though, unless I let myself get too hungry. That would be my suggestion for you with that. Don't let yourself get too hungry and when you do have a craving, dont turn to nuts or fruit. have a mini meal. are you on the whole9 forums at all? i dont get quite the same kind of support there as i do on spark but im not shy about posting a venty rant from time to time and they do have some good suggestions.
unfortunately, i caved and went off plan and i regret it SO much. Especially because I feel TERRIBLE!! but i do think its shown me that i am probably one of those people that needed to keep going in order to see the results i was looking for. its so frustrating when you feel like you're doing everything in your power and its just not happening for you which is exactly where i was at although, i dont have nearly the same battle as what you're fighting. but giving in did absolutely nothing good for me so the only answer seems to be to continue the fight. Be strong! I wish you could see the fruit of your hard work but i really do believe it's making a difference. Even though I didn't have the dramatic results i wanted from just a month, i can see how it made a difference and I'm going to keep going! I'll keep you in prayer as well.
1722 days ago
There's probably nothing wrong in what you've been doing but there's a slight possibility that this program was the wrong one for you. With the medication and the hospital food and the complete bed-rest on some days, I think that the inflammation can easily be explained. And it's enough to make you feel that you haven't accomplished anything at all! But keep trying, Bren. Finish the 60 days and make up your mind afterwards. I really hope that magic will happen in that last part of the program.
PS. I've read many times that some types of artificial sweeteners are known to cause or worsen inflammation. I can't say for sure because I never use them but I thought I'd mention it so you could check this possibility, too.
1722 days ago
Oh, I cannot imagine how it would be to live with a lot of pain... I whine a lot for the pains I am in nowadays but they are not there all the time, I get relief rather instanstly.
To me, you are a hero that fights really hard to find a solution. I reaaly, really hop that you will be rewarded with less pain soon. If I copare to me giving up drinking - I can´t say that it got easier immedeately, it took a while. But after eight years it is really a minor problem (and has been since approximately seven years back) I hope it turns soon!
1722 days ago
Well, if anybody deserves a little whine time, it's you... You said it's been 45 days, but within that time you've been in the hospital. You probably had to eat their food, right? You take tons of medications. It's much more complicated than most people cleaning up their diet. I am so sorry you haven't experienced any change or improvement, but I think you're right to keep going to 60 days. Can't hurt. And will keep you strong so you can build your immune system and not catch colds and stuff that would just be adding insult to injury. I am behind you all the way on this and I thank you for your support as I commit to a strong and healthy July.
1722 days ago
1722 days ago
So sorry this didn't work for you.
1722 days ago
Have you tried eliminating nightshades? they are supposed to be inflammatory to some. I hope you find something to help! Cravings are still there for me too, I find that they are largely hormonal. When I was on the pill I had cravings that lasted weeks! Now I know that when I get that it is my hormones talking.
1722 days ago
I hate that you haven't seen the health improvements we hoped for or the magic they promised. I wish, wishing and praying would help. But the truth is I can understand how your body, which is faced with constant pain, would fight harder for the temporary relief that comes when you pump your body full of sugary goodness You are the bravest, strongest, and most amazing person I know. You are never afraid to fight back against your disease with everything you have. This journey may not be getting easier, but I'm so proud of you for pushing on and not giving up hope. I hope you know I'm here pushing on with you and praying you'll get your magic.
1722 days ago
Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.