Steady as We Go

We’re nearing the end of our first week.  Having a food plan is a big help.  Knowing what each meal will be cuts down on my wanting to eat in between.  That was a surprise to me.  I find I like the orderliness of how everything runs.  Sister is doing a great job of mapping everything out.

So far, sister and I have been blessed by not having cravings, mood swings or hunger between meals.  It may sound like we’re living in the land of rainbows and bluebirds but I’m anticipating there’ll be a rough patch or three as we progress through Whole30.  I did have an afternoon of just could not keep my eyes open and wound up taking a long nap.  I was, however, reading the book so I don’t count that as a reaction. Continue reading “Steady as We Go”

Prep Day No. 2

It’s been a week since the first prep day.  We ate almost all of our meals for the week from sister’s precise planning.

The second prep day was a walk in the park, right?  Uhm, noooo.  One thing the Whole30 book stresses, and repeats, is to read a recipe thoroughly before you make it.

Continue reading “Prep Day No. 2”

One Step Closer

Between sister and I we have many doctors.  At times it seems all we do is go out of town to visit doctors.  Because of those doctor appointments we are going places, meeting people and having experiences we wouldn’t have otherwise.  Whole30 is a little like that.  We’ve shared so many new experiences.  We’re going to grocery stores we wouldn’t otherwise go to.  Sister has cooked things she wouldn’t have.  We’ve eaten new foods we wouldn’t have.  We’ve considered menu options we wouldn’t have.

Beyond that it becomes uniquely personal.  You go into your own psyche to deal with your food issues on a new level.  You are not just giving up bread, cookies and ice-cream; you’re giving up all sugar, all grains, all legumes, all dairy and the way you have dealt with food for years.  You are giving up foods that you believe to be very healthy.  You’re not just doing a physical reset of your body but a mental and emotional reset as well.  Continue reading “One Step Closer”

And, We’re Off

I was able to find some excellent resources for Lent online: a devotional guide from Baylor University, a blog from St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral and a list of Bible readings in the Psalms.  The first reading was Psalm 51, A Prayer of Repentance.  Such a good way to start off the first day.

We’re a few days into Whole30 now and determined to stick to the rules.  A great many of our conversations contain the phrase “…the book says…”  We don’t think we’re going to have any issues with what the book refers to as the ‘hangover’ phase.  We had cleaned up our eating quite a bit before we began so if there was any ‘withdrawal’ it was minimal.  We’re both feeling great and looking forward to the good food we’ll be eating.  Continue reading “And, We’re Off”

The Final Countdown defines the word odyssey as “a long series of wanderings or adventures, especially when filled with notable experiences, hardships, etc.” and that is the where we find ourselves, on the eve of our odyssey.

Where are we starting from? From the point of feeling bad for so long that it’s become the norm. The fact that feeling bad is so normal you stop noticing it until the morning you wake up and you actually feel good. Wow. Big difference. BIG. And that came from just cleaning up our act before the actual plan begins. I’d call that a step in the right direction.

So, what have we been doing up until this point?

Eating. Sister went through the refrigerator and doled out all the sandwich fixins then divided out how many sandwiches each we’d need to eat by Wednesday. Supplemented by our stash of Lean Cuisines we knew what we had to eat (to clear out the ‘illegals’) until Lent begins. This was a positive step for someone who wants to know what’s for lunch while eating breakfast and wanting to know what’s for supper while eating lunch. In addition to sandwiches and Lean Cuisine we ate green salads with decadent things like chic peas, bacon bits with added sugar, cheese and sunflower seeds roasted in peanut oil.

Reading. Sister read blog posts and recipes. I read the Whole30 books – and yes, I fell asleep.

Talking. One of our personal decisions for the Whole30 plan is not to use coconut oil. We will use the coconut aminos in lieu of soy sauce (less sodium, no gluten) for flavor, but not the oil. When I was first diagnosed as diabetic I had to go to a diabetic clinic where I met with a dietician. During our first session she emphasized that coconut oil was the worst of the worst. It was okay to put it on your body but not in your body due to the saturated fats.

Paying attention to how our bodies react to food. For instance, Sunday I didn’t wake up hungry. I knew I was supposed to eat something so I had a bologna sandwich. (One of my quotas to use up what was in the fridge.) Very soon after eating I was suddenly hungry. White bread and processed meat, blood chemistry and empty carbs – it started to crystalize in my mind.

Moving. I moved slowly but I moved. Sister walks a mile a day on the treadmill. Many pounds ago I used to be able to do so. I’m working toward being able to top that. There’s an article on WebMD by Brunilda Nazario, MD which states “…you know you have to exercise to lose the weight, but the weight makes it hard to exercise.” Exactly. It goes on to say “Ignore the guidelines that say you should exercise 30 minutes most days of the week. Instead, focus on something enjoyable that you’ll stick to.” Personally, I enjoy Def Leppard and I walk to the beat. I don’t have much stamina. Yet. I am working on it.

Cooking. Sister is chief chef around here. A day was set aside for prep and preparation so that our transition will be less stressful. There were some amazing smells coming from the kitchen. Turkey muffins, taco bowls, roasted vegetables and chicken . . . scrumptious fare.

At long last it’s time to step up and begin our journey. It’s a time of apprehension and hopeful anticipation. Day one will bring our first challenge: eating out. Along with that will come the adventure of grocery shopping in an actual whole food market. We’re ready to do this!

At the Beginning of the Beginning

The preparatory phase of this new eating plan began several days ago. All of the reading, researching, recipe finding, video watching and planning has taken time. It has become our number one topic of conversation. In preparation we’ve been more particular about what we eat, began phasing out ‘illegal’ foods and making wiser choices.

The groundwork has been laid. We decided to go on an eating plan, we went grocery shopping, we ate a salad – shouldn’t I be ten pounds lighter by now? I mean, granted we haven’t even started yet but, doesn’t all that prep work count for something? Of course it does. So much of making this successful is mental. Mentally I’m like Wyle E. Coyote waiting for ACME to drop off a package as soon as I put a letter in the mailbox. I’m anxious to get started.

Sister went through all the recipes she’s collected and carefully made out a shopping list. Thus armed, we struck out for the grocery store where we were greeted by the aroma of fried chicken as it wafted through the parking lot. I was more than a little bit hungry at the time. I remarked to sister that there would come a day when the smell of something fried would be repulsive, but today was not that day. (Sniff, sniff) She agreed.

We knew going in that shopping locally was going to be a challenge. We live in a little rural town with one grocery store. It is traditionally southern. Sister’s list was not typical southern fare. The nearest whole food store is an hour away. For some folks that might mean a trip across town. For us, it’s into the next county and three towns over. It’s quite the adventure shopping for whole foods. We have a trip planned but for now we were trying to meet immediate needs.

The first part of the shopping trip was easy: the produce aisle. We gathered and foraged amongst the fresh vegetables then made our way to the frozen vegetables. That’s where everything slowed down: label reading. There was no frozen cauliflower that didn’t contain some sort of forbidden ingredient. Back to produce for a fresh head.

As we label read our way through the store we found there was no brand of catsup that didn’t contain high fructose corn syrup or sugar. There was no brand of bacon bits that didn’t have sugar or any brand of sausage that had no sugar.

About three quarters of the way up and down the aisles sister started getting discouraged. She had planned her menus so particularly but couldn’t find the acceptable ingredients for her recipes. Many, many times we’d put something in our buggy, remember to read the label and put it back on the shelf. Sister made the comment that she knew it was going to be hard, but she hadn’t expected it to be this hard.

The longer we shopped the longer our list for Lucky’s Market became.

If you’re thinking about doing Whole30 it has required, and will continue to require, time and effort. We’re willing to invest that for the Lenton season, for our health and for each other.

And regarding Lent, I know that, for me especially, this journey is going to take more than 40 days. Whole30 is just the first step of many to come. I hope that what we learn and accomplish – and fail at – along the way will help and encourage you. We’d love to hear your story.

One Week and Counting

When sister said she was going on the Whole30 plan for Lent three thoughts came to mind: We’ve never observed the Lenten season. It’s not been a factor in the churches we’ve attended; it wasn’t a surprise, we’ve been negligent in our eating habits since Hurricane Michael blew through; I should be supportive. And, so, I offered to ‘go with her’ on this journey – albeit with little enthusiasm.

Sister has read up on the subject, planned menus and researched recipes. We’ve both watched countless videos about the plan and the people who have been on it. We’re looking forward to the touted benefits from more energy and sleeping better to allergy relief, better blood chemistry and reduced inflammation. We both need to lose weight – in my case I need to lose a small person.

In what we’ve learned up until now, two of the most emphasized things are that you must plan ahead and set a date. The date was easy. Our start date would be March 6, the first day of Lent. Planning ahead has been just about all we’ve done since the decision to do this was made.

The adventure begins about a week from now. I’m curious, I’m dreading it, I’m excited, I’m apprehensive. To give up sugar, grain and dairy is going to be a tough challenge for a sweet-toothed bread-loving milkaholic. The fact that we’re doing this for Lent will be a positive reinforcement. It also means we’ll be doing this for 40 days so technically we’ll be doing the Whole40.

I came across the most marvelous thing in the past several days. It concerned the body and that it is the Temple of God. I can’t remember where I found it (I’d love to go back and review it), or exactly how it went but the gist of it was comparing asking God for a new heart to a home renovation. He comes in and patches some holes and stops some leaks and such. Then, you start noticing things that weren’t there before – like new wings on the house and landscaping. And He is doing this because He is going to live there.

It is high time to rebuild this temple.

This is going to be a real story, step by step as we navigate into the future. In the videos I’ve seen so far, the people who are posting are mostly younger and thin to begin with. I cannot relate to them.

Yes, the health benefits are paramount but if I’m going to be really real I do want to come off of my diabetes meds and I do want to sleep through the night without interruption. I also want to look in the mirror and see fewer chins. I want to fit into the cute clothes in the hand-me-down box. And for someone who has been overweight most of her life I’d really like some pretty underwear – maybe pink.

I finally came to the conclusion that if I am going to commit to this I am going to commit, and I ordered the books. They came today. The promise of better sleep? Every time I start reading them I fall asleep. Is this going to be a great plan or what?