The Big 30

I just finished my last meal of The Whole30.  J likes to call it the “Big 30,” I have no idea why, but he has stuck with it the entire time, and I do identify with it.  This was BIG for me.  I LOVE food; not that I would ever call myself a foodie, but I so appreciate the things that I love: cheese, sourdough bread, Diet Coke, wine.  CARBS.  I could ditch sweets in an instant, but man I freakin’ love the salty carbs. The Whole30 is intense, but I needed a reset to my body and my eating.  Another fallout from the damn cancer.

Last year, after my mastectomy, I was at a low weight for me.  Then I had my hysterectomy where they took out my ovaries and everything else.  Hello forced menopause.  It is a miserable bitch.  My hormones went nuts and the weight started to accumulate, not just on my butt and legs, the usual culprits, but also on my stomach.  What the hell?? Even after having J, I still had a decent flat-ish stomach without stretch marks and a waist.  Not anymore. The fact that my meds cause fatigue and give me severe joint pain does not help.  The last thing I want to do is work out.  Hence a 30-pound weight gain in one year.  30 lbs. IN ONE YEAR.  I knew that I had put on weight by the way my clothes “fit” or rather did not fit and also by looking at my face.  I would joke that I was now “puffy” even though inside, I felt more like crying than joking.  I truly felt like a marshmallow.

After going to my regular Dr. for a check-up, I saw the listing of my weight over the past visits.  I was appalled and knew I had to make some changes before it got any worse.  I went home and spoke to Nate, “I think we need do The Whole30. Are you up for it?”  He agreed and we started doing research.  I have friends who have done it a couple times and while they say it is a challenge, they have had great results and looked fabulous at the end.  Nate found a website www.realplans.com which helps with meal planning and grocery lists and we ordered the Whole30 book. The following Monday was going to be Day 1.  We took this ridiculously long grocery list to New Seasons.  Lots of meat, a huge amount of fresh vegetables and fruit and foreign things like ghee, tahini, and pretend mayo made with avocado oil.  Do you have any idea what Coconut Aminos are?  Neither did I, but it went in so many recipes. Note: do NOT take your 7 year old on a shopping trip of this magnitude; it will be painful for all.

Nate spent about 4 hours doing food prep that Sunday afternoon, making veggie egg cups, bacon, grilling chicken breast and chopping vegetables.  With all of that and the meal planning from Real Plans, we were set.  The first morning was a rude awakening.  I love my coffee full of creamer and sweetness to enjoy it in the morning while I wake up.  I have been using Stevia for a while, but that was not even approved.  I knew I needed coffee for the caffeine so I braved on, using a “creamer” called Nut Pods with some cinnamon.  It was not what I wanted, but bearable.  Then came the eggs, SO MANY EGGS!  My saving graces for the month were bacon, avocados, and salsa.  If you put enough salsa on, most things taste a lot better.   When I sat down to eat my first lunch, I automatically went to the frig to get a Diet Coke.  UGH, nope.  Water is just not the same, but I powered through.  The first week was HARD.  Yes, cancer is hard, major life changes are hard, but it is all relative.  Cutting down the caffeine and sugar, I was a pretty big bitch and cranky, hangry and anything else that can describe a very hungry woman who just wanted her comfort food back.  Yes, this was my idea and I hoped that I could make it through, but each day was a new challenge. There was so much cooking involved, new meals almost every night.  My kitchen floor was filthy because apparently I am a very messy cook.

We used to go out to eat a lot, which was part of the problem.  It was my escape out of the house and I really enjoy eating in restaurants.  I like not having to plan meals, shop and cook. It gets so tedious and boring so Nate knows that I need those nights out.  We did go out a couple times just for a change, and I have a lot more willpower that I thought as J ate an entire basket of tortilla chips and we just watched.  I even brought my own salad dressing to Red Robin.  We did go to the movies a few times; once in the first week where there was a plethora of free popcorn, candy, sodas and cocktails.  I wish that I could say I enjoyed the sweet potato chips that I snuck in to go with the bottle of water, but I didn’t.

Throughout the month, Nate was doing great and had SO MUCH energy.  He was meeting with a personal trainer weekly and back at the gym.  I was not.  I was still dragging and having cravings.  Every day when I made J’s bagel with real, delicious butter for breakfast, it was a struggle.  I was stabby at lunch times when I would drive right by Taco Bell and go home for turkey slices and raw veggies.  When I opened up the giant package of fresh cookies from Costco for the Cub Scout family picnic, I almost lost it and put one in my mouth.  One the 10 hour drive yesterday down to my mom’s in California, I was dying for gum or candy to keep me busy.  We stopped at 7-Elevan so J could have a slurpee; I saw a woman getting a Big Gulp full of Diet Coke, and I almost gave in. “What’s the difference between 29 days and 30 days?” I said to myself.  I quickly paid for the slurpee and got back in the car.

But I made it. I did not cheat, other than weighing myself, which they say is a no-no by the true Whole30 guidelines.  I did it though, every couple of days to motivate myself.  It is not supposed to be about the weight, but more about changing your lifestyle and eating habits.  As of day 26, I had lost 13 lbs.  Now, at my mom’s, their scale needs a new random battery, but I know I am down more weight the past 4 days with an upset stomach and less food.  I figure it is about 15 at this point which I am good with. It’s a huge accomplishment to know that I made it.

They say it takes 21 days to make new habits and now after 30 days, I hope that I will make some better food choices.  I am not saying that I am not going to have bread and cheese and wine tomorrow, because I am.  But I am going to try and stay away from the Diet Coke and lots of carbs.  I am also planning on getting to the gym when I get home and walking the dog more and on longer routes.  I am definitely not going to let these 30 days go to waste.  Bye bye, Big 30, hello the rest of my new, thinner life.

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