The Whole (30) Truth: No Grain, No Gain?

body-weight-scaleOkay. It’s been several weeks since I ended my #Whole30 challenge. I made it through all 30 days not eating legumes, grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, or a number of additives.

Since then, it’s been a challenge. It started when I fell face-first into a pan of brownies after an initially successful week of slow reintroduction. Then I found myself inhaling all sorts of crap again.

I don’t want to. I don’t want to be a slave to food like that, to be eating so unhealthfully like that. Not only do I not want to gain back the twenty pounds I’d shed, but I can’t afford the damage to my body. At 43, I’m showing signs of wear and tear, and if I continue my “All Sugary Bready Things All The Time” diet, I’ll be diabetic with a fatty liver and who knows what else going on in no time.

And yet, the addiction is strong. It is SO strong, people. I can’t tell you how I weep at my own struggles with this. It’s a daily battle against a substance, sugar, that is eight times more addictive than cocaine and heroin. EIGHT TIMES.

sugarBut sugar is not my only nemesis. Oh, no. Apparently my brain also loves white flour (which, of course, turns fairly instantly into sugar in the bloodstream). Give me, please oh please oh please, my daily bread. Only make it a donut, or a Twix bar, or a Little Debbie Double Decker oatmeal creme pie. Anything that combines flour & sugar is so much better than flour or sugar items alone. I’d rather eat a Kit Kat than a Hershey bar, rather suck down croissants than bagels.

So I decided, very logically, to go sugar-free and grain-free for the month of October. These seem to be the big triggers, more than legumes, or even dairy. And eliminating these two, while daunting, felt LESS daunting than returning to the Whole30 whole-hog.

The ugly truth: how I feel when I'm in sugar withdrawal.
The ugly truth: how I feel when I’m in sugar withdrawal.

Only, uh, I made it two and a half days. Two and a half, until I was sitting in Costco yesterday, hungry, eating a friggin’ cold chicken Caesar salad while around me people chomped on pizza or hot dogs or smoothies or what-not. In hindsight, the pizza might have done me better, because I felt so deprived that it made me rebellious. Yes, it was my choice to put those chocolate chip cookies in my cart, my choice to eat about half of them over a 12 hour period. My CHOICE, but a choice also driven by the emotional and physical addiction in my head screaming, “Give us more, give us more, give us MORE MORE MORE.”

Note to self: do not go to Costco on day 3 of sugar/flour withdrawal. Stupid plan all around.

Second note to self: plan better to have more foods at home to eat, so that you don’t feel hungry and deprived before going shopping.

It’s the dance. It’s the dance I do, people, the dance with the monkey on my back, with the devil in my head whispering, “Just this one time. That’s all. You’ll stop after that. Just for today.”

You’d think after 43 years, I’d stop hitting the dance floor. Nope.

BUT . . . today is a new day. My motto has long been, Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.

The Sugar Roller CoasterSo I’m getting up. I’m suiting up. I’m so weary of the battles, so very weary of the war.

But I’ve got to try again, for my health, for my family, for my own personal well-being. Because I felt better at the end of the Whole 30. I felt better than I KNEW – I was so busy hating it and thinking not so much had changed, that I didn’t realize how much HAD, until I added those substances back in. Unless the bloating, the digestive issues, the self-shaming, the sleep struggles, the guilt, the tired eyes, the foggy brain, and the friggin’ five pounds came back.

Yes, I felt much better at the end of the Whole 30, as much as I don’t want to admit it. And I don’t, because the devil I know – my own body and brain – desperately wants me to go face down in pizza and pumpkin cheesecake today. “You’re happier on sugar,” my gut tells me. Only I’m not. Not really. I’m addicted. I’m high. But I’m not happier.

No grains, no gain, I joked to myself on October 1st. Well, here’s to the fight, to making one day’s slip not become two or five or the whole darn month.

No grain, no gain – and hopefully not as much emotional pain.

Rant over.


#Whole30: The Aftermath (It Was Pretty. Until It Wasn’t.)

peasMonday marked the end of my Whole 30. Hooray! I was thrilled to have made it through (there were several dark days where I thought I couldn’t go on). And while I can honestly say I hated it 80% of the time, I DID drop 20 pounds and was generally feeling pretty good by the very end.

Then came the challenge of reintroduction. I was SUPPOSED to do a 10 day plan – introduce legumes, go back to 2 days of Whole 30 eating, introduce dairy, go back to Whole 30, etc. The first part of the week went fine. I was overjoyed to have peanut butter, ecstatic to eat peas.

And then Thursday, I decided to let myself have that chocolate bar I’d been saving for weeks- my Whole 30 Victory Bar. It was about the size of a Hershey’s bar. I ate half at lunch, the second half after dinner. Both times, the chocolate itself was delicious (and I’ve never eaten chocolate that slowly). Both times, I got a headache and a slightly upset stomach several hours afterward. A clue, one might say, that chocolate was a stupid idea.

And that chocolate was a trigger. Friday I fought cravings all day. Saturday I fought cravings all day. Until I didn’t. I’d dropped my daughter off with her grandma for an overnight, and headed back home. It was around 1:30, and I’d had no lunch and minimal breakfast. I stopped at Wendy’s and ate a large fries with ketchup – no sandwich, just the fries. And I wanted more. Stupid fast food. Stupid me for stopping.

fruitLater that afternoon, I headed up to an awesome writer’s retreat with writing buddies Annika Keswick, Foy Iver, Tamara Shoemaker, Taryn Bk, and Rebekah Postupak – and bought a Hershey’s bar and devoured it. I’d love to say it was without thinking. Of COURSE I’m the one who bought the stupid bar and put it in my mouth. My brain is sneaky, people.

I’d prepped for the event, bringing strawberries and grapes and ham and peas. I knew there were going to be goodies there, but the first night I resisted the brownies and the flour tortillas – but did dive into the spanish rice. And nearly ate it all.

This morning (Sunday), I woke up after maybe – maybe – 3 hours sleep. I was exhausted. I was cravy. Brownies were staring me in the face. I ate them. I ate a LOT of them. I ate pumpkin cookies. I ate and ate and ate and ate.

Is it a matter of no willpower? No. I just did a Whole 30. I have willpower in droves. But it’s a matter of an addiction so strong, it smashes that willpower 95% of the time.

I drove home, disgusted and frustrated with myself yet again. All that hard work, thrown out the window. And once I start a binge day, it’s very hard for me to stop one. Instead, I go to the “Well, I’ve already eaten this, might as well eat THAT” fallacy.

My amazing writer friends.
My amazing writer friends – Taryn Bk, Annika Keswick, Tamara Shoemaker, me, and Foy Iver.

So here I am, at the end of Week 1 post-Whole 30. What’s the plan for Week 2? Back to Whole 30, with legumes. Yes, I need to go back. I don’t like this feeling of being out of control. And sugar and white flour make me out of control. So they’re going back into Pandora’s Box, and I’m going back to Whole 30 eating for at least seven days – but am willing to eat some peas and/or peanut butter, as I don’t think they are triggers.

Again, I am definitely NOT the poster child for Whole 30 success. I struggled every day on the program. I’ve struggled every day after – but by the end of the 30 days, I definitely felt better. And that’s what I want to feel.

Dog gone it. If only I could be addicted to lettuce.

The Whole 30: Week 4. Are We DONE Yet?

So here I am. Day 28 of the Whole 30. I’m still here. And I’m still not liking it – beyond the noticeable weight loss.

A list of positive benefits one might see. I checked off the ones I noticed. They were few, but at least there were some.
A list of positive benefits one might see. I checked off the ones I noticed. They were few, but at least there were some.

I wish I could be one of those people for whom this program worked miracles, who embraced it whole-heartedly and came out the other side feeling as if this were the way to eat forever, who found Paleo a perfect fit, who experienced all of the promised benefits.

I’m not.

I’m sure if I’d been able to do the plan more perfectly – had eaten a much broaden variety of veggies, a few more meats, had been able to stomach protein in the morning, and had not fallen into the predictable habit of one Larabar a day (occasionally two), perhaps I would have done better. Perhaps a few more of the promised benefits would have materialized.

Well, I’m sorry. I’ve done the best I could – which, based on how God-awful I felt on days 9-13, is better than I thought I would.

I won’t lie. I’ve noticed some things, besides the weight loss. My energy levels, while not high, are more even. I do wake less at night. My sugar and carb cravings are there, but not overpowering, and sometimes not first thing on my mind.

However, I’m still tired far too often (yes, I need to go to bed earlier, but still, relief of fatigue has NOT been something I’ve noticed during this experiment, and one of the things I was most looking forward to, that alleged Tiger Blood). I don’t have nearly the physical energy I wish I had (but I never have in my life, so this isn’t something new). I still have headaches (a bad sinus one at the moment, in fact). Still have food aversions and gag reflex issues going on. Still don’t eat nearly enough veggies, much less a broad variety of them, and I am so tired of beef and turkey and chicken I could scream.

I’ve been more emotional than usual this month – or, rather, I’ve been expressing those emotions more than usual. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s better than eating them, I suppose. But it’s been more uncomfortable, too, feeling so angry, so sad (I’ve cried more this month than I think I have in the last year), and so. darn. anxious. (Not sure if that’s a food-related thing; deadlines and worries about reader reception can do that to a girl.)

If anyone experienced the majority of these positives, talk to me. I wanted to check off so many more.

While writing this post, I asked my husband if he’d noticed anything different about me in the last month (besides the weight loss), in case I missed something. His answer? “Well, your mood was noticeably worse in the first three weeks, but I say maybe it’s been better this last one?” BWAH HA HA! Does that sound like something I should regularly inflict on my family?!?

And therein lies the rub … there haven’t been ALL that many benefits that I’ve noticed. But I HAVE dropped 20 pounds. That’s nothing to sneeze at. I’m wondering if I’ve improved my internal numbers, too – cholesterol, etc. I don’t know. And there have been a few positives, as outlined above.

Is it enough? Is it enough to keep me focused on healthier eating, even if I don’t stick to Paleo? I hope so.

Right now I’m so grumpy about this whole thing – how hungry I’ve been, how angry I’ve been, how hard it’s been – that it’s challenging to embrace this as a success (yes, even despite those twenty pounds). I went out to eat THREE TIMES this week (yes, I guess by choice): once with my critique group, once with two close friends, and then yesterday with the Virginia Romance Writers.

Y’all, do you know how hard it is to be in a restaurant, to smell all those smells, see all those items on the menu, and know you can’t eat 99% of it? Do you know how hard it is to order naked steak or naked chicken breast with steamed broccoli while the people around you are eating cheeseburgers and pasta and fried stuff? For me, it was excruciating. I know that’s part of my challenge – making healthy choices every day in the face of all the temptations around us, but come on. I was miserable. Angry. And it made me totally want to binge once this 30 days is up.

Which is exactly what I DON’T want to do.

Suffice it to say, while Whole 30 has helped me shed some weight, and has helped with the sugar/carb cravings, it has definitely NOT fixed my food issues.

I’m not surprised. The Whole 30 people themselves say, of course, that if one has been eating poorly for decades, or has more serious food issues, 30 days won’t fix them. Their suggestion? Keep going, for a Whole 45 or a Whole 60 or even a Whole 90.

Reader, there is nothing I want to do less. Come Tuesday, I’m trying peas and peanut butter, and you can’t stop me.

If only the Whole 30 could take off years as well as pounds … Bwah ha ha!

However, you can wish me luck in successfully navigating the “reintroduction phase,” the 10 days following your Whole 30, in which you reintroduce the avoided food groups, one at a time, and only one every three days (in other words, eat foods from that food group one day, go back to Whole 30 eating for the next two, eat the second group, repeat). I really, truly want to do that right, because I really, truly want to know for sure which foods bother me the most. My suspicion is sugar and white flour – but if soy is actually an issue, I want to know it. If peas produce problems, it would be useful to find that out for sure.

It would NOT be useful to wake up Tuesday and eat my way through the day, no matter how much I fantasize about chocolate and Chinese food, donuts and pizza.

I’m sorry I was not a better Poster Child for Whole 30. But I’ve been an honest one. This has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. The Whole 30 people say “this is not hard. Having a baby is hard. Having cancer is hard. This is not hard.” OK, fine. I’m blessed – so very blessed – not to have yet faced cancer. I HAVE had two children, and while giving birth to them was no picnic, IT DIDN’T LAST 30 DAYS! (Though I would agree that child-rearing is harder. Enough said.)

Thank you to all who have put up with me this past month – ESPECIALLY my husband, and my kids. Thank you to all who’ve cheered me on, cheered me up, encouraged me to keep going. Thank you for tolerating my whining over something that, really, despite the last paragraph, isn’t something that’s been a life-or-death situation – no matter how much I’ve hated it.

The food issues are deep. They always will be. But I’ve survived this 30 day challenge. Frankly, knowing myself as I do, I didn’t think I’d make it the Whole 30 days. I did, out of sheer contrariness. But I did.

And there you have it. Oh, I’ll probably pop in on Tuesday to let you know if I did, indeed make it through the last two days. But this is the last big, whiny post you’ll have to read on this subject. Until I decide to do it again (I’m not ruling it out, because Lord knows I still have a lot of weight to lose.)

Any words of support, advice, wisdom, encouragement to keep me from falling back into the oatmeal cream pies would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

#Whole30, Week 3: Wait, This is Getting Easier.

anneWhole 30, Week 3.

If you’d tried to tell me last Sunday that I’d be sitting here today, writing this in a rather mellow mood, I’d have bitten your head off. Especially if your head in any way resembled noodles. And yet here I am. Have I found the promised Tiger Blood? I don’t think so, unless my tiger is still a newborn cub. But I do feel more … resigned to this Whole thing. Is that because I’m closer to the end? Or because acceptance is part of the grief cycle? I don’t know. But I’m grateful for it. I still can’t say I like eating this way – but I can’t deny some of the results:

  • I’ve dropped 17.5 pounds. (Yes, I know, the Whole 30 police would tell me I have to start over for getting on the scale. I’m not going to.)
  • I am sleeping better at night. I don’t wake up at 2 a.m. anymore. I’m still more tired during the day than I wish to be, but the sleep quality is improving. Now if I can just get myself to go to bed earlier (I conked out last night at 10:50 rather than midnight, and do feel much better today).
  • I don’t feel a slave to food. I still have cravings, yes, and this week my longing for pizza has been particularly bad. But on a physical level, I do not have that insatiable beast in my head yelling “EAT EAT EAT” all the time.
  • A couple of people have told me I look noticeably thinner.

I’m still waiting for Tiger Blood – for the extra energy, the positive attitude, the thrill with this way of eating. I’ve been struggling with anxiety a lot this week (book edits play a big part in that). But sitting at Day 21 and feeling as if I can make it the next 10 days with no problem? That’s miracle enough for me right now .

angry1995Whole 30 – Day 15: 

I woke up angry. Just absolutely pissed off at the world. I have no clue why, so to attempt to keep from inflicting my non-sensical wrath on my family, I attacked the kitchen, cleaning it with gusto while singing along at the top of my lungs to music on the radio.

beefstiryfryWhole 30 – Day 16: 

Maybe it’s good that I have been forgetting to keep daily logs. I’m now trying to recall the week from several days later. Son came home with strep throat from school. I’m feeling very stressed about book edits.

Tried to make a beef stir-fry for lunch. Used stew meat, so I don’t know if that’s part of it, but I could barely eat the stuff. I had put 1 tsp of coconut aminos on it (which I don’t think I tasted), but I doubt that’s it. Forced some down anyway, but so frustrated by the rejection of foods I think I like. Didn’t eat much for the rest of the day.

Whole 30 – Day 17: 

Still here. Still doing it. I do know I felt a bit better in the morning this day, but by the afternoon, I was feeling sick. I think it was an honest bug; I had a slight fever, and ended up going to bed from 4-8, and then back in bed by 10:30. Hardly ate anything, but hardly wanted to.

body-weight-scaleWhole 30 – Day 18: 

I was naughty and got on the scale again. I’ve dropped 17 pounds. 17 pounds in 17 days? What’s up with that? That’s actually rather scary, as I don’t think it’s healthy. On the other hand, I’m sure a bit will come back when I eat more, because I ate almost nothing yesterday.

Woke up hungry. Ate a hamburger for breakfast, and it actually sat okay. Finally made a new, authentically Paleo chicken recipe for dinner: Latin Chicken. Husband and I mostly liked it, kids did not (too spicy). Still felt hungry in the later evening, so ate two pieces of deli roast beef (approved kind I found at local food co-op). That didn’t sit well. Still, I was delighted to actually feel hungry for part of the day.

papajohnsWhole 30 – Day 19:

Hungry this morning. And craving. Craving pizza and donuts and sloppy joes and all sorts of things. Bummer.

Mostly a good day – fairly even mood. Two people told me I looked noticeably thinner (when I told husband they said that, he said, “I said that, too!” Yes, sweetheart, you did, but you see me every day and you see me naked, so you’ll notice more. They don’t.

Hungry, though, and lots of strong cravings. Especially for pizza.

Fountain penWhole 30, Day 20: 

I cannot believe I’m on Day 20. This has definitely gotten easier. I’m still not crazy about the foods and probably not eating a wide enough range, and certainly not within exact specifications. But I’m still doing it, and the scale today says I’m in a decade I haven’t seen in years.

Extra tired this morning, and frustrated because I’m not editing. Some of this self-flagellation is deserved, as I certainly COULD have gotten a lot more done. On the other hand, I’ve had kids home sick 4 out of 5 days.

Made pizza for the family tonight. Totally wanted it. Ate roast beef and strawberries instead.

dqWhole 30, Day 21:

Took chocolate to my book signing. Didn’t eat it. Made mashed potatoes tonight for the family. Didn’t eat them. Watched everyone eating ice cream cake in honor of my sister’s birthday. Didn’t eat it. But you know the crazy part? I didn’t even feel particularly deprived. Now, granted, I think that’s because I know eventually I can have them if I want. Still, a good feeling.

Ten more days, baby. Ten days. And then reintroduction – because I’m not going to be stupid and throw this all away on day 32. Please wish me luck – your support has been invaluable.

Whole 30, Week 2: Or, Can I Stop Now?

Fourteen days. I’ve made it through fourteen days of this Whole 30 gig. It hasn’t been easy, and Lord knows it ain’t been pretty. I’ve come close to quitting several times. And yet, I’m still here.

doing-the-w30-IGBe warned: If you’re looking for a post raving about this program and how easy/fun it is and how awesome it’s made me feel, you’ve come to the wrong place. When I wear my author hat, I aim for positivity. But I’m not wearing that hat right now; I’m wearing my “I’m so tired of having to battle myself and my body and food every day of my life, Good GOD why can’t I be one of those people who loves veggies and eating healthfully and exercising. Why can’t I be someone who doesn’t battle food addictions and food issues and food everything?” hat. (It’s a BIG hat.) I’m giving you my honest experiences here. I’m struggling, physically and mentally. I’m frustrated. I’m angry. I’m tired. I’m grouchy. I hate it. I hate everything this week. Foods don’t taste right, I’m still battling my stupid brain/body with the food aversions and nausea stuff.

But … I’m still going. Why? Skip to the end, if you really want to know.

Whole 30, Day 8:

Slept in until 9:15, when husband’s alarm went off. Granted, I didn’t go to sleep until 12:30, but still, so much sleep, and yet still I feel tired. My side is also hurting today – I’m glad my recent ultrasound says no gallbladder issues, but something is still going on. Fighting irritability. Why does my family put up with me?

Sirloin for yesterday and today feels positively decadent – and a little boring. I need to look at recipes and do better at preparing in advance. In particular, I bet I’d like more stir-fry type meals. At least I found a dressing I like – Tessamae’s Olive Oil & Balsamic vinegar. It’s no honey French (my favorite!), but it’s not nearly as bitter as whatever acidic slop I mixed up last week. Now to make my salads more interesting, too – I’m guilty of predominantly eating naked salad (meaning the only thing besides the dressing is lettuce, people!), so I should jazz that up a bit.

This evening, I faced two big challenges:

We attended my daughter’s Back to School potluck. 95%, at least, of the items people brought, I couldn’t eat—and seeing plates full of brownies, cookies, seeing macaroni and cheese and white bun BBQ sandwiches was hard. Hard. However, not choosing them was surprisingly easy. I had eaten a large lunch at 1:30 and hoped that would help stave off the hunger. It didn’t; I felt quite hungry. Maybe it was just cravings? In any case, I munched on carrots and grapes. Not, uh, the right Whole 30 balance, but it was the best I could do.

Fountain penI heard back from my wonderful editor, Tessa Shapcott, with her suggestions for my second book. All eight pages of them. I wanted to weep. Look, I’m smart enough to know she knows what she’s doing, that her advice is golden, and that once I apply it, the book will be that much stronger. But when you get all that feedback at once, it’s like getting hit on the head with a sledgehammer. And the drive to eat is killing me right now. Yes, perhaps I am legitimately a little hungry from the small dinner, but I’m positive that MOST of this is that raging desire to eat in order to tame the emotions running wild. I feel sad that my story needs so much work. I feel scared I won’t be able to do it. I feel angry I didn’t do it well enough the first time. I feel frustrated at how much I have to fix. I feel scared I won’t be able to do it (yes, I already said that one, but it’s possibly the biggest, and deserves a second mention). I admit, I grabbed a handful of cashews and ate it, hoping that would sate any actual hunger. But my stomach is gnawing at me, knocking on my brain in a way it hasn’t since before I started this. I know it’s not real hunger. It’s emotional hunger, it’s looking for some way to soothe myself. Knowing that doesn’t make it easier, though.

Whole 30, Day 9:

eggsMade eggs this morning, though I really didn’t want to. I’m tired of eggs. Apparently so is my body, as I nearly gagged on them several times and had to force them down. What’s up with that? Guess it means I definitely need a different protein source come tomorrow morning.

This is not a fun day. Felt very oogy around lunch. Thought perhaps I needed some protein, so I made some ground beef. Yes, just plain. Obviously one of my problems is not planning enough / making interesting meals. Anyway, ate the meat and a banana and a couple of carrots – and felt worse. I lay down for an hour or so, and then spent an hour hunched in my chair with my innards yelling at me. Is this a Whole 30 thing? A bug? I don’t know, but it sucks. Making a potato now (evening) to see if the starch helps settle the stomach.

Whole 30, Day 10:

I did a no-no. I stepped on the scale. No, I’m not starting over (the Whole 30 argues if you break one of their main tenets, you must start anew with 30 more days. So. Not. Happening.). The good news is, I’ve dropped 11 pounds. 11. (Some of that is binge weight from the frenzy in the first few days before). The bad news is, I just don’t want to eat. Like, anything. I don’t mean psychologically, I mean physiologically. Yes, it’s totally bizarre for me, but I also know it isn’t healthy. Eating eggs yesterday morning, and then ground beef at noon, had me sick to my stomach. Not sure what to do about this. Of course, the book says days 10 & 11 are the hardest, because the newness has worn off, and sometimes gastrointestinal issues are still around, but really, not eating is not an option.

squashYou know when they say “x” tastes just like “y”? Don’t believe them. Why do I always believe them? When I was little, my mom tried to entice me to eat squash by insisting that if I put some brown sugar on it, it would taste just like pumpkin pie. I’m here to tell you, she lied. According to the Whole 30, coconut aminos taste just like soy sauce. OK, I admit, I haven’t tasted them – but I did dump them on the chicken and veggies I’m frying up for stir fry. And the smell was NOTHING like soy sauce, so I dispute the notion it’s going to taste just like soy sauce…

I wound up throwing some soy sauce in and resigning myself not to eating it (I don’t think I can stomach it, anyway), because if I didn’t, I have a feeling I’d have a family rebellion on my hands. So much for that.

Whole 30, Day 11:

I very nearly quit today. I know, how cliché; the Whole 30 book warns that most people who quit, quit on days 10 & 11. But I felt so awful this morning, and have felt that way for three days. Ugh.

When I mentioned to my husband I was googling people who’d quit the Whole 30, to see if others had experienced this level of innard discord, food aversion, gagging, he said, “That doesn’t sound like very productive reading.” I nearly threw the laptop at him.

Feeling sick and unable to eat for three days in a row is no picnic. Anyway, I made myself a fruit smoothie for breakfast (technically okay, but heavily frowned upon during a Whole 30), and felt MUCH better after drinking it, enough so that I decided to attempt some protein for lunch.

coconutoilI baked chicken, coating the glass pan with just a bit of coconut oil to prevent sticking. Upon taking the pan out and smelling the warm oil, I nearly retched. But it was a lightbulb. Aha! Maybe it’s the coconut oil that’s bothering me – I’d scrambled eggs in it, cooked meat with it, etc. Maybe if I stop using the oil, I’ll feel better! I managed to eat the chicken and one white potato. No greens, which I know is terrible, but hey, I was thrilled to choke down some protein!

Tonight I ate more chicken, and an orange. Again, no greens, but still, protein! And this evening I’m actually feeling 90% normal. Let’s hope this continues, and I can work more veggies back in.

This isn’t the prettiest Whole 30. It certainly isn’t going to win “Best Rule Follower” award. But I’m still here.

Whole 30, Day 12:

chickbrocWoke up feeling good, but still revolted at the idea of protein in the morning. Had a smoothie instead, which was yummy, but I think I woke the Sugar Dragon. Either that, or my body just feels better – I’ve been hungry again today! I suppose I should try to find a smoothie recipe that has veggies in it.

Lunch was baked chicken, baked potato, and broccoli, but I liked it. Felt good all afternoon, though hungry! Right now I’m cooking dinner for the family – and some anger and resentment has hit again. I want to eat their tacos, not whatever I’m going to eat. I’m grilling a steak. Not because I want to.

So I guess I need to find some real recipes to do. I want to make stir-fry, BUT I can’t use soy sauce, and the coconut aminos smell terrible to me, so I’m not quite sure what to do there. The ever-present challenge of finding proteins and especially veggies I like continues.

Whole 30, Day 13: Massive headache again, and slight stomach oogies. Not sure if it’s food-related, or just normal stuff (I get headaches a lot). Still can’t stand the idea of protein at breakfast, though I considered making eggs. Had a smoothie instead. Wish I could put yogurt into it more than fruit juice. Perhaps I shall try to find some appropriate almond milk and give that a shot.

People have asked me if I notice anything.

orange-clip-art-2Yes. I might feel slightly thinner (well, near the face, at least). Some fruits taste a lot sweeter than they used to. I still can’t stomach the idea of lots of protein in the morning. I still don’t like a wide enough variety of veggies, or probably protein sources, for that matter, which is making this especially challenging.

And I am way more emotional than I like.

I don’t think the Whole 30 sparks the emotionality; rather, I think the emotions have always been there – I just try to ignore them or stuff them down with food.

I have cried about something every single day since I started this. I’m angry a lot more. Or maybe not. Maybe I just feel it more acutely since I’m not smoothing it with sugar.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t had times of being happy – I have. But this “tears close to the surface” feels weird to me.

And that’s what I’ve noticed.

Whole 30, Day 14:

SadAnneGag reflex is back. Now it’s for cashews. What the heck, body/brain? You LIKE cashews. Hoping this passes. Today I’m in an extremely bad mood and have a ferocious headache. And I have 16 more days of this?

The problem is, The Sugar Dragon and My Brain are incredibly devious – because I can feel my body trying to self-select down to things like smoothies and Larabars. I know those are no-nos – I know it’s my brain WANTING the “no brakes” foods back.

If I’ve learned nothing else from this Whole 30, I’ve learned my brain has VERY strong notions about food, and about what should and should not go together.

I added almond milk to my smoothie. Innocuous, unsweetened almond milk. And I’ve having a hard time drinking the stupid thing.

How did these notions get so firmly entrenched in my head? Why do I have such a very hard time trying/accepting new foods?

almond-milkThis is making this whole experience extremely sucky. Feeling nauseated by foods I normally don’t mind (maybe because I’m eating so much of them) and then feeling nauseated by the idea of some new foods.

Frankly, the only reason I haven’t quit is a) because I told all of you I was doing this, b) I’ve dropped 14 pounds, and c) I want to prove to my husband I can do it.

We’ll see if I can actually make it another 16 days, though.


Day 14, evening: Just spent 1/2 hour sobbing in my room, angry at my husband and everyone for telling me not to quit.

Then I realized I was more angry at me. I don’t want to quit.

no-quittingBut I also don’t want a body/brain that has to fight this battle every stinking day, nor a body/brain unwilling to accept new foods. So right now I’m just very, very angry. Frustrated. And so very tired of the battle. Exhausted by the battle. Pissed off at the battle.

Why can’t I be someone who is an adventuresome eater who prefers this way of eating by nature?? Two more weeks feels unfathomable right now, especially in the middle of book edits. And yet, I really, truly do not want to quit. For me.

Because I always quit. It’s too hard. It’s no fun. It sucks. It’s not comfortable. It’s not easy.

Trying so, so very hard to tell myself that being overweight and tired and having high cholesterol and fatigue is no fun, either. But it’s what I am, it’s what I’m used to, and it sure would be a heck of a lot easier (and frankly more fun) if I just accepted that. Most of the time I do.

I’m not saying these Whole 30 habits will last forever. They won’t. I’m already looking forward to day 31. I don’t want pizza or donuts or ice cream (well, I do, but not first thing). No, the thing I crave most lately is a bowl of noodles with peas and a little bit of butter. I really miss peas.

I want to continue eating more healthfully, if not as stringently as this month. I want to improve my health. I want to be a better example for my kids. I want to look better for my husband.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 3.11.02 PMBut at the moment, I am filled with rage. Rage at how hard this is, at how much my stupid body and brain are not cooperating, at how it feels like everyone else has it easier and gets to eat whatever they want (yes, I know that’s not true, but hey, my brain is DEVIOUS, people).

Rage. And tears. I have cried every day this week. Every single day.

On to Week 3, full of rage and tears. And maybe that’s okay. Because I’m finally acknowledging and experiencing those emotions. I hate it. I hate everything right now.

But I’m determined. I’m determined to prove to myself that I can do this.

(And dearest husband, if you read this far, I’m sorry. I know I have not been easy to live with. I know. And while I’m fighting not to take this out on you and the kids, I know I’m not always succeeding. Please forgive me.)