The Best Laid Plans

Diet plans, that is. Last week, I decided to get a head start on the January fitness rush by getting a “customised” nutrition plan from a personal trainer through his website. I have done so much reading on fuelling my workouts and weight loss, weight gain, maintenance etc that it took several weeks of convincing myself to even justify the cost (not exactly breaking the bank at £35) but as with most things in life, I doubt my own ability to put my knowledge and ability into something workable. There’s also something reassuring about having the back-up of someone who does this as a living.

Nonetheless, my excitement was short-lived when I saw the plan. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, but it’s clearly just a generic template with my macros worked out and inserted in the form of varying size portions of chicken and veg spread over SIX MEALS A DAY. I know that I need to fuel my workouts, but I also need to run a business, raise my children, take care of my ‘zoo’, fulfil my volunteer responsibilities, etc. I barely have time to sit down and eat 3 meals a day (and so generally don’t!) and so 6 meals is never going to work.

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Such chicken. So wow. Much gains.

Despite my cynicism, it’s still a breakdown of what I need in terms of protein/carbs/cals etc that I’ve never had the mental energy to work out myself, and so I’m determined to see it through for at least the first 4 weeks (Christmas Day indulgences aside). I’ve “cheated” and modified the plan based on the stats provided, doubling up a couple of the meals to bring me down to 4 meals a day, which is eminently more workable. I can’t find any science to justify eating 6 meals a day, aside from the possible issue of maxing out protein absorption, but as I’m eating more protein than I normally would I can’t imagine that negatively impacting my workouts, which is my main concern anyway.

On that note, Fitness Savvy got in touch with me this month to mention some supplement giveaways they’re running to celebrate their launch; there’s more information on their Facebook page (I’ve not been compensated for mentioning this, it’s just “of interest” to much of my audience…)

With my upcoming nutrition in the bag, the next step is to figure out how to take my fitness forward. I have a couple of races booked in 2018, but as I’ve demonstrated time and time again I absolutely suck at training for them, somehow winging 10ks and half marathons by the skin of my teeth. I’ve tentatively considered getting up half an hour earlier each morning to clock a steady 5k – my logic being that although short in distance, some running is better than no running – but I’m not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination and the prospect terrifies me.

On top of that, having cracked the bodyweight squat earlier this year (and beyond) I’d like to reintroduce deadlifts to my routine in 2018 and beast a bodyweight deadlift. I stopped doing them because I was worried about my form, but I have so many resources available to me to fix this, I just need to suck it up and ask for help. I’d also like to start benching, which is something I’m terrified off.

Lofty goals.

Just be chill about it

Gaz asked me one Saturday a few weeks back — as I ordered a vodka cocktail — whether or not I’d given up on the ‘not drinking’ thing. A fair question, given the ‘ordering a cocktail’ thing.

Sobriety was going really, really well. I had managed to get through several months without a drink, battling some immense cravings (which peak around ovulation, bizarrely) along the way. I ‘slipped’ on a couple of social occasions but was able to get back into it with ease. And then my brother died, and not only did I smash through a few bottles of red wine in a short space of time but it brought on a crisis. What am I fucking doing? Why can’t I just be “normal” and enjoy a drink with friends without getting utterly wasted? Why can’t I have a healthy relationship with this addictive drug (ha ha ha)? Am I going to end up like my brother?

It wasn’t pretty, and the more I thought about it the worse it got, and the worse the cravings got, and the more I felt useless and like a failure… a vicious circle of self-loathing ensued which, for someone used to self-medicating their problems with a glass or 5 of wine, potentially only had one way of ending. (Because only I could be so stressed about drinking that I need a drink to de-stress which causes me to stress about my drinking… & so on.)

So, I tried to be rational. I tried to think about what my “goals” were if I wasn’t going to be 100% sober:

  • Enjoy a drink on a special occasion, e.g. birthdays, celebrations etc, without it being “weird”.
  • Be able to order one drink and no more. Or, order a soft drink around people who were drinking without feeling left out.
  • Not put on the weight that I lost by giving up.
  • Not drink for the sake of drinking.
  • Most importantly, to not get into a cycle of drinking to ease problems, which worsens my anxiety and depression symptoms caused by PMDD, which causes me to drink more.

With these goals in mind, I have been able to concoct a vague plan, and ultimately relax about it. Relaxing calms the stressy voices which immediately reduces cravings. This, combined with the pressure of knowing what I have to lose if I regress (my sanity, my relative happiness with my body), and seeing the impact of sobriety on my mental health, means I have been able to better make ‘mindful’ decisions about where and when to drink. To just ‘be chill’ about it.

So far so I’ve successfully navigated a couple of birthdays, a weekend with friends, several games nights and other social occasions:

I have chosen to drink, and to not drink, in equal measure. I have interspersed water with wine. I have picked low alcohol ciders over double vodkas. (And I’ve got pretty drunk and felt like shit the next day, which served as an excellent reminder of what not to do.)

I am feeling OK with where I’m at right now. It might not last; I might lose my shit and drink far too much, or… I might go sober again. I don’t know. But it’ll do for now.

Orange & Lemonade Pt 2: 5 weeks

It’s now been about 5 weeks since I decided to stop drinking for good.

I am sleeping better. Aside from a couple of weeks of intense drinking-frenzy dreams where I got completely smashed off my face (in the dream, that is) I have slept solidly every night since I stopped drinking. My sleep cycles have gone back to normal and I don’t feel tired all the time.

The puffy dark circles under my eyes are mostly gone. Partly because I’m sleeping better, and partly because I’m not in a state of perma-dehydration.

My weight is slowly dropping. I was able to wear a pair of size 12 jeans again this week, which I’ve not been able to do in 12+ months, since I lost a huge chunk of weight initially. I’d convinced myself that my drinking was not to blame for weight gain because I moderated input and calculated calories but this was completely ignoring the science behind alcohol consumption (in simple terms, when you eat & drink, food is stored as fat so your liver can prioritise dealing with the poison you’re voluntarily taking into your system). Ignorance is not bliss, after all.

And most importantly: I’ve not had a single anxiety related episode despite going through the tail end of one cycle and another complete cycle. What this basically means is that I was worsening my own PMDD by constantly drinking (despite often doing it to self-medicate the symptoms themselves!)

It’s not a huge surprise, alcohol is a known depressant, but what is surprising is just how much difference it makes being completely sober. The scale of change in my symptoms is massive. I can’t attribute this entirely to drinking/not drinking — my circumstances are more stable, and I’ve implemented strategies to better cope with workloads and stress — but is a massive help.

I am still INCREDIBLE HULK ANGRY in lead up to menstruation, but angry on its own is a hell of a lot easier to deal with than angry AND anxious/paranoid.

In the space of 5 weeks I could have easily consumed 1-2 bottles of wine a week, and the equivalent of a bottle of vodka on a ‘going out weekend’ – of which there has been a couple. So in 5 weeks I’ve “missed out” on approximately 10 bottles of wine and 2 bottles of vodka.

Except I’m not missing it at all.

Orange & Lemonade

Yesterday lunch time I went out with Gaz’s team from work for an unexpected light lunch. It’s the kind of situation where I’d usually indulge in a “cheeky” glass of wine or a cocktail (or two) because a) unexpected social interaction mid-PMDD-monster-times and b) who doesn’t love to break up the day with alcohol?

Except I ordered orange juice & lemonade. It was lovely: a little tart; cool and refreshing.

If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that I decided to stop drinking last week. No more attempting moderation, no more weeknight wine, and definitely no more binging on 12 or more double shots of vodka on a Friday night. No booze, none, nada. It’s been a long time coming.

After a couple of years of trying to bring my intake under control and ultimately failing — because “I needed a drink”, “just one more”, “I’m under a lot of stress” — I realised that the only way for me to control it was to not drink at all. Not only that, but to never drink again.

Alcohol is quite literally a poison that I have voluntarily taken into my system time and time again, to the detriment of both my physical and mental health, and yet I hold on to it like a crutch… a lifeboat for the days I feel like I’m drowning. For what purpose or benefit? None that I can think of.

When trying to moderate, there’s always that choice: do I have one? Can I risk two? Is today a drinking day or not a drinking day? If I have one glass today does that mean one less at the weekend? What is a moderate amount of alcohol anyway? If it takes me a bottle of wine to get drunk where some people might need a glass, does that justify drinking a whole bottle? What about two?

And that generally leads to eating a little less at lunch to ‘save up’ calories for the drink later, skipping a meal altogether because you know it’s going to be a heavy night, and before you know where you are you’ve consumed more calories as liquid than food. Add that to waking in the morning having forgotten chunks of an evening, general brain fog that is a perma-hangover, disrupted sleep, weird twitches and persistent dehydration… it’s not exactly a boatload of fun I’m opting out of.

If I were the sort of person who could have a glass of wine and then stop, this wouldn’t even be an issue. But I’m not and never have been. I am not an “in moderation” person when it comes to anything in life. Give me all or nothing!

I still dominate the dance floor when I’m out (I can’t dance but that doesn’t stop me). The conversation, jokes and “banter” still flow easily. I still act like a prat, make loud/rude jokes and generally behave inappropriately: because I have never needed alcohol to do that.

The questions — because when you go from notorious pisshead to completely sober there will always be questions — are easily answered honestly: I am concerned with my drinking and have decided to stop. No, I am not pregnant. No, I don’t need you to stop drinking in front of me. Yes, I can be designated driver.

And so back to lunch… around the table, some order diet cokes, some order white wine, and now it’s my turn to choose. Except I don’t drink now, so there is no choice, no anxiety over what I should do. No rationalising what I should consume, when or how. No justifying excess consumption. I just don’t drink.

Orange & lemonade, please.

My Whole30: the results!

Never mind my food, my lifting and whether or not I carry on this crazy lifestyle change, I know this is the bit you’ve all been waiting for. Have I actually lost any weight or fat?

To refresh your memory, my measurements at the start of whole30 were as follows:

  • Weight: 161.6lbs (73.3kg)
  • Thighs: L: 60.3cm / R: 60.5cm
  • Calves: L: 37cm / R: 37.2cm
  • Hips: 102cm
  • Waist: 84.4cm
  • Biceps: L: 28.6cm / R: 28.4cm

And so… my measurements this morning were:

  • Weight: 156lbs (70.8kg)
  • Thighs: L: 57.5cm / R: 57cm
  • Calves: L: 36.4cm / R: 37cm
  • Hips: 98cm
  • Waist: 79cm
  • Biceps: L: 27cm / R: 28cm

So, even accounting for me potentially being cack-handed with a tape measure, I have lost a significant amount of centimetres all over which adds up to a total 5.6lbs in weight. I have no idea if that’s good or bad as results go (and weight loss was not my motivation for trying whole30) but it does suggest that even as I moaned my way through it because “nothing was happening”: stuff was going on!

Whole 30 Log – week 4 (and a bit)

Day 22 – 22nd Feb:

Made more of an effort to eat well today as Sundays are normally so manic I only eat one meal. Also got some fresh air and light exercise tromping round the woods in Ironbridge with the kids. Still feel fairly “normal” – typical me, basically. No boost, no tiger blood, no obvious benefits to this challenge at all. Considering the amount of hype it gets and the amount of people who rave about their low carb diets being the best thing since sliced bread, well… I’m clearly abnormal.

Day 23 – 23rd Feb:

Crap night’s sleep thanks to Oliver waking me up 6 times, couldn’t get back to sleep after 4:45am. This morning would be a large Americano from Costa type of morning, why did I give up coffee for February too?*

I’ve been reading the blogs of some ultra runners who train and run during whole30 and/or with a paleo diet this evening and can’t help but feel slightly cheated that these people can run 50 miles like this and I’m struggling to run for 3. I wonder if I’m doing something “wrong”? Maybe I should track my meals this week to see if other whole30-ers can make some suggestions…

Day 24 – 24th Feb:

Another bad night’s sleep thanks to Oliver, I think he’s coming down with something. I probably am too as I have 4-5 mouth ulcers and that’s usually the first sign something’s not right.

I finally noticed a positive side effect of this month’s challenge: my nails are ridiculously strong compared to usual. Normally my nails rip or break on an almost daily basis, but I’ve not had that problem in a while. I have one nail that is particularly long and it’s great for nose-picking ;) Apparently this is likely to be the increased water I’m drinking, so may actually be because of giving up coffee rather than specifically whole30-related.

Had a massive chunk of turkey meatloaf (recipe coming soon) and some roasted brussel sprouts and walnuts for breakfast. Bolognese with big portions of veg instead of pasta for lunch, possibly with a banana if I’m not full. Workout night tonight so I may try and fit in some sweet potato around 5ish to see if that helps with my problems working out.

Day 25 – 25th Feb:

Another bad night with Olly so feeling knackered now. :(

Sweet potato before last night’s workout seemed to help. I was able to better cope with 3 rounds at 11.5kg (dumbbell) and then I threw in 15 back squats with the barbell bar (7.5kg; can’t afford weights for it yet) and then further dropsets down to 9.5kg. Was probably the longest/toughest workout I’ve done in ages but felt pretty damn good. Followed it up by a PWO hardboiled egg and then chicken & veg stir fry.

Unfortunately I left the other half of last night’s stir fry, which was to be my lunch, out on the side and the cats tipped it everywhere to get the chicken out so my meals are badly planned and probably a little wonky today. 2 x hardboiled eggs + lashing of homemade mayo, followed by a banana for breakfast. I’ve got 3 big chunks of turkey meatloaf with a quarter of a cauliflower for lunch. Sweet potato for pre-run later. Will probably have steak, chips & salad tonight because it’s Wednesday and I go to Gaz’s and it’s something easy to cook that we both like.

Less pissed off with whole30 affecting my strength following my good workout; my run tonight will be the real test and will confirm whether the difference was the sweet potato or coincidence. I am however pissed off with the fact that over the course of about a week I’ve suddenly lost a cup size. My boobs are disappearing under my very eyes! :( As well as being one of my favourite body features, none of my bras fit properly now. Why can’t the ring of flab around my middle disappear this quickly?

Day 26 – 26th Feb:

Guess who ran a solid non-stop 8km last night? YEAH. Only stopped at 8km because my foot started twinging and I was worried I’d injure it again if I kept going. It was really weird because as I slowed down to a walk, my muscles were almost pushing me forwards as if they wanted me to keep going. I’ve not felt that before. I definitely would have had enough in me to do another couple of km, and annoyingly I was on track for a sub 1 hour 10km as well. Oh well, better to stop short this week and still be able to run than push it to 10km and end up out for 3 months again.

No kids last night so slept better. Two hard boiled eggs and what’s left of the meatloaf for breakfast: all about that protein.

Day 27 – 27th Feb:

Oliver actually slept through last night for the first time all week and I still spent half the night awake. What is up with that?

Thigh is hurting today from Wednesday’s run. While I was running I did think I was favouring the one leg a bit so it’s probably a result of that. Going to skip tonight’s run and aim for parkrun tomorrow morning to give it some extra rest time.

Food-wise I’m still on track. Tuna, cucumber & homemade mayo for breakfast. Massive chicken & avocado salad for lunch. No idea what I’m eating this evening…

Day 28 – 28th Feb:

Nothing interesting to note. Still going. Didn’t parkrun in the morning because tiredness caught up with me – stayed in bed.

Day 29 – 1st Mar:

Didn’t sleep well last night and ended up with another typical Sunday: not eating properly because of distractions. Would have been nice to fix this while doing the whole30 but never mind, I’ll make it my next priority. DIY-ing til late night, scoffed some sort-of-chilli (i.e. it was compliant therefore didn’t contain beans and wasn’t served with rice) before bed.

Could have had a coffee today.. didn’t.

Day 30 – 2nd Mar:

Last day. I feel like I should be champing at the bit to get my chops around some cake and chocolate but to be honest I’m still sure I’ll continue a mostly whole30 approach to my meals, giving myself a bit of freedom on Fridays and Saturdays.

Scrambled eggs & avocado for breakfast. More of that chilli(ish) for lunch, with a banana if I’m still hungry after and then roast chicken tonight to make up for not having it yesterday.

Still haven’t had a coffee.

* Giving up coffee for the month is part of my 30 before thirty challenge, not part of whole30

My #whole30 journey

Unless something happens in the next few days, I’m on track for completing my first whole30. Notice the word first in there? Yeah, that’s because I’d consider doing this again.

So what’s the deal? I thought you were fed up with it!
I have been fed up with it, for almost the entire 30 days. Fed up because I wasn’t noticing changes, positive or negative, and fed up because it was affecting my strength workouts and my running. But in dwelling on what I wasn’t seeing, I was missing the bigger picture: that if this “diet change” didn’t cause ANY negative side effects, then actually it’s probably not that big a change at all. I knew I ate well, but I have been worried about my increased sugar (cake) consumption again recently. If cutting all of this out meant NO carb flu, NO cravings, then actually I probably have this eating thing under control.

What about your workouts/running?
It was definitely super frustrating to find that this supposedly “ideal” diet was actually making me less strong, less fit, less able but in hindsight it was my own fault for not spending more time planning pre workout nutrition. Because I prefer to workout and run on an empty stomach, I normally rely on carbs eaten earlier in the day. (E.g. a pasta lunch would fuel my 7pm workout normally) But… this was obviously a flawed plan under whole30 because I just wasn’t eating as many carbs in the day – and there’s a long time between my lunch (1pm) and my workout/run (6-7pm) Eating half a sweet potato 2 hours prior seems to be the answer.

So what effects have you seen?
Visually, I can see that my boobs have shrunk. I can’t see any other changes but I guess I’ll reserve judgement until I take my measurements.

<TMI>In terms of digestion, I’ve had some weird issues with going to the loo. Normally I’m a regular-as-clockwork, first thing in the morning girl. Some days even twice. There are a few exceptions: e.g. if I eat carb-heavy meals all day I’ll sometimes find it difficult to go first thing the next day, and if I eat Indian takeaway it will often have the opposite effect ;) During the whole30 this changed. Some days I don’t go, some days I go later on in the evening, and there’s been a couple of times I’ve woken overnight needing to poop. Despite this random schedule, I don’t feel uncomfortable and bloated like I do if I’ve not pooped normally (I’m sure Gaz will testify how tetchy I get if I’ve not done a crap for +24hrs) When I do go, they’re smaller and less substantial than I’m used to.</TMI>

My nails are stronger because of my increased water consumption and my sleep is mostly better (kids wake-ups aside).

Physical/visual stuff aside, I’m planning my meals (all 3) better whereas before I only planned my evening meal and made up the other two as I went along. This often meant skipping breakfast or having porridge for both breakfast and lunch.

So what effects were you hoping for or expecting that you DIDN’T see?
I didn’t experience “tiger blood” or any of the supposed concentration / energy benefits. I don’t normally have a problem with my energy levels though.

I didn’t see any positive difference in my body’s reactions to hormone levels. Quite the contrary: because I experienced the peaks and troughs of normal monthly hormone levels my mood was much more volatile. I recognise that it’s normal to have those fluctuations throughout my cycle but the effects on my mood (high anxiety/weepiness during ovulation and then intense anger before menstruation – my doc reckons PMDD) have a massive impact upon my stress levels and as such my mental health.

I know some people claim that they need months and months for the effects of the pill to wear off but this isn’t the case for me: I can feel the effects of not taking the pill within a day and a half, which tallies with the science behind the pill (and is why you have to take it daily for the contraceptive effect to work!) I’ll be restarting the pill as soon as my period arrives (due over the weekend).

How come you managed this but not Sugar-Free September?
Who knows?! Perhaps the strict nature of the whole30 – the idea that if you screw up you have to start again – kept me on track. I do work best under pressure.

So day 31 is pizza and cake day?
Probably not. I am seriously considering continuing a mostly-whole30 approach to food. I will be reintroducing butter ASAP (as I looove my butter and know I’m not sensitive to dairy) and peanut butter in moderate amounts. I will likely continue avoiding white pasta and bread most of the time. I am looking forward to a glass or 2 of wine on a Friday night again, the odd bit of ice cream and cake, ohh cake. I’ve no interest in paleo-ising my favourite desserts, if I want to indulge I’m going to do it and do it properly.

I’m thinking if I could stick to a whole30/paleo-esque approach Sunday-Thursday, that gives me Fridays and/or Saturdays to chill out a bit, go out if I want to, enjoy a pizza with friends. Sensible, balanced approach. Or something like that.

Whole 30 Log – week 3

Day 15 – 15th Feb:

Normal Sunday: in other words, mad rush to pick up the kids, no time to sit down and eat til late. I did manage to grab a couple of hardboiled eggs and some chicken around 2pm but basically didn’t eat til my evening meal (which was massive to compensate). It might be that lack of food that caused my *ahem* annoyed outburst at the end of yesterday’s log entry but this is not a recurring thing – I eat plenty on every other day of the week.

Day 16 – 16th Feb:

Nothing particularly exciting to say. Tired and snotty, not feeling great – unrelated to whole30 though.

Day 17 – 17th Feb:

Had a vivid dream about vodka coffee ‘cocktails’ (if you can call half a cup of coffee mixed with half a cup of vodka a cocktail) last night. Maybe this is my brain finally noticing I’m doing this whole30 stuff. Says it all that out of all of the things I’m missing, my brain picks vodka and coffee to think about.

Tried to put on my only skirt and a blouse for work this morning and they basically fell off. I can’t really afford to lose any more weight, so the fact that this is the only result from whole30 so far is a bit annoying. Might need to go raid a charity shop, if nothing else but because I’m curious if I can now fit into a size 10.

Day 18 – 18th Feb:

Tired today, struggling to get going. No vodka dreams last night. Worked out with a lighter dumbbell (9.5kg) though and still struggling. Not enjoying feeling weaker :( I’m out of the ovulation phase of my cycle now so would expect any hormone-related strength issues to have passed. Still feeling pretty peed off with the whole thing (whole thing, har har, a pun) for this reason, and because I guess general stress and life “blah”s.

I don’t know why I’m moaning, the challenge itself is not actually challenging. I am making all my normal foods and mostly just changing what I serve them with: spag bol with veg instead of pasta, skipping yorkshire puddings with my roast, curry with more curry instead of rice ;) People keep pulling this face when I explain whole30, like I’ve just done a shit on their kitchen floor? But the reality is that for someone who cooks every day it’s a piece of piss. I just wish it wasn’t messing with my strength and stamina.

Day 19 – 19th Feb:

Slept well last night. Feeling oddly nervous today that I’m approaching the end of week 3, which is when I gave up Sugar Free September (twice). I guess I’m determined to see it through so that I don’t feel like the past couple of weeks or so have been a waste, even though I’m disappointed in the effects on my workouts. I need to make sure that my meal planning is tip top and I have emergency compliant snacks available to get through the next week and a half.

Second day of feeling oddly bloated and uncomfortable after eating avocado with my lunch. Maybe this new addition ain’t so great after all.

Hoping to run later, fingers crossed I’m not dying a few km in again.

Day 20 – 20th Feb:

Didn’t run, went to Ikea, because that’s enough of a fitness/stamina test for anyone :P

Slept well again but still feeling “blah”. Where’s my fucking tiger blood?

Day 21 – 21st Feb:

Tired. Bored of not being able to have a glass of wine on a Friday night. One more week to go.

Whole 30 Log – week 2

Day 8 – 8th Feb:

Slept well, late morning lie in (even though I was supposed to be picking the kids up, oops!)

Running around after the kids/doing chores all day so didn’t get chance to eat – this is fairly par for the course on a Sunday when I’m trying to get everything sorted before the busy week ahead. At least it meant I wasn’t tempted by the jammy dodgers the kids were tucking in to!

Decided to workout because of my 2 missed workouts in week 1. Struggled to lift at my usual weight but wasn’t sure if that was lack of food rather than dietary changes. Completed the full workout anyway, then chucked an extra round of lifts on at a 2kg lighter weight for good measure.

Been a tad grumpy today which could be the whole30 but is more likely some external circumstances (which I won’t go into here)…

Day 9 – 9th Feb:

Slept well but woke up at 4am again. Eggy muffins for breakfast that I prepped yesterday, leftover spicy mince & tatties (w/veg) for lunch. Clearly I can categorically say at this point that if white potatoes hadn’t been added to the whole30 allowed list I would not have got this far.

It’s weird because I’m not really seeing any noticeable whole30 related changes, be that positive or negative. I know I keep saying it but I think that’s because my day to day diet is awesome. I guess this also means there’s no harm or reason not to stick it out til the end especially as I’m more interested at this stage in reintroducing foods after day 30 to see if anything happens.

Day 10 – 10th Feb:

Slept quite well again, only woken by children (no avoiding that, bah). Eggy muffins for breakfast and I’ve got leftover spicy pulled pork (it was supposed to be a whole30 compliant BBQ sauce but my experiment failed, oops) & potato for lunch – need to nip out and get some microwaveable veg to go with it as I underestimated how much veg I’d go through this week!

According to the timeline, today and tomorrow are the days I’m most likely to quit because “the newness has worn off”. Quite the contrary, at this point I’m enjoying the fact that being more organised with breakfasts and meals in advance on Sunday is giving me more time and less to stress about in the mornings and evenings when I rush back from work and have to get the kids fed and into bed for a reasonable time. I mean, I wouldn’t mind a big fat slice of cake right now but I’ve not had any cravings since the early days. I suppose that’s one positive to the whole30 I’d not predicted.

Day 11 – 11th Feb:

Not a brilliant night’s sleep – Olly was having bad dreams so was crying out, which woke me every bloody time (even though he carried on sleeping). Damn my uber-sensitive supermum hearing.

Worked out last night, really struggled with the 11.5kg dumbbell but finished the workout and then did 8 back squats with the barbell bar – perfecting my form before I think about adding weights (not that I have any yet :P) I’ve actually been looking at some of the pre and post workout meal advice from whole30 too, in case my lack of planning in that department is contributing to a stalling of progress with the weights so may experiment a little and see if that helps.

Day 12 – 12th Feb:

Went for a run last night and almost immediately had a pain in my gut like I’d been punched really hard – not sure what that was about. I had eaten a few almonds and an orange about half an hour before my run so hoping it was that and not a taste of what’s to come running through whole30! Only managed 4.2km which was disappointing because I wanted to do double that.

Slept better last night though, although didn’t want to get out of bed this morning.

Had some avocado this morning because it the was the only decent source of good fats I could think of whilst running around Sainsbury’s trying to find breakfast. Never really liked it but it was ok. Could have done with some salt and pepper.

Mood is shaky today, and last night. Low level annoyance at virtually everything just bubbling away.

Day 13 – 13th Feb:

Low level annoyance yesterday turned into full on breakdown by the afternoon. I nearly burst into tears in Tesco because the woman asked me if I needed any help with my packing (probably because I felt like responding “no, just MY LIFE” … but I didn’t.) Ended up sobbing all over Gaz all evening. Still low today, but trying to bear in mind that this is smack bang OVULATION TIME for me. Fuck hormones! On the plus side, this does rather reassure me that my hormonal mood fluctuations are not caused by birth control or diet, which was the primary motivation for doing the whole30 / birth control “detox”. Let’s get a fuck yeah up in here for birth control!

Had avocado again for breakfast (other half of yesterday’s). It might not taste of much and the texture is a bit weird but it does help fill me up for longer so might buy it again.

Day 14 – 14th Feb:

Today’s challenge was finding a whole30 compliant lunch in a motorway service station. Whereas normally I’d just have a burger and coffee for probably less than a fiver, I ended up spending £7.80 on a fruit salad, compliant “handcooked” crisps, nuts and a coconut based smoothie from Waitrose. Ridiculous amount of money on what was effectively a giant snack. I could have done 2-3 homecooked meals for a family of 4 for that money.

I have to admit that after this little lunchtime disaster, which admittedly I could have swerved with better planning, I am feeling frazzled by the whole30 thing. It’s not cured me of my horrible mood swings, which was the main reason for trying it; it’s made no difference to my sleep (although some nights I’m sleeping soundly this isn’t a guarantee and I often wake early and can’t get back to sleep); and worse, it seems to be affecting my running and weight lifting. I have lost weight, but that’s not a motivation for me at all… not when my strength is affected.

If it doesn’t improve this week I’m bombing out early and I don’t care if that makes me a quitter.

Whole30 Log – Week 1

Day 1 – 1st Feb:

Spent much of the day preparing food for the week. Quiche-type thing (no crust) for breakfasts, homemade mayo for my coleslaw, etc.

Moods have been fine for about a week but I think that’s because I’ve been seeing my counsellor again. I am suffering mega cake cravings but that’s normal for this stage of my cycle, although is probably worsened by the knowledge that I can’t indulge.

Had an early night (8pm-ish), woke up a few times overnight but was awake at 6:30 with the alarm perky and ready to go.

Day 2 – 2nd Feb:

Dull headache from about 11am onwards, possible caffeine withdrawal?

Mood fine / stable. Hungry most of the morning despite two slices of the eggy thing & an apple, again possibly worsened by period? Despite hunger, the carby/cake cravings much lower than day 1.

Period arrived full-on, yay! :S

Day 3 – 3rd Feb:

Slept well last night, don’t remember waking at all which is a rarity these days. Wonder if that’s the lack of caffeine, or just coincidence? I haven’t been a massive coffee drinker for ages but I guess it’s possible that 2-3 cups of a morning could have an effect.

Beef stew for breakfast because why the hell not; left it cooking in the slow cooker overnight.

Today is a workout day. I’m hoping because I’m including potatoes daily I’m not going to notice problems caused by lack of carbs. I typically can’t hit my normal workout levels during menstruation and I ache like a bitch today so not holding out much hope anyway.

Mood is fine / stable, although I’m stressed about money :(

Day 4 – 4th Feb:

Didn’t work out last night in the end as the shoulder ache that started in the day was agonising by bed time. Despite being in bed by 9pm I was tossing and turning til around 1am until I caved and took a couple of ibuprofen. Slept OK then til just after 6am.

Eggy thingies for breakfast, chicken curry for lunch then steak later at Gaz’s.

Hoping to run later to make up for the lack of workout last night.

Day 5 – 5th Feb:

Ran last night as planned, 7km in ~45 minutes which is a good time considering it’s only my second one since I started again. Really pleased that the weight lifting and exercise bike has been enough to maintain fitness over the past 6 months. Didn’t sleep particularly well though, shoulders were aching again as well as horrible cramps (period-related).

Mood is still stable / cheerful. Not yet experiencing the “kill all the things” rage mentioned in the whole30 timeline but then my symptoms so have been generally mild; most of the unpleasant bits can be equally attributed to hormones as potential diet change. I think (hope) this is a reflection on my usually sensible diet :)

Day 6 – 6th Feb:

Slept soundly last night, perky and cheerful when I woke up. Wasn’t able to work out last night because of horrid abdo cramps (hurry up and fuck off, period).

Today I’m mostly wondering how the hell I’m going to find whole30 compliant food tomorrow while I’m at WordCamp Birmingham.

Low level headache all afternoon :(

Day 7 – 7th Feb:

Woken up at 4am by Gaz/the cats but otherwise slept fine. Giving up coffee doesn’t seem to have helped my problem of not being able to get back to sleep if I wake from around 4am onwards. I end up just lying there tossing and turning for hours.

Spent half the day at WC Brum and ate only an orange and a banana. Didn’t eat a proper meal til late evening (chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto, roast sweet potato, veg)… oops.

Moods fine/stable, no headache. Achy shoulders seem to have gone.

Failed on the first day!

Guess who failed Whole30 on the first day?

It started well enough… fried eggs and garlic mushrooms for breakfast, no coffee. However, it turns out that a getting a Whole30 compliant lunch in a chain pub is virtually impossible, and even worse than that is feeling like a massive dick trying to abstain from basically everything while the people around you are celebrating a milestone birthday (Gaz’s mum turned 70 yesterday).

So yep, I made the decision to delay the start til today. But that’s it now… no more excuses. I am now in Whole30 mode. Let’s do this shit!

Last Day of Freedom!

postworkoutnomsToday marks the last day of my nutritional freedom. I celebrated last night by eating a 2 course meal (extravagant) that was, ironically, whole30 compliant until I chucked a knob of butter on the veggies and washed it all down with a glass of wine. But really that says it all: my eating habits are already GOOD and I CAN DO THIS!

Anyway, eating habits aside, although my motivation to take part if this bloody nutcase challenge is for my mental health rather than my physical, I thought I’d take some measurements so that I can see at the end of the challenge what (if anything) has changed. So here goes:

  • Weight: 161.6lbs (73.3kg)
  • Thighs: L: 60.3cm / R: 60.5cm
  • Calves: L: 37cm / R: 37.2cm
  • Hips: 102cm
  • Waist: 84.4cm
  • Biceps: L: 28.6cm / R: 28.4cm

My main concern with this whole30 thing is that it’s going to affect my workouts, especially my lifting. I’m concerned about the effects of the lowered carb intake on my recovery. In an ideal world I wouldn’t really want to be losing much from my biceps, and probably not from my calves either as both are already fairly “toned”, but I can afford to lose fat from my thighs, hips and waist.

I’m also concerned that my main weak point and usual big carby meal — breakfast — is going to be the killer. I don’t have time in the mornings to make myself breakfast, instead preferring to grab a bowl of porridge when I get to work. I really need to be preparing some stuff in advance so that I can grab and run and not worry about it; maybe soups or a stash of hard boiled eggs.

Anyway.. here goes I guess. I start first thing tomorrow. Wish me luck!