I haven't always been so great at sticking to "diet" plans. I would say for the majority of my life, I never needed to be. I was on a year-round swim team from ages ten to eighteen where I basically could eat whatever I wanted because we were swimming, running, and lifting weights twice a day. My senior year of high school I was diagnosed with PCOS and for the first time in my life, I struggled with weight gain. As frustrating as that was, it wasn’t long lasting. I got put on birth control and Metformin and the weight just fell off. Then I hit my mid-twenties and it was like everything stopped working. My metabolism went on strike and don’t even get me started on my GI system. You’re drunk intestines, go home!
For four years I have been dealing with weight gain and pretty bad GI problems. I wish it ended there. Unfortunately, weight gain did a doozy to my self-esteem and confidence. It can’t just be weight gain, it seems to affect everything else as well. Maybe that makes me weak that I can’t embrace my “curves” and love my new, plumper body. Hey, I’m just being honest. I don’t like being overweight. I don’t like squeezing myself into my jeans and doing squats beside the bed to loosen them up. I especially don’t like how everything will look nice and smooth in the front and then I turn around and AGH!, it’s all splooging out the back. So, what am I going to do about it?
Truth #1: I hate exercising. HATE it. I don’t know if it is because I was somewhat forced to go to swim practice twice a day for eight long years. When I quit swimming, I wanted to take a break from the intensity of working out. That break has lasted nine years. Oops. That is embarrassing to admit. I think I made a mistake in just stopping exercise completely when I quit swimming. I should have found something else, less intense, with less of a time commitment to switch to. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. I’m not saying I haven’t exercised at all in nine years. I just haven’t exercised consistently. I am trying to get back into it right now. But I still hate it, so it is hard.
Turth #2: I came to accept my GI issues as part of “me.” Without going into too much detail and grossing you all out, it was completely normal for me to go to the bathroom six to seven times a day. Explosively. Geez, I am just laying it all out today. I visited a couple of GI docs, had a super fun colonoscopy, and had tests done on my stool. Nothing ever came back blaringly alarming. My celiac panel was elevated. Not high enough to make me a true celiac, but they believe I have a sensitivity to gluten. My stool panel showed I have no good bacteria in my gut. Not a single bit. So, I was put on probiotics. But, the probiotics are kept in the fridge and therefore I remember to take them oooh, about every nine to twelve days. In a good month. I am far from perfect people and my memory is pure crap. So, here I was, running to the bathroom all of the time. It got so bad that no matter where we were, who we were with, Jimmy always asked if I was ok after eating and if he needed to find me a bathroom. That’s love right there. I tried gluten free every so often. A month here, two weeks there, I could just never stick with it. I might have a problem with follow-through.
Truth #3: I love food, but I think it can be psychologically damaging. I’ve used food for comfort and to make me happy. It is pretty intense that tasting something can bring you feelings of happiness. And I think a lot of food companies know this. I was watching a show on how soda companies test out the euphoric limit of their products. How much sugar can they add to make you feel the happiest without you feeling sick? The amount of sugar to make you keep buying more. It is actually pretty ingenious, but it also makes us a dependent on our food. A ton of other products do this also. I was starting to realize that I was in a vicious cycle. I was so upset with my body, but didn’t know what to do about it, or how to stop it. If I ate healthy, I gained weight. If I ate badly, I gained weight (obviously). A lot of this has to do with my PCOS. The wonky hormones associated with PCOS makes it that much harder to lose weight. I don’t want to say that I gave up, but I was close. I kept trying to convince myself that I could be happy fat. But that felt like giving up, and that annoyed me.
Truth #4: I am not ready to do IUI and IVF. The more I thought about this, the more it scared me. I saw what six months of Clomid did to my physical and mental health and that was just some pills and a shot each month. This was probably the driving force to me wanting to be healthier. I know that IUI and IVF is in my near future, but it is important to me to get my body healthy first. I think if I can go into further fertility treatments with a healthy body and mind that will make all the difference.
So, where did all of that lead me? I honestly do not know where or when I first heard about the Whole30. I think in passing people mentioned to me that they were doing it. My best friend did it. I remember thinking, “hmm… that sounds interesting and not gimmicky.” I got my final push around Christmas and New Year’s. My sister-in-law, Mary was telling us over dinner how she got the book and was planning to start it after a trip they were going on in early January. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I remember thinking to myself that it was impossible.* Then on New Year’s Eve, a girl I work with was telling us how she was starting it on January first. Two people in one week. So, I looked into it. I went on their website and printed off grocery lists, the “rules”, and ended up ordering the book off Amazon. And then I kind of just plunged head first in. I made a menu for the week, went grocery shopping, and along the way convinced two other gals from work to do it with me. January 6th was our day 1. Three other people at work have started it also!
It is hard. Real hard. But I have this strange determination not to quit. I have to see this through. And I can tell you that I already feel better. It is amazing. I have so much more to say on how it has been going, as well as give further information. So check back on Thursday for the second part of this post!
Is anyone else doing Whole30 or have tried it? Let me know!
Until next time,
*For anyone who doesn’t know what the Whole30 is, it is basically clean eating. Fruits, vegetables, protein. No sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol, for 30 days. It is not branded as a diet, but more as a body reset. From the Whole30 website: Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.