My Whole30 Day 23: Back in the Saddle

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Relationships can be rough.

At first, you fall in love and everything is new and exciting. Then after a while, those new things lose their charm and become dull and normal. This is the plateau.

A lot of relationships never make it out of this stage, but the ones that do are the ones that last.

Today is day 23 of my Whole30 program. Since my last update 11 days ago, I have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride. After over three weeks of dedicating myself to my new paleo diet and being careful to follow the certain patterns of meal size, exercise and food balance that the Whole30 requires...

I hit the plateau.

As I mentioned in my previous update, I don't have great self control or will power when it comes to food. The good news is, I didn't cheat and dive into a pint of ice cream or anything else I am not supposed to eat. But I did stop trying to grasp and explore my new diet and health patterns.

For a whole week I did not cook myself anything new. I only cooked what was easy, which one night led me to eat a microwaved chicken breast, some almonds and a handful of blueberries. I started seeing my new eating habits as limiting, rather than a new opportunity. Because I wasn't getting enough calories during the day, I felt too tired to exercise. I wasn't giving my body what it needed to excel.

Luckily, a couple of days ago I realized what I was doing. I was starting to treat my Whole30 like all of the other pointless, unhealthy diets I had tried in the past. I had started thinking about my Whole30 as "things I couldn't eat" rather than "things I can eat that will help me feel amazing."

Over the weekend, I got myself back into the kitchen and recommitted to my promise to give this Whole30 all I've got. I'll admit that I am a little disappointed with myself for being such a slacker last week but like all relationships, you have to learn from your mistakes and move on.

Now that I am back in the game, I wanted to share with you a couple of amazing paleo substitutes that I have fallen in love with when it comes to every day food.

Spaghetti Squash: Seriously, it will change your life. Cook one of these babies in the oven for an hour, cut them open and fork out the inside. Not only will it give you delicious "noodles" throw your sauce on, it is healthy, easy and a cinch to clean up.

Fried egg instead of condiments: I love ketchup. As a kid, I used to make ketchup sandwiches and even through my adult years, I have been known to drown my burgers and fries in it. Not being able to use ketchup on my Whole30 has honestly been one of the hardest things, until one day I decided to substitute ketchup on my burger for a fried egg. You still get that creamy taste and the extra protein fills you up, rather than reaching for another half bottle of ketchup. I also love putting a fried egg into a freshly baked sweet potato. All you need is a little salt and pepper then bon appetit!

Coconut Oil: While I can use olive oil while on the Whole30, a lot of the recipes I looked at called for coconut oil for cooking. I use it to grease the pan before I cook my eggs in the morning and it makes my apartment smell like a tropical island! It is also a great ingredient for multiple uses on your body and around the house. Check out 101 Uses for Coconut Oil.

Nichole and Tyler's Paleo Story
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Last week I featured Keisha's paleo journey. This week I would like to introduce you to Nichole, an old college classmate and friend of mine, and her husband Tyler. Nichole and Tyler just recently finished their first Whole30 program. 

Nichole said she first heard about the Whole30 from some friends who had done it in the fall. She had been trying to adjust her and her husbands diet toward healthier foods but she admits that she didn't have much luck getting Tyler to get excited about any kind of diet or food plan. When Nichole came to him with the idea to do the Whole30, they agreed that the health benefits sounded good enough to give it a try.

"We decided to read the book and we got hooked. It seemed too good to be true but a lot of the science in the book made us pause. I'm not sure if we fully believed everything, but it was enough for us to give it a whole hearted try." 

Like me, Nichole says that there were certain parts about the program that were harder than others. Her and Tyler's biggest struggle was in the part that I haven't gotten to yet. The end.

"There is a transition period where you use your body as a science experiment and see how your body responds to adding in certain foods. In the book they warn about how tough this part is but I think they should have wrote a second book all about it."

Nichole admits that felt awful, tired and even had meltdowns after adding grains and dairy back into her diet. That is when she and Tyler decided that they had passed the point of no return.

"I decided that's really not worth it and we've gone back to being (mostly) Whole30. We aren't strictly following it. I'm willing to make an exception here or there, but our overall food plan is really focused eating whole foods."

Overall, Nichole and Tyler have noticed a lot of changes in their lives and habits after going through the 30 day program. Everything from each losing 15 pounds, finding enjoyment in cooking new dishes together, even getting better sleep.

"I track my sleep through my Fitbit and I noticed I went from waking up in the middle of the night about 10-15 times to only waking up 3-4 times."

While these two most certainly saw great results from their Whole30, Nichole said that she would encourage anyone to try it, jut not to go in with any crazy expectations.

"Don't go into it thinking it will be a cure all. The book shares a lot of great testimony which is awesome for when those cravings are creeping up. However, everyone is different and everyone's experience will be different. Two most important things for me when I started was to empty your house of anything and everything that is not a part of the program, and read the book!"

As a Seattle dwelling, Microsoft employee, Nichole even has a great tip for other coffee lovers out there who may find it difficult to part with their cream and sugar.

"If you are keeping coffee in during your plan and you love your Starbucks like I do, try a teaspoon of coconut cream with your black coffee. It is my new favorite treat."

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