Whole30: A Retrospective

Several years ago I was diagnosed with insulin resistance. Long story short, I was fat because my body produced too much insulin which prevented me from losing weight, but the only way to permanently lower my insulin levels was to lose weight. Lovely predicament, no?

Since my diagnosis, I’ve tried several “diets” in an effort to get my weight under control: South Beach, the Insulin Resistance Diet, Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc. My weight has yo-yoed up and down by about 40 pounds (not counting my whale-like months of pregnancy). At this point my metabolism was most likely completely hosed. I’d also been on and off of metformin several times, but usually stopped taking it because it made me feel even worse. In the end, I stepped on the scale a few months ago and realized I weighed roughly the same thing that I did when I was first told that I had insulin resistance. So, about seven years with no measurable progress. Lovely.

Realizing that this behavior was not setting the best example for my girls, I set out to finally make a change. I’d been doing some poking around online for eating plans for people with insulin resistance, and saw a lot of rumblings about something called “Whole30,” and then found out a few friends of mine had been giving it a shot with good results.

However, there was one BIG problem with Whole30 in my mind: it was paleo. You know, the caveman diet that fanatics would tell you will not only help you lose weight, but will also balance your checkbook and fold your laundry. I wanted NO PART of it. I refused to become one of those glassy-eyed devotees that does nothing but post on Facebook and Twitter about how awesome paleolithic eating is for your system. Besides, following a truly paleo eating plan means you don’t eat dairy. Oh, hell no I wasn’t going to give up cheese!

Still, the anecdotal evidence was intriguing. I finally went to the Whole30 website and read up on it some more. Then I got to thinking… all they’re asking me to do is give some things up for a month. Ah, what the hell, I can do anything for a month. So, on September 2, 2012, I began my Whole30. No dairy. No grains. No sugar or artificial sweeteners. No legumes. Basically, lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and some nuts and good oils only.

Day one wasn’t so bad. I had some eggs and veggies for breakfast. Lunch was a grilled chicken breast over some greens with some slivered almonds. Dinner was fish and vegetables. By the end of the first week, though, I was struggling. I’d had to give up sodas (and anyone who knows me knows I was a certified Coke Zero addict), and although I was now drinking my coffee black, I wasn’t drinking as much of it, so I was going through some caffeine withdrawal. My head hurt. I wanted cheese so bad I could taste it. But in the end, I knew I was being a big ol’ crybaby about it. One of the things I kind of liked about Whole30 is that the founders have a no-nonsense attitude about it. They insist it is NOT hard. They say that battling cancer is hard. Learning to eat healthy is not.

So, I trudged on. The second week was better. I went in to my doctor’s office for some routine bloodwork during that week. I received my results later that week, and I almost fell out of my chair when I read them. MY INSULIN LEVELS WERE NORMAL. Y’all, my insulin levels have not been normal since 2005. NORMAL. As in, my body was no longer drowning in excess insulin. I was flabbergasted. But in a good way. So, I was sold on Whole30 at that point.

I’m not quite through the entire 30 days (I have two days left), but I think I’m at a point where I can safely say that I’m on board with this for the long haul. I’m still looking forward to eating something with cheese on it on Monday, but I’ve learned I don’t have to have cheese on EVERYTHING. I actually prefer my coffee black now, and my tea unsweetened (which I know is blasphemy, since I am from Georgia). I cheated today and put some Splenda in my coffee at work, and it tasted NASTY and like it was full of chemicals. I’ve learned to appreciate fresh fruits and vegetables more.

And best of all, as of this morning, I have dropped 17 pounds from what I weighed the morning of September 2. (I know Whole30 says don’t weigh yourself until after your 30 days are up. Well, I cheated. Pbbbbth.) I don’t expect to keep that level of weight loss up by any means, but it is definitely encouraging to see that much weight come off simply by eating cleaner. I haven’t upped my exercise levels or anything. At this point, I weigh less than I’ve weighed in nearly two years, and am coming up on weighing roughly what I did before I got pregnant in 2007.

I’m still going to allow myself some occasional dairy after my Whole30 is up, and a bite of dessert every now and then. But it will not be a daily thing as it was with me before. I feel fantastic for the first time in nearly five years, and I need to keep it up. Next step: it’s time to get my ass moving and exercise.


Hello, again. Again.

Hi.

Remember me? I know it’s been a while. February 14, 2010, to be exact. Yikes.

Several things have changed since then. I’ve learned that I suck at keeping up with my blog (obviously). I have raised two children to the age of five without scarring them (I think). I now have a “smart phone,” which means I waste a lot of time now. I have changed jobs (back in the energy industry and MUCH SHORTER COMMUTE FTW!). Lizzie has gone to kitty heaven. We are sad, but we are getting by. Maybe with the assistance of a new kitty sometime soon. Or dog. If I can convince Jeff that they don’t poop on everything.

Not everything has changed, though. I have not run Jeff off yet (almost 12 years and he isn’t sick of me yet!). My hair is still brown. I’m pretty sure this is a record for me keeping it one color this long. We’re still kickin’ it in P-Springs (maybe if I say it that way it will sound cooler. Or not.). I’ve still got very strong opinions about music, Young Adult literature, and cheese.

So, hello again. Again. Maybe I’ll stick around for a while this time. We’ll see. 🙂


Who’s got the best husband in the world?

I’ve got the best husband in the world!

Paramore Valentines

Paramore Valentines (designed by JT Daly of Paper Route, in fact)! Jeff found them online a few weeks ago and thought they would be perfect. I can honestly say this is probably one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever gotten.

Gents, take this as proof that, if you know your lady well, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on Valentine’s Day to impress her.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!


2010 YALRC, Book 3 – Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

For my third book of the 2010 YA Lit Reading Challenge, I chose Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I was pretty excited about reading it, because a lot of my friends (whose taste in books is usually right in line with mine) really enjoyed it.

To sum up, this book is about 16 year old Nora Grey, who is unexpectedly seated next to the mysterious Patch Cipriano during Biology one day. The more Nora gets to know Patch, the less sure she is that she even wants to know him. He’s cocky, he’s got a dark side, and he’s got a very strange way of showing up everywhere Nora happens to be (including the ladies’ room). Nora soon deduces the true nature of who (and what) Patch is, and finds herself thrown in the middle of a battle between good and evil that she is not sure she is capable of handling.

This is a review that I’ve written and re-written over and over again in my head. It’s hard to write because I did not love this book. I am attempting to be diplomatic in my dislike of it because, again, several people whose opinion I trust, literary-wise, enjoyed it.

However, I had multiple issues with it. First and foremost, although I know a lot of people would find Patch to be mysterious and sexy, I found him to be creepy and stalkerish. Finding out the truth of what he was didn’t do much to help his case in my eyes, either (SPOILER: he’s a fallen angel – he fell to earth because of the lust he felt for a human girl). He comes across as very predatory towards Nora, and it generally did not make me comfortable with the relationship that developed between the two.

Secondly, Nora’s BFF, Vee, was infuriating to me. Sure, she’s a typical boy-crazy teenage girl. However, she’s also got an impulsive streak that seems to put boys and excitement far above her own (or Nora’s) safety. I spent a good portion of the book hoping Nora would sit her down and have a good heart-to-heart with her about some of her more self-destructive behaviors, but that never happened.

I also got an uncomfortable feeling that the book placed a higher priority on lust and sex over more important things. Fitzpatrick is never what I would call explicit in her discussion of sex, but it is a pervasive theme throughout the book. It’s the subject the Biology class is studying when Nora and Patch first encounter each other, Patch makes it a point to make sexual innuendoes whenever Nora is around, and there is even one (highly laughable, to me) scene towards the end of the book where Nora manages to get trapped in a seedy hotel room with Patch wearing nothing but her camisole and panties. I’m not what I would call a prude, but I just think that, for a YA book, there was a bit too much emphasis on the carnal aspects of life.

One thing I did enjoy about the book was that Nora seemed to have a real relationship with her mother. Her mom wasn’t really presented as being out-of-touch or “uncool,” as I’ve noticed seems to be a trend lately in YA lit. Her mom does leave Nora on her own quite a bit, but it’s presented as something that is a necessity (she works out of town so she can afford the payments on the house Nora grew up in after Nora’s father is mysteriously murdered), and they have very believable interactions when her mother *is* around.

In the end, I cannot say I would recommend this book. Again (yes, I am repeating myself, I know), I know a lot of my friends enjoyed it, but I personally did not find it enjoyable. I know there is a sequel in the works, but I do not plan on reading it.


2010 YALRC, Book 2 – Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver

I read the description of this book and immediately decided that it sounded like what would’ve happened in Twilight if Jacob had won. Boy, was I wrong. And that’s not a bad thing.

Shiver is the story of Grace and Sam, a girl and her wolf. Sam spends every summer human, but, due to being attacked by a werewolf as a child, changes forms into a wolf at the first hint of winter. He lives in a forest that backs up to Grace’s house, and has kept watch over her for several years while in his wolf form. Sam and Grace never really manage to connect during his human moments, but are finally introduced when he is injured during a wolf hunt following an attack on a local boy. They fall in love (of course) and spend the waning days he has left in his human form trying to solve his wolfy problem before he changes into a wolf for good.

First of all, this was a very beautifully written book. As I mentioned earlier, I originally thought I’d see a lot of parallels between it and Twilight (normal girl falls in love with a supernatural creature, etc.), but the book it more reminded me of was The Time Traveler’s Wife. Without all of the explicit sex and stuff. I’m not normally one to tear up during a book (JK Rowling is, to this day, the only person to make me bawl during a book), but I did sniff once or twice at the end, so it’s safe to say that Stiefvater is very good at evoking an emotional response. So, I enjoyed it for that reason.

The only real issue I had with the book was how adults are portrayed in it. Grace’s parents are emotionally absent, and often physically absent as well (hence Grace’s ease in hiding a boy in her room in an attempt to keep him warm so he doesn’t turn into a wolf and all). There’s really only one strong parent character in the book, and that’s Beck, Sam’s father figure in his pack. In general, adults are portrayed as flighty, weak-minded, superstitious, or just plain absent. But, in the end, that’s really the only glaring problem I had with the book.

I would recommend this book for the older YA reader (15 and up). There are some fairly intense moments between Grace and Sam that probably would not be appropriate for the younger reader. There is also some disturbing imagery regarding Sam’s parents and his past that would probably frighten younger readers. Otherwise, it is a beautiful story, and I am looking forward to its sequel, Linger, when it comes out later this year.