Tag Archives: whole30

The Next Thing

The last three years have seen me attempt diet after diet, exercise routine after fad. They all begin the same, with such hope, motivation, and optimism. However, after the infatuation wears off, they all have fallen into the same disappointing pattern. I rarely fail at them, but they consistently fail to deliver me results.

I have tried traditional calorie counting, low glycemic, Whole30, near ketosis. I have joined a gym, run constantly, started barre, used a personal trainer, done bodyboss. I am sure I have forgotten multiple tangents and detours.

Nothing.

I have been ramming my head into the same wall all these years, trapped at the same weight (or more) no matter how I work or starve myself. I am progressively dieting stricter and stricter, working out more and more regularly. I have worked myself into multiple injuries. Deeper and deeper into the obsession.

Nothing.

I have felt completely crazy. I have spent far too much time fixated on something I do not want to run my life. But here we go again, onto the next thing. Or things in this case. Two things.

First, I have been working with my therapist, who also happens to be an integrative medicine specialist focusing in eating disorders, through this struggle. With her advice, I went to my primary care doctor to have my hormone levels tested. My estrogen (and iron) came back high, while my testosterone was nonexistent. Quite possibly, I could be experiencing estrogen dominance from my hormonal IUD. So I went to discuss with my OB/GYN, and she immediately removed it to allow my body to self regulate.

Hopefully, normal hormone levels will balance my weight, as well as my mood and energy. Having a monthly cycle should also level out the iron level in my blood. So I am going back to being natural. And getting my tubes tied in a couple weeks.

Second, I have shifted to yet another diet/exercise program. I am still doing barre and running. I am still finishing bodyboss (nearly two thirds of the way through it now). However, my coworker introduced me to a new app to try for food tracking and planning.

The app is called noom and is ultimately not much different than MapMyFitness or MyFitnessPal or Spark People or anything I have tried previously. The main divergences are that the program is psychology-centric (which works for me on multiple levels) and that it includes an individual couch who messages you and an online support group (hence why it costs money).

My experience so far has been positive, but don’t go holding your breath just yet; we’re scarcely out of the honeymoon phase. I have seen some results then seen them mildly undone by Christmas. The psychological approach to the app is pretty transparent to me, both because they are transparent about it and because I’ve been in eating disorder counseling periodically for years. However, that does not prevent it from working on me. I know the compliment every time I log a work out is a manipulation, but it makes me feel good nonetheless, so the manipulation works. Same with the coach and the group, though my group is pretty inactive and lame. It is an extra layer of accountability without the pressure of real interaction.

I have noticed improvement in my thought patterns and emotional reactions, if nothing else, which is surprising since all that counseling over the years has done shit against the same problems. The app does not tell me much I do not already know, but for some reason, things appear to be clicking now. I hope it is not some false sense of enlightenment meant to lull me into complacency to then fall into old patterns again, but a girl can dream.

I hope one of these things is the answer. I’m ready to have an answer, any answer. Yeah, it would be great to fit into all my pants and be my pre-pregnancies weight again, but more than that, I want my body to be healthy. My blood sugar finally came down; I want it to stay that way. More than anything, I want to not think about this bullshit all the time. I want it to not be 10 hours out of my week. I want it to not be tormenting me every meal and every workout. I want to just be.

So, here we go on these next things. Fingers crossed.

Oh, and by the way, my hamstring is still torn. bodyboss aggravates it greatly. I’m headed to a new orthopedic to see what the hell is still going on next month. Maybe that problem needs another next thing too.

Christina Bergling

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Surviving the Whole30

whole30header

I survived the Whole30 Challenge.

When the new year dawned, my barre studio hosted a Whole30 Challenge, complete with Facebook support group. When I read the email, I thought, we could do this. It did not seem that difficult or different from my low glycemic diet, and after all, it was only 30 days. It seemed like the perfect way to reset from the holiday season of indulgence. I even convinced my husband to join me.

The rules seemed simple enough…

whole30foodlist

Seemed simple enough. Except that sugar and soy are in EVERYTHING! I did not consider not being able to have hummus or salad dressing or any of the accoutrement that makes the yes list bearable. I think, mostly, we were unprepared for the sheer amount of food preparation.

Since I HATE (loathe) nuts, if it wasn’t an apple or banana, everything required preparation. We had to either make salad dressing or cook eggs or make a whole meal that had no easy ingredients. It was an adjustment. And a supreme challenge with how completely jam packed and double booked I keep our schedule. Who has time to cook everything?

Then, there was also the withdrawals. Whole30 has a whole little timeline to give you a preview of what you might experience. I, of course, did not follow this timeline really at all.

whole30timeline

For example, I started my journey at KILL ALL THE THINGS. Literally in the first couple hours. As if my brain told my body it was in for a shit storm. I went through borderline psychotic withdrawals and hanger. I was hungry and angry and bitchy and irritable and all of it. I struggled to concentrate the first three days, and suddenly, 30 days seemed like a borderline infinity.

So there was the anger (homicidal/suicidal rage) for a couple days. Next, I experienced a strange food apathy. I stopped caring, and I stopped wanting. Since the food I could have was not very enjoyable to me and exhaustive to make at times, I did not really care when or how much of it I ate. I would shove something in when I was hungry, but otherwise, food became more utilitarian. I experienced a lot of tired days, either from the detoxification process or the low calorie count due to my lack of food inspiration.

I would have days where cravings and hunger would rage up. I would want to eat absolutely anything I was not supposed to have. I would try to talk myself into defying the rules, cheating, slipping. Then it would be back to sleepy food apathy. I just stuck with it. I just followed the rules and crossed off days on my calendar.

hungry

About halfway through, I was supposed to experience what the program calls “tiger blood.” I was to feel energized, see better workout performance, just feel awesome. Unfortunately for me, I spent two weeks cripplingly sick instead. When I should have been burning clean and bounding with healthy energy, I was feverish and unable to lift my head off the couch.

It was a miserable two weeks. For us all. I was sicker than I usually get, taking sick days when I work from home. Then, of course, my kids were sick, and I was taking care of them. Then my husband. We were a typhoid house, practically under quarantine.

So I did not get to feel great. I also did n0t get to workout while feeling the effects of the diet. That was disappointing, but it did not make me want to bail on the program or regret trying it. I did cheat. I ate condensed soup and ice cream after not eating for two days. I could not bear the thought of preparing anything, nor could I stand long enough to do so. But once my health improved, I returned to the rules immediately.

My husband’s journey diverged from my own quite a bit. Granted, we rarely experience anything the same (or even similarly). Thankfully, our different phases never aligned. I do not know that our children or house would have survived both of us being psychotically hungry at the same time. Instead, when one of us went mad with withdrawals, the other sat comfortably in the program. It was a trip to be able to watch both sides from the other side. Yet it was also helpful to be able to support each other from that position.

He made it too. His sickness slightly behind mine and even more severe, he crossed the finish line unable to eat at all.

For me, the most unexpected part of the experience was how much I learned about my own habits and food itself. I did not notice how much I sampled food while I was cooking for my kids until I could not eat what I was making them. I did not notice how often I ate because food was easy until food was no longer easy at all. I did know how often I ate for emotional reasons, but it became more obvious when that crutch was removed.

And oh how I missed booze! And Monster.

In the end, despite the hurdles and unexpected turns, the Whole30 served the exact purpose I was after. I wanted to reset after holiday overindulgence. I just wanted to detox and get back on track. Though I am only in the first couple bites of freedom, I do feel like that is what it did. I don’t feel the compulsion to eat all the fattening, sugary, unhealthy things I was physically craving after the holidays.

I also dropped 15 pounds in the month. Strangely, once weight loss was not the goal, it actually happened. When I let go and focused on just getting the eating right, it just fell off. I am now not only back at my pre-pregnancy weight but below it.

You would think after all my struggling and obsessing and fixating, I would be ecstatic. Instead, I’m ambivalent. Because I had finally made my peace with my body before this challenge. And I think this is how I would prefer it.