**Today’s post is courtesy of my smokin’ hot cousin, Aukse–she completed her very first Whole30 the other day and the results more than speak for themselves. She’s always been a hard-charger at the gym, but finally got bit by the Paleo bug thanks to TGIPaleo. I’ve kinda been walking around the last few days with my ego inflated like a hot-air balloon, not gonna lie ;-)
Without further ado, here’s her Whole30 Story, which can also be found on her blog.**
As of this morning (March 12, 2013), I have officially and successfully completed my very first Whole30 program! The fun began on Sunday, February 10 and extended through Monday, March 11. My motivation for doing this was to get healthier. I feel great which is truly enough to recognize that this journey was worth the effort. Having said that, below is a quick summary of objective data showing the gains achieved in improving my health over the last 30 days.
Blood Pressure: For the past three years, I have been taking blood pressure medication. Despite losing weight and following a low sodium diet, even when I was at my fittest about 1.5 years ago, it was still necessary to control my blood pressure with medication. Whether measured at the doctor’s office or at home with my own blood pressure monitor, on average, my readings always hovered around 130/85 (with medication).
About a week prior to starting my Whole30 program, despite the 130/85 reading, I made the personal decision to stop taking my blood pressure medication. Naive? Perhaps. Nevertheless, during my doctor’s appointment on Thursday, March 7 (Day 26 of my Whole30 program), I told my doctor about not taking my meds for the past month. She measured my blood pressure and it clocked in at 122/70without medication. I have been medically cleared and no longer have to take blood pressure medication!!!!!!
Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a fat your body needs to work properly although too much can increase chances of heart disease, stroke, and other problems. Types of cholesterols include:1) HDL or “good” cholesterol (standard range = 40-60 mg/dL with higher numbers better), 2) LDL or “bad” cholesterol (70 – 130 mg/dL with lower numbers better), 3) VLDL or very low density lipoprotein (5-40 mg/dL), and 4) Total Cholesterol which is the value of all the cholesterols mentioned above combined (less than 200 mg/dL).
Prior to the Whole30 program, my Total Cholesterol was consistently above 200 and technically considered high (219-230), however, since my HDL levels have traditionally measured above average (74), my physician wasn’t too concerned (yet). Wish I had more impressive news but my cholesterol results from last Thursday haven’t changed from my baseline. As I continue with the paleo-life as much as possible, I will be very curious to see my results six months from now.
Triglycerides: Triglyceride is another type of fat that your body makes although it also comes from the food your eat. Leftover calories are turned into triglycerides and stored in fat cells for later use; eating more calories that your body needs may result in high triglyceride levels. Normal levels are less than 150 mg/dL. Prior to Whole30, my levels have been over 100, averaging around 125 mg/dL. Results from last Thursday show levels of 70 mg/dL which is great news since optimal levels for cardiovascular health are 70-100 mg/dL.
Measurements: My trainer records measurements at six specific levels of the body: 1) shoulders, 2) bust, 3) waist, 4) hips, 5) upper arm, and 6) upper thigh. My measurements were recorded first thing in the morning the day before starting my Whole30 adventure; these same measurments were taken first thing in the morning the day after completing my Whole30 program.
Losing inches and/or losing weight is a relative progression as everyone’s body does it at its own pace. Based on my past progress, on average, I would lose about 3 total inches (sum of all six measurements mentioned above) about every six weeks. For example, my pre-Whole30 measurements taken 30 days ago (February 9, 2013) reflected a loss of 3.75 total inches compared to previous measurements (December 21, 2012); note, the time between these two measurements was longer than usual (eight weeks). Today was a little different in a good way! Comparing my pre-Whole30 measurements (February 9, 2013) to my post-Whole30 measurements (March 12, 2013), in the past 30 days, I have lost an additional 5.75 total inches [shoulders (-1.5″), chest (-0.75″), waist (-1.5″), hips (-1″), thigh (-0.75″), and arms (-0.25″).
Weight Loss: As mentioned throughout my various posts, the purpose of doing this wasn’t to lose weight; rather, it was to get healthy. Nonetheless, I look at any weight loss as the icing-on-the-cake. For the record, based on my past progress when in the same weight range, on average, I would lose about 3-5 lbs every 6 weeks (yes, even when on Weight Watchers). During my Whole30 program, I never once counted a calorie, approximated a Weight Watcher’s point, measured out a portion, or even worried how often I ate. When I was hungry, I ate and simply stuck to the plan in terms of what foods and ingredients to avoid. Over the course of this 30-day program, I lost 12 pounds.
Why did you decide to do the Whole30 Program?
About two years ago, I was temporarily put on a medication that really screwed up my metabolism; despite eating relatively healthy and working out diligently, I gained 35 lbs. Once I got off the meds in June 2012, I assumed the weight would “fall off”. Despite busting my ass in the gym, eating healthy, and doing many things to get in shape, nothing was happening.
Toward the end of October 2012, after many bonked work- outs and several episodes of tears at the gym, my trainer revamp my eating regimen to include necessary amounts of protein in my diet. Finally, my body started to respond and I was able to see a light at the end of a very long tunnel. In an effort to rid my body of any residual meds and toxins, I committed to the Whole30 Program as a much-needed ”body vacation”, whereby the focus was eating nutrient-dense, non-processed foods full of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. The purpose was to establish a healthier metabolism while maintaining a balanced immune system. I really wanted to re-boot my entire system and to focus on my health (rather than a number on a scale).
Is there anything specific that you miss?
The only thing that I have occasionally been mourning is that glass (or two) of good, red wine, particularly when I am out to dinner. (**Note from Camilla: This is how you KNOW we’re related**). Surprisingly, I don’t miss the cream and sugar in my coffee anymore. I don’t really crave sweets but that doesn’t mean I am no longer haunted by the “sugar dragon”. Just this past week while on business in Minneapolis, although I had no problem giving my fries away, when my salad came with an Olive Garden-esque warm, garlic breadstick with a side of butter, it took monumental strength not to cram the breadstick, the butter, and the accompanying plate, for that matter, in my mouth.
How much weight did you hope to lose?
I did not elect to do this program to lose weight. The Whole30 program is designed to provide the opportunity for the body to heal by eliminating gut-disrupting, inflammatory ingredients. The Whole30 program actually discourages getting on the scale so that the focus remains on how you feel without any prejudice offered by a number on a scale.
Next Steps: Moving forward, I am going to continue to integrate many of the principles of the Whole30 program into my life. I have lots to reflect on but the one thing that I know for sure is that I will NEVER cook my food with chicken broth to save calories from fat. Instead, I will use ghee (clarified butter which is delicious), olive and coconut oil. It makes everything taste so good. Beyond that, I am just going to quietly enjoy my little accomplishment and look forward to tonight when I reintroduce myself to a glass of well-deserved delicious red wine. Thank you to everyone for your support. You made the journey much easier to achieve!