Sunday, May 1, 2016

Whole30 - Day 8

Day 8 - Saturday.   Saturday is "Donut Day" at our house.   On most Saturday's, my youngest son and I head out around 9AM and get a dozen donuts.  Chocolate frosting, raspberry cream, more chocolate frosting.... very nice.

This Saturday, my son slept in and I took the dog to the dog park for a 2 mile walk.   Just as I was leaving, I got the text... "Donuts??".   Since the grocery store with the best donuts was on the way home from the dog park, I stopped and picked up 1/2 dozen, figuring that most oldest son was out of town and my wife and I would definitely not be participating.  

Didn't really have the desire to eat a donut on the way home and felt pretty good about passing on what used to be a good sugar high on most Saturdays.

In the afternoon, my wife and I did some shopping and stopped by Whole Foods while were we out.   I was starting to get hungry (I'm still trying to learn how much to eat so I don't get hungry in between meals) and had a Lara bar.   These are good, not really recommended on Whole30 just because it is snacking, but I like them because they are easy to carry with me and get me out of driving through McDonald's or BK when I am hungry.

When we got home I decided to take the boys to the movie theatre.  I knew this would be the mother of all tests, because there is very little I like more than movie theatre popcorn.  I used to get a large bucket (no "butter") and add some extra salt and have that entire thing gone before the movie even started.

Driving there, my boys were joking with me and asking if I was going to be able to make it through the movie without popcorn.  No problem... little did they know but I was bootlegging a bag of cashews and apricots into the movie theatre just in case.  

We go up to the counter, order a large popcorn and 2 bags of sour worms and a soft drink.  While I'm waiting for the popcorn, my boys take the cups for soda and disappear.  Next thing I know, I standing there holding a large popcorn and two bags of sour worms.   I have to be honest, there were a number of minutes that I seriously thought about sticking my head into that bucket and eating like a horse....   That got me to thinking, if taste is 80% smell, what if I stuffed a couple of pieces of popcorn up my nose and then ate my cashews... would it taste like popcorn??  After some healthy debate with my kids, I decided to forgo my experiment since that is not how sane people behave.

Proud to say, Day 8 was in the bag.  Another temptation conquered!!

Whole30 - Day 7

Day 7 -  yes - I made it an entire week, I traveled, ate out at new restaurants and stuck to the plan.   Ok, I know what everyone is thinking (well, since I have 2 followers of my blog, I know what BOTH of you are thinking) - did I lose any weight.

Well, since one of the Whole30 rules is not to weigh yourself, and I am such a rule follower.....

I lost 5lbs the first week!!  That's right - 5lbs.  Now, not that this is a competition, but our Pastor lost 9lbs the first week.  But even still, I was pretty happy with 5 lbs.   Most important, I feel great!!  I seem to have more energy and my health issues have been non-existent for the past week.   I was starting to think there may be something to this "eat healthy and keep the chemicals and sugar away" theory.

I started the day off with some more of the hash for breakfast and wasn't starting to get hungry until lunch time.   I had brought some food in to work and sat and had a nice meal with some homemade guacamole (my wife made it, not me..), lots of vegetables and some turkey.

During work one of the areas in the office had two big boxes of donuts.   As I was walking through someone offered me a donut.   Pretty happy, I wasn't even tempted.  When I looked at that donut all I saw was 1/2lb of pure sugar  and I knew enough to stay away.   Temptation #33 -- overcome.

After work a bunch of people were stopping out at a local bar to celebrate one of their coworkers moving.   I was asked to go out and decided I would.   This is a Bohemian place - and they have very good beer, some giant butter soaked pretzels and awesome brats.... shouldn't be a problem right??

First thing to go wrong was that when I ordered a club soda with lime - they told me they don't have club soda and offered me a Sprite.  Nope - I ended up with a big glass of water while everyone else was drinking beer.   I was doing good for about 30 minutes until the pretzels and brats starting showing up as appetizers.   Since I was getting hungry, I figured this was as good of time as any to make my escape.

I was starting to feel like I could handle just about any of my previous temptations.   Little did I know what Day 8 would bring....

Whole30 - Day 6

Day 6 -  Travel Day

  Day 6 started at 5:30AM - with only 5 hours sleep behind me, I would normally be worried about a strong POTS episode or my IBS kicking in 20 minutes before I board the plane.   But not today, I felt great, was fully hydrated and ready to go. 

I was running late so I didn't eat breakfast until I got to the airport.  But instead of getting something at one of the restaurants I just ate some cashews and apricots I had in my bag.   The flight was great (passed on the peanuts and pretzels again) but by the time I pulled in my driveway 4 hours later, I was pretty hungry. 

Normally, when I get that hungry, I'm eating some potato chips and washing it down with a beer.   For protein, nothing beats some pepperoni cheese and crackers.   But not today.   Today, when I got home, my wife had made some hash.   She had found some chicken sausage at Whole Foods and put in some sweet potatoes, white potatoes, spinach, and onions.    

 I thought I had died and gone to heaven, very tasty.   We had read on some of the Whole30 blogs about people eating hash and they raved about it.  I can see why.   Great flavor and filled me up.   The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, and since I was home, pretty easy to stick to the plan. 

My wife noticed that I was feeling good, despite not getting a lot of sleep and traveling.  In the past, these trips sometimes result in 2-3 days of

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Day 4 & 5

Day 4&5 were spent in Union City PA at one of our manufacturing plants.   We had employee meetings and during these we serve meals to everyone.   This time, the meal was lasagna, rolls, salad and lots of cookies.

As I was serving everyone their food, I tried to distract myself about the salad I had waiting for me when I was done.  But for some reason all I could think about was sticking my face in that pan of lasagna and following it up with a couple of brownies.

Luckily, serving lunch quickly passed and we had a few minutes of free time during which I ate my salad (spinach and kale - organic turkey, olives, carrots and cukes).   I forgot to pack oil and vinegar so I had to eat my salad dry...  Not the best but I was feeling pretty proud of myself for making it through lunch still committed to Whole30.

During the day we had a number of different meetings, and during the afternoon sessions I started to get hungry and grabbed my cashews and apricots that I had packed in my computer bag.   Couple things I was learning:

1.)  I need to be sure to eat the right amount of foods at each meal and also have some healthy fat in each meal or I will get hungry quickly
2.) Planning is everything -  if I hadn't planned and packed a lunch or had my cashews with me when I got hungry - it would have been very tempting to deviate and eat something
3.) I like flavor!!  A bland salad is not going to satisfy me very much.

That night four of us went out to dinner.   Now since I had the experience from the night before, and since I had sent my wife the name of the restaurant that we were going to and she had previewed the menu, I was very confident that I had a lot of choices to go with.    Hardest things about dinner were the warm bread and butter that were brought out before the meal and that everyone was having a very tasty looking beer.    I ordered my club soda with lime, and waited for a very tasty Whole30 compliant meal.

Our last meeting of the day was at 11PM, and we got back to our hotel around 1AM.  We had an early morning on Day 5 and I was interested to see how my POTS was going to do.   Lack of sleep has been a big trigger in the past.   Well, Day 5 at 7AM came along and I was feeling pretty good.  No POTS symptoms.  Had a breakfast of scrambled egg whites with spinach and turkey and off to the plant we went.

For lunch that day we were ordering in.   The menu for the place we were ordering from was full of Pizza, Stromboli, Calzones and sub sandwiches.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME.... Day 5 and tempted by my favorite food group - Italian....   I searched the menu, and on page 2, in the lower left corner, found the salad section.   Ended up ordering a plain salad, no cheese with Oil and Vinegar on the side (I had organic turkey in the refrigerator at work).   Lunch came and it was a disaster.  My "salad" was actually just some chopped up iceberg lettuce with a few carrot slices and 2 cuke slices.   The oil and vinegar looked good, until I read the back to the container and saw that it contained all different types of sugar and things I couldn't pronounce.   My plant manager saw me staring at my "salad" and offered up some fat free dressing.   I knew without looking at the ingredients that this was a no-go.   So I ate my salad dry.. .again... while everyone around me was chowing down on pizza and calzones.   I felt dejected!!

An hour later I was hungry (go figure) - but luckily I had a Lara bar in my computer bag (remember - always prepare).   Around 4PM I headed out for a 2 hour drive to my brother's house.  I snacked on carrots and hard boiled eggs on the drive and realized that I normally get very tired around 3PM but here it was 4PM and after only 5 hours sleep, I was feeling good and not nodding off while driving.

My brother's house was a great visit.   I made some chicken in olive oil with garlic, mushrooms and onions which filled me up.   My brother and I like to enjoy a good beer, so it was a little tough to be drinking club soda when I really wanted a Dortmunder Gold.   We had a good time and got to bed at 1AM.  I had a 9:15 flight so once again... looked like 5 hours sleep.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 3 - Travel

Day 3 -- and a four day business trip with a visit to my brothers house at tail end.   Good way to test my resolve and commitment to  eating healthier and resetting my system.

Business trips are usually stressful for me.   My POTS is triggered by lack of sleep and dehydration and my IBS flares up with a variety of higher fat foods.   Usually on these trips, we are doing employee meetings at all hours of the day/night and only get 4-5 hours sleep and eat out for every meal.   Throw in a layover at my brother's house with some beer tastings and high fat foods and you have the recipe for a POTS/IBS perfect storm.   Nothing better than feeling like you are having a heart attack, being disoriented and having minimal control over your bodily functions.

Originally when my wife and were talking about me starting Whole30, my plan was to wait until I got back from my trip.  Remember, I am the king of procrastination.  "Why do today what you can always do tomorrow" is my mantra..   This is the same philosophy and approach that allowed me to push off the start of working out for almost 3 years and balloon up to an impressive 240lbs.

 I don't see my brother too often, and we like to stay up late and talk and have a couple of craft beers (ok, maybe more than a couple).   Plus I was worried about how I would handle 3 meals a day eating out or with food brought into our meetings.

But the night before my trip, with my wife as my wing-man - we prepped for me to fly to Ohio.   She walked me through what to eat, what to buy at the grocery store and how to order lunch.  I packed some cashews and apricots for the plane trip and off I went to bed, ready to take on whatever would come my way.

To be honest, I felt great.  I was on Day 3 - I wasn't tired or bloated and I left for the airport after a eating a Fritatta for breakfast.   The flight went good, I passed on the peanuts and instead ate the cashews and apricots I had packed in my computer bag.   For lunch I stopped at Subway and got a chopped salad with chicken breast with veggies and oil and vinegar.  All was going good... and then DINNER....

I was eating out by myself and went to Applebees -- one look at the menu and I was in a panic.   Everything had sauces, or chips, or beans.... After the 3rd time the waitress stopped by to see if I was ready and me having to tell her no, I figured maybe I should leave and eat some cashews in my car. Then I thought why not use a life line and phone a friend.  I texted my wife and she pulled up the menu, and walked me through what to order....  I was pretty happy with my steak, steamed veggies, plain backed potato and lemon/vinaigrette dressing.

After dinner I went to a Wegman's grocery  store to get some items to help me get through the next couple of days in my hotel.  This place had an unbelievable organic/whole food section.   They had stuff I had never heard of.   The produce section was bigger than my first house. One thing I did learn though... read the labels.   All things "organic" are not Whole30....

I got some fruit, veggies, sliced organic turkey (read the labels, deli meat has a lot of "stuff" in it) and some hard boiled eggs and some Lara bars and assorted olives from the olive bar.    Total time in the grocery store... 90 minutes.   I found myself wandering up and down aisles and having to read every label.  The stock clerks probably thought I was some type of health food stalker because there I was, 90 minutes later, still reading labels...   Believe me, the trip was not without moments of panic, like when I ventured into the "normal" part of the store to look for salt, I had to pass the potato chips, sausage and pepperoni that a week ago, would have been calling my name.

Full disclosure, I had to text my wife and ask her questions like "can I eat "natural dextrose"?

But Day 3 came to a close and I felt like I had won a victory.  I had traveled, ate lunch and dinner out at a restaurant and shopped by myself.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Day 2

Day 2 - Not too bad so far

Woke up today at 6AM with the dog staring me in the face.   How can he be happy so early on a Sunday morning?  As I took him outside, I started to wake up and realized I was starting Day 2 of the "no fun food eating plan".  Huh, no sausage for breakfast... no bacon for 2nd breakfast....  How was I going to cope?

Decided to go back to bed and crashed for another 2 hours before waking up at 8:30AM with a pretty good POTS episode in full swing.   For those who don't have POTS, it isn't very enjoyable.  For me when it kicks in, I feel disoriented and swear that I am having a heart attack.   Left arm gets numb, heavy., pressure in my chest... not a great feeling and definitely not the way I want to wake up on a Sunday morning.     

In the past when this happened, I would drink 2 gatorades and go back to sleep.  Today my wife my wife made me a Fritatta with avocado to help get more healthy fat into my diet.  I'm not a morning eater (which I now know means that my system is out of whack) so I had to force myself  to eat as much as breakfast as possible.    After eating and getting some fluids in me, I start to feel better and we are on our way to church.  

Church was a good sermon about "Don't Judge".  I thought that was appropriate and was just for me since inside I was thinking if it would really be all that bad if I just had a Kit Kat bar or a bag of chips later...  After church we headed down to Costco and Trader Joes to do a little recon on what healthy food we can buy that would curb my potato chips and sausage cravings. 

We packed some dried apricots and cashews for the drive and I was feeling pretty good, wasn't hungry or dizzy and didn't feel bloated.  Got hungry half way there, snacked a little and headed into Costco.   Picked up some avocado oil, more black olives, some prosciutto (gotta hold off the meat sweats...) and veggies and found some pickles that don't have any ingredients that I can't spell or pronounce.  

Then off to Trader Joes for some coconut milk (add it coffee), Ghee (looks like spoiled butter to me buy WOW.... is it expensive), and some frozen veggies and we are on our way home. 

By mid afternoon - I'm feeling pretty good.  Make myself a little antipasto tray of prosciutto, pickles, garlic & jalapeno stuffed green olives and sit down and enjoy a pretty tasty snack.   My wife made some coffee with the coconut milk - wasn't bad, but I was expecting it to be a little sweeter. 

Started to get tempted when my teenage boys broke out the brats and Oreo cookies... Oreo cookies, maybe just one...  but then I counted to 3 and told them to take the Devil Cakes away from me... 

For Dinner I took a chicken breast we grilled the night before with cajun seasoning and made myself a salad with spinach, cukes, mushrooms, green onions, olives and oil and vinegar.   What was happening to me???  I just made and ate a salad... a real salad.... with veggies....  Maybe I could make it. 

I was feeling pretty good so I asked my wife if she thought I had lost any weight??  She's awesome and told me my face looked thinner.  Thinner face, are you kidding me??  I was really thinking "Huh... how about my butt?  Do these pants make me look fat?"   

Ok, maybe I was a little optimistic but my Pastor lost 9 lbs the first week, so I'm thinking that since I am a little on the fatter side then him, I should be losing 1-2 lbs per day....   I know we can't get on the scale and that this isn't all about weight lose, but remember "Don't Judge" was the theme for the day. 

Day Two coming to a close.... time for bed.   Big test starts tomorrow since I am traveling for work and won't have my wife to support me and will be surrounded by unhealthy food and drink.   I've done my research, have planned my meals and will let you know how I fare.  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Whole30 - What am I doing & Day 1

Background --    I am coming up on my 50th birthday, am the heaviest I had been in my entire life, and am struggling with POTS and IBS (sorry, not pretty getting older....), and work a high stress job with long hours.   WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY YOUTH??

I haven't always been like this.   In my 20's and 30's I exercised and kept my weight around 195 lbs.  At 6'2" tall, I wasn't super trim, but wasn't busting a button on my shirt when I bent over to tie my shoes either.   Then came kids, and a high stress career in management.   Next thing I know, I'm pushing 230lbs (ok... 240lbs), don't have a lot of energy and have some health issues that I attest to being "almost 50".    I don't like how I feel, but don't have a lot of time or will power.

I keep thinking that I would start exercising "next Monday" set a goal of getting in the best shape of my life before I turn 50- and of course always had a good reason why I couldn't start.   Then Tuesday, Wednesday would come around and who would want to start an exercise program mid week... not me.   Heck, I'm at a point that I get excited when my S-health app on my phone says that I walked 5,000 steps in a day.

I have never been a super healthy eater.   Sure, I would have the obligatory salad once a month, or maybe eat a carrot stick or two with some ranch dressing, but I usually gravitated to meat... sausage to be specific.   Pepperoni was a staple and throw some pepper jack cheese and a couple of beers into the mix and I was calling that dinner.

So about a week ago my wife starts talking about our Pastor and his wife and how they have started Whole30 and have lost weight and are feeling great.   She said that she wanted to try it and what did I think.   I said "sounds good honey, have fun" and proceeded to wolf down half a bag of potato chips.

Today is Saturday - April 23rd.   I got up today and my wife had made a Fritatta and asked if I wanted some.   "Sure can... any sausage in that..."   They I start thinking, what am I going to do?  I'm overweight, unhealthy and getting older by the second.   My wife starts talking about Whole30 again and I tell her that I am in.  I'll do it, how hard can it be.   So starts Day One.

Luckily, my wife is an awesome cook.   So far today I have had more vegetables in one day that I've had in the past month (or year, who is counting).   She has spent quite a bit of time trying educate me on what is good to eat and what to stay away from.   We went to the store so I could visualize what to eat while traveling on business, looked up restaurants and prepped me on how to order a Whole30 meal while out.

Not sure about no beer for 30 days, but I've switched over to club soda with a lime, traded my potato chips for cashews and have gone cold turkey on the sausage.     It's 10PM, I'm getting ready for bed and I AM HUNGRY.... my wife says I'm not eating enough healthy fat and not enough calories.   I'm learning... only day one.   How hard can it be....??