The Day had been marked on my calendar for weeks. November 9th would be my last official day of the Whole30 for a while. I had just done two consecutive rounds plus two additional weeks and felt like it was time to explore what the Whole30 creator, Melissa Hartwig, refers to as Food Freedom. I also felt a little lost and unsure of what that Food Freedom would look like for me as well as nervous about giving up the Whole30 magic I have been experiencing (aka endless NSV’s and tiger blood). With still needing to lose fifty pounds, this was a huge crossroads in my weight loss journey and I was in desperate need of some sound diet and weight loss advice.
In my blog posts, My Whole30 Experience (Day 12) and My Whole30 Experience – (Day17) I’ve blogged about the numerous NSV’s I’ve experienced since starting the Whole30. To be honest, they have been mind-blowing and seem to just keep coming.
I noticed one of my newest and most amazing NSV’s the other day. I have been wearing a bathing suit skirt for the past fifteen years because I have had this chicken skin like skin on my thighs. I just happened to glance down the other day and my thighs look about 80% better! I wish I had a before picture because the difference is amazing!
Acid reflux has been a problem for me since I was in my twenties and without getting too specific, let’s just say that’s more than twenty- five years ago. Anyways, the reflux has been so bad I coughed up blood daily for nearly a decade. I have been able to control it for the last several years through diet, homeopathy, and by working on my gut health. There are some things I just don’t dare do like drink lemonade, eat too rich of chocolate, or take certain supplements like milk thistle. The other day, I was inspired by an article I read about the health and weight loss benefits of drinking lemon water and decided to try it. This decision would have landed me in a nearby urgent care a few months ago. I drank three glasses of lemon water that day and one every day since. Thank you Whole30!
And then there is what the Whole30 calls tiger blood. The Whole30 timeline refers to it as:
Days 16-27: Tiger Blood. Goodbye cravings, hello Tiger Blood! This must be what everyone is talking about. You’ve hit the downhill slope of your Whole30 and life is beautiful. Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome.
The Whole30’s blog about Tiger Blood tells us that everyone’s Tiger Blood looks and feels a little different. Mine has been truly magical. I feel more energetic, enthusiastic and I find myself smiling all the time. My brain is calmer and I rarely feel frazzled or frenzied. My memory is amazing. I crave healthy food like red peppers, cashew butter, avocados, and cashew chicken and have little to no sweet or junk food cravings. I also find myself wondering why other people are tired and yawning all the time because the feeling seems foreign to me at this point. I can also be found dancing in grocery store aisles and belting out songs at the top of my lungs while driving.
I know what you must be wondering. Why would I give the Whole30 magic, Non-scale victories, and Tiger Blood up? Well, that’s a great question. First of all, the creator of the Whole30, Melissa Hartwig, tells us the Whole30 should not be done forever and the goal is to move into what she refers to as food freedom. I can’t say that’s my real reason why though. In two words, the answer is weight loss. While I have lost a tremendous amount of inches and toned up substantially since I’ve been on the Whole30, I have only lost five pounds in two and a half months!
Please if you are thinking of doing the Whole30, don’t be discouraged by my lack of weight loss. It’s me and my quirky body, not the Whole30. Everyone I know lost between 8-20 pounds in their first round of the Whole30. I’ve mentioned some of my weight loss issues in The Weight Loss Resistance Test Results Are In And You Are Not Going To Believe The Results! and How I Gained Over 100 Pounds and My Best Advice To You. With all that being said, I need to find a way of eating that will allow me to lose the next fifty pounds.
I muttered through my last day on the Whole30 and ate my Whole30 favorite foods like chicken pot pie soup, a delicious lunch from TrueFare, and my favorite nut butter. When I picked up my ten-year-old Son from school, I decided to tell him my entire story about how today was my last day of the Whole30 and I was nervous about giving it up but needed to find a way to lose weight. Drew very thoughtfully responded with, “Mom I have never seen you so happy or so healthy. Why would you give that up? You just need to find a way to lose weight.”
And just like that, my new diet was formed. I would remain Whole30ish and eat the Whole30 foods plus a morning breakfast shake. Since I can’t tolerate eggs and need to take a few powders for gut health daily, I decided a shake would be my best bet. While shakes are not Whole30 compliant, the JJVirgin’s shake ingredients are. I plan to start my day with a JJVirgin shake with spinach, blueberries, and avocado topped with inulin powder and leaky gut support to support my gut health.
For the here and the now, I’m going to do what creators of the Whole30 would probably deem as unthinkable and count my calories daily. My goal will be to eat 1400 calories a day consisting of the healthy Whole30 approved foods and the JJVirgin shakes. Easy enough- right?
I’ll report back in a week. In the interim, please wish me successful diet luck!