Six Months Into My Clean Eating Journey

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Six months ago, we made the huge dive into making major changes to our diet and the results have been remarkable for us!  Six months later, I want to share our journey and what has changed for us over these last six months. Last spring I was at my whits end with things.  My adrenals were completely shot, and both my husband and I had major adrenal fatigue.  I couldn’t stay asleep and would suffer from insomnia multiple times a week.  I was struggling with keeping up with the pace of my job, and marathon births (all night births/long births) would completely wipe me out for 24-48 hours.  I had little energy, and struggled with infertility.  In the later portion of the spring, I discovered that I had borderline hypertension and borderline diabetes.  I felt like I was in a deep pit that I could never recover from. The beginning of June, I found out we were expecting.  This was completely and utterly miraculous, as we have had three losses since our last child was born in 2010 and hadn’t had a pregnancy at all since 2013.  However, the midwife in me knew, I was the most unhealthy I had been in my entire life and this pregnancy wasn’t going to be easy. The pregnancy wouldn’t last though, and I miscarried on  July 4th, the day before we left on our anniversary cruise.  I was devastated and had a wide array of emotions.  However, it was the final thing that pushed me into the wall where I knew that truly there was no way out of this but to make radical changes to my life. Shan October 2014Shan July 2015

Before clean eating pics… there aren’t many that exist!

I had been looking at the Whole 30 book for a couple months, but the decision was made that once vacations were over, we were doing Whole 30.  Our day 1 was July 20th.  I was still so fresh from the miscarriage, and carried a lot of guilt that my poor choices resulted in the loss of a very wanted pregnancy.  I also had a reminder in my head that I have come so far in life, and have always achieved anything I have put my mind to, so between the combinations of thoughts running through my head, I was determined to make it through the 30 days of Whole 30! As is true for most people making dramatic diet changes, the initial changes had their own challenges.  I, thankfully, had been off soda since November 2014, so the harder part for me was giving up my daily latte.  Over the first couple weeks, I started to realize how many of my eating habits were out of habit and not even that I wanted them.  I wanted a daily latte because that is my normal routine every day is to go to the coffee shop and get one.  It was interesting to see how many food habits filled my days that weren’t even things I liked or truly wanted but were just part of my every day life! The first couple weeks I worked through the detox.  I had some cravings, but I was bound and determined that I was going to get through this and be stronger on the other side.  I craved cheese for almost three weeks.  I didn’t think I could live without cheese!  The main detox system I had was fatigue, and was super tired, but by day 21 the fatigue cloud lifted and the massive amount of energy came over me, or “tiger blood” as the authors of Whole 30 call it.  I had a birth around this point and felt completely changed in how easy it was for me to get in different positions, and how I felt after the delivery! My first month, I lost 18.1 pounds and 8.5 inches.  My clothes were fitting a little differently.  My blood sugars were dropping.  When I sat and pondered my why’s of doing a clean diet, my main focus wasn’t on weight loss.  My main purposes was for my health, being able to give my job 150% like I wanted, for my family, for my fertility and a (future) healthy pregnancy.  Any weight loss is pure bonus. My second month on Whole 30, I added in walking.  I was determined to begin walking two miles a day.  It took me about 24:30 minutes to walk one mile.  I reminded myself it did not matter how slow my mile was, it just mattered that I was out there being active! Shan Sept 2015

This photo was taken 2.5 months into the journey.  I had been in denial that my clothes were fitting different.  This shirt had been snug before starting Whole 30.

We went on to do 120 straight days of pure Whole 30, before deciding to introduce a paleo “treat” here or there.  The last two months we have done the occasional paleo treat with grade b maple syrup or honey, but other than that, we are sticking with the clean, paleo/whole 30 “diet.” Shan before and after november 2015

My first before/after picture I posted the beginning of November.

  Six Months in and What Are the Results?::

  • A huge energy reserve.  I wake early and go all day long without feeling overly fatigued, need caffeine or an afternoon nap.
  • Much clearer skin.  My skin hasn’t been this clear in years.
  • Better quality sleep.  I fall asleep quickly at night without the help of essential oils and homeopathy.  I stay asleep through out the night, rarely waking.
  • More stamina in my job.  I bounce back from marathon births amazingly quick.  Before Whole 30, if I had been at an all night birth, I would sleep five hours, wake to eat and see my kids, back to bed an hour later for another three hours.  I would still go to bed on time that night and be fatigued the next day.  Now, I could be up all night at a birth.  Sleep 4-5 hours and be set for the day.  I sleep normal that night and feel my normal self the next day.  This is one of the hugest things for me!
  • Normalized blood pressure and blood sugar levels.  My blood pressure is now running 118/78.  I stopped taking my blood sugar medication after three months on Whole 30 as my numbers completely normalized on their own without medications.  This was amazing to see these health issues resolve on diet and exercise alone.
  • My walking mile has gotten dramatically quicker.  In later August, it would take me 24:30 minutes to walk a mile.  Now, my average walking mile is around 18:30 minutes.  My determination has paid off.  I have started the Couch to 5K program earlier this month (current jogging mile is around 13:45 minutes), and regularly walk three miles a day.
  • No adrenal fatigue.  My adrenals feel completely healed!
  • Reduction in grey hairs!  This is probably the most hilarious thing.  This month I realized I have about 80% less grey hairs than I had before.  So no more need to dye my hair!
  • Needing less frequent chiropractic adjustments.
  • No cravings!  I don’t miss grains, dairy, legumes, traditional sugar/sweets.
  • Lastly, I have lost a whopping 82.5 pounds, and 55.5 inches in SIX months of making these amazing changes to our lifestyle.  My husband has also lost over 60 pounds.

There are so many other things we have noticed in our health journeys that I could go on and on!   Shan Dec 2015Shan Jan 2016

More recent pictures of me from December 2015 and earlier this month.

What’s next? We have no intention of going back to a mainstream model of diet for us.  We have a family vacation planned for March and have started to put plans in place to allow it to be possible for us to stick to our paleo lifestyle.  We have a trip in place overseas this summer that will definitely bring an interesting dynamic to staying with paleo, but we will definitely make it work!  The smell of bread or noodles cooking turn my stomach.  It is amazing the difference.  I am quite certain if I had grains or dairy right now I would get terribly sick. I have signed up for my first 5k in April with some dear friends.  Looking forward to accomplishing that goal. I hope to hit the 100# loss mark by that point as well. I plan to continue with my daily walking/jogging routines.  I have started to add in yoga and some strength training which I plan to continue to do to make my body stronger.  I am excited to see how my miles continue to get quicker over the coming months. Most importantly, I hope to achieve a healthy pregnancy based on the healthy choices we have made to get to that point.   I have enjoyed immensely sharing with others about our journey, and helping family, friends and clients join this journey for themselves.  I have had more than one client decide to give Whole 30 a try when high risk conditions were looming over head in their pregnancy, and within two weeks these issues completely REVERSED!  Food is amazingly powerful, and after this time of diet and lifestyle changes, I am even more convinced of the power our food system holds after seeing the amazing changes in my own life and the lives of others I know.

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