Starting the Whole30 “diet” was a way to wipe my slate clean and start over. I found myself walking through the isles at the grocery store with no sense of excitement or pleasure as I saw all of the boxes of foods and their fancy labels.
I knew that eating these things did nothing for my body or my palate. Everything just starts to taste the same. It all makes me hungrier and hungrier for more of the same nutrient deficient high carbohydrate foods. It’s a viscous cycle that keeps repeating, but I knew better.
I wanted some food with color and flavor. Something that made me feel full, but not sluggish and regretful after I ate. Most important to me, at this time, was trying to find a solution to my increasingly worse ADD symptoms.
Attention Deficit Disorder
I was prescribed Adderall for my ADD, but my heart rate was staying way too high (like 120 range at rest). This was, of course, was not helped by the amount of Mountain Dew I was also consuming. My doctor told me if I couldn’t decrease my heart rate, he was going to have to prescribe me a beta-blocker.
This is a medication to help decrease your heart rate. There’s nothing I dislike more than having to take a medication due to side effects of another. I know that he wasn’t wanting to go this route either. The Adderall isn’t a lifesaving medication, I wasn’t going to die without it. So, after that appointment I decided to get off both the Mountain Dew (soda all together) and the Adderall.
This was NOT an easy decision for me because I absolutely fell in love with the way Adderall made me feel. With someone who has ADD, my normal feels like I’m almost permanently in a zoned-out state. I may be thinking about 20+ things at any given moment and it takes a lot of effort to focus on one thing, person, or conversation.
It’s exhausting to try and keep my attention fixed on one item at a time. When I took the Adderall, it was like someone put noise canceling headphones on my brain and it allowed me to be present with people and not irritable or flighty feeling.
I know more than anyone that taking these types of medications are not good long term and I needed to find a more sustainable solution.
So… I started researching ADD a little further and found that my sugar consumption was not helping of course. As you can image there’s a MASSIVE amount of sugar in Mountain Dew or any other soda for that matter. Then I stumbled upon Dr. Axe’s video about dietary recommendations for people who have ADD and was enlightened to say the least.
I didn’t realize that soy was also a big contributor to aggravating the symptoms. And who would have known that soybean oil was in just about everything I had in my pantry and in the sauces I was using. I’ve never had to read labels on food before. As I started to do so, it became increasingly overwhelming. In addition to cutting out soy, he also recommended increasing the Omega 3s (which are found in fish) in the diet.
The Magic Pill
Around this time, I stumbled upon the Netflix documentary “The Magic Pill” that talks about families starting a Paleo & Ketogenic diet. To see their successes and the underling science behind food got me all sorts of warm and fuzzy. After a ton of research and knowing that this was the answer to all of my questions and how much this could impact other families, I decided to enroll in a health coaching program to get a more formal education and learn how this could change my life as well.
Now as I was going through this program, I was making small adjustments here and there with my diet, but nothing was showing great improvements because I felt like I was in a cycle of over-eating, cheating, and making excuses.
Being Honest with Myself
So, I decided to cut the crap and if I really wanted to better my health, I needed to make an actual commitment to myself and my family. Honestly, with a clear continence I cannot teach other people how to improve their lifestyle and diet if I’m not able to do the same. It’s not an easy thing to do, changing your diet. Especially after you’ve been eating that way your entire life.
I need to be able to say, “Yes, I’ve been there. It is hard and it will get better.”
There are plenty of people who are faking it to make it or their social media doesn’t reflect what is actually going on in their real day to day lives. I don’t want to be that person. I need to be 100% real with all of you and myself, even when I mess up.
Whole30 & Paleo
As far as the diet specifics go, I know primarily I want to be eating a more Paleolithic or Paleo diet. ALL off the Whole30 meals are Paleo friendly, but not vice versa. So, once I’m done with my 30 days of Whole30 I will be able to reintroduce some items and spice it up a little bit without going crazy.
I decided on Paleo over the Ketogenic diet because I am not looking to lose weight at this time. I know a big attraction to Ketogenic is the weight loss results, but I’ve been teased a lot lately about me being too thin, so I would rather not go that route. I’ve lost about 25 lbs recently and have been told on several occasions that I’m too skinny by family members and they have a look of concern on their face so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I gained a few pounds.
Also, Keto allows for some processed foods and I would like to stay away from those as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be a super star 100% all the time, never fail kind of girl- I am fully prepared that at some point this will happen, and it WILL be okay.
My prior diet consisted of a lot of
- Carbohydrates: pasta, bread, oatmeal, cereal, donuts.
- Cheese: (processed) “American” cheese slices, shredded cheese (that has a shelf life of 6 months), queso, Mac & Cheese, and Parmesan (shaker cheese).
- Sugar: chocolate, candy, snacks, cereal bars, brownies, etc.
These are the items I needed to get rid of mostly because the more I ate them, the more I wanted to eat them, and I never felt full or like I could have “enough”. Of course, I had decreased the amount of those items over time and increased my fruit & veggie intake, but those would always be there for me to fall back on.
Instead of staring at them, I’ve got rid of everything not Whole30 compliant in my house. With the exception of the bottom shelf in my pantry because I’m not putting my 11 year old daughter on a diet, she has some things she likes to snack on and as long as they are out of field of vision it’s fine by me. I’m 6’3” so looking at my shins is not something I do when I open the door.
Since I cleaned out the pantry, there’s really nothing in there except some oils (Olive & Coconut), Coconut flour, almond butter, and canned vegetables. I don’t need to go in there unless I’m looking for something I already know I have.
Counting Carbs & Calories
While I do the Whole30 I will not be counting my carbohydrates or calorie intake. I am also not going to eat on any particular schedule, if I’m hungry I’ll eat and I’ll stop eating when I’m done. I have had issues with restricting my calorie intake before and it almost became an obsession so much that I felt like I was starving myself.
It’s helpful for lots of people to keep track of the calories they eat if they are looking to lose weight. Carbohydrates are necessary to keep in mind for people wanting to get into a state of “ketosis” while doing the Ketogenic diet or any diet that is low carb and aimed for weight loss.
To sum that all up for you, I started Whole30 primarily as a stepping stone to Paleo which should provide me some relief in my ADD related symptoms. I’m also hoping for some regularity to occur with my gut as it has been a problem for quite some time. Lastly to improve my energy level and be more alert throughout the day.
Have you made it through Whole30 or have any tips or recommendations for our readers? If so, be sure to drop a comment below.
Today is Day #5 of my first round (R1D5). Curious to see how my progress is going? You can follow along with me (if your physician approves) and use #HFAWhole30 on Instagram. My handle is @chelseamo07
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