Tuesday 25 September 2012

Litmus Jeans and a Whole30 (ish) Review

This morning, I had a hard time deciding what to wear.  I put on a dress, thinking I could squeeze one more wear before the true autumn weather hits, but it felt all wrong.  So I changed my ensemble.
Wool cardigan $7 VV Boutique
Green tank second-hand from my Thrifter Sister
Gold double-strand necklace $4 VV Boutique
Gap Long 'n Lean sepia-wash jeans circa 2004

Not only did I feel super comfortable in this ensemble, I also got to wear my favourite colour next to stripes (well, and gray) - green, wear some of the "new" VV Boutique/second-hand pieces that have been hanging around patiently for their turn...
I love the pretty knit pattern in this sweater and the ladylike 3/4 sleeves.
The gold Accessorize bracelet circa 2007 and 
earrings from my closet complimented my VV Boutique necklace!

And I passed my litmus test.  I assume we all have that pair of jeans that we keep for years and periodically slip into to gauge where we are at, size-wise!  My litmus jeans are these Gap Long 'n Lean size 10s that I got way back before kids.  I can't really remember when I got them.  I just know they aren't very worn because they haven't fit very much of the time!!  Today, they fit.
Photography by my awesome 4 year old!

Whole30 24 in Review 

I have been doing the Whole30 program since September 4th (after camping in the freezing cold till Labour Day) and I will wrap it up on the 28th when I head out for a retreat with just me and my man.  Since I have no intention of restricting my diet in any way on the first kid-free weekend since 2005, that makes 24 days of whole foods.

A little about my process:
  • I first came across Whole30 just before the end of August when I read a tweet by LoveBrownSugar.  I read through her post, clicked over to the Whole9 site and read that, delighted myself with ideas of doing Whole 30 in "30 days has September...," and decided to give it a try.  Quick, uncomplicated decision-making!  After a stressful summer, I had gained back some of the weight I lost through Weight Watchers and was having some difficulties sleeping.  I read that Whole30 could help with energy level, sleep and a bazillion other things and thought it was worth a try.  I like to have a framework, I am more of an abstainer than moderator and I like novelty, so it seemed like a good fit.
  • I did not sign up for any extra support or services and I did not buy the book It Starts with Food though I'm sure it would be well worth the time and cost to do so.  I was able to use the free resources to get enough info to follow the program as well as I wanted.  
  • What I mean by that last statement is: I could follow the program generally, but to eat the crazy meat on their shopping list, or ensure everything was organic and farm-raised no hormones etc., well, that's a recipe for feeling like a mother failure.  I have to drive a half hour or more just to get to an organic store!  It’s a balance, so you just do your best and be content in that.  I decided from the beginning that whatever I did, it would be enough.
  • That being said, I ate mostly fruit, farmer's market veggies, beef from my in-law's beef farm, other meat.  Eggs were my BFF's.  I ate whole avocados, nuts and olive oil with abandon and enjoyed not counting any points or calories (though that has worked for me in the past and is a totally valid strategy).  I did not snack much because my snack preferences tend not to be vegetables.  And I'm too lazy to get up and fix myself something whole foods-ish.    
  • I took ginormous lunches to work.  Ya need a big lunch kit to house all that whole food. 
  • I did not eat out during these 24 days except to celebrate FNO!
  • It was a challenge to learn to drink coffee black and I have certainly upped my coffee game as a result!  I now use a French Press to brew locally roasted beans (though I cannot wait to have a pumpkin spice latte!!).  I whipped up chilled coconut milk with cinnamon and vanilla bean for my coffee and that was delish! 
  • I have always liked straight-up club soda to drink and thank God it was allowed on Whole30. 
  • This is the longest I've gone without wine since being pregnant.
  • I am already in the habit of planning meals and grocery shopping, so that helped with planning Whole30 meals for me and my family.
  • For the most part, my family ate what I ate with minor substitutions (sweet potatoes for potatoes, a bed of spinach instead of a bed of rice, spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti, etc.).  
  • I did not use supplements or work out.  I just don't do those things.  I do a lot, but not that. 
  • I told my peeps about my whole food cleanse to get their support and encouragement, and I prayed.  That I do.         
 The outcomes:
  • First, confession.  I slipped up (aka cheated, since the Whole9 folks rightly assert that you don’t just slip onto a donut – it’s always a choice what you put in your bouche) 3 times: once I had some BBQ sauce on a steak, once I had dry ribs and I’m pretty sure there were sulfites or something forbidden in them, and I had stir fry sauce this past Sunday.  
  • I did not weigh myself before I started so I can’t say how much I lost.  I try to avoid weighing myself generally because I can tell when I feel good and when my clothes fit me well.  I don't need a scale to tell me what my brain already knows, and that scale will just mess with ya.  My estimate would be that I lost about 5lbs and got back down to where I was. Ish.   
  • I haven't miraculously turned into Heidi Klum.  I still have baby belly and stretchmarks but I'm okay with that.  Let's face it, until I, er, exercise, I am just thankful it's as good as it is!
  • I am sleeping better, but that may be due to several factors (I'm over the September transition, my husband has a job, I'm busier during the day, therapy, etc.).
  • My energy level has been great!  Like most moms, I am busy!  I get up early, go to bed late, juggle lots of roles, yet I haven't felt fatigued.  Before, I would rely on carby foods for energy and I notice that does not seem to be necessary with Whole30.  
  • I haven't been hungry or craving foods.  Sure, I want chocolate, but I'm not scavenging my pantry like I might otherwise, and I'm finding it fairly easy to resist work snacks and other temptations.  I enjoy whole foods anyway, so I haven't been missing the grains and such (well I've been able to live without them but I am looking forward to them).
  • I haven't noticed a significant difference in my skin or allergies.
  • There are a ton of great resources on line for Whole30.  I particularly enjoyed reading Grit & Glamour's experience with Whole30.    
  • Bottom line: this has been an excellent exercise in discipline and I am pleased all round with how I feel and how I did.  It was a good reminder that I can change!  I can tune into my body and make good choices!  Though I won't continue with the restrictions for the rest of my life, I am likely to make whole food choices more often and may do another 30ish day cleanse whenever I need a bit of maintenance.  For me, food is for nourishment and pleasure and I don't want to over think it or focus on it too much.  I do want to enjoy my blessings and live a full joyful life!  
Whole30 helped me get into my litmus jeans and some size 8 pants from VV Boutique, and helped me have a great September!  It definitely gets the VV Boutique Style seal of approval!


  1. Nicole, congratulations! Thanks for the mention...so thrilled that my posts kind of helped you through. I love your honesty and what you shared here. I'm going to share on our Whole30 October Facebook group page, because not everyone has access to organics, or time for fitness, but everyone who has committed to Whole30 raves about it!

    Enjoy your retreat. Pay close attention to what you eat, if you can. For example, yesterday I had my first mini Reese's Peanut Butter cup since my Whole30 in August and quitting Splenda and artificial sweeteners...and it was...DISGUSTING! I know you'll be on vacay, but if you can introduce one Whole30 no-no at a time, you can really begin to understand the effects on your body and mind.

    Again, hats off and enjoy fitting in those jeans!

    1. Yes! Your posts helped A LOT! I gave up artificial sweeteners before getting pregnant the first time in 2004 and you're right - once you have the good stuff, the rest pales in comparison! I should have noted that one other benefit from doing this was releasing me from the 'good mom' pressure of getting my kids to eat whole grains - they don't really like them and I'm kinda wondering if they're all that great for them anyway... Great advice to reintroduce foods slowly - I'm very curious what I will find when I do! Thanks again and good luck to your mom and everyone doing the October Whole30!

  2. Great... I was looking for something like this and I am so glad that I finally found it. Thanks for sharing.

    Signs I Need A Cleanse


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