whole 30

IT Band Rehab & Whole 30

The last I left you, I had deferred my The Woodlands Marathon entry due to some serious IT band problems.

The injury didn’t happen overnight. My body was giving me warning signs for months. I ignored it, of course. It wasn’t until it went from ache to pain that I admitted that I was injured.

I think, as runners, we all can relate to that feeling of panic when we realize we’re hurt and can’t run. Desperation sets in quickly and we’re willing to do anything to get us back to running faster. That’s where I found myself in January. I knew the acute knee injury was inflammation in the knee and I also knew that some foods contribute to inflammation. I figured that by eliminating the inflammatory foods in my diet I would speed up the healing of the inflammatory response in my knee. Seems logical, right?

I’d known several people who did Whole 30 and wouldn’t stop talking about how life changing it was so I did a little research and realized that Whole 30 eliminated all the inflammatory foods I wanted to avoid. I started January 2 and ended January 31. It actually was life changing.

IMG_20150131_133219What is Whole 30?

Simply put Whole 30 is a restrictive food program that lasts 30 days. It’s not about loosing weight (though that’s often a pleasant side effect), it’s about retraining your body, your metabolism, your taste buds and changing your eating habits.

The rules are simple. Eat meat, eggs, nuts, fruits and vegetables; don’t eat dairy, legumes, refined sugar, grains, and alcohol or try to make traditional foods out of approved ingredients (a pancake is still a pancake!). You can eat as much of the approved foods as you want.

It was hard, especially in the beginning. The first few days were easy because it was a novelty but the entire second week seemed to drag by. I dreaded the first sip of black coffee every morning – I could barely choke it down.

I started feeling different after about three days. I had more energy. I no longer needed that after lunch cup of coffee to make it past the kids’ bedtime. I immediately noticed that I thinned out around my waist and my muscles felt a lot stronger. That foggy headed feeling disappeared and I was thinking clearly.

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After a week the achiness in my knees disappeared completely.

One morning during week three I sat down on the couch with my coffee and all of a sudden it was no longer bitter. I could actually taste the coffee instead of the creamer. I felt like I’d been freed.

The hardest part about Whole 30 was re-learning how to cook and confronting the idea that foods you thought we’re “good for you” aren’t necessarily as good as you thought. When you don’t eat dairy, wheat, beans or sugar that leaves a lot of calories to be filled by fruits and vegetables – then you realize that though foods like whole grains and dairy look good for you on paper they’re never as good for you as their caloric equivalent of fruits and veggies.

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My body responded. By the time our 30 days were up I felt like a different person. I had more energy, more…spunk. I no longer felt like I was being dragged through life – I don’t know how to describe it other than to say it just felt right. Added bonus, I lost the last 10 pounds of baby weight. We were so pleased with the results that we did an extra 30 days.

Re-intoducing myself to normal food was hard because I felt so good both mentally and physically! I didn’t want to go back to my old way of eating because I didn’t want to go back to my old way of feeling. I know how different types of foods affect my body. I’ve also figured out how much of the offending foods I can eat before the adverse reaction begins. For example, I know that wheat makes me bloated but rice doesn’t and I can eat about 3 servings of wheat a week before I notice a change in the way my body feels. I can handle dairy in small amounts but the days of eating cheese a half a block at a time are gone.

A year later the lessons we learned doing Whole 30 still govern our life. Though we no longer follow it exclusively we do use it as a general guideline for our eating habits. To keep us from going crazy and to allow for dining out we make exceptions during the weekend. It’s an arrangement that keeps us honest, and works for our lifestyle.

Though I did Whole 30 to help my knee heal faster I noticed a marked difference in my athletic performance. Now that I’ve changed my eating habits and my body is getting the proper amount of nutrition I recover faster after hard workouts; I have more energy which makes completing my workouts easier. My joints feel strong and muscle soreness which used to linger for days now goes away after 24 hours.

The correlation between the food that goes in and the performance that comes out is real. If you’re going to ask your body to push itself beyond it’s known limits you have to give it good fuel. That’s the biggest takeaway from Whole 30, food is fuel for your body. That’s what Whole 30 taught me. It’s a lesson that I will keep with me forever.

A Day in the Life {January 22, 2015}

A glimpse into my day. I’m stay-at-home-mom with a 3.5 year old daughter and a 19 month old son. My husband and I are currently on day 21 of the Whole 30 challenge and we are homeschooling my daughter’s preschool. This is my fourth Day in the Life post.

{You can read the first three here, here and here.}

Disclaimer: This is long but I want to document as much detail as I can for my own enjoyment later.

5:30 AM – I hear Alvy over the baby monitor talking to himself. I throw the covers off my legs and roll out of bed. On my way up to his room I stop by the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot. I pick him up, change his diaper, get him dressed and then we both sit down in the glider so he can nurse. Yes, I’m still nursing him.

6:00 AM – We go downstairs, I pour my coffee and turn on the TV and hunt down Alvy’s hearing aids. We both sit on the couch and watch WordWorld while I drink my coffee. I look at our meal plan and make a grocery list for a trip to the grocery store later in the morning.

6:10 AM – Jason leaves for work.

6:45 AM – I get off the couch and start breakfast. I’m having bacon, eggs, sweet potato hash browns and sliced apple. The kids are having french toast, bacon and sliced apple

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7:00 AM – Evie wakes up and stumbles into the den.

7:30 AM – I turn off the TV and the kids and I sit down to breakfast.

7:45 AM – I put in a load of laundry, Evie goes to get dressed, I clean the kitchen, get myself dressed and make the bed.

8:30 AM – We leave for the grocery store. The kids are rowdy and the trip is somewhat stressful. It started off well but quickly deteriorated to this.

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…and this.

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Thankfully I went in with a good list and the store was relatively empty.

9:30 AM – We get back from the grocery store. I start Evie on her schoolwork while I unpack groceries and put in a load of diapers. Then I sit down with her. She does pages from her workbook (Complete Book of Grade K) and we read a Bob Book (Bob Book, Set 1:Book 11). Alvy plays with his ABC puzzle and his wooden farm blocks.

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10:15 AM – Alvy becomes unruly. He’s yelling, throwing puzzle pieces and generally being disruptive so I “pause” school to lay Alvy down for a nap. Evie plays on her Leap Pad quietly downstairs while I nurse Alvy.

10:45 AM – I lay Alvy down in his crib. He is extremely fussy and refuses to settle himself. Screaming ensues. He’s been cutting a tooth the last few days so I give him some Tylenol hoping that will help. Evie and I finish school then I fold the laundry that I washed earlier in the day.

11:15 AM – Alvy is still screaming so I go upstairs to rescue him. I bring him down and hold him with one arm while I make lunch with the other.

11:30 AM – We sit down for lunch. The kids have almond butter and honey sandwiches, apple slices and some cheese and I have a huge taco salad (lettuce, avocado, tomato and taco meat).

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11:45 AM – I take Alvy back upstairs for nap attempt #2. We read one of his favorite ABC books and I put him back in his crib. He cries for just a minute then starts to settle himself down. Phew!

Evie makes a loud noise playing downstairs and he starts crying again.

Just. Go. To. Sleep.

He’s over tired and mad. Our little boy has quite the temper.

Just as he settles the doorbell rings, it’s the mailman with a package. Growl. Once again he starts crying.  As I pass through the den I notice Evie has dug out about a dozen milk bones from the pantry and is feeding Baxter on the rug. Earlier in the day I would have told her to stop but after listening to Alvy scream for an hour I really don’t care.

12:30- He FINALLY lays himself down. FINALLY. I sneak out of his room and start working on the mountain of laundry that needs to be folded. Evie follows me into our bedroom and sits on the bed and helps me fold and plays word games on the tablet.

1:30 PM – Laundry is folded and put away. I change into my workout clothes and dig out one of my old pairs of running shoes. I’ve been having some IT band problems lately and I have suspect it’s an issue with my shoes. So today for my workout I’m going back to my old Mizuno Wave Creation 13s to see if they make a difference in my band tightness. I spend a few minutes fiddling with the laces, then when I am satisfied with how they feel on my feet I go into the kitchen to prep dinner.

2:00 PM – My chores are finished so Evie and I sit down and at the kitchen table to play with her Legos. We work on building a sports car from a little kit. I also fold the diapers.

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2:55 PM – Alvy wakes up from his nap in a much better mood.

3:15 PM – We leave to run errands, go to the chiropractor and go to the Y. I run 3 miles, do Strong Lifts Day A (squats, bench press, inverted row, pushups and reverse crunches) and let the kids run around the indoor track. I was pleased with my shoe experiment. On Tuesday I was only able to run a mile and a half so the shoes made a difference. IT band was still tight though.

6:00 PM – We finally make it back home. Time to start dinner. The kids play quietly for a while but then start to pester me in the kitchen so I turn the TV on and let them watch a couple episodes of Signing Time while we wait for Jason to get home.

7:15 PM – Jason gets home and we immediately sit down to dinner. Pecan Crusted Salmon, Roasted Carrots and Beets and Shredded Brussels Sprouts.

7:40 PM – Jason cleans the kitchen and I go take a quick shower.

8:10 PM – We herd the kids upstairs. It’s time for bed. Alvy is obviously ready for sleep telling everyone, “ni-ni” as we walk up the stairs. Evie and Alvy read two books together and then go their separate ways. I take Alvy and nurse him then lay him down. Jason takes Evie to her room, reads her two books and then they cuddle for 5 minutes before he goes downstairs.

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8:35 PM – Alvy is almost asleep in my arms so I lay him down in his crib. He fusses for about two seconds rolls over and goes to sleep. I sit in the glider for a few minutes to make sure he’s asleep before I try to leave. As I’m sitting there I hear Evie crying in her room.

I walk into her room and she tells me she’s mad because dad won’t let her sleep in our room. I explain to her that she needs to sleep in her own room first and she can come to our room in the night if she wants. She reluctantly agrees and I promise to go check on her.

I go downstairs and make a cup of hot tea.

8:55 PM – Back upstairs to check on Evie. She’s already asleep. Jason and I sit on the couch and watch TV while I drink my tea. This is literally the first time I’ve sat still since 6:30 this morning.

9:35 PM – We go to bed.

THE END.