Whole30: Self-Care Edition 10/4/12

From October 2 through at least October 31, I’m documenting my Whole30 and autoimmune protocol, including the when, what, where, and how much of my sleep, activity, food, and mood. Although I follow the Whole30 guidelines 90% of the time anyway, I’m going all-in for the next 30 (or maybe 60) days to give my body a chance to stabilize after enduring adrenal burnout and a thyroid medication experiment.

As Melissa and Dallas of Whole9Life are good at reminding us, context matters, so if you’re not familiar with my checkered past, you might want to read these previous posts:


Not familiar with the Whole30? Learn all about it here and get extra help with the Whole30 Daily.

Not interested in the Whole30? Don’t sweat it! I’ll be posting other stuff like recipes, workouts, and other adventures, too.

Whole30: Days 1 and 2

And here we go again… Whole30 time. WOOT!

Tuesday, October 2 – Day 1

9 hours

no formal exercise; major grocery shopping; 3 hours of cooking

I’ve found my appetite is less ravenous, and I feel better if I eat in a 12-hour window — usually between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. so I can stop eating about 2-3 hours before going to bed — and don’t snack between meals or before bed. Because I’m on a mission to lose weight/body fat, I’m measuring and tracking my food right now; all quantities are cooked unless otherwise specified. I’m also following the autoimmune protocol. I train in the morning, so breakfast is right after my workout.

Breakfast, 10:00 a.m.
Hot Plate:
1/2 cup roasted sweet potato
4 ounces roasted chicken breast
2 cups yellow squash
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Lunch, 2:00 p.m.
Hot Plate:
4 ounces grass-fed ground beef
1 cup yellow squash
1 cup red cabbage
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 small apple

Dinner, 8:00 p.m.
Bigass Salad:

4 ounces grass-fed ground beef
1/2 head leaf lettuce
1/2 cucumber (raw)
1 cup snap peas (raw)
3/4 cup jicama (raw)
1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 small apple

A little tired from our trip to Colorado, but otherwise, just fine. Feeling both optimistic and intimidated by the Whole30+AIP adventure. I’m less afraid of the eating habits and more concerned about my mental state if I don’t start dropping some of this extra poundage soon. Vanity aside, I don’t like the way my body feels with this extra fat on it. But I do love my body; I just want what’s best for it, too.

Wednesday, October 3 – Day 2

9 hours

walk 1 mile
20 minutes intervals = :20 sprint + 2:00 recovery
walk 1/2 mile

I’ve found my appetite is less ravenous, and I feel better if I eat in a 12-hour window — usually between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. so I can stop eating about 2-3 hours before going to bed — and don’t snack between meals or before bed. Because I’m on a mission to lose weight/body fat, I’m measuring and tracking my food right now; all quantities are cooked unless otherwise specified. I’m also following the autoimmune protocol. I train in the morning, so breakfast is right after my workout.

Breakfast, 10:00 a.m.
Hot Plate:
1/2 cup roasted sweet potato
4 ounces roasted chicken
1 cup broccoli
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup cauliflower soup (recipe coming soon!)

Lunch, 2:00 p.m.
Salad plate:
1 can oil-packed tuna (drained) w/ 1 tablespoon extra-virgin oil oil, scallions, 10 black olives
1 cup snap peas (raw)
1 cup cucumber (raw)
1 cup jicama (raw)
1 cup carrot (raw)
1 cup cauliflower soup
1/2 small apple

Dinner, 8:00 p.m.
4 ounces lean pork chop
2 cups zucchini noodles w/ 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 clove garlic, Italian herbs
3 cups lettuce w/ scallion, a few snap peas, salt & pepper, 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Just fine. I give it a B/B+. Energy throughout the day was pretty good. No cravings. Cutting back on spices is challenging (for the autoimmune protocol), but that just means I need to play with fresh and dried herbs… trying to look at it as fun.

Song of the Day
Born This Way, Lady Gaga
I have a lot of scars from three decades of being bullied (by others and myself) for being overweight/0bese/too short/too flabby/too muscular/too slow/too sensitive/too whatever. These lyrics hit in just the right spot:

Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby, you were born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret

Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

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  • Lisa Hitchcock says:

    This will really help me! I have just started a Whole30 (regular) but am going to switch to the (AIP). Was grateful to see your post!

  • Genelle says:

    Exciting to follow these 30 days. I am on day 25 and will probably go on to another 30 days. Love your blog!

    • Mel says:

      Right on… 25 days! I like the idea of extending past the 30 because after 30, it actually gets easier. Keep us posted on how you’re doing!

  • Sarah B says:

    So inspiring as usual. I need to do a whole 30. I’ve been trying to go more and more Paleo. I find it tough socially but otherwise I love it! I feel 98% better when I do it. Thanks for motivating us with your action & documentation!

    • Mel says:

      It’s hard to make the mental commitment… and I know there will be some days where I need to white-knuckle it, especially when socializing. But in the long run, it will be worth it. Jump into the Whole30 pool anytime!

  • Stephanie says:

    Love following you on your Whole30 adventures? Feel free to share more about your sleep routine – I definitely struggle in that area.

  • Tracy says:

    What brand of tuna do you use? I have had trouble finding one that seems ok. The ones at the store say they have vegetable broth in them and that they also contain soy (in the broth) so I have stopped buying tuna, even though we love it, until I can find one that is OK to buy.

  • Yvette says:

    Day 3 for me on the Paleo AI Protocol/Whole30 program. Reading your insight, and now this blog, really helps me to focus on doing the entire program, complete with exercise (no HIIT), meditation, yoga and sleep. So excited to be doing it at the same time.

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! We’re partners in crime!

      I’m just now, after almost a year of no HIIT, starting to amp up the intensity a little… but the majority of my activity is easy-peasy aerobic and yoga. I miss the hardcore stuff, but at least for now, it doesn’t love me.

      Best wishes to you! Keep me posted on how you’re doing!

  • heather says:

    I’m so happy to see more raw foods and apples in your meals, to me it just makes it seem lighter, healthier and more balanced with the heavier meat and oils. Yummy! Such a great way to eat 🙂 Good luck on your AI adventure!

  • Nicci says:

    I have been reading your blog now for awhile, and simply adore it and your cookbook (just made the sunshine sauce for the first time and YUM!). I am doing my first whole 30, and wanted to let you know that you are an inspiration. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Cami Sebern says:

    Good luck Mel…I had brussels sprouts and rib roast for breakfast this morning..who knew you could eat meat/veggies in the morning…..and I am wearing my Well Fed socks today, most comfy socks ever!!

  • Kari says:

    Good luck Mel,I’m sure you will rock this. Looking forward to read your posts. I finished my first W30 a month ago and will start another 15th october. Going on a week holiday tomorrow so that’s why I start the 15th. I think the results from the first W30 was awsome. Off the W30 I have eaten nearly W30 most of the time, so I think it will not be a big problem to get back on track.

    • Mel says:

      It really does feel good to eat strict Whole30, and I love it while I’m doing it… I just have to really weather it this time to go the full distance of 30-60 days. It’s been at least 2 years since I did a full 30 days of strict, even though I’m usually 90% compliant. I’m excited to see how I feel in, like, 45 days.

  • Bay says:

    Mel – I am right there with you! Extra body fat and all. I’m joining you in this battle 🙂

  • April says:

    You’re awesome and GORGEOUS!!!!! I’m more than halfway through my first Whole30 and i’m excited and feeling great (well, except for the fact that my poor puppy is terminally ill–talk about a true test on my sugar addiction!). I just wanted to send some encouragement and tell you (even though I don’t know you) that I appreciate you, your WONDERFUL cookbook, and your knowledge! 🙂

    Keep rockin’ it girl!!

    • Mel says:

      1. You are so thoughtful with the compliments; thank you!

      2. I’m so sorry to learn of you sick puppy. Love to you; that’s really hard.

      3. Thank you for the support!


  • Deirdre says:

    Thank you so much for this. A FB friend sent me the link to your Whole 30 AIP journey. I’m at D3 regular W30, after eating Paleo for 9 months. I have so many of the same struggles as you do. Yes I love my body, but have packed some on since going Paleo in February. And now, I have the most insane gut issues, I’ll spare you the details. It seemed for months my gut was healing w/Paleo, only to have it come back tenfold. And, figuring out the t3/t4 thing, as well, as the whole wacky endocrine thing going on. I lose patience sometimes, and sometimes I am at peace with the slowwww journey. Reading about your experience helps so much. Thank you again!

    • Mel says:

      I’m glad my posts help — and it helps me TREMENDOUSLY to know you’re all out there, doing this along with me. Thank you!

  • Barb says:

    Hi Mel,

    I did my first Whole30 in July and loved it. Even though I only lost 4 pounds, I felt so much better. Cleaner. Healthier. In control.

    Unfortunately I’ve jumped back on the sugar train lately so I’m planning on starting another one after my cousin’s wedding next weekend.

    I have a question for you – do you eat the sweet potatoes even on days you don’t exercise? I’m wondering if I ate way too many last time around and if that affected my results.

    • Mel says:

      I do eat sweet potatoes every day because I need to keep my carbs around 100g per day, and it’s really hard for me to get that many carbs with just non-starchy vegetables. But everyone is different…

      I just can’t go low carb because of my adrenal issues and thyroid. BOO!

  • Michele says:

    How timely!
    I am starting the Whole 30 on the 9th, this is a great lead in for me!

    You go girl – I know you will succeed!

  • Julie says:

    I am so happy to have stumbled at your site again. Yes, I bought your book…my favorite of all my cookbooks. I also purchased It starts with food and my daughter and myself, thank you for the push,, will be started tomorrow. May I tell you , you are a beautiful woman, the kind of beauty that is rarely seen…I think it all starts within.

    • Mel says:

      I’m so glad you like Well Fed — yay! Thanks for letting me know!

      It Starts With Food is so good; you’re going to learn a lot!

      Thank you for the sweet compliments. So kind of you!

  • Rebecca says:

    I just found your site, and I’m so excited! I start my Whole30 on Monday. Thanks for the encouragement, honesty, and motivation!

  • Michelle says:

    Your such an inspiration Mel. Loved this post.
    Just received my copy of Well Fed in the mail. Can’t wait to get stuck into it

  • Alicia says:

    So happy to see you are doing the whole30! I started my first one on the 3rd, although I have been Paleo for about a year. Lately have been a little lax and battling with the sugar dragon. I’ve decided it’s time to kick him to the curb! So excited to see what kind of results I get. Funny that the past few days the Well Fed recipes have been my go-to’s, and then I decide to check out your website this morning to find that you are on the same journey! Your cookbook is pure genius. Thanks for being you and providing such inspiration 🙂

  • so glad your back at documenting the Whole 30. I love these posts.

  • TinkerBell says:

    This may be a silly question, but when you say you eat 1/2 small apple, what do you do with the other half? Does it go to waste? Do you share with someone? Since Apples turn brown, I can’t imagine you save it. Or are you eating prepackaged apple slices?
    Consider my mind blown.

  • Andrea says:

    Thank you for documenting your AIP journey…I’m about to start mine in a couple of days (have been strictly paleo for a few months apart from a birthday cake disaster last week that gave me crazy sugar cravings for DAYS afterwards!), and it’s so helpful to read others experiences! It’s going to be hard (mentally, and physically for the first few days of coffee & 85% chocolate detox!). But I’m sure it’s going to clear up a few AI issues for me as well as (hopefully) getting rid of that pesky 5kg I’ve put on from eating way too many nuts! LOVE LOVE LOVE your cookbook BTW, so many awesome recipes (sadly many if which I won’t be able to taste in the next 30+ days!). Your Cumin Carrots & Cocoa dusted Cauliflower are my favs!

    • Mel says:

      Good luck with the AIP! Although I whined about it quite a lot, it wasn’t *that* bad — just kind of boring. And not eating out is challenging. But you can do it! You can.

      I hope you get great results. Keep us posted on how you’re doing! You can make the cumin carrots without the cumin — the lemon and parsley will make them taste good! And the Cauliflower, just skip the paprika and keep the cocoa.

  • Amy says:

    I’m a neophyte to the “Paleo world”. I’ve only started eating this way three weeks ago. After reading “It Starts With Food” (sorry, can’t seem to underline), I thought I had a handle on how & what I needed to eat. Then I read about the AIP! Having MS, would dictate following the strict guidelines for eating, I would assume. Now, however, I am more confused than ever about my food choices! It seems that throughout my research, I am finding conflicting opinions as to what is acceptable. I guess in due time I’ll figure this out, too. But, I really want to thank you for your compassion, and for including more AIP recipes in your next book! I ordered “Well Fed”, and love what you say about your family. They seem wonderful! I can totally relate to the food issue, being from a big (6 kids) Italian family (which actually makes eating Paleo difficult – more so because they don’t understand “how pasta can be bad for you”! Life revolves around food & what time the next meal will be! Love your blog & can’t wait for your next book!

    • Mel says:

      Hi, Amy! It can be overwhelming at first, but it sounds like you’re doing great! My unsolicited advice is to start with a Whole30 to help eliminate any inflammation you might have going on, then after 30-60 days on Whole30, try the AIP. It can be REALLY hard to do it all at once, and the Whole30 will get you on the right path. Then when you know how you feel at THAT baseline, you can do 30-60 days of AIP and see how those eliminations make you feel. Not everyone needs to stay off nightshades or eggs or nuts indefinitely.

      Thank you for the sweet words about Well Fed! And yes, a foodie family is a blessing and a curse 🙂 I love that you wrote, “Life revolves around food & what time the next meal will be” because in my family, we often talk about dinner while eating breakfast. Love that!

      Keep me posted on how you’re doing! Best wishes to you.