Whole30: Self-Care Edition 10/5/12

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: Day 3 (Thursday, October 4)

7.5 hours – Went to sleep at 11:00 and woke up at 6:30… bing!

1 hour total: 30 minutes of aerobic walking + 30 minutes of 1:00 jog/1:00 walk
I’m wearing a heart rate monitor now (sigh) to make sure I don’t overdo it. Jogging was fun! Close enough to running that I could almost feel badass.

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
1 cup broccoli
3/4 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup cauliflower soup

Lunch, 2:00 p.m.
Hot Plate:
2 ounces lean pork chop
2 ounces skinless chicken thigh
2 cups zucchini noodles w/ 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large cucumber (raw)
1 cup jicama (raw)
10 black olives

Dinner, 6:00 p.m. (@ 24 Diner)
5  ounces (?) beef burger, no bun, topped w/ mushrooms & arugula
about 1 cup green beans braised with bacon (borderline compliant)
about 1/2 cup roasted zucchini and yellow squash

I had an endocrinology appointment this afternoon, and I had a total meltdown in the car afterward. I’m halfway blaming PMS because it’s my PMS week right now, but it was also legitimately upsetting.

The good
1. My blood work looks pretty promising; more on that in a separate post.
2. My endo had no problem switching my prescription from Synthroid to Armour.

The bad
1. My blood pressure was a little high. As I was leaving, the NP’s advice was to “cut down on sodium, and… do you exercise?” My head almost exploded. I’ve been going there for almost three years, and I’ve been telling them every time I go that I do CrossFit, lift weights, run, eat clean, etc., and I’ve been gaining weight. I felt as if when I talk to them about my life, my problems, and my habits, I sound like the grownups on a Peanuts special: “Wah wah WAH wah wah.” F*CK ME! “Do I exercise?” Are you f*cking kidding me with this?

2. Then when she filled out the request for my next round of blood work in a month, she requested only a TSH measurement, although I’ve asked them REPEATEDLY to order TSH, Free T4, and Free T3. Seriously. Why do I have to ask every time? WHY?

3. I was just overwhelmed by sadness that after all the work I did — and the confidence I found — to get to my goal weight and fitness in 2008 has been wiped out. I know I wrote all of that stuff about “starting fresh,” and I meant it, but dang! I just felt bad about it today. Like I was standing in a hole. So I let myself wallow in it for a little while and cried some hot tears of anger, frustration, regret, sorrow, and bitterness. Then when I was all cried out, I went to Penzeys and bought some herb blends to replace my beloved spices this month; I’ll share my Penzeys haul in the next day or so.

Song of the Day
We’re All In This Together, High School Musical
Don’t judge. (One of my most unsentimental friends worked in development for a theater company and took me to see the live version of this show when it played in Austin. I was stunned that she liked it, and we had the most fun ever singing along when we saw the show… twice.)

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  • Lydia says:

    The whole modern western medical establishment can just SUCK IT as far as I’m concerned. All they know to do is treat symptoms. If your symptoms don’t match what what should be happening if you’re doing what they say, then either you or the tests are lying. And god knows BLOOD TESTS DON’T LIE.

    *head asplode*

    I’m sorry that interaction with your endo’s office was that discouraging. Every time I have an experience like that at a doctor’s office I remind myself that it wasn’t so long ago that the medical profession didn’t believe in the importance of hand-washing. Idjits.

  • Would it be possible to switch to a different doctor? Granted specialists aren’t as easy to find as new GP’s, but if you are not getting support from your current doctor, it’s worth hunting down a better one 🙂

    Also! Looking forward to following along with your newest Whole30. You can do this!

    • Mel says:

      I’m actually seeing Dr. Sebring in addition to my endo, so I’m exploring all my options. My endo is one of the best respected and recommended in Austin, which gives you an idea of what most endos are like, i guess. Sigh.

      I have a list of docs in other cities that I’m going to explore if I don’t get this straightened out this year. I agree that everyone should feel empowered to switch doctors and keep asking for what they need — but that doesn’t minimize the frustration.

      • Tom R. says:

        Having the right doc is soooooo important to mental well being as well as the physical. Battling “stuff” is hard enough but battling bad docs (even if well-respected) makes it that much more stressful and difficult to get better. BP up? Yeah, ’cause I have to come visit an @$$hole doctor that doesn’t listen to me, know me or remember a thing about me. Find one that knows YOU and cares about YOU.

        So many more reasons why BP can be up other than salt, for crying out loud. What a lame quack.

        Hang in there and stick with your plan. Don’t let this set you back.

      • Cami Sebern says:


        Hang in there and if on your list of docs are any in the Denver/Boulder area, you always have a place to stay….

  • AustinGirl says:

    I am so sorry you’re having to deal with all of this. All of us who read your blog think you’re fabulous, and you really are an inspiration to us. (sounds trite, but it’s true!)
    I had a similar “ARE YOU HEARING THE WORDS COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH!!?” incident at my doctor’s too. My A1C had come back a little high and she was on full alert…despite this being the only time I’ve ever had high results. I told her that I’d lost about 30 lbs (which she’d know if she looked at my chart…) and that I don’t eat grains or processed food and eat less than 20g of sugar a day. Not only did the Dr want to put me on meds IMMEDIATELY (my blood work was nowhere near diabetes level and no one in my family has it) but then she brought out some diabetes magazine and started showing me some NASTY fast food “options” I could take when eating out. I calmly told her that I wasn’t going to eat a Happy Meal, instead of a Big Mac, because I didn’t eat that kind of food. She seemed to ignore me, and then showed me a plate of food with meat, veggies and a pile of brown rice on it. I said “Yes. I eat this frequently, but take out the rice, and increase the ratio of veggies”. Again, no indication that I’d even spoken a word.
    When I got to my car, I called my insurance and got another doctor to go to as my primary care. Health is too important to deal with a doctor who doesn’t listen to a word you say.
    Good luck with all of this, sister. You have a LOT of people in your corner, who think you rock.

    • Mel says:

      HAHAHAHA…. Happy Meal! Can you even remember the last time you ate at McDonald’s?!

      Thank you for the support. Much appreciated. Truly.

  • cynthia says:

    You’re not alone and I sooo feel you on the endo aftermath!! During my last appt I was told I should get a scrip for a “new weight loss drug.” Even tho we just got done discussing exercise and my new low, low HR. And even tho my chart is always right in front of him, he can’t see that over the last ten years I’ve steadily lost weight, over 100 pounds! He also suggested that my hair loss could be due to the hair dye I use…I have a relatively young endo, but he’s pretty old school. It’s mindblowing! And totally sucks. You are not alone. Have you ever had your Reverse T3 tested? I’ve read here and there about a connection between too much Reverse T3 and the inability to lose weight. I’m hoping my endo will test mine at least to humor me, like he does with my Free T3. %$#@!

  • RiverMama says:

    Hi Mel. I’m new to the Paleo world and, on the recommendation of a trusted friend, I started a Whole 30 this month, too. I am on Day 5. So far so good. I have a quick question…are there specific vitamins and minerals that will be missing from my diet this month that I should be supplementing with pills? For example, how do you get enough calcium? I am undergoing fertility treatments right now and, in case we get lucky, I’d hate to be deficient in anything. Thanks.

  • Emily says:

    Sorry to hear about such a terrible day! I know that you are in charge of your life and you will do what is right for you in the long run. Still, how frustrating!

    My experience is that endos are horrible at thyroid stuff. I had no improvement and only crazy-making experiences until I left the traditional medicine world and found docs who were willing to listen.

    Hang in there; you are awesome and as I said, I trust you will do with is right for you and you will know when the time is to do it. I don’t feel like I’m saying this well, but I really believe you will get this stuff figured out for you.

    • Mel says:

      I feeling optimistic based on my blood work (trending in a good direction) and how I’m feeling (more energetic but not awesome yet). I’m hoping that another few weeks of the Armour will perk me up and kickstart some weight loss. And I always have Dr. Sebring who’s willing to try stuff that my endo won’t.

      But yeah, frustrating. But the only option is to keep trying.

  • GG says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a while but I don’t usually have time to post. You and I have astonishingly similar medical profiles and I had to chime in when I read about your meltdown. I’ve been there myself recently. My (now former) doctor, the one who diagnosed my Hashi’s. The one who prescribes my bloodwork and Armour. The one who knows (because I write it down and share it with him) every morsel of food I eat, every mile I walk and every pound I lift. That doctor, after listening to me list symptom after symptom for three consecutive check-ups and after my bloodwork came back with the worst thyroid numbers since I’ve been his patient. That doctor, who watched me gain nearly thirty pounds in under a year while I live darn near a Whole 30 life nearly 100% of the time. While I walk between 6-8 miles a day. While I lift weights four days a week. That doctor, who read all of the results from the bloodwork I HAD DONE ON MY OWN – OUT OF POCKET – to rule out whatever “else” could be causing me to be a poster child for hypothyroidism, proceeded to tell me at our final appointment “whatever it is, it isn’t your thyroid”.

    And then THAT doctor proceeded to tell me that he was leaving his practice and moving to another state. That doctor handed me a list of three doctors he was recommending to his patients. When I asked, THAT doctor informed me that, no, none of the doctors prescribe Armour, strictly Synthroid. And THAT doctor, finally and after extreme pressure from me, provided me with the name of a doctor who will prescribe Armour. Now I am currently on a waiting list for the only doctor (apparently, from my research) who will consider using Armour in my area. And I live in an area renowned for excellent healthcare.

    So, yeah, I’ve had my own in-the-car meltdown and I wanted to commiserate with you a bit. Your attitude toward your personal health challenges is inspirational (and I’m sure not just to me) so I leave here after each visit feeling a little less sorry for myself and a little more determined to live the best life I can live despite the crummy autoimmune roller coaster ride. Anyway, that was a very long way of saying


    • Mel says:

      Dude. That is a crazy story. OMG. Poor you! Hugs through the Internet to you. Holy cow!

      Thank you for your sweet words. I actually sobbed to Dave the other day, “I [sniff] know everyone thinks I’m handling this OK [sniff], but I’m not a role model and [sniff] it’s not fair.”

      Pretty funny to think about now 😉

  • Denise says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I feel your pain! I just had my synthroid upped by a doctor I’d never seen before… it was a bit of a happy mistake. I went in for my physical but had to see one of the clinic doctors because mine is retiring. The clinic has this protocol now where they test EVERYTHING for your annual physical before they renew your prescriptions (I live in Canada, but bear with me). They even tested my hearing. The last hearing test I had was in grade 3. I’m 46 years old. 8|
    I walked away with my lab requisition and the next day I fasted for the cholesterol test, and didn’t take my synthroid… turned out I didn’t have to do that, but I didn’t know (the mistake). The results came back that I needed to have a higher dose! Yeay! I’ve been asking for a higher dose for years…10 years to be exact! But my former doctor was always “nope, your results are fine.) *ARGH!* I felt like crap! I couldn’t lose weight! I was losing my hair. My skin was cracking. Today, I feel much more like myself… and I’m losing weight like a regular person *woohoo!* All because of a .25 mg increase 🙂

    Oh, also… my B12 was low and I’m now taking a supplement. I did some reading and hypothyroidism depletes B12… and in turn you don’t produce enough melatonin (amongst other things)… which prevents you from a good sleep! I’m sleeping much better these days 🙂

    Sometimes when you start fresh, you have to relive all that crap you went through the first time. Take it as a life lesson for now. It’s a journey. For now, you’re still on the old road with the docs. The turn off to the new road will appear soon 🙂 (Sorry to get all Oprah on you, but sometimes it needs to be said 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Wow… neato! I love that they tested everything. That’s pretty badass!

      Glad you’re taking some B vitamins. I’m on a B supplement and melatonin and some other stuff to help support my adrenals while my thyroid gets its groove back. Given how complex our hormonal systems are, it’s amazing they work at all. Jeez.

  • Jenny says:

    Ug…I totally understand post doctor melt down! I am fortunate that my doctor has computerized medical records so everything always shows up, but it’s also a curse because since my first whole 30 and living paleo my BP, triglycerides, and cholesterol have been climbing up and up and they always tell me to exercise more and switch to egg whites. Talk about frustration! Do they not understand the amount of time and effort I put into this? Ahhhh!

    Then I’m stuck in this trust doctor VS trust books/internet/personal anecdotes dilemma and I usually end up on a binge crying because I’m still fat 🙁

    • Mel says:

      I hear ya! When I was still in ranting/crying mode yesterday, I said to Dave, “Now I’m just doing stuff I read on the internet because I don’t trust my doctor. How F*CKED UP is that?!”

  • Michelle says:

    I had an amazing endo in my home town that always tested TSH, Free T3, and Free T4. She said her philosophy was that “if we’re giving T3 (Cytomel) and we can check a level, we should”. Try telling that to every other endo and internist in the world. I now go to an internist to prescribe my Synthroid and Cytomel (and order TSH and Free T4) and then I hop over to my naturopath who will order TSH, Free T4, and Free T3 to actually see what the whole feedback loop is doing and recommend any changes. I’ve had decent success having one doctor firmly in the allopathic world and one in the alternative world. It keeps things balanced, and my naturopath is very encouraging about my diet and lifestyle and keeps me from self-induced head-smacking injuries.

    • Mel says:

      The thing working in my favor, is that my endo will run any test I want — I just have to keep asking, which makes me frustrated… and Dr. Sebring is all about trying stuff. It’s just hard because every step takes a few months to see the outcome.

      Patience. Patience. Patience.

      I am filled with lovingkindness.
      I am filled with lovingkindness.
      I am filled with lovingkindness.

  • Noblepower says:

    Hang in there, dear Melicious. Obviously a lot of us have been there with our medical practitioners! My Mom (whose migranes have, thank goodness, become shorter in duration and less frequent since she went Paleo) read a book on headaches that told her that when she first sees a doctor, they’d love her because she’d have temporary improvement on whatever medication they put her on, but when her body became desensitized to the meds, she’d become their “problem patient.” And it was so, so very true.
    Oh, and the thing that got me to open my eyes and seriously look at this lifestyle was when she went to the dentist and they couldn’t figure out why her gums had suddenly improved after years and years of periodontal disease. When she told them the ONLY thing she had changed was her diet, they told her it “could not possibly be that.”
    I have my own set of things to add (like my neurologist telling me {pre-paleo days}, who has had multiple knee surgeries, that I should consider running marathons since my current exericise program clearly wasn’t enough), but I am already rambling.

    • Mel says:

      I think it’s HILARIOUS (in that completely unfunny way) when doctors refuse to acknowledge that it’s the diet that improves medical conditions. Even Robb Wolf had that experience with his doctors years ago.


  • Rachel says:

    That’s so tough, sorry Mel! I’ve been dealing with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for 10 years now so I totally know how frustrating it feels to be doing everything “right” and still not make much progress. I just started seeing an ND (on top of my MD and DO) and love that he treats the body as a whole and takes the time to listen to me. So refreshing and encouraging! The road to health and healing can be so overwhelming, but we’re worth it!

  • Teri Pittman says:

    I have two great doctors. My GP is affliated with Adventists Clinic and is a classic old school doctor. My naturopathic doctor specializes in weight loss and hormone issues. (My doctor is a vegetarian and my naturopath is not. so funny!) My naturopath will order a full range of labs and my GP will go along with requesting them so my insurance covers them. I am going to have to try experimenting with thyroid again. My naturopath feels I have low thyroid, but it doesn’t show up on conventional tests. I can only take the stuff when my adrenals are also supported. I am the world’s most low energy person, so I hope I can sort this all out.

  • Lucy says:

    So sorry to hear about the terrible day- I’m a doctor in South Africa and I promise we’re not all bad! SA has had a bit of a l

    • Mel says:

      I believe it. I think most doctors are probably pretty great — and I don’t think my endo is evil… just overworked. But still 🙁

  • Lucy says:

    Low carb revolution after Tim Noakes- one of our top sports scientists came out publicly in support. I’ve been paleo for 6 months and love it but I still battle to get colleagues to understand it. Good luck, enjoy the new whole30.. I started another one Monday so enjoying the updates!

  • Laci says:

    Thanks for sharing, Mel. I had nearly that same experience last week. I have to visit my regular Dr. to get him to prescribe the meds that my functional medicine Chiropractor can’t prescribe. They ask a zillion questions, and I answer them. I explain how I most of my health problems cleared up by following a Paleo approach (specifically no gluten), they shake their head in agreement. Then print me out a sheet as I leave that recommends “less fat, less red meat, more whole grains and vegetables.”

    It is frustrating enough to get yourself amped up to follow a restrictive (AI) paleo diet, take meds (when you don’t want to, but need to) and then to be dismissed at Dr. visits. It is exhausting, but I have faith that in a few months I will feel great and not look back!

    Peace to you and thank you for sharing. Your food log during this time is extremely helpful for those of us that are in the same boat!

    • Mel says:

      Sorry to hear you have frustration with your doc, too. It makes me feel sad for THEM, actually. I can only imagine that it’s tricky to stay on top of all the new info — but I wish they listened to us just a smidge more… right?

      And I agree: it is exhausting dealing with it. But the alternative is worse, so yay for us for continuing to push for what we need. Whew.

      I’m glad you’re finding my food log helpful. I have two blog posts coming this week that should be interesting for anyone following the AIP and for regular eaters, too.

  • Period week? tears? tantrums? you betcha. It’s like clockwork…damn periods. haha