Week 3, day 2: I get a cold. I was so disappointed. I really had hoped that the supplements and the vitamins would have helped my immune system some, but it seems like that’s a negative. It’s really disheartening as this was the reason I was doing it; to be more healthy. However, it does seem like there is something more going on with my immune system (anyone not interested in the sciencey bit can skip the next paragraph from here).
The Sciency Bit
I had some blood tests done when I got my last cold. I would ever normally go to the doctor for a cold as there’s nothing they can do for a viral infection. For anyone who hasn’t been told this, antibiotics are for bacterial infections. They are actually bi-products of bacteria that are made in order to kill other bacteria in the environment and remove competition for the bacteria making the antibiotic. This happens during the secondary growth stage of a bacterial life cycle.
Anyway, having had a continuous cold for about 4 month at that point, I had had enough and wanted to be checked out. I got treated for an allergy to remove the continuous cold and that seems to have cleared up. But the blood test results showed that my white cell count was very slightly low. This was surprising as your white count is usually higher when you’re sick. The white cells are what make up most of your healthy immune response to infection.
My iron count was also borderline and my ferritin count was only 27. In menstruating women my age, this is not uncommon and we aren’t generally considered to be at any risk unless it drops below 15, but anyone under 50 is eligible for treatment, so the doctor suggested that I take an iron supplement in case the tiredness and low iron had caused a dip in my immune system.
So, back to the food!
Week 3 has been tough to keep to. On Monday it was our first anniversary of being engaged then on Sunday it was my birthday, so there was some cheating going on. However, there are still changes that have been made that I’ll keep after these 30 days. Like on our anniversary, we went for burgers. I did have the bread, which was on the avoid list, but I swapped the chips for sweet potatoes and they were awesome.
I’ve also been experimenting with my shake this week. I tried adding banana to it on Monday, but I didn’t like that. Then I tried adding blueberries, that was ok. I tried it with coconut milk, which was nice then we ran out of coconut and hazelnut milk (hazelnut milk is just impossible to find off the shelf! I have to order it online) so I made it with water. This actually didn’t taste all that much different. After that I tried the vanilla one. Surprisingly, I did not like this as much as the chocolate. Normally vanilla is my first choice flavour for most things. I also tried one scoop of chocolate with one scoop of vanilla and that was nice.
While making my shakes this week, I took a good look at what was in everything. I had expected a higher quantity of vitamin C in the greens, but it’s mostly fibre (10% RDA) and iron (14%RDA). This will be good for my blood iron, though I have now added an iron supplement to my daily list. I’m taking Spatone, which is what my mum took when she had part of her thyroid removed and became aenemic. It actually raised her blood count quite significantly so that she had to stop taking it every day and cut it back. I think she only takes it a few times a month now, but it seems to be good stuff.
So each morning I now have 2 scoops of protein, one of fibre, one of greens and a packet of digestion aid in my shake along with vitamin D, Omegas 3, 6 and 9, berry capsules, fruit capsules, echinacea for immune boost and an antihistamine and nasal spray. I know 70 year old heart patients taking less pills than me. Then in the evening, it’s another echinacea and a packet of Spatone and a vitamin C in an orange juice, to get rid of this damn cold.
I do have to admit that it’s been hard this week sticking to the no list. Getting another cold was pretty disheartening and I’m just feel kinda drained and tired all the time with headaches. I have slipped and had chocolate to perk me up and some birthday cake and a little bit of wine, but I’m still mostly avoiding what’s on there and I do believe that we won’t ever stick to things 100%. You make a plan and then if you stick to it 80% of the time, that counts as a win (so says Chalene Johnson, she’s awesome go check her out!).
I’d say I’m pretty close to winning right now and there are some habits I’ll keep afterwards that’ll make my life a bit more healthy. I’ll stick to the shakes for breakfast and I’ll try and substitute potatoes with sweet potatoes as often as I can. Dairy is mostly gone anyway and I’ve discovered the magical spice mix that I’m going to continue to add to everything
On day 27 I gave up completely on running. I made it 1km in 8 minutes and 5 of those were my warm up walk. I just couldn’t breathe enough and I was so tired. Each time I get another cold it seems to take me longer to get over it, so I’m going to look into changing my work out so that I can actually do one regularly!
In general, for the last week I’ve not felt great. Things that I shouldn’t even notice, like climbing the stairs to my flat or walking home from the train station, are physically tiring. I don’t know if this is due to the lack of complex carbs on this eating plan or if there is some other reason. For the last month I’ve cut out pasta, bread, potatoes and rice. While I don’t eat much bread often, the others are staples in my diet and maybe cutting them out has reduced some of the energy providers.
My protein intake has increased, but that’s an expensive form of energy and I guess I haven’t really replaced the carbs with anything. Salad just doesn’t have the same calories or slow release properties of grains. Or maybe there is still some underlying issue with my body. It may also be linked in some way to the week of my birthday having a few cheats in it, but I’m not convinced by this as previous to going on the eating plan, I would have cake and wine and still make it up the stairs…
Either way, the conclusion is that after 4 weeks, it has not done what it said on the tin, which was to provide me with more energy and a more healthy body. It has, though, made me more aware of what I’m eating and the choices I’m making. I will be adding pasta and rice back into my diet, but I will cut down on my potato intake and swap them out with sweet potatoes as often as possible. I’ve also discovered new foods to add into my diet, like cuscus (which is super easy to make!) and the spice mix.
I’ll continue with the protein shakes for breakfast as that suits my lifestyle very well and I enjoy them. I also worked out that I should be eating 163g of protein a day and I just don’t have the time, space or calorie capacity to fit that in as meals, so those are definitely beneficial.
The spice tea I struggled with purely because I generally don’t drink tea so I had to make a conscious effort to fit that into my day and that didn’t work well for me. Most people seem to have a cup of tea or coffee at regular intervals throughout their day, so for them it would be easier to just swap what they currently drink with that, but for me, it was adding a whole extra step into my routine.
I also discovered courgette crisps, banana muffins and banana and protein pancakes that are healthy, quick and easy snacks for breakfasts so they’ll be making an appearance in my diet too. So lots of good did come from it.
The Final Measurements
Day 1: Legs = 55cm, 22inch; Hips = 85cm, 33.5inch; Waist = 78cm, 31inch; Arms = 29cm, 11.5inch. Weight = 55.5kg
Day 14: Legs = 55cm, 22inch; Hips = 81cm, 32inch; Waist = 72cm, 28inch; Arms = 28cm, 11inch. Weight = 54.5kg
Day 30: Legs = 56cm, 22inch; Hips = 79cm, 31inch; Waist = 69cm, 27inch; Arms = 28cm, 11inch. Weight = 54.7kg
Not much change from half way, but I didn’t stick to it as religiously for the last half so I guess I can’t expect too much. One interesting side note that I noticed was the guilt associated with “banned” food. When I “cheated” on my birthday, for example, there was this feeling of having done something bad. It was minor, but it was there. Every time.
I’ve never done diets before. I spend my childhood watching my mum and aunts and nana constantly be on some kind of diet or other. Always saying that they couldn’t eat this and couldn’t have that and then they got to have a ‘cheat day’ and would live on ice cream and crisps every Saturday. Sometimes they would get to their goal, but not always and it never lasted long before they’d put all the weight and then some back on and be on a new diet. I swore that I would never do this. I would not spend my life fighting with food, denying myself the things I wanted and being unhappy. So to then ban foods from my diet was new for me and I don’t think I liked the emotional attachments that went along with that experience. I’ll go back to eating good food in good quantities and working out to stay fit.
So Was It Worth It?
I think so. I’ve made some new habits and found things that work better for my life style. Would I do it again? I don’t think so.
Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. I hope this has been informative and helpful for you to read, or at least interesting. If you enjoyed it and would like to be kept up to date with my next adventure, leave your e-mail address in the subscribe box below and please feel free to leave any thoughts you have int he comments. I’d love to hear from you. Until next time, be safe and have fun!