October 13, 2013

What we learned from our W̶h̶o̶l̶e̶3̶0̶ "Whole4" challenge.

It's not for everyone.  Plain and simple.

(I could just end the blog at this...haha)

1. Setting healthy goals, as a family, is very important!

2.  We are very capable of controlling our out-of-control cravings.

3.  I can Not spread myself too thin and stay sane (and still produce enough milk for Liam).

4.  Meal and snack planning/prepping really does help control crazy "eat whatever is in sight because I'm starving NOW!" habits.

5.  Grocery shopping is much more tedious and time consuming when you don't feel like eating only chicken and veggies.

With that said, Yes, we stopped our Whole30 challenge.  Basically I stopped and now Chris feels relieved to eat some yummy "yuck" food without too much guilt.  haha!

Okay.  So, we were really mentally ready to do this challenge.  However, I was not physically prepared for everything that came with such a challenge. 

I was literally in the kitchen from the time I woke, until around 4am, sometimes even5am, serving food, cooking dinner, breakfast, and lunch for the next day (so Chris could have it ready to take to work), pre-serving snacks, prepping whatever I could for the next day's dinner, and then cleaning everything up!  Of course, I was still Breastfeeding Elly and bottle feeding Liam, and pumping once in the morning and once at night, doing the daily diaper laundry and trying to help Kj stay on top of her school work... And then trying to keep up with pesky housework and all the other laundry.  (Many, many, kudos to other twin mommas who have already found their "balance".  One day... I believe it will happen for me.)

Chris ended up havining to go to the store several times during the week because I was not used to preparing meat and veggies only. (We ran out of food a lot faster since there were no "filler" [junk] foods being served.  Imagine that! Ha!)  So we blew right through our weekly grocery budget.  

My body was crashing... Slowly. By Thursday ('Day 1' was on Monday), I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to get out of bed because my body hurt so badly from being on my feet all day and juggling everything by myself, 4 days in a row, with only a maximum of 4 hrs of sleep each night. (Before The Whole30, I'd cook on some days and on other days, when I was just too mentally and physically exhausted, Chris would bring home food.)

So, the budget:  we could have sucked it up and eaten chicken and veggies for the rest of our challenge. But then I'm sure we'd miss the whole point of learning how to ENJOY healthy foods. 

The physical and mental exhaustion I was fighting: I could have sucked it up and pushed through.  Chris and I had talked, and I expressed how I really needed him to pitch in even more than usual. BUT he was already pitching in from the time he got out of work until he just couldn't stay awake (around 10pm/12am. He wakes up at five-something in the mornings, to be at work by 6:30am).  I weighed the options... "Push through it to see whatever results I get and know I fought hard to "finish".  But be mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted every day for the next 26 days?!  I couldn't even imagine it!  I felt I'd miss out on these precious moments with my babies!  I felt that there had to be a better way to get healthy, stay sane, and make precious memories with my children.  Getting healthy with what I put in my body should never take away from being mentally and emotionally healthy, right?  I started to see that, as I had been in prayer about whether to continue the challenge or not. 

I don't like to "quit" anything. I LOVE a good challenge.  So this was really bugging me. I didn't want to "quit"!  

The deciding factor for me was when I was only able to pump 6oz of milk Thursday morning, before I went to bed.  

God has been amazing in allowing me to provide more than enough milk for Liam. Now, it took much prayer and some serious hard work and determination!  I re-started my "exclusively pumping" journey on July 14, and started with 10oz, for the entire day, pumping 3x.  Then it went to 13oz and eventually hit 20oz, as I pumped 4 and 5 times in a day.  By mid-August, I had days when I would pump as many as 8 times, getting a daily total of 39oz of milk!  I was pumping and storing as much as I possibly could.  By the end of August I was pumping as much as 43oz in a day, with pumping 4-5x.  I was beyond happy and thankful to God.  It only got better, still!  In early September I was able to pump 52oz in one day, with only pumping 4x!!  Praise God, right?!  By mid-September I started to only pump once when I'd wake up and once before I'd go to sleep.  That routine was giving me 30-38oz of milk, daily.  I had FINALLY gotten into a GREAT pumping schedule (allowing me to continue to store milk (I currently have over 500oz in the deep freezer) for the future AND still provide his daily intake).  I was no longer being "milked" all day, between nursing and pumping.  I finally felt like I could breathe and enjoy my babies and my days!  And then I started The Whole30 challenge...

Monday, Whole30 Day 1:  27.5oz
Whole30 Day 2:  21oz
Whole30 Day 3:  16.5oz (rethinking the Whole30 challenge)
Whole30 Day 4:  19.2oz (ooh! Maybe it's getting better!!  Although, I was extremely concerned about my supply when Elly was needing to nurse every hour and a half to two hours!  Her "norm" is between three and three and a half hours, sometimes four!  And I never really felt a full "let-down" like I was used to feeling throughout the day.)
Friday, Day 5:  8oz (I really can't chance loosing my milk supply anymore! I ate a bowl of oatmeal to help my supply but everything else stayed "Whole30 approved".  I know I was already off of it since I ate the oatmeal, but I already had all the right foods available, so why not continue what I CAN?! )
Saturday:  8.5oz (yikes!  Come on milk!!)
Sunday:  23oz!!! (18oz was from my morning pump session!! Oh praise God, things are finally getting back to "normal"!!  AND Elly had more milk than she could even drink throughout the day!! I'll take engorgement pain all over again, if it means I can provide my babies with more than enough milk!!)

So that was the main factor for me. I could NOT stand the thought of either loosing my milk supply (which, by searching online, I realized that it has, unfortunately, been quite common for some mommas, when starting The Whole30), or even having to go back to pumping every 2-3 hours a day, on top of nursing Elly.  Those days were rough and exhausting (I was already beyond exhausted... I had to know my limits --not push past them!)

I did what I felt was best. I prayed and prayed about how to go about getting off of The Whole30 because it wasn't just me, it was KJ too!  She had done an amazing job!!  I didn't want to give her the wrong idea of how to handle "goals".  So, I sat with KJ and discussed how trying to be healthy in one area should never cause you to be unhealthy in other areas -there needs to be a balance.  Surprisingly, she was sad that we weren't going to continue the Whole30 as a family. Turns out that she loves family challenges too!  :)

That night, over our pre-cooked, "Whole30 approved" meal, we discussed how we could balance out some new goals, "challenges", for our family.  We also discussed how we can all pitch in a little more so Mom doesn't carry the entire load of "keeping the family healthy".  

This is what we came up with:

We are still amped to make a conscious effort, daily, to be healthy, together. It feels great to have found something that works for our family right now.  We definitely learned a lot in those four days. We are using that knowledge daily and working towards our new goals, as we continue to cheer on my mom and sis, now on Day8 of their Whole30! :)

So, here's to finding the right balance for your family...

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