• Cassie Sheffey

Starting your journey

I think the hardest part of starting a journey whether it be driving to a destination, going back to school, or even tackling a house cleaning project, is getting started.. mapping out your plan. How many lifestyle changes have you started in the past but didn't finish? I definitely have more failed attempts then completions. Setting yourself up for success is so important to succeed your end goal.

Now in reviewing current mainstream diets, a common denominator is that the first part of a diet is a "fast" or "cleanse" and then proceeds into what their restriction is, whether it be low calorie, low carb, low fat, no-gluten, no dairy, only liquid diet, only shakes, ect.. but how do you know that it will work? How do you know that gluten doesn't work for you or dairy doesn't work for you? How do you know that carbs are making you fat? Is it worth going through 3 months of dieting again to say.. "hey I didn't lose anything" or "I feel worse than I did before"? I think the best solution to starting your next lifestyle change is completing self experiment to see what foods work for you and what doesn't.

There are a bunch of different self experiment plans out there that start out easy and progress to more advanced/strict diet eliminations. I personally have done a Paleo Elimination, AIP elimination, and Whole 30 elimination. We are going to talk about each one over the next few blog posts, but I really want to cover the Whole 30 elimination, because it is the most structured, easiest to follow, and I had the best results with it versus the other 2 eliminations. You may be wondering at this point "Cassie, I cannot live without Mt. Dew, why would I go through with this." Look at that statement again. That is what people say about cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. We do not laugh about those items, why do we laugh off Mt. Dew and sweets? I know this is a hard topic to discuss, but hang with me, 30 days is only 30 days.. do you not owe yourself that much to figure out what works for your body and what doesn't? We know cigarettes cause lung cancer, but could your headaches be related to sugar?

So the Whole 30 is a 30 day elimination of sugar, dairy, grains (gluten and non-gluten grains), alcohol, and legumes (peanuts too). After 30 days, you add each item back systematically and evaluate what type of symptoms you have or don't have when the food is added back. This is a perfect way to see if you do have a gluten intolerance or if dairy does really make your stomach cramp. The other premise that I love about whole 30 is that it is an experiment, not a diet. You are trying to formulate what lifestyle works for you and how do you know if low carb will work for you if you don't experiment. I also love that you do not weigh yourself for the 30 days. That's right, throw the scale out, hide it in a closet, whatever. Weight loss is built into the program, but it is not the goal of this program. It is evaluating what foods work or do not work for you and helps you evaluate your relationship with food. Are you addicted to bread, Mt. Dew, Pepsi, Sweet Tea, or me.. Mio purple drink? While weight loss is a plus, the end goal of the program is to evaluate non-scale victories. My personal non-scale victory was figuring out that peanuts cause my heart burn. If I don't eat peanuts, I do not have heart burn. Another is that I have not had seasonal allergy medicine in 120+ days. Milk makes my seasonal allergies worse and my asthma flare up. The crazy thing about this is that I have had allergy testing before and none of this showed up in my allergy panel. The reason being is that I do not have an allergy, I have a direct intolerance to those foods. A not-so-surprising non-scale-victory is that one bite of gluten makes my acne flare up. So some things that you will anticipate happening, like the gluten/zits for me, is confirmed. But other things, like peanuts and heartburn, I would have never guessed. I have never been 30 days without peanuts, so it truly was a surprise.

The whole 30 is hard but if you set yourself up for success, you will succeed. Learning to read a nutrition label is imperative and mind blowing when you realize that sugar is literally in everything. If you read my last blog post, when you start reading labels and come to the realization that when food companies took fat out and put sugar in everything, I was not kidding. Salt packets from fast food restaurants... look at the ingredient list on them. Salt is not the only thing you are sprinkling on your fries. The next big item that I want to mention with the whole 30 is that it truly is an experiment, meaning that you cannot have sugar, alcohol, legumes, grains, or dairy for 30 days. If you accidentally eat something, have one bite, cheat.. whatever, you have to start back over. The reason being is that some of those foods take over 21 days to get completely out of your system. If you have every had diverticulitis and the GI specialist wants to do a colonoscopy, they have to wait at least 4-6 weeks to let the inflammation go down before they can complete the procedure. Those foods that we are eliminating are the inflammatory food groups and it literally takes 30 days for your body to heal from the inflammation they are causing. So if you are doing a whole 30 and your co-worker says, just take a sip or small bite, it won't hurt, IT WILL. You will have to start over and you owe it to yourself to see if the food you are eating is causing you to take more medicine!!!

If you want more information on the Whole30 progam, visit for free information and helpful print out guides. If you are in the Wytheville, Virginia area, we have a free nutrition class on Wednesday nights at 640pm and are currently doing the Whole 30 at Legacy Church. We would love to have you. Next week, we will look at Paleo and AIP protocol. For any questions, please feel free to shoot me a message on instagram or here on the website. If you are my friend on facebook, realize that my husband is probably the one returning the messages..

**I did want to give a health update to my story. My weight is down to 163lbs so I am back to pre-pregnancy with my first child.. Only took 7 years. I do feel pretty good, but over the past week, I noticed that my goiter that we lovingly call Loogey, seemed to be getting bigger. I went to my BFF Jenny who is also a nurse practitioner and my thyroid labs have elevated again slightly. So.. I am back on levothyroxine and am going to a specialist in Winston Salem. The good news is that I am on the smallest dose of the medication, so hopefully that will not have to increase. Also, even though my TSH is elevated, I am still losing weight which is almost never heard of. I am praising God that even though Loogey (the Goiter) has gotten a lot bigger, I am still healthy and happy. I know I say it all the time, Rome wasn't built in a day, but bricks were being laid every day. This is my journey and through the journey, there are ups and downs. As long you keep moving forward, you will reach the end. I will continue to keep you updated.**


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