I love food and I enjoy eating – who doesn’t – but I’d been feeling like I was out of control with my choices and wanted to do something to get myself back on track. One of my gym buddies, Darwin, had gone on the Whole30 plan and had experienced a lot of success. So much, in fact, that he’s stayed on the program (modified) for the past year. He’s healthy, fit, and energetic and I wanted in on the action.
I met with him to get some pointers on starting,and took all of the information home to Steve. We discussed it and decided we’d both do it. Make no mistake, it’s hard, but the benefits are well worth it.
A simple summary of the plan is this: eliminate all forms of sugar (except fresh fruit which is limited), no alcohol, no grains, no carbohydrates (refined), no dairy. It’s tough, but with restrictions come inventiveness. First thing Steve and I discovered was coconut oil. If you’re not a fan of coconut, I doubt you’ll like this, but coconut oil is delicious. Yes, it’s high in saturated fat, but it’s still good for you. All things in moderation, I say. Second thing we discovered is how much crap we had been eating without really knowing it. Adding additional vegetables meant trying new things and it was fun. I gave up my morning protein shake in exchange for a breakfast casserole that Steve makes on Sunday for the week. I actually sit down and eat breakfast rather than slurping it through a straw on the way home from the gym. I also discovered that coconut milk in my coffee tastes rich and decadent. Who needs milk or cream?!
At the end of one month I’ve lost 6 pounds and 1.25% body fat. I still have room for improvement in the body fat department, but I feel so much better! I sleep well, I’m not sluggish during the day, and I’m satisfied between meals for longer periods of time. Best of all, Steve and I worked together to make this a success for us and we’re going to keep doing it!
Friends have asked a lot of questions and made comments during the last month and I’d like to address them below.
Give up dairy?! Why would you do that? Don’t you worry about not getting enough calcium? I don’t really worry about the calcium and actually there are many foods rich in it. Almonds, broccoli, kale, spinach, etc. are all examples of foods rich in calcium. These are foods I eat daily. Yes, giving up cheese is really tough, but I actually feel better! People with any type of sinus problems should seriously look into giving up dairy.
Give up alcohol?! No way, I’d never do that! Yes, I gave up all alcohol and it was tough. I really like wine and I enjoy a glass or two, but the enjoyment was wearing thin. Steve and I both felt like imbibing was too much of a habit. No, we didn’t drink a lot, but it was jut too easy to have a drink after a long day. Now we brew different types of tea and have fruit infused waters in the fridge at all times. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a glass of wine and will most likely celebrate with one this weekend, but I haven’t missed it as much as I’ve missed cheese!
You’re no fun anymore. I think this comments bothers me the most. I’m incredibly fun, dammit! Just because I choose not to eat certain foods or have an alcoholic drink doesn’t mean that I’m judging what you do. Actually, I don’t. And I don’t expect any of my friends of cater to my nutritional needs. It’s my choice and responsibility to choose what I eat and drink. Plus, I’m a lot quicker with my wit when I’m sober!
Isn’t this just the Paleo diet? Essentially, yes, but some Paleo plans include cheeses and raw sugars such as honey. The Whole30 plan doesn’t include any of those. And yes, I know the plan sounds like it’s overly-restrictive and ridiculous, but I feel like we’ve become too dependent on refined foods and quick fixes.
Don’t you ever get cravings? Hell yes I do! Last Saturday night I could have taken a fork to an entire layer cake had it been placed in front of me! I’m human. It’s all about reminding myself that I want to feel better, look better, and live better.
Will you stay with this forever? Knowing me, probably not, but I’ll modify it it some way to allow for celebrations and special occasions. My goal is to eat well 90% of the time and allow myself some food fun 10% of the time. If my step-mom makes a sugar glazed ham loaf, you can bet I’m going to dig into that baby, but the next meal, I’m back on track.