Yes, we’re still married.
It began because she’s had some allergy issues for quite some time, and we’ve tried damn near everything to see if anything helped alleviate the symptoms. She’s gone through a lot of testing, allergy shots, over the counter medications, and we’ve done elimination diets in the past (her more so than me). She’s gone gluten free, dairy free, eliminated FODMAPS, eliminated foods she tested sensitive to, and nothing’s helped so we figured this time, F it-we’re taking out almost everything and let’s see what happens.
If you’re not familiar with the Whole30, it’s website says it’s, “a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”
Basically, the following things are eliminated for 30 days:
- added sugar
- baked goods, junk foods, or sweets, even if made with “approved” ingredients
So, in a nutshell, don’t booze, don’t eat grains or dairy, and eat real food. Not that hard of a concept, and pretty sound nutritional advice.
Lastly, you’re not supposed to step on the scale or take any measurements.
Now, I’m not doing this nutritional plan for any reason other than because I don’t want to make my own dinner, so I’ve been following everything to a T with 2 caveats:
- I’ve stepped on the scale each week and
- I am still eating ketchup, even though there are a few grams of added sugar.
So here’s my 2 week summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly:
Honestly, not much has really changed for me food wise, except I haven’t had tacos for dinner and I haven’t had a drop of the devil’s piss in 2 weeks. The first week, I lost 8 pounds and felt weak and sluggish, so I realized that I wasn’t substituting enough sweet potatoes in for my usual rice and beans for lunch. Last week I got that worked out and I feel strong and normal again, and added 3 pounds back.
I’ve slept great, the weekends have been less about social events and more about exploring and hiking, and the slight GI issues I had been experiencing are all but gone. It’s amazing what not trying to set a world record every time you eat tacos does, and how much the occasional hangover can limit your productivity.
Another positive side effect so far is that my taste for vegetables has significantly improved. I’ve always eaten plenty of veggies, but never really like most of them aside from broccoli, peppers, and greens. Since vegetable make up the significant portion of meals, I’ve found a new appreciation for things that I used to choke down like zuccini, squash, asparagus, cauliflower, and spaghetti squash.
I also haven’t had a midday nap since we started, and have only had the occasional cup of black coffee in the afternoon, mostly because I like it more than because I felt like I needed a pick me up.
There is a LOT of prep work if you don’t want to be hungry. I’ve relied heavily on Quest bars and protein shakes to get me through the days over the years, and I didn’t realize how much until now. This is one of the big takeaways for me from the diet: convenience comes at a cost.
There have been a few times when we both got home late and didn’t have a plan yet for dinner, but since we had been smart at the supermarket earlier in the week, we had fresh veggies and meat to throw on the grill so we could make a quick and easy dinner. That’s ultimately the way it should be all the time, and knowing that even if I don’t have to have a gargantuan carbohydrate load at dinner to ensure that I don’t get stapled to a bench the next day is really going to help me going forward.
I’m not a sweet tooth guy, so I don’t crave anything food wise, but not having the option of having a beer on a Saturday during a big college football game has been the only time I’ve thought to myself that this is a stupid experiment. Otherwise, it’s been totally fine.
My typical day has looked something like this:
- 3-5 eggs
- 1 potato, shredded and cooked in avocado oil
- 2 bananas
- a handful each of strawberries and blueberries
- 1 cup of black coffee
- roasted sweet potatoes with peppers and zuccini
- ground turkey
- a big hunk of some kind of meat: chicken, steak, or swordfish
- cauliflower rice cooked in coconut oil
- a giant f’in heaping mound of mixed vegetables, grilled
- *Throughout the day, I’ll sometimes snack on apples, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or some other fruit.
While fat loss wasn’t a priority of mine, I’ve definitely gotten leaner, and after the first week, I increased the amount of oils I used in cooking and the size of my lunch, and my strength and energy is back. From everything I’ve read, the 3rd week is where some kind of black magic happens, so we’ll see.
So where does this fit in for you? Well, I’m a big fan of taking a few strategic times of the year to get really serious about fat loss, but for a short time. Moderation is great for maintenance or muscle building, or even if you’re significantly overweight, but if you’re around 12-15% bodyfat and you want to get leaner, it takes a more significant effort. I like to plan 2-4 short term, 2-3 week phases of really getting strict about nutrition, lose some fat, then go back into maintenance mode for people, and myself, as it’s much easier long term. This diet isn’t anything too new, but maybe even a little stricter than I’m used to.
If fat loss is a goal of yours, the Whole 30 might be a worthwile endeavor after the holidays, when the parties are over and the new year is starting. You’ll definitely lose fat, maybe change your opinions about, “what works for you,” and learn how you respond to different foods a bit better. You’ll also have more time for the Honey Do list, as you won’t be out late on the weekends, unless you have the constitution of a billy goat.
But then again, I’m only 2 weeks in and am going through with this until Thanksgiving day. I’ll have a more accurate opinion for you when I’ve had my first beer and crushed 6 pounds of stuffing.