Today is day 31 of my whole30 challenge. If you have been trapped in a bunker somewhere let me fill you in on what I did. For 30 days I ate only good, unprocessed food. No added sugar of any kind, no alcohol, no grains, no dairy, no legumes and no MSG/carrageenan/sulfites/other chemicals. I ate meat, seafood (only shrimp because I don’t like seafood), eggs, vegetables, fruit, oils, nuts and seeds.
I decided to do this challenge because quite honestly I had tried pretty much everything over the years to get healthy. Fad diets, workouts, sitting on a couch and binge watching netflix; nothing seemed to work. I knew a few years ago that my cholesterol was high and my family health history is horrendous. I used to be more active playing racquetball almost daily and basketball from time to time, but then life, business, and age got in the way and I found myself getting injured with simple exercises. Something had to shift and I needed to make sure that my food affected mood was stabilized and I was alive for my kids. Here came in whole30 which was not introduced to me as a diet, but instead a life change and gut reset.
I jumped in head first with no clue how I would feel, if I would make it and quite honestly if we could afford it. The first day I went shopping was with the book in hand and iphone cued to a few websites yet I still felt like I was flying blind. As I went along I started to get the hang of what I needed. I had to read every label on everything I bought and I was floored by how much sugar is in everything we buy. Even some of the meat that I buy with a slight marinade on it has sugar in it. If things didn’t have sugar then they had some form of wheat in it. In the beginning, when I was still trying to figure out how I could possibly make a meal without bread and cheese, I found myself mentally paralyzed.
“Are you kidding?!! I can’t have a french baguette?! What am I going to dip into my cheese covered chili?! Wait… I have to take the cheese off?”
The first week was the hardest and while the book says “don’t say this is hard”, those first 4 days sucked. It was hard because of the raging sugar dragon felt like it was biting my head off. The headaches were bad, but it also showed me with evidence how much my body craves sugar.
After the first week I began to discover the “tricks” of the diet to ensure I didn’t spend our monthly food budget in one week. In the end we spent more on our grocery bill, but because we did not eat out we actually saved money on our month. Many sites say to shop the “perimeter” in the grocery store, but in mine that is where the cheese and bread is so instead I made sure to go in with a goal and get only what I need and get the heck out of there. I love to shop so that was difficult for me.
I had to cook for every meal which at times was a bit more taxing than throwing some cheese on a sandwich, but it was also rewarding. I found myself trying really hard to not only make food that tasted really good and seasoned well, but I also leaned into my artistic side and gave myself a motivation of making the best looking food I could.
Going out to eat I attempted once and it was virtually impossible. That says something I’d say. There is so much garbage in chain restaurant food that the only way to eat it on whole 30 is to buy a dish and take a quarter of the food off the plate to eat and leave the rest to throw out. It is a waste and I actually found it discouraging to even try again.
Before I started whole 30 I used to get major stomach pain whenever I ate things that were acidic like salsa and tomato sauce. I avoided those things at all costs and took digestive enzymes to help sooth my gut. I already knew cheese made my sinus’ hurt and bread made me bloated so to lose them made sense. About a week into whole 30 I decided to add salsa to an omelet. I was ready for the stomach pain. Here it comes… that knife in the gut feeling. However, this time I felt fine. I was convinced it was a fluke to I tried it for a few more days. Still no pain at all. I was beside myself because I actually reset my body. I am not sure if it was the sugar, the dairy or wheat but it was clear the combination of crappy food also gave me a volatile and temperamental stomach. This discovery still excites me.
I had somebody ask me during this whole 30 thing.
“Isn’t switching to organic, grass-fed meats, veggies and fruits going to be crazy expensive?”
My answer was simple:
“It will be a lot less than a triple bypass”
I could go on and on with some tips and tricks, but I think I am going to save that for the rest of my whole 30 blogging journey. I have almost 900 posts on this blog and have been writing on here since 2006. 10 years of writing, but this last month of whole 30 I decided to just do with photos on Instagram so I could try it out with little pressure and be successful.
This is the same reason why I decided not to work out during the 30 days. I knew it would be better, but at the same time I also knew it would be too much and a great reason to quit before I learned anything about myself.
I was scared to death of black coffee or even coffee with coconut milk in it. After the 4th day it seems my tastebuds changed and I was able to tolerate it more. Of course I miss my sugar and hazelnut, but it was doable. I found the last two weeks my coffee intake went down to about 1/4 and it was replaced by copious amounts of green tea.
I have not missed sweets or ice cream at all, except on my wife’s birthday. I have had my fill of beef, chicken and pork so I have not really craved a burger except a delicious bun. I have, however, crave since day one pizza and pasta with garlic break. So good and tasty.
I started to have BreadADD… mirage’s of garlic knots…
Ultimately it became very easy to do, simple to plan and my food tasted great. The way I felt far outweighed my mourning of bread and cheese.
So let me break down how I did, how I feel and what is next.
How I did:
I am really proud of myself for sticking this out, not cheating at all, spending the time to learn and exciting others to do the same.
- Starting Weight: 269.8/270 lbs (i have a crappy scale)
- Current Weight: 254 lbs
- Weight-loss total: 15.8/16 lbs
- Belt Holes moved: 2
- Goal Weight: 210 lbs
How I feel:
I was 254 lbs last year, but this 254 lbs is different. This is a healthier 254 lbs. I feel better than i have in 10 years. They speak of tigers blood or feeling like a super hero in the book. I don’t feel like that and I am not sure I ever will. I am not 20 any more, but I do feel great and the feeling and simplicity of this diet has given me new eyes on my health.
As you can see I am not at my goal weight so it’s very clear I still need a plan moving forward. The book has a food reintroduction process of 10 days to figure out which foods affect your gut now that it’s all cleaned out. I already know which foods mess with me. Sugar makes me crash, bread makes me bloated and worthless, and cheese makes me stuffy and have headaches.
Knowing all this and how whole 30 made me feel I have decided on a few things:
- I am going to continue on to a Whole 60
- I plan to have a “treat meal” every 15 days because I still want to enjoy things I eliminated. I am however changing the moniker “cheat” to “treat” because quite honestly I don’t need any more negativity than the amount I currently produce.
- I am going to have a workout schedule for these next 30 days to tone up and create the energy needed to burn more fat.
And last, tonight I plan to celebrate my 30 days of pure victory with 20 min of bliss with a pizza and garlic knots. There is no way that one meal is going to have me gain everything back I lost. It will, however, be tasty and most likely make me feel like crap an hour later giving me the right amount of guilt to spur on another 30 days of kicking tail!