Whole30’s Perceived Weakness is What Saved Me

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According to articles released in the past few weeks, Whole30 ranked as one of the worst or most difficult diets to undertake. This came as a surprise to me because it has changed the way I eat and improved my health. The articles said that they ranked Whole30 lowest for a few reasons

  • Difficulty to maintain.
  • Expensive
  • No real evidence (yet) that it is effective (aside from what is called anecdotal).
  • Restrictive.
  • “Any diet that says bacon is good for you has to be suspect.”

I have thought about it long and hard because the reasons they stated for ranking it so low all made it successful for me.

Difficulty to maintain

Whole30 didn’t seem difficult for me to maintain. My wife and I did the necessary pre-work to get ready for our Whole30. We did (and still do) food prep on Sundays. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but it taught us about how important it is to make our food from whole, natural ingredients. It taught us that feeding ourselves is hard work, and that the shortcuts that go into making our food fast and easy are bad for us and our bodies.

Expensive

This has been debunked before, but shopping for whole, natural foods is no more expensive than buying pre-processed foods. Almost dollar for dollar, you can spend the same on good foods as you can on the processed foods for the same number of people and the same number of meals. Eating grain-fed, free-roam, and organic can cost more, but if you stick with meat, vegetables, and fruit in their natural form, you can find deals on meats and vegetables and fruits on sale almost all the time. We find that our dollars spent on natural ingredients goes farther.

No real evidence that it works

Evidence is based on scientific studies, and these take years or decades to conclude. Anecdotal evidence, in the scientific community, refers to experiences people have and report on. It doesn’t take into account all the factors to isolate the diet as the cause for the improvement in health and loss of weight. Fair enough. But nearly everyone I know who has done a Whole30 or has gone Paleo has gotten healthier and lost weight. This is well-known now in the medical community. The studies are being done; it will take time.

Restrictive

This one made me laugh out loud. For real. If you are going from an, “I eat everything and anything” diet to Whole30, then yes, it’s very restrictive. Our diets NEED to be restricted. Our obesity epidemic is due to the lack of restraint and the horrible information we’ve been fed by nutritionists, doctors, and the government regarding “Balanced diets” and the over-use of sugar and grains in our diet coupled with the vilifying of fats. I learned to restrict my diet to only meat, fruit, and vegetables. This is a good thing, not something that should be considered bad.

“Any diet that says bacon is good for you has to be suspect.”

This one also made me laugh. It told me everything I needed to know about the person(s) writing the article(s). They didn’t understand that fat is not bad, and that the myth of a balanced diet was just that: a myth concocted by pseudo-scientists passing off their ideas of nutrition as fact based on nothing more than a theory from a doctor in the 50’s. The idea that fat in our bodies comes from fat we eat is laughable and ignores the complexity within our bodies to create usable energy and how our bodies store that excess energy.

The irony is that everything the article listed as being shortcomings were all what got through to me and helped me succeed in getting healthy, losing weight, and maintaining my health and weight loss. Nearly two and a half years later, I’m still at my lowest weight, and maintaining it easily.

Whole30 Day 25 Wrap-Up

Not enough sleep again last night due to friends coming over, but after a slow start to the day, I feel great again. Weight is up a bit due to the lack of sleep, but I’ll fix that Saturday morning. I plan on sleeping in on Saturday to catch up a bit on the sleep I’ve been missing out on this past few days.

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Breakfast: The pork, apple, and egg casserole I’ve been enjoying all week. I really do love this stuff! It starts my day off a bit dandy.

Lunch: Being Friday, it’s our “Go Out to Eat” day. We typically eat lunch, but today, I took Steve to a new place: Sammy’s Wild Grill. I had the mixed grill which consisted of an emu steak, kangaroo on a skewer with onions and green pepper, and a sausage made of elk. It was served with sweet potato fries. Now, the only item that was suspect was the sweet potato fries, but I asked, and they said they cooked them in coconut oil, so I’m somewhat okay. The lunch was delicious and filling, but I forgot to get a photo of it.

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Dinner: Friday nights is when we have dinner with friends, and they prepared for us a lovely Instant Pot cooked Mojo Pork with Tostones and Spicy Slaw. The pork was very tender and delicious and the Tostones are plantains that are cooked in coconut oil and squashed to be sort of a plantain cake. This was an amazing dinner, and super-delicious!

Watching Friends and Family Fail on their Diets

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It’s tough to do, but after two years of showing the way, being successful at losing weight, and trying to live the example, I’ve had to give up on some people. These folks have ignored everything I’ve said, shown them, or explained. They ignore the evidence that is as clear as the nose on their faces: that eating a low-carb/high-fat diet works in making you healthy and helping you lose weight.

I just watched someone else I know posting on Facebook all the work they’re going through to try to lose some weight. Their method: eat lots of fruit, eat all day long, and portion control. The number of people who are successful on this type of diet is very small, so it’s akin to watching someone douse themselves with fire and then start playing with a Zippo with one hand.

If I could accomplish just one great thing in this life, it would be my hope and desire that people would learn about LC/HF diets and their benefits. Along with that, it would be to dispel all the horrible, bad, and harmful information we’ve been taught for the past 40 years that low-fat is good for you, that grains are beneficial, and that sugar is harmless.

I am not giving up on you, dear reader. I am here for you, and I will carry on and continue blogging. Maybe those friends will change their minds and catch on that maybe I’m not just making this all up, and that there is some veracity to my claims. Until then, I will continue on here, as I have, as the PaleoMarine.

Whole30 Day 24 Wrap-Up

Today is day 24 of my fourth Whole30. I feel great, and I remind myself often that it’s because of the quality of the food I’m eating that I feel so energetic. It’s amazing the difference good food makes.

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Breakfast: The pork, apple, and egg casserole Sherry made for me on Sunday. I can’t say enough how much I love this stuff (and her, too!).

Lunch: I had the beef and sugar snap peas that Sherry made for dinner last week and refrigerated as left-overs. It was even better today than the first time! The beef was so tender, and the peas were very sweet and tasty without being soggy. Definitely a winner!

Dinner: Pulled pork and a sweet potato. This was from the readily-available stash of food we keep in the refrigerator to make quick dinners with when we want to skip the prepped meals which we eat for lunch and we’re strapped for time. It was very delicious, and it definitely filled me up!

Feeling defeated

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I know how it feels. I’ve been there. I weighed 312 lbs (141.5 kg) at 5’7″ (1.7m) tall. I felt like I had passed the point of no return in regards to not only my weight, but my health. I had always been told that the only way to lose weight was through exercise and a sensible diet. Those sensible diets always left me feeling hungry, unsatisfied, and miserable. I never had any energy, and my willpower always faded quickly. As for exercise, I was never much into it. When you’re morbidly obese, just walking up stairs is a challenge, and I was not up to the task. I had felt defeated, and my sentence was an early death.

Everyone reaches a moment where they have to make a decision: live or die. For me, it was one morning when I tried to tie my shoes and couldn’t do so without holding my breath. My stomach was so large that it was physically impossible for me to breathe and bend over to tie my shoes at the same time. I felt like my life was fading quickly. I decided right then that I needed to do something. Anything. Only I didn’t know what to do. What happened, however, is that I was open to suggestions, and to being pointed in the right direction to find a way out of my despair and to improve my health and lose weight.

A few weeks later, my cousin came to visit, and she told me about Whole30 and the Paleo Diet, and my life changed forever. Could I have found Whole30 and the Paleo Diet without her? Possibly. I was already doing research and reading up on different diets when she came to visit, so when she mentioned them to me, I already had a passing knowledge of them. What really convinced me though was she had done it herself. She went through the same things I had; struggled with weight, tried exercise and the mythical sensible diet, and nothing seemed to work. We shared genetic material, so it stood to reason that a diet that worked for her would work for me. And it did.

I can’t predict what diet will work for you. I can only tell you that you need to make the decision to succeed. You don’t have to have all the answers right away. Just find the desire to make life-long changes to your lifestyle and to find a diet that works for you, whether that’s the Paleo Diet, keto, Atkins, or some other form of low-carb/high-fat diet. I honestly believe that these are the best diets for humans.

I’ve been in despair over my health and weight. I’ve been depressed over it. I thought I was doomed to die fairly soon. I know how utterly bleak it feels. But I also know how it feels to have hope, even if it’s just a tiny pin of light at the end of a tunnel. It’s amazing how that light grows brighter and brighter as you get closer to reaching your goal.

In hindsight, I feel as if I’ve been freed from prison. Sugar addiction held me back and clouded my mind and judgment for a long time. Finally getting free from that addiction has led me to the happiest place I’ve been in my life: my current self.

You are never defeated until you have no breath left in you. Until then, keep fighting. You are worth it!

Whole 30 Day 23 Wrap-Up

Not a lot of sleep again last night; roughly 5 hours. I still feel okay this morning; pretty amazing considering the lack of rest. As for my medical exams, all is well. These were all associated with my annual physical and the National Guard. They just take a closer look at men when they’re 50 or above, so I had a larger battery of exams than the normal Soldier.

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Breakfast: Pork and Apple Egg Casserole. I really do love this stuff, and it starts my day off just right.

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Lunch: Another of our famous prepped by Sherry meals, I had the Ground Beef and Plantain Bowl for lunch today. Once again, it was delicious and filling.

Dinner: We went out to a local favorite diner called Nik’s Steak and Seafood. I had my usual, the G13 which consists of a dinner salad with oil and vinegar (no cheese or croutons!), 8 oz Red Snapper, broccoli, and sweet potato. It’s a delicious meal, although it is just a tad on the generous size. It’s definitely filling and satisfying.

It’s easy to find discouragement

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There are so many reasons to stop eating right. I am sure you know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there (me too!). Our day is filled with temptation, people who would rather we don’t make them feel bad by eating right, self-doubt, and sometimes a lack of motivation. How do we get past it? How do we succeed in the face of all this discouragement?

  • Ignore it.
  • Use it as a source of strength.
  • Learn from it.

Let’s break it down into two groups: external forces and internal forces. An external force can be a person who calls you out for eating “Weird,” or tells you that the diet you are on is bad for you, is ranked as the worst ever, isn’t ever going to work, is not based on science, is going to kill you, etc. Often, these people are really looking at themselves and projecting their own fears and embarrassment onto you. They don’t want to be reminded that they are unhealthy or overweight, so they will do what they can to sabotage you. Some of these people may come in the form of your closest friends or family members. The sad part is that they may not even know they are doing this consciously. I have learned to ignore these people and I use their derision as a source of strength. I vowed to “Show them” in a positive way. Two and a half years later, I not longer catch grief from friends or family about my diet, but strangers and some co-workers still persist.

Internal forces are your own doubts and insecurities. They can manifest with depression, cravings, or caving into temptation. This is all natural and normal. I had many experiences during my weight loss journey where I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing or if I was going to lose weight temporarily only to regain it and then some. In the beginning, I didn’t yet know about focusing on the things I COULD eat instead of the things I couldn’t, so I spent a lot of time missing certain carb-rich foods. I learned from that, though, and I adjusted my mind to think positively. Whenever I faced a challenge, I would look at it and find a solution and try to learn from it to keep from making the same mistake twice.

Learning a new lifestyle or diet takes practice, takes time, and takes perseverance. We have to get past a lot of obstacles, some external, and sadly, many internal. It’s a mind game, and regardless of the source, we need to learn to put these challenges away, learn from them, and to persevere in spite of them. The world is full of discouragement. Turn it around and find things to be positive about and focus on them instead.

When it comes to Whole30 and the Paleo Diet, there is a lot more to be positive about! Just check out my wife Sherry’s blog! She has a bunch of recipes on there that have completely changed our lives and allowed us to live happier, healthier lives.