Sherry updated her blog with some new recipes we have added to the menu recently. I think it’s worth checking out!
It’s that time again. Every now and then, after a serious examination of my eating habits and health, I find it necessary to do a reboot of the ol’ diet. After the amazing vacation Sherry and I just completed, we found it was time for another Whole30. While we didn’t go as far off the reservation as we did when we were in Scotland a few years ago, we did drink wine every night and allowed ourselves to go off-plan a few times. That’s to be expected on a vacation, but I have something coming up soon that I MUST be at my healthiest for: I’m going to be attending Warrant Officer Candidate School in a little over a month.
My weight is higher than it should be, and with nearly a month without exercise due to injury followed immedately by vacation, I find myself in the precarious situation of being overweight and not in top shape. I’m taking the next five weeks to rectify that situation.
It’s not easy. Exercise on Whole30 is possible, but it can feel harder since I won’t be having nearly as many carbs as I do on Paleo. Add to that the fact that the first week of Whole30 is hellish on it’s own, and that makes for a really unpleasant experience. Fortunately, I’ve done Whole30 a time or nine, so it’s nothing new. I know not only what to expect, but I know that once I get through this week, I’ll feel so much better, and my body will be so much healthier.
How do we get into the situations where we NEED a Whole30 for a reset? I think it’s due to human nature, old habits, and our culture.
Human nature is to eat, eat, eat. It’s a survival mechanism. We love food, and that’s an instinct that drives us to consume when we can to guard against the lean times. Our ancestors needed these instincts. Today in our world of abundance? It leads to obesity and overeating.
Old habits die hard. I used to eat for the pleasure of eating. I still love to eat, and I still enjoy food, but I need to actively remember that eating is for fueling our body and not for entertainment.
Our culture, as every culture around the world, is focused on food. Think of every social gathering you have ever been to. It either had food or alcohol at it’s core. Snacks, full-on meals, drinks, etc: they all count as food-centered activities. Even going to a little league game has snacks like nachos, chips, and sugar-filled drinks like sodas readily available.
I’m in the thick of it today, and will be for another three or four days, but I see light at the end of the tunnel. I know what to expect, and I know it’s going to be great. I just keep reminding myself that this is temporary, and soon I will be on the other side of hell week. I just need to not kill anyone before I get there.
One more day to go!
I was recovering from the flu today, so I stayed home from work and ate a weird schedule. I still had my three meals, though.
Breakfast: Pork, apple, and egg casserole. While it’s in the refrigerator, I will eat it!
Lunch: Paleo/Whole30 compliant Shepherd’s Pie. Sherry made this on Sunday, it was very delicious and filling!
Dinner: As I was feeling much better, and yesterday was my late father’s birthday, we went out for dinner tonight. Usually we do it on his birthday, but I was feeling far too sick to go out. We ate Mexican at a local favorite, Alicia’s. I had a Red Snapper with crab meat, crawfish, and artichoke sauce with some grilled vegetables. It was really filling, and definitely hit the spot. My dad would have liked this one. The only thing I didn’t get to do as I always do by tradition is have a Margarita. I’ll hoist a drink for my dad this weekend when I’m done with this Whole30.
It’s been four weeks! Of course, I’m still not feeling well, but I am excited for the end of this Whole30! Why? Because it’s made a big difference already in helping me reset my appetite, serving sizes, and it helped strengthen my discipline. All good things. Oh yeah: lost some weight, too!
Breakfast: Pork, apple, and egg casserole. YUMMY!
Lunch: Bacon-covered Chorizo Meat Loaf!!! I LOVE this stuff!!! It’s probably my favorite Whole30 meal, and I was very happy to see containers of it in the refrigerator when I went to pull out a lunch. This kept me completely satisfied, and was amazing!
Dinner: Left-over bacon-wrapped cod with asparagus. I had roughly three pieces of the cod and about 7 sprigs of asparagus. I followed that up with a bit of cantaloupe to calm my stomach. I feel much better now.
We are now day one into our fourth and final week! This is exciting!
Portion sizes are holding steady; I eat as much as it takes to fill me up. I’m not gaining any weight, and while I’m not necessarily seeing much movement on the scale, I do feel great and my clothing (and rings on my fingers) are all much looser. I know my body composition is changing again to leaner. Coupled with my running, this healthier eating is giving me many benefits I knew normally happen, but I didn’t expect to be so noticable for someone like me who has been Paleo for over two years. Wow.
Breakfast: This is where it gets weird. I had some medical tests scheduled for today, so I had to fast in the morning prior to a blood test. Therefore, I didn’t eat my normal breakfast, and I was only able to eat a bag of nuts after the blood test and before lunch. So, my breakfast was small and basically eaten just to stave off some hunger.
Lunch: 10 small-ish chicken wings with mild Buffalo sauce and roughly 6 pieces of carrot and 6 pieces of celery. No sauce for dipping; I just ate these straight. I didn’t get a photo because it would have been weird in the restaurant, but I think everyone can picture what this looked like.
Dinner: Sherry made sous-vide steak with some zucchini that she grilled in a pan with some coconut oil. It was delicious! I seared the steak after she cooked them to give them grill marks and they turned out beautiful!
OK. So I was bad again, and slept in really late. In doing so, I forfeited breakfast. I know it’s not the best thing to do, but I don’t want to get completely off-schedule with my eating for the day since I won’t be staying up late and I don’t want to eat a dinner too late in the day. So, I ate a bigger portion of lunch than usual, and had dinner a little earlier than normal. In the end, I think the calories will even out.
Breakfast: Skipped while sleeping. It was so nice and comfy and warm in my bed when I initially got up that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I fell back asleep and got a lot of rest. I feel great, but I am paying for it by skipping a meal.
Lunch: Some kind of great Mexican-inspired dish made by Sherry called Layered Taco Casserole which has plantains as the base layer and guacamole as the top layer. It tastes great, and it was very filling!
Dinner: We went to a local favorite called Nik’s Steak and Seafood. My dinner started with a dinner salad with oil and vinegar after which I had the 8 oz grilled snapper and six grilled shrimp served with brocolli and sweet potato. This is one of my favorite “Out for dinner” places as the prices are very reasonable and the food is EXCELLENT. The bad news: I forgot to take photos! I was so excited to get my dinner that I immediately dug in. Sorry!
OK. So, day 14 is weird. It’s not really following any rules. You see, I woke up very late, and decided to go right into lunch instead of eating a super-late breakfast and then eating a lunch four hours later and then dinner three hours after that with my wife. So, I ended up doing a bit of a fast and then eating one of the prepared lunches Sherry preps for us as my first meal of the day. As for my weight, it was right at my lowest again. This makes me very, very happy, indeed!
Breakfast: Skipped due to sleeping in
Lunch: I had the amazing Moroccan Lamb dish Sherry made last week. The side with it was mashed garlic cauliflower. I had a coffee with it, and I felt completely filled up afterward. This is a super-delicious recipe that you should all try! (Darn it! I forgot to take a picture of it before I ate it all!)
Dinner: About seven hours after my lunch, I had my final meal of the day which was the spaghetti squash with bolognese sauce. This time I did get a photo of my dinner. I could have re-plated it, but I typically don’t because it just makes another dish dirty.
Another night with not enough sleep, but once I was able to get myself out of bed, I felt pretty good. After my morning coffee, I felt pretty normal.
Breakfast: Two eggs sunny-side up and two slices of bacon with coffee. No fruit of vegetables by personal choice.
Lunch: Garden salad with oil and vinegar, 6 oz filet mignon, and Brussels sprouts. My friend Steve and I typically go out for lunch on Fridays for a steak, but since he’ll be out on Friday, we decided to make Thursday our “Out for lunch” day. I am fortunate that I can eat an amazing lunch on Whole30 and remain compliant.
Dinner: I found myself out for a meal for the second time in the same day due to attending a funeral. Afterward, some friends along with my wife and I decided to go out for dinner. We went to Lupe Tortilla which has a really nice steak/chicken/beef fajita plate that my wife and I had. As a bonus, they have spaghetti squash as a side, and we just told them to hold the rice, beans, and tortillas. The dinner was delicious, and we left satisfied.
Weight this morning is holding steady at my low, which makes me happy. Not a single snack yesterday, although I was wishing I could have had some sort of chocolate after dinner. Not because I was having a sweet craving, mind you. It’s just that I miss chocolate. I really love chocolate.
So far, so good. This is my fourth Whole30, so there were no big surprises so far. In fact, I have to say, it’s been the least eventful Whole30 I’ve done. I expected the following:
- Some cravings in the beginning due to my bad eating over the holidays: check.
- That things would get better within the first week in regards to how I felt and energy levels: check.
- My weight would slowly, over time, decline with rises and falls: check (NOTE that I’m not supposed to be checking my weight on a standard Whole30. Call my Whole30 a Whole30PM (for PaleoMarine).
Things I’m looking forward to:
- Eventual elimination of cravings.
- Reduction in serving sizes and increased satisfaction from the reduced serving sizes.
- Eventual moderate weight loss.
As a fourth-time traveler down the path of Whole30, this journey has been much nicer and less stressful than the first three. Sherry and I have gotten pretty good at Whole30, and we know what we can eat, what we have to avoid, and where to easily get the food we need. It also helps that most of our friends have done Whole30’s, so when we get together, they know that we’re on one, and they accommodate our dietary needs.
Bottom line: A strong, positive, and motivated mindset makes this easy. When you know what to expect, what’s coming, and how to get past things like cravings, initial low energy levels, or locating Whole30 compliant ingredients/foods, it takes away a lot of the stress people experience on a Whole30. I have the benefit of past experience, but I hope that my blog posts shed some light on the things I’ve experienced this time versus my past Whole30’s.
I saw an article flash across my phone’s screen that stated something like “Whole30 tied for second-worse weight loss diet.” Gosh, I hate click-bait headlines.
First of all, it’s not a weight loss diet per se. Second, the person writing the article states that health experts and nutritionists were the source of the info, yet none are named or sourced. Third, the reasons stated in the article all seemed suspect to me based on the fact that they were using the government’s recommendation of low-fat and whole grains making up a large part of a healthy person’s diet. No: eating lots of carbs is not good for you, and it’s not better for your heart.
The stated reason they ranked Whole30 so low: “It’s too hard to give up bread and pizza for most, if not all people.” That’s ridiculous. If you can’t give those up, even for 30 days, then you have much bigger problems. There; I said it. It’s a matter of loving yourself to the point that you are willing to sacrifice certain foods. We can ALL give up pizza and bread. I love both, but I love my health more. I love life more. I love my wife and kids more. I love my family more. Whole30 is difficult in the beginning: true enough. But with some perseverance, motivation, and dedication, ANYONE can get through it.
Whole30 can be tough. It was over a week of hell for my wife. It was three days of difficulty my first time. This time? Both of us are doing much, much better. We had some cravings to get past, but it actually feels nice to get back to basics and eat clean food. The mindset that goes into this is the key. I don’t allow myself anything non-Whole30 compliant. I don’t even consider it.
Case in point: I had five soldiers from my National Guard unit come over the other night. They all drank some alcoholic beverages, many of which were appealing to me. But I told them from the outset that I was on a Whole30 and unable to participate in the imbibing of alcohol. They were all understanding and never tried to push it on me, but knowing ti was off-limits made it easy for me to not crave a drink. There were a few moments where I thought it’d be nice if I could, but it never was a full-blown cravings. Setting limits on myself really makes a difference in cutting those cravings when I know I am not allowed to act on them. Not even a little bit.
Weight loss is 50% mental, 49% diet, and 1% exercise is more like it. The mental part of adopting a diet is huge, and I dare say it’s as important, if not a tiny bit more, than the diet itself. You cannot succeed without the mindset of fully committing and making sacrifices. The nice part is that Whole30 is temporary (notice the 30 in the name? That means 30 days), but the changes you make should make you think about what you are going to adopt as your diet moving forward from the Whole30 and beyond. My wife and I decided on the Paleo Diet, but there are many other low-carb/high-fat (LCHF) options out there like Atkins, Keto, and Mediterranean are all good and viable ways to get into the LCHF lifestyle.
Regardless of your LCHF path, Whole30 itself is not impossible. It’s not easy, but it is simple. Just stick to the basics, push yourself through the first few days or weeks, and the rest becomes much easier and you will feel benefits that will make it all worthwhile.