34 Days on the #Whole30 plan was QUITE the undertaking I put myself through. As a veteran of the ups and downs of Slow Carb, going this long without a Cheat Day was my big concern. I was also concerned about how difficult it might be to actually source food ‘on the road’. However, in the end the plan presented the same challenges that any ‘diet’ presented. However, THIS WASN’T about losing weight. This was about learning about my food habits, my viewpoint on food, and understand how I need to change more than just what I eat.
So, you’re probably thinking, “Fat Ass, is just saying all that because he didn’t lose any weight, FAIL!” No, I did lose weight. In fact here’s what I lost.
- Weight – 287Lbs (down 7 lbs)
- Chest – 48.5 inches (down 1 inch)
- Waist – 50 inches (down 1 .5 inches)
- Hips – 45.5 inches (down .5 inch)
- Biceps – 17 inches (no change)
- Thighs – 28 inches (no change)
- Neck – 17 inches (no change)
Pretty solid 30 Days, if I do say so myself. Lost 7 lbs and a total of 3 inches off my frame. So, yes, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Maybe I should do Whole 30,” I won’t discourage from doing so. It definitely works. And you learn a LOT about yourself.
What did I learn? Well, I learned I cheat with little to know thought, which was scary. What I mean by that is, despite ANY resolve, andy PUBLIC statement of my intent, when left to myself in certain situations, I cheat. How many times did I cheat in whole 30? Well, let’s say you eat 4 meals a day. 3 squares and a snack in there. For Whole 30, I had 136 meals. That was 136 attempts at eating clean. I ate clean 89% of the time, the other 11% I was didn’t eat clean. So, as I went along I started to chart the reasons I cheated. This may be interesting for you, because you may notice the same pressure points for yourself.
- I will cheat when I am mentally stressed.
- I will cheat when I am in a hurry (Drive Thru Dilema)
- I will cheat when I am happy (especially around friends)
- I will cheat when I feel accomplished.
- I will cheat when I am angry or frustrated.
- I will cheat when I am physically exhausted (post work outs for example).
- I will cheat when I am sad.
This became clear to me, because I picked (deliberately) a stressful month to do the Whole 30. I picked the MOST stressful time at work, and (unforeseen by me) a fairly stressful time for my family due to illnesses, etc. So, what did I learn. I learned that when I’m calm and focused, I can make the right food choice fairly easily. When I’m in any of the states above, it is difficult to get enough clarity to make the right choices. This means ultimately, I have to do a better job at pre-planning my choices for food so I don’t end up getting into a tough spot. For example, if I know to go to X Restaurant and order Y meal, for lunch before I hit the, “I’m hungry” moment, I’ll be putting myself in a better position to succeed, and I can find the calm of knowing (even when I’m stressed) what I am going to do for food. But I need to be actively PLANNING these choices, and considering what meetings I am in before, I go etc. Really important for me to know ahead of time what I am doing for good, as my state of mind in that moment is not predictable.
I also learned I have cravings, bad bad bad cravings. Here were the top crave offenders during my time on the Whole 30.
- Sour Dough Toast
- The Breakfast Burrito from Lucky Boys
- White Potatoes (French Fries, especially)
- Cheese burgers
- Ice Cream
- Rueben Sandwiches
I’m still trying to pick up the reasons I crave these foods so much, but clearly it’s not about nutrition, it’s more about some sort of emotional connection I have to these foods as well as probably being hungry in that moment for carbohydrates, as most of these involved starchy carbs. However, to be honest, I didn’t feel light headed or cranky during this entire Whole 30 in any way. That’s a nice transition to….
“How did I feel while on Whole 30?” I felt GREAT! I slept better, I had more clarity of mind, more focus. In general I felt over-all more emotionally stable. I also felt I stayed more focused on the here and now. I was not looking for the NEXT THING to be interested in to distract my mind, I could enjoy the simplest things more, like rolling on the floor with my new baby girl, or watching my son as he played on his jungle gym. The smallest things in my life brought me a lot more joy.
I had this same experience on Slow Carb, but strict clean Paleo brought all of that to a new level. It was if I sharpened the blade of my mind and spirit even further that I had before. That refinement of focus actually came in handy as my Critical Thinking and Decision making processes were put under the gun multiple times a day during the month. So, that was very helpful. I can contrast that to my first day off yesterday, where I had some of my craving foods as a ‘reward’. I woke up this morning feeling like I had slept a few hours, and spent the whole night sparring with Jon Jones. Some reward. I felt sluggish this morning, and it took me over an hour to type up this blog. So, there you go.
Also, fundamentally seeking out Organic, Clean and Local foods as my primary source of food was not only fun, but healing in some ways. I developed a stronger connection and consciousness to and around my food. I began to see it more as fuel for my body, mind and spirit and not something to get done so I can move on to the next challenge. I was much more critical of what I invested my money into as well. Why would you buy a FAST FOOD hamburger for $4.00 dollars when an organic piece of fruit costs less and satisfies you more. I also discovered foods I had forgotten like sweet potatoes. Lord, do I love me some yams. Many of these lessons, I learned in the last few years, but they became more vibrant, more important on Whole 30. And I think that’s really key. Sure it is WHAT you eat, but the Quality of that food plays such a huge role in feeding your body what it really needs.
So, what now? Well, after taking two days off to reflect (and eat pizza), starting Monday May 6th, I will start a second Whole 30 Friday May 7th. Yep, I’m going right back into the fire again, and this time, I’m striving to be even cleaner than I was the last time. If you want to join me, feel free. It will change everything for you.