Made it to Day 6!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Honestly, I’ve been eating really well. Grilled chicken wings & veggies, chicken salad with homemade mayo, meat-za (which was more like a meatloaf with veggies on top, so I didn’t miss pizza a bit while eating it), and frozen banana slices dipped in organic sunbutter with unsweetened coconut on them. Yes, I’m that weirdo who actually prefers frozen banana slices to ice cream. The Czech meatballs I made last night were a miss, but I think that they’ll be pretty good crumbled up and redone on the stove with veggies for a breakfast scramble.

I also stumbled upon my new favorite website, Stupid Easy Paleo. The author has also been doing a Whole 30, so the most recent recipes posted totally work for my challenge. I spent a good 30 minutes pinning half of her recipes onto my paleo board. She has a website for an iced latte. I’ve been hesitant to drink coffee without cream and sugar, but could also feel myself turning meaner by the minute yesterday with a headache. Turns out coconut milk is actually naturally sweet enough that I’m okay with drinking coffee with it.

We also managed our first social outing last night – bowling with my best friend and her boyfriend. They were nice enough not to have a beer or anything in front of us.

I’m already noticing some of the benefits: I feel lighter (and cheated and weighed myself – I’ve lost a few pounds!), my skin is already starting to get clearer, and I had an awesome day at Body Flow on Thursday where I was able to finally get into some poses I hadn’t been quite ready for previously. Granted, that could also just be that I’ve been going regularly!

There are hard parts, though, too. My parents’ neighbors ended up at our house on the 4th, and my step dad put out a tray of cheese & crackers. Thank goodness Shawn & I had just had our dinner and were full, because I wanted them. So badly. So, so badly. I felt almost exactly like this guy: Shawn C Phillips. My mom made her dinner at about the same time I made mine last night, and it was difficult to eat my disappointing meatballs while she had mac & cheese and corn on her plate. It was blue box gross stuff, but I still would have loved just a bite. It’s admittedly been easier to eat alone without the temptation.

The headaches have been awful, too. Fortunately, I’m more of a water drinker (plus my usual morning cup of coffee I had been skipping), but Shawn drinks soda, beer, and sweet tea on a regular basis. He’s really been struggling from caffeine withdrawals, and doesn’t like hot drinks. I brewed some green tea for him last night and poured it over ice. It was much more bitter than what he was used to, but he turned back into his normal self after.

The WORST side effect for me so far has been my breath. Maybe it’s always naturally been this bad, masked by overconsumption of mints. I floss regularly and brush two-three times a day (recently more often), and it’s just been terrible. NO GUM is a rule of Whole 30, and it’s the only one I’ve really been truly tempted to break so far.

I’ll hopefully find some time to make rocket pops from fresh fruit today!

Grocery shopping and wanting ALL OF THE THINGS

The good: Shawn made AWESOME hot wings last night, along with homemade ranch dressing and roasted carrots. Man, oh man, were those wings good, too. Again, this isn’t so much a diet as it is a lifestyle change – we are eating whole, unprocessed foods. This means we have to check labels for things like sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, etc. The hot wings for a 4th of July recipe provided by the Whole 30 folks themselves, although we modified the recipe because neither of us wanted a salad.

The bad: Pepperonis, even turkey pepperonis, have 2% or less of dextrose in them. We’re planning on making a meat-za tomorrow. Whole 30 advises against it, calling it “Sex With Your Pants On” if you think of it as a pizza substitute. We’re not thinking of it that way, but rather as meat with a ton of veggies on top of it. Anyhow, we wanted to put pepperoni on it, but pepperoni is OUT. Fortunately, prosciutto is in :).

The ugly: Shawn & I ran to the store yesterday to pick up a few things. We made the mistake of wondering down aisles that had things we can’t have. Like cheez-its. And candy. And frappucinos. This morning, I would have punched somebody in the face for a waffle. I went to Body Flow and regained composure, and came home to make an awesome chicken salad with a side of avocado, blueberries, and pineapple. I used Whole 30 mayo (you can find the recipe in It Starts With Food), baked chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin, chunks of pineapple, and red pepper flakes.

This challenge is, in fact, a challenge: it’s only for 30 days. Already, on Day 4, I’m dreaming of mac & cheese from Panera, which I have all intentions of having at some point once I’m done with this. Although the program tells you not to step on the scale, I did… and I’ve already dropped 3 pounds! If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is. Ideally, I’d like to get myself to a point where I enjoy eating like this 6 days out of 7, giving myself a day to go out and socialize with friends, but not falling down the slippery slope of eating all of the bad things all of the time.

Day 1

Today started with a facebook post about the Whole 30, a chopped tomatoes and avocado with olive oil, sea salt, and lime juice, and a handful of blueberries. Whole 30 states you shouldn’t eat fruit first thing in the morning because you’re essentially giving into sugar cravings, but I needed variety. Tasty as it was, I did admittedly miss my normal morning staple: wheat toast, sunbutter, sliced bananas, and a drizzle of honey. I had a long conversation with my stepfather about this diet while he had his Corn Pops, and admitted that one thing I like about this diet already is that you don’t have to starve yourself on this. If you’re hungry, you increase your portion size. The big difference is that you’re increasing the amount of veggies you eat, rather than increasing the number of potato chips and amount of dip you’re snacking on.

I also took a “before” picture, though I’m hesitant to post it until I have the “after” picture to compare.

Lunch included leftover braised lamb that Shawn made last night: lamb shoulder roasted in a dutch oven with carrots, tomatoes, garlic, and white wine. Technically, I’ve already broken Whole 30. We discussed this at some length last night because neither of us wanted to be wasteful, and since the alcohol is cooked out, finishing up the leftovers will be fine. Better to break the rules slightly than be wasteful.

I navigated my way through Harris Teeter without sampling their bread or their pies (buy one, get one in honor of the Fourth of July). I walked away with lots of veggies, including jicama (potato substitute) to make with my breakfast and spaghetti squash to make faux pad thai noodles. Whole 30 is very peanut-allergy friendly, and I can finally try pad thai after years of hearing friends rave about it. Mine will be made with sunbutter sauce instead!

For dinner, I made a chicken fajita salad for my family. Everything but the lettuce was good – I’m so used to overly sugarly dressings that it was a rough adjustment. I regularly make my own honey-lime vinaigrette, but sweeteners (outside of natural sugars in fruits) are strictly off-limits. So, no honey this time around.

Admittedly, I did have sugar cravings – and already on my first day! I tried to get around this craving by eating a slice of frozen banana dipped in organic sunbutter and unsweetened coconut. It was good, but it was no match for a drink from Starbucks or a scoop of ice cream. I’ll get there. On the one hand, this diet is easy – I’m allowed to have a second helping if I’m still hungry, and I’m not eating like a rabbit. On the other hand, this diet is hard – I spent 10 minutes trying to find mustard without sugar in it yesterday, and I sampled pineapple three times at Harris Teeter while enviously looking at the pie samples. Again – I’ll get there.

On the Eve of Whole30

Dieting has never worked for me. Or rather, let me rephrase that: I’ve never allowed a diet to work for me.

 

My boyfriend, on the other hand, has tried a variety of diets. Many of them have worked, though have not necessarily produced sustainable results. By this, I mean that eating habits have not changed. At his heaviest, Shawn weighed 350 pounds. I did not know him then, though I understand that vegetarianism and living to ride his bike helped him drop close to 150 pounds. Since he and I got together two years ago, he’s tried several other diets. As for me, I’ve faltered between healthy choices and chocolate chip cookies. As a french fry aficionado, I’ve long weighed more than I should.

 

I recently hit a weight that I was uncomfortable with – 154 pounds, my heaviest. Exercise has become a regular habit in the past two months, and I’ve lost 7 pounds. However, I know that a healthier diet will help produce results.

 

Again, I’m not a dieter.

 

Shawn introduced the Whole 30 to me right around my graduation from William & Mary. 30 days, only whole foods, nothing processed. Further, no dairy (no cheese!), no grains (no bread!), no sugar, no white potatoes (no fries!), no alcohol, no legumes. But the key point – it’s 30 days. Other attempts at dieting have included the tell-tale-never-works “I’ll do this until I lose 10 pounds” statement. This, on the other hand, is a strict version of paleo that will allow me to reset my digestive system. The literature involved flat-out says that this will not reverse years of poor eating habits. It’s a great place to start. And it’s only 30 days.

 

Over the next 30 days or so, maybe longer, I’ll be documenting my experience with Whole 30. There will be food posts. There will be posts about fitness and how my body reacts at the gym on this new diet. And hopefully there will be weight loss and new habits that help me continue to reach my weight goals (130 by Christmas, and comfortable in a bikini by next summer) and fitness goals (at this point, tone and define).