Each time I would say to myself “this is a lifestyle change, this time it’s going to be permanent”. Sometimes it would last a while, other times I was back to my old ways within days.
And it wasn’t entirely just about losing weight, I care a lot about fitness and nutrition too. It seems, for me, the two always go hand in hand. If I was eating better, I was also exercising. If I was eating crap, I was a couch potato. This all or nothing mentality is always a set up for failure in the long run.
Two years ago a friend introduced me to The Whole30 Challenge. It’s a very strict version of Paleo eating (aka the caveman diet). The Paleo diet is based on the premise that our bodies have not yet evolved enough to handle the refined foods that came along with the agricultural era and that if we eat a diet more closely aligned to what our ancestors ate, it would do our bodies good. With the obesity epidemic happening in America right now, it made sense to me.
I like the idea of clean eating (real food, no ingredients created in science labs, no highly refined or processed foods). Counting points, calories, or fat grams is not something that has ever interested me. When following those programs I would find myself looking high and low to satisfy my cravings with lighter, fake versions of already bad food. (100 calorie packs anyone?)
So I gathered a group of pals and embarked on the Whole30 Challenge.
I dusted off my workout dvds and embarked on p90x3.
Instead of my morning trip thru McDonalds for a bacon egg and cheese biscuit, I started my day with green smoothies. I gave up grains, dairy, and bad fats and started eating lots of vegetables, a little fruit, lean meats, and good fats.
I got up a little bit earlier and exercised for 30 minutes.
That was 30 days ago, here’s what happened:
Day 1 – I am excited and ready for this. I have been feeling puffy and bloated lately. I have almost gained all the weight back that I lost 2 years ago (25 lbs!). This is just the motivation I need. We are going to do this!
Week 1 – I am still going strong and feeling motivated. I weighed and measured myself the day I started. Even though the official rules say not to weigh or measure until the end, I want to know what's happening. I have lost 6 lbs so far! I realize a lot of it is water weight and that’s ok! My puffiness has subsided and I am already feeling more energetic. I need to find some new recipes, getting a little tired of the same things.
Week 2 – Still going strong. I lost another 2 lbs, so I’m down 8lbs in 2 weeks. There were a few days this week where I felt a little tired and less energetic. I had my first challenge, a business luncheon. I made it through ok but realized I need to plan ahead and be prepared in case there aren’t many whole30 approved choices available (there weren’t).
Week 3 – I only lost ½ lb this week, but it’s OK because I have gained muscle! I have been working out 6 days a week and luckily when I started I documented my weight and measurements so I could record my progress. In the last week I have lost ½ an inch to an inch off of ALL SIX body parts I measured. So while the scale didn’t change much, my body composition certainly has.
Week 4 Day 30 – This week was pretty good. I am no longer thinking about all the things I miss. I don’t have cravings for my old favorites. I can even watch people eat pizza and not want it. I lost 1.5 lbs this week.
Overall, I lost 10 lbs and 16 inches...not bad for 30 days! I obviously can't see what has happened inside my body but I am sure it's all good!
I am feeling brave, so here are my before and after pics:
With a little planning, making high quality meals with fresh unprocessed ingredients is not that hard.
We spent more time eating together as a family at the dinner table.
I can eat as much as I want and I don’t have to count anything.
Within days my cravings for processed carbs vanished.
I wasn’t as hungry, the meals I ate were nutritious and satisfied my body.
I forgot how much I love fruits and vegetables,.
After a couple of weeks, I wasn't living to eat, I was eating to live...I wasn't constantly thinking about food.
This challenge was only meant to last for 30 days, it is uber strict. So what now? Paleo eating is a little looser but follows the same basic principles, eating lean meats, lots of veggies, some fruit, and good fats. Plus it allows alcohol (isn’t wine a fruit?)
I'll be back with another update in 30 days!
Please share what works for you, would love to hear it!!