On the first day of the Whole30, thirty days looked like an awfully long time. Especially when I was headachey and grumpy from caffeine withdrawal. Now, on the 30th day of the Whole30, it all seems to have gone by so quickly. And I’ve thoroughly kicked the caffeine habit.
I started out skeptical, not really expecting much. Maybe I’d lose a pound or two. Maybe I’d be a little less sleepy in the afternoon. It couldn’t be that different from the low-carb diet I’d just come off of, could it? But one week in and already three pounds down, I was sold. As I detailed in my Friday post, the Whole30 diet does have a certain amount of sense to it, even if the paleolithic aspect is pretty much bunk. Cut out the crap and processed food and you’re forced to eat only good, nutrient-dense food. As long as you don’t go out of your way to eat avocados, bacon, and cans of coconut milk every day, it’s nigh impossible to gain weight. And it was pretty easy to lose it.
I’m down to 156 as of today, from a starting weight of 164. I didn’t quite reach my goal of 155, but it’s easy to see that I have lost more than a measly eight pounds of fat. Most of it’s gone from my midsection. A little from my arms. A teensy bit from my legs.
As I’d mentioned in all of the other week n review posts, aside from the weight loss, the thing I really noticed with this diet was the energy stability. No after lunch crashes. No food comas. If I eat a decent, protein-rich breakfast, then I can go all the way to lunch without thinking about food. I also don’t think about food as much – I went from having full-on carb and sugar cravings every day, to the occasional twinge for a comfort food or something I didn’t have to prepare. My worst cravings were by far for coffee in the first week.
Apropos, I should probably admit that I went back to allowing myself caffeine last week. Not because I tripped and fell into temptation, but because I really didn’t want to have all these limitations ending at the same time. Good excuse, right? 🙂 Anyway, my daily dose of caffeine has been somewhere between a cup of tea and a half cup of coffee, and only in the morning. I found out the hard way that too much of coffee or even a soda in the afternoon brings the anxiety raging back. So for now, I will simply savor tiny bits of coffee for the taste and give myself a shot of coffee before crossfit when I need it. An occasional cup of tea. I do want to go back to drinking green tea on a regular basis, but perhaps not the four or five cups I was having a day.
Back to Whole30: my biggest hurdle and difficulty with the diet is the sheer amount of time it takes to prepare each and every meal. Some of that I addressed in my last post, and some of that was due to poor planning on my part. But nothing beats a quick meal like a hunk of bread and some cheese, or a bowl of cereal. I didn’t so much miss the carbs themselves, but the simplicity they gave to so many of my meals.
But the benefits far outweigh the few drawbacks to the diet. So I think, after this last day of the whole30 is over, I will continue with the lessons I’ve learned over the course of this diet. I will keep carbs to an absolute minimum. I’ll avoid dairy as much as I can. And I will keep added sugars out of my life. But beans and legumes? Those are coming right back in. Perhaps not in the same quantities as they were before, but eating this much meat all the time is simply not sustainable for me.
A lot of people coming off the whole30 turn to an 80/20 ratio of foods – i.e. 80% whole30, 20% whatever. Some allow a once-a-week cheat day. I think I will go the cheat day route, because it’s far simpler for me to limit myself most days than try and stick to a ratio.
So I guess the real end question of this endeavor is: would I recommend this diet to someone else? I might, but it would depend on what you were looking to get out of it. If it were only weight loss, than I would suggest you pair the diet with a good exercise routine – do something you love, rigorously, for at least 30min/3 times a week. If I hadn’t been exercising at all during the diet, I have a feeling I wouldn’t have lost very much weight. If your goal is to feel and eat better, then definitely.
It’s a hard and restrictive diet. But then, it’s only 30 days. 🙂