By Trey Peden
This post is a follow-up to my announcement to try The Whole 30 both of which are cross-posted on my own blog, Trey Givens.com.
Well, it is finally over. And it is difficult for me to express exactly how glad not to be worrying over The Whole 30 any more.
I suppose the worrying part is my own fault, since for the month of January I could probably count on two hands the number of mornings that I woke without a vivid memory of a dream in which I ate something bad and worried about paying Diana $20 for the infraction. Clearly, my subconscious is far more concerned about financial matters than my physical well-being. So, how did I end up doing?
Well, I paid Diana a total of $80 this month.
Half of it was due to a week in which I was on a business trip and only worked out once. 2 missed workouts * $20 = $40.
On that same business trip, I was at a restaurant with my boss's boss for dinner and I ordered what appeared to be a "safe" meal and explained to the waitress that I absolutely could not have diary. First, she came back with a plate sprinkled with cheese, so I sent it back. When she returned to the kitchen she explained that what I had ordered actually also included butter. So, I had a choice: change my order completely and be the awkward person sitting at the table without food or just suck it up and pay Diana $20 for having eaten some butter. Not being able to think of a delicate way to avoid the awkwardness, I decided to just pay up.
The second infraction happened just this past Saturday. I was at Costco and they have all these samples out and one of the displays caught my eye. It was some stuffed grape leaves and the package said it was dairy free and gluten free. I checked the label and the only thing that jumped out at me was that there is a bit of canola oil. I didn't spot any cheese or sausage or wheat, so it must be OK, right? I tried it and it was pretty tasty. It wasn't until last night that I was reflecting on this and realized I had just eaten a mouthful of RICE, a grain. So, this morning, I paid Diana another $20, but I have a package of those grape leaves in my freezer and I am very excited about eating them at some point in February.
Qwertz asked me about cravings. I really only had two cravings during this experiment: 1) sushi and 2) pizza. Wait. Three cravings: cheese. The sushi craving was really just because sushi is tasty and sometimes that was what I was in the mood to eat, so it was very easy to ignore and it came and went. Same thing with the cheese. The pizza craving was pure insanity, though. Pizza wasn't a very regular thing for me before The Whole 30 and I don't intend for it to be a regular thing after it. But for some reason there was about two or three weeks there when I just wanted to eat half of a fresh Papa John's pepperoni pizza and dip the crust in their cocaine-laced cheese sauce. Mmmmmmm... [Note: as far as I know, there is no actual cocaine in any of Papa John's products.]
Giving up alcohol was easy-peasy. I thought it might be tougher than it turned out to be just because it's so easy to have a glass of wine with dinner or a manhattan after a tough day at the office. But it really wasn't. It was just mildly difficult on date nights, really, when a glass of wine would be regarded as a given. But I managed.
Really, eating out was a huge pain in the ass.
Me: Hi, there! I'm looking at the menu and I'm wondering if the Cheese Bacon Extravaganza has any dairy in it.Health-wise, how did things turn out?
Server: Um. Yeah. It has cheese. Why?
Me: Hm. Well, I can't have dairy.
Server: What about the Poodle Noodle-Roni Explosion Fest?
Me: I can't have gluten, either. Well, any grains actually.
Me: Yeah. Wheat, corn, barley, rice, etc.
Server: Oh. Well, maybe you could have a side of black beans.
Me: Can't have beans either. Any legumes, actually.
Server: Sounds like you need a drink.
Server: Don't tell me.
Server: Should I feel sad right now because you have some kind of horrible disease?
Me: No, it's more like a bet.
I started cutting gluten out of my diet a couple years ago or so and saw a huge improvement in my digestion. As things were, I had a doctor once who tried to say I had "irritable bowel syndrome." But most of the time when I hear the word "syndrome," I think, "So, you don't know what the problem is." Which is what got me to tinkering with my diet and reducing gluten seems to have been the key. Mysteriously, while on The Whole 30, I had a week there where my poor digestion returned for a bit. It was very uncomfortable and unpleasant. At first I was completely mystified as to what could be the cause. And then I deduced that the culprit was a huge batch of chicken soup that I made which included cabbage. Cabbage, you may or may not know, is high in fiber. I do not have any issues with fiber and getting a whole bunch of it at once has distressing results. Yeah, so, note to self: don't eat so much cabbage all at once.
I did lose weight, though. I didn't get down as far as I wanted, but a couple of people noted that I am visibly slimmer than I was in December. I know I wasn't supposed to weigh myself at all during The Whole 30, but I did. I lost about ten lbs in the first couple of weeks and then week three there really wasn't much change. And then in the last week I had another drop in weight.
Ready for the before and after?
And here are the pics:
Before: Jan 1, 2012
After: Feb 1, 2012
Not terrible. From what I've read, healthy weight-loss should not progress any faster than roughly 3lbs a week (give or take), so a loss of about 12lbs is respectable here. (I weighed myself on the morning of the 29th and I was down to 192lbs!) I should note that I actually did NOT do CrossFit this month. Due to business travel and some confusion/conflicts with the trainer schedule I was not able to go through my new gym's onramp training until later. In fact, I completed it today and can start CrossFit tomorrow. So, all those visits to the gym that I made were really all about conditioning. My usual routine was simply to walk a quarter mile at a comfortable pace, jog for a mile at a pace I could maintain for the whole distance (I started at 6mph and can now go at 7mph without too much trouble), and then do two rounds of 10 situps, 10 pushups, and 10 squats as quickly as I could muster. My objective wasn't to build muscle or burn fat but simply to get my heart and lungs accustomed to working hard for a spell.
So, I think The Whole 30 was an interesting experience. It definitely helped to tighten up my diet a bit and get back into exercise.
Am I likely to do it again? No, probably not. Not unless I can anticipate a month of eating by myself at home where I can control all the ingredients and everything.