Well, it is hard to believe, but it is already over.
When I read, studied, made lists, and prepared for my first Whole30 I thought it would drag on for ages. Even though it was only a slightly more conservative version of what I already do every day, I was convinced it would be hard. I made a wish list back on June 24th and I think this short, concise list of wishes is a pretty good place to navigate from to assess the success of this program for me this time.
June 24th Wishlist
- Move past this point and definititively leave the 300s. Dream result: 285 (hey...no vagueness or shyness here, this is a real journey...and those are real numbers.)
- Break my dependence on sweeteners
- Drastically reduce dairy intake, refine to small amounts of quality cheeses, possibly replace cream or limit it to infrequent coffeehouse intake, in any case, use less. (When this was written I was using a LOT of half and half.)
- Increase my awareness of when I eat for reasons other than hunger
- Increase variety and quantity of vegetables eaten
- Shift my focus from weight loss to wellness and maximized nutrition
- Do it right the first time
I'm going to take these one at a time, starting with #2.
Going without artificial sweeteners for 30 days was the thing I thought would be the hardest but it actually turned out to be no big deal. I put away the stevia and I discovered that I really did like things without it. I appreciate coffee more. Fruit is sweeter. And without the combination of dairy AND sweeteners I don't find myself wanting to drink gallons of coffee. I'll never use most of them again.
#3- Dairy intake
This was the big 'let's see' for me with this. And again, it was fine. Black coffee was fine, I used some coconut milk in coffee but I can now take it either way, which is simple and convenient and makes sure I don't drink milk instead of eating real food, which I was doing sometimes. I will admit I missed cheese a few times, a Philly cheesesteak stuffed pepper is kind of missing something without it, but day to day, not having it as an option cut way down on mindless grazing and that was a good thing. I do believe I am one of those people who is very sensitive to dairy products so going forward it will be a very occasional thing.
Committing to set meals every day of a particular composition made me aware of how often I'd drift to the refrigerator and eat something just to eat it, and how many times I just ate something incomplete when what I really needed was a balanced meal. I became aware that for a while I've been technically compliant in terms of eating low carb, but not particularly mindful of nourishment or what my body was actually telling me I needed. It only takes a few minutes to put together something decent if you plan and purchase what you need. This month I was forced to do that planning and found out that once you have the right things on hand, doing the right thing is pretty simple.
I definitely ate more veegetables. In thirty days I can attest to six pounds of spinach, 8-10 heads of cauliflower, four pounds of carrots, and an untold quantity of yellow squash, zucchini, salad, tomatoes, broccoli, garlic, and onions. I still want to add more things to our list of favorites, but this is an ongoing project and one I enjoy so no issues there. In a short time I found adding vegetables to every meal relatively easy. There was a time when they were an afterthought.
#6 Shifted focus
I would say I had 50/50 success with this. One one hand, I did a lot of reading, which was one of the things I'd tasked myself. I reread the book for this program and the light came on for me about foods that illicit an unhealthy psychological response. I will continue to monitor things that I suspect don't serve me and decide whether they have to be completely eliminated. On the other hand, since this was my first Whole30 I was anxious about it. What if I go to all the trouble and nothing good really happens? Putting the scale away was hard. And while I was able to physically put it away, I wasn't able to mentally put it away. I'm going to be working on that more over the next couple of months. True shift of focus to wellness, as yet, still eludes me because I am accustomed to being a numbers person. I am able to say 'just keep on and the numbers will take care of themselves' but if I'm honest I'm really only digging on that when my numbers are going down. I admit this. I'll work on it.
#7 Doing it right
I was determined not to have to start over. I wanted this 30 days to go like it was supposed to. I feel like I had mixed success with that. On one hand, I didn't have any major fails that necessitated starting over. But on the other hand, I think there were days when I didn't plan as well as I could have and didn't eat as well balanced a meal as I could have. I have a better sense now of how much I need to have on hand to ensure that happens and next time I'll do better. I also feel like I only scratched the surface in terms of meal planning, possible recipes, and preparation strategies so next time I'm going to delve further.
On the Whole30 Forum, another participant wrote about how she had lost a significant amount of weight and had difficulty seeing herself differently, she struggled with thinking she still had the issues and limitations that compelled her to make this attempt in the first place. A conversation began about the complicated emotional issues that surface in the midst of this effort and I wrote this.
One of the things I've finally lost at age 43 is the anger and bitterness that used to accompany my efforts to lose weight. I was on some diet or another for pretty much my whole life starting at around age 9, and I always attacked a diet effort with the fevered dream of some kind of revenge fantasy. I thought that being thin would silence the bullies, magically make me good at sports, and generally 'get back' at anyone who was ever mean to me. To this day, as an adult, I tense up when a group of teens walks by because I've had kids say ugly things to me (even as an adult) many, many times. So in addition to seeing myself physically accurately, I've had to relearn how to relate to people in a non-defensive way and somehow, since adopting this way of eating and knowing that every day I do something good and positive for myself and not something based on deprivation and self loathing, I have been able to let go of that anger, fear, and bitterness. When I was dieting low fat I didn't see how I was nourishing myself and feel good about that because, well, I wasn't. Now that I am nourishing myself, the number on the scale going down is almost a side benefit. My 'eye' is still off when I buy clothes. But I find that for the first time, instead of liking big loose clothes to hide in I find all the extra material a nuisance.
I think that learning how to see ourselves correctly is that extra mile we didn't see coming. The good news is that we have the strength to finish it.
So, #1. Because admit it, you want to know. I sure as heck did.
Dream number, per my wish list: 285
Starting weight at beginning of Whole30 298.6
Final Whole30 weight: 286.8
Pounds lost in 30 days: 11.8
Inches lost: 5
Total pounds lost to date: 74.6
Total inches lost to date: 24.5
So what's the plan? August will pretty much continue as I have this month, not strictly Whole30 but pretty darn close. Come September we go again. My goal is to log a 100 pound loss by the end of 2013.