|Before--excuse the horrible hair!|
Why did I decide to do it? Several little reasons. I had gained about 5+ pounds this year, partly secondary to the fact that I was injured and couldn't run for 5 months. 5 lbs may not sound like a lot, but when you are 5' 1.5" it means clothes don't fit right anymore. Try as I might, I could not drop the weight, even while exercising other ways and monitoring my eating. Another reason was stomach aches. For a couple of years I have been having frequent stomach aches in the afternoon. I couldn't figure out what was causing it. Most of all to deal with my constant sugar cravings. I feel the need for something sweet after every single meal. I am constantly snacking and picking between dinner time and bedtime, in an attempt to feed the damn sugar dragon. I read the book (which was recommended by my cousin and aunt) and thought, what the heck? Why not give this a try? It is only 30 days.
But wait Michelle?? Haven't you been a vegetarian for 22 years?? I have been. There is a section in the book that addresses a vegetarian diet. They state that while it is best to avoid all soy, eating tempeh (a fermented soy product) is the best of the soy products and is what they recommend as a protein source.
|Do you know how easy it is to make your own mayo? So much healthier!|
So I picked my day and I was all ready (I thought). I went to store and bought a bunch of tempeh and vegetables. Let's do this! I tried the tempeh for lunch that day and was beyond disgusted. It was coated with patchy black fungus which I had to scrape off (I read on line that it is normal!! blech!!). It smelled horrible and tasted worse. I decided if I was truly going to stick with this plan, and do it right, I was going to have to eat meat. It took me several days to work up the nerve before I finally did it. It was really just ok. Ground beef was the thing that went down the best. Steak was ok and chicken was very eh. Given the choice I would pick tofu or a black bean burger hands down, no contest. I powered through, but truly was never able to eat the amount that I really should have to meet my protein needs.
|Delicious food! That is actually a portabello mushroom, not meat.|
What did I learn the last 30 days?
--It was an eye opening experience to read the labels. I was shocked at all the things that sugar was in. Garlic salt?? lemon pepper? Pizza sauce? The list goes on. Very educational indeed.
--Nuts are a yummy snack! I have always avoided them because of fat and calories, but really enjoyed eating them, especially cashews, almonds and macadamia nuts.
-- I always thought I ate a lot of vegetables before, but realized I did not. Holy shit did I consume a ton of veggies the last month and found some amazing ways to cook them.
--I was not nearly as prepared to start this as I thought. It was dumb of me to not try the tempeh before. Also, while I had a fridge full of veggies, I really didn't have any plans of what to do with them and was really scrambling for the first week or so. I eventually bought a cookbook entitled Well Fed, which is all Whole30 approved recipes. Wonderful, and made the rest of the month goes smoothly.
--Despite what other people told me, I never got used to drinking my coffee without some kind of sweetener and I missed it terribly. In fact, I would say that was the thing I missed the most, with cheese a close second.
|After--a little better. Still work to do!|
After 30 days I had lost about 4 pounds. While that was initially my weight loss goal, I was disappointed because I lost it all the first 2 weeks, then my weight did not budge after that. And maybe that is because I really didn't need to lose any more. The other disappointment was that my body fat and muscle mass percentages did not change at all. I lost a full inch from my hips, a quarter inch from my waist, and had various small losses from all my other measurements EXCEPT my thighs which went up a bit (I am blaming you Crossfit!) I never had a single stomach ache the entire month, which was awesome! The biggest bummer was my energy level. I feel like in general I am a fairly low energy person who struggles to stay up past 9, and who needs a full 8 hours of sleep. Reading testimonials from other people about the "boundless energy" they had after the initial detox period really got my hopes up. Nope. Not even close. In fact, I maybe had even less energy.
Soooo, now what? Honestly my changes were not drastic enough to make me want to stick with such a stringent eating plan. I really have to wonder if things would have been better if I had more protein. But the fact is, by in large I did not enjoy eating the meat and could not eat more than I did. Some things I do want to stick with. I will not go back to the artificial sweetener, because that stuff really is just poison. I am going to keep eating all the great veggie recipes I now have. I am going to stick with 3 meals a day with minimal to no snacking. I am going to do another little experiment. I am going to add back my dairy, soy and legume protein sources. I will continue to eliminate all grains, at least a vast majority of the time. Maybe the improved protein eating will make me feel a lot better. As an aside, I have been running 5 miles, 3 times a week for the last few weeks. I have been dragging, and have been frustrated with how slow I have been, and how I have not improved that at all. Today, after loosening my eating for the last couple of days, I ran the 5 miles a full 2 1/2 minutes faster than my previous fastest time in the last month, and a full 4 minutes faster than my average has been. Coincidence? Maybe, but probably not. I will let you know how the next month goes.