Whole30 Wednesday: Days 25-31 + final thoughts

During the month of June, I’ll be participating in the Whole30 Program.

Day 25: Wednesday, June 25

  • Breakfast: One hard-boiled egg. Two egg whites. Spicy ginger cucumber salad.
  • Lunch: Mustard roasted chicken. Sauteed spigariello. Guacamole.
  • Dinner: Korean slow-cooker pork. Kimchi. Seaweed. Red butter lettuce.
  • Snack: Pistachios. Kombucha.
  • Exercise: Chalean Extreme “Lean 3” and “Extreme Abs.”

Back to eating lots of fats and fermented foods! I’ve noticed I’ve been doing a bit of emotional eating — I’ve been stressed out from school and inevitably find myself reaching for a snack when I start getting flustered. It’s definitely something to pay attention to…

Day 26: Thursday, June 26

  • Breakfast: Two hard-boiled eggs with nutritional yeast. Pistachios.
  • Lunch: Leftover Chipotle carnitas salad. Avocado.
  • Dinner: Korean slow cooker pork with seaweed and kimchi.
  • Snack: Kombucha.
  • Exercise: Turbofire “Fire 60” and “Stretch 10.”

Ever since last week’s bout of food poisoning, I’ve drinking kombucha daily. I won’t lie — I’m definitely getting some psychological pleasure from the sweet hit of fruit juice in the drink and the fizzy fermentation. In the grand scheme of things, though, it’s a negligible amount of sugar and a very small vice to own. The major downside is cost. I’m coughing up nearly $5 a day to feed my habit. I don’t drink coffee, but I imagine this is what it must be like to be a caffeine addict… except I’m bougier than that. Fermented tea only, please.

Day 27: Friday, June 27

  • Breakfast: Two fried eggs with one egg white, cherry tomatoes and onion,
  • Lunch: Mustard roasted chicken. Spigariello. Guacamole.
  • Dinner: Korean slow cooker pork with kimchi and seaweed.
  • Snack: Strawberries. Almonds. Walnuts. Beef-wrapped asparagus appetizers. Cherry tomatoes.
  • Exercise: Chalean Extreme “Lean 1” and Turbofire “Core 20.”

Today was my friend C’s birthday party/fundraising event. Ever resourceful, she had sourced tons of donated food from local providers (including some absolutely crave-able looking Vietnamese banh mi and a plethora of baked goods). I stuck to my guns and snacked on basically an entire plateful of strawberries and nuts. I definitely had an oral fixation, needing to snack constantly amongst all that food — but strangely didn’t feel too bad about skipping out on the other options.

Also: I’m filled with dread realizing that, soon, my “Lean” phase of weight-training will come to an end… and back to cardio HIIT-training I will go. I was a complete cardio bunny before this program, but I’ve now grown to love the laser-like focus involved in lifting weights (as well as the amount of food I put away in the name of “building up muscle”).

Day 28: Saturday, June 28

  • Breakfast: None.
  • Lunch: Two fried eggs, one pork chorizo sausage, sauteed chard, and avocado.
  • Dinner: Korean slow cooker pork with kimchi, seaweed, and avocado.
  • Snack: Strawberries. Cashews.
  • Exercise: Turbofire “Fire 60” and “Stretch 10.”

My meals are getting smaller and further apart. This is exactly what happened the last few times I’ve done a cleanse, too, so I’m not surprised. It appears my body’s hunger levels drop off steeply right as I approach the finish line. I have a feeling there may also be some kind of psychological aspect at play. Once I realize I can stop restricting and freedom is within reach, my mind and body stop rebelling against me.

Day 29: Sunday, June 29

  • Breakfast: None
  • Lunch: Korean slow cooker pork. Kimchi. Carrots. One fried egg. Butter lettuce. Avocado.
  • Dinner: Chicken verde. One fried egg. Red butter lettuce. Heirloom grape tomatoes. Avocado.
  • Snack: Zatta melon. Kombucha.
  • Exercise: Chalean Extreme “Lean 2” and Turbofire “Core 20.”

I absolutely OD’ed on fruit today, and only felt a little guilty about it. After I’d finished nearly the entire melon included in my CSA, I looked up its nutritional facts out of curiosity — a jaw-dropping ~40 grams per serving (more than a 12-ounce can of Coke). Still, it’s fruit, a gift from Mother Nature packed with fiber and all other sorts of vitamins and minerals. I only wish I’d exercised a little more moderation eating it.

Not much else to report… all systems have been fully functional!

Day 30: Monday, June 30

  • Breakfast: Two fried eggs. Zatta melon.
  • Lunch: Chicken verde. Butter lettuce. Heirloom grape tomatoes. Avocado.
  • Dinner at Gott’s Roadside: Kale salad topped with beef patty and avocado.
  • Snack: Kombucha.
  • Exercise: Chalean Extreme “Lean 2” and Turbofire “Core 20.”

Hallelujah! The big day is here. I’d been looking forward to “date night” the entire evening, but was disappointed to discover that the shop I wanted to patronize (Il Cane Rosso) had sold out of their roasted Mary’s chicken. To nearby Gott’s we went for a dinner en plein air. My custom “burger salad” wasn’t noteworthy whatsoever, but it did satisfy my intense beef craving (for the time being).

Day 31: Tuesday, June 31

  • Breakfast: Two hard-boiled eggs with nutritional yeast.
  • Lunch: Chicken verde. Butter lettuce. Cherry tomatoes.
  • Dinner: Kahlua pork. Cauliflower mash. Sauteed chard.
  • Snack: Kombucha. Go Raw Super Chocolate Cookies. Stirs the Soul raw mint chocolate bar.
  • Exercise: Turbofire “Fire 55 Ez” and “Stretch 10.”

It’s over! I celebrated by eating an entire bag of chocolate “cookies” and a chocolate bar (all technically Whole30-compliant). I’m still determined to adhere to super-clean eating until my family vacation mid-month, however. After all, I’m going to be in a bikini in front of my aunts for a week. I love them to death, but, as sweet and well-intentioned as they are, them biddies be vocal.

Final Thoughts

Everything I wrote in my initial conclusion about the Whole30 is still true. It’s not fun dieting. (Yeah, let’s call a spade a spade… this is a diet, despite the whole “nutritional reset” label.) It’s even less fun dieting and trying to be social at the same time. I don’t drink, but the restrictions still found a way to harsh my buzz at many gatherings.

That said, the Whole30 isn’t designed to make your life awful. In fact, this second round was really pleasant for me. This wasn’t my first rodeo, so I slipped into the routine of meal-prepping and careful eating pretty easily (barring the first week of transition). Importantly, I also made a conscious change in my mindset: I stopped trying so damn hard. Now, I still meal-prepped like a madwoman and made sure everything I ate was compliant. However:

  • I didn’t care about making my meals exciting or glamorous. Most nights, I just slow-cooked a big hunk of meat and ate that over the next few days. I didn’t mind the monotony, but would mix it up with spices, sauces, or sides if needed
  • I stopped trying to impress Jay or rope him into eating this way with me. This, I think, was a blessing to both of us. He could eat his chips in peace, and I could just focus on feeding my own self
  • I stopped getting so neurotic over ingredients. I’m chalking this one up to experience, as I now have a better intuition of what I can and can’t eat on this program. I also tried to ask only the fewest, most relevant questions when dining out, and take everything else in stride.

Basically, I was less neurotic and life was good.

Life was even better once I realized I’d lost some of my extra weight — about 5 pounds. I’d still like to lower my body fat percentage a bit, but I’m not stressing; the results are there. Thanks to a daily regime of alternating strength-training and cardio, I’ve retained a pretty significant proportion of muscle. This is the fittest I’ve been in my entire life (and that includes my previous dalliances with Insanity, Insanity: the Asylum, P90X, the Brazil Butt Lift, etc!). My hard work — and, dear God, was it hard — paid off.

My emotionally-charged relationship with food has also improved considerably. While I’d been eating pretty healthily over the past few months, the weeks prior to my Whole30 were a deep, dark abyss of guilty snacking. I’d run to the pantry several times a night for pretzels dipped in peanut butter and chocolate (umm, which sounds amazing) and deliberate constantly over which restaurant I wanted to pig out at next. Now, however, I’m able to “rein it back in” when I do have special treats. This state of mind will never be stable — I am way too much a glutton and hedonist for that — but I’m glad I regained more control.

As for my friends who accompanied me on this journey… well, it wasn’t easy. Two of them threw up a white flag before the halfway mark. It makes sense, considering the demands that such a program places on you. For my friends, the benefits just weren’t worth the enormous sacrifice in lifestyle. However, my friend who did stick it through was very happy and proud of herself. Like me, she reported a flatter stomach, more stable mood and energy levels, and a much stronger sense of control over her food cravings. Shocking, no? If you fuel your body right, you’ll see positive results. It’s not rocket science, but it’s much easier said than done.

And so concludes my second official Whole30. I might play with adding soy and/or beans back into my diet, since those are the only things I’m truly missing. All the rest — the carbs, gluten, sugar, etc. — I know I should avoid, if only because they’re some mighty strong psychological triggers for me. I’ll try to experiment over the next two weeks, before I pack my bags for the tropics and New York. Funny how my diets are always capped off by super-indulgent vacations, no?

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