Whole30 Review

whole30

For the past 30 days I have been following the Whole30 method for my nutritional intake. Here are the general rules:

Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.

Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)

Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.

Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).

Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)

Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.

Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.

See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.73bdlvmR.dpuf

Today is my 30th day following this style of food intake, so I would like to provide a review of my experience with it. Here are the highlights:

First 10 days were pure hell. I had been sugar free except for honey and maple syrup which I obviously was severely addicted to.

After that everything settled down and became the new normal.

I struggled with binge eating before, and I had a few fruit binges (which I attribute to over exercising and not refueling), but overall my chronic bingeing is subsiding.

I don’t weigh myself, ever, so I don’t know the before/after on that but all my clothes still fit the same.

While I don’t feel smaller, my skin feels tighter and my muscles are more visible through my skin, as if maybe I lost some fat.

Never having stuck to any eating plan, except paleo, this was a great accomplishment for me.

Learned that I thrive off of protein way more than carbs, and that I need a proper balance for my body type/activity level at every meal. This means, there is no longer room for mindless consumption. I have to be awake and aware of proportions.

Increased my water consumption to almost 100 oz. a day which is effortless to drink

Experimented with lots of new to me vegetables and meats

Became glaringly aware of my abuse of food and dependance on it as a coping mechanism

Whole30 is as transformative as each person wants it to be. For me it’s been about adopting a healthy and grateful relationship with food, at a higher level of awareness than before starting it. I will continue to practice this way of life indefinitely.

So, overall I think it can be a very beneficial method for identifying food intolerances, creating awareness of mindless eating and learning how to be present in food selections, and it can also help with weight loss. Having gone 30 days with eliminating all of the items listed above, for me the next step is better meal balancing between carbs, fat and protein. Additionally, I feel that I do still have a problem moderating sugar intake, so moving forward to the next 30 days I will be eliminating fruit for at least 5 days out of 7 per week. Food intake will only consist of meals and will not include snacking. Intermittent fasting will also begin in this next 30 day cycle, which for me, means no eating after 7pm and no eating before lunch on certain days of the week.

I am not a nutritionist, so I will not advise that anyone follow this program. I can only say that it is working for me which encourages me to continue to practice and perfect it to my individual needs. With that being said, if you are longing to see the gym results and you have been consistently busting your butt without seeing them, then you need to put your food intake under a microscope. If you continue to do what you did, you will continue to get what you got. Nutrition is the part of the fitness equation that allows your hard work to be seen, so put your fuel on trial and get rid of whatever may be holding you back.

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Endurance

Thirteen months and thousands of miles of training had all brought him to this moment. He approached, for the fifth time, the blue tarp, makeshift tent adorned in Christmas lights, welcomed by a blue dinosaur wearing a Santa cap. The volunteers working the aid station were tired, but cheerful, trying to keep each runner that passed through their establishment as comfortable as possible on their quest to reach 100 miles. This landmark was the 15.5 mile marker on a 20 mile loop and this was his last time approaching it, putting him at mile 95.5.

The thrill of the race had been lost to the trail hours before. Every step was pure agony. The repetitive impact of feet meeting trail, rock and root had taken its toll on every ligament and bone. The well of adrenaline was dry. The desire to be done was overwhelming, but the thought of taking just one more step inconceivable. At this point in the race, even with all the effort, determination, focus and training the thought of stopping is there. It’s human response to this type of physical exertion.

So what then, when all the glory of the finish seemed like a mirage, and the pain of enduring 4.5 more miles felt crushing, transpired to propel forward motion? The answer to that question is the topic of this post.

Any time we set a goal, or take on a new project the excitement and newness of the challenge generates an energy that almost effortlessly moves us forward. We are on track, getting it done, proud of our work, patting ourselves on the back and the goal seems well within reach. As time passes we see some results of our efforts and those results fuel the focus to keep pushing. Often the gains that we may have experienced early on begin to slow down, the going gets tough. The option of quitting is there beckoning us back into the hole of a comfort zone we crawled out of in the first place. We question why we ever thought we could do this, how bad do we really want it, is it even possible, we make excuses and we procrastinate. This is the brain’s defense mechanism against doing something it knows is going to be uncomfortable or difficult.

When the newness wears off, the results go unnoticed or unseen, and we arrive at what seems an insurmountable wall separating us from our own personal finish lines, practicing endurance is what eventually delivers the dream. Endurance is the ability to resist, withstand, recover, and have immunity from hardships, disappointments, fatigue and boredom. Developing endurance is achieved by placing ourselves in situations which require us to practice overcoming the aforementioned obstacles little by little. No one who wants to be successful jumps straight into a 100 mile race. Months of training at shorter distances, building endurance is what allows finishers to run, walk or crawl across the line.

The pursuit of any goal in fitness, relationships, career or nutrition requires endurance. Maybe you have been “good all week,” with your nutrition plan and suddenly someone brings your favorite dessert into the office or friends suggest a night of heavy drinking. Perhaps you’ve been busting your butt at work for recognition and a promotion that doesn’t seem to be happening, so you feel like giving up and rationalizing mediocre work. What if you’ve been putting a ton of effort in with your spouse only to feel like there is no reciprocity and you are tempted to resign yourself to a lackluster relationship for the sake of harmony? Those situations are in that moment your mile 95.5. What will you do? Will you exercise endurance and finish the race, or will you disqualify all that you have already invested for the sake of what momentarily feels more comfortable?

Peace, love and running.

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