“It is finished,” he uttered. Shoving the last bit of grilled chicken, mashed cauliflower, and unsweetened almond butter into his cavernous mouth.
Yesterday marked the last day of the “Whole45” diet challenge I have been doing since New Years.
In short the Whole30 (actual name) is a strict paleo diet challenge involving the absence of dairy, grains, legumes (beans & peanuts), sugar, most starches, and any processed foods.
You pretty much stuff only meat, veggies, acceptable nuts, and fruit into your body for 30 days.
I decided to do it for 45 days because I like self-punishment, apparently, and I felt it was best to kick off 2017 and the year of the comeback with a healthy body and mind.
I’ve done the 30 day challenge twice before and enjoyed the results of more energy, sleeping better, and weight loss.
While 45 days with no root beer, pie, tacos, sushi, or pizza was rewarding, I lost a total of 17 pounds, it was rather challenging at times.
Here are a few things I learned along the way:
- I learned I really love food. I don’t mean like puppy love that will fade or like brief infatuation, I mean real, unconditional love. Noah from The Notebook kind of love. If food had dementia and didn’t know who I was I would read it our love story everyday until, even just for a few seconds, it remembered. Apologies if I ruined the plot of The Notebook for anyone, in my defense, you’ve had 10 years to watch it.
- I learned because I love food it’s even harder when I can’t have certain ones. Don’t get me wrong, salmon and guacamole is wonderful. I absolutely love it and wouldn’t have made it the 45 days without avocados. They pretty much held my hand lovingly through this whole challenge. But, and I’d never say this to it’s face, salmon and gauc ain’t tacos and queso.
- I learned it helps to have people suffering with you. My wife and our close friend all did this together. Having someone else to complain about cravings or get encouragement from is a difference maker. Having someone else who equally wants to shove whole slices of pizza into their mouth while sitting in a field of biscuits and cupcakes but can’t is the only reason 45 days of the diet was actually accomplished.
- I learned when eating with someone eating non-paleo food that it was easier to not crave their food than it was to explain the diet. Seriously, just Google it. I’m not a scientist. I don’t understand why I’m not allowed to eat beans on paleo. I just know I lose weight and feel better when I’m not eating two pounds of mac & cheese at every sitting and setting my mind to completely this stops that from happening.
- I learned it does get easier and I do have power over myself. I stray from being mushy over how I grew to “love myself” and that “this challenge empowered me like a gorgeous phoenix rising from the ashes.” None of that happened, but I did learn better self control and that at the end of the day, as much as I hated it, pizza was still going to be there after the 45 days.
- I learned being healthier is easier when you’re rich. Have you ever been to a Whole Foods? They charge you for touching the organic fruit to see if it’s ripe. While I couldn’t afford to shop at Whole Foods I did notice that not only is eating veggies and meat for every meal expensive, but it’s really expensive. Half of the issue is I wasn’t filling up with breads and rice and all the other filler that I typically would consume. That meant I ate about 5 full meals a day just to keep from feeling hungry. Which meant buying, and cooking, that many extra meals.
- I learned nothing tastes as good as thin feels. That’s a lie. Have you ever had pie? Yea, exactly. Slimming down does feel good, and accomplishing something you set your mind to feels even better. It still doesn’t equal pie, but it’s a good feeling.
- I learned going forward I’ll be eating better. Not because this challenge changed my outlook on food, you know what they say: absence makes the heart grow fonder. I will, however, be able to control myself better. I know now I don’t need that fourteenth chocolate chip cookie. So I’ll only have thirteen and call it a bakers dozen.
Kidding aside I’m happy to have done the Whole45 and happy to have completed it. I do recommend it for someone looking to not only change their body but also change the way they feel. Even without the weight loss the benefits of quality sleep and energy throughout the day are well worth it. Just maybe stick to the 30 days. You don’t want to make cheesecake miss you too much, do you?