Whole 30: the Epilogue

On the evening of March 3, I ended the Whole 30 one meal short, but I was with my in-laws and had a half-glass of wine with the meal. Nonetheless, it was whole enough and has proved in the week since to be significant in a number of ways. First, I lost nine pounds and as of a week later have lost at least one more. That of course was an outcome, not the main purpose of resetting some cravings and habits that led to low-energy, poor sleep, and weight gain, despite regular exercise.

In the week after I have noticed several things. First, my energy level continues to be significantly higher. I am making it though the day with more alertness and awareness. I am even winning a few on-line chess games. Second, sleep is better, but primarily for half the night. Once I wake up for a bathroom break, turning my mind off is sometimes difficult, especially after 3:30am. Generally though I am getting more quality sleep. Third, I am not bound by a number of cravings I had before, especially chips.

Some one-week-after food observations:

Anything with sugar is simply turning me off. I tried a bite of pie two nights ago and it had to go in the trash, because I simply couldn’t take the sweetness. Some agave syrup added to my tea yesterday was quite good. I figure staying away from most sweet stuff is something to aspire for and is probably the main reason for the jump in energy. Keeping processed sugars totally out of my diet is virtually impossible if I am going to eat with others, but with diligence I should certainly able to limit the intake significantly save the occasional scoop of ice cream. I did find sugar-free ketchup at Sprouts and it is very good, good enough to replace the Heinz with, and oil and vinegar on salads, rather than sugar-rich salad dressing, is perfectly fine with me.

Thus far very modest wine intake has not produced any ill effects. I plan on continuing to limit alcohol intake to a glass of wine with dinner, beer only when out for a meal and none at home, and one liquor drink on the weekend. So far so good.

Carbs are interesting. I have had three servings of rice with no problems, and a bit of pasta last night, no problem. When I tried a slice of bread and half an English muffin, they went down fine, I just didn’t particularly like them. I’m not sure why, but like the sugar, I guess staying away from bread is not a bad thing. Rice should probably be comparable to potatoes for me, since both are unprocessed starches.

So far, I’ve had a bit of cheese and some white bean soup in the dairy and legume departments and no ill effects that I could detect. No milk yet, though I’ve had some oat milk, which I guess is considered grain. Oat milk is very good in tea and by itself. I loved the ghee during the month, so have made another batch to keep by the stove. I’ve had nothing with soy so far, so I have no idea what the effects might be. I’ll take note when I do.

One other issue to be determined is the effect of nitrites from bacon, lunch meat, etc. The amounts are so small, it may be difficult to assess, but I’ll stay away as much as possible. The same goes with other artificial additives.

Overall, I have continued the basic approach of a full breakfast with eggs, potatoes or fruit, kale, and maybe bacon or sausage, then a few nuts or fruit in the mid-day, then a larger meal in the evening with moderate portions. So far, I’ve had no junk food and haven’t been tempted to. The results are continuing with respect to continued weight loss, though I don’t want to lose much more. What may be most surprising is that I never counted calories, never worried about the amount of food I ate, never went hungry, and never looked at the scale, yet still lost the weight with no additional exercise than normal.

This iteration of Whole 30, my third, has been made easier by my at-home employment situation, and I am thankful for that. The restrictions of the past year led to some weight gain, but those same restrictions within the Whole 30 framework has led to the opposite. Hopefully the lessons I am learning about the foods I eat will turn into some long-term habits and those long-standing cravings will be held at bay, not as an ought, but as a free choice for my benefit as I get older.

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