Thirty days have passed. On March 3 my third iteration of the Whole 30 ended; the question was how would the month afterwards (and going forward) show change to old habits or reversion to the means of the past. I am happy to say that one month on, some good things appear to be in place, though said with caution and humility. Here are a few observations:
1. Sleep is demonstrably better. With the exception of a few nights of fitful sleep, both the length of good sleep and the quality (as defined by the Pillow app) has increased dramatically. I am not quite sure what all to attribute this to. Getting to bed at a regular time and up at a regular time seems to be helping. A decrease in the amount of wine at dinner is surely another reason. Too much pasta and bread may have been negative culprits like the wine, but the jury is still out. I have stayed totally off soy and largely off of dairy, so that may be part also. In any case, I am waking up more rested these days and have more energy as a result.
2. More energy. Sleep certainly has to do with this, but I expect that the elimination of most sugar and all junk food from my diet is a major part. I have had some small desserts on occasion, but most sweet stuff doesn’t even taste good (exception: my wife’s rum cake). Those bags of ruffles or of tortilla chips and salsa have disappeared. Some agave sweetener and oat milk in afternoon tea is about it. I have also added a couple of supplements in: Ningxia Juice from Young Living and some phosphorus drops. How much these help I don’t know, but there is no downside that I can tell. Weight-loss and exercise are certainly a part also (see below). In any case, most afternoons and early evenings, I am way more clear-headed and energetic these days, thus more productive overall. To say I am loving this result is an understatement and I desire this result to stay in place.
3. Tale of the tape and scale. At the end of the Whole 30 I had lost 9+ pounds and gone down one hole in my belt. With continued diligence in the foods and consistent exercise, the loss is now fourteen pounds and one more hole in the belt. My goal is actually sixteen pounds but those last couple are pesky (and there are no more belt holes!). Of course, getting the weight off is one thing, keeping it off is another. For me (and this is very different for different people), the virtual elimination of mid-day food has been essential. A banana and a few almonds or the like is about it. Even the addition of almond butter to an apple is too much and I see it on the scale the next day. I am finding that exercise is a good substitute at that time, often a good walk with the dogs. Fundamentally, weight loss is purely a function of less calories consumed and/or more calories burned, and keeping the weight off is almost the same. The exercise has additional benefits of course. Between walking, biking, kayaking, and a couple of weight-training sessions each week, along with some daily stretching, I hope to see some weight redistribution also, but that is a different process than pure weight loss.
Overall, a month later the results are good and I want them to continue. When I am rested and energetic, my ability to think, to write, to interact well with my wife and others, and to fulfill my life mission (“to celebrate God’s handiwork in the light of God’s Word”) are all enhanced. In the language of Covey’s Seven Habits, PC (production capacity) gets increased, so all other areas of life are more effective and productive with less effort. By God’s grace, I will stay this course.