Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Clean 14/Whole 30 - Week 2 Wrap-up

As you may remember from last week's post, my gym took on a two-week version of the Whole 30 diet.  We called it Clean 14. Yesterday was the end of the two weeks.  For us at least.  There are a few still going strong.

I'm not going to lie, I was ready for it to end.  But I'm also glad I did it. 

Let's start with the good stuff! Anything that completely changes your eating habits for two weeks should have some benefits and this one had quite a few.

Weight.  This shouldn't be the first, I know, but holy cow! Up until now, I've struggled to lose weight.  Working out five to six days a week and counting my calories for eight months netted me a weight loss of 10 pounds. That's a bummer, let me tell you. On this diet, however, I've lost 7.6 pounds.  Five in the first week! When they (whoever they are) say that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise are not lying. This diet has made me a believer. I've also lost half an inch off my arms, an inch off my thighs and hips, and an inch and a half off my waist since August 29.  My chest did not move. At all. 

I was all excited at first thinking this was a two week difference, and it's actually a month difference.  But still! Clean 14 had a big part in it!
Change in lifestyle.  This diet really showed us some things we can change in our daily habits to make ourselves healthier.  Aaron and I have some different changes as he's not trying to lose weight, but we both agree that there are some parts of this we can maintain.
  • Sodas - We haven't had soda in two weeks. I honestly don't miss it that much but I do miss drinking something other than just water and La Croix. I'm going to try and remain soda free and Aaron has said he's only going to have one a day and only after drinking a ton of water (his wording).
  • Paleo/Primal - I'm going to attempt to keep us on the Primal diet for the most part. Primal is Paleo, but adds a few things back in, like some dairy (hello cheese!). We don't need to be grain/gluten free, so I'm not going 100%, but I'm going to try and make at least 3 Paleo meals/dinners a week and try to stick to whole foods as much as possible. Dairy and grains are still going to play some role in our diets, but a very scaled back one.
  • Snacks - I'm pretty much down to no snacking and Aaron's been doing fruit and nuts for his snacking.  We're going to keep with the Larabars (key lime pie is my fave), fruits and nuts for snacks instead of the cookies and crackers I'd been buying him. I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of excited to try some of the other Larabars that haven't been compliant like chocolate chip cookie dough!
  • No added sugar - After reading all the labels, I am amazed at how much sugar is added to products! I'm going to still label read and try and reduce the amount of added sugar we buy.
Better cook. No lie, I think this experiment made me a better cook. You learn to appreciate foods as they are and not try and cover them up. I learned to work with the taste of vegetables when seasoning and not try and overpower them. Aaron, however, still covers them all in sauce. I don't expect that to ever change.

There really aren't that many cons, but here are mine:

Eggs. I never want to see them again. Truly. Not for breakfast at least. There are only so many eggs you can eat, people. For real. I've done a lot of research (aka Pinterest) looking for Paleo breakfast options that do not include eggs. For the unforeseen future, eggs will only be used in a recipe and not consumed on their own.

It's still expensive. I've gotten better at shopping for the items we need, but it's still a lot more expensive than our usual grocery budget. It's helped that we really haven't eaten out while doing this diet, but we're going to have to find a happy medium. 

My cart from the last shopping trip. Two days of Clean 14 and then Primal moving forward. Half my cart is the produce section. 
You're gonna be cranky. There were so many days that I would seem like a nice normal person and then turn and bite someone's head off.  Aaron and I were getting mad at each other for no other reason than we wanted our old food. I also cried about coffee. The struggle really was real! The Whole 30 site has a timeline of how you're going to feel as your body slowly starts weaning itself off the grain and sugars.  I didn't completely follow that timeline.  I kinda jumped around.  I wasn't always cranky, but man when I was, it was bad. 

The food prep never gets better, but does get easier. Oh the prep. So much prep. Prep for breakfast, prep for lunches, prep for dinner. It was kind of nuts. There really aren't any convenience items, so you get the joy of prepping every single thing you eat. Dinners after a hour-long 6 PM class were at 8 PM or later. If you know me and my low blood sugar, you know this makes for a cranky Sarah. But you do learn how to prep smarter. For example, we made sausage and hash for breakfast a few mornings. I would grate the potatoes and slice the sausage the night before. One less step in the morning. However, the mountain of dishes will remain insane no matter how good you get. Huge, huge thanks to Aaron for being my dish man. I did all the prep and cooking, but those dishes were just as much work, if not more.

Food realizations you can never undo. You're going to get adventurous. When the food you can eat is very limited, you try all of the food that isn't off-limits.  Things you were once able to convince yourself you liked because you smothered it with something else, you will never like again.  On the other hand, things you once hated, you will now like. For example:
  • Brussel sprouts - I pan roasted these in olive oil and house seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder). I took one bite and gagged. That texture is not for me! I've had them before in one of our Home Chef box meals, but those had a lot of stuff covering them. 
  • Avocado - I was never a fan of avocado or guacamole. It's totally a texture thing as are all of these.  My occupational therapist sister-in-law would say that I needed help as a kid. I actually like avocado now. I still don't like it by itself, but in a salad or mixed with other items, I'm good. 
  • Cauliflower - Oh cauli. This is one of those things that people love and I try to love. I try so hard, but it doesn't work. Yogurt is another one; I've tried and accepted that I just don't love it. But cauliflower is like the paleo answer to everything. To mashed potatoes. To rice. And IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT. On my first day of meal prep, I shredded down two heads of cauliflower. They were super helpful for meal time, but every time I ate the "rice," it was like forcing myself not to choke. This is one of those things that I've eaten and smothered it with all the sauce to make it okay. But it's not and it never will be. Next time, I'm just eating the dang rice!
  • Milk in my coffee - I am never giving it up. I don't care if dairy is bad for you. I don't. I've had coconut milk and almond milk (not the sweetened up good stuff, either) and neither one of them are good substitutes.  I did buy some  regular almond milk to try as a substitute, but I'm not banking on it working for me. So in this department, I will probably fail in the paleo diet because milk is going into my coffee. The end (of that story). 
So would I recommend this diet? Yes. I really don't know that I could do 30 days of this diet. It's rough. Two weeks is a good amount of time for you to try it, see how much better you feel (and you will) and for your body to work out the weird things. You'll form new habits and have the knowledge that you can eat better, because honestly, it can't be worse than this. And the results? You can't argue with them!

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