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Just start already, it's not that hard. I'm a college student and I was able to do it.


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My before and after photos: http://imgur.com/a/aIBjT


I'm a male, 5 foot 10 inch, college student who was able to complete the Whole30 without breaking the rules in my little apartment. With only the program, choosing not to workout, I went from a 220 pound fat guy, size 38 waist line, sugary soda-holic, energy drink dependent, depressed with no motivation to 175 pounds lean, size 32 waist line, new friends, a love for cooking and became a sugar avoider and a bad habit breaker. After the program, as most do, I had to return to normal food. Reluctantly at first but, as a college student, where social obligations revolve around meals, I had to go back. Either way six months later, I still only drink black coffee and unsweet tea and any homemade meal by habit is whole30 compliant. The reason I say this is because I still have a 32 waist line and haven't gained back much weight, even though I went back to eating out and not thinking twice about what I consume. I attribute this to the small unrealized habits you don't lose and the hormonal cycle your body grows accustomed to during the program. I now eat three meals a day, tend to eat veggies with every meal because I want them and am not very fond of sugary things anymore. I also now feel full when I'm full and have energy that lasts without sugar boosters such as when I needed energy drinks before the whole30. This wasn't one of those fad diets or weight loss pills, this was a full re-set to how my body was suppose to function where food doesn't become fat but it becomes fuel. The program itself is also addictive once you're past the sugar/carb absence shock which takes around 15 days. The tiger blood is real and your body becomes a machine working how you want it to not how it wants to. You won't want to stop if you did the program properly. It took me well past the 15 day re-introduction period before I would reluctantly try my neighbors brownies and venture back the cafeteria. 


I learned about the program from my mother who needed a partner to do it with. Wanting to connect with her more, I thought this would bring us closer. We picked a date to start it, giving us lots of time to prep and ease our way into the hard stuff. Being a procrastinator on academics, I bought the "It Starts with Food" book and read the entire thing instead of studying for classes. Don't worry, still did great on the exams because of the tiger blood and brain clarity! Reading this book cover to cover before starting was the only reason why I was able to stay with the program. Fully understanding the potential health benefits and sciency facts behind the program gave me a sense of pride when putting up with the initial fatigue, hunger, planning and cooking. Knowing the ins and outs, when grocery shopping and the occasional dining out, I had minimal issues. I also hardly used the recipes because once you pick up the basics as long as you know the ins and outs of the program, you can cook away. My mother on the other hand, bought the Whole30 30-Day "easy/lazy" Guide instead to avoid having to learn about the science and she liked cooking big recipe book meals to save as left overs and to make it more appealing to herself. Both worked great but I just wouldn't have done it without the facts convincing me and the knowledge to cook whatever I decided to with confidence after having throughly studied my pants off. Having a partner was wonderful mainly to have an outlet for talking about what we were doing and to celebrate the little wins we had. It was extremely hard, especially with my tendency of self-praising around friends, to remain private about the diet but I believed it was in my best interest to do so. No one enjoys those people who talk endlessly about the good things they do such as the stereotypical "crossfitters." Not to offend, I think their lifestyles are cool, it's just the stereotype. No one other than my roommates and close friends knew I was up to something and if they wondered why I stopped eating out, I just said I was learning how to cook that month. After the big changes started happening and people asked and wanted to know specifically what I was doing, only then I felt it was socially acceptable to talk about the Whole30. The fact that I hadn't spoiled it by boasting the program and actually changed physically, people listened when I explained it and accepted it not as something absurd such as those crazy "juicers" we all know. 


The program itself was easier to execute than what you'd think. The understanding and initial prep was the hardest. As a college student, I didn't have much in the way of cooking supplies and had to spend some money. Also, again there is studying involved, you need to read the book cover to cover to know what you're doing. Accustomed to meal plans and a lot of dinning out with friends, learning how to grocery shop was tough but I found what I tended to cook within a week and bought the same basics weekly such as fish and chicken. Chose to primarily only buy veggies, meats, eggs and the needed fats as to minimize the label reading effort. The one thing I learned late in the game was that our local chain-grocery stores such as Giant tend to be fairly expensive. They are more marketed as convenient to the local consumer, that's why they are everywhere and don't have much on the lines of Whole30 compliant supplementary things that make up for the average non-compliant ingredient that everyone else uses. SuperStores that buy in bulk and have a huge customer base tend to have lower cost, especially for organic, and have isles of things that work for the program. Unlike the normal grocery stores where you have to pick up your delicious compliant food in the middle of all things you can't eat that seem to sneak into your cart and make you start the program over. I found even Wegmans, the fancy grocery store, was cheaper than the closer Giant and I could find canned coconut fats that met the product label crosscheck which wasn't at Giant. Luckily my family patronizes Costco and I snagged a pass to get in. For an example, a whole chicken at my local Giant costs around six dollars where as at Costco it costs around a dollar. A chicken lasts me a couple meals and as long as I pick it off the bone right out of the oven, it's easy to store and re-heat. I learned that my favorite veggie side was spinach cooked in the frying pan with extra virgin olive oil and garlic. This takes me less than three minutes to make and gave me lots of needed fat in my meal. I primarily ate organic chicken breast which takes 10 minutes to bake. This was done in bulk as to last me a couple meals. Loving fish, which is expensive when buying wild caught, I ate salmon three times a week. This takes 7 minutes to broil. Ground beef is also a great option to make in bulk in a cast iron pan but it tends to be a little bland unless you get good at seasoning. Once, I got in my groove, it became really easy to whip something up real quick and my college friends loved it when I offered to cook/provide a free meal to them instead of going out to spend money. For how much I ate, I did't worry about it. I followed all the other rules, stayed as organic as possible, never snacked, only ate three meals a stay but frankly I didn't want to stop eating until my body said to. I found this to be more of a good thing than a bad one. I was eating the right foods and those foods would tell me how much my body needed. At first, I tended to eat huge portions but over time I found myself eating less. Those who treat this as a weight loss program and count calories tend to fail. Its because your body takes a long while until it grows accustom to the awesomeness. Once it does, its amazing how the vacuum turns off. Eating all I wanted, three times a day, kept me satisfied throughout the program.


Even though it got easy real fast and I invited my friends over to avoid going out, my friends insisted that I go out a couple of times. This was by far the hardest part. For these few occasions, my go to was a hamburger without the bun but that always gave me away and the cooks would often get it wrong. One of the best tricks in the book is to order one of the big dinner options such as the steak or fish with a side of veggies and when the waiter leaves, ask to use the restroom and speak to them privately for the nitty and gritty. The waiter shouldn't mind since you ordered a big entrée and customers who are humble and private about their dietary restrictions normally means a bigger tip for them. Please do tip them well too. Also, your "entertainment food" budget is saved up because you're cooking from home all the time.


Although this program can be expensive to do, I would like to say it's worth your health. There is no reason why this program/life-style would be an outrageous investment. Healthy food should be a bigger more important part of your budget and if it's not, make room. Also, it's a month where you stop going out to bars, getting take out and buying all those eight dollar sugar filled coffee drinks as Starbucks. Trust me, your budget evens out and for sure it will in the long run with medical bills. One way saw it was, at my university it costs each student eleven dollars per meal swipe and for the better options on campus students pay a meal swipe plus a couple Flex Dollars (Included in plan non-taxable dollars). If my average slab of wild caught salmon is twelve dollars and I'm able to cut it into three meals. I'm spending four dollars for that salmon at each meal and I'm eating delicious real fish unlike my classmates who are probably having processed junk cooked for the masses. 


I would like to thank the Whole30 team for developing the program and wish everyone luck on finishing theirs. I plan to be doing another in a month!



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