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Day 31 - Have I transformed? I think so!


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Day 31 today and time from some reflection.  

Before I started Whole30 on Dec 26th, I tipped the scales at 285.  I'm a 6'2", 50+ male with a fairly athletic build.  I'd say I've been 250-270 most of my adult life but the last 3 years saw some significant changes in body composition, and not at all positive.

My diet was really bad, sugary cereal for breakfast, lots of bread, mayo, processed meats and cheese and chips for lunch, maybe a salad with lots of sugary dressing.  Dinners were not too bad, mostly protein and veggies, but lots of butter and sour cream on my potatoes.  I would snack all day long, crackers, chips, candy, nuts, etc.  Most nights I'd have a couple of Screwdrivers in the evening or most of a bottle of wine.  I know the focus of W30 is not on weight loss, but just adding up the number of non-meal calories, I was probably consuming 1,500 extra calories a day right there.  Add that up and just cutting that out would result in more than 10 pounds in 30 days.  Ugh!

So now on Day 31, my diet has transformed completely.  No more snacking, maybe a few nuts or olives as I'm making dinner or lunch, but that's it.  Healthy proteins and veggies for most meals.  Making my dressings and sauces and actually rarely using mayo at all now,  I started the day with my usual breakfast and really didn't want to reintroduce anything today. So I'll just continue to eat this way and decide whether to deviate when there is a reason.

I'm walking 20-30 miles a week and am starting back with rowing and some body weight strength training.

I'm sleeping better, am more active (and productive), have more energy, fit in my clothes better and feel positive and optimistic during the day.  I actually cleaned out my closet last night and got rid of a lot of the fat clothes, and pared down a lot of other things I just never wear anymore.  Do I really need that sweater I have owned for 20+ years and have worn may 2-3 times?  Feels like mental weight loss, ha!

As for the scale.  I did step on it today, mostly out of curiosity.  Down 25 pounds.  My reaction was, "that's nice."  No jumping up and down and getting excited since I experienced the real victories off the scale already.  I will limit future visits with the scale to every few weeks, maybe monthly and just to have another indicator to help keep me on track.

So my future goals are: 1) to continue with this relationship with food moving forward, 2) introduce more variety in my meals, 3) follow the eating template more closely, 4) establish regular exercise habits.  I would guess that I will feel like I have "done it" when I'm back into size 34 jeans and weigh in around 220 pounds (give or take--this is not the goal, just an indicator I'm in the right area), combined with strong habits for exercise and continued healthy eating.

As Melissa says, "This in not hard".  Yes, it takes commitment and self discipline and preparation and you have to be in the right frame of mind, but it pays off in so many ways.  Over the last 30 days, I went to a New Years Eve party, out to brew pubs with friends (sipping iced tea while they ate nachos and drank beer, lol), spent a week in Las Vegas and ate out 3-4 times.  I never deviated from the plan and after the first week or so haven't even been tempted.  

I would like to encourage those just starting or maybe struggling to keep at it.  If it's not working for you then take a good hard look at what you are doing vs. the plan and really shift your mentality to one of commitment and discipline.  It will pay off.

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Thanks for the responses.  Reintroduced some dairy this weekend and experienced no real ill effects, but I feel a little less energized.  Next two days will be fully compliant.  I expect the lesson will be that I enjoy how I feel when eating W30, but will feel free to indulge off plan occasionally.  I really don't feel deprived so unless something really speaks to me I don't plan t add much after I finish reintroduction.

Tomorrow I start adding some rowing (for cardio) and some strength training in addition to the 25+ miles I walk each week.  I've decided that I will weigh in once a week for the next month, then when I feel confident that everything is working as expected I'll probably shift to once a month.  The focus is not on the weight loss so much, but I think it can be an additional indicator for me if I let too much dairy or sugar creep back into my diet.

Looking forward to spring here in New Mexico.  It hasn't been a particularly harsh winter but the nights have been dipping into the low 20's pretty consistently and that is killing my motivation for early morning walks.....

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I was thinking about how differently different people approach W30.  Some see it as a distinct event to complete, others like an occasional reset.  After reading up on the plan it occurred to me that W30 was really just a launch point.  Once I made that mental shift, I no longer looked forward to Day31 as some sort of finish line, where after crossing it I'd be able to go crazy with my diet once again.

As I went through the W30, the NSVs started to stack up and provide more motivation to continue to eat this way.  Of course I am more relaxed about things and if I want to go have a beer with some friends I'll do that.  I skip the loaded nachos and cheese fries, but I thoroughly enjoy myself without harshing everyone else's mellow because of my crazy diet restrictions.

A couple of strategies I plan to employ to help stay on track moving forward....I use an app on my Android phone called "Streaks" which allows me to track habits.  I used it when I started W30 and marked each day off.  After W30 I still use it to mark the days when I'm still 100% compliant.  Gives me a good picture of how often I am eating off plan.  Keeps it in my focus but not obsessively so.

I have also added in some more physical activity.  I've been doing a lot of walking since I started, but have added in some rowing on my Concept 2, and I use a body weight training program called SImplefit to start getting some lean body mass built up.  The nice thing about Simplefit is that you only do it 3 days a week.  The first weekly workout is a 20 minute circuit of pull-ups, push-ups and squats.  You do as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes.  The next workout is 5 rounds, regardless of time and the last weekly workout is a test of sorts.  You do 3 rounds and if you finish in under 5 minutes you move up to the next level the following week.  If not you stay on the same level for another week.  What's good about it is that you are not on a set progression schedule, you listen to what your body tells you, kind of like W30, but for exercise instead of food.  You can find the program with a quick internet search for "Simplefit" if you are interested.

Tomorrow will also be my first weekly post W30 weigh in.  While I lost a lot on the W30, I'm shooting for something more along the lines of 2-3 pounds a week for the next 25-30 pounds, then it will be more focused on tracking lean body mass.  I'll head over to the local university and have them do the dunk tank test to measure my body fat percentage to get a real reading on where I'm at.  I have a scale that calculates it as well, but the dunk test is the gold standard, so once I do that I can compare it to my scale and see what kind of variance we get.

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Weighed in today and dropped exactly 2 pounds this week (27 total since starting W30), right in line with my plan.  It probably would have been more but I had real difficulty getting out for my regular walks every day.  Did get in the additional rowing and workout on Monday, but I usually walk 4+ miles 5-6 days a week and only managed 3 days since last week.  

One thing I've noticed lately is that my work related stress seems to be lessening.  I generally like my job.  I'm a project manager and I work 100% from home so that has a lot of benefits, but a couple of my projects have been involved in some vendor protests and other legal actions and are high dollar/risk projects.  Used to wake up in the mornings with a knot in my stomach because I was fretting about how many plates I had spinning and which ones I'd forgotten about.  What is interesting about that is that the number and scope of my projects and their issues have not reduced or changed significantly - just my diet.  Another NSV!

So this coming week my goal is to finish reintroduction and get ready to start back up with the 5:2 fasting I did a couple years back and really enjoyed.  And of course get back on track with my walking.  Might have to actually get up and go early in the mornings, which I can probably face now.  Last week the early mornings were sub 20F degrees and I just really couldn't motivate myself to leave my nice warm bed to venture out.  This week the morning lows are at least above freezing so I might plan a few morning walks to see if that works better with the schedule.

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Week 2 post W30.  Lost another 3 pounds this week, so total since starting on Dec 26 is 30 pounds.  Will probably go to biweekly weigh-ins in March and then monthly by summer.

Last two weekends have been tough, lots of activities and a few trips to the local brewpubs.  I've been limiting my non W30 to the weekends and sticking with the plan the rest of the week.  No serious reactions to anything I've reintroduced, but I do feel the effects of sugar rather quickly.

Exercise is going well - Simplefit and rowing 3 days a week, then I started a training program for running as well.  The level of activity feels good, tiring but not exhausting.  I want to make sure I don't overdo it and end up injuring myself.

Other benefits continue, size reductions, energy levels, sleep patterns all moving in the right direction.  

On target for meeting my weight and size goals by June of this year.  At that point I will test my body fat percentage to see how I'm doing.  

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"Mental weight loss" -- I love that. The most important effects of the W30 have been mental/emotional for me, and I think those, and the clarity that comes with them, can't help but have effects in other areas of my life too.

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So 3 more pounds gone.  I think I'm getting the hang of post W30 living. Down 33 pounds now since starting and am losing 2-3 weekly.  I will most likely drop below the 250 level next week.  Woo Hoo!  Gonna ditch the scale for other than monthly check-ins in another 2-3 weeks.

Started the 5:2 intermittent fasting and find I really like it.  As an American I know most of us want for nothing, nothing important anyway.  So it's kind of nice to step out of my comfort zone and experience what my body does when the food train is interrupted, even if only for a short time.

Exercise is going good.  Running, rowing and strength training all going on,  but not at an intense level that will lead to burn out or injury.

Still have a way to go before my size 34 jeans will fit well, but pretty sure I can get into them now, which was not even thinkable 7 weeks ago.

Feeling good overall, even when things aren't going well, so that particular NSV is still working.



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