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First Whole30, started June 13


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I'm already on Day 7, but figured it's never too late to start documenting it online. So far, so good - I'm feeling fine for the most part, and I'm pretty sure my clothes are already fitting more comfortably.

An introduction first: I'm a 42-year-old guy living outside of Seattle, WA, happily married to an amazing, supportive wife, with a daughter who's almost 12 years old, and a son who will be 6 soon. By day I'm a software test engineer, though my background is in music (I'm a lover of all types of classical music, hence the handle), and I also enjoy time with the family, hiking, camping, and cooking (which comes in handy on a Whole30!)

I've had a complicated relationship with food and weight for most of my life. I've tended toward the heavy side - at 6-foot-2 with an average frame, I've topped out at 270 pounds, though I've been as low as 180 for my wedding 17 years ago. Currently I'm sitting at 254, up from a recent low of 193 four years ago - that culminated a loss of more than 70 pounds over two years. Medically, I'm predisposed to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and kidney issues - they are pervasive on both sides of my family. I've also had near-daily headaches since I was seven years old; these will reach migraine-level pain a couple times a month.

At home, we eat a fairly healthy diet for a typical American family. We've tried vegan, vegetarian, and vegetarian-plus-fish diets, and I myself have dabbled with Primal and Paleo on occasion. In 2012 we settled on a gluten- and dairy-free omnivorous diet due to A] Both kids being on the autism spectrum, toward the Asperger's end (a GF/DF diet is sometimes recommended for kids with autism), and B] My son and wife having gut issues directly attributable to these two foods. A typical meal is usually protein and vegetables, with a side of something like rice or potatoes that I would often skip. Sweets and savory snacks were usually around the house, but not consumed to excess.

However, I haven't always kept up my end of the healthy diet outside the home. I have a ravenous sweet tooth (my 'Sugar Dragon' is definitely strong!), and in moments of stress, I have raided the bottomless free junk food at my office with a vengeance. As many can attest, eating this stuff only makes you want more and more - I could easily put away four granola bars, a couple packs of cookies, and four or five bags of Doritos in a day. Every day, for weeks at a time. There were usually a few GF/DF treats at home most of the time, which didn't help matters. 'Food with no brakes' indeed! Add to that an insatiable diet soda habit - until a few weeks ago, I easily drank a two-liter bottle of Diet Mountain Dew most days - and you have a recipe for a physical and emotional roller coaster.

I came to the Whole30 after reading about it on various Paleo/Primal blogs I've followed over the years. I've been trying since earlier this year to get back on track, and the Whole30 made sense as a clean break. Last week I decided to just go all-in on it, without a lot of preparation but with full support from my family. It hasn't been too difficult thus far - sticking to the GF/DF diet at home with a few modifications, passing up the treats at work, and cutting out the soda. Aside from craving my morning Mountain Dew the first couple of days, things have gone pretty well.

I'll try to catch up on the first six days, and then check in daily going forward (though weekends could be tough.) I'm excited to see how the next 23 days unfold. Onward and upward!

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Day 1: Tuesday, June 13

Breakfast: a handful of roasted cashews (It took me a few days to figure out breakfast!)
Lunch: green salad with tomatoes, Trader Joe's 'Healthy 8' mix, cashews, oil & vinegar. Topped with canned sardines. (Based on the 'Big-A** Salad' from Mark's Daily Apple, this has been my go-to weekday lunch for several years)
Dinner: grilled chicken thighs; collard greens sauteed with onion and garlic
Snacks: roasted pistachios; homemade W30-compliant beef jerky

Did the official Day 1 weigh-in: 254.4 lbs. No measurements. Got the usual 6 to 6.5 hours of sleep. Worked through Mountain Dew cravings, and resulting headache, in the morning. In the evening, did a 25-minute Crossfit-inspired exercise routine at home (wife and I have been doing a Crossfit-esque fitness bootcamp on Saturday mornings since January, and we're really enjoying it!)

Day 2: Wednesday, June 14

Breakfast: no solid food; iced green tea with a splash of fruit juice and twist of lemon (Very satisfying - I'm hoping this can help placate the caffeine cravings)
Lunch: same salad as yesterday, topped with canned tuna
Dinner: bottom round beef roast done in the slow cooker with onions, garlic, and canned tomatoes; steamed broccoli
 more homemade jerky; a hard-boiled egg; roasted almonds

About 6 hours of sleep. Very productive day at work! Did 35 minutes at a good clip on the elliptical machine in our garage. Dull headache in the morning that improved by the afternoon. 

Day 3: Thursday, June 15

Breakfast: shake made from chilled coffee, canned coconut milk, a raw egg (!), cocoa powder, almonds, and cashews, with a Medjool date for sweetness (Protein shakes have been a breakfast mainstay of mine, but my preferred protein powder unfortunately contains stevia. This shake was definitely less sweet than I'm used to, but still very good!)
Lunch: the usual salad, topped with sardines and some garlic olives for a treat
Dinner: more of last night's beef roast; steamed cauliflower
Snacks: cubed watermelon; fresh strawberries from our garden; roasted cashews

Again about 6 hours of sleep. Pretty tired from about 4PM onward. Had plans to do some weights (dumbbells) tonight, but lacked the energy and went to bed on the early side.

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Day 4: Friday, June 16

Breakfast: a handful of almonds and cashews; iced green tea with a splash of fruit juice, this time with a twist of lime
Lunch: the usual salad, topped with tuna and garlic olives
Dinner: the last of Wednesday's beef roast, this time sauteed with some onions, bell peppers, a couple of eggs, and some Mexican-inspired spices
(Wife and kids had GF/DF pizza, so I had to figure out something on the fly)
Snacks: cubed watermelon; fresh strawberries from our garden; roasted cashews; home-brewed kombucha

About 6.5 hours of sleep - I still can't seem to get seven, let alone eight, no matter how early I go to bed. Hmmm. Again I had intentions of doing some kind of workout, but I succumbed to the laziness bug.

Day 5: Saturday, June 17
 one scrambled egg
Lunch: a handful of almonds and some homegrown strawberries
(I was absolutely beat after my workout and didn't feel like eating much)
Dinner: homemade, W30-compliant chicken nuggets with homemade mayo for dipping; roasted Brussels sprouts (The homemade mayo is a revelation! So much better than even the best storebought stuff. I need to do it more often...)
Snacks: last of the homemade jerky; a few toasted macadamia nuts; home-brewed kombucha

Again, about 6 hours of sleep, with another faint morning headache, which disappeared but returned around 5PM. About a 40-minute workout at our fitness bootcamp which included running, back squats, and burpees among other things. Totally draining but exhilarating! 

Day 6: Sunday, June 18
Breakfast: egg scramble with onion, bell pepper, zucchini; two slices of W30-compliant turkey bacon (Wellshire)
(Lovely Father's Day brunch prepared by my wife. She even made a late-night Whole Foods run to get bacon I could eat :wub:)
Lunch: more of last night's chicken nuggets with homemade mayo and salsa for dipping
Dinner: grilled ribeye steak; oven-roasted curried cauliflower
Snacks: watermelon; strawberries from our garden; a GT Trilogy kombucha (my Father's Day gift!); trail mix of macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, and a few raisins

I was completely wiped by bedtime Saturday night, yet I only managed about 6.5 hours of sleep. Again a dull AM headache which eventually dissipated. A very nice day overall which included an approximately five mile family bike ride, our first of the season. So nice to get out in the fresh air together!

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Day 7: Monday, June 19
Breakfast: another shake made from chilled coffee, canned coconut milk, a raw egg, cocoa powder, almonds, cashews, and a date

Lunch: the usual salad, topped with sardines
Dinner: baked wild salmon, steamed kale, half an avocado, some Firefly Kitchen sauerkraut - delicious!
Snacks: watermelon; strawberries from our garden; some cashews and macadamia nuts

Only about 5 hours of sleep last night - not sure why. Woke up with the usual dull headache. Had some late-morning stomach upset; maybe this was the coffee? It's happened before when I've drunk a good amount of coffee. Was all ready to work out in the evening but remembered I had to cook for Tuesday and Wednesday dinner - marinara sauce with ground beef, ground turkey, and a bunch of vegetables, which turned out quite well! I'll be having my portions with zucchini noodles.

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Day 8: Tuesday, June 20
Breakfast: a handful of cashews; iced green tea with a splash of grape juice

Lunch: the usual salad, topped with sardines and some leftover steak from Sunday
Dinner: zucchini noodles with meat sauce; steamed kale; roasted Brussels sprouts
Snacks: watermelon; strawberries from our garden; a spoonful of almond butter

About 6 hours of sleep; another dull headache in the morning which didn't go away until the afternoon. Got really sleepy around 4PM and didn't have much energy for the rest of the day, which unfortunately translated into another night of no cardio or strength workout.

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Day 9: Wednesday, June 21
Breakfast: shake made from strawberries, canned coconut milk, a raw egg, almonds, walnuts, and a date

Lunch: the usual salad, topped with canned tuna
Dinner: zucchini noodles with meat sauce; steamed kale
Snacks: watermelon; strawberries from our garden; some almond butter; some macadamia nuts

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