Day late, dollar short.


sammy

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Hi folks. In theory, I should have jumped on a month ago and said, "Hey! I'm joining the Whole 30," about four weeks ago. Instead, I'm logging on to do the after action report, and I'm going to confess to being a little disappointed.

So first, the disclaimer: my Whole 30 wasn't perfect. I know from ISWF that a slip-up means essentially that you've botched your 30 and need to start from the beginning. If that's the case, I calculate that I'm actually on something like day 10 now, as opposed to day 27. The things that I did wrong are, as follows:

  • 2 alcoholic beverages (a beer and a glass of wine)
  • Once ate some mashed sweet potatoes that, in retrospect, I'm sure were sweetened with something verboten.
  • May have eaten a couple of prepared foods that had small amounts of gluten snuck in.
  • I probably ate something which was sautéed in a seed oil at one point.
  • On a couple of occasions, I put unsweetened coconut milk in my coffee. The coffee in our office is horrible: also, I am weak and feckless.

So, with the knowledge that my Whole 30 wasn't all that... whole, here's what went right:

  • Other than possible trace amounts in a few prepared foods, I haven't had any kind of gluten or grain since starting the plan.
  • I have had zero dairy, and other than the aforementioned sweet potatoes, nothing (that I know of) which was artificially sweetened.
  • I learned how to make a really decent beef stew.

Okay. So, other than the beef stew, how do I feel? Pretty much the same as when I started. This is really a bit of a bummer for me, as I had hoped to see an improvement in my allergies, or eczema, but it was not to be. Really, the only change I can confidently point to in my sense of physical well-being is that I'm often mildly constipated these days, and I think I've lost a couple of pounds. (I'm not sure about the latter part: I neglected to weigh myself before I started, but I believe that I've lost about 1 pound per week.)

This Thursday, (also known as Thanksgiving) will be my Day 30. I do not plan on gradually re-introducing foods: instead, I plan on having something a blow-out, and then gradually shifting towards a diet with a heavier emphasis on vegetables, although I will still likely be avoiding heavily processed foods wherever possible. But I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't concluding this month with a profound sense of "meh".

Many thanks for your time, and all the time you've taken on this forum to ask & answer questions - I've never posted until today, but I have lurked and read your posts with great interest. Best of luck to you all.

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So basically, you did not adhere to the program and you did not get meaningful results? That's kind of how it works. The beer was enough to reverse any healing your gut may have started. The "trace" amounts of gluten in "prepared" foods was enough to mess with your gut. Canned coconut milk is Whole30-compliant, but your "confession" about adding it to your coffee makes me wonder if you were using the stuff that comes in a carton that IS off plan because of nasty preservatives that can cause gut troubles. As my friends in AA say, "Keep coming back, it works if you work it."

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Tom, thanks for the feedback. I understand that I wasn't compliant with the plan: my hope was that even though I wasn't successful in keeping to it 100%, that I might reap some of the benefits. What I didn't understand was that deviating from the plan slightly would actually lead me to feel (very slightly) worse than when I started due to the new GI issues, albeit a couple of pounds lighter.

I'm not blaming the plan, as I see all the folks having great success with it: I am considering when to try again for a round two (probably in January). But if I had this experience, I'm not so much a precious snowflake to believe that someone else isn't going to as well.

Thanks again for you time.

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I am the poster child for having an imperfect Whole30, but my takeaway was far different. I jumped into this program at the words "Why wait? Start today." I didn't have the book and barely read the shopping list, but I counted that moment as Day 1. I think my first meal was fake crab legs on salad. I made many more mistakes than you have enumerated.

What changed for me was my approach to preparing and eating food. I wasn't asking "What is this program going to do for me?", I was asking "How can I use all this information to make healthy choices and change my habits?" And that's what I got out of it. I didn't get a "pure 30", I got the experience of making revolutionary changes in my kitchen, changes that benefit me every day.

I hope you can find the success in your experience, rather than the failures.

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Thanks guys - let me back up for a second.

Being on the program has definitely changed the way that I approach food. At work, I used to stop by the vending machine almost every day in the afternoon to pick up a snack, frequently something like a candy bar. Since starting the 30, I've used that vending machine exactly zero times. In the several meetings I've attended where someone brought donuts, or excess Halloween candy, I haven't touched any. Eating habits that I used to compulsively submit to, I've just written off entirely. That's a nice feeling. I haven't yet completely shaken off the need to snack, but it's at a much reduced frequency, and I've kept it to fruit (two servings a day max), hazelnuts, or cashews.

I've been devoting a couple hours out of my Sundays to cooking ahead for the week, and recently have gotten my daughter to come shopping with me to plan out what we'd make. It's a bit of a challenge in that my wife doesn't eat meat other than fish or boneless poultry, but generally that means that my big cook-aheads are for my own lunch and breakfast.

I've also found that I need to eat more vegetable matter, particularly fibrous greens, than is generally recommended in ISWF.

And finally - it's not really diet related, but after a couple of sports injuries and one surgery, I'm seeing a personal trainer twice a week and working on rehab with the goal of being able to do some fairly aggressive exercise soon. I started that at about the same time I started the 30.

So, it ain't all bad. And just in case it wasn't clear, I'm not down on the program: I'm down that what I saw as a very small lapse seems to have sabotaged my results. I'll try again and see how it goes.

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Having the amount of wheat you had IS enough to not get positive results in a Whole30. I think I read it takes about 14 days for gluten to stop wrecking your system after you've consumed any amount of it. You had plenty of wheat during your Whole30.

Next time, strive to make sure you are 100% away from wheat, too. As in, not even a hint of it in a seasoning you use once. Seriously, none.

I've done a couple of not perfect Whole30's and got limited results. Then, I did a real one (as in, actually by the book) and saw a profound difference. They are not kidding when they say you get what you put in. When I finally put in 100%, I got 100% back and it was worth it. Really, do this for yourself all the way and then you can truly evaluate how a Whole30 worked or didn't work for you. Just call this one your practice run. :)

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Thanks guys - let me back up for a second.

...

So, it ain't all bad. And just in case it wasn't clear, I'm not down on the program: I'm down that what I saw as a very small lapse seems to have sabotaged my results. I'll try again and see how it goes.

You have a lot to be proud of. More than would justify "a little disappointment" or "a profound sense of Meh". These are big, big changes in your habits. I hope you count your first round as a dry run, as I do. Then come back and comment again after you complete the full program. :)

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I had a pretty clean diet before starting whole30 (no gluten, dairy, legumes, limited sugar, no processed savory food as I can't tolerate onion) even so I reckon I felt overall less well for the first 16 days and I was 100% compliant. Remember for some people 30 days isn't enough to see real benefits even when fully compliant! Well done though for making lots of changes that will definitely prolong your life!

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