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I have never been one to flirt with 'fads.' I'm also the farthest thing from a habit-forming person you will meet, for good and bad.

That's why when a good friend introduced me to Whole 30 six weeks ago, I was hesitant. Not another wacky diet plan that promised results that never materialized, or if they did promised to make me miserable in the process.

Still, I knew changes were necessary. I have fought weight issues and joint pain much of my adult life. Last year was going to be the year I got serious, so I committed to losing 50 pounds over the course of a 12-month period. I lost two.

Worse yet, I just felt awful. Back, hip, shoulder, feet. Some days it felt like every major joint in my body belonged to someone 25 years older than a man in his early 50s. As a result, my energy level wasn't where it needed to be for someone with a relatively demanding job, and I couldn't remember the last time I had back-to-back good nights of sleep.

So, when my friend said she had lost 13 pounds on Whole 30 and that her joint pain had all but disappeared, I was skeptical but decided to take a look. After all, what could it hurt?

The concept was familiar, if a bit extreme-sounding to a guy who had consumed a half-dozen Diet Cokes a day for decades, and who enjoyed milk and cheese more than most anything else in life. Still, one concept resonated with my desire to think we all have some degree of control over our lives: 30 days of focusing on healthy, whole foods shouldn't be hard. It was a matter of how badly I wanted to force some discipline on myself.

Or put another way, how badly did I want to try something that could help me feel better and gain greater control over my health?

Thirty-four days later (I've extended my schedule by a week as I plan for reintroduction) I can say this is one of the smartest decisions I've ever made - and one of the most unexpectedly pleasant surprises I have ever encountered.

The highlights: I am nearly 20 pounds lighter than when I started. My blood pressure has dropped 20 points. According to my Fitbit sleep analyzer, my resting heartbeat has fallen from 77 to 65. I'm routinely sleeping better than I have in years and my aching joints have stopped barking at me (I've not taken an anti-inflammatory in a month).

Beyond that, my energy is up and I am more efficient and focused at work. I've begun working out regularly and can see a day when I lose the "big number" of pounds I have been dreaming about and create the healthy lifestyle that has largely eluded me for many years. I have developed new eating habits and a healthy appreciation for what it means to fill my tank with quality fuel.

It wasn't always easy, especially the first two weeks. And, I'll admit to being bored to tears with water at times. It also wasn't as hard as I thought.

Once I started seeing results and fell into a routine, I stopped obsessing about what I wasn't eating and enjoyed the many delicious foods I was eating. It also became clear that I wanted the good results to continue more than I wanted that Diet Coke or cheese and crackers.

As I stare reintroduction in the face, I'll admit to a bit of trepidation. I don't want to fall off the wagon and go back to feeling the way I did pre-Whole 30. I also realize that I have a lot more work to do to get to my ultimate "fighting weight" and to reach my health goals.

Still, I'm choosing to trust the process and to view reintroduction as the next necessary step in providing me the knowledge base I need to truly control my food choices. I know that eliminating dairy, grains, legumes, alcohol and sugar lad to dramatic gains in health and energy; now I need to know which doors lead me down a dark alley and which will help lead me toward the light (I'm really hoping dairy is one of the good guys).

The learning process has been an unexpected benefit of my Whole 30 journey, and I'm excited about the next stage. And the one after that.

For now, though, I felt the need to share my story as way of saying thanks. To my friend who cared enough to gently persuade me to give this a try. To my wife who has been uber supportive throughout this (although she didn't join me on Whole 30 her eating habits have changed noticeably as well). And to the entire Whole 30 community for providing the tools and support to make this possible.

With appreciation and excitement about what comes next,

 

- ML

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Brief update: 

Today I turn 55, which officially makes me a guy in his mid-50s. (Unbelievable.)

The good news is that I feel better than I have in a decade, at least. Five weeks ago I would have told you I felt a decade older than my actual age.

To be honest, I'm still having a bit of trouble making sense of what a difference a good plan, a bit of discipline and a ton of support can make. We don't know one another very well, but I hope you'll trust me when I say I'm the last guy I'd have bet on to try something like Whole 30, much yet give it the time necessary for the results to kick in.

I'll stop before I completely sound like one of those cheesy weight-loss commercials for true fad diets, but let me leave you with this - full in the knowledge that I have a lot more work to do: I - the least habit-forming person I know - have changed my relationship with food for the better and am confident that I am on the road to lasting change.

If I can do this, so can a lot of other people. 

With appreciation,

ML

 

 

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On 3/2/2018 at 1:32 PM, Newsland33 said:

~snip~

Beyond that, my energy is up and I am more efficient and focused at work.

~snip~

Just finished my first W30 and what you said is a BIG difference that I also noticed!

Congrats to you!

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Hi, all:

I'm back. In fact, I just finished Day 80.

I know, because one of the many good habits I have picked up on my W30 journey is to keep track of my food and exercise, as well a few thoughts on how I'm feeling, on a daily basis.

To be clear, I've not been compliant for 80 straight days, although the thought to try has crossed my mind a few times. I've reintroduced all the food groups that I avoided during my W30 period - with the exception of sugar, which I am really trying to do without. Some - dairy and legumes - have gone better than others - grains.

To be even more clear, when I say reintroduced I don't mean on a daily - or even regular - basis. More days than not, I am completely, or nearly, compliant. This way of eating has become second nature and I've started to figure out how to handle the occasional craving, when to jump back on the wagon completely for a couple of days to keep my momentum going  - and perhaps most importantly for my sanity I'm starting to give myself permission to consciously ignore W30 for a good cause (like closing on the sale of our house last week, which we celebrated with a wonderful meal of pizza and champagne). 

In a word, I've become mindful of what I am eating/drinking and why.

My choices are conscious ones, and the vast majority of them have been good choices. It's empowering and the results have become a virtuous circle of weight loss, increased energy, better focus, terrific home-cooked meals, more sound sleep, better vital signs and a generally more relaxed demeanor.

I'm down 30 pounds since mid-January. I'm working out 4-5 days a week, as opposed to 1-2 days a month. My blood pressure is lower than it's been in years and my resting heart rate is in the low 60s. 

Beyond that, I look forward to tackling the day and seeing where this journey will take me next. I still have a ways to go to reach my weight goal, but for the first time in memory I see a path to get there. 

I'm sure there will be more stumbles and obstacles in the days, weeks, months ahead.

But that's OK, because I'm in charge of my life and this process. And that may be the biggest success of them all for me. 

With appreciation to the W30 community and all those in my life who are providing support that has made all the difference.

ML

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks! After years of treading water when it comes to my weight and associated health factors, I wasn't sure I could make a meaningful change. It just got to the point where I was feeling so beaten down that I figured the time had come to really take a stand before I was facing a really serious issue.

This has gone better than I could have imagined, and I hope my experience can be helpful to others.

Cheers,

ML

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On 3/31/2018 at 1:37 PM, Goal is -40lbs said:

Just finished my first W30 and what you said is a BIG difference that I also noticed!

Congrats to you!

And to you!

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Back again.

Yesterday was the four month anniversary of the start of my Whole 30 journey. This morning, I stepped on the scales 37 pounds lighter than that January day I took my first step toward regaining control of my health.

As I've written before, I was fortunate. My initial Whole 30 experience went relatively smoothly. I don't really have any of the horror stories about food cravings; mood swings or physical discomfort that I was told could be part of the cleansing process.

That's not to say my discipline hasn't been tested. I will get the occasional pang for something sinful (often pizza or chips), but more times than not I have been able to rely on the strategies I've picked up along the way to make a smarter, more mindful, choice. 

In the three months since I graduated from W30, I have transitioned into a lifestyle that is more like Whole 15 out of any given 30 days. My new normal is totally or nearly compliant W30 during the first three or four days of the work week, when my exercise time is a bit more limited. Then I loosen the reins a bit on Fridays and over the weekend, but do my best to supplement with lots of activity and exercise on Saturday and Sunday.

More than anything, though, I am most proud of the fact that nearly every food decision I'm making today is a conscious choice. I never realized how much mindless eating I engaged in prior to starting W30. Now when I treat myself to some of my favorite foods that may be a little "off book," I'm making the decision that it's worth it for whatever the reason - special occasion, a rare food opportunity, a well-deserved treat.

I'm not an all-or-nothing guy by nature but I have found some discipline I didn't know existed as result of this journey. For example, I haven't had a Diet Coke in 125 days - not bad for a guy who routinely drank six or eight a day before W30.

I also have made the decision to stay away from sugar almost entirely, because I still have a ways to go to reach my weight goal and I have plenty of stored fat yet to be burned for energy. I'm sure there will be a day this summer when the only thing that will do on a hot South Carolina day is a dish of ice cream, but it hasn't happened yet.

In some ways, I "failed" the reintroduction part, but in a way that works for me. I've found that I can be 80-90 percent compliant most days (100 percent on many), and still eat virtually everything I want. And the weight continues to slide off at a healthy rate.

Beyond that, I have found a level of "functional fitness" that I haven't enjoyed in decades - as I have discovered in recent weeks by doing physical tasks such as trimming branches, cutting wood and push-mowing with ease that I couldn't have imagined four months ago. As I mentioned in previous posts, my overall energy is higher than it has been in years.

And, I'd be lying if I said I didn't like the fact that family and friends are noticing. I am getting a steady stream of compliments on  my appearance, which is good for the ego. It also shows that people care, which is good for the soul. Both provide motivation to keep me on track.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. I have been, throughout my life, the least habit-forming person I know. I'm still surprised at the extent to which this journey has changed my relationship with food. 

The secret, I've discovered, is there is no secret. You just have to value your health enough to stick with it and do your best to win every day.Trust me, if I can do this, you can.

With appreciation,

ML

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What an encouraging thread! Congrats on all the positive changes you've made, and your success at sticking with healthy eating well past your official 30 days.

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On 5/29/2018 at 9:10 PM, Newsland33 said:

The secret, I've discovered, is there is no secret. You just have to value your health enough to stick with it and do your best to win every day.

Love this! And congratulations on all of your accomplishments. :) 

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Thanks for th encouragement. Five months in and still going strong. The weight loss slowed a little the past month, due mostly to a lot of work-related travel, but the habits I’ve formed are holding strong. 

Your absolutely right: there is no secret. I’ve been telling friends and colleagues who ask that question that I finally made the decision to do the work every day to make myself healthier. Not always easy or fun, but so worthwhile.

With appreciation, 

ML

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Three days ago, I celebrated six months since I seriously began taking control of my health by beginning my Whole 30 journey. Today, nearly 45 pounds lighter and feeling better than at any time as an adult that I can remember, I am jumping back into the W30 pool with my second dip at a month of living compliantly.

This time, I'm bringing reinforcements in the form of my wife who was ultra-supportive during round one and who has had a front-row seat to the remarkable changes in my body, health and outlook on life. 

I've chronicled many of the obvious benefits and positive changes that W30 has delivered for me in previous posts, so I won't bore you by repeating them here. Suffice to say, that not only has my relationship with food done a 180-degree turn but I've also embraced a more active lifestyle that has fueled much of my weight loss and health improvements. I even took my first hot yoga class last weekend (it kicked my butt, but I'm going back for more)!

Since completing my first W30 cycle, many of the basic tenants of the program have stuck. In the five months since completing round one, I've not been compliant every - or event most - days,  but I have achieved an increased mindfulness about what works for my body and was doesn't.

For example, I have almost completely avoided added sugar and I save eating large portions of grain for special occasions. Dairy has not been an issue for me, but I have found that I don't crave it was much as I once did so I've also reduced my consumption. At the same time, I have discovered a new-found appreciation for fresh fruit, which I now eat as both part of my daily routine and when I need a treat. And my 6-pack (or more)- a-day Diet Coke habit? Safe to assume it's been kicked after 185 days (and counting), though I take nothing for granted.

Still, work remains to be done.

I want to lose another 20 pounds over the next six months, and since my weight has leveled out over the last month I'm hoping this will provide a jump-start. More importantly, I want to serve as the best possible example for the most important person in my life as she heads down the same path.

To be honest, I'm bracing for this to be more difficult that the first time around.

I'm better prepared, for certain, but the visible signs of progress aren't likely to be as readily apparent this time since I'm starting in a better spot. (Hoping this is where all of Melissa's reminders about those NSVs will come in especially handy.) If I can help my wife make it through the program, and if she experiences even a fraction of the gains I've enjoyed,  that will be victory enough for me.

Day 1/31 is off to a good start. Wish me luck - and to all those fighting the good fight, cheers!

With appreciation,

ML

 

 

 

 

 

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Today is a good day. A very good day.

Today, I stepped on the scale and learned that I am 50 pounds lighter than I was on New Year's Day, 2018.

Thanks to the framework and tools Whole 30 have provided - and a lot of work - I have done something over the past 7 1/2 months that I have been telling myself I was going to do for a long time.  I am two-thirds of the way through my second W30 month, spaced about six months apart, and am feeling better than I have in decades. From a weight perspective, I'd still like to lose another 15 pounds or so. From a regaining-control-of-my-life perspective, I've already won. Big.

I'm a professional communicator, my stock in trade is words. So, when I finally got so fed up with myself at the beginning of the year that I vowed (again) to make this the year I was going to lose the weight, I wrote about it. Here's a snippet:

Jan. 1: Down three pounds from the same date a year ago and down three pounds from my last weigh-in, 49 weeks ago. The very definition of treading water. Problem is, no one has ever tread water indefinitely. It never ends well for the swimmer. So, it’s time to swim to shore, which happens to be about 50 pounds away.  Will spend this week working on a game plan – no more hope as a strategy. 

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

 **

About four weeks later, at the suggestion of a friend, I started Whole 30, without much expectation, as you can see:

Jan. 27: Old (bad) habits die hard, it seems. More than three weeks since I last sat in front of this keyboard. Funny how the individual days can drag on at times, while the weeks fly by. Determined, though, to keep at it as best I can. Determined to prove that new habits can be built, even when the architect is an old guy.

 Speaking of old, feeling every bit my age – plus about a decade - these last few weeks. Back and hip have been really cranky, limiting what I have the energy to do at the gym. In all the years I had back trouble before, I never really had the nerve pain that I’m experiencing now. Painful to sit for more than a few minutes and hard to get completely comfortable no matter what position I’m in. Experience tells me where this ultimately may be heading, but before I got down another path littered with tests, specialists, surgeons and large medical bills I’m going to make sure I’ve driven down every non-invasive avenue I can find.

 Next exit: Diet. Not just to lose weight, but to see if what I am putting into my body is contributing to the pain and inflammation I’m experiencing. I’m not convinced, but it can’t hurt to get a better idea of how different foods affect my body – and certainly couldn’t hurt to start dropping pounds.

 So, tomorrow I officially join the cult of “Whole 30” - paleo-type cleanse and exercise in extreme discipline. No dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, alcohol or artificial crap (goodbye Diet Coke). Basically meats, fish, veggies, fruits, nuts and water. The method, especially the strict no-cheating rule, seems a bit extreme but the premise makes sense. Reset your body chemistry by eliminating everything but the types of basic whole foods that we are historically programmed to consume and see how your body reacts. From there, so the theory goes, you can start to add back substances to see what, if any, cause adverse effects such as weight gain or inflammation.

 How hard can it be? I like everything on the good list and I can do anything for 30 days. Right?

 **

As it turns out, I can do anything for 30 days. And in that first month, I lost 18 pounds. Most of the back pain and joint inflammation I had been feeling was gone. More importantly, I redefined my relationship with food and built a foundation for exercise upon which I have continued to build.

Armed with knowledge, I settled into a mostly whole lifestyle over the next five months. For me, that means virtually no added sugar, very limited grains (but good ones), modest amounts of dairy - and no Diet Coke (204 days and counting). I also limited my alcohol mostly to the occasional glass of red wine and a nice sipping bourbon.

Here's the thing: I don't feel deprived, because I'm not depriving myself of things. I'm just being mindful of my choices and trying to make them count. In my world, that means no unnecessary fast food stops because I'm having a temporary late-afternoon hunger pang; grabbing a banana or handful of pistachios instead of a bag of chips when I need a quick snack; saving pizza (which I love) for the occasional treat at the end of a good week.

In late June, my weight loss started to level off as my body adjusted to the new me, so at the end of July I waded back into the W30 waters for a jumpstart, this time with my wife for company. Today is day 21 and we're both doing well. She's experiencing what I have been talking about for months and I'm in high gear.

As I said, I'm a professional communicator. So it pains me a little to admit that I don't really have the words to properly express how grateful I am to the Whole 30 team for creating such a life-changing program, and to my family and friends who have cheered me on every step of the way. This trip isn't over, but I love where it is headed.

With appreciation,

ML

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Monday, I completed my second round of Whole 30, this time with my wife right there next to me. (She did a great job finishing W30 for the first time.)

Collectively, we lost 22.5 pounds (she beat me by .5 pounds for the month:)). As exciting as that is, even more fun was working on our health together. We cooked together, shopped together - did dishes by the piles together.

It was fun tho watch my wife warm to the idea of W30 over the course of the month and become even better educated about her food choices. She also brought some much-needed creativity to our selections, which meant fewer grilled chicken salads for me this time around.

Most of all, I've enjoyed the interesting conversations that this journey sparked, and not just about food. We've discussed exercise, travel, health and much more in conversations that somehow got their start in a chat about our W30 journey.

Her support has been invaluable to me and I think she would say that I've helped her stay on the straight-and-narrow. And the experience was good enough that neither of us has really jumped off the wagon, so technically we're on Whole 32 and counting. The reintroductions will start soon enough, but the fact that we didn't feel the desire to leave the program the minute our 30 days were up says a lot.

Those who have read this entire thread (thanks, by the way), know how the past seven months has changed my life for the better. I'm currently 52 pounds lighter than I was when I started and my health stats are immeasurably better. What started as a huge "stretch" goal - to lose 55 pounds in a year - is hopefully no more than a couple of weeks away from being a reality. Eating better isn't the only reason for the change, but it all started with refocusing my relationship with food.

For that, I am grateful to the entire W30 community.

With appreciation,

 

ML

 

 

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Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!  I am on Day 4 of my second round and although I finished the first one, I did not do reintroduction properly, nor have I stuck with the plan very closely over the last year.  This round I am determined to do the reintroduction that is right for me and make these changes a lifestyle.  Stories like these always help.  I'm in my early 30's so my goal is preventing the "normal" aging pains before they even happen.  Good for you for making the changes necessary to enjoy your life to the fullest, and I love that your wife has joined you as well!

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In late January, I set an ambitious weight-loss goal for myself. It was the same one I had set the previous January, and at which I had failed miserably (which pretty much describes almost every weight-loss effort I have made over the past three decades).

The goal: lose 55 pounds in a year, which would bring me under 200 pounds for the first time since shortly after I graduated from college in the mid-1980s.

Eight months later, I've reset my goals - but for all the right reasons. Last week, I officially hit the 55-pound mark.

I still don't believe it, to be honest. I carry an irrational fear that a couple of days off the food "wagon" or away from the gym or yoga studio will result in 20 pounds reappearing around my mid-section overnight.

At this point, the mental hurdles are much greater than the physical ones (probably always were), but that fear is dissipating the longer I stick to the plan and the more evidence I compile that this isn't a just happy phase in my life, but a new way of eating and living.

The last eight months have included two strict W30 months (February and August) and a half-year of living by the principles to the greatest extent possible. For me that means, as little added sugar as possible, significant limits on grains (and alcohol) and moderation in all other food types on the W30 "no" list.  It also means fully embracing an active lifestyle that includes 4-5 formal workout days a week, and more movement in general.

When people ask me "what have you done?" here's the short answer: Move more and eat less stuff that my body doesn't need or want. Simple, right?

We all know it's a lot more complicated than that, but some days it has helped me to keep it that simple. Focus on what makes me feel better, physically and emotionally, enjoy the success I have had and try not to beat myself up when I'm not "perfect."

My next goal is more modest in some ways, but still a challenge given how far I have come: Lose 10 more pounds by the end of this year. After that, another five by late January 2019. That would make 70 pounds in a year and put me at a point where maintenance is a worthy long-term goal.

Honestly, I never thought I would be writing this type of post given my history, my age (55) and the fact that I've never taken to forming lifestyle habits (good or bad) much throughout my life.

To the extent that any part of my journey is helpful to someone else, I hope it's this: I'm the last guy who expected to be able to take control of his weight, health and relationship with food as I have over the past eight months. If I can do this, there is no reason others who have struggled mightily can't do the same.

Thanks, as always, for the continued support from those on this thread, and from the inspirational successes of others in the Whole 30 community. 

With appreciation,

 

ML

 

 

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 I have enjoyed reading about your journey. You’ve done an awesome job. I’m almost done with my very first whole 30 and I’m never going back. I hope you keep posting here, I love your thread and I have read it over again from the beginning because I enjoyed it so much. 

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Sorry for the delayed response; life's been hectic the last couple of weeks. Thanks so much for the nice words - and congrats on your success!

 

It means a lot to know that folks are reading and find something useful in my words. Best of luck with your own journey.

 

Cheers - ML

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I am here on Day 16 at 930 p.m..  I started the whole 30 journey back in early november 2017,  got about this far into it and we had a cruise for 8 days in the western carribean.  i can tell you for a fact that was a bad idea to start this journey and go on a trip halfway into it.  needless to say i didn't stick with it and fell back into old habits.  I gained weight back up to 422 pounds...that was what i weighed in at 4 weeks from this post.  I am now at 407 and only 16 days into this.  I am 6' 8" tall and moderately active 40 year old male.  I play basketball 2-3 days per week for an hour a day.  

Newsland33,  reading your success through this is greatly helping me in this journey.  I have 2 mentors that are in full support and i have daily assignments from them to keep on track.  I have to send a picture of everything i drink or put in my mouth to eat before i do it.  So they get 3-6 pictures a day plus a picture of a scale every morning.  (one of them got me a scale for my weight size as a gift to push me along)  Accountability is huge,  they ask me if i dont send pictures by a certain time and words don't cut it.  

I am looking forward to day #30 however i don't intend to stop there.  I was in the bakery section today with my 11 year old and i was staring at all the baked goods, cookies, etc and realized for the first time in my LIFE,  i didn't care if i had a bite of one or not.  

So thank you for documenting your story on here...it really does help.

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