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Whole30 Veteran!

Daniel Young

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January 30th I completed my 4th Whole30 challenge. I felt compelled to share my experiences. My first one was last January and lets just say it was awkward. I went through carb withdrawals, had no energy halfway into a workout, dreamed of food, and didn't make a solid stool for 2 weeks.

By my fourth challenge I had completely changed my habits so much to the point where the only thing I was changing is stricter portion control and elimination of forbidden items that I have reintroduced into my normal diet. The transition was MUCH smoother. Meal planning was second nature. I feel like I am this expert on what MY body needs. I may prepare a quick vegetable stir fry in the brief time between my workout and the start of my shift at work and get a craving for fats shortly after arriving for work. I would then hit my stash of macadamia nuts and coconut to top off my gut and get down to business, retaining the sweet banana for later in the day when I know I'll be ready to take in some more carbs.

My first Whole30, I weighed 220 lbs and I had been doing CrossFit for about 6 months, in decent shape, and lived off a typical rice and grain based diet. I was strong but my cardio wasn't great because I was always carrying around some extra weight. I lost 17 pounds on my first Whole30. It was my first introduction to the Paleo lifestyle and I fully embraced it. I had so much success with my first challenge in January, I decided to do another in May to lean up a little for summer. For the first time in my adult life I weighed less than 200 lbs. I went from 205 to 197. Everyone noticed! I would feel bashful when everyone told me how good I looked. My female friends made it a point to mention my new chiseled jawline and my abs. Not to mention I was killing the WODs at the gym.

I stayed pretty lean throughout the summer and did one more Whole30 in August. I was in beast mode at the gym. Pull-ups were a breeze, my running became a strength for my daily WODs and no longer a burden, and my recovery was ridiculous. I was doing 4 meta-con CrossFit WODs, 1 power-lifting class, and 1 Olympic lifting class per week. I still had the energy to hit some mountain biking trails on my days off. I was eating vegetables by the wok full and going through a couple dozen eggs a week, eating hearty portions of the right food to maintain the energy I needed to fuel the beast mode.

I finished my third Whole30 August 30th and was down to a very lean 193. I felt like a million bucks, I slept like a baby, had clear skin, bounding energy, and a focused clear headed mind. I was on cloud nine when I wrecked my mountain bike early September and broke my collarbone.

My injury did not get me down. For the first 12 days that I took off from work, I focused completely on healing. I noticed an immediate change in my cravings for food. I no longer desired starchy sweet potatoes and energy rich bacon, I now craved greens and comfort foods like stews and soups. I almost cut meat out of my diet. Apart from the eggs I cracked over my saute'd spinach every morning, the majority of my protein probably came from vegetables. I ate my vegetables and got an hour of direct sunlight a day. I managed to turn my 400 sf garden in 4 days with a shovel using one hand. I hoped that maybe my nutrition and energy focused on healing would somehow speed up the recovery process, but it didn't. Recovery was slow and painful, as normal with this type of injury. What it did do, however, was allow my body to stay somewhat lean, making it easier to rebound to my regular physique shortly after my gain of mobility.

It was December before I was pretty much fully healed and able to return to normal WODs 3 times a week (scaling of course), just in time to prepare for the gym-wide Whole30 January challenge. Now I have finished my fourth Whole30 with a mere 5 lbs lost, bringing me back to 197, but I feel great and I am back to beast mode at the gym. I am setting PRs all the time and I am close to being back to my original strength.

My intention for this post was more geared toward my successful transformation from a somewhat gluttonous active young male with a solid foundation on nutrition but maybe not necessarily the motivation or the discipline to maintain a lean body mass to some kind of nutritional guru that is capable of recognizing needs of my own body and making smart dietary decisions on the fly. I've cooked everything that struck my fancy from Everyday Paleo and posted the picture on Facebook. I push ISWF and paleo snacks on my coworkers in hopes of seducing them to the light side. I realize I've become "that guy" but I don't care. Fitness and nutrition are my passions and I want the rest of the world to share my newly discovered love and respect for food.

Thanks Dallas and Melissa, I feel like you are both a big part of my life. I honestly think about you and the Whole30 program every day as a constant reminder of how fantastic I feel when I change life for 30 days. It is a movement. Americans are finally realizing that it starts with food.

Thanks again,

Daniel Young

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