Now I always read the label. I always read it well. In the most delicious waaaay!


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PRE-W30: WHAT I USED TO EAT IN AN AVERAGE DAY

PROTEIN

2-4 servings reduced-fat dairy (Greek yogurt, kefir and post-workout whey shake with soy lecithin)

2 eggs max, minus yolks, plus a hefty dose of cheese

1-2 servings of hummus or edamame

1-2 servings of poultry, eggs or seafood a day

Red meat maybe once or twice a year, if that. No joke.

CARBS

"Just" 3-4 servings of veggies

3-4 servings of fruit

Up to 3 servings whole grains

Rarely had sweet potatoes or winter squash

FATS

Fats not consistently included at each meal

I considered nuts a protein rather than a fat (d'oh!)

OTHER STUFF

5-6 small meals a day

Almost always had a light snack shortly before bed

Generally avoided sweets and processed foods

Moderately stressful fulltime job

Alcohol on the weekends

Gained around 10-15 lbs since my partner moved in with me 3 years ago

Very rarely bought junk food, but also very rarely turned any down when it was offered

On extra stressful days, I used sneaky rationalization to snack on junk food already in the house ("I'm not even hungry and this doesn't sound particularly appealing, but I'll eat some** of that Pirate Booty to help make it go away." An hour later I'd say, "Uh-oh. The Booty is still there. Better eat a little** more so it disappears!")

**Translation: A lot.

DURING MY FIRST W30: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

PLEASANT SURPRISES

After the first week, it didn't feel so challenging to do this thing solo

Cooking came to feel like a meditative act of self-care rather than a chore

Junk food in plain sight all around the house and office lost appeal to me

I've gotten really good at turning down junk food without rejecting the thoughtful people who offer it to me

Sweet potatoes and most fruit started to taste overly sweet to me

Requiring new pants (more on that later)

Hello, cheekbones!

UNPLEASANT SURPRISES

How quickly the egg carton/veggie drawer empties and the dishwasher fills

Although I love my new cooking projects, I dread the next water bill

That icky lightheaded feeling during the first week

Somewhere around Day 4-6, I had to practically sit on my hands not to raid the cheese drawer

My first period in 4 years. And I was completely unprepared for the misery. FML.

The mild horror I feel when I think about what I used to assume was healthy

The irritation I feel when people knock this before they try it

I regret not taking before and after photos

HOW I FELT BY THE END OF MY FIRST W30

Sleep quality radically improved

Improved mental clarity throughout the day on most days

Felt full for up to 4 hours eating 3 large, balanced meals without snacks

In control, yet not as obsessive as I feared I'd feel while doing this

Much more resilient in general. I felt less physiologically reactive to stressful situations.
This was my favorite change.

It was exciting when others commented on how healthy I am (not just look, but am)

In a word, I felt better

OBSERVATIONS DURING AND AFTER REINTRODUCTION

I haven't noticed any side effects from cheese, but yogurt immediately makes me cough and wake up congested the next day

Grains with gluten appear to trigger headaches, brain fog and make my gut sound creaky

I seem to do OK with gluten-free grains

My body and alcohol mutually hate each other

Even tiny amounts of sweeteners like honey and stevia feel like an assault on my tastebuds

Something, I suspect dairy, made me break out a lot on my back

Quality of sleep isn't as good as it was before reintroduction. Not sure which culprit to blame.

Enough with the subjective stuff. Now let's geek out over the quantitative data, which are generally what people really mean when they ask about "results" anyway.

HOW MY WEIGHT, MEASUREMENTS & OTHER NUMBERS CHANGED

Surprise! I'm sneaking in some important body-image storytelling before getting to the soulless numbers.

I was the early bloomer poster child. By the time I was around 8 years old, I was blessed/cursed with a cartoonish hourglass build and thighs that deserve a chakra entirely their own. It's always been hard to find bras that fit properly, but pants-hunting is the worst. EACH thigh is the same thickness as my waist, and I swear it doesn't occur to clothing designers that ladies like me exist. I avoid shopping for pants at all costs because (1) there are so few pants out there that even remotely work for me, and (2) it typically brings back ugly memories of the body-shaming b***s*** I was tricked into believing as a kid. It's just not fun.

This came as a shock to me, but I have never, ever in my life lost so many inches from my hips and thighs as I did during my first W30. I've worn size 10 pants virtually all my adult life. Now size 8 pants by the same manufacturers fit me best. I wouldn't call the pants-shopping expedition fun by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't miserable. That's a first!

And something else occurs to me. Even if I tried to diet and exercise myself into oblivion as I was tempted to do when I was a kid in hopes my curves would go away, here are a few facts: My body composition may change, but my pelvis will never be size-6 narrow and my bust hangs on for dear life when I do lose weight. So as far as measurements are concerned, this is just about as compact and balanced as my physique can realistically, naturally and healthfully be. And, really, it's not that far from where I've been all along.

Lesson: Anyone who says mean things about my body -- including myself sometimes -- just needs to shut up and be nice. Funny! That was my favorite comeback line when I was a harassed, freaked out little kid trapped in Joan Harris' body. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

On that note, on to the numbers!

Weight lost: 5.8 pounds

Inches lost: 2 inches on hips, 1 inch on thighs, 0.5 inch on waist, no change on bust

My BMI has hovered at the healthy and overweight cusp for the past few years. Now I'm solidly in the healthy BMI range.

For what it's worth, on Day 31 my fancy Tanita scale alleged that I lost visceral fat (YEAH!), lost both bone and muscle mass (wtf, Mr. Scale?), lost 0.1% body fat (not much, but I'll take it), and improved my BMR as indicated by my "metabolic age" score.

CONCLUSION

The title of my log, "Dear body: You're welcome in advance," turned out to be prophetic. Trying this out turned out to be one of the kindest things I have ever done for myself. I hope my healthy new habits and insights stick, but I am also very open to doing this again in the future (perhaps with more wilted greens, less fruit, fewer nuts and -- gasp! -- possibly even a little less coffee).

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