WEEK 4 – Mission Completion

IMG_4348I started Monday with a burst of energy and need to work out. I went for a free run that wasn’t a complete failure (especially considering my month long hiatus). I’ll take it. Even though it was only the beginning of the last official week, I already felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I noticed the meal planning came easier and I did not stress over every single dish the way I did Week 1. I’ve become used to having everything I need in the pantry and refrigerator. Although not ideal, I can even make up some recipes on the fly!

I’ve started to think about what reintroduction will feel like. What, if anything, will my body react to negatively? What will I indulge in first? I’ve been feeling so good, I almost hate to mess it all up. Then again, the thought of wine again is quite enticing. But will I be able to drink three glasses again without paying for it badly  later?

IMG_4321I kicked off the week with a second fresh seafood feast. This time at Truluck’s. Last week’s feast at Michael Mina 74 blew this one out of the water, but I still enjoyed what Truluck’s offered. Breakfasts have become consistently pleasing and compliant. I no longer hate having vegetables in the morning and I look forward to having a full meal, even if it’s very early. I still haven’t been able to have dinner as early as I’d like, but the Lara Bars seem to hold me over well (as in, the hangry ogre doesn’t make an appearance).

I did have an uncomfortable encounter this last week. My husband decided to order pizza for him and his friends one night. I didn’t think anything of it at first. I’ve been able to handle having food around me without any incidents. For some reason, this one really bothered me. Perhaps it’s because I willingly helped him order it? Extra cheese? Sure! The thought of the pizza right out of the oven with the cheese melting did me in. I actually teared up. So much for not letting food control my emotions. I didn’t know pizza could make me cry. Ha! It seems funny now, but not so much that day. This is why I’ve always insisted on the “everything in moderation” mantra. It is not realistic to eat this way 100% of the time for the rest of one’s life. You are kidding yourself if you believe that. While I didn’t give in to that pizza craving, it doesn’t mean I won’t indulge at some point. More on that in a bit.

Saturday night I went out with some girlfriends to dinner at the local Bonefish Grill. I’d studied the menu and knew what I would order. Our waiter seemed friendly and not at all bothered by my questions and requests. That is, until the food started coming out. Up first, the compliant ceviche came with the dipping corn chips even though I requested them off. No big deal. I quickly put them to the side and enjoyed the ceviche. The hot, doughy bread my friends were having smelled great, and I was surprisingly OK not having any. Then it happened; my grouper came with a buttery white sauce on top. I’d requested it unseasoned and simply grilled. The waiter apologized and took it away, only to return with it not a minute later. “You are in luck,” he said while holding the plate above my head. “Another grouper has just come out of the grill and we swapped it out.” When he placed it in front of me, I was able to see some remaining sauce on its edge. Did he think I was blind? It was obvious to me the sauce had been wiped off somehow to make it appear like a new dish. I didn’t want to be “that customer,” so I just nodded. When he left, I took the entire top layer off the fish and enjoyed whatever was left. This is the reason people feel the need to lie about allergies. I wasn’t being difficult. Everything I asked, I did so politely. Had his answered not worked for me, I would have just had a salad and figured it out. No need to lie. Further proving my suspicions, I woke up on Sunday morning with a brutal headache. I felt completely off, and had zero energy. I only wish I knew what was in the food I ate at Bonefish that gave me such a bad reaction. Lesson learned, you can’t trust restaurants to keep you compliant. If you want to stay 100% within Whole 30, eat at home.

Besides Bonefish-gate, the week came and went uneventfully. I’d imagined the last day of the Whole 30 would involve a detailed planned path leading to wine, pizza, and pasta. That couldn’t be further from the truth. As it turns out, I love how I feel when I eat according to the Whole 30 rules. Instead, I’m actually anxious about reintroducing all the off-limits foods and how I will react. These last 30 days flew by. I’ve learned so much about myself and feel like a new person. Ever the skeptic, I confess I was annoyed for a great part of the month: at the food, the rules, the other Whole 30ers, and pretty much everything. Looking back, I now realize there was a lot of good that came out of doing this which made it all worthwhile.

Losing only seven pounds greatly disappointed me. That’s it? All this effort for seven pounds? Thing is, these are seven solid pounds and not just water weight. I once lost eleven pounds in ten days on the Isagenix program. Talk about not healthy! That was a quick-fix, a band aid, and not a real result that would last. These seven pounds were hard fought, and lost slowly. Here are some other NSV (non scale victories) to add to the weight loss: a couple of inches off my waist, more energy and focus, longer and shinier hair, better skin, no more heartburn/ acid reflux, no need to constantly snack, no bloating, blissful sleep and no more dragging in the mornings, significant vegetable intake increase, and improved kitchen skills.

I will forever keep the monkey salad on rotation (even if it’s frowned upon my the W30 peeps), and always make my mayonnaise at home. I’ve fallen in love with sweet potatoes and chicken sausage or ground beef for breakfast too! Who would have thunk it? More than ever, I am now intrigued by the ingredients used at restaurants and will add a *Whole 30 friendly* note when it applies to one.

Do I recommend this program? Absolutely! Everybody has a different relationship with food. This isn’t a diet and you shouldn’t do this to just lose weight. You will learn to look at food differently and appreciate whole, simple foods and their benefits. I was already familiar with most of the recommended foods. My kids are mostly gluten/casein/sugar/nut free and eat a mostly organic diet. This is usually what my week looks like as well unless, of course, I am dining out. Had it not been that way, I suppose there would have been a greater shock to my body while on Whole 30.

While I plan to continue on this plan as a way of life, I think it will look more like Whole 22; I will have at least a couple of days a week where I dine as I please. I am really against the military mantra drilled by the program that indulging is just not worth it. Going back to the cupcake comment I mentioned in my Week 2 diary entry, yes I actually have had life changing cupcakes and other sweets (among other equally indulgent foods). It’s called life (and knowing where to find the worthy stuff!). Sugar might be the devil, but occasionally indulging is not a bad thing. Moderation. You can’t compete with a plate of spaghetti topped with cheese or just baked bread with delicious melting butter. C’mon! A stick of celery is not the same thing and you are full of shit if you say it is. By eliminating the offending ingredients from my body and introducing them one at a time (during the reintroduction phase), I will gage their effect on me. Is that ice cream worth it? What about the french fries? I can choose to deal with the aftermath or abstain after doing Whole 30.

All that and a bag of (baked) chips, I’m glad it’s over. The stubborn side in me doesn’t like following strict rules or being told what to do. Now I can do this my way. Up next, reintroduction…