Those that are close to me know that I am a total geek when it comes to science. Love it. So indulge me as I present my results as a sort of n=1 (one subject in the experiment and that was me) experiment pseudo-lab report.
Abstract: I've spent the past few years trying to learn what works in regards to nutrition and exercise for healthy weight, hormone levels, and well being. I've tried several things and stumbled upon It Starts With Food book. I was sick and tired of feeling like crap from the food I was eating over the summer. After committing to 30 days of eating the Whole30 way I lost weight, a dress size, skin improved, sleep improved, skin glowed. It worked so well for me that I would recommend it to all of my friends and family.
Introduction: I kept seeing the book, It Starts With Food, on various blogs and web sites and decided to read it. I was struggling with sugar/carbs cravings on a daily basis and needed something to get me back on track. I had gained 30 pounds over the summer but the cravings were so intense that I was having trouble fighting them. The book was based on solid science and made sense so I decided to commit to eating the recommended foods for 30 days to kick my sugar habit.
Methods: For 30 days I ate moderate amounts of proteins in the form of eggs, meat and seafood, healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, and some nuts), as many vegetables as I wanted but I tried to keep the higher carb ones to a minimum (such as sweet potato), and limited amounts of fruit. I kept the fruits and higher carbohydrate vegetables to a minimum because of my insulin resistance. I did not ingest any sugar or artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes (including soy, soy sauce, peanuts), or dairy (except for ghee which has milk solids removed). I was 100% compliant. Exercise was as I felt like it and I avoided cardio (for reasons I may or may not share at a later date). I walked and biked at a slow to moderate pace. I also performed some strength training.
My variants to the Whole30 plan: I was supposed to take measurements and "before" pictures before I started. My intention was to do it on the first day but at the end of the first day I felt so terrible that I did not do it. The general malaise lasted a full week. I was also not supposed to weigh myself during the duration of the 30 days but I weighed myself anyway.
Results: In 30 days, I lost 13.7 pounds, lost my cravings for sweets, changed my tastes, became fat adapted, sleep so much better, skin cleared up, skin glows, clearer eyes, dark skin on knuckles and elbows has lightened (a sign of pre-diabetes), lost at least 1 dress size, have more energy, no anxiety attacks, no racing heart or irregular heartbeats, nails growing at accelerated rate, seasonal allergies finally disappeared, no energy slumps, higher energy, and I wake up without an alarm clock. My clothes are fitting better and doctor said he could feel a difference in my muscle tone. Blood pressure went down dramatically from being so bad at the doctor's office that it would not register on their machine and he discussed blood pressure meds to 130/80 today. My energy improvements were impressive.
Discussion: The Whole30 experiment was a great way for me to conquer my cravings and get back on track to eating a low carb diet. It exceeded my expectations in results. I will be evaluating items that I would like to add back in my diet on a case by case basis. The things I would like to have from time to time include alcohol and dairy. Sweets will be special occasion only. Now that the 30 days are up, I did taste a cupcake and did not like it at all. Also tasted a corn chip with salsa. The salsa tasted sweet and the chip tasted like rancid oil. I did not like it. Hopefully my tastes have changed and I will continue on this path. Blood work will be performed next week to see how Whole30 has changed my insides. Cholesterol, triglycerides, A1C, and various other tests will be performed.
What's next: I love the food I am eating right now and how it makes me feel so I will continue to eat this way most of the time except for what I consider special occasions. I will add in more strength training and more walking and some interval training. I will continue to monitor my weight (even though it's not the most accurate measurement of health) and body fat percentage (with a digital scale even though it is not the most accurate measurement of BF%, I will be looking for trends) and blood work.
Now for some not-so-sciency stuff: guys, I am surprised at how many benefits I got out of these 30 days. All I was aiming for was to get rid of these stupid cravings I was having. I got so much more. My big belly is actually going away!! Call it paleo, call it low carb, call it clean eating. Whatever. It was just short of miraculous to me. I feel like a different person. I even feel happier. It's just crazy!
Don't tell me it's too hard. Being tired and miserable is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Losing a loved one is hard. Living with the effects of diabetes is hard (I'm seeing that with a relative right now and lost one relative to it). Having an aching back because you're fat is hard. Trying to go for a walk when you're carrying too much weight on your body is hard. Trying on clothes and hating the way you look every time you look in the mirror is hard. Eating good food for a month is not hard. Thirty days is nothing.
I stuck through this during birthday parties, lunch dates, cocktail parties, restaurants, and road trips. It can be done if you are willing to do it. It's not willpower; it's willingness to make a change.
And if I can do it, you can do it. Try it. What do you have to lose? ;)