One of the remaining homework writing assignments for the double-length Whole30 program I’m finishing in the next few days is to talk about “what, if anything you learned about yourself and nutrition.”
As I mentioned way back at the beginning, I’d been sold on the (for want of a better word) “paleo” lifestyle long before the program started, but I’d never really fully committed. As I wrote then, “I’ve been eating more or less along those lines for a while now, but I’ve never really gone hardcore. Never fully given up dairy, never worried about the bits of sugar in bacon and salami, allowed myself too many periodic indulgences.”
Now I can say I’ve gone hardcore for a few weeks — at least on the dietary front — and it’s made a difference. Although the scale is still off-limits through the weekend, I feel lighter, although I’m not sure by how much. My clothes are looser. I feel more satiated more often. Any affinity for sugary snacks I still feel is sort of abstract, without any more sense of being drawn inexorably to them, whether physically or psychologically.
But what’s made the biggest difference? Giving up fruit? Giving up dairy? Giving up nuts? Giving up the traces of sweeteners in a whole bunch of products that don’t really need them? Even going so far as to give up the artificial sweeteners in gum and mints? Who can say?
So, once the program has ended I’ll keep experimenting. I’ll add back some dairy, for instance, while holding other general dietary variables constant. Then I’ll give up dairy again and, after some time has passed, add back some fruit. And so on. I won’t get to every combination of factors that I’d like to test on myself right away, but I look forward to seeing over time whether any of them has a noticeable impact on my progress and the way I feel.
Apart from dietary composition, one big difference for me has been eating breakfast every day. For most of my life, I’ve skipped breakfast — partly because I tend to stay up late and oversleep, so I’m always rushed when I finally drag myself out of bed. Breakfast is an easy casualty of a harried schedule. But breakfast was required in this program, and I feel the difference in a kind of satiation that lasts for hours, sometimes all day.
I’ve managed to move my sleep schedule a little earlier, by an hour or two, on a regular basis, but not as far earlier as I’d hoped. Still, though, I’ve been getting a full night’s sleep more often than not during these most recent weeks, and that seems to have made a difference, too. I regard this as an ongoing work in progress, and hope to move it earlier still, especially as I learn how to better balance work, freelancing, and recreation. One strategy I hope to apply is to convince myself I don’t have to finish everything at night — instead, I can go to bed without getting anything done and do the work early in the morning. I like this idea in theory, but have yet to apply it in practice.
Here are my food photos for day 58:
Thursday, March 13
I woke up at 10:00 a.m. (after heading to bed at 1:45 a.m.).
Breakfast: 11:05 a.m. | 12.5 oz. steak, greens mix, 1/2 sweet onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, herbs & spices
Lunch: 4:10 p.m. | 3.75 oz. sardines in olive oil, 2 carrots, .18 oz. SeaSnax seaweed, 5,000 IU Vitamin D capsule, Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc caplet
Dinner: 10:50 p.m. | 8 oz. salmon, greens mix, 1/2 sweet onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, herbs & spices