Back when I and my fellow participants started this Whole30 program, CrossFit South Arlington‘s coach and program leader Megan wrote, “We are starting on Wednesday, January 15th. Add 60 days and that puts the end date at 5am on Monday, March 17th.” I’ve just realized, though, that today has been my 60th day. I’ve numbered each day here in the blog as I’ve chronicled my food choices, and I’ve now double- and triple-checked the count on a calendar to be sure my numbering isn’t off — and it’s not. My first full day of following the program guidelines was Wednesday, January 15, so my 60th full day has been Saturday, March 15.
That said, I have no problem with keeping it up on Sunday as I had already planned — as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I plan to keep experimenting within this same framework going forward, tweaking variables here and there as I go. But Sunday will be day 61.
I wrote yesterday both about some of the nutritional lessons I’ve learned during the past two months and my post-program intentions, but I still have a couple of writing assignments left. I’ll complete one today and the other tomorrow.
A final write-up on how things went; good, bad and ugly. Any suggested areas of improvement would also be great. This is basically a critique of the program along with some suggestions on how you would make this better / different if you were in charge.
Good: The biggest benefits for me have been learning how beneficial regular breakfasts and sleep are. Basic stuff, I know, but it’s no longer theoretical for me. The reading was great, although it took a lot longer than I thought it would to get through everything — even though I’d already read a bunch of it long before the program started. I particularly enjoyed the three times I shared meals with other program participants — not only because it provided a variety of good food and recipe ideas, but because it’s easier to find out via conversation what’s working, what’s failing, and how we can support each other in the road ahead than it is through sporadically reading each other’s blogs. I’d like to be part of future paleo gatherings, if anybody else in the group is game to continue them once in a while.
Bad: This was a good way of discovering where some of my biggest weaknesses still lie. I’m a world of difference away from the life of constant junk food that I once lived, and the fact that I’ve been basically “paleo” for a while and managed to do hardcore paleo for these past two months indicates that I can tame my food demons. Going without something that I might ordinarily be tempted to eat isn’t an issue. But I’m still slacking in other areas of my life. I’m not exercising nearly as much as I want. I improved my sleep schedule a little, but not a lot. The idea of making it to bed earlier than midnight at all, let alone on a regular basis, still seems worlds of possibility away.
Ugly: Some elements of the program weren’t entirely clear in advance. The CrossFit South Arlington implementation deviates from regular Whole30 rules in a few ways, like eliminating ghee basically for the duration of the program and going long stretches with total elimination of fruit and nuts. It would have been nice to know that up front, and to make such deviations clear to all participants even after the program is under way. Halfway through the program, there were still participants who had no idea that ghee was off-limits — something I had been sure to have clarified for me (pun intended?) on the first day. Definitions weren’t always clear, either. When we were told that protein was the single mandatory part of every meal and snack, and so we couldn’t have just nuts for a snack, I pointed out that this made no sense to me because nuts contain protein. It was only after this that Megan clarified that, for the program’s purposes, “protein” always means “animal protein.” That idiosyncratic use of the word would not have otherwise occurred to me, and it would probably be useful to future participants if these kinds of program-specific redefinitions are made clear from the beginning.
Here are my food photos for days 59 and 60:
Friday, March 14
I woke up at 10:25 a.m. (after heading to bed at 1:55 a.m.).
Breakfast: 11:15 a.m. | 8 oz. salmon, greens mix, 1/2 sweet onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, herbs & spices
Leftovers from last night’s dinner. This is actually the same photo from last night’s dinner, because I forgot to take a breakfast photo, but the meals are almost identical in both size and ingredients.
Lunch: 3:50 p.m. | 4 oz. beef sticks, 3 carrots, 5,000 IU Vitamin D capsule, Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc caplet
Dinner: 10:20 p.m. | Lamb kebab, lettuce, parsley
I left work to try to catch the 8:00 p.m. screening of Veronica Mars, but that was sold out so I bought a ticket to the 10:35 p.m. show instead and decided to pass the time by watching the 300 sequel at 8:00 first. By the time that got out, it left me with 35 minutes to kill, and rather than skipping dinner (a distinct possibility), I decided to try to find a quick bite and make it back to the theater.
This required first ignoring the Hershey’s Ice Cream parlor next to the theater. Google Maps informed me that the Chipotle a half mile away had just closed, but that Tackle Box next door would be open for another couple of hours. Easy enough to get plain fish and veggies there, so I spent 10 minutes walking there only to find out they’d changed their hours and had closed at the same time as Chipotle. Walking a little farther, I almost opted for a crappy salad at Subway on the corner until I happened to spot a little hole in the wall named Quick Pita another half block off of M St.
I had to explain three times that I didn’t want bread, hummus, or tomatoes with my lamb kebab pita, but in the end had a tasty, compliant, quick dinner that allowed me to return to the theater on time.
Saturday, March 15
I woke up at 11:00 a.m. (after heading to bed at 2:05 a.m.).
Breakfast: 12:10 a.m. | 4 eggs, greens mix, 2 Tbsp. red palm oil, herbs & spices
I wasn’t particularly hungry throughout the afternoon, so I skipped lunch.
Dinner: 8:25 p.m. | Barbacoa, carnitas, guacamole, Tabasco from Chipotle