I’ve decided to use the last few days of this week to share my thoughts, planning, goals, things I think will be “easy” vs. challenging in the month ahead.
First off, I’m excited that both my sisters and one of my nephews has decided to join me & hubby in this venture! We are spread out around the world (okay, 3 of us in the Midwest and 1 in New Zealand – that counts, right?) so we can’t do fun things like shopping and food prep together, but we talk and text and email regularly, so at least I can support them in those ways. We all know we need to improve our collective health, and we all have some history of choosing healthy foods and exercising. Of course, we also all have a long history of falling off the health wagon.
The first disagreement: Hubby works overnights, so not only are we often on opposite sleep schedules, we sometimes go for days without seeing each other for more than 10 minutes in passing. I knew he was working the next 3 nights, so last night I asked if we could do our Big Gay Whole30 Week 1 shopping trip this Saturday (ok, for transparency I’m the only one calling it that! I amuse myself.) and discovered we had a discrepancy in our expected start date. I thought May 1st (Sunday) and he thought “May 1” meant Monday! What a stupid thing to argue about. Still not sure if we reached a consensus*, but either way we DID agree to shop on Saturday. Since we will likely have to shop at at least 3 stores (Aldi, Target, and one of our local co-ops for a few specialized items) maybe I can run to one of those places in the morning while he’s still sleeping. I expect to be doing a good bit of the food prep, so at least this will give me Sunday to prep even if we don’t officially start until Monday.
*It’s official! We are starting on Sunday, May 1! Guess I’ll need to do at least *some* prep on Saturday night.
Goals: I’m approaching my month as an experiment, not an end all be all magic fix. With that said, here are things I *hope* to experience based on my understanding of the program:
-better sleep/more energy
-reduction in chronic pain (mostly due to joint inflamation)
-fewer headaches (mild ones AND migraines)
-reduction of red/flaky skin (this isn’t eczema, but something similar? Started seeing it in the last year+ and my Dr. prescribed an anti-fungal cream that helps when I use it.)
-drop a pant size? I’m currently wearing 36’s, which are snug, or 38’s, which are baggy and require a belt. I have a closet full of awesome 34’s that I want to wear again!
-reduction in cravings/the feeling (and subsequent action) that I can’t stop eating even though I’m full and/or know I should stop (it’s like I go on auto-pilot when I binge)
Even seeing any of these things improving would be worth it. I know Hubby would love to drop a size and see an improvement in mental health.
“Easy” vs. Challenging:
Eating Whole Foods: For some folks, the Whole30 might seem like a nightmare, or at best a drastic change from what they are used to. While I’ve been making plenty of harmful choices that need to be re-evaluated, eating whole foods and reading ingredients before buying/eating something is not at all abnormal for us. I LOVE to cook fresh food that looks and tastes good. Hubby is a master at the grill! We consider big bags of chopped kale and spinach, flats of eggs, and sweet potatoes to be staples in our house. So the idea of relying on those things for nutrition is not that daunting. However, it wasn’t until I began contemplating my Whole30 meal plan that I realized JUST HOW MUCH we rely on whole grains, legumes and low fat dairy in our everyday diets. Maybe with the exception of cheese (and this can be argued, of course) these are all things we are told are HEALTHY for us. I probably could not give you an example of a single day that I have not eaten bread/rice/pasta, cheese/yogurt/milk (for the Hubby), and peanut butter. Seriously. Generally in moderation, but I eat these things every day! Yes, we buy whole wheat bread and even flake our own oatmeal, yes we buy unsweetened greek yogurt and lowfat cheese, and yes, we eat “high-protein” legumes (generally in the form of black beans or lentils, tofu & edamame + the pb) but it’s never occurred to me that these things might be contributing negatively to my physical & mental health, and I really do enjoy them on a very regular basis. So there will still be some big changes for us, in filling those gaps with vegetables for the most part, but the practice of eating whole foods is not foreign to us.
Alcohol: This one is kind of a no-brainer for me. I’m just not much of a drinker, and haven’t been for many years. I do like my Irish Whiskey, but I maybe drink twice a month as I generally don’t see the point in drinking calories. However, Hubby is a beer- brewer and drinker, and I have a sneaking suspicion this one’s going to be a bit more challenging for him. Not that he drinks frequently, but I’m guessing he’ll have at least a few days where he JUST WANTS A BEER with dinner.
3 Meals a Day: Ok, so this one is interesting. I’ve been an “all-day binger”, I’ve tried “a million small meals (I mean 5-6)”, and most recently I’ve been really enjoying Intermittent Fasting (http://www.theiflife.com/intermittent-fasting-101-how-to-start-part-i/) mostly by way of an 8-hour “feeding window”. IF doesn’t tell you how MUCH to eat, just when to eat it, so I’ve generally been cramming 3 meals, or 2 large meals and a moderate snack, into those hours, and generally eating what I calculate to be my caloric requirement based on weight loss goals and activity levels. In other words, I’m not starving myself and I’m not just winging it. But one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about IF is NOT eating “breakfast”. I still eat breakfast, I just eat it at lunch time. This means I haven’t been spending time preparing a meal in the morning before work, while trying to feed the pets, stagger around in my usual morning stupor, maybe walking the dog or picking up the yard-poop, etc etc. I’ve never been a morning person, so this has helped me be on time to work and the dog gets more walks instead of laying on her bed watching me eat. Technically I have the time, I’m just not peppy in the morning. Maybe this will change! Anyway, if I’m going to try something new I want to follow it as precisely as possible, and this will mean eating 3 meals a day, plus an extra “meal” on workout days. I don’t know what hubby’s eating patterns have been like since he’s often eating when I’m asleep (overnight), but I do know he’s experimented with IF a bit too.
Food Planning: I’m a planner. I noticed I was getting anxious about food once we decided to try Whole30 (last week!) so I am up to my eyeballs in mapping out my food options for the month. I will likely spend a good chunk of each weekend prepping veggies & meat for each week, including a crockpot or two of meat, cauliflower rice in the freezer, and gallon ziplocks of chopped/sliced/etc veggies in the fridge. Our Whole30 Pinterest folder is overflowing with recipe ideas and meal plans from strangers, but I’m creating our own as well. Since they say that planning = success, I’m expecting my propensity for planning to give us an assist here.
This gives you some insight into what I’m expecting and anticipating in the next month.
That’s all for now.