Left- Me, day 30, winning. Right- Me, day 33, FML.
If you’re in any way obsessed with health and fitness or have access to any sort of social media then you will have heard about the Whole 30. The book behind it, It Starts With Food, is very clever and sciency and explains all the reasons behind eliminating certain food groups clearly and in normal people words. In a nutshell though, the Whole 30 is an anally retentive and EXTREME paleo diet, no dairy, no wheat, no refined sugar, no processed foods, no slip ups (or go directly to jail do not pass go etc etc) for 30 days. It seems like it’ll be hard. Naturally, this made me want to do it.
So, I did it, and I bloody well did it PROPERLY. I read the book, I researched recipes, tried them out beforehand, did the full pantry cleanse, near bankrupted myself buying organic meat from the Flash Supermarket, and instructed the darling boy that no Ben&Jerry’s or peanut butter/chocolate combo of any sort was to cross the threshold for a month. I don’t do things by halves. Unless it’s a half marathon. It was a pain in the ass reading EVERY SINGLE LABEL of EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT but you know what, it was actually a real eye opener to realize just how much bullshit is in even the most seemingly innocuous food item. I’m a chef by trade, so didn’t have an issue prepping food or changing recipes around to suit, and my nutritional knowledge as a personal trainer made things just that little bit easier also. It honestly wasn’t that hard. Besides trying to find fish sauce with no sugar in it. Good luck with that.
Day 30 I weighed in 2kg lighter and 2% less body fat. My clothes were way looser, my skin glowing, and my nails strangely long. I had ditched the food rage that had once plagued me on a daily basis. I felt A-FUCKING- MAZING. Then came the aftermath. I had been so strict on myself that I was almost afraid to eat something non-compliant, so I didn’t. For two days I stuck sternly to all things paleo, with the exception of my raw vegan protein supplement (such a rebel). Then on the third day…I ATE THREE PIECES OF CAKE. Then a burger. With fries. And then gelato. Two scoops. (Peanut butter with nutella fudge) It was a gloriously terrible feast. The next day I wanted to die. Both from the sugar/junk food hangover and from the shame of being a giant pig. I sunk into a deep pit of food regret and misery. I bawled like a 5 year old to my boy that I couldn’t leave the house because I was too fat. I wore baggy t shirts all weekend and couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I found myself confessing my food sins to people I hardly knew as if this would somehow justify my binge. I obsessed over everything I ate like a bulimic 15 year old. I was a massive pain in the ass.
This lasted about 5 days. Then I sorted my shit out. I went to the gym. Re stocked the fridge with veggies and meat. Drank tea and ate eggs and chilled the fuck out. Realized that I was being a giant baby. My clothes still fit, my skin was fine, my nails still long and the predominantly non-paleo world was still turning. No need to sign up for the next round of The Biggest Loser. I was ok, but, my god, those 5 days were horrendous. Now, in the aftermath of the aftermath, this seems ridiculously amusing and nothing more than an embarrassing memory. If you read the book, which I highly recommend you do if you somehow still want to take this journey, you will be advised to GRADUALLY introduce other foods back into your diet upon the completion of the 30 days of paleo. They’re not kidding around. Unless you want to get all suicidal over a bag of m&ms. Believe me, its possible.