30 by 30Food & Drink

Try Paleo: DONE!

We’ve been doing paleo on and off since I’d heard about it: a diet based on cavemen eating wherein you can (generally) eat whatever you want in the way of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts, as long as you avoid all dairy, grains, legumes, potatoes and processed oils. More info: here, here, here, here.

I must say, I am a sucker for a fad diet and love trying weird and random food and exercise regimes whenever they’re en vogue (read: only banana diet, only pineapple diet, juice detox, high fiber, etc etc).

I exercise relatively regularly: basketball twice a week and walking to/jogging home from work (1.7 miles each way). I ‘trained’ marginally before our race and can’t say I really felt the ‘burn’ or pushed myself. But then I tend to err on the side of dieting over exercising… and so when a colleague started doing a sort of extreme paleo diet, I thought we could give it a go!

Handsome S is not a fad dieter like I am. He eats sensibly and cooks his own food all the time. He doesn’t impulse eat or binge and really only eats ‘bad’ food if it is in the house. So we don’t tend to buy potato chips (crisps!) or chocolate bars, since they’ll get eaten super fast. But what we do get stung for is portion control. We eat loads!

So I was all up for a diet plan that let me eat as much as I wanted of certain foods, many of which S considers ‘good’ foods. It’d just then be about adjusting our regular shop to include only those certain foods, and then being careful at restaurants. I also thought it’d be easier for me to do on account of #NoBooze2014! What was I thinking?!

For this challenge, I monitored my diet carefully for 30 full days. As I say, we’ve tried paleo in the past and done it on and off for a week or so at a time. I think that in itself has been a lesson in dieting: the toughest challenge was just to keep going. Learning to accept that I wouldn’t always be perfect at executing my diet and that’s okay.

Still! 30days is doable, right?

I started 30days of paleo on January 10th. I weighed myself in the morning, and while my weight is higher than I’d like, I’m not too worried at the moment to be honest! (I’ve been much lower, and even my ‘lose 30lbs’ goal is probably more than I’d realistically like to lose at this stage!… But I’m actually pretty happy with my self image and don’t want to mess around with that too much…)

Discoveries by day

Day 2: Shouldn’t have started this thing so close to a weekend! Foolish.

Day 5: It seems most people have an opinion about (my) diet. Positive or negative, most people I come into contact with seem strongly-minded about the benefits and pitfalls of diets. Some think exclusion diets are impossible, some are convinced things like 5:2 are the way forward. Some want to know how I plan to make paleo a part of my ‘real’ life after (though I’ve never mentioned I was planning to!). Most want to know why I’m even bothering since they can thing of various inaccuracies in trying to replicate a caveman diet in the 21st century. Strong opinions.

Day 6: Discovered ZenZen Mango ice cream. OMG.

Day 8: Have bought two tubs of Ben & Jerry’s (on sale!)… not eating them but eyes on the prize!

Day 10: I feel ‘better’. My skin feels better. My belly is definitely shrinking. My face/neck feels leaner.

Day 11: Much to my chagrin, I’ve discovered the relatively cheap sliced meat I’ve eaten a few days for lunch has OTHER MYSTERIES in it! (Brown sugar mostly..honey in some.) Gutted. Sticking to only meat I cook myself…

Day 12: My partner has started to notice a change! *beaming*

Day 13: All I want to eat is cheese. And midget gems. And ice cream maybe.

Day 14: My shipment of Nakd wholefood bars have arrived! I was originally looking for Larabars but these are basically the same thing and UK-based (so MUCH cheaper!). I bought a selection so I could try all the different flavors.. saves me getting any duds in bulk! So far ginger bread is the BEST.

Day 17: A colleague said I looked ‘svelte’ today! *beaming*

Day 18: 30 days is a very long time to do anything… least of all not eating garlic bread. =/

Day 20: S has a work charity bake sale – have baked cookies for him to bring in. CRUELTY! So many delicious cookies but none for me… ultimate sorrow.

Day 24: Had a fashion challenge this morning while getting ready for work and squeezed into my favorite too-small outfit. WIN!

Day 30: HOORAYYY! Except my husband has gone for poker night so I’m eating fried egg & lean bacon on lettuce. Lame ‘last meal’.

Finally! Made it through the full 30 days. I was gong to try to push a bit longer and go from 10th January to 10th February but who am I kidding.
I weighed in Sunday morning first thing and to my wondrous delight: MINUS TWELVE POUNDS! Nearly a stone lost in a month!

I’ve got to lose this much again to get to -30 (the ultimate 30 by 30!) but don’t realistically think that is going to happen by August (nor would it be very healthy, imho).

I think this is probably what my (diet) life is going to be like. It’s obviously easy to gain and hard to lose. But I’d much rather live a happy life, eating what I please and indulging in all of life’s wondrous fancies (cheese! home baking! giant marshmallows! chocolate!) but to do this will require periods of abstinence and/or exercise to compensate.

Moderation is best, but I can’t help feeling a little proud of my body for being so responsive on command. Strong work, body! Not too shabby for a 29 year old hunk of meat!

Top Tips & Lessons Learned

Best (local) places to eat:
Union of genius (soup cafe) – lists their ingredients & happy to answer questions.
Yo sushi (kind of…) – especially good when they had cheap sashimi, lots of no-nos though!
Steak restaurants – namely, got steak at Red Squirrel. Actually not that hard to manage, & they subbed french fries for avocado for me!
Home – the only place you can really control exactly what you’re ingesting. A bit anti-social though!
Eggs – you can pick your own eggs at Craigie’s Farm! Already a favorite but doubly now! (Also thanks to my bball pals who brought eggs from their chickens for me too!)
Mcdonalds… No surprise here but pretty demoralizing eating the chicken and lettuce out of a ‘healthy’ sandwich. =(
The pub.. totally crap going to ANY pub and not being able to drink (or even have a diet coke..) or have most of the snacks or food on offer…
With friends. It’s embarrassing bringing a pack lunch and snacks to friends’ houses. Really embarrassing actually..

Best guilty pleasure:
zenzen mango ice cream
nakd wholefood bars. omnomnom. (and the homemade versions S figured out how to make!)
almond / hazelnut butters! & bananas
frozen bananas blended up make really nice substitute ice cream (which I sprinkled with ground almonds as ‘crumble’ – NOMMM)
Grossest paleo snack:
those kale chips. waste of money! bag of air!
i tried to make a ground almond & cocoa cake with eggs & flaxseed and it was DISGUSTING.

Biggest setbacks
lunchmeat-gate 2014… sad times.
bake sale baking but not sampling. =(
pretty much addicted to black coffee now…
Biggest wins!:
nobooze2014 – likely the main reason why I’ve lost so much weight so fast.
jogging home after work!
my supportive husband cooking me delicious feasts.
home-made date bars.

I DID IT! *flexes muscles*

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