Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Did It...sort of...

Wow! I began my 30-day Paleo adventure April 1, and I can hardly believe it is already complete. I began with an even more restricted eating plan (no eggs, nuts, or Nightshades) because I wanted to try to determine if any of those foods is an issue for me. I challenged eggs after the third week and was relieved to not have any apparent adverse reactions to their reintroduction. Several days after that I challenged Nightshades, and I detected no reaction to the ones I've tried thus far. Two huge gastronomic sighs of relief! I have not yet reintroduced nuts because I had several exposures to those during my 30 days, so I need to give my system a bit longer to reset before I challenge those.

I cannot claim to have truly completed a Whole30 program, though. On day 27 I went off the reservation. Due entirely to my own lack of planning and execution, I found myself out of the house that morning with few prospects for Paleo-compliant eats until early evening. So I made the decision to eat fast "food" for breakfast. Not just eggs. And not just a little bit. No, I ate two egg-ham-and-"cheese" muffins. A definite learning experience. The first thing I noticed was, "Hey, these don't even taste like anything!!" I had never noticed that pre-Paleo. The second thing I noticed was that they sat in my stomach like a lump of playdough. It was as if my stomach was asking, "What in the world am I supposed to do with THIS?!" The third thing I noticed was that the lump of playdough was still there six hours later! Yuck. When I got home that evening I peeled a mango and devoured it like an iguana. Within minutes my stomach felt better. And then I got right back on the Paleo wagon and stayed there!

Results? Well, after blank-ty years of eating a pretty typical SAD (Standard American Diet) I was not expecting any astounding changes in the span of 30 days, but here is what I've noticed for myself:
  • noticeably less daytime fatigue (which is a huge deal for me)
  • ZERO cravings during the whole 30 days (this *was* actually astounding)
  • much quicker recovery time after physically demanding activities (another huge deal for me)
  • drastic reduction in cycle-related pain
Those are all subjective "results," of course. Since I forgot to weigh and measure myself prior to starting the adventure, I cannot give completely objective results. But I did compare my current measurements to some I made about a year ago before and after I completed a "detox" diet. Last year I lost 6.5 lbs, and 3/4 of an inch each off of both my waist and hips in three weeks. I know I put some of that back on, subsequently. After finishing the 30 days of April this year, I found that my current weight is 4 lbs lower than last year's "after" reading. My waist is 2.5 inches smaller now than it was after last year's diet. My hips, however, are about the same (or maybe 1/2 inch bigger) as they were after my "detox." Which explains why my pants fit about the same, but cut into me less when I'm seated. My conclusion (for whatever it is worth) is that I have lost a considerable amount of the dreaded "belly fat" that television ads and programs are always going on about. And I never counted a calorie, or a gram, nor did I perform one single crunch (not that there is anything wrong with that).

I was not on a diet this April. I had no intention of losing weight or inches. I just ate Paleo. Yes, there were times that I was hungry, because I hadn't yet figured out how to keep enough of the right foods available for eating. Mainly I ate as much Paleo food as I wanted, whenever I wanted. And I never once ate anything that didn't taste good. Except the aforeconfessed drive-through thingies.

What now? I have absolutely no desire to go back to my former way of eating. It is wonderful to be noticing positive physical changes, but honestly I want to stick with Paleo because I LOVE the food! I am planning to challenge the eliminated foods (dairy, grains, and legumes) to see how my body responds to them. That way I can be an "informed indulger" at social occasions and whatnot. But I feel like I have a whole lot more deliciousness to explore in Paleo-Land! I even bought Nom Nom Paleo's iPad app and have started trying more new things.

So the adventure continues!

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