I got so many positive responses to my sounded-clickbait-but-was-actually-true story about how the Whole30 program helped me lose 23 pounds in January and I wanted to give you an update.
I’m still a big dude. But I’m getting smaller.
How much smaller? As of this morning, 52 pounds.
How have I done it? It’s been really really hard, but basically I’ve followed the same program that I described in the previous post.
(Before I go any further, I just want to reiterate that I don’t really recommend this program for most people, as it’s pretty extreme. And by no means is this medical advice, always consult your doctor before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Imagine I said any other necessary legal mumbo jumbo here also.)
Way more importantly than an eating program, though, I focused on a principle that helped me change my treacherous eating habits: I made decisions that made other decisions for me.
Here were my principles:
- I would only cook and eat at home whenever possible
- I would not allow junk food/drinks to be in my home
- I would “cheat” (I hate that word, it’s just food) only if in a social situation that was celebrating something, in other words if it was just me I would stay on program
Those principles made so many decisions for me. When I was tempted with something off-plan it was easier to remember those principles than it was to grit my teeth and/or “try harder”. After a while, I found a rhythm and I think I had two pieces of cake in February (when celebrating friends’ birthdays, stuff like that), completely strict otherwise through February and March.
But what about when you’re traveling?
I’ve gotten some questions from people asking if I’ve even traveled this year so far, because obviously it’s easier to stay on a diet plan if you’re at home. The answer is yes, I’ve definitely been on the road so far this year:
- 9 days in London
- 4 days in Chicago
- 4 days in Florida
So what have I done? I’ve planned things out as well as I could and brought food along when feasible, and when it wasn’t feasible I found a Chipotle close by (very lucky that there’s a Chipotle next to my office in London). Even if there weren’t a Chipotle close by I would’ve stopped at a Whole Foods or grocer to find some better options than going out for typical pub food like I usually did when traveling.
Ok so what products did you use that helped you manage all this?
(disclaimer: the links below are to affiliate partners of the blog, who may pay me a commission should you make a subsequent purchase)
1. Vitamix Blender
Ok so one of my main problems with eating healthily is that I don’t like the taste of most vegetables (primarily because they do not taste anything like ice cream or cake). Enter the Vitamix. It is phenomenally easy for me to just chuck whatever vegetables I don’t like eating into the blender with some spinach, almond milk, almond butter, a few blueberries/raspberries/carrots, and then sit back and listen to the raging fury of the Vitamix unleashing its mercy on the poor vegetables and liquefying them into a marginally-tasting shake that I can drink quickly with little regard for taste. I know it sounds awful but even if it tastes awful it’s over with pretty quickly and I get my veggies.
(You definitely don’t need a Vitamix, as there are far cheaper options, but from everything I read online these things are fantastic and durable, I’m a very big believer in Buy Once Cry Once and getting quality products from brands who support them)
2. Withings Smart Scale
Ok this is where I disagreed with the Whole30 program as it applied to me. The Whole30 program recommends against weighing yourself for the 30-day duration of the program (since weight loss is a by-product of the program but not the actual goal), but personally I needed some quantifiable feedback on a daily basis. I weighed myself every day I could, and this is the scale I use at home. The best part is it connects to an app via WiFi and uploads my weight data there for cool graphs like the one you saw earlier in this post. This graph was absolutely critical for the plateaus I’ve hit so far because it took my feelings out of things. It wasn’t “oh I’m sure I’m doing ok” but rather “you lost 4 pounds last week, it’s ok to hang out at a similar weight for a few days” because I had the data right there looking at me.
It was reassuring to see progress on the scale because I suffered from a major case of body dysmorphia and actually still struggle to see many physical differences, even after 50 pounds lost.
3. Almond Butter Packets and Larabars
The above are just a few of the varieties of the Larabar flavors that are compliant with the Whole30 program, a great list here: https://lifehealthhq.com/whole30-larabar/
Whole30 gets you looking at ingredient labels for almost EVERYTHING because ALMOST EVERYTHING has added sugar in it in some shape or form. The items linked above don’t have any ADDED sugar, so they’re compliant. I really tried to limit myself when it comes to Larabars, though, because they are exceedingly sweet because they use dates in most recipes. But still, in a crunch, spreading some almond butter on a Larabar would be enough to get me to the next meal.
4. Peloton bike
By no means am I saying you need a Peloton bike to lose weight. Or a bike at all. Just have something you do to stay active, whether going for a walk or jogging (ew) or something like a Peloton. I used Peloton bikes for free at my office gym but that closed due to the current crisis so I ended up just biting the bullet and getting one for the house. If you have one and want to follow along, my username is PlayMoreMetal! And if you’re interested in buying one, feel free to use my referral code, we both get $100 off: ZA9EUT
5. Athletic Greens
Ok remember in the Vitamix section I mentioned I struggle eating enough veggies? Enter Athletic Greens. They’re simply the best green supplement powder on the market (in my opinion, which basically means they have great marketing I dunno). Their powder is not cheap but it’s the easiest to mix in my experience and tastes great even just in water.
Athletic Greens was my safety net to make sure I was getting enough nutrients and minerals. Listen, perfect world I’d be brave enough to just shut up and eat more vegetables but it’s far from a perfect world. The best part about Athletic Greens is they sell single-serve travel packets which are super easy to throw in luggage on your way out.
This stuff isn’t cheap, I get that. There are plenty of other green supplements out there, this is just what works for me.
Surprise bonus kind of random 6th product – Pork King Good Pork Rind Crumbles
Ok bear with me here. If any of you have done Whole30 you know that you eat a TON of chicken on the program, to the point you quickly get tired of It. I like having a little bit of breading on my chicken to break up the monotony, and I love these pork rind crumbs. They don’t have any carbs or gluten, just protein and salt. The texture is similar to breadcrumbs but you don’t have to worry about EVIL GLUTEN (said tongue-in-cheek). Completely surprised by how much I enjoyed these!
Do you need these things to be successful on whatever eating plan you choose?
Absolutely not. If I was disciplined enough, all of this stuff would be redundant or unnecessary. But I wasn’t disciplined enough, which is why I needed an eating plan in the first place.
Realistically, any diet or eating plan is not about the best possible plan, rather the best plan possible. It doesn’t matter that your diet at home is crystal clean if you spend 80% of your time on the road eating burgers and drinking beers. Each person needs to make the choice for themselves, “what can I feasibly do?” and then supplement with products like the above as necessary.
At the end of the day I’m just happy I did SOMETHING
I wasn’t feeling sickly or anything but I know my body wasn’t performing well. Especially as most of the world is sheltered at home right now, there’s never been a better time to start something since nobody really knows when we’ll be able to travel again. If you’re in a spot where you need to do something I hope this has given you at least a few ideas. If a guy like me can do it, you can too.
What’s your favorite product like the ones above? Tell me in the comments below!