No photo-fancy work reception.

Aaaaaaand I snagged shrimp cocktail without sauce, salad, and olives for dinner. Day 60, check. Now, back to the hotel room for shower and sleep.

Week 8/9 writing assignments

What if anything I learned about myself and my nutrition. How the program affected the way I think about food.

I think the program actually disassociated me from my food a bit. I started to care less about what tasted good and what I felt like eating and took a very utilitarian stance on food. Eating, taking a picture, and logging the meal became just another box to check on my to-do list. It wasn’t this way for the first few weeks when it was new and novel, but when I started to get buried in work it settled into my routine, except when it was an annoyance because my routine was interrupted (like at this week’s conference, for example).

Overall I think that’s an ok thing…food really is fuel, but I think I want to work to make food that is healthy and tastes good. I’m not much of a cook but I’ve been improving. I think it I dedicate a little more time to food preparation, that will greatly open up my options. I tend to go for the lowest common denominator—as long as I have the protein/fat/carbs, I’d eat it and call it good without really thinking about what I wanted to try or really enjoying it.

The program also changed the way I looked at food in that I no longer really saw the food as food with a mixture of fat, protein, and carbs, I really simplified the way I thought about it and saw the food as a fat, a protein, or a carb. For example, nuts may have protein, but I now think about them as solely a fat. Similarly, even though meat and eggs may have fat, I think of them only as protein. That’s something that is definitely due to the meal template approach.

I think one of my favorite takeaways from the program actually stemmed from the writing assignments. I’ve never really studied nutrition, so the weekly reading and writing assignments really helped me think about one issue at a time—be it the importance of sleep, the role insulin plays in the body, strategies for coping with Life Stuff—all of those were great things to sit down, think about, and provide a thoughtful response.

Final write-up on how things went (good/bad), suggestions on improvement for the program.

Overall, I think things were ok, although I really feel like I did myself a giant disservice by participating when I did.  When I decided to do this, I had no idea that my project at work (in preparation for this week’s conference) would snowball like it did. It kept me at work late, it kept my stress levels high, and I really feel like I missed out on a lot of camaraderie and progress by being AWOL at Crossfit. Working 12-hour days is something I haven’t really had to do before (and something I intend to avoid in the future as much as possible), and being pretty much solely responsible for the success of a project that happened to ramp up right when I was on the program…it sucked. A lot.

I don’t really know what to say other than that. I’m considering participating again in the future, but for now I think I just want to be able to eat without having to log and take a photo of everything. It wasn’t a huge burden (although it was a minor annoyance when I was travelling) but with the conference ending Friday and the program ending Thursday, I’m really ready to get my life back and alleviate the stress that’s been so insane lately.

I don’t really have any suggestions for improving the program—overall I think it went rather well. I really liked the weekly emails and the writing assignments. I think it would be good to make the assignments due Sunday night, though, and to make the standard for logging in food within 24 hours of eating it instead of 12.

What I intend to do nutritionally going forward

I want to capitalize on some of the habits that I worked to set in place during this program. For example, I want to continue to eat a balanced breakfast (“balanced” being the meal template proportions of protein, fat, and veggie/fruit carbs), and a meal template-based lunch during the work week. Those two things are so easy to do that if I follow them, then 10/21—almost half—of my meals for the week are automatically Whole30.

That’s pretty encouraging, and it only leaves me responsible for dinners and my weekend meals. I think dinners during the week should be mostly ok. After the conference is over I plan to go back to Crossfit as much as possible during the week, and the likelihood of me desiring an unhealthy dinner after having spend the day eating healthy meal and after having spent the effort to work out seems pretty low.

Weekends are probably the danger zone for me. I miss wine and beer. I know beer is basically wheat soda and it a giant bomb of gluten and bad things…but I really do like a good IPA. I also like red wine. I plan to limit drinking wine or beer alongside a meal when dining out. I never really got into the habit of purchasing either of these things to consume at home, so at least there’s that.  I think my strategy in combat going overboard with unhealthy food or drinks on the weekend is really to have a solid base during the week so I won’t want to screw up my progress.

Post to someone encouraging them to “give it a chance”

This post is supposed to be written like it’s going to someone who may not believe that this is a worthwhile effort. I must admit, though, it’s kind of hard to imagine someone that would think that this isn’t worth the effort. I can imagine people thinking that it’s too extreme, but I think once the rationale is explained, it’s pretty persuasive.

If you’re interested in a crash diet, this program isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a quick fix or a magic pill, the program isn’t for you. If you are open to a science-based approach to nutrition that addresses why you may have struggled with weight, lethargy, or other health issues, this program might have something to offer you.

It’s basically a nutrition boot camp. It’s all-encompassing and challenges you to do something you probably haven’t been able to do before—stick to an extremely strict nutrition regimen for a full 60 days. It’s not easy (but then again, what worthwhile thing is?), but after awhile it does start to become routine.

Additionally, you’ll have a support network of people who are sharing your pain and going through the same issues as you, and accountability. The weekly emails help to set your focus for the next seven days, and are full of tips, tough talk, and homework assignments that will help you to understand exactly what your body is going through on the program.

It’s definitely not for everyone, and I would advise you to try and not take on too much as once—make sure you are in a place in your life where you are prepared to do bulk cooking, take pictures, upload them, and log all of your meals for the next eight weeks—but it’s rewarding and is a really good chance for you to see what it feels like to feel pretty optimally healthy.

Phew! I pounded all of that out over my break and this is almost a wrap! Just one more meal to go before the program is over. It’s hard to believe, but I’m glad I did it. Time for more sessions and another reception tonight, and then bed.

Ok, this was a sad day 60 lunch. The last of my leftover salad and guac, and chicken that I had to remove the skin from.

Ok, this was a sad day 60 lunch. The last of my leftover salad and guac, and chicken that I had to remove the skin from.

Day 60 oddball breakfast.

Day 60 oddball breakfast.

Not pictured because of work conference. Dinner: chicken/peppers/onions on skewers, olives

Day 59 lunch

Day 59 lunch

Also not pictured - breakfast. At the conference breakfast the only thing I could eat were the eggs (the other options were sugar/dairy/grain bombs) so I had those and then olives and carrots later in.

Not pictured—day 58 fancy schmancy work conference dinner of steak and salad

Day 58 lunch

Day 58 lunch

Day 58 breakfast

Day 58 breakfast