This one is going to be tough and slightly longer than the previous two posts. For the simple reason, this is the part of the entire process that has given me the most trouble. Tell me to lift for an hour? Done. Go run for a half hour straight? I hate you a little bit for it but I’m there. Tell me I have to cut out carbs and give up bread for a month? OK, now we have problems. I have a love/love relationship with food. I’m now at the point where I’ll try anything once and I actively try to find some reasonably healthy dishes on the menu. With a side of mac n cheese because come on, it’s the perfect meal. I haven’t always been that open when it came to venturing outside my food comfort zone. Saying I had a limited number of acceptable food items would be giving me far too much credit. And yes, none of it included salad.
Before millennials started killing the fast casual restaurant industry, my friends and I would frequent a few different Applebees for their Quizzo nights back in high school and for a the first couple of years in college. Those nights were when we came up with the most ridiculous team names, laughed till our sides hurt, won our fair share of Quizzo, and in later years would serve as the place were our one friend told us he and his girlfriend, now fiancee, were expecting. Applebees has a special nostalgic place in heart against any and all odds. However, one thing where this brand loyalty did not help was my gut. The guys who were will attest to this in the comments, the only thing I ever ordered there were the chicken fingers and fries.
It was like clock work. We would go in, get our seat, do the usual teenage banter thing, waitress would come up and I’d make my order of chicken fingers, fries and a side of honey mustard sauce. Maybe if I was feeling daring, there’d be a chicken sandwich but they were few and far between. The main reason behind this exotic eating lifestyle you ask? I said because that was the dish they couldn’t possibly screw up. The real reason though? Because it was comfortable. It was safe. And tasted like deep fried crunchy happiness with every bite, but I digress. The point is, we fall into these eating habits that make us feel safe and comfortable, when most of the time those food choice are the last possible thing we should be eating every single time out. It took me a long time to realize that and the waistline suffered for my stubbornness.
When I started to take losing weight seriously, I knew the diet would be the hardest part. I’m stubborn and rigidly set in my ways which makes adapting to new dietary restrictions a bit of a challenge. So when I was stuck at the 240 plateau with the Mudder being two months away, I knew I was in pickle. Not the fried kind of pickle, those are awesome. So when Jen, from last post fame, approached me with the idea of going on the Whole 30 diet, I was skeptical at best. This diet takes out most of the food groups that we’ve grown up thinking are necessary to being functional members of society. Absolutely nothing with added sugar. No grains. No bread. No junk food or sweets of any kind. No booze. No bread. No sulfates, nitrates or nitrites. No peanut butter. NO BREAD.
Guys I won’t lie to you. I may embellish from time to time and make snarky comments every 15.8 seconds but I won’t lie. This was a hard month. One of the hardest of the past year for me but it was worth every minute of it. I survived without the added sugar, the peanut butter, the junk food, the booze. Yes, even the *sobs* bread. I cooked more that month than I had to previous 5 years and through trial and error, I made it work. I went from about 242 down to 217 and it felt GOOD. Like smelling freshly cut Kentucky Bluegrass on a baseball field good. Like smelling freshly cooked bacon good. Like doing the Guy Fieri hunch and biting into a delicious burger good. (Note to self- Don’t write these posts hungry. Weird analogies happen.)
I’ll go more in depth into how I made my Whole 30 work in a later post, it really does deserve a series devoted to it. However I will say that it was definitely a turning point for me on this weird, hilarious, and oddly cathartic journey over the past 10ish months. It hasn’t always been easy since last April, I am only human after-all, but I am in a better place now than I was and that’s the important thing. Going forward from there, I was ready to go onto the Tough Mudder course in May considerably lighter, a little bit faster, and in an overall better position to not die while scaling some stupid high obstacle because of stubborn pride. But we’ll save those stories for next time.