Tuesday, April 1, 2014

TIGER BLOOD! March: Days 24-30

I cannot believe I am sitting here writing this on our LAST day of our 30-day paleo experiment.  Today is day 30, and we totally survived.  There were days when it felt ridiculously hard and unmanageable, and many days where I barely even thought about it and life felt normal as can be.  Overall, it was an incredible learning experience and has altered the way we will think about and approach food for a long, long time.

As for where these last 7 seven days landed on the Whole30 timeline, we had the last few days of the TIGER BLOOD phase on days 24-27, a day 28 interlude of trying to convince ourselves that 28 days is just as good as 30, followed by what is hilariously and accurately coined the "HolyOprahIt'sAlmostOverWhatAmIGoingToEatNow?!?!?!" phase on days 29-30.

As I mentioned here and here regarding the other parts of our TIGER BLOOD! phase, I think we both did see changes in our energy levels.  However, I personally think many of the benefits of eating paleo were slightly offset for me by the fact that this experiment coincidentally coincided with some of the most stressful weeks of my life (work-related ... long story ... don't ask), so given the fact that high amounts of stress certainly affect things like energy levels, weight gain and loss and even skin issues, I'm feeling like I kind of got the shaft on experiencing some of the benefits. But I'll get into that a bit more later....

Phil and I both definitely did have moments in our last few days where we were presented with opportunities to indulge (like post-work happy hours or lunch with friends), and the thought did enter our minds to just say "welllllll we've learned a lot and have experienced what it's like.... let's just call it good."  But knowing we'd kick ourselves for not lasting the entire 30 days, we both stuck it out! If nothing else, this is a great experiment in simple willpower.

Additionally, yes, our brains have been very occupied over the last few days with what life will be like post-paleo-experiment.  The notion of being "allowed" to eat anything is indeed quite overwhelming.  Phil and I planned to treat ourselves to something delicious we have been deprived of, and we haven't even nailed down what it is we want to treat ourselves to because there are just. so. many. options.  French fries? Chocolate cake? Beer? Chips and salsa? We don't want to go NUTS and just indulge in everything, because a) that defeats the purpose and b) I'm sure we'd regret smashing our bodies with a wrecking ball of junk food later.  But the thought of narrowing down just one treat to have is hard. Ironically, the notion of reintroducing paleo-approved items that are generally off-limits during Whole30 experiments or other, more strict, paleo phases is absolutely thrilling.  Red wine? Dark chocolate? Honey? Don't mind if I do!!

Regardless, the burning question at the end of this journey is obviously "so, what now?" Phil and I have decided to try to eat paleo long-term as much as possible.  We plan to try to follow the 80/20 rule that many paleo-ers follow, which just means eating paleo 80% of the time, and allowing treats and indulgences in non-paleo foods 20% of the time (or about 1-3 meals a week).  Given the stressful month I've had, and just the acknowledgement that really, 30 days is not that long, I believe that many benefits of eating this way are yet to come (especially for me), so I want to give myself some more time to let my body continuing to adjust and seeing how it affects me long-term.  And, just overall, Phil and I have enjoyed knowing we are eating healthier and just being more mindful and intentional with what we eat.

Our last Whole30 dinner - paleo burger and sweet potato fries!

So wow. There you have it. 30 days. We did it. I will surely continue to share our ongoing paleo adventures (such as recipes and our first attempt at paleo camping, etc), so keep on comin' back if you've enjoyed the ride so far. Thanks for tagging along on this craziness. And thanks to all our friends and family who had to deal with us turning down offers to go out, demanding there be ample meat available to us wherever we go, or generally moaning and groaning while we watched them eat cookies.