(Original Post 12/31/2013)
Staci and I completed our fall run of the Whole30 Program the day before our wedding anniversary in November. We cut it a few days short since we were celebrating and had no good reason to abstain from a few beverages and restaurant food that weekend. This was our second go around with the Whole30 and it’s probably my last for a while. Staci basically eats this way most days anyways with the exception of her sharing some of my grain or fried food allowances when we go out to lunch once or twice a week. For me, I just don’t have the energy to get through my days when I eliminate all grains from my diet for an extended period of time. I like to have a sandwich a few times a week, usually with gluten free bread or wraps that I buy at Earth Fare or grilled rye bread if I am at a restaurant.
Do I think it (Whole30) is something everyone should try? Yes, I think it’s a great way to eliminate everything potentially bad for you for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce certain foods, one at a time, to see if you have any noticeable reaction or consequence from eating them.
If you don’t want something as extreme as Whole30, just start to eliminate crap from your daily eating. My opinions change from time to time based on newly acquired knowledge and experience, so here is my current list of what to eliminate or drastically reduce if you are trying to lose excess fat.
1. Sugar, in any processed form. Table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, etc. Here is an article that includes a list of what they call code words for “sugar”. If it’s processed and tastes sweet, don’t eat or drink it.
2. Cheap vegetable oils in any form. Instead use olive oil or coconut oil and eat avocados, macadamia nuts and almonds.
3. Enriched breads and flours
4. Starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, rice and cereals
If you’ve given up 1 through 4, you’ll be hungry. Make sure you increase your intake of good fats and don’t make the mistake of eating too much protein to make up for the loss of necessary calories. This is a tricky adjustment that takes some time to get right. It’s not something that has an exact formula since you are not exactly like anyone else.
My favorite approach is still the Zone Diet. Basically equal amounts of calories from protein, carbohydrates and fat at every meal. Once you establish a baseline you can adjust the percentages to fit your lifestyle and fat loss and/or weight gain goals. I reduce carbohydrates and increase fat intake so I’m like 30% protein, 20% carb and 50% fat. That works for me.
There is a great article in the CrossFit Journal that outlines the Zone Diet, CrossFit Journal Issue 21
If you have any questions about getting started on the Zone or adjusting where you are with it now, just ask Staci or Bill at the gym. We are happy to help you.