Today, the 27th of January, marks the 27th day of my most recent round of extremely clean eating. My wife and I typically eat very well, but we do enjoy our pizzas and our beers and other indulgences from time to time. And we were not impervious to the temptations of the holidays. Cookies. Good God, the cookies.
So from January One, we’ve been engaged in a Whole 30 along with some friends. I’ve done this before, posted about it before. In a very tiny nutshell, the thing is extreme ‘paleo’ – you eat good meat and veg and most fruits in their whole form, but no sugar, nor anything the body will mistake for sugar (no dairy, no wheat or grain, no legumes, no juices, etc.).
I have said in the past and will dedicate but one small line to it here: don’t think I’m doing myself any disservice or missing out. I always hear people say, “Well, what do you eat?” to which I respond, “Dude, I eat like a King.”
So I am not going to rehash old topics.
But as I hit the 27th of 30 days, I realize I am 9/10 of the way through this. I am at the stage where the end is in sight. Monday of the final week. Day Thirty is Thursday, and everyone is assuming Friday is the celebrated return to Pizza Night.
So let me tell you a few of the things I am thinking as I round the final turn into this home stretch.
1. I like waking up alert.
I sleep better. Way better. And I would have thought that would be difficult to say, since I’m the type of guy who equates insomnia with being awake long enough to realize I have not yet fallen asleep. I have never had a problem getting shut-eye.
But what about the other end – the getting up? Did the sleep do what it was supposed to do? Give me rest, so that I am recharged and ready to face the day?
The difference in my morning from then to now is, well, night-and-day. Most days my eyes open of their own accord a few minutes before my alarm because – you know what? – they have got enough rest and are clear and ready to go.
2. The better I eat, the better I work. The better I work, the better I want to eat to continue working better.
Don’t get me wrong. Outside of this month, I enjoy pizza, beer, cheese, wine, ice cream…all that stuff. But I don’t miss it.
And that’s the distinction a lot of people fail to grasp – there’s an enormous difference between the absence of something you enjoy, and missing it.
Missing indicates a deficiency. Believe me: I do not feel deficient. I am performing better in the gym. My personal work is better – better in flow, better in consistency, better in content. I think better, move better.
Why would I want to mess with that for a cake pop?
3. Marketing makes me weep.
All I see is diabetes.
It’s really hard – really hard – to justify ‘treating’ my kids to hydrogenated, modified, -crose injected snacks.
And I’m not even talking about the cheese puffs and Doritos. I mean the ‘heart-healthy’ ‘100-calorie’ ‘protein-enriched’ ‘diet’ bars at the top of the cereal aisle.
4. I love the taste of real food.
If you haven’t done this, you just don’t know.
Ask any parent what it’s like to explain parenting to a non-parent. Until you are in the club, you just cannot know what it is like.
Until you completely cut the sugar out of your diet – and I do mean completely – 90% does not count – you taste and experience everything through the thin veil of a drug. Listen, sugar is in everything. Seriously. And you have only known your diet to include sweetener.
Even when you’ve tried to cut back on calories back in whenever, you still used stevia or honey or agave to give it that sweetness your body craves. Have you asked yourself why you crave it?
Because you – like virtually everyone now – are addicted to sugar. You’ve been drip fed it all your life and going without gives you the only socially acceptable form of the delirium tremens.
Shake it. Shake it off. Find out what food actually tastes like. It’s amazing.
5. I should have waited until February to spend my Christmas money on clothes.
For me, the purpose of this was never about the pounds. For me, it’s always been about the fuel. Better fuel in, better performance out. Makes sense.
But, wow, the useless weight drops off you when you are fueling yourself properly and operating efficiently. I need to take my belt down to the basement and punch yet another hole in it and am trying to determine if I can return these trousers for a slimmer waist with a clear conscience or if I am going to have to suck it up and take them to a tailor.
The real reason I wanted to write today, however, is that 9/10 mark. I recognized it as the same number so many people give me when they talk to me about eating well. It’s the one i probably have used myself on countless occasions. “I eat well…about 90% of the time.”
Yep. That’s probably true. But that 10% does disproportionate damage.
Go clean. Thirty days. You’ll be amazed.