Butch… and weight loss. Part Three
Part Three – Not Preaching to the Choir and MONEY
When we embarked on the Whole 30, we didn’t tell anyone. It was a lot like when we started trying to get pregnant – my wife told her sister and I told my BFF, and that was it. We weren’t being shady, we just didn’t want the continuous checking-in of folks (some people call this “support”) to see how things were going. I suppose we’re just private like that.
When we started eating Paleo, and I only lasted a few days until I told my friend Madeline (paleo cult evangelist) and a co-worker who had been eating gluten-free for a few months. Madeline (and her blog) was a wealth of information, and my co-worker was someone I could talk to daily about the woes adjusting to grainless living. We didn’t want to tell anyone (but each other, in whimpers) how sugar withdrawal made us have cold, clammy sweats and a bad taste in our mouth for days. Really, cause co-workers don’t wanna know that shit. So we kept it to ourselves.
But then people started asking us questions. What’s that you’re having for lunch? You look great – what have you been doing? We started out lying… oh, you know – just eating more vegetables! Cutting back on white flour! Then we eventually cracked under the constant pressure – FINE FINE! WE’RE EATING PALEO!! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? *sob*
But the truth is, like anything, Paleo isn’t for everyone. Go Vegan (my doctor is). Vegetarian (some of my best friends are vegetarians). Sugar busters (quit that cola habit). Spinning Classes (one friend became a spinning teacher). Weight Watchers (count yer points!). Water Aerobics (move over, old ladies!). I don’t particularly care what makes you feel better and gets you feeling healthier. Or don’t do anything at all! Whatevs!
Suddenly, though, we’ve become Paleo Educators, which includes spending a lot of time correcting people’s misconceptions of paleo. Or primal, even, considering that we’re more in that camp, since we do eat some dairy on occasion. It’s not a “diet” as one lady in my office calls it disparagingly – “Oh, are you still on that crazy diet?” Sigh. I mean, yes it’s a “diet” in the Webster’s dictionary definition of “diet” but it’s a lifestyle (GROAN) and total readjustment of what I put in my mouth.
Here’s a link (including an awesome diagram) for you curious folks who are wondering what the difference between Paleo, Primal, and Atkins is. Go forth and educate yourselves. If you want. Or don’t. Whatevs!
Mostly, in all of my overweight existence (seriously – this shit started when I was like, ten years old), this is the first thing ever that doesn’t make me feel like I’m torturing myself. Then again, some people are tortured by eating meat. Or paying for bulk bacon! Some people think eating bacon and red meat will lead you to the grave in a matter of moments. Maybe for some people, it will. For me, a breakfast consisting of coffee with cream and sugar, alongside a bowl of cereal with milk, followed by a chicken salad bagel sandwich for lunch and taco night dinners was doing me in.
So the people who ask us about the Church of Paleo always want to know what it’s about. And as soon as we say no beans/corn/soy/etc. they totally freak out. Like I did. What do you MEAN I can’t have a peanut butter sandwich on white bread?? That’s it – I can’t do it. Or people who swear they can’t give up cereal. Really? Cereal? It means so much to you to eat cereal? Shit – I LOVE me some cereal – for every meal y’all, but not enough to give up my smaller pants size.
Or the money issue, which, I admit, was an issue at first. But, just like learning to adjust a family budget for a car payment, or insurance increase, or medical bills, it just had to be done. Once we stocked our pantry with coconut oil and almond flour, it got less insane. Also, when you’re not eating a lot of things, it really puts a damper on going out to lunch. Or breakfast. Or dinner. Or getting home and thinking, “Ugh, I don’t WANT whatever’s on the menu for tonight – let’s just order Chinese/Pizza!” Because that shit ain’t an option, yo!
We also cut back on our cable bill (I know, I know – imagine all the food we could eat if we didn’t HAVE cable), and leaned a bit harder on our credit card at the very beginning.
Nowadays, weekly menus are methodically planned out. We dig through circulars. We buy what’s on sale. We put the menu on the kitchen counter and it stares back at us saying HBE (hard-boiled egg) and fruit for so.many.breakfasts. I’ve found myself referring to my lunch as “lunch.” A means to an end. I don’t have to like it (but I usually do), but I know it’ll fuel or replenish my gym efforts, and get me to dinner without crashing and burning around 3pm. Lunch success.
We make three meals (for two people and a toddler) out of a $8 grocery store rotisserie chicken – dinner, lunch, and if we’re lucky, boil the carcass for chicken stock. I pick that fucking chicken to death (I know, it’s already dead), and then I pick it some more. Really – nothing makes you feel more primal than tearing a cooked chicken apart with your bare hands.
In conclusion, now that people knoooooowwww there’s the misconception that we just can never ever have some things. Eating those chips and salsa when friends are in town over the weekend? Not gonna kill us. A major part of what has been successful, for me at least, has been taking ownership of what goes in, or doesn’t go in, my mouth. No one is making me eat a tortilla chip. And you bet your ass I had a slice of non-paleo apple pie for my birthday. And while watching football, I drink a non-paleo beer.
We make some concessions here and there, but loaves of white bread or boxes of white pasta (and donuts and bagels) never find their way into our grocery cart on a weekly basis like they used to. My wife said the other night, “In the past two months, I haven’t once thought, ‘Man, I’d really like some black beans!'” which is something that was a staple in our diet every week. Why, black beans, why?!
For us, this isn’t something of a superiority of my-diet-is-better-than-your-diet because who the hell knows? All I know is that this works for us. Do what works for you. Or don’t. Whatevs! I will say that if you’ve “tried everything” and “nothing works” or something worked but you put it all back on, give the Whole 30 and these paleo shenanigans a shot.
Coming up, Part Four – Resources and information