BWYWTB – Post-Whole 30 fears and experiences

Well it’s been a few days so lets take a step back and see what’s been going on.  I am pleased to say I have yet to fall off the wagon.  I am still eating clean, no real processed foods, no added or artificial sugars, no serious carbs (outside of shabbat which I’ll get to) and basically have been keeping to a paleo-esque diet.  Being at work is still the hardest  when it comes to staying on this path.  Between the stress and the readily available junk to consume, which I did to deal with the stress and soldier on day-to-day.  Everyday I go in there and want an energy drink, a candy bar, a bag of chips…go ahead, it’s only one, it won’t make that big of a difference, just one little snack, one soda, you’re not on any program now, do it, get one, now one more, now get ten, shove them all in your face, DO IT!  DO IT NOW!!

I’m afraid.  Like, genuinely afraid.  Not unlike a recovering alcoholic who has to stay away from bars because those neon lights call them back for another round.  It happened tonight.  In an attempt to get rid of our remaining junk we cooked up some tater tots to go with dinner for the kids.  Turkey burgers and sweet potatoes with a spinach salad was my dinner.  But those tater tots.  Y’all don’t know.  I could pound them back and it took EVERY ounce of willpower not to grab a handful of them and stuff my face.  However, I knew if I went for one serving I would have seven.  So, I opted for none.  My wife Rachel even remarked that we had some left over.  Of course we do!  Usually I eat ALL of the left overs.

Shabbat I introduced carbs back into my diet.  We decided to make whole wheat challah, got a great recipe from our rebbetzin and made enough for about three weeks.  I also had to control myself in that.  I wanted the whole loaf to myself and the hummus as well.  I had two pieces but still felt a bit bloated and gross that night and the day after.  However I had the hummus and bread together so I’m not sure which it was.


I had considered using almond or coconut flour to make the next batch but I am not certain you can say the brachah (blessing) of “HaMotzei” over a non-grain based bread.  That creates some complications I’d rather avoid and frankly I don’t think once a week will be horrible, but I have to check my ego at the door and not let the carb dragon take over.

This is my grocery haul from Wegmans.  Their markdowns on kosher meats are amazing!  I think I have enough meat for the next two weeks, which is good considering how expensive it can get.  We also got supplies to try out a paleo cookie recipe.  I will let you guys know how they turn out later in the week.

For now I’m taking it a day at a time.  I hope, whatever you are working on, you are doing the same.  

BWYWTB = Be Where You Want To Be

The place you never imagined you could be.

After Whole 30 – The Next Chapter 

So here we are at the other side of this whole process.  Now where does the blog go from here?  I have committed to a change in my life and I want to make this a place where I will share my continued travel of self-improvement, my successes and pit-falls, and hopefully connect with more people who are looking to change as well. On that note I took some time and emptied out some of my drawers and my closet of everything that was too big.

This is one way I want to keep myself on this track.  I won’t have anything to wear!  I don’t have anything to wear now honestly.  Well that’s not entirely true, but I find I have more warm weather clothes that seem to fit.  I need to do some shopping.  What other motivating factors have you used in your own journey?

I’m now writing from Goodwill.  We originally went looking for clothes to use for our Purim costumes.  Now that there are 5 of us we’re going as The Incredibles this year.  It’ll be nice to look more like Mr. Incredible in the third act and not like him in the start of the second when he’s all out of shape.  Anywho I also picked up some jeans that will fit properly now.  34’s.  Still hard to believe.

I don’t see myself writing everyday.  I think this will be a once or twice a week thing.  Please check me out and follow me over on Twitter @huffrants.  

Also I just made a joke about sausages and my wife is losing it, unable to finish our conversation.

You’re welcome.

The Whole 30 – Day 31 PLEASE ALLOW ME TO REINTRODUCE MYSELF

I wanted to share this picture.  It is from early fall 2015, after the birth of my youngest son, and I’m tipping the scale at probably my heaviest at around 230lbs.

This is a selfie I actually took before coming home to find my wife had made yet another life choice for me (love you honey!).  At this point I am 207lbs.

I never took full body shots BECAUSE of how my body looked.  I was incredibly self conscience about my body.  I think that’ll change moving forward…

Holy crap!  That’s me!  That’s really me.  I still can’t believe it, even though I know it’s me, I can’t remember looking and feeling this good!

2 pants sizes in a month and that is a shirt I got some years ago that I was NEVER able to wear….until now son!!!!  And the final weigh in?

17 pounds in a month!  And mostly because I gave up all the garbage I had been eating and reevaluated my relationship with food!  Toss in some serious workouts 3-4 times a week, BANG!!  

I feel incredible and my hope is that if you are reading this and you’re not that you become motivated to change.  Any positive change in your life MUST begin with you.  No one is going to do it for you and it’s not magic.  I waited 35 years for some simple, magical way to be healthier, but the truth was it required dedication, hard work and discipline.  And if you don’t think giving up sugar and carbs require that, think again.  I’m still struggling, especially when I’m stressed.

So figure out what you need to motivate you.  Maybe it’s a challenge like the Whole 30.  Hopefully it’s not something more drastic, like a visit to the ER.  Whatever it is, grab onto it and don’t let go, because when you find yourself in the place you never thought you could be, it’ll be completely worth it.

The Whole 30 – Day 30 At the end of the line

Well here we are folks.  Day 30.  It’s crazy to think I managed this for a whole month.  When I think about what I’ve learned it’s honestly nothing I didn’t already know about myself and food, but this is the first time I’ve seen and felt the physical effects in a positive way.  To really see the impact sugar and garbage food had on my body as I slowly worked it all out of my system was eye opening.  Now I feel compelled to help others see how, by taking control of their relationship with food, they can feel better.  I don’t know that I would become a spokesman for Whole 30 or DDPYoga but I do highly recommend both.  At the very least a low sugar/carb diet and some kind of exercise aside from just “getting your steps in.”  If your exercise is counting steps it’s because you’re one of my running fanatic friends.  I was 230lbs at one point and I was walking more than 10,000 steps a day, so there you go.  Granted I work in retail so my body is accustomed to it but you gotta get the heart rate going to really make it worth anything.  

For me DDPYoga has been my choice of exercise.  Between the sports I played in school, damage to my body from weight, and working and walking on concrete, constantly bending over, I needed something to strengthen my back.  And that’s when I came across Diamond Dallas Page’s yoga program.  Combining yoga, strength training through dynamic resistance and sports therapy it is an all around workout that gets the heart rate going in a low impact way.

Yeah, that guy is a yogi.  

On a parenting note the kids all seem to be doing better.  I cloroxed and lysoled their bedroom and the kitchen yesterday.  I will probably do the same with the living room and dining room today.  Just tired of all these sick kiddies. 

Tomorrow is the big day folks.  Get excited!  Eeeeeee!

The Whole 30 – Day 29 Looking Ahead…

I’ve been thinking about my post-Whole 30 life.  Some people have asked me what do I do next.  I’ve already talked about how I do not plan to reintroduce sugar nor will I bring back in processed foods.  I will probably do a bit of a paleo style diet.  I may reincorporare a small amount of dairy but seeing as I didn’t eat much dairy to begin with it won’t be much of a change.  Some complex and whole grains, mostly for Shabbat.  I don’t know about meat substitutes like soy.  Beans definitely as well as quinoa and chickpeas in the form of hummus, but I’ll have to make sure the ingredients stay pretty simple otherwise I’ll probably make it myself.  Alcohol will be the hardest.  I really enjoy a good beer or some whiskey so I will have to moderate.  I know I already have some form of allergy to some kinds of alcohol because of how fast my face becomes flushed when I drink them.  If I feel like I’m unable to moderate I may have to cut booze out entirely. 😭😭

This has been an eye opening and life changing experience for me and my family.  For years I’ve tried to do diets and exercise, never really getting long lasting results.  Now that I understand more about my relationship with food I feel as though I am better equipped than ever before to move forward in my life healthier and happier.  And if I have times that I eat the wrong types of things, say eating too much during the High Holidays or when we go on the cruise I want my wife and I to take next summer…I can just go back to a Whole 30 cleanse and reset and begin again.

On a different note my wife’s doctor’s visit went well.  She actually lost more weight, but then she’s been eating what I eat, clean and healthy.  It seems the weight she lost is mostly all of her own sugar fats.  Her doctor said that all of her blood work and tests came back good, she’s not even anemic anymore which is something she’s had a problem with for years.  He recommended just making sure to increase her caloric intake, up to about 1800 a day.  “I don’t normally recommend ice cream to my patients but in your case it wouldn’t hurt.”  She’s going to try to keep track of her food more but if after a few months of that she still hasn’t gained, being skinny might just be her new norm.  “You’ve got little kids you keep up with, you’re active enough, just eat whenever you’re hungry.”  But she’s healthy otherwise which is great news and we both want her to gain weight in a way that will be healthy as well.  It feels good to have her on this health journey with me, even if her path is different from mine.

Tomorrow’s the last day.  Be on the lookout Wednesday for weigh in results and some before/after pics!

The Whole 30 – Days 26/27/28 Being confident in my own skin

First, sorry for not posting sooner.  Normally after my grocery run I sit down and write but my daughter had a fever of 101.4 and then went up to 103 in four hours so I am currently writing this from the hospital.  They seem to to think it’s strep throat which is awesome.  She’s currently eating a popsicle and seems fine.  The bill should be equally awesome.

One thing I have felt recently is more confidence overall.  I am not trying to sound vain but having lost this weight and beginning to look the way I never thought I could has given me, even in some small way, a boost of confidence.  

This past friday I was asking my wife if she had ever seen me this…small. She said probably not since we started dating some 14 years ago.  Then she turns to me and says, “Go try on the suit from Kearny and Leonne’s wedding and lets see.”  The wedding in question was of two good friends of mine that got married not long before we started dating.  So I go and pull the suit from the back of my closet, mind you the last time I had worn it I couldn’t even button the pants closed.  The pants slid on with ease now, even with some room to spare.  And the jacket swallowed me.  I came out and showed her.  I was now smaller than when we first started dating.  I think both of our minds were blown.

Wearing these shirts and pants I haven’t worn in years…fitting into them properly…I don’t know, I never thought it was possible.  I had accepted that I would always be a big guy.  When people would ask me abouy getting in shape I would respond, “Round is a shape!”  Now I go grocery shopping and I see what people are getting their kids and I want to grab it out of their hands and yell at them.  It’s a bit ridiculous I know, but now I feel like I’m that guy looking at all the packaging and screaming about how much sugar is in the food.  Even Trader Joe’s, TRADER JOES  has organic ketchup and mustard…and the friggin 3rd ingredient is sugar!  Why!?!?!  TJ, you are the reason I have trust issues.

Well apparently my oldest son is bored so I guess I’m giving up my phone so he can play a game while we wait.  More tomorrow.

The Whole 30 – Days 24/25 Snack-aholic

I’m sure everyone is wondering how my chicken nuggets turned out.  Well…they turned out DELICIOUS!

Not the best picture but they were really good.  Almond meal with some of that Garlic and Herb spice I like.  I also made homemade fries with the same stuff…now that was dangerous.  I could feel myself being compelled to go for more and more helpings of them.  Granted they weren’t, per se, bad but too much of something, anything, can be bad.  And I could feel my beast coming out wanting more, more, MORE!!!  GET THE KETCHUP!!  DROWN IT IN THAT SHIT!!!  YEAHHHHH!!!! NOM NOM NOM!!!  Also thought I’d toss up my new tuna patties I’ve been making.

The addition of that yellow pepper to my salat was a welcomed change. That my son likes them too is a huge bonus, trying to get the whole family to eat a little healthier, a little cleaner.

I was reading a posting from another writer about her own battle with food and it got me thinking about my own struggle.  And I feel like such a whiney little snowflake when I talk about it because…I mean…what the hell is that anyways?  I’m not on drugs or a drunk or someone with a REAL problem, I just need to put the fork down, right.  I’m not blaming or asking for pity, but it’s something I came to realize a long time ago.  It was one night and I had left a learning session with someone I was studying with at the time and for literally NO REASON I went to the grocery store to pick up a snack.  I wasn’t hungry.  I didn’t have other, real, food to purchase.  I didn’t even really want anything.  I was just compelled to go and buy a bag chips or ice cream or anything inherently bad for me.  I felt like I HAD to have something because…reasons???  I remember thinking how insane this was, that I should just go home…but I bought something anyways!!  It wasn’t the first time that happened and it wasn’t the last.  It was then I realized I had a problem with food.  More specifially sugar in one form or another and all of the artificial ingredients that come with it.  

You would think I would do something about that then and there.  But I didn’t.  I went on living like that.  Even when I tried to be healthy I still messed it up.  Get some good exercise in so I can excuse crushing a bag of sour cream & onion chips later.  Not a small bag…a regular size bag…or maybe even the family/party size.  I feel ridiculous talking about it like I’m at an AA meeting, but that’s how you have to deal with any problem.  I still feel the urge to eat ALL of those things.  But then again I fit comfortably into a pair of 46 pants from Israel I had left.  They use the European scale which I’m told the equivalent size in US is a 30???  Really??  Never in my adult life have I EVER fit into a 30.  I’m thinking about hitting up the stores and trying some pants on.  The way I feel and the way I look keep me focused on not back sliding.  So I have a problem.

My name is Huff and I’m a snack-aholic.

The Whole 30 – Day 23 Variety

One of the things about the Whole 30 which gets people is a lack of variety.  That’s not to say you can’t have variety in the program but it requires more work, more prep than most people are used to.  I think I, as well as my family, have reached that point.  So to change things up I got some different veggies and that almond meal from Trader Joe’s.  I got the chance to use it with some tuna yesterday.  Usually I’ll make a tuna salad for lunch but I was really craving a tuna melt which is clearly not compliant.  So I made Tuna Patties instead…and they were AMAZING.  Two cans of tuna fish, two eggs, two tbsp of almond meal and some spices.

Just…imagine…you can see them and my roasted potatoes.  They were delicious!!  One of my favorite spices is McCormick Garlic and Herb.

Everything is better with a little garlic in it.  And there’s nothing but hebs and spices, no weird stuff, no crap.

I have to give mad props to my wifey who constantly amazes me.  She’s been trying to start up an Etsy business (RaccoonArt and @Raccoonart1 on twitter and instagram, go check her out).  She’s always been super creative but this new purpose has made her even better.  Take this for example:

A tree of life pendant.  She made.  100% by hand.  That’s.  Insane!  She’s got a bunch of other stuff on her page but I feel like her talent gets better and better all the time.  Also she’s managed to get up early 3 whole days in a row!  Now that may not seem like much to some of you but her getting up at 6 (ish) and starting her day with yoga is a huge win for her.  Getting started in the day has been a lifelong struggle and I’m happy and proud to see her working on changing that.

It’s all about celebrating small victories in our house!  Also I bought a scale for the big weigh in next week.  Tonight I’m going to do up some chicken nuggets, hopefully I’ll remember to document the evidence before I inhale it all.

The Whole 30 – Day 22 Grocery Haul

So, hit up Trader Joe’s and Wegmans yesterday (day 21) and thought I might share what we picked up and some of the meals we’ll be doing up.

First off, chicken and turkey from Wegmans.  Probably the best regular price on Kosher meat around here.  What I typically do is cook the whole chicken at the beginning of the week (which is currently cooking) and eat that for lunch at work over the course of the week.  One pack of chicken breast to go with the almond meal I got from Trader Joe’s and BAM I got compliant chicken nuggets son!  The ground turkey will make turkey burgers and we’ll do that with kale.

As you can see I’ve already opened the cucumbers for breakfast.  

Boiled eggs, salat and some cashews for good measure.  Very tasty and filling.  I also got more potatoes but I’m going to try to moderate on those a bit.  I find that I try to use them to fill my carb cravings.  We also got a pack of salmon as well and did up a salmon and broccoli dish with melted coconut oil and garlic.  It was fantastic!!

That’s the before picture.  I don’t have an after one because we ate it (haha).  But super yummy and we used organic frozen broccoli florets which were perfect.  18 minutes at 375 and you were good to go!  We’ll probably roast some the peppers as a side this week and there will be plenty of spinach salads as well.  Kale I never thought I would like but when cooked right they are phenomenal!  Also I have to be careful with the Larabars.  I don’t want to replace my candy eating with a bunch of those.  Plus those bad boys aren’t cheap.  A big box of them is $15!  And we’re buying two at a time, one for me and one for the kids’ lunch and we’re killing them both in a week’s time.  Yeesh!

But speaking of a week, that’s all I’ve got left!  Well a week from tomorrow anyways.  And then next Wednesday we will see what the scale results are.  I can’t wait.  

(PS you can find me on twitter now @huffrants )

The Whole 30 – Days 19/20/21 Stress Eating

Meal prepping, it’s a thing I need to get better at.  I left work this morning for my usual 4 am shift with nothing ready to take.  Luckily I was able to get something to eat at work.  A potato I baked in the microwave, an avocado and a banana was breakfast.  I was going to grab some tuna fish but all of the tuna has vegetable broth…which has soy…not compliant.

This weekend we did venture out as far as eating goes.  We were invited out for Shabbat lunch and our hosts were very accomodating with a multitude of salads and grilled chicken.  Delicious!!  There was this avocado dish with hearts of palm…Amazeballs!!  Also my plate had so many colors!  I heard once that a healthy meal should be very colorful from the different vegetables and fruits, the colors symptomatic of the nutrients unique to each plant.  For most of us the colors too often come from artificial ingredients  (should Mountain Dew glow like that?). 

 Also they made a whole wheat challah that I think I’m going to have to get the recipe for so I can make it post-Whole 30 for shabbat.  Also I need to switch up some of my dishes, apparently the kids are getting tired of potatoes and, frankly,  so am I.  So today’s list also includes Kale, spinach and peppers.  Also I’m getting almond and coconut flour to make chicken tenders/nuggets!  Super pumped.

However ups come with downs and today I had a massive case of stress eating hit me and it took every bit of energy to not shove a candy bar in my face.  I’ve been thinking about work, money, and the future and just the amount of pressure I’m putting on myself had me incredibly stressed out and all I wanted to do was eat to releave my stress.  To say the struggle is real would be an understatement.  But I got a Larabar and was able to handle the overload of emotions in a relatively healthy way.  After this grocery run I’ll probably hit up some DDPYoga to burn some more of it off.  Maybe I’ll do a grocery hall post next time, let everyone see what I’m eating for my last full week of the Whole 30!!