We love Whole30® success stories, don’t you? And we especially love this short but sweet story from Ken K. who navigated his way through the program thanks to his Italian wife’s great cooking, his love of cycling, and despite his longing for just one glass of wine (he held off until dinner of day 31). Go Ken!
In Ken K.’s Own Words…
In December 2012 I was not a happy camper. Back from business trip to Malaysia, I found myself weighing 221 lbs at 5’11”, bloated, low energy. Sleepy in the afternoon, wide awake at 3:00AM. My blood pressure was often 140/90. I skipped breakfast, survived the morning on black coffee, then had a “nutrition” bar for lunch. When I got home, I’d make a sandwich or two, crack a beer or three, and eat continuously until bedtime. I looked at some recent photos and decided something needed to change. I was always intrigued by Crossfit and ran across Whole30 while searching options. I bought It Starts With Food and dug into some of the scientific references. Solid stuff!
As an old, club-level cyclist I had looked at a number of nutrition options. Younger Next Year offered the generic “Don’t eat crap, and you know what crap is!” approach. Racing Weight provided a meal-by-meal approach. Neither took hold for me. I found that the Whole30 offered a perfect middle ground of rigor and freedom. Being married to a native Italian, it was scary to eliminate pasta, bread and cheese but liberating to eat my fill of a wide variety of wonderful fresh vegetables, meats and fruit. And my wife’s superb cooking skills made it easier to change our diet.
After emptying the refrigerator of holiday leftover food and champagne on January 1st, I set off on my first Whole30. I was challenged by business trips to Boston and Kentucky during Week 1, but found sympathetic restaurant staff offering plain protein and double veggies which made for an easy start. The anticipated longings for pasta and bread that I feared never materialized. My energy levels were a a bit low in the first 10 days, but I recovered strongly in the third week.
By Week 3 I was experiencing real benefits in improved sleep, consistent energy levels, lack of hunger, and reduced joint inflammation. This seemed too good to be true. In addition, my pants were a bit looser. My palate had changed dramatically, to where plain sweet potato now tasted like candy and subtle differences in kale, collard greens, and spinach wee apparent. (I was longing for a glass of good wine, though!)
By the end of 30 days people were commenting on the positive changes in my appearance and demeanor, but nobody but me could experience the changes inside – greatly improved energy (no more falling asleep in the boss’s afternoon meetings!), sound sleep – either through the night or easily falling back to sleep after a “pit stop”, and zero hunger. Although I joked about wine for breakfast on day 31, I waited all the way until dinner.
When I weighed after my first Whole30 I was pleasantly surprised to see a loss of 14 pounds. This happened without any hunger or real effort on my part – just eating real, delicious, whole foods for 30 days. My cycling activity stayed about the same through this period so all the blame goes to diet quality.
Surprisingly, I did not miss pasta, bread, cheese or sweets during my Whole30 but I did miss the relaxing qualities of wine and beer. I added these “essential” items back into my diet in moderation but remained strict on eliminating grains, dairy & legumes. The results were too good to argue!
I am now almost 5 months into my Whole9 life experience and couldn’t be happier. This week my weight is 186 lbs – a 35 lb drop from the start of the year. My sleep continues to be excellent, and joint inflammation is low. Last weekend I participated in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic and finished in an acceptable 4:06. BP this morning was 115/75.
I’m planning to lose another 10-15 lbs over the summer before a planned bicycle trip to the high mountains of Italy. In the next few weeks I plan to test reintroduction of pasta, bread and cheese as it is hard to imagine a trip to Italy without these “essential” food groups.
Thank you Melissa & Dallas for compiling this critical nutrition info into such an easy-to-digest package. It has truly changed my life!
-Ken K., Albuquerque, NM
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