10 years ago Ede and I, housemates and best friends, reached a point where we were determined to lose some weight and gain some control over our eating habits. We adopted the guidelines set forth in the Schwarzbein Principle, which we referred to as a “moderate-carb eating plan.” Dr. Schwarzbein’s plan was developed through her work with diabetic patients, and the core principle is to keep insulin response at a healthy level. This is achieved by limiting carb intake relative to physical activity (with the elimination of sugar/sweeteners and pasta, and preference for complex carbs over simple). This provides some incentive to increase activity levels, since this allows for more carbs at each meal (thus providing more freedom with our meal ingredients).
Ede and I would sit down together each weekend to hammer out a meal plan. We found a measure of comfort in planning our meals and shopping together. (It also helped that we only had to make half of the meals in any given week!) We also ran together, until my knee gave out. Overall, our Schwarzbein-based eating plan was successful for us, albeit to varying extents. The years have passed, however, and over the past 5-7 years we have put on all the weight we once lost, and then some.
We both have young kids and can’t help but notice how much we struggle to keep up with them physically, and we find ourselves struggling to find the energy to tend our vocations/avocations, our relationships, and our living spaces. We want to feel better. We want to eat better. But we struggle. We know we should eat more vegetables, but how do we cook them? Sure, we can probably bear down and spend a month, or three, eating bland and tasteless food in the name of weight loss and vitamin absorption. But will our kids eat it? Will our husbands eat it, and join us in the cooking of it? Will we eat it, several months down the line? We know we should cook whole foods instead of grabbing takeout, but we lack the energy. To meal plan. To shop. To cook, to clean, to keep this all running day after day…. We want things to change, but it is very hard to be the sole agent of that change.
And so, we have turned to each other once more. We live several states away from each other now, but we’ve done this together before, and we know how to give each other support. And we have the internet.
To jumpstart this journey, we have decided to start by using the Whole 30 elimination diet. The Whole 30 is, essentially, a strict Paleo diet, which eliminates foods that paleo nutrition theorists believe are detrimental to the body. This means: no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no sweeteners for 30 days. At the end of the 30-day period, food groups can be slowly reintroduced in order to gauge whether your body has difficulty digesting those items. During those 30 days, we will be planning meals together (thanks to the wonders of Google Docs and a shared & inordinate love of spreadsheets), and cooking as many new recipes as we (and our family) can stand. We will post recipe reports to the blog. and hopefully we will also have time to discuss our experiences with Whole 30, meal planning, cooking, weight loss, etc.
One month doesn’t seem nearly long enough to master new skills and develop new habits (much less to lose all the weight we need to shed!), so when the Whole30 ends, we will put our heads together and decide “what next?”