So the 21 Day Challenge is over and I couldn’t be happier. While I did report feeling better in several different ways in my week 1 and week 2 updates, in the end I don’t think it was worth it. Cutting carbs completely out of my diet was probably my biggest mistake. While I did lose 6 pounds in just 18 days, I was constantly hungry and didn’t necessarily feel significantly better than I do on any normal day of eating bread, rice, or oatmeal. I think the only positive was not drinking alcohol.
By day 20 I had already broken a few of the parameters I had set for myself. I was drinking coffee with milk all the time and I drank alcohol on three occassions. My girlfriend thankfully told me to snap out of it and start being normal again.
After three weeks, I realized this wasn’t so much a “challenge” as it was figuring things out about my diet and the way I operate. It really taught me that I just need to do everything in moderation. My personality is usually to go all in with something – either good or bad. I’m disciplined in the sense that I can go 3 weeks without a carb, but on the other side I can also inhale fifteen beers and four slices of pizza the next night.
So, in retrospect I would call this a 21-Day Cleanse – moreso to figure out what foods trigger different reaction in your body. When you eliminate alcohol, dairy, and bread for an extended period of time and then try to re-introduce them you realize the crazy reactions your body may or may not have to them. Similar to if a vegetarian re-introduces meat. Because you’re so used to eating bread or cheese all the time, you probably are just used to the feeling you get after. Groggy, bloated, lethargic. But that isn’t necessarily normal. If you’re getting those feelings you should probably try giving those foods up for a few weeks and seeing the effect it has on your overall well-being.
My main takeways from the 21 Day Challenge:
- My body feels worse when I drink coffee with milk (but I also love coffee with milk)
- My body feels WAY worse when I have over two alcoholic drinks (obvious)
- Vodka/soda is the only drink that doesn’t necessarily make me feel bad
- I feel awesome, look better (skin and muscle tone), and have better overall stamina when I do sauna sessions 3 or more times per week
- My posture and attitude are better when I don’t drink
- Eliminating fruits was dumb. From now on I’ll try to eat one serving of fruit a day and/or substitute any dessert food like cookies with fruit
- Bananas do have a weird effect on my stomach, so may limit those
- Have one cheat day per week – Saturday most likely
- This allows you the flexibility and freedom to go to brunch and have waffles, or go to an Italian restaurant and unload on pasta
- Also helps reset and rev up your metabolism after it gets used to eating a certain way and starts to slow down
- Walking 10,000 steps a day is something every single person should try to do no matter what
- Even if you did nothing or have a shitty day, you still feel like you accomplished something, and 10,000 steps is not easy
- Kombucha helps alot when after you eat something bad
Me being stupid, I totally forgot to weight myself in my after photo. Based on how I felt, I’d say I probably lost about 5 lbs. give or take. So if you’re trying to lose weight, I wouldn’t recommend this diet. If you’re trying to see what your body reacts to and what is your optimal diet, I would say to try this out.
You can tell how thrilled I am in both pictures. On the left was January 1st where I was probably about 187 lbs. on the right was January 20th and weighed approximately 182 lbs. (estimated). Not too much of a difference other than pushing out my stomach and flexing. Muscle tone is a bit better but most of that came primarily from working out regularly and not drinking alcohol.
I’m really interested in learning about the effects that food and drink have on your body and how to choose the optimal diet for feeling and performing better. As always, if you have tried something similar and have different opinions or findings, please post a comment or reach out to me.
Main takeaway – take it easy on the booze