As far as dieting is concerned, this weekend was the worst. Like, weepy, tear-inducing, stomach-growling, low-energy worst. I was ready to throw in the towel.
Despite its many redeeming qualities, the downside to this diet is that almost everything that is allowed on the diet requires refrigeration and/or heat. Most veggies and meats cannot be left alone at room temperature for long periods of time and then consumed. Many fruits can, but they’re not recommended in quantities large enough to sustain in a meal capacity.
Enter weekend retreat. As I said in my last post, Jonathan and I had a retreat this weekend that required us to stay in a hotel overnight and eat lunch served there. This means that I was pretty much at the mercy of the retreat hosts to provide a meal that was Whole 30 approved (and we know very few are). I also had to manage dinner and breakfast without cooking. Difficult, but perceptibly manageable.
But here’s how the weekend went down:
Eggs and Sausage and Larabar
I discovered right away that this weekend, I’d have to go with the essence of the program and not be so restrictive with every single rule. I know this doesn’t lead to the best results, but I have absolutely no way of knowing whether the scrambled “eggs” at the hotel breakfast bar were made with dairy, or whether the sausage was cured with sugar. But I had a long day ahead of me. So I piled my paper plate with “eggs” and a few sausage links. I attempted to also get some fruit, but the sliced fruit was picked over, and the whole fruit was bruised or burst open (i.e., bananas… ew.). You may be wondering why I keep putting “eggs” in quotes. It’s because I discovered after one bite that the they tasted disgustingly fake. They must have been powdered and then pumped up with milk or water or something. Anyway, I deemed them inedible, and moved onto the two chicken sausage links I had on my plate. Probably not compliant, so I only had two links. And then I popped out a Larabar and ate it as well. Banana bread Larabar. Yum!
Lunch= Kroger Chef Salad
Being the prudent person I usually am, I stopped at Kroger on the way to the retreat and bought a chef salad from the deli section: Lettuce, cucumbers, ham, turkey, cheese, boiled egg. Although I didn’t have a fridge at the retreat, it was pretty cold, so the salad stayed pretty good until lunch. And it was a good thing, as pizza was served. Mellow Mushroom– my favorite! But I just ate my salad after removing the cheese. Again, it was probably not 100% Whole 30 compliant, as I’m sure there was sugar in the ham. But I stuck to the spirit, which was the main thing.
Snack= 1/2 Apple
The other sad part about this diet as it kind of isolates you from other people who aren’t dieting. As part of the retreat, we were asked to bring one snack that could be shared with the group. We brought a bag of Cape Cod chips for Jonathan. Not surprisingly, there were a lot of other snacks there– none of which were Whole 30 approved. So while others were conversing around the snack table, I could only look at it. And my stomach was grumbling. I had taken the least bruised apple I could find that morning at the hotel, and so I ate as much of that as I could, which was about half.
Dinner= Two Bunless Chicken Sandwiches
By dinner time I was so hungry I thought my stomach was going to implode. I was getting lightheaded and moody.
We had decided to go see Star Wars (probably the last two people on earth to see the movie) after our retreat and only had time to pick up a quick bite. We chose this restaurant called Cook Out,which is Jonathan’s favorite fast food restaurant, and I ordered two chicken sandwiches with lettuce and tomato, and then removed the buns. I probably looked like a savage, the way I ate those tiny pieces of chicken, but I was so hungry. And after finishing the second sandwich, much to my dismay, I was still hungry! And we were about to go to the movies, with its popcorn and sticky soda scent. It was hard to abstain, not because I wanted popcorn and nachos, but because I wanted more food. But alas, I sat down and watched the movie, and then we went to bed.
Breakfast= Eggs and Sausage
I’d actually stayed up for a good hour before bed contemplating what on Earth I was going to do about breakfast and lunch today. The hotel’s breakfast was out, and I knew a salad wasn’t going to get me through the day.
So we went to McDonalds. Again, I know what I ate probably had remnants of forbidden foods within it (dairy and sugar), but I kept to the spirit of the program. I ordered the Big Breakfast, which comes with scrambled eggs, sausage, a biscuit, and hash brown. I sighed to think that I’d only be eating the eggs and sausage, and leaving the yummy biscuit (the hash brown I could take or leave).
As an added temptation, once we had driven out of the drive thu and were on our way, I noticed that they’d accidentally given me a Big Breakfast with Hot Cakes. Next to my eggs and sausage, two beautifully fluffy pancakes were staring back at me. I sighed, put them next to the biscuit that would never be eaten, and ate my breakfast.
Lunch= Atlanta Bread Company Boxed Lunch
By this point I had decided that, whatever we had for lunch today, if I could make it work, I would. But if not, I’d just have to break the diet for today. I was so tired of all the restrictions at this point. It was taking too much brain power. And maybe not worth it? I thought of my end goal and how it might take an extra week or so to reach it if I introduced processed foods back into my body, but it was a risk I was willing to take at this point.
Thankfully, we had boxed lunch sandwiches. I was so grateful for that! I got a turkey sandwich, from which I removed the bread and cheese, and wrapped the turkey around the lettuce and tomato to make a turkey roll-up. I also have to admit that I ate the little baggie of chips that were in the box. I know it’s technically forbidden, but all of the ingredients were allowed: Oil, potatoes, salt. So I ate them. Because I figured of the rest of my lunch (bread, cheese, and cookie), the chips were my best bet.
Snack= Another Larabar
I brought another Larabar for a snack, as everything on the snack table was again forbidden. I really need to lay off the Larabars. But this one was really really good! Pecan pie.
I was so thrilled to be able to be back in my own home to make dinner for us again. Tonight, I made one of my and Jonathan’s new favorite meals: a combination of gumbo and jambalaya. The recipe uses andouille sausage, chicken, and shrimp in a tomatoey stew with okra. And then it’s served over rice.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods to buy the andouille I bought last week. So I went for the most “natural” thing I could find, which had no preservatives but, unfortunately, sugar. I cooked the sausage,but didn’t serve myself any, so I think at least on that front I did well. I also held the rice. Yum!
Let me try to end on a positive note. This weekend was very challenging. It was not always perfect. And I also felt hungrier than I expected to feel after two weeks on the program. And I’m not even halfway done!
But, even when I was staring at the Mellow Mushroom pizza slices on my fiance’s plate or the bowl of rice I made to go with his gumbo-laya (OMG I love rice), I was able to easily say no. I didn’t crave those things. I recognize that they are delicious foods, but I didn’t miss them. It didn’t take a lot of convincing myself not to go back for those sandwich buns when I was still hungry after dinner last night, or take a bite of the pancakes on my plate this morning. And that, in itself, is a victory!
So here’s to the start of Week 3: the peak and then downward slope of my Whole 30 journey. There are some good dishes in store. Here we go!