I’ll admit, part of why I did Whole3o was to see if I could actually do it. Call it a diet, a lifestyle or whatever you want, but let’s call a spade a spade here; it’s a challenge. Not only in the “I bet you could never do it without cheating,” aspect, but also whether or not it works. Does it actually make any noticeable difference? Is it sensible for a mother and family? Mostly it was the dare of it all, but the other aspects were certainly important, especially after seeing my body’s response.
It surprised me how easy it was to do and how normal it felt to stick to the rules. Maybe it’s because I’m already on a restrictive diet, but I found it easy from start to finish. Of course I had those moments of, “What? This has that in it?” I’m not a super genius; I don’t know what’s in everything. I don’t have time to stare at every label; that’s why I stuck to mostly whole produce and protein. I ate foods with good natural flavor and added a lot of herbs for seasoning. No fuss, no muss.
I ended my Whole30 journey Thursday the 26. My daughter’s birthday was two days later. For me it meant no meal making Friday or Saturday. When I’m in party planning mode, I eat quick, easy and readily available. On Friday I ate my favorites that I thought I missed – chips, chocolate, etc. My standbys let me down miserably. Their flavors fell flat and I felt heavy and crappy after I, admittedly, enforced no boundaries.
Saturday I stayed away from that nonsense, but ate some gluten (that was just stupid; I’m aware I have Celiac). Because of my rebellious food streak, on Sunday I was actually craving fresh healthy food. The following Tuesday we left by car for a week long vacation where I was in party plan mode again. Tuesday was a road trip day (11 hours straight) so when we stopped at fast food places I got, again, my old standbys.
Ugh. I just felt heavy and every other synonym for crappy. While we were at family’s houses I ate pretty well; mostly salads, eggs, oatmeal, turkey bacon. Even at the wedding on Saturday I ate the good stuff or nothing, with the exception of cookies. I ate a lot of those. My body may have been 74% cookie by the end of the night.
I also pounded water like it was my job. The real test was when we stopped at a restaurant on the 9 hour drive back. I looked at all the beautiful burgers and fries and good stuff, but none of it appealed to me the way it used to. I opted for soup and a grilled chicken sandwich on a GF bun. The heaviest thing I got was sweet potato fries. It was delicious, but I didn’t feel the desperation to overeat.
C’mon now, don’t act like you’ve never felt that desperation. Maybe you were the runt middle child and had to fight for your food. Maybe food was your best friend and you wanted to be as close as possible. I was in the latter category. This challenge changed how I viewed food, really. I’ve learned that in all relationships space is important. Making mentally and physically healthy choices is also something I’ve learned to implement into relationships. I didn’t learn this because it was laid out for me, I learned it because when I followed the rules I felt better, I figured it out. After years of food comas, you notice when you feel up. The water also helps with junk food cravings, for sure.
Now, I’m eating some treats (the school year started and I sometimes feel the very real and right need to have them), but it’s not every day and it’s not in access. I am drinking creamer in my coffee, but only a small amount and I no longer add sugar. I found sugar does the opposite of what I want it to. Remembering not that I loved the junk, but how it makes me feel continues to help me tamp down on the snacking urge. I just didn’t want it or need it.
Currently I’m doing a modified Whole30; a lot of fresh produce, natural seasonings and proteins. I try not to eat a lot of dairy because it makes me feel heavy and thick. God help me, I can’t think of another way to describe it. I’m eating a lot of good proteins and lean meats, and I now use coconut oil or light olive oil in the place of butter in everything. Butter doesn’t have the same pop as the oils and coconut oil is so good for you, relatively speaking. Try it, you won’t be sorry.
At the end of 30 days, I lost 13.8 pounds. I have energy to go all day without praying for a nap. I’m working out five days a week with ease, and cooking is fun again. It hasn’t been fun since we were creating our cookbook.
I’ve finally taken my own advice and took my kitchen back. I’m thinking of doing Whole30 every other month just to stay on track.
What has been your experience with Whole30?