The past 30 days has been stereotypically LIFE CHANGING. I know, I know…insert eye roll here, right? You probably don’t want to hear one more person talk about a “diet” or “gluten free” or any and all of those pretty popular phrases going around in social media.
I was (and still kind of am) on a program called “Whole 30”. Serendipity brought us together, I guess you could say. It all started on a lazy day in Spain…(don’t we all wish everything could start here?!). Josh and I were staying with our good friend Courtney and discussing overall wellness, workouts, and eating lifestyles. She has gone to school for many body related things, so her input is pretty valuable. She casually mentioned starting a Whole 30 and I guess I just mentally brushed it off. My mind was too numb from the 5 billion drinks I had probably already had that day. Fast forward a week or so and we are home. I’m strolling around my nanny house and trying for the life of me to remember what Courtney had said to me. “What was that thing she said we should do?” My nanny mom Julie, I noticed, had a brand new binder sitting out on the counter. Curiosity got the better of me and I opened it to find reading material on the exact thing I had just been trying to remember! Of course, I picked Julie’s brain and found out that she had been successfully implementing this lifestyle for the entire time I had been in Europe. Again, I was still skeptical, but she looked fantastic, and I felt like crap after getting back from carb/fried country aka Spain.
Us, on our wedding day.
Most of you know (and if you don’t, then I’m not sure how you’ve missed it) that I have almost always been “plus sized”. Larger than most, I’ve always been the big gal in the group. But for the past 3 years Josh and I have tried to change many things to correct that. Okay, correct seems like a harsh word, but that’s pretty much what it has been. We’ve done HCG, Weight Watchers, Atkins…and yes, I’ve been able to keep at least 50 lbs off, but always have yoyo’ed the same 20 lbs back and forth. I have also always wanted to lose to prepare myself for a safe pregnancy. I didn’t want my size and health to affect that story!
But something just wasn’t clicking. I’ve seen others eliminate certain foods from their diet, but I have always internally shouted, “NO! I’m not giving up the foods I love, and even I can’t make me. So there!” I was having a disastrous love affair with grains, and dairy (cheese, you’re the best and worst), and most of all sugar. So I stopped for a second and thought, am I holding myself back? Do these things really have that much power over me? That’s a big YES. How many times have I turned to ice cream because of a bad day? Or gone out with Josh because we wanted to “treat” ourselves? What has happened in this American society that this is our mental pattern? It’s no wonder we have such a high obesity epidemic! This was fairly obvious visiting Europe as well. They have such simpler eating standards, and especially in Ireland, we noticed that the foods weren’t as over salted and sweetened. That was definitely an eye opening experience in itself!
So…”Whole 30”, I asked my husband. “Let’s give it a shot! We won’t know unless we try it.”
What is it exactly? Well, I’ve tried to describe it…and all I’ve been met with is judge-y stares like I just told everyone I wanted to pee my pants in public. I’ll let the pros do the talking instead! This comes from the preface of “It Starts with Food”. If you’re curious and really want to get into the nitty gritty of what this is about, just get this book from the library! Knowledge is power, and maybe that’s your first step.
“We eat real food—fresh, natural food, like meat, vegetables, and fruit. We choose foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition … This is not a ‘diet’—we eat as much as we need to maintain strength, energy and a healthy body weight. We aim for well-balanced nutrition, so we eat both plants and animals … Eating like this allows us to maintain a healthy metabolism and keeps our immune system in balance.”
So…no sugar.legumes.grains.alcohol. And down the rabbit hole we went!
It’s kind of hard to describe the experience as a whole. (No pun intended)
Week 1: you feel like a rock star. “Oh yeah, I’m doing this, I’m excelling, and nobody can stop me!” Well, at least that’s how it was for me. Josh was an entire different story! He was barely a couple days in and was already counting down to his next sugary treat.
Week number 2: At first I didn’t notice much change in myself. Josh was still having major sweet cravings and I thought I was just that much of a badass, that this lifestyle was going to be my rock solid achievement. Enter stage right, CRANKY MEG. Yep, I got rude, and aggressive. Pretty sure I almost made Josh cry! And the literature even tells you this might happen! How very odd for him and I to be having such polar opposite experiences. Also during this week, the sleep monster! No matter how much you get, it is not enough. I napped almost every single day during baby N’s naptime, and it still wasn’t enough! Your body is still getting used to pulling its energy from different sources than sugar.
Weeks 3 & 4: Wish I had more to say that the next few sentences! I wasn’t even counting days and life just seemed normal to me. Food was delicious, and I wasn’t even really missing the things I had cut out. People asked if I wanted them. My response? MEH. Yes, it was hard to go out with friends and be limited, but I had a more difficult time watching everyone else make their own food choices. “Don’t they know what hold that food has on them? Don’t they understand that this is just a way for corporate American to have a firm grip on us using the addictive power of our daily cuisine choices?!” I imagined how much better this country could be if we all took a step back and revolted! Mutiny! Bring those corporations like Coca Cola and Kelloggs (not trying to specifically target them, they are just huge companies that come to mind) down and demand a better food culture. (sorry for the soap box moment)
Now that 30 days are up, here are the things I noticed:
- Energy levels haven’t really changed. I’m still getting tired during the day. Buuuuuuuut…that’s also because I nanny 40 hours a week and then go home and work some more on my photography business. So sleep is kind of an issue
- I used to get up in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom at least 3-4 times. I am sleeping all the way through now and usually never get up.
- Haven’t noticed my plantar fasciitis acting up as much.
- Cravings are pretty much nil. Awesome!
- Sweet potatoes are my new favorite. I used to hate them.
- When you do Whole30 prepare to use every single dish you own every day. Doing dishes is a constant, you will feel like the sink is never empty.
- Some clothes are looser, but I was going for more of a mental lifestyle change, not physical this round. So no before/after photos!
Want to know some of my favorite recipes that we ate? Seriously, you’ll be flabbergasted that this is healthy! We felt guilty eating some of it at first!
We also have a counter-top roaster and did our own chicken. And eggs are a pretty big staple.
Eating out? Yeah, lives get crazy and you don’t have time to cook. But we still stayed on track! Chicken roasters from the grocery store are a godsend. And even salads at Chipotle a couple times. Carnitas salad with pico and a little guac will taste like heaven J
Now that we’re done we sat down this past weekend on day 28 and evaluated what our grocery list for the week would look like. Would we reintroduce the foods, lay off? I felt no need to jump back into those unhealthy food choices. What was the point of seeing what they do to my body if I feel no need to even have them?
Though, Josh and I decided to incorporate some coconut sugar into a couple Paleo recipes and made Sweet Potato & Chai Muffins for breakfast this week. That batter smelled heavenly! This morning was the first day I could have one…and it’ll be my last as well. I felt like crap! Barely any nonWhole30 ingredients and it kicked my butt. I felt queasy, bloated, and just all around horrible. There’s goes that! Guess I need to go get some more eggs….
CAN YOU DO THIS?
Absolutely, I know you can. But do you WANT to…that’s the bigger question.
I’m betting that your choices have a big part in your life, and it’s a security blanket you’ve got a death grip on. I don’t blame you, I don’t judge you, because that was me. I understand, really I do! And I’m not going to pretend to be all high and mighty because I did one round, I’m still going to indulge every once in a while. But try and imagine a life without that negative cloud around you. Yours could be about the experiences that happen when you have a bad/good day. Maybe you could decide to go get a massage instead of ice cream. Or you have a horrendous day at work? You just need some me time.
Yes, it will suck. But it’s only 30 days. You honestly don’t have anything to lose! 30 days in the timeline of your life is a blip…if it doesn’t work, you can move on. But if you are successful…I think you’ll begin to see things very differently.