I'm not into fad diets. I don't believe in them really at all. But Whole 30 was different. It wasn't supposed to be a cute, fad diet. It was supposed to be a game changer-- a way to change my taste buds and change my life. As a nurse, I tell people all the time that they need to watch what they eat and that they need to lose weight, exercise more, etc. Yet I usually do that after I've downed some french fries in the break room during lunch, or after I just set down my Dr. Pepper at the nurse's station. I have a great fear that I will one day pay for how I have mistreated my body in my first 26 years of living. I hope, instead, that this wake up call during my quarter-life crisis changes me to my core and makes me want to do good to my body.
So far, it has. Here's what Whole30 is. It's a lifestyle change that you embark on for about 30 days. Some people do it longer, and some people who have already completed a Whole30 do shorter stints of it to refresh their mindset on healthy eating a few times a year. Here's the basic rules:
- No dairy. No milk, butter, ice cream, cream, cheese, half and half, etc.
- No grains. This includes whole grains, wheat, quinoa, rice, bread, flour.
- No added sugar. This includes "fake sugar" or artificial sweeteners. So no stevia, Splenda, Equal, Sweet 'n' low, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, etc. Nothing that doesn't have naturally occurring sugar such as a fruit or vegetable.
- No legumes. This includes beans, chickpeas, hummus, peanuts.
- No alcohol (this means no vanilla--vanilla extract has small amounts of alcohol)
- No carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites.
- No recreating baked goods or treats with "approved" ingredients. No paleo pancakes. No almond flour cookies. None of that.
Here's what I found on Whole30:
- I slept SO GOOD and so hard. I fell asleep when my head hit the pillow each night and I slept until my alarm went off in the morning. Actually, most mornings, I woke up before my alarm clock.
- I felt a constant level of energy throughout my day. I didn't feel like I was in a slump after lunch and didn't feel like I needed an afternoon cup of coffee.
- I lost weight. I lost 14.5 pounds, most of that within the first 14 days. My clothes fit better, my scrubs are almost too big now.
- I didn't feel bloated once during the whole process.
- I started to be more mindful about what I was eating and why I was eating it. Someone would have pizza and I would think, "OH that smells amazing. Maybe I'll cheat and have pizza." But instead, I would think about what pizza tasted like, enjoy the thought in my head, and then dismiss it and let it float away as I munched on cauliflower.
- I learned to crave and love fruits and vegetables. I actually love the taste and flavor and crave them hardcore.
Here's some embarrassing photos of my Whole 30 results. My before pictures are what are completely embarrassing-- I look miserable. Truthfully, I think I was. I didn't realize how big I had gotten and how uncomfortable I was in my own skin because of how I was treating my body. Don't get me wrong--I'm not necessarily saying that I was unhappy because I was overweight-- but I was unhappy about why I was overweight and how I had gotten to that point. I was unhappy that I was an emotional eater who celebrated every life event and life events of friends with food and sweet treats.
The day after Whole 30 ended, Scott and I met some friends at Boogie Burger for a burger and fries. This is against the Whole 30 reintroduction period, but we wanted to celebrate. Scott, in addition to his burger and fries, consumed 2 milkshakes. I had 1/4 of one of them throughout the night. And I felt sick and bloated after. The next day, at work, there was Halloween candy EVERYWHERE. I ate some. And I ate some cookies that were in the break room. I woke up the next morning with a RAGING headache. I was bloated, had stomach pain, felt drained of energy, and felt like I had a hangover. I immediately recognized that this was related to my eating. I hadn't slept well that night and had issues falling asleep at bedtime. It was terrible. So I did what I thought I had to do and declared that I was going back on Whole30. And I did.
Except now. Now, Scott and I have discussed things more in depth and have decided that we don't necessarily need to do another Whole30 right now. What we need is to be able to enjoy foods in moderation and to have self control that is needed to walk away from foods that aren't good for us. After careful consideration, the plan that we have is that we will eat a Whole30 diet during the week (especially when I am working which is when I struggle the most with eating well--I tend to stress eat a lot), and we will give ourselves grace on weekends. This doesn't mean that we'll eat whole tubs of cookie dough and eat out for every meal. Honestly, I crave healthier foods more than ever before, so for our "cheat day" today, we ate a Whole30 breakfast and lunch, had a couple of snack-sized Kit Kats in the afternoon, drank Whole30 approved coffee (almond milk latte) while out to study, and had a mostly Whole30 dinner that only consisted of Greek Yogurt as a splurge. We each had 2 cookies for dessert while we watched a movie. All in all, I don't think that's a bad day. Tomorrow, though it is Sunday, I will treat the day like a weekday and will eat a Whole30 breakfast and lunch, and will possibly make a dinner time exception depending on what Scott wants to eat for dinner.
Our goal was to add exercise into our healthy eating this month. Scott won't be able to do that easily because of boards, and I have not exercised yet this month beyond walking Doc. I plan to on my next day off, Monday. The weather is cooling down and it just makes me want to get outside.
Here are some photos from Whole30. Some are way embarrassing, but I hope you see that eating well works. Treating your body well is important. I didn't understand this for most of my life growing up. I ate what I wanted when I wanted. I loved fast food (still love a good Chick-fil-a meal every now and then!), carbs, cheese, sugar. Now, I don't want those things as much as I once did. I crave fresh veggies and whole foods. I want things that will give me energy to get through my days and hope for long, healthy life loving my family and further God's kingdom.
If you have any questions about the process or anything, feel free to reach out. I'm by no means an expert but believe in this process more than I can tell you. It's not just a "fad diet," it's a lifestyle change, and one that I want to pursue for the rest of my life in an effort to be healthy. As part of my one word this year, "nurture," I commit wholely to this and to feeding my body things that are good for me. If I can get by with 80% healthy, 20% not so healthy in my diet, I think I'll be doing MUCH better than I was prior to Whole30. How do you treat your body well? What do you do to take care of it? I would love to hear from friends who are on a journey to health.
Love you all dearly and hope you have a great rest of your weekend!