Reflections on the Whole30
Last month, my husband, Aaron, and I decided to do the Whole30. We started the Monday after visiting his family in Utica, NY for the Fourth of July and felt like starting a healthy diet would be a good way to come back from a weekend of junk food. I have known a few people who have done the Whole30, all with positive feelings towards the diet and all having good results.
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With that, we decided it was time to give it a try and try to get ourselves in a better place food-wise. We aren't unhealthy people, but we definitely needed some kind of a reset to get us back into a healthier lifestyle. After looking more into the Whole30 and hearing others say how happy they were with the results, it seemed like the right path to take for us.
When I was drawn to and felt like I needed was hard guidelines that gave us a set idea of what we could and could not have. With the Whole30, you cut out so many things such as dairy, added sugars, grains, etc. and with those restrictions we could not cheat. It was 30 days of cleaning out your diet with no wiggle room and no cheat days.
The first day on the diet felt like a breeze because you can do anything for one day and feel like a boss. In my head I was thinking that since day one was pretty easy, the rest of them might also be easy, right?
After day one, the first week was probably the toughest. As someone who enjoys chocolate and some sugar in my coffee, the first week was the time period where I really started to miss those things. And with it being the summer, there was no option to have ice cream, lemonade, or a nice glass of rose on the weekend.
The second and third week were not as bad and each day I felt more and more used to this new diet. When I was at home, it really was not bad at all because I had things in my house that were compliant for all meals. But a few times I went out for dinner with friends and that was when things got interesting.
Being out with other people while on the Whole30 is not a great experience. I am very much a go-with-the-flow type of person and am not picky about where or what someone else wants to have. I'm not particular and can usually find something on a menu that I will like without having to ask for modifications. I hate feeling like that person that everyone else has to cater to and that is how I felt on the Whole30.
When I knew I was going out to dinner, I tried to be as easy as possible and research ahead of time for places where I was going that would be compliant to take the guess work out for my friends. It wasn't too bad and I was always able to find about one thing that was compliant that I could have.
The last week or so was also difficult because we were so close to being done with the diet and not having to be so restrictive. I definitely wanted to cheat a few times towards the end, but did not knowing that it was only a few days until I could have whatever.
On the first day that I was off of the Whole30, I went to breakfast with a friend and our kids at the Friendly Toast and was so excited that I had no idea what to get. I ended up getting the Monster Breakfast so that I could share it with Lydia since she loves pancakes!
When asked what kind of pancakes I wanted, I opted for banana despite typically wanting to go for chocolate chip. I was so intent on cutting up some pancake for Lydia that I forgot to eat my own and was going for the hash browns and eggs first, forgetting that I also could have some pancake. I only put one cream and one sugar in my coffee rather than two.
While it has been nice to be able to have whatever I want, I still find that I primarily cook Whole30 still. I still have eggs with pepper and onion for breakfast and I have been using coconut creamer only in my coffee in the morning. For lunch I have been doing tortilla chips with salsa, or I will still go for an apple with nut butter. Tonight I am making chicken with sweet potatoes and string beans.
Aaron and I decided that during the week we would still try to primarily eat Whole30 style and on the weekends, we would be more lax on what we have. I feel like this is an easy way to keep up with the diet and feel like we are in a healthier place with our diet while still allowing ourselves to enjoy less healthy food on the weekend in moderation. We also plan on only drinking alcohol on the weekends as well.
I find that at night instead of going for chocolate or a little bit of ice cream, I will have strawberries for dessert. Instead of drinking wine, I go for seltzer. Instead of nachos with cheese, I have chips and salsa in moderation.
Personally, I am not one to take before and after pictures, but the results of the Whole30 were definitely exciting for me! By the end I lost 9 pounds, which felt fantastic. My clothes fit much better and I feel more energetic and healthy since doing the Whole30.
This experience not only effected my health physically, but also mentally since I was able to really hone in on my self control and take that forward into my future. It is easier to say no to "unhealthy" choices and I feel more confident in myself and my ability to continue making healthy decisions for myself.
And of course, it is not just me that I am doing this for. I really wanted to do this experience and find a healthy relationship with food for myself so that I can teach Lydia how to also find a healthy relationship with food. Having dealt with anorexia in my past, this was a crucial relationship that I have always struggled with and something I did not want to pass on to my daughter.
This experience also taught me to be more mindful of my vocabulary around food and body image. Instead of saying something negative about my appearance, I can say to myself that I do not feel healthy and should make a healthy choice to get back to a good place. If I eat something that was not the healthiest choice, I can exercise (in moderation) or eat something healthy for a different meal instead of just not eating altogether.
With those two sweet blue eyes watching me, I know that I need to be an example and the Whole30 helped me feel like I had a better handle on how to be a good role model for Lydia. I know how much I struggled with food as a youth ( I was 5'1" in sixth grade and weighed 80lbs soaking wet) and I do not want me daughter to have any idea what that feels like.
If you are interested in doing the Whole30, I hope this was helpful for you! If you have done the Whole30, did you have a similar experience?