Today is DAY 30 and tomorrow I am officially d o n e with the Whole 30. For those of you who are Snapchat friends with me, I am sure you are excited for this day so you don't have to see my food posts anymore (LOL).
For those who are not familiar, the Whole 30 plan has you cutting out grains, legumes, dairy, food with added sugar, soy products, and no alcohol. Additionally the Whole 30 discourages you from making "desserts" or replications of unhealthy things with the foods that are allowed because that psychologically will not do anything for curbing your cravings/sweet tooth.
The Whole 30 has been challenging and rewarding. While it is not necessarily about the weight loss, I've lost 13+ pounds and am officially at a weight lower than what I report on my driver's license...which I have always lied about so win? (Also note, I started running a lot more during this time - so results could and will look different for everyone)
I've taken the time to highlight some of what I learned from this experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
What I've learned from the Whole 30
1. You can do anything for 30 days! Prior to the Whole 30, I wasn't eating awful, but I wasn't eating as healthy as previously. With the holidays, I did not deprive myself and indulged, as we should! Additionally I am certainly a stress eater/emotional eater, so with life events I was indulging in desserts and carbs...all the carbs.
I also am a lover of Stevia in my coffee, whole wheat waffles in the morning, pizza, the occasional chicken nugget, and a good sushi roll - all things that are not permitted on the Whole 30. Once reading the Whole 30 book and some encouragement from past participants - I mentally was ready. I think the biggest key for getting ready, is mentally getting yourself there. I taught myself to get excited about all the things I COULD have vs. couldn't have and there it was. To do anything for 30 days, it is important to mentally prepare yourself, hands down.
2. Food dreams are REAL. About 10 days in, I started having really weird dreams involving food. One included Hillary Clinton and I splitting a pizza while commiserating over the current state of affairs. My other dream I was at a Cheesecake Factory with Michelle Obama eating those fried buffalo blasters (that I haven't eaten in years, mind you) where she proceeded to knock one out of my hand and scold me for eating bad. I think my political dismay and food deprivations combined to make really bizarre dreams.
3. Non-scale victories are so real! Because of the Whole 30 so many things in my life have improved. My skin is clearer and others have noticed it, I've been sleeping so much sounder (and it is evident by my Fitbit sleep tracker!), my workouts have been stronger and I've had more energy (as evident by the box jump I finally got - with help of course...but still!), and my run times have improved. It may be a placebo effect, it may not be, but I'm not mad about it.
4. Surprising cravings. I thought that by getting on the Whole 30 I'd automatically crave everything that's awful for you. It was actually quite the contrary. My biggest cravings have been my Ezekiel bread avocado toast, an ahi tuna roll, red wine, and pancakes (not as great for you...but still). I also would love a slice of good, Neapolitan style pizza...but that's besides the point.
5. No Whole 30 is perfect. When you start the Whole 30 you realize that there are additives in a lot of things we eat. Bacon? Sugar. Red vinegar? A sulfate not Whole 30 approved. Almond Milk? Carrageenan. With work travel, as prepared as I could be, there were days where I ordered things and wasn't quite sure if any of these things were added. Instead of getting myself down, I just reminded myself that again, no Whole 30 is perfect, I am eating way better than before, and that I am trying my best.
6. Great reset, but not realistic for me. The Whole 30 was an amazing lesson in seeing how much sugar is added in EVERYTHING and it has certainly helped me curb that "sugar dragon" that I certainly have. It's also made me realize dairy and me are not friends. We never were, but even more so now (disclaimer: skim milk doesn't bother me, probably because the cream is removed). However, the Whole 30 is not realistic for my life style all of the time. I did it at a time when I knew travel would be less (so I could cook at home). With travel - while possible, it is hard. Additionally with marathon training, I would love to be able to eat a bowl of pasta the night before a long run or have a whole grain bagel post run. Those carbs are for energy and work for me.
7. My relationship with food has changed. Prior to the Whole 30, I would take the "Treat Yo' Self" mentality too far and just eat whatever sounded good. And while yes, we should treat ourselves, we should also think about with what are we treating ourselves. For instance, if I am going to have ice cream, it should be really really good ice cream, like Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams vs. Dairy Queen (nothing against DQ just trying to make a point). Or if I am going to have a slice of pizza it should come from the best pizzeria in town (ahem Bella Napoli) vs. Domino's (again, all my personal opinions). By treating ourselves occasionally with the best of the best vs. the sub par version of what we want you'll leave feeling more satisfied vs. wanting more. I grew up in an Italian household, I was never taught that pasta was inherently bad for you, but I was taught what good pasta was and how to eat it in moderation. These are things that I need to remember as I carry this post Whole 30 lifestyle forward with me.
Would I do the Whole 30 again? Absolutely. Did it suck at times? Yes. Was it worth it though? Absolutely.