After Christmas and before New Years - I was pretty much over food.I never thought that day would come. I love food - all kinds of food. But, I came to a point where thinking about what to eat for lunch was such a headache. I had my fill of Pho, cupcakes, Thai and Veggie Grill - pretty much my go to choices when I didn't want to cook - which was daily.
So, when my friend Kendra said that she was going to do Whole 30 in January, I did my research.
It looked too hard.
So many No's. But I've never taken such a strict challenge head on and since its my year of new things - I thought why not.
So, lets be real. The results people had were too good to be true. And yes, I wanted to lose weight. But I also wanted to cook more and learn how to be more aware of what I was eating.
So, this plan was really a great way to start.
The first week was a trick. A few days in and I thought - I got this.
The 5th day, I thought I'm never going to finish this. My energy levels were at an all time low. I could not exercise - running, yoga - nope. I could't even last two minutes without getting "stop in my tracks" tired.
The Whole 30 website has a great symptom timeline and a very active forum, so I knew this exhaustion wasn't abnormal. But mine lasted on the longer side. When I got to day 12 I started to feel normal and could actually make it through a yoga class.
On the food front. I realized that I really loved cooking. I always kind of knew I would, but I never gave myself enough time to get past the awkwardness. It forced me to get creative and it also made me come to terms with the fact that my kitchen was going to be a mess most of the time.
In the first week, I may have been tired, but I started to feel the better. The holiday bloat was gone.
No weighing yourself and no measuring during the challenge. That was hard.
The second week was like a guessing game. Was I supposed to feel like this? Is this really compliant? I didn't go out to eat once in the first two weeks. This was deliberate. I knew this would be my trying time, so I cooked every meal I ate. I didn't feel amazing in the second week. Sometimes I felt good, sometimes I felt sick. This just made me realize how bad my diet had become in the last few months.Once the second week was done, I knew I was in for the long haul.
The third week, the Whole 30 dance became a lot easier. I even ventured out for two brunches and a few sports bars for football games. I looked at menus beforehand and knew exactly what I could order.
Being prepared is key.
The fourth week - I thought I would be ready to be done. But I was scared. How would I introduce new foods, what would I go back to? Well that was decided for me. I finished on Superbowl Day. I was prepared - Kombucha and I made food that was whole 30 approved. But when Seahawks lost I reached for a cupcake and coca cola. Can you blame me?
I paid for that. The sugar shock was no joke.
I immediately went back on the strict diet.
Moral to the story: It's important to reintroduce food slowly.
I decided I would stick to it until I left for Mexico.
So the weight stuff.
LOST: 9 pounds (2 inches from thights 1.5 inches around my midsection, 1 inch around my arms)
It was enough for co-workers, old friends and family to comment.
The fit of my clothes has never been better.
What I Learned
- I like breakfast. I was never a breakfast person, but now I can't start the day without it.
- I can say no. I said no to a lot of cookies. I said no to getting Pho. I said no to Coca Cola everyday. It became easier, I didn't worry about what people would think. Saying "NO" was best for me.
- I don't do 8 hours of sleep. 6 hours is the most I can get. I go to bed earlier I get up earlier.
- I like cooking. I don't need to grab food. It takes me just as long to make and its better for me.
- That my diet is forever changed.
This has definitely been an experience, an accomplishment. I'm very proud of the body I worked the past 6 weeks to get. But I think the hard part is really in front of me. I can't be on this strict diet forever. I have to be ok with breaking a rule every now and then. As long as it doesn't become a habit.
Sorry I don't have a before picture.
I actually wasn't planning on sharing this story, I was really just doing this for me.
But I changed my mind.
It's been a few weeks since my Whole 30 experience ended. I gained back 2 pounds - from my vacation to Mexico & getting into the swing of things this past week. But tomorrow I go back to cooking the majority of my meals at home. I'm not going to do the Whole Forever, but I am going to take a lot of what I learned about myself and put it into practice. Saying "No" isn't too hard anymore.
Update: 3.5 Months Later
I've had a coca cola, cupcakes and champagne over the last few months. There's been birthdays and bbq's, but most of the week I watch my sugar intake and cook the majority of my meals. I usually eat out 2 a week, the rest I make myself. I haven't stuck religiously to the Whole 30, its for 30 days for a reason. But I still follow a lot of the things I learned. Most importantly I workout at least 4 times week. I really feel like the balance of food and exercise has kept the weight off. I'm currently at the weight I was when I finished the Whole 30 and really have never felt better.