As many of you already know from my glorious over-posting on social media, I recently embarked on a challenging diet program called Whole30. If you’ve never heard of this diet, it is a super-restrictive plan that requires you to set aside everything that is delicious and dear to your soul for 30 days, in lieu of consuming only whole, unprocessed, natural foods, free of added sugars or preservatives. It is a cleanse/reset for your body that helps to identify triggers and sensitivities and promotes “healing” from the damage we do to our bodies with garbage foods. Often times, it results in weight loss, sometimes significant weight loss, but the chief focus for Whole30’ers is usually getting healthy, not getting skinny. In fact, you’re not “permitted” to step on the scale or take any measurements during the 30 day period.
So when I casually posted on Facebook a few weeks back that I was doing Whole30, any body who knows me at all was probably like, L-O-Fucking-L, Deborah is doing what now? No cheese, no booze, no pasta, no cake, no Deborah, has been more or less my modus operandi since forever. So eliminating all these and more sounds hard. Well… it was. But I figured, I can do anything for 30 days; and if it means not having severe and debilitating acid re-flux (or hives) just from eating better, I figured it was worth a try.
Each week I updated on Facebook with some things I had learned or observed along the way… here’s a recap.
One week in:
- Eating like shit is cheap and convenient. Like for real. This program makes me feel like I’m making it rain for rabbit food.
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch smells like heaven… I’m told the desire to sniff the cereals will go away…
- Why does seasoning salt have sugar in it? It’s supposed to be salt, damnit.
- Drinking your coffee black or with unsweetened almond milk is not bad… (after the first few days of getting used to the change). That is—As long as you’re buying decent coffee. But if you have to fill it with sugar and milk/creamer for it to taste good, then maybe you’re just drinking shitty coffee?
- One might be more careful about consuming an abundance of hard boiled eggs and broccoli the day before a sales meeting. Just a suggestion.
- People in Whole30 FB groups…. are really intense. Like, just share pictures of pretty food and toss out a few compliments and way-to-gos. That’s all.
- Not everybody gets the sugar-DTs or crashes hard. One thing I was really worried about was that day 3-5 crash everybody talks about where you literally are in withdrawal from not having sugar and sulfates etc and you just feel like garbage. I skipped that. Lucky me!
- I lasted two more days in the whole 30 Facebook support group. Those bitches need a drink.
- I’m starting to worry about whether or not I’m losing weight. And weight loss is not why I started this program. One goal at a time…
- I want a cold glass of milk.
- Today, my child said “hey mama lets race.” And for the first time in I can’t say when, I took off like a bullet. I got winded and I might have peed a little, but I ran with my boy and nothing hurt.
- I feel like I need a nap or a good cry. *update- I picked cry. See blog post.
- My best friend cooked a pork loin with only thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper and made plain sweet potatoes and invited me to supper so I could feel normal. I’m pretty lucky.
- I’m fucking sick of cabbage.
So, I plowed through my last 2 weeks of the month with no problems… a few discouraging I can smell your bagel from 4 cubicles over you bitch moments. But nothing earth shaking. The craving for a bite of ice cream or a cookie (or a cold beer) never went away for me like many claim, but will-power ultimately prevailed. It was almost a matter of “I’ve come this far and worked too hard to drop the ball and start over” kind of thing. Oh and yes, if you cheat, even if by accident , you start over at day 1. Fuck that. And I have to say, I am super super (yes it warrants 2 supers) proud of myself for sticking to the plan 100%. I didn’t cheat or modify one single iota. Not with mountains of Easter candy lying around. Not with pizza Fridays or bowling alley nights with friends. Not with spending every weekend at the baseball field. (Hello, crinkle fries with processed yellow cheese goo on top, you’re looking sexual today.) I didn’t so much as lick my fingers clean when handling my kids’ sticky, delicious foods. (You’d be surprised at how often you do this without thinking.) And I have a few take-aways in the wake of my 30…
The takeways: (Life after 30…)
- PLAN. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll cheat. I’m a working (outside-of-the-home) mama, so this means I have to spend a little time (an hour or two) on Sundays prepping and packing compliant lunches for the week.
- Your kids notice what you fixate and focus on. At any given time during the 30 days, Zac (7) could tell me what day I was on, even when I forgot and needed to count back. And Jett (4) would ask me “are you allowed to have dis?” about various things. That being said, be careful about obsessing over things and practice self care. They are absorbing that too.
- SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING. No seriously, it’s hiding in items you wouldn’t think contain sugar. Read labels. It’s alarming.
- I lost 13 lbs in my 30 days. I was pretty pleased with this result after someone broke it down for me that an average of 3lbs a week is healthy, solid weight loss.
- If you don’t like vegetables or you’re not a decent cook, pick a different plan than this one. I really enjoy good foods and I am resourceful in the kitchen. So it wasn’t hard to make delicious compliant meals. I didn’t even buy the recipe book; I just read the rules and followed them. (My family ate plenty of Whole30 compliant dinners and never knew it.) But if you aren’t a good cook and you have the palate of a 5 year old (looking at you, Husband), don’t try this at home.
- Speaking of husband… it is great to do this plan with a partner; however, the one that lives at my house just isn’t the one. He’s more of a Reese’s cups at midnight, gallon of Gatorade kind of fella. He was, however, supportive and patient with me and only once made the mistake of offering me something he knew I couldn’t have. #triggered
- And lastly… surprisingly, I’m not ready to reintegrate to normal society just yet. This weekend, I celebrated with a sushi dinner (soy & rice are not compliant), and I enjoyed a few pieces of fresh mozzarella and some rosemary crackers on Sunday. But today is day one of round two for me….
Here’s how I will do R2 differently: <Whole30 Modified>
- Weigh in weekly. I want to know. And that’s ok.
- Allow soy. I don’t seem to have a sensitivity to it, and it’s not high fat. So I’m gonna enjoy my edamame and/or tofu from time to time. However, I will probably still use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce though. It’s better for you and milder in taste. It doesn’t mask your food the way dumping soy sauce on it does.
- Use honey. The health benefits of honey far outweigh the 15 calories or so added from sweetening my hot tea with honey. Especially if it is raw local honey!
- Chill the fuck out. Just in general, this is good advice. Some of the weird, super strict rules– like don’t have a fruit smoothie or make pizza crust out of cauliflower because it’s “not in the spirit of Whole30.” Bitch, it’s fruit and cauliflower. Get ahold of yourself. And I’m pretty sure “the spirit of whole 30” is not a thing.
So that’s it! I know this is a little all over the map. So if you still aren’t sure if Whole30 is for you, I’ll give you this: You can do anything for 30 days and it can’t hurt. If anything, you will prove to yourself that you can do hard things and that black coffee is more convenient anyway.