Hey everyone! So here we are…my first day post-Whole 30! I made it! And no one died in the making of my new good health habits! Woo hoo!
Here’s the run-down of my successes and observations:
1) This really wasn’t very hard. I learned pretty early on that as long as I ate good-sized portions of protein and fat at every meal, I didn’t feel hungry in-between and my cravings for things like sugar and wheat and dairy were almost non-existent (see #3 below). Avocado is your friend, and coconut oil/butter is AMAZING.
2) I still don’t love veggies, but I’ve gone from “hate” to “begrudging co-existence”.
3) Whatever “cravings” I did have came mostly from just being tired of cooking and planning and shopping and cleaning up after myself. Sometimes, I just didn’t want to cook…was so over it. It was at those times that I became acutely aware of how much of my alleged “cravings” were more about convenience than an actual physiological need for easy-to-grab food…which are typically loaded with dairy, gluten, and…well…shit that I don’t need to eat because it doesn’t make me any healthier.
4) My body is probably still a bit dysfunctional, hormone-wise. The first two weeks, my skin was so clear and glowing that someone asked me if i got Photoshopped in real life. In week three, I started breaking out again. No real change in anything I had been eating, so I’m chalking it up to my body still getting used to this newer, healthier gut I have and my hormonal/immuno response trying to adjust.
5) My sleep quality improved…I slept deeper and had fewer bouts of unrest. I typically get an avg of 7-8 hours sleep a night anyway, but muscle aches and pains would make them fitful. Much of that discomfort diminished over time this past month.
6) I am seriously less congested. That better not be you, dairy.
7) Prior to Whole 30, I would walk around every day with what I call a small, golf ball-sized ball of fuzz in my head…that feeling that your brain is just always tired and not sharp and you can’t shake it with a good night’s sleep or a nap or yoga or anything. That golf ball of fuzz is practically gone. My work will always result in me be being mentally tired at times, but there’s a difference between tired and chronically fatigued. The latter has been improved drastically. But I still love a good nap.
8) My sugar cravings? Gone for now. I suspect that will always be a battle I will have to wage, as sugar really is in practically everything you eat unless you make it yourself. Did you know there’s sugar in salt? WTF? Why would there be sugar in salt? Why would that be remotely necessary?!? Also, sugar tastes awesome, and since our bodies are basically looking for the simplest, easiest way to operate at all times and sugar as an energy sources accomplishes that, the threat is always going to be there.
9) I just want to state for the record that I went through what is essentially a low-carb diet for 30 days with no bacon. I deserve a freaking monument for that feat.
10) I was terrible with exercise. I basically did no exercise during this whole thing because I was always battling the fatigue that comes with transforming from a sugar-burning machine to a fat-burning machine. But I’m making a promise to myself that April begins a new “Whole 30” dedicated to doing some kind of physical activity every day for 30 days…even if its just dancing in my living room for 20-30 min (i feel horrible for my neighbor/across the courtyard stalker Randi. she’s going to be so traumatized by my dancing.)
11) And now…the one most of you have been waiting for (and I put it last for a reason): I lost 12 lbs. I also lost a total of 16 inches…I took measurements on 7 different parts of my body and experienced a cumulative inch-loss of 16 inches from pre-Whole 30 measurements. Half of those inches came off my mid-section.
I put the weight/inches observation last because I wanted to make a point, both to myself and to anyone reading this. Most of you who know me know that I have been waging a battle against my weight for a very long time. Many of you have been with me through other failed diets, and certainly through my successful weight loss surgery. I put the measurements/weight loss last because I want to get to a point where my weight isn’t the single most important indicator of my overall health. I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t have it in me anymore to wage anymore battles against myself. Dieting and weight loss is couched in our society as a constant war against ourselves: a war again our lack of self control, our vices, our sense of worth. It’s inherently self-hating, and ultimately it’s all designed to fail so we’ll pump billions into a food and diet industry that makes money off of our failures.
The truth of the matter is that the food we eat in this country is designed to make us fat by making us want more of it. It is designed to create cravings by disrupting the naturally-occurring signals our body gives and receives around satiety and sweetness. It encourages us to eat more than we need to satisfy that craving, when in reality it can never be fulfilled. Why? Because the companies that design this food (notice I said “designed” and not “grown”) want to make as much profit from the havoc they’ve created in your body–by making you want more of their products.
The business of food has made us unhealthy as a nation. To be honest, I’ve known this for a while, but for whatever reason I just wasn’t ready to do something about it until now. We are not a fat nation because we lack self-control…we are fat because the food available to most of us makes us physically unable *not* to eat more than we need.
What we can control is the decision to just not eat that way anymore. It takes a TON of effort and planning. I did this experiment because I finally came to the conclusion that I was worth that effort. And I can’t wait to see how my health improves by eating this way from here on out…how much clearer my skin will be, and how my every day aches and pains might be alleviated, or how my heartburn and GI distress might decrease, and how my absolutely terrible cholesterol levels will improve. And sure…how much weight I might lose by changing the food I choose to eat.
But that last part can’t be the reason for doing this. It has to be the by-product. Because that’s not the right war to wage. It’s a losing proposition (kind of like Iraq andAfghanistan. Yes, I went there.).
I’m not going to tell everyone that they have to stop what they are doing right now and get on Whole 30. Everyone needs to come to the conclusion to do something about the food they eat on their own time. I will say that I truly do believe that everyone can do this…that everyone has the ability to decide to make good decisions and reduce bad ones. A lot of people immediately balked at the “no alcohol” part of Whole 30 when I told them about what I eliminated from my diet. People. It’s 30 days. It’s really not going to kill you to cut out wine for 30 days. Trust me on this. What I do think we’ll all come away with is a much better understanding of what alcohol does to our bodies and how it makes us feel once we’ve eliminated it for a bit of time. Same goes for dairy, and gluten and legumes, etc.
And from there, we can make much more informed choices about what and how much we eat/ingest. You aren’t supposed to count calories on Whole 30, but just by looking at my food journal I can honestly say that I’ve probably consumed about 2,000-2,200 calories a day…and lost 12 lbs. Without exercising How? Because I ate real food. And now I get to learn through reintroduction what foods I will keep, and which I’ll kick to the curb, and which ones I’ll enjoy in moderation…now that I actually have an idea of what “moderation” means to me.
So this got really long-winded…oops! Thanks for keeping up with my 30 day journey. I’ll be continuing to blog through Reintroduction, and probably through why exercise “whole 30” in April…maybe even beyond! Speaking of reintro: Today is dairy day…so far, so good. Had some cheese with breakfast, and some half and half with my coffee. No one has suffocated from any noxious fumes coming from my body (yet).