I was planning to wait to do a Whole30 recap until I was further along… first, because it would give me more legitimacy to my claims, and second, because I wasn’t 100% confident that I could stick with it for the prescribed 30 days. However, I’m now six days in and so excited that I can’t shut up about it! Please skip this post if that sounds obnoxious to you, haha. But if you want to hear about the best decision I’ve made in a long time…please, read on.
Whole30. It’s a fad these days, and if you haven’t heard about it, here’s the skinny: It’s basically a 30 day detox/reset. For 30 days, you commit to omit grains/gluten/oats, dairy, legumes, and sugar, including natural sugar and zero calorie sugar (stevia, honey, maple syrup, splenda, raw sugar, cane sugar…ALL of it), and processed foods/chemicals/additives/scary, unpronounceable ingredients of any kind from your diet.
So what can you eat? Meat (preferably grass-fed, organic, and sourced from your local butcher, of course), fish, all vegetables besides legumes. Eggs. Fruit. Nuts (but not peanuts). Potatoes (sweet and white). Butter, but only ghee (still haven’t figured out what that is or where to get it). Coconut oil/milk/flakes/chunks/any form. These Paleo people loooove their coconut.
It’s pretty simple. And while some Paleo baked goods are technically allowed on this program (most use dates as a sweetener, and you are allowed to have dates), the creators of Whole 30 have chosen to forbid them. They call these treats “sex with your pants on” (SWYPO). They say the even though you’re adhering the guidelines, your brain is still receiving the sugar signal, and that screws up the whole process. Same goes for fruit smoothies and apple cider and juice in general. It’s a sugar detox…so sending your brain sugar-overload signals defeats the purpose.
Of course my biggest motivation behind doing this is weight loss (though that’s not the intention of the program). I’ve been mostly Paleo for a couple months now, but I was never above having a cheat day. Or a cheat weekend…that started on a Friday. I think my problem was that there was ALWAYS an excuse to cheat (going to my parent’s house is completely impossible. They literally have a room full of snacks. A snack room. So…much…candyyyy…). So I needed something like this that I could commit to for a length of time, rather than a vague lifestyle change that I could easily find an excuse to cheat on. The authors of Whole30 are very clear on that point – it’s only 30 days. Pick 30 days that you know you can commit to doing, and DON’T CHEAT. In fact, if you cheat, you have to go back to Day 1. My sister, a.k.a. diet buddy, and I started on Monday, and we’ll finish two days before Thanksgiving (11/25). That’s our commitment.
Here’s a little motivational excerpt from their website. I love this (and because of it, I made it through Halloween with ZERO pieces of candy):
Now I’ll dazzle you with this small piece of information: in 6 days, I’ve lost 6 pounds, and I’m NEVER hungry. Ha, I sound like an infomercial. I swear, no one is paying me to say this. I’m actually breaking the rules by weighing myself at all. And I can guarantee that most of that weight was bloat, especially considering that the day before I started I ate like I was going into hibernation (fried chicken, mac and cheese, milkshakes, etc.). So my numbers may be a bit… shall we say…skewed. But nevertheless, facts are facts. On Monday morning I was 6 pounds heavier than I am today. And that’s after losing 15 pounds over the past 2 months during my family’s Biggest Loser competition (and taking home first place). BOOM.
The first two days were ridiculously hard, but not for the reasons you might think. I wasn’t craving cookies and candy and French fries and baguettes. No. I was going through caffeine withdrawal in a BIG way, and I spent those first 48 hours fighting against the extraordinary temptation to give in and have a
cup pot of coffee.
You can have coffee on the Whole30…black coffee. And tried as I might to drink it, I just couldn’t. So coffee was replaced with tea, and any hardcore, 2 cup a day minimum coffee drinker such as myself knows – tea just ain’t the same thing. That has been the hardest adjustment by far. But I’m pleased to report that the caffeine withdrawal headache was gone by day 3. And then I made a life-changing discovery – a combination of coconut milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon + a quick spin in the Magic Bullet and voila! Drinkable coffee. I was practically crying tears of happiness this morning when I figured it out.
I’m just in total shock over the no hunger thing. I am literally never hungry. I am fully satisfied, and I never eat for pleasure (because, how pleasurable is pork loin and broccoli?). This program forces you to use food as fuel, not as comfort. I know these are all clichés that people have been throwing around for years, but wow…experiencing it firsthand is just crazy.
Another hard thing for me is drinking water. I hate plain water. It’s boring. When I force myself to just drink water, I end up not drinking as much as I should, because I can’t stand the blandness. My quick solution to this? Unsweetened iced tea. Slightly annoying to brew all the time, especially considering how much I drink, but surely it’s better for me than the chemical-laden Crystal Light squeeze bottles I’ve been using to liven up my water for months now.
So that’s it, that’s my spiel. Hopefully on November 25th I’ll be even more impressed with the results. I’m really amazed (and slightly frightened) by the grip that sugar had on me. The constant cravings, the roller-coaster of binging and snacking all day and never feeling satisfied… it’s gone now, and what’s even crazier is how quickly my body adjusted to this new way of eating. After one day of no sugar I felt great – better than ever. Resisting all the Halloween candy was easier than I thought. And now I KNOW I can do this.
More updates to follow…