I previously wrote about surviving the Whole 30 through the food point of view. Thinking about it now, I’d have to say that I didn’t merely ‘survive’ on the Whole 30. I lived! There was very little suffering or torture. I started out (and completed) the Whole 30 with my sense of humor and adventure fully intact. I was in it to see what would happen. I had a few minor goals:
- Increase my energy levels
- Use and view food as fuel, rather than something to do (aka limit snacking!)
- Stop using food as a source of comfort and focus on healthy, whole foods, rather than treats!
The major things that I had to learn to do without out or change were:
- Using olive oil and vinegar instead of dressings and marinades (I loved this change!)
- No more gum!! I was the gum queen. Think: at least 3 different kind of gum in my bag at all times. Gum after lunch and any meal out, plus gum for those snacky times, or when I was feeling stressed. I liked to chew my anxiety off! Bad habit much?
And was it really that difficult? Nope! I crave balsamic vinegar now. Along with mustard for my salads. There are so many options! As for the gum, I am better off without the added chemicals, and rarely think about it now. And I am adding years to my overused jaw! So I will continue without gum in my life.
I also discovered how much I use food for comfort. Had a bad day? Chocolate it is! Feeling cold and tired? Chocolate and tea it is! Weekends mean family time and yummy homemade desserts. Not that this is so bad. But when it becomes an every night occurrence and an all weekend eating fest? Slightly unhealthy. Plus, that chocolate is not going to end my worries or solve my energy woes. Quite the opposite actually. So, I really enjoyed cutting my ties to the sugar and no longer having the givemeanythingsweetrightnow cravings.
Changing the Focus
Unlike times when I have tried to cut out added sugar and my thoughts revolved around how I could create something semi-dessert like, the Whole30 engaged me in focusing on the health of my entire being. I wasn’t doing the Whole30 to lose weight or get in shape, I was doing it to become healthier: both mentally and physically. I wanted to change the way that I use food. Food is fuel. And sometimes a comfort. But it should be mainly viewed as a way to nourish and support your body. For example, Halloween with no candy?! Some may say that is crazy. But why use a holiday as an excuse to consume copious amounts of sugar in the form of mass-produced candy and other franken foods? Instead, it was a meatza night. And no sugar hangover the next day!
Did I complete the Whole30? Yes. Am I dramatically new and different person in regards to food and health? No. These things take more than 30 days people. Will I continue to practice the Whole30 philosophy in my daily life? YES! My energy is still not quite where I would like it to be. But, I will continue to focus on making sure that I get enough good, quality sleep. And that the mental stress of life does not completely take over my health. There were definitely some tough days during the Whole30. Specifically feeling down and tired-especially at the end. I think that this may have been due to not having enough carbs (sweet potatoes and squash!) in my meals. Social times were often a little stressful as well. Not being able to enjoy the same food as others and worrying about what to eat out was a bit stressful. Thankfully, there were only a few times when I felt ‘left out.’ I had to remind myself that I was making the choice to complete the Whole30 and I could not bring others down with my food worries! And I did not go out to eat at all!
Will I Whole30 Again?
The short answer: Yes! I love the philosophy behind the Whole30 and the Whole9, I never felt deprived with the food that I was eating, and I like knowing that I am providing my body with the best nutrition possible!
The long answer: I plan to combat the holiday eating fest (aka the month of December) with mini Whole5 or 8 etc., I will continue to incorporate the philosophy of Whole9 into my daily life. Using food as fuel, but indulging when it counts, and focusing on my overall health. I will be doing another Whole30 in January. I am also going to up the ante: no coffee. Possibly no nuts. Rough life eh? Actually, I am very curious about the effect that coffee may be having on my energy issues. Until then though, coffee in the morning is a must!
Would you be up for the Whole30 Challenge?
What nutrition and/or fitness goals are you currently working on?