I had intended to check in here every few days, but a few things happened...
1) Thinking about Whole30 is wearying after awhile. I think about what I'm going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I think about the shopping I need to do. I think about how on Earth I'm going to locate those three elusive ingredients that I can't seem to locate across a variety of stores - without paying $$$ ordering online. (Those three ingredients rotate. One thing is located, then I need something else. It's always something that is key to an entire meal, OF COURSE).
I think about how I'm going to socialize with friends, without being seriously tempted to stray off this plan.
2) I'm pretty sure everyone around me is sick of hearing me talk about Whole30.
3) Also, I'm tired of thinking constantly about Whole30. Did I mention that?
Happily, Whole30 is becoming more habitual for me. It's becoming more automatic, and I worry about it less - thank goodness!
Today is Day 17 - I am more than halfway through my experiment! I feel like I'm in a good place with everything.
Here are the things I have experienced in the past two weeks, since my last post:
- My sleep is so much better. I fall asleep easily, and I wake up more easily than I used to.
- My skin is clearer, brighter, less prone to dryness.
- There are no mid-morning hunger pangs, or mid-afternoon slumps. NONE. It's amazing.
- I have cut back on coffee drastically - usually I have 1-2 cups in the morning, and then I'm good for the rest of the day.
- Cravings go away quickly. My cravings have been entirely sight-related. If I don't see the chocolate, the cheese, the chips and salsa, I don't miss them. When I do see them, I calmly remind myself these items will be around in mid-September, and the desire subsides.
My Sugar Dragon has calmed the f*ck down... for now.
Although... sitting in a kitchen while my friend made arepas very nearly unhinged my mind.
It hasn't all been gravy, so to speak. Workouts have been hugely challenging, up until the two-week mark. I was feeling unmotivated to do Tracy Anderson Metamophosis, or go to dance class, or swim. I was also feeling a bit winded when swimming, but things are getting easier again. My body is learning to work in a different way, a way that isn't sugar-carb-fuelled, and less reliant on caffeine for energy or motivation.
Doing Whole30 has made me aware of something else...
I've really struggled with body image these past few weeks, in a way that I didn't know would happen. I obsessed almost constantly about my weight and appearance - until I did this program. Even now, I still do. This is an issue that is always on a low-heat burner at the back of my brain. So automatic, I didn't know it was even there. Background noise nearly every waking moment.
The scale and the measuring tape have been my cravings, in a way that chocolate or a nice glass of wine have not.
I have not weighed myself since I started, or measured myself. I want to so badly. Up until this past Friday (Day 14), I felt frustrated because it didn't seem as if I'd lost any weight.
On Saturday (Day 15), I glanced at the mirror and was surprised to see how much slimmer my arms looked.
Yesterday (Day 16), I thought a lot about this obsession of mine. I decided that a productive exercise would be to empty my closet, and try on everything, and get rid of that background noise. Only things that fit right now, and look good right now, would go back in the closet.
I got to work, and quickly discovered... my posterior does not seem to have shifted in weight or size. Perhaps a little, but not significantly. My waist and hips seem a little smaller.
On the other hand... my stomach is almost flat! I have not had a flat belly since I was 17. Several skirts that have not fit well in over a year, went on smoothly. I could not get over this - particularly because, when I look down, I don't see a flat belly. Again, there is this idea in my own mind...
I want to let go of that idea.
For this reason... I intend to continue Whole30 on a slightly relaxed basis, once this experiment is over. If we go out to dinner, or dine with friends, I won't worry if the meat was cooked in a seed-based oil. I won't obsess that there might be a little sugar in something. Inasmuch as possible, I will make Whole30 compliant choices when dining out, or visiting friends.
And if my friend makes arepas, I'm going to have some! At home, I will stick with the program.
I should also note, that I am doing this plan for 28 days. I looked at a calendar, and realized that thirty days ends very close to our trip to EPCOT, for the Food and Wine Festival. We went a few years ago - this may be one of my very favorite things I have ever experienced at Disney World, and I want to be able to enjoy it - within reason - without being sick.
So my plan is: finish Whole30 on Day 28 (Friday, September 9). Reintroduce dairy (cheese, half-and-half in coffe) on Saturday, see how I feel. Go back to Whole30 on Sunday. Reintroduce non-gluten grains (rice and corn among others) on Monday. Whole30 on Tuesday.
If you're thinking about trying Whole30, let me make some recommendations:
Read "It Starts With Food" and "The Whole30" first. Do your research. It's easier to walk away from cravings and temptations, if you know the 'why' of why you are cutting these things out of your diet for a month.
Inasmuch as you possibly can, plan and prep your meals in advance. Especially breakfasts and lunches. Google recipes that are Whole30 compliant. One of the trickiest parts of this plan is having a breakfast you can get quickly on a busy morning, or packing something portable for the office or the gym. Meat can be cooked and frozen, some fruits and vegetables can be chopped up and refrigerated in advance.
And as you find things in the grocery store, make a note somewhere that you found 'Item X' at this store, and 'Item Y' at this other store. In my experience, just committing it to memory doesn't stick. There is no frustration quite like driving out of your way to a specialty store, and then forgetting a key ingredient that makes your buffalo chicken recipe legit.
Do your research, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!