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Some of you may know that a month ago (30 days ago today to be precise) I started The Whole 30. The Whole 30 is a program based on the book, "It Starts with Food".
The program (in it's simplest form) challenges you to ELIMINATE all :
- SUGAR (real or fake)
- LEGUMES (beans and peanuts)
- GRAINS ( no wheat, corn, quinoa, oats, etc.)
- PROCESSED FOOD OF ANY KIND
If you "cheat"... you start over from Day 1.
End of story.
It allows for:
You "cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. You learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health."
If I make it to midnight tonight (which of course I will... I have come too far not to), I will have completed my very first Whole 30 challenge.
I decided to do a Whole 30 Challenge for a couple of reasons.
1.) To see if I had the will power to do so. I've always had a rather unhealthy relationship with food and used it as reward, pleasure, fun, etc. Attached to that food were fleeting feelings of happiness and joy followed by shame, sadness, anger and fear. I would eat too much or be preoccupied with restricting it. I would restrict and then go off the damn rails. I have NEVER challenged myself this way. So... a part of me just wanted to see if I could do it. I love experimenting on myself.
2.) To see if it would make me feel better. I know that when I eat gluten I feel like a steaming, hot pile of dog shit. But... eliminating gluten from my diet did not make all of the stomach issues I have had all of my life magically disappear. I still have a LOT of trouble going to the bathroom (you KNOW what I mean), I feel bloated, uncomfortable and all around "heavy" or weighed down. Every.Single.Day. I have never been regular in my life. And let me tell you. THAT sucks. I also don't sleep well. Like... at all. I sleep like shit. I stay up too late, am restless, wake up and am up for hours in the middle of the night, etc. It.Is.Miserable.
So... what The Whole 30 Challenge like?
Days 1-3 not too bad.
Days 4-5 pretty freaking tough mentally and my stomach was a MESS. I'll spare you the details.
Days 7-9 I felt like I got hit by a bus. Like I had the flu. I was SICK. Body aches. Headaches. My sinuses were a mess. I felt like hell.
Days 9-23 where the HELL did this acne come from????? It was on the perimeter of my entire face and around my neck/below my ears in that area. THAT was a bitch. I have read you release toxins through your skin and holy geezus. WOW. But... now, it looks pretty damn bright if I do say so myself.
Days 23-26 UGH. I was on vacation with friends in the mountains. I couldn't join in morning mimosas toasts, afternoon cocktails, amazing dinners or the desserts everyone was sharing. FML.
Days 27-30 I am a warrior. A goddess. I can do ANYTHING. I am master of the universe. I am half woman, half amazing. Move out of my damn way. All HAIL THE QUEEN.
I just named some of the not nice aspects of the challenge. However... this is what I left out.
- I am regular for the VERY first time in my life. Maybe you need to read that again. For the first time in 35 and a half years. No stomach aches and I use the bathroom like a normal person. THIS is huge for me.
- Also... every morning when I wake up I have a really flat stomach. I even lift my boobs up out of the way and jack them up towards my chin to get a better look at the washboard that is my abdominal region (okay... washboard is a stretch... a BIG one, but it feels and looks flat every morning).
- I sleep better. I fall asleep more easily and stay asleep better. I wake up feeling refreshed. I am sure it is no coincidence that this happened when I cut out my nightly ritual of a glass (or 3) of red wine before bed.
- I do not really snack any more. I eat A LOT when I do eat my meals, but not much (if at all) between them.
- I have found that (contrary to what I feared) I can actually live without cheese.
- I do not sneeze or have a runny nose like I used to. I have a consistently runny nose. My manfriend is always giving me a subtle swipe of his nose in public to signal to me that I may need to wipe mine. I got to the point where I didn't even feel it any more. Like a 5 year old with snot running down their face. It was always just running.
- I lost about 6lbs. Not sure about inches. I wasn't really concerned with losing pounds though. If I was I probably wouldn't have eaten white potatoes, cashews and coconut milk every single day, multiple times a day (which I definitely did do).
- I got rid of my excuses. I had to "live" during this last month... celebrate birthdays, go on date nights, attend and host parties, cook for other people, go on vacation, eat out, be in bars, travel, stay in hotels, be on the road, go to work, have candy in the house for Halloween, etc. There is never a "good time". Okay.. well, maybe January 1 is a better time than the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but you know what I am saying. There are no perfect conditions.
I found out that I am stronger than I thought I was, BUT I don't think I could have done it alone. I started a Facebook group for anyone interested in just silently checking out The Whole 30 or participating in it with me. There are 114 people in this group now. Only a small fraction of those people actively post and are doing their own challenges, but having that page held me accountable. It made this something that I had committed to. I would post pictures of food in it, throw some quotes in there, links to recipes and comment when other people did the same. This was a CRUCIAL factor of success for me, personally. If you want to be added to the group and you are on FB just let me know. I am going to keep this group up. I am not stopping and I have a feeling more people are going to join come January. All are welcome. Go to the website whole30.com or get the book It Starts with Food. Educate yourself on the program and if it sounds like something you may want to do you'll have a built in support system.
If you feel like shit, battle with your willpower (or lack thereof), have an unhealthy relationship with food, get headaches, have arthritis, stomach issues, are dead tired ALL of the time, constantly bloated or constipated, drink too often or smoke (none of either is allowed), have skin issues or just want to challenge yourself to do something difficult then I would recommend it. IF you are looking to drop a ton of weight... be patient. You didn't pack on 30 lbs in 30 days so you're not going to lose it that fast either. Set realistic expectations and center them around your health, NOT your bullshit scale.
I half expected to be counting down the days until this was over. I thought FO SHO I'd have a bottle of wine waiting for me and a grocery bag full of food I had been "craving" ready to be devoured on day 31, but surprisingly, I don't feel that way at all. I don't want to NOT feel this good, so I guess tomorrow is Day 31 of my 30-day challenge. I can't promise I'll never have a glass of wine again, but I feel too good to blow it now.
If you have any questions... I am an open book. And.. shit, if you made it through this whole blog post and are still reading you clearly don't have issues with committing to something. That was a long one. My bad.