From October 1 through October 30, I participated in the Whole 30 challenge. I have been eating clean, whole, nutritional foods for over a year now as part of fighting my fibromyalgia, but a combination of stress and summer break plus a horrible run of luck with an oral surgery left me way off track and feeling miserable. My cousin and his wife completed Whole 30 in August and then a friend did it in September, so finally I said enough was
enough and I committed to the program myself.
If you are intrigued about trying this for yourself, I highly encourage reading the book, “It Starts with Food” and thoroughly going over the Whole 30 website. The basics of this eating lifestyle are:
- No sugar/artificial sweeteners
- No alcohol
- No grains
- No legumes
- No dairy
- Plus an assortment of “how” rules
Over the course of the month, three main things became apparent to me:
Whole 30 take-aways
Weight loss is not the goal. I am 5’5″ish and 137 pounds. I wear a size 6. I am very, very comfortable in my body. Going into the program, I thought for sure I’d probably lose 5 pounds or so, but on day 30, guess where I
was? Up 2 pounds. I also took measurements to see if I lost inches anywhere. My waist went down ¼ inch and my hips/butt went down 1 inch. I’ve known this fact for a bit now but I cannot reiterate more, weight loss is NOT the goal. The book talks about this. The website talks about it. I was still convinced I would go down though because I thought I’d be starving. Yeah, that didn’t happen.
- Not everything can be fixed. Whole 30 isn’t exactly a magic pill. It is a great program. It teaches people a lot about food and how it is affecting us as humans, but it is not the only thing you have to do for yourself. Be smart. I don’t always have regular cycles and even though I’ve been doing really well, the month I did Whole 30, my body skipped a period completely. This could be completely by chance, but it is the first time I couldn’t blame my missed period on too many trips to Culver’s.
- The rules suck. The rules make sense to me. They really do. The psychological connection we make with food is astounding and the only way to truly beat our cravings and master our health is to be in control of what we eat and not the other way around. But with that said, following the rules was the hardest part for me. I love throwing together a giant blender full of smoothie to have as breakfast on a morning when I don’t feel like eating. (Smoothies are not encouraged because our brains/stomachs don’t always understand drinking our food versus chewing.) I often enjoy a fritter/pancake of sorts for breakfast or dinner with some mashed up squash, some nut flour and eggs. But again, this is against the rules because eating a pancake is eating pancake in our heads no matter how much healthier we make the ingredients. Seriously, your brain will start treating a Larabar as a Snickers if you eat one every time you have a sugar craving. Like I said, the rules make sense but they totally suck.
Overall, I would do Whole 30 again in a heartbeat. I formed a lot of new habits during my month that have lasted with me as I transition off. I enjoy eating in this paleo way and my energy and overall mood are better than ever.
Have you tried the Whole 30 challenge yet? Let me know how it went!
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Tags: clean eating