On: The Whole30
I hinted in my post last week that I had something up my sleeve to help me heal my relationship with food and get me back to a healthy and happy weight, well here it is. I am doing the Whole30. Some of you may know what the Whole30 is, but I’ll explain it in a bit for those who don’t. I have personally heard about the Whole30 many times over the years, but never thought I could do it, it just seemed too restrictive. Well, thinking about it turned into looking into it online, which turned into reading the book, and I realized it’s not as bad as I originally thought and I think it will really help me.
So what is the whole30? It’s where you commit to eating real, whole, nutrient-dense food for 30 days. The plan specifically cuts out foods that are commonly known to cause issues such as inflammation, unhealthy cravings and habits, digestive track issues, immune system issues, and wreck your metabolism. Those foods specifically prohibited include dairy, grains, sugar (real and artificial), alcohol, legumes, certain additives, and baked goods made with compliant ingredients. It’s kind of like that sugar detox I did a few months ago, but on steroids. They have eliminated all of the ways I sabotaged myself from making a real change in my relationship with food on the sugar detox, so I am confident I will see much better results on this plan. Oh, and if you break any of these rules, even “just a little bit,” you have to start over from day one. These people aren’t messing around!
You also can’t step on the scale for 30 days. That part shouldn’t be too difficult since I don’t get on the scale much anymore, the number is just depressing. I’ll probably be tempted to step on it throughout the Wole30 to see how I’m doing, but this rule encourages you to concentrate on non-scale victories (NSVs) instead. The book and website list many NSVs that people have experienced on the Whole30, but there are a few that I’m especially hoping to experience during these 30 days and beyond.
Better sleep: The baby has not been sleeping through the night lately, leaving me run down in the mornings and reaching for Diet Pepsi all day. Hopefully eating a better diet will help me to sleep better when the baby allows and be more rested in the mornings.
More energy: See above for why I’m walking around like a zombie all day. While Diet Pepsi isn’t allowed on the Whole30 (and hopefully I don’t run back to it once the 30 days are over), the good foods I’m eating should fuel my body in a way to give me energy without the need for caffeine.
Reduce chronic pain: Lately I have been in pain almost constantly. My feet and ankles are the worst, my doctor believes I have plantar fasciitis. By the end of the day my whole body is usually in quite a bit of pain, mainly in my legs, back, and neck. I’ve read stories of the Whole30 healing chronic pain, so I’m hopeful I will be feeling better at the end of the 30 days.
Improved mood: I’ve written a few posts about my negative moods and high stress levels. Many of the testimonials I have read about people who have completed the Whole30 say that it has helped improve their mood drastically. I’m hopeful that will be the case for me as well.
I’m trying to have a rock solid plan so that I stick with it even on the hard days. I’ve found tons of recipes that look amazing, and am trying to find ones that go in the crock-pot or instant pot to make prep easier. I’m also planning to make enough for multiple meals so I don’t have to cook elaborate meals every day, plus we can have good food for lunches. I’m really trying to focus on the great new recipes we’ll be trying and all the new and different foods we’ll be eating, rather than focusing on the things I CAN’T eat for the 30 days.
So what happens after the 30 days are up? Do you just go back to eating whatever you want and gain all the weight back like on most diets? Hopefully not. First of all, the book lays out a reintroduction plan for the prohibited foods which isolates each of the foods and reintroduces them one by one, with a few days in between, to see how your body reacts to each food specifically. If your body reacts poorly to a food (say, dairy makes you bloated) you can make the decision yourself about whether you want to put that food back in your regular diet. My hope is that I will feel so good with the new way of eating that I won’t want to go back to all the junk I was putting in my body before. Except on special occasions, and even then in moderation.
Also, the plan works on your mental and emotional relationship with food, so that hopefully it’s better after the 30 days and you don’t go running to food for comfort, or as a reward, or whatever reason you were eating other than to fuel your body. That’s part of the reason it specifically prohibits “fake” baked goods made with compliant ingredients. Even if the pancake is just made out of eggs and bananas, it still keeps your mind going to the pancakes on a Saturday morning, and when the 30 days is up, you’re more likely to want those real pancakes back in your life. You have to cut those “foods with no brakes” as they put it in the book, in order to heal your relationship with food. I definitely have a lot of work in this area.
I am starting my Whole30 journey on January 15. Why not January 1? Well, I have a couple of things going on the first part of January that would make it harder for me to stick to it, and I want to set myself up for success. First, my baby turns one on January 7, and I want to be able to eat cake and all the other yummy stuff at her party. Second, I am taking a trip to visit a friend the following week, and I don’t want to have to worry about finding the exact right food at the airport so early into the program. Also, starting on January 15 leaves plenty of time for any of you who want to join me! This is so much easier with friends in your corner. So what do you say, want to try this with me? We can share tips and recipes and commiserate together about how we reeeeeaaaally want those donuts in the break room, but remind each other that it’s not worth it! Write a comment if you want to join me, or reach out to me personally. Let’s do this!!