What the doing the Whole30 taught me about myself (and everything else)

Hey guys, it’s been awhile. I took about a month or so off to sort of regroup and get my self together. I’m sure you know the feeling. While I’ve been gone I’ve been making some really great self improvements that I’m excited about. Just know that I’m telling you these things as just me, not a fitness or health instructor, but a flawed human being who has PLENTY of her own struggles with body image, weight, not feeling good enough and generally just trying and trying and trying again (anyone know the story of Atlas? Yeah that’s what it feels like).

During April, my friends and I decided to do Whole30 aka a “lifestyle change” where you give up dairy, legumes, sugar, grains and alcohol for 30 days. On the outside, I was not pleased. If you follow my Instagram you know how much I love French pastries, burgers, brunch foods and yummy drinks. But on the inside, I knew it was time for a change from what I had been doing and time to feel like I wasn’t dying when doing fitness activities.

Nevertheless, I threw myself into pouring through Pinterest recipes, scouring shopping lists and making sure to have all the things that people recommended for Whole30 (which for me was akin to going into battle or running a marathon).I spent ENTIRELY too much money and time on that. It wasn’t really that complicated. It was tough, but it wasn’t complicated.

If you’d like to see documented proof of things I ate and thought during this process check me out on Instagram: @ChokingonVeggies

For the first week, I was doing okay. I was pretty sleepy and pretty moody (mostly because I was doing a lot of after-work volunteering and it’s near impossible to get something to eat quickly while on Whole30 from most normal restaurants) and since I wasn’t at home, I couldn’t cook.

The second week I worked, and I slept. My roommate came home, and I was already asleep because I was just so wiped out. I didn’t really work out much that second week.

During third week, I traveled out to visit my boyfriend in Colorado. I packed a MILLION snacks. Guys, if I have one piece of advice: Don’t get as many snacks as I got…just don’t. It’s not necessary. Your pre-whole30 self will think that you need to do this, but you don’t. Just make your own! The third week I was feeling pretty good. I had WAY more energy, which I’ll talk about later, but I was still pretty unhappy that I traveled all the way to see my bf and wasn’t able to do what we usually do: Netflix and eat. Still, I bought my groceries and made some pretty bomb meals and he even felt better during my almost two weeks there.

The fourth week I was still with Matt and NARROWLY didn’t cheat my last days. I think some serious serious will power was in place there, but I did not give in and drink a beer or eat a cookie or even use my free drink coupon on my flight back. On May 1st at 12:30 am, I ate my first taste of the real world. Chocolates that I had saved, bought at a local British store. They tasted AMAZING.

Here are some of the things I ate:

Mostly eggs. If I told you that you could eat bacon and eggs for breakfast for the next 30 days and lose weight…you would probably laugh in my face. But that is legit what happened.

 

Non-Scale victories…or whatever:

  1. Fitness gains: One of my first times in Colorado (and a few subsequent times) Matt has taken me hiking the flatirons in Boulder. What is “technically” a foothill is far bigger and steeper than ANY single mountain we have on the East Coast. Did you climb Old Rag…well good job, now climb two more and you have a FlatIron! They’re a difficult hike that Coloradoans think is basically kids play (they RUN up them…RUN! Guys I’m not making this up). When I first attempted this climb I was bigger, less fit and definitely not acclimated to the elevation (which as you’d imagine gets even less oxygen-y at the top). I had to stop half way and thought I was literally dying. This time around, I’d been working out, doing my Whole30, was actually physically much lighter by this time and FINALLY finished the whole thing. It was hard, I had to take breaks, and I’m not as swift as my completely-different-body-type boyfriend, but I did it. That was my main goal. Finish the damn mountain. See the view from the top and know that I can do it. I may not be the fittest, I may not be the thinnest or the fastest, but I can do everything I set my mind to. I know it’s a dumb metaphor, but I guess you could say I conquered my mountain. YAY!

This screenshot of my fitbit stats from the day sort of puts into perspective how hard climbing mountains is on your body. No wonder everyone in Colorado is so darn fit! 

2. More wardrobe choices! Stuff that didn’t fit me for at least a year before hand, now fits me. Including this cute dress I kept “just in case” I lost weight…so I guess that actually DOES work out sometimes. Cool!

3. No more heartburn: Before Whole30 I was taking heartburn medicine every day. After whole30 and even a few days into it, I haven’t been taking it. It was getting really bad and actually really starting to worry me. I had been dealing with it for over a year before this point and had little meds with me everywhere I went. Since heartburn meds are pretty expensive, and also heartburn is VERY painful, I consider this a pretty huge win.

4. Skin: My skin really cleared up quite a bit. I had some stuff that just wouldn’t go away, which I’m pretty sure was entirely sugar based, because it cleared up pretty dang quick. Now I know to keep my sugar and grains to a minimum, and actually have the physical ability to do that. Which leads me to…..

5.Surmountable cravings. Before I used to have cravings for things and then just eat them. I think I’d sort of just given up. Now I have cravings for sweet stuff, but I know that I can just eat something like an apple or maybe just drink more water or actually know when I’m really hungry. What the writers said about eating fat is actually really true, and they have some pretty solid groundings for things they say. Also, I find it easier to follow a program with stricter rules, rather than something like WeightWatchers with flexible rules.

Scale victories:

Guys I lost 13 lbs in one month. That is unheard of in other programs. If all of the non-scale victories didn’t convince you that the food we eat in the US is completely garbage, that should. It’s not really about the weight loss, but it’s an added side effect of learning about all the crappy stuff you’re eating and getting perspective on really how bad it is.

I didn’t work out THAT much, but when I did it was SO much easier. Not just because I was losing weight, but also because my insides were happy and my mind was happy (mostly…except for all the pictures of food I kept seeing).

On Whole30 you cook basically all your own food, and that is pretty much the only way to eat in America. What does that say about the way that we do food here? Why can’t I just find some grilled chicken and greens at any restaurant? Because the food we eat here is engineered to make us unhealthy and we don’t even know it. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s real. Look at the food you eat and see if any of it has sugar..guys…WHY IS THERE SUGAR IN THINGS THAT AREN’T SWEET??!!!! Just little stuff like that you’ll realize when you do Whole30 and see all the random compounds in even “healthy” foods. It’s awful. It will make you want to throw things. I feel like I’m basically the only one I can trust to cook when making healthy food which sucks.

Takeaways:

  • Not everyone supports you. You’ll learn who to filter out and you’ll also learn that people get jealous that you’re making this decision and will try to make you feel as horrible as they (probably) feel. Don’t stop doing good for yourself! Lead by quiet example and try not to get so down when it feels like the rest of the world is having SO much more fun. Definitely try to do this with a friend or two who you know will be supportive and not give up! (Shout out to Hannah and Mary for being a frands!)
  • There is sugar in everything….try to limit added sugar so you can enjoy sugar treats in it’s REAL and delicious form: chocolate and wine.
  • Our food is trying to make us unhealthy and give us leaky gut and diabetes. Educate yourself about that…and at least try to understand the cluster-frick of just awful stuff out there and how it affects your everyday feelings, moods, looks, and pretty much everything. It’s actually very alarming and not at all a conspiracy theory. For instance: All bacon has sugar in it. Gluten isn’t the only thing that messes you up in bread, and your body actually wants you to eat more healthy fat. Crazy!
  • Eating vegetables make you feel good. Weird.
  • A lot of health concerns and minor annoyances in your health are actually diet related. Like heartburn and crazy skin and weird hair stuff.
  • ALWAYS eat a low carb, high (good) fat breakfast! I didn’t really do that before and it was lame.
  • If you attempt Whole30 you will probably have dreams about cake or burgers or mac and cheese or pizza. You will also feel guilty in your dreams. For consuming a cake you did not eat. Sigh.
  • Whole30 is better than a cleanse. Don’t do a cleanse. Cleanses are ridiculous!

 

Have you ever done Whole30? Does it sound crazy? Should I do a round 2? Let me know in the comments below or on any of my social media channels. Have questions or need suggestions…I’m not an expert, but I can steer you in the right direction. Plus my sweet potato soup recipe was ON POINT.

 

*All facts and fictions stated here are imho. If you don’t agree, comment below. If you do agree, also comment below.*

 

 

 

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