All of the images in this post are from my previous trip to Cloud Nine in Burnsville, North Carolina. You would think that my pictures would be food related – I like to be mildly surprising from time to time.
Tuesday (day 22): Nothing major to report. I was slightly more impressed with my chicken leftovers today but I wouldn’t say they were something to be desired. Honestly, I think the Whole30 is finally starting to get to me, and I’m ready for this to be over. Don’t get me wrong. I feel great, the energy is wonderful, blah blah blah. (The feeling of being restricted leaves me full of complaints and whining.) It’s not that I want donuts and cookies. It’s not that I want to have a six-pack of beer all by myself. I just want to feel like there is a healthy balance in my life. They say you can be social on Whole30 but it isn’t the same. I avoid restaurants because having to do that much planning makes me feel that I would have better off just cooking it myself. And I am morally opposed to asking the poor waiter/waitress a million questions, because I am doing a personal experiment on my body. (Fun fact: unless it is an upscale restaurant, the server probably has no idea if the chef uses traditional butter or clarified butter.) So I go to work and I go home and I eat leftovers and I’m bored of food. I don’t look forward to meal times. The diehards will try to convince me that I’m doing Whole30 wrong because I’m approaching it with negativity. Keep your Suzy Sunshine attitude to yourself.
Wednesday: Today was a cluster. Breakfast and lunch were the usual but dinner was thrown way off due to a Junior League meeting. I had planned to go to the gym after work but forgot my tennis shoes so I worked a little later before heading to the meeting. While they offered snacks and beverages, I had to limit myself to water and the RXBAR I had stuffed in my purse. I didn’t get home until 8:30 which is dangerously close to my bedtime. I ended up skipping dinner because I wasn’t that hungry and couldn’t stand the thought of putting that chicken on my plate. I had a feeling that I might pay for it in the morning, but we all have to pick and choose our battles.
Thursday: I woke up hungry but no more than usual. I skipped my morning walk which gave me plenty of time to whip up a breakfast of two fried eggs, prosciutto, sauteed squash, half of a leftover baked sweet potato, and roasted asparagus. I ate a darn feast and felt amazing afterward! Lunch was leftovers and dinner was a small helping of spaghetti squash and asparagus. I only ate it out of obligation. Dinner has truly become one of my least favorite meals. I’m going to crack folks. I feel it.
Friday: Today was interesting because I was on the road for part of it. My trip to the mountains on Friday evening presented an interesting dilemma of eating without the luxury of a refrigerator full of leftovers . Sure, I have the RXBARS but one of those can only get me so far. I didn’t want to pack nuts because the bars are already packed full of nuts and I’m trying not to overdo it. I brought a handful of grape tomatoes and scuppernongs, ate a MASSIVE lunch and hoped it would be good enough until I got to the cabin.
Saturday: And then the Whole30 turned into Whole26. I caved and enjoyed a beer. I enjoyed that beer so so so much. And not because it was a beer. In fact, I only drank about a third of the beer before I was satisfied. I enjoyed it because I was in good company, in a charming town, and had the privilege of enjoying a lazy hour with a delicious beverage. I understand the point of Whole30 being 30 days. But I also understand the importance of enjoying my time in a beautiful place with people I rarely get to spend time with. So I drank mildly, ate pretty darn well considering the temptations, and enjoyed the physical activity of mountain walks and downtown strolls.
I had expected to feel some type of guilt. I don’t feel a darn bit. I gained some helpful insight about myself and my eating habits while on “Whole26.” I continue to see the benefits of that knowledge in my daily routines. So, I didn’t make it an entire 30 days. Although, if we are being honest, the number 30 felt somewhat arbitrary to me to begin with.
This is not for everyone. The restrictive nature of the program will prove a challenge to certain personalities. And while the program claims that you can maintain a social lifestyle on the program, the amount of planning and thought that must go into that is exhausting at times. Every thought about food must be contemplated and carefully considered. That amount of time and energy will automatically turn some people off.
I benefitted from very real physical changes. I slept like a rock at night, found myself feeling less hungry throughout the day, and lost a considerable amount of weight. I also found that my energy levels were incredibly consistent. I was ready for the day when my alarm went off, maintained energy while at work with enough energy at the end of the day for a workout, and felt tired once it was time for bed. Since ending “Whole26” I have found that my energy continues that consistent trend when I make wise food decisions. I am also getting better at recognizing which foods sabotage my energy. I appreciate having that awareness.
You should do this with someone else. It can be an isolating experience. Misery is lessened when done in company.
Take the time to really understand the purpose of Whole30. It is not a diet. It is not intended to help you lose weight. It is about being in tune with your body and the way it reacts to the foods you eat. It is also about questioning your cravings and determining the difference between genuine hunger and coping with an emotion (boredom, sadness, anger, and even happiness). I found it beneficial to start Whole30 with the appropriate mindset so that my expectations were realistic and the results beneficial.
If you plan to end your Whole30 with the intention of diving back into all of your old habits, then don’t do Whole30. It defeats the purpose of it and all of your whining and bellyaching will be for nothing.
Will I do it again? Maybe. No time soon. For now, I am content to listen to my body. I enjoy previously forbidden goodies, such as beer, but I do so until satisfied. I have found that half a pint of beer gives me satisfaction without the negative effects of overindulgence, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or gut issues. Dairy is a limited pleasure but it can be enjoyed in small quantities, such as on a salad. Gluten and sugar seem to make me tired so I avoid the cupcakes at the office and save desserts for events that are special rather than developing the habit of sneaking those foods into my daily routine. Will I make better decisions for my body on a daily basis? Yes. Will I enjoy my grandmother’s homemade dumplings at Thanksgiving? Double yes. The beauty is that both answers are acceptable.
And thus concludes my experiment with Whole30.