So when you’re not eating any of your favorite foods, the weeks actually go by much quicker than you’d expect but the days are sloooooooooow. I am counting the hours to donuts in the morning and they are definitely not going fast enough. I thought I’d write a about our whole30 experiences. This post is kind of long, and probably only interesting to those considering doing whole30 themselves, so I’d suggest not wasting your time if it doesn’t interest you. First of all, let me say that it’s not for everyone. After this round, I’m feeling like maybe it’s not for me. I think people should do whatever works for them and so I am in no way a cheerleader for whole30. In fact D and I joke that we both love whole30 and it ruined our lives. Let me preface by saying that prior to our first round in September 2014, I really had never made any attempts to change my diet in any way. Actually I did try to cut down on sugar once and lasted two days before I couldn’t handle the nasty monster I became. I did gluten free for a week and I had switched over to soymilk (just for drinking) because I was having major stomach issues. Other than that, I ate what I wanted when I wanted which meant a LOT of sugar and chocolate. From the ages of 12-24 I pretty much ate pasta and parmesan cheese for dinner every night. And I had dessert at least once, but mostly twice a day. Anyway, D had mentioned whole30 a few times to me but I laughed it off. When he made a serious suggestion that we try it together, I remember I was at work and I actually teared up at the thought of not eating those foods. That was a wakeup call to me – I was actually crying over chocolate? How ridiculous, right? So after probably a month of debating it in my mind, I agreed. I’ve now (well, in 6 hours) survived 3 rounds (thats 90 LONG days) of eating only meat, veggies, fruit and nuts. Here’s what it was like for me.
Round 1 – We were super excited about the challenge this first round. I removed every noncompliant food from the house so it wouldn’t tempt me. It was tough figuring out how to eat, but exciting trying new foods and new recipes. My taste buds started changing and everything was delicious. It was day 2 that sugar withdrawal hit me bad. I lay in bed in tears because my body aches were so bad and no painkiller or heat brought any relief because my body only wanted sugar. I remember thinking, I never want food to have this much power over me. It was a few days later that gum pain started and lasted on and off the whole time. Try chewing meat and vegetables when your gums hurt. Actually don’t do that – eat milkshakes and smoothies (two things not allowed on whole30). I also had crazy hormonal symptoms that I’ll spare you the details (I think the gums were tied to this). I was exhausted the whole time. By the end I lost 12 pounds and I think it was mostly due to not wanting to eat because my mouth hurt. While I didn’t feel great by the end of it, I did have clearer skin and my stomach was back to normal. And I actually noticed when I started eating unhealthy foods again how terrible they made me feel. Hence the “it ruined our lives.” We could no longer live in ignorant bliss of how junky all that junk food really made us feel.
Round 2 – This round may have gone differently if we hadn’t found on day 2 that we had to move out of our house and find a new place to live. We were waiting to hear if D got into the Navy and it was super stressful trying to figure out what to do and all I wanted the entire time was a cookie for comfort food. And to order a pizza so I could pack my house instead of spending an hour cooking. It was crazy. Eating was a lot easier because I knew what to eat, but I was so bored of whole30 meals, there was little excitement it- was just an added stressor. Still had major gum pain that lasted after we were done. I remember being a super stickler about “the rules” the 2nd time because a few of my coworkers were doing whole30. Except drinking some alcohol, eating a burger without the bun at a fast food restaurant, and other things that made me seethe. For some reason I was really angry at them, I think because it’s so freaking hard to do whole30 correctly and I was really proud that I did it, so I was mad when they said they were doing it but cheating here and there. Then D found out he got accepted as a pilot in the Navy, and we quit on day 30 to celebrate with some ice cream. I got over thinking I was better than everyone else.
Round 3 – This time I didn’t go through withdrawal and have felt pretty normal even with the major food changes (we were eating pretty terrible before this round). I have had some gum pain, but its only been a few days so bearable. This time I’ve had a hard time not eating “fake” unhealthy foods. IE – plantain tortillas (not allowed I realized) with fruit and cream. Basically a crepe and deelicious. I also made chips a few times with potatoes. But I’m feeling kind of oppositional with the rules. I think part of it is frustration that I haven’t felt the “tiger blood” energy they promise – I’ve never felt great while on whole30. Although I do know that I still probably feel better than when eating junk. I also think I just want to be in charge of what I eat and not follow someone else’s rules anymore. It helped the first time because I had no rules myself, but I think now I’m wanting to be the one in charge. Plus I found out that the creator of whole30 could care less about baking. It’s really easy to tell the world not to bake for 30 days when you never bake anyway. It sucks when baking is one of your favorite things to do.
I could go on and on about whole30 because it is actually pretty crazy and intense. If you are considering it, just know that the things that they promise are not true for everyone. D has felt more energy on whole30 and it’s improved his workouts and he doesn’t have any crazy major symptoms. It’s kind of a shock to my system when I do it and I’m pretty irritable for most of the 30 days. Whole30 claims to solve your emotional relationship with food, but I had never felt guilt in my life around eating until after our first round. I’d never felt bad about eating something delicious and unhealthy until I did whole30, so in some senses it created a problem for me. But I also eat fewer unhealthy foods, so it’s a toss-up. Doing whole30 has really made me much more aware of what I eat and my food choices, which means we generally eat a lot healthier at home. Even though I don’t know if I want to do another whole30 in the future, I am much more motivated to eat similarly on a regular basis. Tomorrow morning will be paleo doughnuts instead of Krispy Kreme. And whole30 requires creativity with cooking. That’s something that I’ve been struggling with since we moved to Florida and so I’m really glad to have gotten a little bit of that back. I’m finally looking forward to food again instead of just being bored with it. And that’s a good thing.