My First Whole30

June 19-July 18, 2017
Pretty excited to share a bit more about my first round of Whole30. We did it!

I've heard about Whole30 for a few years now, but never really worked up the motivation to try it. I was surprised to find out that some folks knew what I was talking about, but a bunch more had no idea what I was referring to.

There's a ton of information on Whole30 out there, including their official website, book, and tons of other references on Pinterest, Instagram (#whole30), you name it.

The idea is that many of us might react poorly to common items/ingredients in the Standard American Diet (abbreviated: SAD - ha), but since we're not actually allergic or displaying a "reaction", we don't know what truly affects us... unless we cut out those items. Makes sense. For me, the idea of figuring out what one thing to cut out felt overwhelming and impossible in the midst of everything else (especially considering how cross-influenced all the foods are), so an all-at-once approach (while also feeling like a big deal) would be simpler and easier. Give me the rules to play by, and I can manage that!

So. For 30 days, you cut out sugar, grains, dairy and legumes (oh - and alcohol) to give your body and mind a reset. Give yourself a chance to heal from inflammation, deal with and overcome cravings, and get back in the habit of paying attention to when you're actually hungry (versus thirsty or stressed) and how foods make you feel. No counting or restricting calories or anything else. Just focusing on eating good food. I could handle that.

I bought the book, because it's always helpful for me to "read up" on an idea and have resources to refer to. I'm glad I did - because knowing more about the "whys" of the program, how things work and a guide to creating your weekly recipes and routines (along with many delicious recipes) made the month much easier than if I tried to cobble things together from the interwebs. Definitely recommend.

Alan decided to do it with me, which was nice. I chose not to strictly enforce with the kids, which meant we still had non-compliant foods in the house... but I'm proud to say that I didn't break and eat any of them.

I took measurements before starting, as well as pictures of myself. I'm looking forward to documenting this progress toward health for myself - seeing how far I come.

Ultimately, one of the biggest takeaways for me was how powerful my mind is - and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and feeling of control - but in a good way.

Since having my kiddos (and particularly the second one), a weakness of mine has been succumbing to the urgent. Feeling like I'm reactive to everything. Flying by the seat of my pants, or just haphazard and disorganized. Our food habits reflected that.

The amazing carnitas recipe from within the book. Soooo good. 
I gained a lot of weight with each pregnancy, and after I had Thomas... it hung around. I really struggled with part of this due to some resentments and issues I've started working through with my therapist... and I'm making progress. I'm not seeking this out of some attempt to fit in, or get my body "back" or look the way someone else thinks I should look. I'm seeking a healthier, stronger version of myself. Adjusting what I ate seemed like a critical first step, and I related to the Whole30 concept, and felt like it was possible for me to tackle. i still don't feel up to a program that asks me to count/restrict calories or certain amounts of things - I just don't have the brainpower right this moment to dedicate to that cause. Maybe in the future. (Also, Margi made me some compliant food on my trip to Austin which was delicious and absolutely the tipping point in my decision!)

A delicious weekend breakfast re-using some steak cooked the night before. 
I've never been able to follow through on something like this before. I've always given up or let something become more important. This time... I didn't. I stuck in there, even over the 4th of July holiday when a PERFECTLY GOOD S'MORE was rejected by James because "he didn't WANT a sandwich!!!" so it sat on the counter for hours and hours and while I thought about it... I didn't eat it. BOOM.

I've perfected my roast chicken recipe, and often cook a whole bird (or two) to prep for the upcoming week. 
Committing to something like this meant I understood the "why" behind it, I knew it wasn't forever, I'd hopefully lose some weight, but also come away with several non-scale victories... and feeling a stronger sense of control and purpose in my day to day life. Even if I came home hungry and hadn't prepped as well as I should have the night before... I still cooked and ate something that followed the guidelines rather than bail on the good things I was doing for myself.

It was powerful.

I ended up losing 8 pounds overall, and noticeable differences around my body. (Let's not talk about how Alan lost something like TWENTY FIVE POUNDS because that's just crazy and ridiculous and whatever. Good for him. But... seriously?!?!?)

A super last minute dinner. I hadn't prepped, but I had some frozen veggies and frozen shrimp - so I repurposed a recipe I had made earlier in the month from the book. So yummy! 
I felt less up and down with my energy levels, slept better, and my stomach completely stopped bothering me. My feet and back hurt less - I was no longer cringing my way downstairs after I woke up in the morning. While I didn't suffer from any major ailments, overall I felt BETTER.

A creative snack I dreamed up. Cut up apple, sun butter drizzle, unsweetened coconut flakes, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. 
The adjustment wasn't as hard as I anticipated (because I anticipated HARD to help myself prepare mentally), and mostly was a change to how I prepped food. We often ate leftovers from dinner for breakfast and/or lunch, so we also noticed a lot less waste of food in our household during this 30 days. We noticed that we're more sensitive to how sweet certain "normal" foods can taste now on the other end of this (for example, we just use olive oil, balsamic or red wine vinegar and maybe some lemon on a salad - and neither of us use sweetener in our coffee anymore).

Most of a breakfast on a slow weekend day (along with coconut cream coffee, not pictured). 
And one of the biggest takeaways? Adding back in those food groups once the 30 days is complete to see how they made us feel. For me, regular cow's milk is out. I didn't drink or use a ton of it before, but it makes me feel not awesome. I don't seem to have a reaction to gluten, but I do notice bigger spikes and dips in energy and feeling sluggish overall.

Since the end of this Whole30, we've been mostly "back to normal", which means back to the crazy and not really planning stuff, which leads to yuck and blah and ugh.

I'm looking forward to starting another round, simply to tap back into that awesome mental space I was in... and this time, adding in some intentional exercise for the first time in years. Bah. I have a feeling this might be a little more tough, but I'd like to see what I'm capable of, now that I've accomplished the first round.

So... what else would you want to know? Any questions? I'd love to share more about my experience, but I'm kind of drawing a blank. Let me know in the comments! 


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