Happy Weigh In Wednesday! Just FYI, we are still working on picking a new co-host for the blog but Erin and I should have an announcement soon!
So I'm finally putting my Whole30 journey out here! I finished last Monday but I wanted to gain the proper hindsight on my journey and gather my thoughts.
When I started writing, I realized I will need to release this in a three parts: Results, The Details, and The Rebound/What's next? Today, in accordance with WIW, I will share and overview with my results!
First of all, what is the Whole30? It's a nutritional program designed to help you determine how certain foods may be affecting your health. These foods are commonly problematic for people and include dairy, legumes, grains, alcohol, added sugar, etc. At first glance, the program seems super restrictive - no fun at all, right? Wrong.
The first thing I would tell someone who is presented with the Whole30 program is to take a mental tally of their "symptoms". Do you have reduced energy? Trouble sleeping? Gut issues such as diarrhea, bloating, constipation? Skin issues? Seasonal allergies? General aches and pains? Brain fog? (And of course, these things haven't been explained by a conventional medical reason.). Do you experience any of these things? Does it make sense that something we are nourishing our bodies with multiple times daily COULD be the problem? To me it does.
The second thing I would tell someone who is interested in the program is to pick up a copy of It Starts With Food. For me it is really important to understand the "why" of what I'm doing. I'm pretty skeptical of dogmatic approaches to weight loss - I want science and studies! There is SO much good information in there - I couldn't possibly highlight it all here! Do the work and find out if this program may be right for you. I promise if you read the book, you will understand what is so compelling about healing your body with real food.
Whole30 is something I came across 1-2 years ago when I was just starting this blog. I thought about it long and hard but never committed to doing it. I never talked about it, that I know of. The truth is, I really didn't think I could do it. I would peruse the list of "no" foods, would stop at legumes, and say "nope, not happening...then get a bean burrito from Taco Bell (not far from the truth...). I think that's pretty common. We take our time to come to a realization - things don't happen over night, especially when they are uncomfortable and potentially good for us. :)
Within the last few months, though, my thinking started to change. I began to believe that MAYBE I could do it. I was cycling between losing/gaining the same 5 lbs for months. Nothing was changing and I was just stuck - I needed to shake things up. February looked like it would a relatively calm month with very few interruptions - not a lot of parties (save the Super Bowl) or holidays (just Valentine's Day) so I could really focus on success. So I finally pulled the trigger!
More advice - don't start something you don't think you can do. Whether it's a sugar detox, Whole30, Weight Watchers, Advocare, IIFYM, or just portion control, DON'T start something thinking you will fail. That makes no sense - it's wasteful and it does a number on your self-efficacy & self-esteem. If your feelings of failure are greater than your desire for success, you aren't ready. Period. Start with something smaller to build you confidence. Had I started Whole30 at any other point in my life, I probably would not have succeeded - cue the cycle of failure and self-loathing.
This program isn't about punishment, deprivation, fad-diets, etc. I can't say it any better than the Whole30 website so here it is:
Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. - See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.52bnNvZb.dpuf
Put simply, the program is about eating REAL FOOD. That's crazy, right? No shakes, no supplements, no quick fixes - real damn food. How our ancestors ate is up for debate but I can guarantee they would probably pick an apple or piece of meat over the frankenfood we stuff ourselves with now. More on this later.
So with all that said, my Whole30 experience was surprisingly positive. I will go into the details in my next post but I feel like my overall health and well-being were positively impacted. I sleep much better, my belly problems improved (occasional reflux and IBS), and I feel more confident about my ability to achieve my health goals. I never really got the "tiger blood" that some people talk about and I don't feel like an angel walking on clouds (what?) but the improvements are enough for me to use the Whole30 program as a template for my eating habits - Paleo-ish? I know I will have toast or a cookie or cheese again (if fact, I had them during finals week which I will talk about later) but now that I know how these things affect me, I will do a better job of keeping my diet "real food" based. More vegetables, more fruits, higher quality protein sources, healthy fats, tons of water -- all the things we KNOW support our healthiest self.
I don't think there is anything too earth shattering about my results. Yes, I lost weight. Yes, I lost inches. For me, the physical results pale in comparison to the mental results. When I started this blog, I don't think I really realize how disordered my relationship was with food. Food is the enemy but it's also my best friend. So it's amazing that a month of Whole30 could help improve my cravings, impulses, and most of all, the emotional eating. I still have a ways to go with improving my overall self-image and disordered thinking but I think I made big steps over this past month!
So weight loss. I feel like the first 5 lbs were probably water weight since I was around 196 just a few days before I started. So in all likelihood, I probably lost more like 6 lbs, still pretty good. I know I lost inches because I was able to throw on a pair of size 12s the other day! They were pretty tight but hey, non-scale victory :) Clothes are fitting better but I still find myself cycling back to my old thoughts - "I have a lot more work to do..." negative nancy stuff. It's hard habit to break!
Starting Weight: 200.8
Ending Weight: 189.6
Weight Loss: -11.2
Not too dramatic or shocking, right? Still, I'm pretty pleased with the progress I'm making. I'm getting back on track, plateau no more!
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II where I'll talk about all the details - the good, the bad, the ugly.
What questions do you have that I should address about Whole30?