Friday, December 4, 2015

My Whole 30 Journey - Where I Am Now

I spent September and October doing my second and third rounds of Whole 30. I did my first back in June and blogged about it regularly in several parts (1234). The first round was very powerful for me and showed me what a huge impact the foods I chose had on my physically and mentally. It also showed me that I could do it. While I was completely self motivated, I was really apprehensive about my ability to stick to it for 30 long days.

For those who aren't familiar with the program, Whole 30 is similar to a 'Paleo', but is more strict and meant to be a temporary (30 day) span. It eliminates all grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and many other additives found in many foods we regularly consume. While this may seem really restrictive, for me it was more of a refocus on nourishing clean foods. Vegetables, meat, healthy fats, and some fruits become everything you consume.

So, after completing my first Whole 30, I knew immediately I wanted to do it again. However, I was also excited to have some drinks and treats that I had missed for 30 days. It was summer, we were busy with fun activities, and suddenly two months of eating nowhere near Whole 30 had passed. And not surprisingly, all of the weight I'd dropped in June was back. However, I was excited to dive back in, knowing I had the knowledge of what foods made me feel good. I had heard that the second round of Whole 30 could be even harder than the first but I didn't find that was the case for me. I was still counting the days and making a conscious effort but I felt I settled into it pretty well. At the end of September, I finished my second round, we went out for tacos and beers, and I dove into my third round the next day. I 'slipped up' or 'cheated' a couple times in October with a glass of wine, piece of candy, or taste of something Cody was eating but it didn't feel detrimental to how I felt or my process. And it felt like October was over in no time. Completing nearly 60 days of Whole 30 taught me that it could definitely be a lifestyle for me.

Next, November came. We moved to a new place, celebrated our first anniversary, and then Thanksgiving. I definitely didn't fall as far as I had in July and August, but I was letting some old habits creep back in. I was still making healthy meals but I was having more drinks and treats. After Thanksgiving I was feeling like crud and to me, it seems the more I have these foods out of my system, the greater effect they have on me.

What do I mean by effect? When I consume gluten, dairy, and sugar I physically bloat, I get headaches, my acne worsens, my pre-menstrual symptoms increase, and sorry about the TMI, but my gastrointestinal issues get bad. Mentally, I get down on myself, become much more moody and sensitive, and feel like I'm in a fog.

I have been seeing a doctor to sort of these food sensitivities and it seems it might be due to a Leaky Gut, possibly a result of antibiotics taken over the course of my life. So I am taking action to correct some of that with dietary supplements. I don't think that gluten, dairy, and sugar are evil. But I do think that they have effects on everyone. It just seems they take a stronger hold on me and have more negative effects than some people. Sometimes this makes me mad and I feel alone in the battle. I get resentful that I have to be mindful of what I eat. And these feelings might come up for a while.

So, six months into this, I'm now at a place where I know I need to see this as more of a lifestyle than a 'challenge'. I don't want to be counting the days that I eat healthily, up or down. But I also need to make the parameters more livable. With Whole 30, it's difficult to ever eat out or be a part of social engagements. I also have to drive all over town to find compliant foods. Moving forward, I'm going to take the Whole 30 parameters and make them work for my life. So, I'm going to purchase almond milk that may have some carageenan in it. I'm going to make grain free pancakes, and I'm going to have the occasional drink.

I'm really proud of all of the knowledge I have gained about food and the new approach I have to eating. Years ago I was counting calories down to every piece of gum I chewed, guzzling diet soda, and eating everything 'lite' and low-fat. I would skip meals in order to stay within my count for the day. I chastised myself for lack of self control and resticted myself to a diet out of self-disgust. I feel so much better eating whole foods and feeding my body when I'm hungry, knowing that I'm consuming things that don't make me crazed without control. It's still a journey, but making food choices from a place of self-love seems like a much better path to be on.


  1. So happy you're finding peace with your health/wellness journey!

    I'm on a similar path myself. It's hard but worth it!

    Lately I've been trying to eat Whole30-like during the week and ease up on the weekends. It seems to be working fairly well. I was totally lax over Thanksgiving and it came back to bite me, hard. So I'm looking forward to getting refocused and trying a different tactic for the long Christmas break. Like you, I'm working to find a plan that makes sense for my life. Good luck to us both! :)

  2. That's awesome that you did so well for two months!! I've never done the whole 30 but I am tying really had to eat better and eliminate the same products you mentioned-gluten dairy and sugar. I am no where near perfect with it but am very conscious of it when I go grocery shopping. I generally eat well for lunch at work it's everything else that gets a little tricky but I agree I feel so much better inside and out when I don't eat that crap.

  3. I'm super interested in this but I just don't think I have the discipline. I definitely have been more conscious of what I eat though- I used to coupon a ton before baby so I would just buy and eat whatever was on sale. Turns out, coupons are always for bad things ha. For the past couple of months I've just been trying to make EVERYTHING from scratch and I love knowing exactly what is in our food.

  4. i think making it more livable is definitely super important. i looked into the whole 30, but i don't eat a lot of meat and the whole almond milk with carageenan in it was a bit much for me, plus i think it doesn't allow beans / lentils and i basically have those in every meal haha. i have celiac's disease though, so i already eat gluten free 95% of the time. it should be 100% but i find if i allow it every now and again, i'm less likely to binge eat all at once. i am finally out of the self disgust / restricting thing that you were talking about as well, and i'm not perfect, but i'd definitely like my head to be in a good place than the scale, you know?