Well, I did it! I finished my stint with Whole30 on March 2nd having started February 1st. What an eye-opening and revelatory experience! I am not usually one to give any time of day to so-called “fad diets” but that was what attracted to me to Whole30 in the first place, the idea that it wasn’t a diet but rather a nutritional reset which is something everyone can benefit from doing. I would highly recommend taking on this challenge and seeing how it makes you feel.
Is it difficult? Yes. Is it rewarding? Absolutely. Pleasure outweigh the pain? For sure. The first half of the thirty days is spent endlessly pouring over food labels, meal prep and planning that doesn’t seem to be worth it. The physical perception of how you feel day to day doesn’t change much in the first two weeks. I even felt a little cranky, tired and hungry most likely due to the sudden absence of the types of things that I centered my meals around. But, give it two weeks and suddenly you start to feel good. My clothes fit more comfortably, I was happy and felt good about myself. And best of all, I felt stable. When I was consuming carb and sugar heavy meals, my energy levels would spike and drop throughout the day. This is something that I was mildly aware of but when it’s part of your day to day life, you tend to write it off as normalcy. It’s difficult to realize that you have a choice in the matter. Thus, the magic of Whole30.
The program forces you to be creative with your food, how you can prepare and eat food that still excites and satisfies without these instantly gratifying elements, like wheat and sugar, dairy, etc. It takes more time to prepare meals as you will be preparing all of them. That’s right! Eating out isn’t really a possibility so be prepared to get your hands dirty and don’t be afraid of the constant dishes that pile up, it’s worth it! Having to wait until I was done cooking to eat when I was feeling like I was “starving” was really a game-changer. It makes you appreciate the meal so much more whereas before I would reach for something to snack on while I was cooking, like cheese or bread. You learn to tolerate the hunger and let it inspire what you create and in turn it takes less to make you feel full. It helped to correct my portion sizes. I am so glad that I chose to take on this challenge and I proved to myself that I do have self-control when it comes to food! hah!
Coming off of Whole30 is very interesting. As I re-introduced things back into my diet, I quickly realized how sluggish and bloated most of the things that I had cut out make me feel. It’s not like I am never going to eat those things again but I have taught myself that I only need them in true moderation, certainly not with every meal. I have become a more creative cook from this experience and I still feel great three weeks later!
To find out more about Whole3o, visit their website at www.whole30.com