My February Whole30 Win

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Yep, this time around I finished the Whole30!! 🙂

I’ll jump right into the improvements and good things I’ve noticed:

  • I feel more optimistic about my health. I don’t 100% feel like I’m ‘there’, but I feel like I’m definitely on the right path. I’m closer to ‘there’ than I was 2 months ago. I also recognize that living a healthy lifestyle is not a goal you reach and then you’re done. It’s ongoing.
  • I have fewer cravings for sugar and carbs.
  • My acne is like 98% better. (If only I could have had this when I was like 17.) I have had problems with acne since I was a teenager and after bouts with all the different soaps and a dermatologist, I had just sort of settled into accepting it. I have to wonder what else is better inside my body that I can’t see.
  • My clothes fit better. I went down a size in pants. I’m definitely a little leaner.
  • I’ve learned more about cooking and found a couple of new recipes that I will definitely keep in rotation.
  • My energy levels are more even throughout the day.
  • I no longer feel STARVING hungry when I go a few hours without eating. I get hungry, but it’s not such an overwhelming feeling and it doesn’t affect me emotionally making me irritable or cranky.
  • I mostly eat three solid meals every day. Some days I also have a small snack. No more grazing all day.
  • It just feels satisfying when I make myself a healthy meal. It makes me feel like I’m taking good care of myself.
  • It’s even more satisfying to make B healthy meals. I made no attempt to make him go Whole30. He goes from being fine to melting down because he’s hungry so I end up prioritizing convenience sometimes when feeding him. He doesn’t get much in the way of the worst food options out there like McDonald’s and ice cream, but he definitely gets things like graham crackers that are ready RIGHT NOW. His diet contains a disproportionate number of bananas. Even though I wasn’t feeding him completely Whole30, I certainly fed him healthier meals while doing this because it was what I was cooking and eating anyway and that really does make me feel good.
  • Made a habit of keeping the kitchen clean. This was my second Whole30 and on my first one, I made a rule to do the dishes after EVERY meal. It’s my one rule that’s not actually part of the official program, but I almost feel like it should be. It is so much easier to want to cook something healthy when the kitchen is clean. So I kept this rule for my second Whole30 and have enjoyed a sparkling kitchen.

There were also some things that I wanted to improve or to improve more than they did.

B started day care in January and he brings home all sorts of germs so we’ve all been sick a lot. January brought the stomach flu and February we’ve all had some sort of cold or flu. Actually, I strongly suspect we were hit with like six different cold viruses at once. I have been sick basically all month.

This was not what I imagined for my Whole30. I was hoping for extra energy, optimism for each day, and being physically active. Instead it turned into boxes of kleenex, Costco-sized boxes of cold medicine, staying home with a sick kid and waking up in the middle of the night with a painful, raspy cough.

While most people report better energy, better sleep, and being more active on a Whole30, that just didn’t happen for me at all. I don’t blame the Whole30, I blame being sick. But I’m still a little disappointed.

I am considering extending my Whole30 to give myself some time on it while not being sick to see if the rest of the improvements I hoped for will show up.

Also, my sugar cravings are better, but not as much better as I might like. I do claim full responsibility for that though because I know I ate too many Chocolate Sea Salt RXbars along the way. These are technically compliant, but totally not recommended because they reinforce the cycle of craving-reward that comes with sugar addiction.

Weight loss

One of the Whole30 rules is to not step on the scale for the 30 days. This is perhaps one of the hardest because of the desire to know if it’s “working”. The idea is that there is so much more to gain from eating healthy than a number on the scale and that by not weighing-in, a person will focus on the other benefits instead of being distracted by a number.

I think this is good reasoning. I also think that there is a lot of ‘noise’ in data that comes from weight. It’s normal for a person’s weight to fluctuate throughout a day or a week. That normal fluctuation is greater than the amount of weight one is going actually really lose in that time period. Frequent data points don’t actually give a clearer picture of what is happening.

The Whole30 is not supposed to be about losing weight. But for me, and I’m sure for tons of other people, that really was one of my goals.

I’m writing this on Day 30, so technically, I still have to wait until tomorrow until my program is really over to weigh myself. I’m dying of curiosity for the number.

I will also take it in stride. I know that some of my other life-style factors weren’t lined up. I was sick which is a big physical stress and also meant I was pretty sedentary and I wasn’t sleeping well. Stress, lack of exercise and not sleeping well are not a good combination for weight loss.

I basically expect that I lost a little weight. It probably won’t be a miraculous number and I might be a little disappointed or maybe I’ll just be glad that it went down instead of up. I’ll have more to go before I’m at my ideal weight. I’m OK with that. I know I’m on the right path and that if I stick to my healthy eating, I’m confident that I’ll get there.

Thirty days can make a big difference, but it is still only 30 days. Being healthy is a lifelong process. Nothing I can do in 30 days will solve my health for a lifetime. It CAN and DID get me heading in the right direction.

Going Forward

One of the big parts of the Whole30 (and one that often gets overlooked) is the reintroduction process. They recommend a careful reintroduction plan so that people can really learn how the foods they eliminated affect them. The idea is not to eliminate these foods forever, but to take a break from them and then to try them again to see the impact.

I’m pretty sure that I don’t have any really strong reactions to any food groups. I’m not lactose intolerant. I don’t have a big problem with gluten. Eating anything once doesn’t seem to be a big deal for me. I do know that consistently eating those things IS a big deal.

I may also have more subtle things that are a little harder to tie to specific foods. My acne for example. From what I’ve read, most likely it’s a reaction to dairy or gluten. But it doesn’t happen the second I drink a glass of milk or eat a slice of bread. Either it’s a delayed reaction or it is a cumulative result of a certain amount of those foods.

I really need to take some time and experiment with those things. Really, the Whole30 is meant to be one big self-experiment. It’s not about following somebody else’s advice on what to eat, but about learning how different foods affect YOU.

I want to remember how good I feel doing this. I want to come back to it if (when) my diet goes too far off again. I want the time between my second and third Whole30s to be much shorter than the time between my first and second ones.

If my energy starts slumping, or I start gaining weight, or my acne returns, I want to make the connection that it’s because of what I am eating. (I know this is hard because I might not want to stop eating sugary cereal six meals a day.)

I just want to keep getting closer to a diet and lifestyle that helps me feel my best. I feel like I am so much closer to this than I was two months ago.

(I say two months instead of one month, because I had a few weeks of Whole30 in January too. See My January Whole30 Fail. While I didn’t make it the full 30 days, I do think that it helped to get me back on track.)

Yep, I’m actually publishing this post without waiting for that final number to include in it. Which would drive me nuts as a reader because when I look for the Whole30 posts with before and after photos and with numbers. I also don’t have photos because taking pictures of myself in my underwear when I feel like I need to change my eating in order to lose weight is so just not going to happen. Sorry to disappoint.

One Response

  1. Congratulations! It’s a definite achievement to be proud of, because it is hard to change our diets! I have a lot of foods where a little really isn’t much of a problem (legumes, corn, nightshades, dairy), but the farther away from AIP I get, the more I start eating those foods regularly again and the more I notice joint pain, upset stomachs, congestion — none of which is a problem in moderation but really starts to be miserable when it’s every day. One day a week of dairy is fine, but dairy every day means I’m basically a little sick every day. And that’s not how I want to live my life. Reintroducing slowly to really try to pinpoint your reactions is a very good idea. For example, my gluten-reaction comes 36 hours after eating gluten. An hour after eating gluten, I’m fine. The morning after eating gluten, I’m fine. The sore throat starts later than that. I would never have realized the connection if I hadn’t been doing the slow reintroduction. I’d just be back to being sick all the time.

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