My January Whole30 fail

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My big goal for January was to complete a Whole30. I will say right off that I did not succeed. I was going strong through day 16 when everybody in the house came down with the stomach flu. I managed to stay compliant to the program for three whole days of the flu after that but on the fourth day, I went off-plan just trying to find things that wouldn’t make me even more nauseous.

I think I do better with black and white than I do with moderation when it comes to some things. I sort of got back on track for a few days after I started feeling better and then gave in and had cheese and sour cream one night. Knowing that I hadn’t stuck to the plan 100% had been eating at me, even if I had a more than legit reason with the flu. (Even the insanely rigid Whole30 website has a post about being sick and mentions that if all you can hold down is a piece of toast, it’s OK as a last resort.)

So then I had a few more days sort of on plan, sort of off plan. I knew that it would bother me that I hadn’t completed it, so I decided to start over fresh.

Today is day 8 and I’m feeling good about this. There were a few days where I felt a little down about my ‘failure’. During my first few days this time around, I kept noticing how much easier it was than my first go at it.

My day one on January 1st was awful. I was coming off of eating too much sugar and carbs. I had an awful headache. This day one was easy. Sure, I’d eaten a few non-compliant things, but my diet had been much better for weeks so my body was already adapted to living without the sugar.

So I’m back in the groove and giving it another go. It will end up taking most of February, but that’s OK. I was a bit down about my ‘failure’, but now that I’m committed to trying again, I’m feeling better about it. Plus, because I at least gave it a good go in January, I ate way better than I would have otherwise.

I have noticed some benefits from eating better. One of the big ones is that I have more energy and more consistent energy throughout the day. I can also tell that my body has made the transition from running on sugar to running on fat. I’m less prone to feeling like I am starving if I go a few hours without eating. My cravings for sugar are somewhat reduced.

The way I think about food is different too. Things like nacho-flavored chips just seem so fake. Obsessively reading ingredients is one of the gifts of a Whole30. It’s also sort of a curse. It leaves you wondering things like, “Why does this company put sugar in my deli turkey? It’s for a sandwich not a cake or something.” Or “Why does my lemon juice need sulfites? Can’t they just put lemon juice in there?” Then there’s a whole ton of worse, weird, ingredients in things, many of which I totally don’t know what they are. Of course, most of those products are one’s whose labels I don’t even bother to read these days because I already know they’re not Whole30 compliant.

It makes me think of one of Michael Pollan’s food rules:

Avoid food products with ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.

This is one of the ‘resets’ that the Whole30 promises. Getting back to eating real food with real ingredients. Or better yet, things that are the ingredient like a steak or an apple.

One of the other cool things is knowing that because I’m eating healthier I’m feeding healthier things to S and B. Certainly they both eat other stuff and I haven’t even tried to make either one of them Whole30 compliant, but I do most of the grocery shopping and cooking. I am no where near perfect with what I feed B, but I do try to feed him healthy-ish stuff and it gives me a special sense of satisfaction when I see him eat a plate of scrambled eggs with veggies. (I chop them up super small so he can’t pick them out.)

I do totally miss some foods like cheese and have other random cravings for things I’m not eating. Some of these foods I know don’t actually promote a healthy emotional/mental response for me anyway. It’s only for 30 days and eight of them are already over. Once the 30 days are over, I’m sure I won’t be as strict about what I eat, but I also want to keep my good food habits.

So most of February will be Whole30 take two for me. I am tackling a second big goal for February as well which is to be extra-productive at work. It’s not the most exciting goal, but I figure tackling it during the winter is a good time since in the spring and summer I want to be outside more.

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