Have you ever done something and later looked back and wondered how you got yourself into whatever that thing was? Yeah, well that was me with Whole30. I walk with a few ladies in my neighborhood in the mornings for exercise and support. The comradery is wonderful too. It’s true what they say, we are better together. It helps having accountability and like-minded people rooting for you. Never mind, the fact that it’s still dark outside at the time we walk. There is safety in numbers, right? Anyway, I digress, back to Whole30.
So one of my dear walking friends, and I’m totally being sarcastic with the “dear”, decided it would be great for us to start the year off by doing Whole30. It would be a fresh start! It would reset the body! You’ll feel better about yourself! It helps how you “see” food. My immediate thought was, “no you can keep that, I don’t even believe in diets for real.” However, the more she talked about it, the more it sounded like something I could handle and it was similar to things I’d done before such as the Daniel Fast with church or giving up sweets for Lent. Boy was I wrong.
Whole30 is more stringent and restrictive than any diet or food plan that I have ever witnessed. I mean how can you be more restrictive than Paleo and Keto combined. If God didn’t literally make it, you can’t have it. Bye-bye dairy. Bye-bye grains. Bye-bye hazelnut coffee creamer. Bye-bye cherry coke zero. Bye-bye white wine. Bye-bye sugar in any form. Bye-bye everything good, it seems. And did I mention that the goal is to do this for 30 days hence the name Whole30! I mean it’s longer than the Daniel Fast but less than Lent but at least with Lent you get to choose what you give up.
Nevertheless, I decided I’d take one for the team. Go along to get along so to speak and besides, how hard could it really be. I’ll tell you how hard. HARD. Very HARD. Especially some days. Some days are a piece of cake but then some days all you want is a piece of cake. The first day I tried coconut milk in my coffee, I nearly vomited. I poured the whole cup of coffee out not to mention the rest of the milk. The second day I tried almond milk in my coffee and though it was not nearly as repugnant as the coconut milk; it was not nearly as delectable as my beloved hazelnut creamer either. I mean I’m a simple girl. I don’t ask for much. What can a little hazelnut creamer hurt? But, if you know me at all, I do my best to abide by the rules and give whatever I’m doing my all. So I settled for almond milk and managed to make it through my cup of coffee.
A good thing about Whole30 is that you are not obsessed with a scale. You weigh and measure before you start and then you don’t weigh again until the end of the experience! Whole30 truly shows you how you can lose weight by eliminating sugar and being more conscious of your choices. Plus, if you’re focused on the scale too much, you could easily become discouraged and be more tempted to eat cheese or peanut M & Ms ® (maybe that is just me, HA).
Despite the mental and emotional challenges of Whole30 the physical benefits have been worth it. Even if I felt like it was near emotional abuse dealing with the day to day sometimes. We tend to underestimate the amount of sugar in our diet and the amount of processed food we eat. For example, Whole30 dictates that you can’t have sugar in any form including artificial sweeteners. Imagine my surprise when I realized I couldn’t cook with Lawry’s ® seasoning salt! It’s a staple, but if you read the ingredients on the back you see sugar listed which automatically puts it on the Whole30 no list.
Whole30 aided in my spiritual growth. This became the case when I started to look at it like a fast. Some days that is what it took; praying my way through it, lol. Through prayer, I can conquer anything! Whole30 also expanded the way I cook and for the better. I learned to cook some things healthier without losing the great taste. I learned that a food processor is a necessity unless you have two hours to hand cut all of your veggies!
Did I feel better, overall, yes but I had to really pay attention to myself to notice the difference. I attribute this to the fact that in general I make healthy food choices most of the time in my regular non-Whole30 life. Did I lose weight? Absolutely! Now that felt good! It was a hard-fought 10 pounds but it was a great reward to look at the scale when it was over. Will I do it again? Probably, I guess I'm a glutton for healthy punishment. Would I make it a lifestyle? Absolutely not! Maybe periodically? It’s much too restrictive otherwise. I’m all about moderation and balance. Whole30 is not. I’m not trying to give up cheesecake for the rest of my life. In my opinion, Whole30 is not intended to be a permanent lifestyle for most people. Though it is healthy eating at its best, I do not think the program is realistically a lifelong option. However, I still drink my coffee with almond milk most days, believe it or not, but I will splurge with the hazelnut creamer sometimes.
What is something that you have participated in reluctantly but received benefits? What healthy changes have you made that you didn’t anticipate being long term that became long term?
Learn more about whole30.com here. There is a whole world dedicated to Whole30 that I had never even heard of before this challenge.