We’re going to ignore the fact I left this blog abandoned and alone for over a year and just jump right in.
I attempted a Whole30 this week. The idea behind Whole30 is to reset your body, then slowly reintroduce foods back after the 30 days to see what has a negative impact on your body & your health. While on the Whole30 you eat all real, whole, non processed foods. No dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, or booze. For 30 days.
A few things….
First, I was eating TERRIBLY before I started this. Like, just looking at last Sunday before I started (which was EXTRA bad because, you know, ONE LAST HURRAH!) I had an apple fritter for breakfast, Mexican for lunch, and Imo’s pizza for dinner. And drank two lattes and three sodas. I’m not even a huge soda drinker normally. BUT ONE LAST HURRAH! I felt like crap ALL of the time, and I know it was almost fully related to how badly I was eating and my lack of exercise.
Second, I have a ton of issues with food. I’m an emotional eater like you’ve never seen. Happy? Eat! Sad? Eat! Bored? Eat! Angry? Eat! Frustrated? Eat! Indifferent? EAT! I use food for a reward, and I use food as a punishment. And there is SO MUCH guilt associated with food for me when I go on a bender and eat all the things I know I shouldn’t. One of the biggest components of Whole30 is to heal your relationship with food. We eat because our body needs nutrition to survive. That’s it. Period. The better we eat, the better our body will function.
Third, a reminder that I live alone and am cooking for one. This means that ample amounts of produce or large batches of food are either going bad, or I’m eating them in bulk. I don’t love leftovers.
So….the moral of the story? I did a Whole5. NOT a Whole30. I couldn’t do it ya’ll. Here’s how it all went down.
Whole 30 describes day 1: So what’s the big deal?
It’s 3 p.m. on day 1. You had a guilt-free plate of steak and eggs for breakfast, breezed through the morning with coffee and coconut cream by your side, and had a nice big salad for lunch. Your body is telling you it’s snack time, so you grab a handful of almonds and an apple and head back to your desk to finish out your day. You’ve got a slow cooker full of chili infusing your kitchen with a heavenly smell, and right now you can’t see why anyone thinks this is hard.
My day 1 experience:
THAT. To a T! I had absolutely no problems day one. I was actually so excited to start the program & stop feeling like crap, that I think my enthusiasm and excitement just carried me through. Rainbows and butterflies, guys!
Breakfast was mini egg frittatas with compliant guac and salsa, a banana, and black coffee
Lunch was a California chicken & vegetable bowl with cauliflower rice
Dinner was homemade meatballs with compliant marinara and roasted asparagus
I drank at least 90 oz of water every day and had a cup of green tea with apple cider vinegar every night.
The first Whole30 lesson I learned came while grocery shopping. There are additives in EVERY. THING. I found ONE compliant jar of salsa and ONE compliant jar of marinara sauce in the three grocery stores I visited. There is either sugar or some type of chemical added to EVERYTHING we’re eating. This was my first take away from this experience. READ LABELS. Just because something is labeled organic, or you think something like DRIED FRUIT would only have FRUIT in it-you are wrong. Everything has sugar & chemicals and this is why we’re all going to die. (I’m not feeling dramatic about this at all.)
Whole30 describes days 2 & 3: The Hangover
The alarm rings on day 2 and you pop out of bed expecting the same kind of Charlie Sheen winning feeling you had yesterday. Instead, you get the other side of Charlie…you know – the pounding-head-cross-eyed-can’t-see-straight side. You know you didn’t down a fifth of tequila in your sleep, so what the heck happened?!
My day 2 experience: I felt GREAT! I genuinely expected this day to SUCK, because the hangover is supposed to directly correlate to how badly you ate before starting Whole30. And as discussed, I ate BAD. I believe that there was so much crap in my body leftover from my pre-Whole30 bender that it hadn’t even noticed the lack of sugar yet and I was still running on reserves. I was feeling pretty invincible at this point.
Breakfast was again mini egg fittatas with compliant salsa, a banana, and black coffee
Lunch was leftover meatballs with marinara, carrots, and blackberries
Dinner was spicy tuna cakes with Trader Joe’s tahini sauce, and roasted broccoli.
My day 3 experience: Still waiting for the hangover to kick in. I suffer from pretty bad headaches on a regular basis, so I fully expected for the headache I’d read about in every Whole30 blog I read to hit me hard. Still nothing. I even planned to work from home this morning because I was so fully expecting to feel awful. It was a really happy surprise that I didn’t feel bad at all. My biggest temptation came the evening of day 3-we had a reception at work for our volunteers and donors with a shit ton of wine and delicious appetizers. I drank water and ate plain shrimp and vegetables. It was so stupid. But, honestly, not as hard as I thought it was going to be.
Breakfast was two fried eggs, compliant bacon, a banana, and black coffee
Lunch was leftover spicy tuna cakes, TJs tahini sauce, and roasted zucchini
Dinner was a Trader Joe’s chili lime chicken burger, compliant guac, and roasted sweet potatoes.
Whole30 describes days 4 & 5 as: Kill ALL the things!
Day 4 dawns and you tentatively step out of bed, expecting to feel like you took a strike from Thor’s hammer in the temple. Instead, your head is surprisingly clear. Your limbs all feel functional. This could be a good day! You walk into the kitchen and as you’re greeted by the smiling face of your significant other you are suddenly overcome…with the desire to punch them in the face for smiling this early in the morning. Congratulations! You’ve made it to day 4.
My day 4 experience: KILL. ALL. THE. THINGS. I still didn’t have the headache I’d been expecting, but I hated EVERYONE and EVERYTHING. I flipped out on my dog first thing in the morning, got in a fight with the street department because they were working on the street in front of my house and ruining my life, said “WTF!?!?” to literally every email I received throughout the day, and generally was annoyed by living. I was also VERY dumb. My brain just didn’t work correctly and I could not understand very simple concepts. I was also OVER this situation. I didn’t want any of the food I had-I ate two bites of my lunch and would have rather died than finish it. So I just didn’t really eat lunch. I was also EXHAUSTED-hence my incredibly boring dinner. I had no energy to put in to making something, so I just stayed compliant and called it a day. Cravings hit HARD day 4. I would have given you all the money in my bank account and sold you my first born for some pizza. One might say this is where things started to go downhill.
Breakfast was again two fried eggs, bacon, a banana, and black coffee
Lunch was another California chicken & veggies bowl with cauliflower rice that I ate basically none of. I did make myself eat a carrot cake Larabar. It was not delicious.
Dinner was two Trader Joe’s garlic chicken sausages and a baked sweet potato with ghee
My day 5 experience: OVER. IT. All I did was spend my time cooking and doing dishes. THIS WAS NOT THE LIFE I IMAGINED FOR MYSELF. Here’s the deal…it was TOO MUCH to go from eating as badly as I did to eating only whole, unprocessed food ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. Also, I was still in the kill all the things phase. Also, I was having some digestive issues.
I kept telling myself that this isn’t hard, having cancer is hard just like the book said. But honestly…this IS hard. It is ABSOLUTELY not having cancer hard. It’s honestly not even in the same arena. But things are allowed to still be hard if they’re not in that arena. I fully know that it’s “only” 30 days and it will make me healthier and help my relationship with food if I stick with it. But honestly, the thought of 25 more days of this sounded AWFUL and I kind of couldn’t fathom it. And my friends planned a Galentine’s Day for day 6 and I REALLY wanted to go instead of hiding in my house because I know I can’t handle temptations and stay compliant. I want to be able to live my life in a HEALTHY and HAPPY way. A way that includes a little cheese. Because cheese makes me happy. And hanging out with my friends makes me happy. And I don’t want to not be able to do those things….even for only 30 days.
So, I made the decision that 5 days was probably going to be it for me. A fully compliant Whole5 is better than nothing, and I think it’s a really great jumpstart on living a healthier version of my life. I ate a Whole30 compliant breakfast yesterday, went to boot camp (where I almost vomited and had to lay on the bathroom floor for awhile, but that’s neither here nor there), and enjoyed Galentine’s Day with my friends. I didn’t stay compliant to Whole30-but I did choose healthier options (and ate some mac & cheese-you only live once and mac & cheese makes my life worth living!) instead of going for EVERY unhealthy option I could possibly choose like I had been doing in the past. I hit my step goal for the day, stayed within my calorie goal, and drank 90+ oz of water.
So, I’m a Whole30 failure. BUT, I did take some good lessons away from this. I’m going to be paying a lot more attention to labels, try to eat as close to Whole30 as I can during the week, and make the best choices I can otherwise. I want to live my life in a way that’s feasible for me to keep up in the long run-and I know this is just meant to be a reset-but for me I’d rather focus on getting healthy in a way that I can keep up long term.
And so it is.