My Whole30 Journey: Week 1
Miss my first blog entry and my thoughts about why I'm doing the Whole30 program? Click here!
I learned sooooo much during this first week, and have so many insights I want to share! I am going to try to reign in all my thoughts in an organized manner. Please stick with me!
I am not a health guru. I am your normal, run of the mill, obese, usually lazy person. So if you don't know me well, and you need context about where these thoughts are coming from - there is your starting point. 100% novice, baby!
I spent the days before starting the Whole30 with eating spaghetti with marinara, scones from my favorite coffee place, and having a Baskin Robbins chocolate peanut butter milkshake. It was amazing, and I don't regret it!
I would not say that I did extensive planning or prep for this lifestyle change, just some. I underestimated the amount of fresh food I would have to have on hand. Hence, 3 trips to the grocery store! I did take the time to plan out some simple meals, like chopped salads, and meats with vegetables, and some oranges and bananas for sweet treats. But I just never bought enough food. I'm so used to getting fast or to-go food, it's no wonder.
Day 1 and 2, with the food changes in place, were fine. I wanted my normal things - my morning latte and sour cream - but otherwise, I was not deterred. I had little to no physical symptoms. I longed for sweets and carbs [once again, food addict], but was sated by an occasional banana and saved by avocados, which I absolutely adore.
But then day 3 came, and all hades broke loose.
First of all, just to be blunt, I started my period - in all its horror. I was in a lot of pain [my periods are surprise attacks and serious pain makers], in a terrible mood, and ALL I WANTED OUT OF MY LIFE WAS SUGAR. What I had thought might possibly be a normal headache Friday night turned into an all out rage by Saturday morning. My guess now is that it was a side effect of the sugar detox. It lasted all weekend, but thankfully it was gone by day 5.
On day 4, I cried. I really did, I just broke down the second I woke up. I'm not proud of it. But I felt like my life was ending, and I kept trying over and over to rationalize in my brain that this was not the right way to do things for me, and a million reasons why I could not go on. My argument worked both ways - it was just food. Why couldn't I have it? Then again, why couldn't I give it up? I like to call this my "existential crisis" period, where I am literally contemplating, what is life?
Fast forward to day 5. The weekend ended, and my hormones lessened a bit. I was proud I had made it through my last two days of what felt like torture, and that my headache was gone. And also, I noticed that I felt differently. My body felt -- lighter? Dare I say, I had more energy?! I felt even a little better on day 6.
Now I'm here on the threshold of day 7 and I can honestly say:
- I feel better. I have so much more energy, and gain a little bit more as time goes on and I keep going. Movement is easier on my obese frame. It's amazing!
- My bathroom habits have much improved over the last week.
- I was made acutely aware of my food triggers. Stress makes me want the comfort of my favorite treats. I already knew that, when you are denied acting upon that, it's a whole difference concept. I apparently also use food as a reward a lot. I have done everything to convince myself that I DESERVE a brownie!
- I miss sauces. I eat sauce, sour cream and condiments on everything, and there's not a lot of options. Sour cream is out, of course, because no dairy. If you want to make Whole30 sauces, they include quite a bit of ingredients and time. Pre-packaged dressings are available, and I bought them, and they are good - but they are expensive. It's just one thing I guess I didn't think about until it was happening.
- I don't miss other drinks. Water, or water with lemon, is perfectly adequate. I try to drink 60-90 oz per day.
- I'm glad I prepared a bit. If you aren't prepared, you will quit. It's just too easy.
- Pinterest is your best friend. The whole30 recipes are endless and most are very good!
- 7 DAYS FEELS LIKE 7 YEARS
Am I liking this? Not really. But am I hating this? No, not really.
I do feel better, physically. And, life is better when you're trying. Plain and simple. So far it's been worth it.
The Coffee Conundrum
Besides being addicted to sugar, I am also addicted to coffee. It's one of my favorites things of life. I spent every morning pre-Whole30 going through the drive thru at my favorite local coffee place, and it always was exciting. Weird, but it was the little thing that got me through. I knew I couldn't have my latte on Whole30, and I tried to be prepared, but I just wasn't.
I tried drinking black coffee on Day 1 and Day 2 - it was gross and I had to wait for it to cool down and gulp it, just to make sure I got my caffeine intake in so I could function. I started looking up on line what other people like me did during the Whole30, and all I got was ... they put coconut milk or almond milk, unsweetened in it. I knew that might cut the bitter, but that was not going to cut it with me.
So Day 3 - meltdown day - I had no coffee and I suffered.
Ok, after all that stuff about my "existential crisis" period, you can see I was directly on the path of quitting. So, I knew I had to do something drastic, so I compromised.
I am now drinking my morning coffee with a splash of sugar free creamer. And I only drink it in the morning, and then I'm done.
Call me a cheater. Tell me I'm not doing the Whole30 anymore, not really. And that is fine. You do you. I told you, I'm not in this for perfection, I'm in this for progress.
It was just one thing I had to have to keep me away from diving off the edge of reason and back into the ball pit of chocolate candies. It was just a compromise I had to make.
I force myself to pretend I'm drinking hot chocolate and eating a brownie with every sip of coffee I take, and I eat all of my healthy foods with less grumbling and more appreciation. It's worked for me.
What Did I Eat?
This has been the most frequent question, as more and more people have noticed what I'm doing, and I've had to explain about Whole30.
Lots of vegetables, of course. I buy the bagged salad mix. I like roasted vegetables a lot - potatoes, asparagus, squash, broccoli, the list goes on and on. I just put a little extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil on them with some sea salt and bake them. Not using butter has been hard!
I use mandarin oranges and bananas as "dessert". I try not to eat too many per day, because that's what I really want to live off of. But I think that's counter intuitive of everything Whole30 stands for.
The best treat I have found is this: 1 banana cut up, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a few salted mixed nuts [no peanuts!]. I replaced the salted mixed nuts with all natural no sugar cashew butter, and that's even better. I really do like it!
Lots of cooking means I try to make things simple. I just don't always have time/energy/the drive to cook some really involved recipe. I enjoying cooking, but I save more complicated dishes for the weekend. I cook meat in spices [I've used a lot of different spices!], pair it with a veggie, and I go on with life. That's been my normal "go to" dinner.
Lunch is either salad with grilled chicken and Whole30 dressing, or dinner leftovers. I always round out lunch with a mandarin orange. Breakfast is eggs. I fry them every morning with salt and pepper. I may seriously not want an egg for a while after this is over!
Finding the balance between what I want and what I'm allowed on the Whole30 is hard. I try not to make things too boring.
I am crossing my fingers and toes that I lose weight with this. I don't know why I wouldn't. This is a complete flip from what I usually consume. But I know my body is strange in the way that it chooses to do things, so I'm trying to be cautiously optimistic.
If you have asked me on day 4 if I could finish this, I would have said absolutely not. But today, while I'm finishing up this blog post on day 9, I can say YES, I know I am able, with the good Lord's help. But the worst tests I know are ahead - parties, events, and such. Can I make it through? What will happen?! Will my body continue to improve? Time will tell.
I'll be back next week with update 2!