Last Monday, I officially started my first ever round of Whole30. For those not familiar, per the website, Whole30 is a ‘nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.’ (source) The plan cuts out dairy, gluten, added sugar, alcohol, legumes and encourages high-quality meats, veggies, eggs and other Whole30 approved ingredients.
At the suggestion and encouragement of my friend Gretchen who started a #RunningWhole30 community group, I decided to look into the plan. I’ve been looking for a ‘reset’ for a few months (isn’t everyone, after the holidays?) and after reading the book, I understood the science/reasoning behind it. I picked my start date, January 18th, so that I could enjoy alcohol at a MBA school party a few days prior, and created a mini-meal plan for my first week.
It’s only been 7 days – which feels like not enough time to have opinions since I’ve only just started – but I do have some thoughts to share for others who consider starting a round of Whole30:
Reference the Timeline. But don’t hold yourself to it. I’m a gal who doesn’t have a sweet tooth and I also don’t eat much dairy or pasta/breads so I didn’t go through a lot of the hangover/kill all the things emotions. Yay! But it also made me question if I was inadvertently eating something I shouldn’t be. Nope! Just not having a severe reaction – and that’s kosher!
Enjoying to cook. I’m learning to enjoy cooking and this past week has really helped further this. There aren’t many grab-and-go options for Whole30 so the plan requires a lot of cooking and meal prep. I’ve never been great about these things (because I don’t like to plan or prepare ahead) but I’m getting the hang of it and enjoying cooking. Although, I do wonder if my simple meal tastes good because I’m hungry? Or because I did a good job cooking?
Tired of cooking. As much as I’m enjoying cooking, I’m also really tired of it. It requires much more thought and attention than I’ve ever put into my meals before. With the limited free time I have in a day, spending it thinking about how I can make a Whole30 compliant meal is not how I’d choose to use it.
It gets easier. Last weekend, I spent an absurd amount of time researching what is/is not allowed, pulling recipes from the internet and browsing the aisles at three (3!!) grocery stores to find compliant ingredients. After 7 days in, I feel like I have the hang of it and feel less stressed about being 100% ready to go on Sunday night. (Which is good because I opted to ski yesterday instead of meal plan!) The point is, once you get a few days under your belt, it’s easy to figure out what you like/don’t like, what can be paired together, how to make breakfast better (add breakfast potatoes!), etc. I know that I really like to eat sausage with spicy brown mustard, kale/salad and fruit for lunch and until I get tired of it, I’ll keep eating it.
Missing non-compliant food. It’s ONLY been 7 days which makes this feel a bit ridiculous but I miss knowing I can choose to eat a burger with fries or a chocolate chip cookie if I wanted to. I rarely choose to eat cookies but know that I know I can’t for the next 21 days, psychologically, I feel like I’m missing it. I do really miss beer – it’s only been 7 days but with the winter storm, an afternoon of skiing and the Broncos game last night, I really missed drinking a beer during/after these things. (To be fair, my body feels better that I *didn’t* drink a beer during these things so I guess that means it’s working!)
One day at a time. Right now, 21 days feels really, really far in the future but I know it will pass quickly. My mentality is to plan to be Whole30 compliant for today and only today…for the next 21 days. After skiing yesterday, I was really grumbly about not being able to warm up with a burger and a beer after I was done (it’s practically tradition!). But instead, I went back to my car and ate a banana I’d brought for the ride home. Womp womp. But I’d told myself in the morning to make Whole30 choices that day and that day only. I have pretty strong willpower but in situations where I’d rather not eat Whole30, I remind myself it’s just for today.
So! 1 week down, 3 more to go. According to the timeline, day 10-11 are days people feel most like quitting (that was me, yesterday) but I’m committed for the long haul. And I’ve got a delicious pork loin cooking in the Crockpot so Day 8 will be a breeze. Onward and upward!