Thoughts from 3 Weeks of #Whole30

Well folks, I made it 19 days and then opted to choose social engagement and a night cooking with my husband instead of complying with Whole30 rules.

Could I have chosen water at the MBA School happy hour instead on Friday? Yes. But they were serving a really good Pittsburgh IPA and I wanted to enjoy a beer with my friends. That night, Alex and I cooked a London Broil for dinner and he used butter instead of ghee and tossed in some flour to thicken up the sauce into a gravy. And I have no regrets or disappointments about not ‘lasting’ the 30 days.

Of the past 6 months, this recent Friday and Saturday were the first days that actually felt like a ‘normal’ weekend. I closed my computer at 6 p.m. on Friday and met Alex and friends at school for happy hour. We came home to cook dinner together which we haven’t done in months. On Saturday morning, we slept in and woke up with nothing on his agenda until 3p. Usually, Alex has school commitments all weekend long and I’m left to my own devices so to have a Saturday morning together with neither of us stressing about needing to be somewhere or do something? Such a treat!

With a beautiful blue skied morning on Saturday, we drove down to the Strip District for brunch and wandering. While I ate as Whole30 as possible at brunch, I chose to not make a huge deal out of not being 100% compliant. Maybe/probably they cooked my eggs in butter or a non-compliant oil. YOLO.

Whole30 //

I debated most of Friday about how I would handle the happy hour – should I even go? I wanted to be compliant because the book says to do 30 days and I hate breaking rules. But I also wanted to enjoy a beer with my husband and friends. It would have been easy to just skip the happy hour and make a fuss about butter/flour  at dinner but it was such a nice evening that I didn’t even care. Emotional well being > completing 30 days of compliant eating, in my book.

So it may have only been 19 days but I do feel like I’ve gotten the benefit of Whole30. I feel great. I’m eating more fruits and veggies. I’m drinking lots of water and tea. I didn’t break Whole30 because I couldn’t do it; earlier, I wanted to quit because I was bored and tired in prepping/cooking my food. If I’d stopped then, THAT would have felt like quitting. But this? This doesn’t. This feels like an adult choice of moderation.

I went into this as a learning opportunity. I’m not a person who craves sweets or binges on bad-for-me foods so I wasn’t expecting for Whole30 to cure me or radically change my thoughts on food. I wanted Whole30 to help me be more mindful about what I was eating and to give my body a reset which is exactly what I got.

This exercise has taught me to be more conscious about what I’m eating; reading food labels in preparing for Whole30 was eye opening as to what is included in the pre-packaged foods or sauces I love. It’s astounding how many foods have added sugar or are chock full of sodium!

If you break the rules in Whole30, the program suggests the participant restart their 30 day count. I won’t be restarting my count back but I am planning to move forward mostly eating per Whole30.

Striving for the healthiest, least processed option will continue to be something I do. I’ll continue to keep gluten and dairy in my diet to a minimum and will cut back on alcohol consumption because it just feels better that way.  But I am not going to beat myself up if I go out for a burger and fries on a Friday night or bake a pizza at home on a busy week night.

Because YOLO, friends.

Thoughts from 1 Week of #Whole30

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.Thoughts on 1 Week Whole30 //

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!