In true Emily fashion – I went by the seat of my pants. I decided two days before Day 1 that I was going to start. In reality and in my recommendation, you are supposed to plan a little more – however anyone who knows me knows that that isn’t me. And for me that worked – going cold turkey and forcing myself to start. It took out the waiting game, and if that resonates with you then I say go for it. But make sure you don’t use that as an excuse later to just get up and quit one day – stick to it!
If I were to do this again I would absolutely get the book from the creator herself, Melissa Hartwig, entitled The Whole 30 Challenge, and give it the read through it truly deserves.
The first week -isn’t terrible, I mean it is not a party but not terrible. There was some anxiety, overthinking things I was eating or snacks that were at work – there are always snacks at work. But the fun and excitement of starting something is still fresh, which makes it more of an experience. I had weaned myself off of sugar a bit beforehand, which I think is why I hadn’t experienced the absolute dreaded sugar hangover that many experience when they first begin. But by day 4 or 5, many report that they start to feel normal again. The only change that I really noticed by this point was that I was very tired. Not falling asleep at my desk, but my body felt tired.
Now week 2 – a whole different story. I think week 2 might have been the hardest for me. Specifically Day 10 and 11. You are about a week and half in. You have some sort of system that works for you and are getting used to the routine, but you’re just pissed. You’re annoyed with having to say no and watching people around you eat whatever they feel – like Shake Shack at linch or enjoying birthday cupcakes (I’m drooling) – it gets old and you get pissed. A good moment to break out that list where you wrote out why you started in the first place – I said it would come in handy!
However in these tough moments I found myself going to the Whole30 forum on their main site. Here people ask all those questions about the rules and what to do – and sometimes just to celebrate their stories! Browsing around here for a bit helped me get back ingot he community feeling and realize that everything Im thinking and feeling – everyone else who has done this has too!
Now rolling into week 3 I began to realize some changes that had taken place. I was sleeping better. When I was tired I was authentically actually tired, not that crash from carbs and sugar high tired. So when I slept – I SLEPT and it was amazing. My skin cleared – no little pimples popping up. It had been doing well even before I started but it was very clear and even glowing. Lastly – and probably most exciting for me, I was far less bloated than I usually was, my stomach never seemed to get upset, and I wasn’t ever uncomfortable after eating. I was excited to eat my meals because I saw all the nutrients and good things I was putting into my body rather than eating what was in front of me just because it was there.
And finale – week 4 – started with the test of time. A trip home. Surrounded by margarita night with my best friends and Bison chip dip as an app at family dinner (my Buffalo people you know what a feat saying no to Buffalo chip dip is). However, the trick is the further you make it – the harder it is to quit. You’ve made it this far – you are closer to the end than the beginning and keeping this in mind helped me tremendously! Also keeping an open mind – and getting creative in social situations can help you focus less on your restrictions and more on the whole point of the social activity in the first place – socializing!
Here are my top tips for the during portion of the Whole30 – ya know the part where you actually have to do it:
- I said it once and I will say it again – MEAL.PREP. – failing to prepare is seriously preparing to fail. Having all my meals ready to go at the beginning of the week left no room for excuses and no space for mindless snacking – my biggest habit to break. Plus it makes it hard to justify falling off track when your fridge is packed full of prepared and compliant food
- Journal your journey – write down how you are feeling and what you are noticing about yourself. This is something that I wish I had done so that I can see where I came from, but also when I went to reintroduce I had something to compare back to!
- Find ways to reward yourself that aren’t food related. Usually to celebrate achievements I like to treat myself to ice cream or some other super fun dessert. However this doesn’t lend to a healthy relationship with food. Instead take yourself to a movie or treat yourself to a skills class for a new hobby or way or exercising. These are healthy ways to reward and invest back into yourself.
- Get in touch with your feelings. Now I know that sounds weird, but when you take the time to really think about why you are feeling a certain way – in moments specifically when say you want to eat a whole bag of potato chips – if you take a moment to dig a little deeper you nay see what you are actually feeling. It may be anger or stress or even just boredom. It was amazing how easy it became to make these connections. When I would have urges to binge and took a second to step back I realized that I was just feeling stressed and that is the whole point of this to really diagnose your food relationship and once you can recognize that you can make huge steps forward!
Now these are just some of the bigger items that I have discovered through my own personal journey and as I reflect more I plan to add to it! Let me know below about your own experiences or maybe some questions you might have – I love to hear from you guys!
As always thanks for making it this far and Ill be back soon with the grand finale – life after!