Note: I hit publish on this yesterday, but for some reason it stayed in drafts? Computers and I are not friends.
I made it! Today is Day 31!
First off, let me start with this is not the program for everyone. This is not the program for people who don’t have time to think ahead about their food and to prep meals. This is not a program for people who need or want moderation.
This is the program for people who have difficulty handling moderation. This is the program for people who like and can adhere to strict rules. This is the program for people who want a weight loss program without having to count calories.
I have to admit that I had my doubts when I began this journey. Cutting out all grains, dairy, added sugar, legumes, and alcohol is a daunting task. I may have been in physical pain when my friends were digging in to homemade ice cream sandwiches (is it obvious I have a food problem yet?). I will tell you that in spite of the challenge, I am extremely pleased with both the results and the lessons that I learned along the way.
First off, the results. That’s why everyone is here, right? I was terrified of weighing in this morning. I’ve learned so much in the last 30 days, but I knew that if it didn’t reflect in the scale that I would be devastated. That’s obviously something that I still have to work on. Fortunately, it was an unfounded fear. So in 30 days, I lost:
13.8 pounds and 6.5 inches!
To say that I am thrilled would be an understatement. Now for some of the bigger lessons that I have learned…
1. Find what works for you. Counting calories wasn’t working for me anymore. It was exhausting, tedious, and frustrating. I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted and it was taking away all of my motivation. I’ve learned that as long as you have guidelines for healthy meal templates, you don’t need to weigh everything. Even more, if you fill your plate with healthy, nutrient dense foods, you don’t have to tally and count every single calories. It absolutely matters what you eat. A calorie is not a calorie. People look at me strangely when I tell them that eating the Whole 30 way has been freeing, but that’s really how I feel. I am not a slave to recording every bite that goes into my mouth. And that is amazing.
2. You don’t have to be hungry all the time to lose weight. I can count on one hand the number of times that I was hungry on this plan. It encourages you to eat enough so that you can avoid that hunger. Again, this comes back to eating good, nutrient dense foods. It’s a lot easier to stay full when you’re eating lean meats and vegetables. It’s a lot harder when eating white pasta and cookies.
3. “Special” events are not that special. Before the Whole 30, I fell into the trap of treating myself when there was a special occasion or a special food item around. NEWS FLASH! Not that special! Really. There are always gatherings with friends and people bringing food in for work and special events to celebrate. Life is full of special events. That doesn’t make the event any less special. But it does mean that I don’t get to eat pizza and cake at each of them. There will always be other events with more food. My health is more important than that. I want to reserve treats to be special and once in a while. The only treat in the last 30 days that I really regret missing out on were the homemade ice cream sandwiches. One out of thirty days isn’t too bad and is about where I want to be in the future.
4. When it comes to my health, I can’t be lazy. Yes, it’s easier to eat out more frequently. But in the end, I pay for it. And I’m putting myself first now. I want to make the investment into my health instead of into convenience. One of the biggest things that has helped me is to prepare many meals at once. It’s easy to cook extra portions at dinner and have lunch for the next couple of days, too!
So now what? Now that the 30 days are over, I plan on adding back some of the banned foods back. I’ll be adding back whole grains like quinoa and some legumes like chickpeas. I also plan on adding back a little bit of sugar. I still miss having creamer in my Saturday morning coffee. I’ll have to see how it goes though since I know that moderation is a very slippery slope with me, especially when I am training. Mostly though, I plan on continuing. I have big plans for the future. All of these plans involve me being healthy, happy, and strong. It may take some time, but one day I’ll figure out my relationship with food. Until then, I’m at least moving in the right direction.