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My 4 Day Whole 30

My 4 day Whole 30 is ongoing! The premise of the Whole 30 is to reset your nutritional balance by cutting out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days.  When the 30 days are complete, slowly add the omitted foods to observe how each one affects you.

I am a huge proponent of the Whole 30!  During my first trial, I discovered that I have a slight allergy to strawberries in that they make my skin itch.  So now every time I am confronted with the choice to have strawberries, or a food with strawberries in it (my local sushi restaurant has a roll with miso-strawberry sauce) I can make an intelligent decision if it’s worth the discomfort.

4 day whole 30

My first attempt at the Whole30 regiment was super successful! The second attempt, not so much.  I lasted about 4 days, and not fully committed.

However…

That is only half the story.

When you finish the Whole30, you are reminded to try to live by eating cleanly, but allow yourself to enjoy life and foods with no regrets.  Just hop back on the Whole30 bandwagon as much as you can.

I learned during this go-round that I need to stop trying to do the Whole 30 completely.  I need to focus on doing it as much as I can, constantly noticing how different foods affect my body and my state of being.

I noticed that Sugar is Not My Friend.  Eating sugar makes me very unbalanced. I chew my fingernails, play with my hair, am very unfocused, and lethargic. So I cut out sugar as a general rule.  I still do not eat a lot of gluten either.  It makes me bloated, and tired.  And I eat very little cheese.  These are my guidelines now.  Not just for 30 days.  For life.  The picture below is a little extreme, but I think I do need to avoid sugar very assiduously.

4 day whole 30

Of course, I should be drinking more water.  Yeah, I may get there one day.  Not a priority!

I did not weigh or measure myself before starting the Whole30.  People keep asking me what I’ve done differently – what’s changed?  I have been losing weight!  My skin is healthier, brighter.  The Ex even noticed that my hair looks healthier.  ??? (Meaning isn’t that odd that 1- I was with the Ex and 2- that he commented on my hair???!) Bear in mind that I did not look extremely malnourished or unhealthy before.  But there are noticeable differences now.

Most importantly, I feel better.  I have more energy, better focus, a longer attention span.  I get super excited about mundane things, like getting a lot of small tasks completed in a short period of time, or leading a very efficient meeting.

Yay.

Whole 30 Results

Well, I made it through the Whole 30!  It was easy in the beginning and then the middle dragged on, and then it was over!  I know you’re wondering about the whole 30 results. I have to tell you that I am feeling way better than the  numbers reflect.  I’m actually a little disappointed with the numbers even though I keep telling myself that this was only 30 days!

The Numbers

  • Lost 7.6 pounds
  • Lost 2 inches in the bust (& in a bra hook)
  • Lost 1.5 inches in the waist
  • Lost 1.5 inches in the hips
  • I did not measure my thighs but my pant legs are looser too.

The Health Aspects

  • Sleeping better – what does this mean? I fall asleep pretty quickly but that is nothing new. I sleep through the night.  That’s not really new.  I sleep down and out, a good solid sleep.  That’s new.
  • I feel the need to move around.  This is very new. I have always been very happy being sedentary. Now I feel restless if I have a more stationary day. These Work From Home Snow Days have proven this, unfortunately (because of the multiple snow days) again and again.
  • BOREDOM. Well, this is a negative way of reflecting upon the lack of indecision or distraction.  When I used to have spare time, I would get so excited and overwhelmed with the choices.  Now, or in the last 30 days, I am very calm and focused.  One thing at a time, all in order and still time to spare.  So much time!  To spare!
  • FOCUS. This is a partner to the above paragraph.  Clear thinking. Focused. Get things done quickly.  BORED.  But calm.
  • Thirsty.  I think giving up any in-between meal noshing has made me realize that I might have had a snack before instead of a drink.  I am not a big water drinker, but now I actually drink seltzer or water instead of eating.
  • Cravings. None.
  • My skin is brighter.  It’s hard to describe because I didn’t take notes on this facet beforehand, but I can tell you that my skin looks healthier than I think it looked before.
  • Energy Level. Up.  (Repeat of 3rd bullet point?)
  • More decisive. (Repeat of 4th bullet point?)  I’ve cut the cord of a certain online dating site that has not been successful, speak more of my mind (hard for some of my friends to imagine!), and don’t put up with as much BS as before.
  • My fingernails are stronger. (I still bite my nails, but noticed that I do it after I eat too much fruit! I always knew that I bit my nails after eating unbalanced or unhealthy food.)
  • My stomach is not bloated. I knew before that gluten products made me bloated, but now it appears that other foods have the same effect…foods that I cut out during this whole 30 day period.

Other

  • Food is boring now. Sure, there was the exciting lemon curry cauliflower recipe (pictured below) in the beginning, and I know there are other good recipes out there, but I am bored.  When I was writing this I could hardly remember what I had for dinner (grilled shrimp with mild kimchi and red peppers, with an orange and sunflower seeds for dessert, and water).  Not very memorable and I like being excited about food.

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  • I also found that I enjoyed being super picky and having food the way I wanted it in a restaurant. I’m usually resigned to having outside food served a way I don’t like or with ingredients that I avoid at home. Doing the Whole 30 allowed me to be really specific without apology.  Even choosing to not have the gravy because it has flour in it made me feel good.
  • I hosted my Book Club and served cookies, cheesy popcorn and chocolates (Hershey’s miniatures and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) and dried apricots.  I was not tempted and threw out the cookie and popcorn leftovers right away. Believe it or not, the chocolates are still sitting on my coffee table and are not even vaguely interesting.
  • I seem to have a reaction to too much ghee or maybe it’s just rich foods? I ended up with a stomachache after adding too much ghee to the pan to cook my eggs, or on top of some veggies.  I always knew that I was somewhat lactose-intolerant, but this really surprised me because ghee doesn’t have lactose.  Luckily the next step of this diet allows me to pinpoint how different foods affect me.

 What’s Next?

Now is the Reintroduction period where one slowly incorporates previously restricted foods. It’s recommended that one food group is done at a time, over a period of 3-4 days, so that any reactions can be detected and traced to the particular food.

I thought I’d start with sweets, but don’t have a plan yet.  I’m going to stick to most of the Whole 30 for a little while longer.  The best advice about finishing is this –

So what should you do?

  1. Continue eating Whole30-ish every meal, every day, as long as that feels good to you. (We say “Whole30-ish” because added sugar may creep back in, like ketchup with your burger. That seems reasonable to us. If ketchup is the worst thing in your diet, you’re doing okay.)
  2. When something comes around that is too good to pass up—too special, too sentimental, to important culturally, or simply too darn delicious—make a conscious, deliberate choice as to whether or not you are going to indulge.
  3. If you choose to indulge, take your time. Savor it. Eat consciously. And eat only as little as you need to satisfy the situation, your experience, or your taste buds. Maybe that’s a bite, maybe it’s the whole cookie, maybe it’s 6 cookies—just make sure you don’t fall into automatic consumption.
  4. When you’re done, move the heck on. No guilt, no shame, no remorse. You made a conscious decision to eat something you deemed worth it. Good for you. Now let’s move on back to our normally scheduled healthy meals.

You may find that you indulge once every few weeks, because nothing really amazing comes up in between. Or you may find that you indulge every day for 12 days, like on a vacation in Europe. Both are okay, as long as you are following this protocol. Conscious, deliberate decisions. Honest evaluations of “worth it.” And then a return to your normal healthy habits, no beating yourself up.

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