Today I’m going to be brutally honest in the hopes of being more vulnerable and real with the world. I really don’t want to be, because it always feels scarily risky to share intimate details about my personal life on the internet, but I guess if you’re reading this, you’re interested in what I have to say, (and I sincerely thank you for that!), so here goes.
Yesterday was day 30 of my Whole 30 challenge, in which I eliminated entirely all:
- Sugar (no added sugars whatsoever, including “healthy sugars” like honey, agave, coconut sugar, and artificial sugars like Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, which I never ate to begin with)
- Alcohol (not even a drop — this meant turning down delicious cocktails at events and being 100% sober at parties. It was not easy, but it was enlightening)
- Grains (this includes “healthy whole grains” like wheat, quinoa, brown rice, and processed grains like breads, and their “healthy” gluten free alternatives)
- Dairy (NO FROZEN YOGURT. Sad face.)
- Legumes (no beans, edamame, lentils, hummus, etc.)
- White potatoes (no french fries, no roasted potatoes, no chips, nothing.)
- Carageenan, MSG, sulfites, etc. (this meant no store-bought almond milk which I LOVE, being really annoying when eating out, and reading the labels on EVERYTHING. PS. Most dried fruit has sulfites, so none of that either.)
I knew Whole 30 would be hard, but I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into when I impulsively agreed to do it at lunch with my mom and sister on Mother’s Day.
I had cravings constantly and battled daily daydreams of frozen yogurt loaded with toppings and envisioned myself savoring every form of delicious dessert possible when perusing the grocery store aisles.
The first few days, I was (h)angry, frustrated, emotional, irritable, and just pissed that I had agreed to do this stupid Whole 30 thing in the first place. Eventually, my emotions stabilized and I felt lighter, free from compulsive eating, and proud of myself for “sticking with it” no matter how badly I wanted to deviate.
Thankfully, I had the help and support of a team of people in my life who also decided to challenge their diets, eating habits, and addictions to food. My mom, sister, a couple friends, and my boyfriend all jumped on the Whole 30 bandwagon, and we all woke up this morning having accomplished our mission to complete it without allowing ourselves as much as one cheat.
Victory! Together, we muscled through the ascetic 30 days of Whole 30, somehow not touching any of the off-limits foods, and following the plan to the letter, with the exception of snacks. We all seemed to eat a lot of snacks.
Towards the end, I knew my body composition hadn’t changed as much as I had hoped it would. My clothes felt just as tight and I didn’t see Gisele when I looked at my naked body in the mirror. The notion that I was going to look like Gisele naked was what motivated me to keep going, say no to the drinks and desserts, and eat salad when all I wanted was a burrito.
So this morning, feeling discouraged and still very much “Katie”, I hopped on the scale for the first time in 30 days. I knew I wasn’t going to like what I saw, but I did it anyway.
…Deep breath. Here goes. I GAINED A QUARTER OF A POUND. What the…
After digesting the fact that I hadn’t lost 10 lbs like my sister had, I decided to compare my measurements to my pre-Whole 30 measurements. I lost about 2.5 inches. OK, that’s cool! But I’m still attached to the number on the scale, and I’m still frustrated and feeling like I did something wrong. Did I eat too many nuts? Go overboard with the fruit? Should I have eliminated egg yolks? Counted calories? Ate less protein style In-n-Out? Worked out more? Starved myself? What did I do wrong?
The frustration of not getting the (impossible) results I so desperately wanted dissipated when I looked at my before and after pictures, and started to focus on the benefits of what I did get.
What I got from Whole 30:
- Freedom from compulsive binge-eating
- Freedom from emotional eating
- Freedom from my addictions to sugar, refined carbs, and traditional snack foods
- The self-esteem that comes from such hardcore self discipline
- Reduction of bloating and inflammation
- Metabolism regulation
- A renewed relationship with food
- New taste-buds that actually desire clean, simple, healthy foods
- Lost 2.5 inches
The Whole 30 promised to change my life. It promised to change the way I think about food, my tastes, my habits and cravings, and quite possibly, the emotional relationship I have with food and my body. And it has.
“This is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the most dramatic and lifelong benefits this plan has to offer.”
So today, I’m going to be ok with the frustration of my unmet weight-loss goals and I’m going to focus on all the good that came from the past 30 days. I am going to extend my Whole 30 to 45 or 60 days, in hopes that more “magic” is on the horizon, and with acceptance that my slender-yet-curvy 5’5″ frame will never look like Gisele, but it looks like “Katie” and that’s good enough for me.
If you’re brave enough, check out the Whole 30 program, and try it out for yourself. Just remember, as with everything in life, you might not get what you want, but you’ll get what you need.
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