Final Thoughts on a (Mostly) Successful Whole 30
I can’t believe that we’re already a solid two months into 2018. It really is true that the older you get, the faster time goes. I feel like I blinked and it’s nearly the end of February! My little man turned 10 months earlier this month. I can’t believe how fast he is growing up – he’s even walking around on those little legs already! It’s so exciting to see him learning and comprehending more every day, I’m constantly reminded how lucky to have such a perfect little critter in my life! 🙂 Sometimes I wish I could just stop time and hang out here with him for awhile, but I guess the best I can do is try to enjoy every moment for what it is – a precious gift that we will never have again!
Reflections aside, I am on day 30 of my Whole 30 today. It wasn’t easy. I had two old fashioneds on my anniversary (no regrets!) and ate a few cauliflower and plantain crust pizzas – so some might argue that it ‘didn’t count’, but I’m not going through 30 days of denial and not counting it! I used the book, Whole 30 Day by Day to help me chronicle the journey. If anyone is looking to do the Whole 30, I do strongly recommend either that, or another form of chronicling your experience. It was very eye opening for me to look back through the journey and see how my progress changed. I followed a bell curve, meaning started out rough, had about a week and a half where I felt ok, and then steadily got worse – to the point where I just wanted to throw in the towel but couldn’t because I hate quitting something once I’ve started it!
Before delving deeper into that experience though, perhaps pointing out a few details is in order. I started this program, not because I have any health issues, intolerance, or food reactions, but because I was curious. I had just finished Blogilates 28 Day Reset at the end of December, and was itching to start another similar program. Cassey’s reset really helped me keep my relationship with food healthy over the 2017 holiday craziness. It’s a simple program that doesn’t cut out much, instead it’s more focused on managing your relationship with food and incorporating daily exersize. Also, never once does it say, “If you chew a piece of gum, you’re out, start over.” I liked the ‘real-ness’ of the program and the honesty. You got what you put into it, but if you mess up, it’s ok! Don’t beat yourself up, just admit it and move on. It was also created with a nutritionist’s help, and has an excellent vegan option.
I guess when I started the Whole 30, I was expecting something like the reset from Blogilates. Instead I got a strict mantra of don’t do this, think this, or eat this, and if you mess up you have to start over! Perhaps it’s just me, but that doesn’t exactly seem like a healthy mindset. Before I started I spoke with a friend of mine who is a personal trainer and he strongly recommended against doing the program saying that it would kill my energy and strongly hinder my ability to work out. Of course I did it anyways, and as much as I hate to admit it he was right. I didn’t work out once the ENTIRE 30 DAYS!! Especially considering that I had just come off another reset where I was working out 6 days a week and feeling great, this was insane – how was it even possible that my energy was killed so fast?!
I think the answer is two fold – by cutting out soy legumes and grains I lost my main sources of nutrients and energy. When I lost my energy and stopped working out, I lost my motivation. I still finished, because I’m not a quitter dammit, but I almost wish I hadn’t. Instead of doing an energizing 30 days to ‘reset’ I slogged through 30 days of feeling horrible just yearning for it to be over. The worst part was, the more I thought about why I was doing this, the more I became confused.
Was it for nutrition? No, I eat incredibly healthy, and rarely ever get sick. In fact the whole 30 requirements aren’t necessarily ‘nutritious’ at all – I mean they’re telling me to eat bacon and mayo instead of quinoa and black beans…I have a degree in culinary science and had to take several nutrition classes along the way to get it – I guess I missed the class that told me mayo and bacon (and any red meat in general!) were health foods!
Was it for increased energy? Well, I thought so at first – but I actually had far less energy the entire time I was on the program! Taking out my main food groups did a number on my energy!
How about controlling cravings? Well the holidays had just passed, so this was definitely on my mind. And I will give the program credit for this in a small aspect – but only because my cravings were SO bad the first week! When I cut out bread and other carbs it was all I could think about, slowly that craving went away – but is that a good thing? I became lethargic to the point I just wanted to go home and go to bed! Perhaps my body stopped craving carbs, but the reason it was craving them in the first place was because it needed them! Now I have to slowly introduce them back in, and I’m kind of scared of how that is going to go! I almost never had cravings before, I’m scared that my body is going to be all kinds of confused now that it’s gone without for so long.
So I guess it all boils down to the fact that I got on a Whole 30 because I was curious. I wanted to know what was so great about it, why I keep seeing the hashtag everywhere. I mean if everyone’s talking about it, it must be great – right? Well, as I found out, no, not necessarily. As a healthy, fit, and happy adult, I can now admit that going on the Whole 30 was not my best idea. I don’t have any strange reactions to food, sometimes I bloat a little after eating a sandwhich – but I already know that. I don’t have any weird ‘sugar dragon’ – I eat my dark chocolate when I want it and that’s about it. I don’t know what ‘Tiger Blood’ is, but unless it means lethargy and crankiness, I certainly didn’t experience it. In fact, I had no good reason to do this other than curiosity.
One other thing that I have to point out (I NEED to point out) – and this is the vegetarian coming out in me so I apologize in advance, I promise I have nothing against meat eaters even if it sounds that way for a few sentances here – but on the Whole 30 website, under the vegetarian/vegan section (we get our own page! yay us!) the ENTIRE first half of the page is spent trying to convince someone to give up being a vegatarian. I find that a bit offensive to be honest. This is who I am – don’t try telling me that it’s healthier to eat meat! I respect the opinions of the article authors, and don’t care that they eat meat, but to push those opinions onto a perfectly healthy individual, and then back them up with easily refuted claims is just plain annoying. There are just as many arguments (if not more) for why excluding meat from a diet is healthier – and as for ethics, I’m glad they think there is an ‘ethical’ way to kill animals – but they should know that not everyone would agree! Would they tell a muslim, ‘Just try christianity for a bit, it’s waaay better for you.’ Whether you eat meat or not, just like what you believe is a personal choice. Saying that one is better than the other is forcing an opinion, and I found that a bit frustrating. As you can probably tell from this longer-than-anticipated rant. Okay. I promise I’m done now.
After all this, you might be thinking I’m totally anti-Whole 30. But I’m not! I just don’t think it’s for everyone – and I didn’t like the mindset that it pushed (if it looks like a pancake it’s bad! Seriously, what was with those poor pancakes, they got bashed in every chapter!) If you struggle with overeating, craving sugar all the time, or loading up on fast food/junk food, then something like a Whole 30 might be a great choice (personally I’d recommend Blogilates 28 day reset though! Much more fun, accepting, comes with tailored workouts, and the community is great!). If you have weird reactions to food and you have been struggling to determine where they are coming from – then the Whole 30 might be a good choice. But if you’re a healthy, fit, active, energetic gal (or guy!) and are just trying to take it one step further – I’d skip this one. Add in some more reps – make a resolution to read a chapter every night, or pick up yoga. But please, don’t do a Whole 30!