I did it. Today is the last day of my first Whole30! Woohoo! 🙂
So first of all, what is the Whole30?
It’s a program designed to help you eliminate cravings, get better sleep and feel energized all day without coffee and sugar. How is this magic possible you ask? By eating only whole, fresh, unprocessed foods for 30 days straight without slip ups or cheats or exceptions. For the last 4 weeks, my kitchen has been stocked with organic meats, fish and eggs, a rainbow of vegetables and fruits as well as lots of healthy fats like coconut oil, olives and avocados. And I’ve absolutely fallen in love with eating this way! It’s so delicious, fun, nourishing and satisfying 🙂
Here is why I started this experiment in healthy eating and food freedom:
- I found myself getting in the habit of having a beer or a glass of wine almost every night to unwind
- I would often feel tired and sluggish in the morning and throughout the day
- I would often get migraines and headaches
- I get this super annoying, stubborn acne on my chin pretty regularly
- I’m super addicted to caffeine and I was hoping it’d be easier to ditch the caffeine once the rest of my system was cleaned up
- I already knew that eating low-carb, dairy free and gluten free was good for stabilizing my blood sugar and energy levels and preventing migraines – but I’ve never been fully committed to eating this way. I’ve always made room for exceptions and would be rather impulsive about having sweets, alcohol or baked goods. Don’t get me wrong, I was eating pretty clean before I embarked on this journey – but never truly consistently. And my highly sensitive body feels every single slip up!
I had been looking at the program 2 or 3 times in the last 2 years before I actually decided to commit to it.
I was terrified that it would be sooooo hard, and that I’d fail at staying on track and not letting my cravings get the best of me. I was afraid that it’d be too much effort to prepare all my meals at home, every single day. But I knew this was the perfect opportunity: My husband went on tour for a month, so I’d be home by myself for the most part – free of distractions and excuses 😉
About a month before my start date (January 30th, 2017), I started planning. I ordered the Whole30 Guidebook and read through it, I journaled about my goals and motivators, planned the meals for the first couple days, made emergency plans for food cravings and just mentally prepared to a full 30 days of eating whole foods.
During the first week I still experienced a lot of cravings.
Not so much during the day, but in the evenings after dinner my body was definitely demanding a drink…or some ice cream. Hello, no alcohol OR sweets after dinner?! Come on! 😀 I countered those cravings with herbal tea and after-dinner protein snacks, and sure enough, on day 5 the cravings were gone! I haven’t misses the alcohol or dessert at all anymore. First win! 🙂
By the end of week 2 I was totally rocking the Whole30 style of eating:
It takes me 15 to 20 minutes to whip up a delicious, nourishing breakfast, lunch is either a salad or leftovers from dinner the night before, and for dinner I try out new recipes or cook something slightly “fancier”. I love getting super creative in the kitchen, trying out new food combinations, using lots of herbs and spices and discovering new favorite meals.
I even learned to socialize without alcohol! 😀
When I first get to a concert venue I might still long for a beer, just out of habit, telling myself I would need it to “loosen up” – but that desire only lasts for about 5 minutes. I’ve actually noticed that I’m having much better conversations when I’m sober: I’m more present with whomever I’m talking to, I come up with more interesting things to talk about and feel generally more open. Who would have thought?
Another big lesson was about the importance of sleep.
When I get my 8-9 hours of sleep, I’m good with 3 meals a day. When I get less sleep, I feel more like grazing and need one or two snacks in between my main meals. Not that that’s a big deal – but it’s interesting to note. I’m also very proud of how well I got by on just 5 hours of sleep at work last weekend – the day at work after a night out used to be pretty miserable, but the last time wasn’t that bad at all!
Overall, my energy levels are much more stable and I wake up feeling refreshed in the mornings an hour earlier than before and without an alarm. I also fall asleep quickly and with ease. I still wake up once at night, because…
…there’s one more thing I need to do: And that’s quitting caffeine.
I allowed myself to have coffee and tea during the Whole30, as it’s technically allowed and I didn’t want to make too many changes at once. But, the acne persists – damn you, coffee, you are clearly exposed as the culprit! Quitting cold turkey is not an option for me, as I get really intense withdrawal symptoms. So I started weening off caffeine slowly about a week ago. I’m aiming to be caffeine free by the end of March (Yes, it takes a while to gently let go of caffeine…it is a pretty highly addictive drug, after all!). The most important thing is that I feel empowered to let go of this last unhealthy habit: With my newfound Food Freedom I know that I can do it!
I already have less headaches, more energy, and close to zero cravings – if I do get cravings, they only last for a couple minutes. That way, I was able to resist the fresh-baked cookies one of the sales reps brought to work yesterday. I was there all day by myself, just me and the cookies, and feeling a bit blue…but I stayed strong and resisted the temptation! 😀 In fact, after the first couple minutes I had completely forgotten about them. Who would have thought that that’s even possible? 🙂
And who would have thought that I would actually be able to commit to 30 days of whole foods.
I had my doubts. But now, my doubts are like my cravings: They come up, but they generally only last for about 5 minutes. And then it’s on to new accomplishments! 🙂
Check out the Whole30 Guidelines here.
Would you be interested in achieving Food Freedom Forever, cleaning up your eating habits and saying goodbye to cravings altogether, either with this program or a similar one?
Much love from the finish line,
PS: If you’re looking for a healthy snack, these guys are a true life saver!