I went 30 days without eating sugars or sweeteners, alcohol (even for cooking), grains, legumes (including soy and peanuts), dairy, potatoes, or preservatives (specifically carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites). I went 30 days without baking or Paleo-ifying anything. I went 30 days without stepping on the scale.
I went 30 days eating a lot of animal protein, tons of vegetables, and loads of healthy fats. I went 30 days eating carefree in terms of measuring, calculating, counting. I went 30 days with freedom from food.
Thirty-one days ago, I was extremely nervous about starting this challenge, this adventure: what if I failed? After all, Whole30 is an extremely restrictive form of Paleo, and 31 days ago, I thought that Paleo itself was too restrictive. Was I just setting myself up for failure by jumping in head first with Whole30?
But you know what? I loved the restriction. If I saw a granola bar with non-GMO glucose, I didn't have to wonder, Well, is that something I can eat? It sounds healthy... I knew straightaway that because glucose is a form of sugar, it was off-limits, and I therefore couldn't eat it. Additionally, I didn't have to think, Well, I can have this Oreo if I watch the carbs that I intake at each of my other meals. The Oreo was automatically off-limits and therefore didn't weigh into future choices.
I want to reiterate that I completed this challenge for me. I so desperately needed something like Whole30, something to help me realize my worth and what I deserve. I know that sounds so funny: after all, how does a diet show self-worth? As I've said a thousand times over, I read each and every document I could find about Whole30, and I really took to heart everything Dallas and Melissa Hartwig said about tough love (and, interestingly, about self-love):
Obviously I cared a lot about the physical effects of the Whole30 (who doesn't want to get healthier?), but what resonated with me the most was the psychological effects. And, I think that is what I am most thankful for as a result of this challenge.
Now, let's talk about some actual results of my Whole30:
First, I want to throw it out there from the get go that I just. feel. good.
The number one physical thing that I take away from this adventure is that I am capable of sleeping well. I cannot believe how much diet affects sleep -- and how much my poor diet was so negatively affecting my sleep habits. I am sleeping so well now: falling asleep quickly, staying asleep until morning, waking up refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to start the day. (Interestingly, I truly don't think you know how poorly you sleep until you sleep well.)
Another physical aspect that I have really appreciated about the Whole30 is the fact that I am able to better listen to my body. For instance, I know when I'm full (I oftentimes don't "clean my plate" because my body tells me I'm finished), I know when I'm hungry, I know when I'm just bored, etc. It is so much easier to figure out what my body is trying to say now that I've actually been taking care of it.
In addition, I have much more confidence than I did just 30 days ago. I feel like I look better, I feel like I look pretty and healthy, and I feel like I look more fit than I did four weeks ago, despite having worked out minimally.
And now the result you've all been waiting for: my weight. I lost a total of 6.6 pounds in 30 days. This is an average of 0.22 pounds per day, an average of 1.5 pounds per week. I am pretty thrilled by that, and I think the number of pounds lost would've definitely increased had I been working out more than sporadically -- which is for sure the plan for the next 30 days.
I am not going to stop doing what I'm doing.
I'm not going to head to McDonald's and order a Big Mac, large fries, and a chocolate shake. (If I did that right now, I'm pretty sure I would either throw up or die due to the system shock that would ensue.) I'm not going to booze-it-up every night or eat loads of pasta and bread sticks.
Instead, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing.
I feel good, y'all. Why would I want to change that? If something is working, keep doing it!
And, after weeks of trying to get away from the food-as-reward mindset, why would I jump right back into that as soon as the challenge ended?
I may, however, add in honey or vanilla extract if a recipe calls for it, and there are some things that I have missed a little bit: a glass of wine here and there, popcorn at the movies or as a mid-afternoon snack, the occasional ice cream, a night of sushi.
So yes, I will slowly incorporate those things back into my diet, but I will do so purposefully: I will go out to dinner with the intent of having a glass of wine. I will go to a movie and plan on ordering a small popcorn. But, this may not happen for a while, and it may not happen often.
After all, this was a lifestyle change, not a 30-day change.
Regardless of whether or not I add in those "missed" foods occasionally, I am going to keep living a Whole30/Paleo lifestyle as much as possible. I'm eating good food, I'm feeling wonderful, and I'm liking what I'm seeing.
All of that being said, what would you like to see from the blog? Would you like me to continue posting my meals each night? Would you like me to focus on something else? Help a sister out!
As always, thank you so much for your support, your encouragement, and your motivation throughout my Whole30. I could not have done it without you all.