This is a guest post from my good friend and fellow Orange Theory Cult Member Kate Thompson. Kate recently went through a second round of Whole30 and I asked her to recap the experience for the blog (which will be cross posted to Back Of Pack as well). Hope you enjoy it!
First, let me start in the beginning. I’ve been told it is a good place to start. I already had eliminated sugars and grains from my diet thanks to John Harris’s recommending the Angriest Trainer Podcast (thanks Vinnie Tortorich and Anna Vocino!!) That first step was enough for me to find a new relationship with food. After my experiences with Weight Watchers, I feared that I’d be counting/measuring/weighing my entire life. Surely it cannot be that difficult for me to be healthy?? Unfortunately, though, following most pay-as-you-go programs requires a lifetime of maintenance (check out my blog post on this issue.) I needed something that didn’t cost me a fortune to find, and would work in my life – whatever that life would have in store. I initially had heard about the Whole30 program, and the book It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, from my fellow running buddy, Caroline Calcote. She completed her first Whole30 and blogged about the experience – with pictures – every.damn.day. While I was amazed and drew my initial interest from her blog (check it out!! My Fascinating Life), it wasn’t until I finally ventured to the Whole30.com site and saw the entire program was FREE and AVAILABLE. The science seemed sound and it correlated with my own research/experiences.
And so, I started my first Whole30 on 9/1/2013. I’m an all-in personality once I’ve made a decision. It will happen if I will it so!! I was really drawn to this program because of the lack of complication, a focus on NOT weighing yourself, and the way it was formed for people who aren’t rich as hell. For my first experience with Whole30, my biggest focus was on how my body would react to not taking laxatives to “make weight” or constantly track, weigh and measure myself or my food. In the end, the only result was that I gained 0.5lbs and lost 2 inches. Since that time, my body has experienced a LOT of changes. After my first Whole30 I continued on a No Sugar No Grains (NSNG) lifestyle with the occasional life into living moments. After about a year, however, my mindset had started to slip. French fries, and twice monthly ice cream/chocolate/gluten-free goodies, etc. began to rent an awful lot of space in my brain. Of course I didn’t feel good eating them, but they were Oh so so so very tasty. My weight increased by almost 40lbs; due in part from hormonal changes as I recovered from Adrenal Exhaustion, and partially from my relaxed respect for food. After a visit for some bloodwork and being told that I was allowed to start trying to conceive safely (WHOOOP WHOOP!!!!) I decided it was time to re-align with my lifestyle and my diet. Whole30 helped me so immensely before, it was a natural move to do a second Whole30.
One HUGE catch, though – August is an extremely busy month in our family. Anything worth doing is worth doing all the way, right? Despite birthdays, vacations, and my wedding anniversary, I decided it was just the right time for me to do this. I was so resolved, I started in the end of the month (on 7/24 to be exact), no need to wait for a Monday/new month/etc. I’m not going to lie to you about how easy it was to stay with it through the exciting moments. My husband, for example, who is usually great about making our Anniversary special, totally forgot it (ruh-roh!!). DRAMA ALERT!! I was hurt, and ripped his head off like no-one’s business, but I found ways to cope that did not involve bacon, cheese, or chocolate. I took a bubble bath … ALONE! Other tempting moments were while we were out celebrating his birthday at a nice steakhouse. The appetizer menu had nothing for me…but he just HAD to try the Country Fried Bacon and gravy. It smelled amazing – and I seriously thought about just a small bite – but when I really thought about it, I realized I’m more than these 30 days. If I gave up right then and caved in, then all my life I’d be “restarting’ or “making exceptions” where they didn’t necessarily belong. I needed to learn to tell myself “NO!” and be okay with that. If I didn’t want to fight with myself to stay skinny, I should find a way to stop fighting with myself on all my food decisions. SAME TEAM!!
If I could give anyone some advice who is interested in this 30 day hard-core focus, it would be these few things:
- Be prepared – have food in your house you are good with eating. If you drink your coffee loaded with sugar, consider drinking tea or weaning off it for the 30 days (I love the Hartwig’s POV on this!) Do you always feel hungry at certain times? Know that you still will…so grab something to have on hand.
- Have an exit strategy. After my first Whole30 I jumped two-feet back into dairy and legumes. I think it would have been more meaningful for me to introduce foods back slowly to see my reaction to them (or lack of one.) Slow-intro also is more helpful for me this time to decide what is important and reduce eating somewhere else so I’m not over-eating because it tastes oh-so-good.
One area I wish it had helped me a little more with was on how/what to order in restaurants. Personally, I take offense to the idea of paying booku bucks for lettuce and eggs at a restaurant. Maybe it is just me? It is also difficult to have your omelet made “with no butter on the griddle please”. Don’t even get me started on the “free breadsticks” or Italian diners – yikes! This part of compliance made life difficult for my family, but through 5 birthdays, an anniversary, and emotional strife – we figured it out. Oh yea, we rock!!
So was it worth it? Hells-to-the-YES! I still don’t feel like this 30 days was long enough – and made it 33 before I decided I was ready to re-introduce foods into my diet. I started with my favorite food- GREEK!! Just today I had a Greek Salad with Gyro meat, no dressing, no potato salad, and ate it with Taziki sauce. This helped me isolate the re-introduction of dairy to my diet. Result? Headache city…but happy taste buds and a full belly. 🙂 I’ve decided that life just isn’t worth it without some dairy on occasion. Note—not every day. My relationship with food has also shifted a bit to be more focused on fueling for performance in the gym and not as an emotional outlet. People say I look better, which is always nice, but it could be any number of things (new makeup, new workout routine, sleep patterns, hormones, etc.) so I’ll tuck that compliment in the back of my mind.
Hopefully my experiences with this can help others.