First off, we have to celebrate with the most awesome Whole30 picture ever.
This Whole30 for me has been the most interesting and informative by far. In total I’ve completed 4 Whole30s since my first one in January 2013, and each one has been such a unique experience. But this one has totally exceeded my expectations not in the typical things (I don’t think I lost that much weight and my skin is still being all weird), but in terms of my mental state and attitude about food, I feel like such a different person now.
This round, it got super personal for me. I don’t want to get into the details since this is not the proper place for it, but we’ve all had those moments when Life Stuff gets hurled your way and puts you in a position that you never thought you’d ever be in. I found myself in a sort of “crisis mode,” prioritizing my family’s and my own emotional well-being. For the first time, I could not turn to the comfort of food or beer to help me cope. In the past I would have used it as an excuse to dive into pizza and cookies to help numb me out to what was happening around me. Instead, I adapted my schedule so the whole family could go to the gym together, coupling some quality time with healthy movement. I took Olive (and sometimes Squish) on All The Hikes. I became a Bedtime Routine fanatic with my kids, getting into a solid rhythm of jammies-books-songs-sippy cup-snuggles-sleep (maybe), followed by my own routine of book before a reasonable bedtime. And whenever I found myself craving because I needed “something,” I would stop everything and make myself a solid, delicious Whole30 meal, even if it was a can of tuna, a can of pureed sweet potatoes, and a jar of olives, because sometimes (to quote Melissa Hartwig) “good enough is good enough.” I replaced food with taking care of myself and others who needed me.
Normally by Day 28, I am dying to dive back into all of the foods I had to put aside – pizza and Safeway sheet cake and breakfast sandwiches and all of the other good, carby, sweet, bready things that will eventually make me feel like crap. But this time, I am not very interested in them. I mean, yeah, sometimes I think about which beer I’m going to drink first when I’m ready for it, but I’m not ready to run to the taps just yet. A huge reason is from reading “Food Freedom Forever” (more on that in another post!), but also I’m really trying to work the program this time. I’m not thinking of it as a diet, I want to just feel better with my normal habits and routines, not just constantly thinking, “I shouldn’t be eating this because it makes me feel like crap later but I want to feel good now so where’s my fork.”
So what’s changed? What has this Whole30 done for me? Here’s the list of my noticeable improvements so far:
- SLEEP! I’m tired consistently in the evening around 8-9pm, fall asleep, and stay asleep until I wake up. Yay!
- Cravings – I’m not dancing around the Sugar Dragon nearly as hard as before. I can look at a jar of candy and not obsess about it. It’s just candy, for Pete’s sake.
- Pants – my pants are looser, meaning I do not have to go out and buy bigger pants like I was on the edge of doing before.
- Energy – I have consistent energy all day, and don’t come home from work and collapse on the bed unable to do anything. I bounce into the post-Mom’s-home chaos and am able to meet everyone’s enthusiasm that I’m now available to talk and cuddle and fill sippy cups and make dinner and play Family/Paw Patrol for the millionth time.
- Athletic Performance – I had so many PR’s at the gym this month! I have been feeling fabulous and loving the workouts, and I think I’ve dialed in a good pre- and post-workout snack template for me. More about that later.
- Mood/Temper – this has been the most noticeable by far. I was getting really frazzled, short-tempered, and snappy. I couldn’t handle trying to do two things at once in the way that you always have to do everything in a house with small humans, with things as simple as Squish trying to talk to me about his day while I made dinner. I needed EVERYONE TO LEAVE ME ALONE, ALL THE TIME. I was not a pleasant person to be around. Now, I have so much more mental and emotional space to show love and be gracious even with Buttercup having another “accident” on the rug because she’s running around without a diaper on again while Olive’s barking at the neighbors and going nuts on the screen door and Squish is trying to feed me my lines for how my Paw Patrol character is supposed to react to his character in his imaginary Family-Paw-Patrol role-playing game he thinks I’m playing with him, while I’m “ruining” dinner because I didn’t read the Home Chef directions all the way and totally messed up the balsamic reduction. I can just deal, give hugs and gentle direction as needed, and still get the sh*t done.
I’ve also discovered things that do/don’t work for me that I didn’t realize was a thing before:
- I need more than 3 meals a day, especially when I’m training a lot. I just do. My stomach just can’t hold that much food at breakfast, and I need a midmorning snack to make it to lunch, on top of me pre- and post-workout snacks. Just a couple hard boiled eggs, and Epic bar, or in a pinch some fruit and nuts work just fine. I just make sure it has at least protein and/or fat in it, or I just get hungrier if it’s only carbs.
- When I don’t get enough to eat, I get fatigued and cranky. It’s a hit-by-a-truck, batteries-fully-drained kind of tired. And I get really impatient. This was happening constantly until I realized I needed another meal in the day to get me through. Once I started eating a mini-meal in the morning I perked back up again.
- I love Rx Bars, but they do not love me. We needn’t go into the details here, just trust me. I’m going to have to stick with Epic bars as packaged emergency food for now on.
- I still hate weekly meal prep, but I like batch cooking for the next day or two. Throwing in an extra tray of veggies to roast with what I’m already making with dinner is easy. Grilling some extra chicken when the grill is still hot from our weekend lunch BBQ is NBD.
- It’s totally okay if the last four nights of dinners consisted of chicken apple sausage and frozen veggies with olive oil. Because it’s still compliant, it’s still tasty, and when you’ve got a million other things going on that’s totally good enough.
I am overjoyed at how well I’ve been able to tackle this round of Whole30, and how I’m still motivated and pumped to see a solid reintroduction round through. So I shall toast with a glass of wine tonight (maybe, if I feel like it), and start on my reinto tomorrow! Mmm, peanut butter.
That’s all for now, go make it a great day!