It’s time to do another Whole30. I’ve lost touch with what it feels like to feel rested, healthy, and in control (as evidenced by my wine-and-Queer-Eye sob fest yesterday). And you know when is a good time to start?
Now. Like, right now.
And by now, I mean tomorrow. Because I still have some wine and goat cheese in my fridge I want to enjoy one last time. Dinner will be delicious.
But yeah. And this time, I truly want to bring you on the journey. Pinkie swear for real this time. I know I’ve alluded to sharing my Whole30 experience in real-ish time on the blog before and have yet to actually do it since like, 2016. And that was just a series of glorified check-ins.
No, here we’ll do the whole program all it’s glory and gory. Every meal. Every NSV. Every Sugar Dragon attack and let’s not forget “Kill All the Things” week. Oh, I have big plans for that.
So grab a bowl of your (cauliflower) popcorn and sit back.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram (and you totally should, because sometimes I post unicorns) you know that last week I started a Whole30. I had been W30’ing and posting on it for six days, but now I have a confession to make … I had beer the other night. Not one, but two beers. It was a conscious choice I deliberated prior to and at the event, and I decided to go for it. And in my opinion it was deliciously and soul-fully worth it, despite the heartburn, crummy sleep, and rough morning after. I enjoyed the experience with a new friend, and we had a great time. I felt the situation called for it, so I allowed myself to make whatever choice I felt was appropriate.
Normally if I “quit” a Whole30, that’s it. I dive-bomb back into whatever my diet was before I started. But this time, I picked right back up where I left off the next morning, getting up early to make an egg scramble and pack a tuna salad for lunch. Because to me the process of getting my lifestyle and habits overhauled to embrace healthier food choices for myself matter more than giving into the “What the Hell” effect described in the “Food Freedom Forever” book, as in “what the hell, I’m eating this so I might as well eat all the things and go down in flames of glory,” which is so tempting. But I’m not tempted.
I know, right?
Now, I’m not too proud of going off-plan. Let me just make that clear. But what I am proud of is that it was a conscious choice, I don’t feel bad about myself, and my only regret is that I chose to make this Whole30 so public on my Instagram, only to “lol just kidding” six days in. Kind of awkward. But I am picking up where I left off, and I’m back on plan. This is a huge leap of difference between old Emily and new Emily. Old Emily would throw in the towel, fully succumb to the “What the Hell” effect (as in, what the hell, I might as well also have pizza and top it off with some Safeway sheet cake … and go for my usual Starbucks breakfast sandwich and coffee with creamer tomorrow morning for breakfast because whoops I’m done oh well) and it would be several weeks before I finally emerged from my nutritional off-roading glory to crawl back to the program, confess to my dietary sins, and try again. Oh, and feel terrible and beat myself up for “why can’t you just be healthy!?!? What is wrong with you?”
So, new Emily has come to realize that this is a journey, and what’s a road trip without a few pit stops along the way? Sometimes the detour to see Carhenge is appropriate (I mean, it’s a Stonehenge replica made entirely out of cars can you not even) even if it sets you back a bit both time and budget-wise. Or maybe not. But you need to own the decision. If I had planned ahead of time to have seltzer with lime, got to the bar, and threw it all out for a beer, that would be different. That was not a conscious, deliberate decision. That is old Emily behavior. New Emily considered the options ahead of time, and decided to evaluate in the moment. And then in the moment, evaluated the options again and concluded that this would be okay. It is not sticking to the Whole30, I am not following the program in that moment, but for me personally it is okay. And you know what? I’m still a good person at the end of the day. Well, okay, some folks might beg to differ, but my dietary choices have no affect on my morality and self-worth. And that is something that it’s taken me the better part of two decades to figure out.
I have a couple other social opportunities this week where I’ll have to make a decision whether to stick to the Whole30 plan or not, because I’ll be at a party or at a restaurant and temptation to stray will be there. But for these situations, I’ve predetermined that no, going off-plan will not serve me, and I’m making arrangements to stick to the program, such as suggesting to my friends to cook a meal at their apartment instead of going out (I offered to grill steak for them, so I’ll still be popular don’t worry), and looking at the restaurant menu ahead of time to figure out how much I will be able to make work and bringing some snacks to supplement. This is not hard, it just takes a little planning an experience.
The takeaway is sometimes plans and intentions change, but instead of regretting and berating yourself for “not being more disciplined” or “I just have no willpower,” own your choices, take the results with grace and compassion, and go on to enjoy the rest of your life.
Am I perfect? Nope. Will every off-road decision be made with this amount of contemplation and contentment of the results? Most definitely not. I’m sure at some point there will be some regretful break-room-donuts or home-alone-beer-and-nachos decisions that were more automatic than mindful. But it’s about progress, and the best kind of self-care is when you can celebrate the wins.
I hope you are having a fabulous morning. Go make it a great day!
Since I dropped 10 lbs on my Whole30, I treated myself to a new pair of pants that fit me yesterday. Look at me dipping my toe into the distressed jeans look. I’m not a regular mom, I’m like a cool mom.
Also, yesterday was Dairy Reintro day, which I celebrated with a Pumpkin Spice Latte (full-fat milk, duh. Go big or go home).
I also had a kale salad with feta cheese and mashed potatoes with butter in my lunch. The potatoes are poking out from under the massive pile of BBQ pulled pork my hot bar box was rocking. Plus roasted veggies and garilic mushrooms. I may have had to close my eyes and put down my fork a couple of times in this meal just to truly savor the awesomeness. Once again, hats off to you Whole Foods hot bar.
Of course, after all of the dairy it was probably not the best day to go skinny jeans shopping. Bloat-city, man. So dairy reintro was a success in that now I’m sure I will start billowing like a balloon after consuming a latte. Knowledge is power, my friends. I might take a couple days then try a dairy day that doesn’t include 12 oz of milk in one sitting, just butter and cheese. I can survive without milk, but it would be nice to be able to cook Home Chef meals with the butter and the cream in the sauce on occasion if I can determine it doesn’t affect me that much.
On the lighter side of life, is it too early to request a Mother’s Day gift?
So today I’m reintroducing some foods from the forbidden Legume group, in particular peanuts and hummus. I’ve never been a big bean eater, so I’m not worrying about the magical fruit for now, sticking with things I do enjoy eating to check and see how the fit in with my newfound awesomeness.
I’m also really, really trying hard to eat breakfast even on early mornings. My latest find is “stuff in a jar,” where I dump frozen veggies, olive oil, and whatever cooked meat I have left in the fridge in a mason jar and eat it in the car on my commute. The mason jar is way more manageable for car-eating than a plastic container since it fits in my cup holder! #winning
Yesterday it was California Blend and pulled pork. This morning it was carrots, guacamole, and sliced chicken apple sausage. Breakfast power!
Side note, we did NOT share a bottle of wine last night. By the time the kids were in bed and house prepped for tomorrow, I was perfectly content to celebrate my success by breaking out a new-to-me flavor of La Croix (orange!) and hanging out with Hulk on the couch while watching the aquarium and catching up on our days. Maybe this weekend? The beauty is that the decision can always be made again tomorrow!
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.
It’s Friday, or Fri-yay! as some of my social media counterparts prefer to claim.
Today is Day 27 of my Whole3036 and I’m hitting the “holy Oprah it’s almost done” phase. And I just finished my copy of “Food Freedom Forever,” so I’m super pumped to actually do this reset right.
I’ve been a Whole30 yo-yo’er, and that’s always been the part that I’ve struggled with. I do my 30 days, feel amazing, then I don’t really do the reintro. So it’s a quick slide back in to Crappysville, population = me, and I have to restart all over, beating my head against the same issues again and again.
Not this time (hopefully!) because now, I have a PLAN!
Written in my handy-dandy Commit30 planner (which is amazing; you should get one) is my day-by-day reintro plan of exactly what I will introduce when. And a doodle of a bike, because I will “ride my own bike” with my own diet from now on, and I apparently doodle bikes really well.
So the reintro process is I keep eating like I’m on a Whole30, but on the specified reintro days I can experiment with off-plan foods to see how they affect my digestion, sleep, energy, mood, and any other noticeable factors that have improved over the last 30 days. Why I’ve never done the proper reintro before is because by Day 30, I was DONE with the plan and could not WAIT to dive head-first into all the stuff I was missing. Now I know better, and I do not want to waste the last 30 days of hard work figuring out how foods affect me if I don’t reintro properly. Lesson learned.
So here’s the plan:
Day 31: Celebrate a successful Whole30 with a glass of wine! I’m thinking a fancy one from our stash, I’m sure I can twist Hulk’s arm to celebrate with me.
Day 32: Legumes –
ALL THE PEANUT BUTTER. Totally slathering my apple in PB with my snack or breakfast.
Beans – I’ll have a burrito bowl and include beans (but no cheese or rice just yet)
Days 33 – 34: Whole30 food, see how I feel
Day 35: Non-gluten grains –
POPCORN!! With ghee instead of butter, because not Dairy Day yet.
Maybe rice with dinner. I don’t eat much rice, but my family does, and it would be helpful if I knew how often I can indulge with them. I’m undecided if this is necessary quite yet.
Days 36-37: Whole30 food, see how it goes
Day 38: Dairy (okay, now it gets fun)-
Creamer in the coffee!
Cheese on my eggs!
Butter on my veggies!
Days 39-40: Whole30 food, maybe find out it’s not so fun?
Day 41: Gluten Day. At last, this is the day.
BEER. OMG, all the beer. Like, a pint. Not literally all of the beer. That would likely kill me. But I am so eager to have a beer again.
I am going to search high and low for the best pumpkin muffin in the East Bay. I know I really like the Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffins, but I can’t do one of those for reintro because cream cheese. And the Flying Goat coffee shop has hands-down the best pumpkin chocolate chip muffins in the universe, but I don’t want to do one of those for reintro because chocolate chips. Anyone have a good recommendation for an only-pumpkin muffin? Maybe I’ll have to make my own.
Maybe a sandwich. Because I do like to have a sandwich for lunch from a deli if I’m crunched for time.
Then I Whole30 it for two more days and see how my energy, digestion, mood, sleep, exercise, and all of the other good stuff change with my new diet tweaks.