At the end of 2016, I knew something needed to change. Perhaps it was due to my unceasing desire to eat everything in sight, or perhaps I wanted to finally participate in the whole new year’s resolution fad, or perhaps it was due to the grave realization I had one day that this body was all I have for my time here on this earth, and I had to stay healthy for my daughter. Whatever it was, I decided I would do something different for my health. And I wanted to get rid of my headaches and groggy tiredness and dizziness spells. I knew whatever I decided to do, I needed something structured, but I didn’t want to spend a whole bunch of money on books, powders, mugs, shakes, or anything of the sort, and I didn’t want to have to weigh the food or count points.
After some research, I chose to go on the Whole30 journey. For those who don’t know about it, the program states that for 30 days, I eat protein, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats to my heart’s content. But, I had to omit added sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes. The goal was to see which of the above food groups had a negative impact on your life. Personally, I also wanted to regain some kind of control over what I deemed my ravenous appetite.
Whole30 was perfect. Everything I needed to know about the program, I found online–no purchase of books needed. And all I had to do was eat the foods I ate anyway, just more of them, and omit the bad things (a.k.a – added sugar). I liked that I didn’t have to put in an order for accessories or other things in order to succeed.
Revelations from my Whole30 Journey
I don’t know if it was the high from my determination to succeed, but the first few days were way easier than I anticipated. Right around day 15 was the hardest, but I bounced back and successfully completed the program! From my journey, I have a few revelations and nuggets of wisdom. I realized that:
I ate when I was bored
I was about eight days in, sitting at my desk one mid-afternoon. Out of habit, I reached over to one area of my desk where I usually kept some sort of snack and came up empty-handed. I purposefully removed snacks from my work area prior to the start, so as not to be tempted, and I’m glad I did. Having nothing there caught me off guard. The lunch I ate kept me full; why was I reaching for food when I wasn’t hungry? It was out of habit. I was taking a break from looking at my computer, and my instinct was to grab something to eat, even if I wasn’t hungry. I realized then that I snacked when I was bored.
Sugar really is in everything
I knew this prior to starting Whole30, but it still flabbergasted me to learn about the different food items that contained added sugar: spaghetti sauce, ketchup, yogurt, ranch dressing were just a few. I have become an expert label reader and connoisseur of the multiple names sugar goes by. Do you have a container of iodized salt in your cupboard? Take a look at the ingredients. What’s listed? Dextrose. Sugar. Your iodized salt has sugar in it! I even found a jar of sauce that said on it “no sugar” that listed sugar as one of the ingredients. Sugar is such a sneaky ingredient.
I really do love to cook
I’ve always loved to cook, and doing Whole30 has allowed me to get back to doing what I love. I’ve told my husband multiple times that when he’s not around and I’m cooking, I pretend that I’m filming one of those cooking shows. I talk to the pretend-camera and everything – that’s how much I love cooking. I grew up in tropical places where we had an abundance of fruits and vegetables, and doing Whole30 allowed me to recreate a lot of my childhood recipes, but also forced me to be creative in the kitchen, for which I’m thankful.
Changing the way you eat to be healthier doesn’t have to expensive
As I said before, one of the things I loved about Whole30 was that I wasn’t required to buy powders, shakes, or accessories to be successful in the program. Everything I needed, I could get from our local grocery store: eggs, meat, vegetables, fruits. All the deliciousness I could think of.
Meal planning isn’t the enemy
If anything, meal planning made my success with completing Whole30 so much easier! And it helped me stay on plan. For the first two weeks, meal planning helped me know what I would eat when, and that kept me from straying when I got ‘hangry,’ especially the first few days when I was getting used to the rules. As I got more comfortable with the program, I didn’t need to meal plan as much because I knew what I could and could not eat.
If you have never heard of Whole30, or are on the fence about starting it, I encourage you to give it a try! It was definitely a game changer for me. I’m done with the 30 days, but I’ve decided to continue because I truly enjoy the benefits of it!
Are you or have you been on an eating healthy journey? What tips do you have to those who are thinking of starting?