I’ve always been opposed to extreme and super restrictive diets. First, I know that carbohydrates are critical for endurance performance. There have been times I’ve tried to cut back in an attempt to lose weight and suffered for it. And second, I don’t believe that cutting out major food groups is wise or healthy.
Also, my diet is already about a B. I’ve had to cut out wheat and diary because of a digestive issue, and while I enjoy my daily piece of chocolate and occasionally some tortilla chips, I never have desserts, soda and other processed crap. Well, ok, last month is an anomaly as I baked some dairy/gluten-free cookies and pies. But that’s a major outlier. Literally the only time in my life I baked.
The Whole 30 is something I’ve known about for years but never had any interest in. It seemed super difficult and terribly restrictive. But when some of my Coeur Sport teammates put together a Whole 30 challenge, for some reason, I took another look at it. I didn’t really pay attention to the challenge until last Wednesday. After seeing one post about it, I looked into the diet again, showed it to my husband, and within a few hours we ordered the book and both decided to do it.
There’s a few reasons I decided to give it a try and a few things I’m hoping to gain from it.
Almost two years ago, I cut out dairy and wheat because of digestive issues. From time to time, I still have issues and I haven’t been able to pin point the problem. I’ve talked to my PCP about doing allergy testing and have considered going to see a GI specialist, but I don’t feel my issues are that bad to warrant the hassle of all of the testing and doctor visits when, in the end, the prognosis will be to avoid certain foods, which I can likely figure out on my own.
We run the full suite of blood tests for my annual physical each year. This past spring, my blood glucose came back at 99 which is 1 short of being pre-diabetics. I completely freaked out. How is that possible! I cut out sugar from every last spot I could. Within weeks, I felt amazing. Better than I ever ever have. My A1C test came back completely normal indicating I was not anywhere near diabetic and my diet fell off a bit once I realized I wasn’t in danger of losing my feet. Nothing major, but things like bowls of cereal or some chips. And as you’d expect, I started feeling less awesome.
Clearly, there is a correlation between food and how I feel and how my body works.
The major thing I realized about the Whole 30 that made we want to do this is that is not really about these 30 days. Its not a restrictive diet for the sake of eliminating major groups in an unhealthy way for quick weight loss. All we’re doing is setting up for the critical piece which is reintroducing the foods we’ve eliminated. That’s where we get the bang for our buck.
Even though we’re removing some big food groups (alcohol, added sugar, dairy, grains and legumes), that still leaves behind a lot of food which is extremely nutritious and we get all of the protein, carbs and good fats we need. The things we’re removing aren’t necessary. I want them, I don’t need them. I WANT my chocolate and my bowl of oatmeal, but in the big scheme of terrible things happening in the world, missing it for only 30 days doesn’t rank. What’s left in the approved list is extremely healthy.
I will, for damn sure, reintroduce my daily two squares of Lindt 70% chocolate immediately. After that, oatmeal, granola and rice, then slowly some legumes. The best part of this is that I get to truly see how each of these different foods affect me. Not theoretically based on lab tests or scary probes from a doctor, but in real life.
And the reason why following the Whole 30 will be helpful is because of the rules. I can much better stick to an eating plan when I have guidelines. When I’m on my own, its very easy to be like “meh, one of these won’t hurt” and go off the rails.
My two main goals for this:
1) To find out what foods, and in what quantities affect me. I’m expecting to be able to have my daily chocolate, but still need to keep most sugars out of my diet.
2) To have it leave behind some good habits. Hopefully learn how to eat well when I’m hangry and just need to grab a snack that’s not a granola bar or bag of chips.
We’re two days in and still pretty excited about it. Luckily, my husband is a trained cook and we’re used to meal planning and lots of cooking.
I’d love to hear about your experience with the Whole 30.