Thursday, April 30, 2015

Whole33- final thoughts

Weight loss-
7 pounds- this didn’t change from day 15 until the end, but the scale does not tell the whole story. 
Motivation- a 6 week health challenge with some women from church. Each woman is putting in $10 and there will be 3 winners. The first time I attempted a Whole 30, I just wanted to try it and see if I was disciplined enough to finish. I lasted 12 days. 
Desire to undo the damage of the past year. I had gained about 20 pounds and did not recognize the body I had. The number on the scale didn't bother me as much as how foreign I felt in my body and how depressing it was to look in the mirror. I also wanted to lose weight in order to feel more comfortable in the warmer weather and be able to wear shorts, tank tops, etc.
Feeling- energy, energy, energy, as early as week 1. No mid-afternoon slumps, felt well-rested most nights. I still got a couple of migraines and caught a cold that my whole family passed around.
Only a couple of times did I feel super-hungry between meals, and only ONCE did I feel overly full. You can certainly still overeat on the Whole 30, and you feel it, though it’s much different than the usual bloated gut-bomb feeling.
Lightness. Less sluggish, less heavy. I don’t know how else to describe it. 
Physical changes- Fat melted off my body, making it easier/more doable to exercise. I could see that I did in fact have muscles left, they had just been hidden for quite some time. 
Deprivation- Food was delicious, very few disappointing meals or misses. Sometimes I felt high-maintenance and like I was just constantly thinking about food. Sometimes I felt left out and sorry for myself. I didn’t get to participate fully in a few special occasions. I sometimes ate lunch or dinner long after my family was finished because I didn’t have very many quick options and was taking care of their meals first. 
Emotions- PMS is real, y’all, and I didn’t get to eat my way through it.
Mindfulness, no emotional eating. A few days I had STRONG desires to cheat and comfort myself with food. Old habits are very hard to break. 
Life after Whole33-
I was encouraged to read in the Whole 30 book, It Starts with Food, that it’s not a Whole 365, nor is it supposed to be. They call this program a reset, and encourage you to simply try it, fully commit to it, and just experience the tremendous changes in the way you feel. It really speaks for itself. 
Tomorrow, and for the next week or so, I will reintroduce foods that I’ve cut out (one group at a time- non-gluten grains, legumes, dairy, and gluten) to see if I have any issues. I have never had food issues/reactions/sensitivities before. (And I’m praying I don’t discover any!!)
I feel free and empowered to make good choices but will make a conscious effort to pay attention to how food makes me feel.
I don’t feel like I can’t enjoy my favorite foods or special foods or even comfort foods, but I’ll do it mindfully, only eat what I must to satisfy the craving, and really savor it. (You know, ideally.)
Helpful tips-
Make a plan! Try to gather at least a weeks’ worth of recipes (or sit down and map out every dinner, or every day’s worth!)
Make a chart, or fill in some bubbles, or cross days off on a calendar. It’s actually pretty satisfying. 
Prepare yourself for the reality that you will spend more time in the kitchen. You are cooking three meals a day. Keep your cutting board right next to the stove and your favorite skillet washed and ready to go. 
Shop at Sprouts or Crest (or your equivalent local grocery store) for meat and produce. I always spent more on the weeks I shopped at Target/Walmart.
Keep nuts and fruit with you at all times. If you love raw veggies, more power to you.
Hard-boiled eggs were a huge life-saver on busy mornings and some lunches, when I just added them to salads. 
Don’t put food “in a box”- some of my favorite breakfasts included meat and veg instead of eggs. My burger breakfast on Day 20 was amazing. 
Big batch cooking is helpful, as long as you don’t get bored eating the same thing for a while. I did Steak Pizzaiola (froze half), shredded beef, chili, and meatballs. I’m not a big fan of cooking chicken ahead of time, but that’s just me. 
Prep your veggies- wash them, slice/chop onions, peppers, wash lettuce, make a vinaigrette and store it in the fridge. My favorite is just olive oil (1 1/2 parts), balsamic vinegar (1 part), salt and pepper, all shaken up in a jar. 
Pick your favorite veggies and eat a ton of them- for me those were onions, red peppers, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes and yukon gold potatoes. 
My food was pretty simple and I ate a handful of meals over and over. You might get completely bored doing that. There are TONS of recipes out there and even other daily Whole 30 meal plans for you. Do what works for you.

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