Monday, April 25, 2016

Whole 30 Recap. What I learned.

(disclaimer: this will most likely 99% for sure be the last post about whole30)

So, I’m beyond day 30 of my whole30, but I hesitate to say my Whole30 is complete. I’m not 100% compliant these days, though I find I’m generally keeping up with the good habits I picked up (dare I say, earned?) during a month of clean eating. A quick run down of what I learned about myself and about the diet.


1. Does that girl have a home? 
I eat both breakfast and lunch at my desk five days a week. I don’t know why this was a shock to me as I’m me and I know what events take place during my day. It doesn’t take a whole lot of self-awareness to pick up on where I eat meals. Yet, it took me taking pics of all my meals to realize that they’re always against a backdrop of my fake wood desk. Sad.

eggs in a thermos. breakfast of champions. 

surprise! eating at my desk again. 

2. Become one with your body. 
You’ll get so in tune with your body, you’ll know how to fuel it. By week two or three, my body would tell me if I was missing a food group. Healthy fats kept me full. Carbs gave me energy. And protein kept me feeling even. Carbs (my faves were sweet potatoes and plantain chips) were especially and surprisingly critical. Especially on hard workout days. I would just work to hit all three groups in every meal. It became a mental checklist for me.

3. Meal prep makes you love your past self (when you actually do it). 
When I would put the time in on the weekends to grocery shop, roast veggies, make a big meal with leftovers, and do general prep, the Kelly of Tuesday or Wednesday would be loving weekend Kelly. Thanks for everything, weekend Kelly!

4. Scale Schmail. 
Every whole30 guide warns you that it’s not a diet, but a way to cleanse your body of all those bad toxins you’ve come to rely on. Still, it’s hard not to get sucked in to the idea of weight loss when the internet is flooded with before and after pictures and your friends who completed the program lost chins (if that's not a weight loss measure, it should be). I did end up losing about 10 pounds and about two inches on each of the important body parts, but I certainly wasn’t out wardrobe shopping or trying on my old pants only to let go and proudly watch them fall down a now thinner physique.

5. There is a world without cheese.

And I’m okay living in it. In my world, cheese has always taken center stage with veggies and meats being lowly sidekicks and bread being the vehicle for which to eat said cheese. Salad was a bed of lettuce for which my cheese could sit. As such, I expected some painful feelings and potential outbursts cutting it out completely. Surprisingly, I barely missed it. Admittedly, omitting cheese from a taco salad or omelets made me sad, but I didn’t crave cheese and crackers or cheese and cheese or any of my other cheese-heavy snack choices.


6. Coffee with milk > coffee without milk.

Or is it? Black coffee hurts going down when coffee with milk is a key component of your diet. It’s missing that velvety creaminess of delicious coffee with milk. I used coconut cream at first, but it had some strange flavor (not coconut) that started to haunt me and it would unmix and turn chunky if the coffee sat long enough, which was gross. And it was basically solid when you put it in your coffee. So, after less than a week I forced myself to just drink it black. Oddly enough, I got used to it. Well, it’s still kind of annoying having to wait for it to cool down but in the whole scheme of things that’s a pretty minor inconvenience. I expected to start dumping milk back in my coffee post-Whole 30, but surprisingly it wasn’t high on the list of foods to reintroduce. I eventually tried adding it back in and it’s way more delicious that black coffee, but I found it left me feeling like I had a weird film in my mouth and the creaminess was almost stifling by the end of a cup. I’m not sure what’s happened to me.

i've perfected cooking salmon.
i have not yet perfected cooking salmon without setting off the smoke alarm. 

7. I love my kitchen. I love my kitchen… 

Just keep repeating that mantra to yourself and eventually you’ll believe it. Expect to spend A LOT of time in the kitchen. Finding compliant meals in the wild is not easy and not really worth it. We did hit up Chipotle once and a local burger place for salads, but we’re pretty averse to giving a litany of instructions to our restaurant server, so we’re more comfortable eating at home. I’m used ot getting home from work, staring in the fridge and finding something that I can whip together for dinner. That doesn’t work so easily on whole30, especially at the beginning when the rules are all new. I found myself feeling good and having energy that I didn’t mind so much. Even post-program, I still find myself spending a good chunk of time on Sunday cooking and finding it relaxing! And now that our kitchen is mid-renovation and unusable I miss cooking more than ever. I suppose absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

cooking. dishes. repeat. 

8. Ups and ups. 
I expected to feel like garbage until at least midway through the program (and I did for the first few days), but by day 5 or so I was starting to get more even energy, lost that mid-afternoon slump, and was generally a more agreeable person. Ask my kids! The newfound energy also gave me the extra boost I needed to get out of bed early enough to start hitting up the gym before work. 

9. The egg really is incredible. 
There really are a million ways to cook them. I started buying those restaurant flats of them by the end of the program. I used to bring scrambled eggs and omelets and over easy concoctions of them in a thermos to work. I thought I would get sick of them. Somehow I didn’t. In fact, with our kitchen out of commission I actually miss them. 

I love you, eggs.

10. A little help from my friends. 
The stars aligned and somehow I embarked on my Whole30 journey alongside a bunch of peeps – Krug, my sister, and a bunch of my sister’s friends. We had a Facebook group page to share motivation, recipes, food pics, and just have a hand to hold so you didn’t feel alone. Also, my sister and mom are awesome cooks so it was nice anytime we visited them, not only were there compliant options, but there were well-planned and delicious compliant options.

Bottom line, Whole30 delivered on its promise. I freed my body of toxins, I feel better, and have a healthier relationship with food. I’m sure there are more Whole30s in our future, but not until after mojito season.


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