We did it! Jimmy and I did the Whole 30 challenge, and yesterday was day 30. Hooray!
What is Whole 30?
Here is the link if you are wondering what Whole 30 is. Basically it is eating only certain whole foods for 30 days in order to reset your body's cravings and/or unfavorable reactions to certain foods. For 30 days you eat only meats, fruits, and vegetables. No sugar. No grains. No legumes (beans, peanuts). No dairy. Then after the 30 days you reintroduce each of the eliminated food groups one day at a time with 3 days of whole 30 foods in between. After each reintroduction, you can assess how you feel, how the food group affected you, or did it affect you at all.
Why did I do this?
Ha! I am not sure anymore. But it all began when I heard the author of the program on a podcast describing the program. It's just 30 days. I thought to myself, "I can do that. I can do anything for 30 days. I like a challenge!" So I mentioned it to Jimmy, and he immediately said, "Let's do it!". Wait. I did not even own the Whole 30 book. I needed some more information. So I ordered the book, and the day it came in, we began. I will admit I have still not read the entire book, but I read the basic dos and don'ts, stocked up on Whole 30 compliant foods, and we were off.
We survived road trips to Florida and Tennessee for XC meets, potluck dinners, birthday parties, and a campfire cookout, all while eating only Whole 30 foods. We ate a lot of grilled chicken on salads from Chick-Fil-A while traveling (and also waffle fries----yes, not really in the spirit of Whole 30, but potatoes and oil are allowed......we did not want to starve while on the road!)
I have eaten more boiled eggs and sweet potatoes than I ever have before in my life. Lots of fruit. And Larabars (only the ones with dates, almonds, and cashews) for snacks or after a run. Again, Larabars are not supposed to be a staple of your diet while on Whole 30, but Jimmy is training for a marathon, and I run almost every day and do CrossFit twice a week, so we ate the Larabars! :)
How do I feel?
I feel great! I struggled with sticking to Whole 30 on several occasions. I wish I had kept a daily journal of my thoughts and feelings. The first three days were ok. Then we traveled, and that was hard. I packed us as many Whole 30 foods as I could, and that helped. After about a week, I was ready to quit. I really, really wanted some tortillas chips and salsa. Or maybe some oatmeal or cereal instead of eggs, eggs, eggs, for breakfast. Lunch and supper were ok. We ate a lot of grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, green beans, and potatoes. Oh, and lots of salad. With homemade Whole 30 dressing, because all store-bought dressing has sugar! I just ate my salads without dressing because I did not care for the homemade dressing.
Supposedly you get "tiger blood" around Day 16. That just means that you feel energetic. I do feel really good. I am not sluggish in the afternoons, and most nights I slept better than I have in a long time.
What did I learn? I actually learned something about myself. I totally would have quit more than once if Jimmy was not doing the challenge with me. He was completely committed. If he would have said he was done, I would have been in my kitchen eating tortilla chips in one second! But since he remained compliant, I did too. I needed the external accountability to stick to the goal. Not that he made me stay with the plan, but knowing I would have to admit failure to him (and he would have been so nice about it, I am sure) kept me on track. I did not have enough internal accountability to stay the course.
In her book Better Than Before Gretchen Rubin categorizes people into four groups based on their inclination to keep habits (or not keep them). You can take a short quiz on her website to determine your tendency. I took the quiz over a year ago, and I while I scored as an Upholder, I also scored very high as an Obliger. I have been trying to determine which one I actually am. An Upholder keeps all goals/habits whether she has external or internal accountability. An Obliger needs external accountability in order to meet expectations. The Whole 30 challenge made it all clear to me. I am an Obliger.
(But the discussion of the tendencies is for another blog post.)
What have I eaten today now that the Whole 30 challenge is over?
I actually have not eaten anything yet. However, I have longed for Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer in my coffee for the last 30 days (I have used unsweetened almond milk as my "creamer"). So this morning I added that to my coffee, and guess what? I could not drink it! It tasted weird! I was shocked. I tried to drink it for a few minutes, but then I finally poured it out and made another cup just like I have been drinking for the last 30 days.
I am not sure what I will eat for breakfast (after I run, after I finish this blog post).
Will I do the reintroduction phase?
I'm not sure. Jimmy is, but I have not verbally committed to doing it so I don't feel obliged to do it!
So there you have it. Another crazy idea! I am not sure what my next scheme will be......