I want to start this post with a disclaimer *I am not a dietician, nutritionist or fitness guru* I’m just a girl trying to balance her desire to be healthy with her desire to have taco bell for every meal of the day. Sound familiar? Then please read on!
I have always been a skeptic when it comes to dieting. Playing sports my whole life, I never understood the idea of diet & exercise. I was accustomed to eating like a grown man and then burning it all off at practice. In a perfect world, I would have loved to maintain that routine for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect and one day you will wake up to something called slow metabolism punching you in the face. I realized fairly quickly that I would need to change my lifestyle if I wanted to continue to feel good about the way I looked.
…and then college happened.
Long story short, college turned my body into a toxic wasteland. The constant eating, drinking and lack of sleep affected me physically and emotionally. It was all fun and games until I stopped feeling/looking like myself.
It was after graduation that I decided I needed to make a change. A good friend of mine introduced me to something called Whole 30. Whole 30 is essentially a strict diet (similar to Paleo) that lasts for 30 days. I am not usually interested in these things, but her results were impossible to ignore. She told me that it was more of a “lifestyle change” rather than a diet (my friend should get a job in marketing) and I was sold.
30 days, 720 hours, 43 thousand mins, 2.5 million seconds later….
The entire experience was incredible. In addition to the weight I lost, my skin cleared up, I had more energy, my eczema was under control and I felt like a new person. The results were more than I ever expected…but let me be very honest…it was NOT easy.
Week 1: The first week is the worst. I was constantly cranky and felt exhausted the entire day. There is a loooong list of things that you cannot eat while on whole 30 (listed below) but what I could eat was essentially meats, potatoes, veggies and dark greens. For someone who’s first thought in the morning is what flavor doughnut to get in the office, the restrictions were painful. Making it through the week was challenging, but with the help of my mom (the most amazing cook) I got to day 7 in one piece.
Week 2: Week two was easier. My body had gotten used to the absence of sugar and carbs so the cravings were not as bad as the week before. By this time, I was able to consciously make the decision not unnecessarily snack or boredom eat (my biggest problem). I was starting to get excited about the program and spent time researching new recipes/reading other people’s success stories.
Week 3: Week three was by far the most exciting. By this time, I was having no cravings. I was able to follow my daily routine and felt great about the new foods I was experimenting with. The most exciting part was that by week 3 I was able to see results. My jeans began to feel loose and my stomach felt much less bloated. I want to mention that my friend had told me not to check my weight throughout the 30 day program. She said it would help me focus on my lifestyle changes rather than the number on the scale. I am so glad I followed her advice and would recommend the same thing to anyone trying this out.
Week 4: By week four, I didn’t feel like I was counting the days anymore. It almost felt like eating clean was my new normal. On the last day of the month, I decided to step on the scale and the results were SHOCKING! I had lost 16 pounds in 30 days. Keep in mind, I did not change my exercise routine at all, this was all from diet changes. The interesting thing was that I didn’t care about the number as much as I thought I would. All I cared about was that I felt good. It was like I had hit a reset button. Looking back, embarking on this journey was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
So you made it to day 30, Now what?!
I made the decision for myself that Whole 30 was incredible but not sustainable for my lifestyle. I love to eat amazing food and I did not want to feel like I was a prisoner to this diet. This being said, I loved so many aspects of Whole 30 that I decided to continue in a way that worked for me. One of my biggest challenges during the program was eating out. I hated being the girl at restaurants who would order a sandwich without the bread, mayo and cheese…So now, I order what I want, but make small compromises (ex: light cheese, whole wheat bread etc.) I still strictly follow the moral principal of the program which is to eat clean and lead a healthy lifestyle. To anyone who is curious, I would encourage you to try this out! Again, I would not suggest using this as a temporary solution for bikini season. I have found that eating well is in some way a form of self-respect. Implement this into your mindset and you will reap the benefits for years to come! Ending off with one quote that kept me going strong…
Eating healthy gets easier when you turn “I can’t have that” to “I don’t want that”
(the one exception to all of this is taco bell of course)
Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it! Please comment and reach out with any questions or future post suggestions!