We have finished our Whole 30! I will admit the first two weeks felt like 2 years, but these last two went by rather fast. Maybe that as because I was starting to feel the positive changes or I was back in the rhythm – either way, WE MADE IT! But, the day after Whole 30 is always the hardest for me because I get this strange, nervous feeling that if I don’t have rules telling me I can or can’t eat something, that I will fall off the wagon – hard. Which to be quite honest has happened before. Melissa Hartwig, one of the creators of Whole 30, talks about this a lot – the idea of Food Freedom. Last year she even published a book called just that: Food Freedom Forever. So my “gift” to myself for finishing another Whole 30 is this: I am going to buy Food Freedom Forever, I am going to read it and I am going to continue working on focusing on good, whole foods that FUEL me.
I’ll get to the actual Whole 30 recap in a minute, but there has been something else on my mind a lot lately and this round of Whole 30 really opened my eyes to it. I recently listened to an episode of the PaleOMG Uncensored podcast by Juli from PaleOMG where she was talking with Vanessa from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind – the topic was being an abstainer vs. a moderator. As they talked, my ears perked up. Juli shared that she is a moderator – meaning she can eat a normal amount of chips, a chocolate bar, or any snack and then walk away from it. Crazy, I know. But the funny thing was as she was talking I started to think of friends I have who are exactly like that and I am CONSTANTLY wondering why that can’t be me. Why must I feel like when I eat chips that I have to eat the whole bag right then and there, as if the universe will never allow chips into my pantry again? BUT THEN Vanessa started talking and saying that she is an abstainer. The way she described it made complete sense to me – it works better for her to cut things completely out of her diet, whether that’s forever or for an extended period of time. I literally found myself saying,”YES!” out loud, to myself, in my room, while she was talking. SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT ME! I AM AN ABSTAINER!
I encourage you to take some time and read the transcript or listen to the podcast (both can be found here) *disclaimer: Juli’s podcast is explicit, basically in that she likes cursing. This does not bother me in the slightest, which is why I listen to the podcast, but if you are offended by cursing…be warned* I also suggest taking a look at the article they reference from Pop Sugar. It’s not as though I had never heard this concept before – but the way Juli & Vanessa described it and then after reading the Pop Sugar article, there’s no denying it for me. I am an abstainer through and through BUT now my goal is to help myself not feel like I need something as strict as the Whole 30 to keep up my abstaining from foods that deep down I know are not good for me and more importantly not going to make me FEEL GOOD.
SO. Whole 30 Round 8. That feels crazy to type. But as I have shared, that’s over a 4 year period. If you’re good with basic mental math you know that’s 2 a year on average, which is what I strive for. Having this reset twice a year has been a great balance for me, but it is different for everyone & every situation. This Whole 30 wasn’t miraculous, it wasn’t life changing, but it did CHANGE THINGS. Let’s talk about those things, shall we?
Whole 30 – Round 8 Takeaways:
- First, I’m a little nervous but I want to share my before and after pictures. Not because the photo quality is great (obviously), or because I have a well placed full length mirror (not), or because I want you to see that our mattress is currently on the floor (working on that). I AM showing them to you because they speak to the other bullets below. This is not a dramatic weight loss and it’s quite possible that to you there isn’t a difference in these pictures (that’s okay!) – but here’s what I see: a stomach that went from bloated to “flatter”, a body that went from a bit puffy to leaner and MOST importantly I see a woman who is damn proud of what she has done for her body and her self confidence. Am I going to be walking around in a crop top anytime soon? Heck nah. BUT am I going to be dreading putting on a swim suit less in a few weeks? HECK YA. Bring on summertime!
- Alright, here it is…I lost 3 pounds. I am sharing this, and sharing it first, because I want to be extremely transparent & honest. In the back of my mind did I hope to lose more than that? Sure. BUT here is the thing about Whole 30, it is not a weight loss plan. It’s funny because I tell people that all the time, “this isn’t about losing weight, it’s about riding your body of junk and changing the way you think about food”, but did I actually even believe that myself? Was I going to ever feel accomplished at the end of a Whole 30 if I didn’t lose 10 + pounds? I didn’t know the answer until yesterday and here’s what I can say: this round of Whole 30 was a total & complete NO SCALE VICTORY for me.
- No Scale Victories are, what you possible could guess, victories not associated with the scale. Some of my No Scale Victories this round are: clothes fitting better (BIG ONE!), more energy – due in part to sleeping better, less anxiety, socializing without compromising (I went to 3 work lunches, 2 happy hours and dinner out with friends – I will NOT let Whole 30 make me into a hermit!), found lots of new recipes that we plan to keep in our rotation, felt stronger in the gym, felt more productive, no longer needed to snack throughout the day, stopped viewing food as a reward, this one is TMI but I’ll put it nicely – improved “regularity”, less bloating, and probably the biggest one: FEELING MORE CONFIDENT.
- I now recognize that thanks to all of the work I have put in over the last 4 years, I have less weight to lose each time I do another Whole 30. I will never again see the results on the scale that I did my first round (which was 35 pounds & I felt amazing) because I am starting at a MUCH HEALTHIER weight for myself. If I lost 35 pounds now, I would not be healthy – and healthy is my goal. So with that, my scale will go back in the closet where it belongs because my worth, my health and my happiness are not dependent on it.
- Whole 30 is possible for anyone – but there is A LOT of work that goes into it. I never want to diminish that. You CAN do it, you CAN see what it does for your body, but you WILL need to put effort into it. Between the meal planning, the grocery shopping, the cooking, and by golly the cleaning. A lot of time and energy is put into food over 30 days – but man, is the aftermath worth it.
- What’s next? Ross and I have talked about what now – where do we go from this round? Sometimes we have huge lofty goals – let’s do another 30 days, let’s do it for 6 months, yada yada. But this time we were more realistic with ourselves. We are going to continue eating Whole 30 at home, because honestly we enjoy the food and I am in the habit of buying groceries for Whole 30, but we will enjoy a night out with friends, have “regular” potato salad at a BBQ if we choose and by golly enjoy a glass of wine together. But we will continue to focus on balance, a healthy lifestyle including being active, and doing things that make us feel good. I am happy with that.
So guys, that’s all she wrote! I am sorry if you were wanting a big transformational piece – but that’s just not what happened. What happened was that I gained clarity & recognized that 4 years ago I got myself and my body on a path to a healthy lifestyle and while I may veer off onto a side road now and again, I have found my way back and am ready to continue pushing forward. It’s a journey for me and I hope you will stay along for the ride!
Sending Good Chives Your Way,