That about sums it up. I'm not a Paleo newbie. I've been at it for almost three years. In those three years, yes, I've indulged. I've glutened, sugared, and binged. We've all been there. If you haven't, you will. I don't say that because I don't believe in you, but because we are all human. Humans by nature are imperfect creatures. Also, we all really like food.
The benefits of eating real food as opposed to the common "food like products" on the market are indescribable. I mean, why would you be doing this if you didn't fully believe that food is the end all, cure all? It is. Every bite you take is either healing you, or it isn't.
It's that simple.
This is the first whole 30 that I've completed without any "Manda-tizing". My last couple I would allow myself plain, unflavored grass fed whey protein powder, pre-workout drinks, and other bodybuilding supplements, because that's what I do. I bodybuild.
Turns out, my body will build just fine without these things.
The first couple of days were no big deal. Like I said, be paleo for a while, and eating paleo for a couple days strict isn't rough. After about three days, I really wanted a protein bar. A Quest bar. This Quest bar.
Along with the Whole 30, I had begun a new workout program called the Military Fitness Trainer 28. It requires a lot of time, as in, twice daily at the gym 5 days a week, and once on Saturday. I was determined to not miss a workout, to stick to my new eating schedule, and not give in. This is day two after the whole 30 and I still haven't had one.
The first weekend, I wanted to weigh myself. I felt bloated and tired. I was sure something was wrong, and I NEEDED my supplements to perform in the gym. No, Manda. Food. It was then that I discovered the greatness of bulletproof coffee. I started to drink a cup every morning. No more tired at the gym. Just great, exhausting workouts. I didn't use ghee or butter, just full fat coconut milk, coconut oil, and coffee in my Nutri Bullet. Shit's delicious. Can't wait to try it with Kerrygold.
After week two, I had unbelievable energy during the day, and slept like a rock at night. I would wake up from my usual 6-7 hours of sleep and be ready to work out, take on the day, and work out again. During this week, I had also decided to increase my calorie intake, since the new workout program was killing me. If I ended up gaining weight at the end of this, oh well. My goal has been to weigh 128 since January, and I have been stuck at 132 since March. Try try again.
Also, I was having dreams. One of my dreams is that I got drunk. I don't drink, and it was so real I woke up and felt guilty that I had failed the Whole 30.
It was during this week that I started to have normal BM's again, and my hormones were falling back into place. (Read: I was horny) (I'm never horny)
After increasing my carbs, during week three I noticed even more gains in my strength. I was eating a sweet potato a day, and sometimes squash (kabocha and pumpkin). I had Brussels sprouts, turnips, and plantains for dense carbs, and even had a banana thing for a few days. I hate bananas. I did, however, discover a new love for steamed carrots topped with coconut oil. Oh my.
Also, I feel it's important to note that before this whole 30, I was anti-fruit. Fructose is bad. Shame. Turns out, fruit is delicious. Pineapples and grapes made my day. Colorful, delicious, and energizing. Eat to your health.
The fourth week I started craving desserts. Bad desserts. Cake desserts. I usually don't crave those things, ever. It wasn't bad enough that I had to go on a walk or anything, but my little head was dreaming of german chocolate.
The things that helped me through were simple:
1) Create fun flavors with different seasonings and fat sources
2) Enjoy what you eat
3) Try something new
4) Live for each day, don't think about "what if I fail"...one meal at a time
5) Look in the mirror each day, and say "Whole 30, day _____". It's empowering.
Three years ago, I looked like this. And on day 30 of my first REAL whole 30
Don't ever say you can't. Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right. Being overweight is hard. Staying fit is hard. Choose your hard.
Staple Foods during the Whole 30:
- Coconut oil/butter/flakes
- Olive oil
(Really, whatever veggie floats your boat, I love them all.)
Through this experience I've learned to stay in tune with my body. I am more aware of what real hunger cues are, instead of just wanting to eat, and I've learned to sit down and appreciate the flavors of each meal, take smaller bites, and enjoy the consciousness of knowing that I'm improving my body with each swallow. There's a warrior in all of us, and I hope each of you has an extraordinary journey.