Having a suspicion of some food allergies, I had been playing with the idea of starting the Whole30. After many, I mean many, failed attempts I decided to try again this new year. Coincidentally my friend had gifted me with the Whole30 Guideline and Cookbook. I took it as a sign to start, and bought the Whole30 Day to Day journal for good measure. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m analytical. I like to take a lot of steps (some unnecessarily) to make sure I’m prepared. So having my mini Whole30 library gave me extra confidence. Confidence and books in hand I was ready to start my journey.
I did a kitchen overhaul. Threw out all may major temptations from the fridge and cabinets. For things I couldn’t bring myself to throw away I put on the top shelves of my cabinets. So my beloved snack stash was stuffed into the tallest darkest back corner of the kitchen. I’m short, so reaching the top shelf of my kitchen cabinets requires me to turn my kitchen into a jungle gym. So needless to say I wasn’t going to put in the effort to get back to my stash. Especially, after all the effort it took to get all the snacks up there. Boy, there were a lot of snacks. After that I knew I was serious. Even starting believe that this was going to be a easy breezy thirty days.”Heck I’m a athlete and a bodybuilder cutting out some foods will be easy for four weeks.” I was TOTALLY WRONG!
The first week was pretty brutal for me because I took on way more than I could handle. First, I ate all the carbs leading up to day one. Note to all the new Whole30ers out there do not do a carb-a-palooza before your Whole30 to "get it out of your system". It enhanced the detox symptoms for me. Second, I started a new (second) job with brutal hours which, unintentionally put me on Team No Sleep. On top of all of that, I thought it would be a great idea to start a new workout program to compliment my new journey. Only one of these three things survived the month. I let you guess which change it was.
The detox symptoms started to reside but my attitude was still alive and strong. The silver lining is that my irritation in the grocery store turned me into an efficient shopper. I was navigating the isles like a NASCAR driver and reading labels like I was in a speed reading contest. Everything had to be done with the most efficiency to save energy and keep my attitude at bay (well the best I could at the time).
Finally, I had hit my stride with incorporating the principles of the Whole30. My skin was extremely clear. My energy had start to normalize along with my sleep. My kitchen was now my own creative space for Whole30 recipes. It was like the set of Top Chef trying to use leftovers and random things in my pantry to create new dishes. The best recipe was my Whole30 breakfast sandwich. Which, I would have documented but I ate it all before I remembered it was Instagram worthy. Hunger will do that to you.
This week was a countdown to the end.In true form, I researched and planned how I would introduce food back into my routine. The fast track version of reintroducing foods was the option I picked. Knowing I didn't have the patience to do the longer version properly I didn't want to ruin the progress I made. My first meal of choice was going to be mixed berry oatmeal. Yes, I am that plain that oatmeal excites me.
This day deserves a description of it own. If you make it to day 28, I am a firm believer this is the most challenging day. Everything seems like a temptation. There was a raspberry watermelon coconut water that was calling my name. At that point, the light at the tunnel is in sight but just far enough that I knew I have a whole 48 hours to make it through. To all my Whole30ers stay strong you can make it two more days.
Fast Track Reintroduction Period
I got the oatmeal I was so desperately craving and it was everything I hoped it would be. Although the coconut water left much to be desired (thank goodness I didn't cave on day 28). Through the introduction period I learned that alcohol, dairy, and greasy foods are things my body doesn't like or process well. The most surprising reaction was acne. My skin had been so clear the majority of the month so the I noticed the drastic and fairly instant response. That doesn’t mean I won't ever have another cocktail, ice cream, or fried Oreo in my life but I just know the response that comes with it.
Through the whole month I learned new things about my body and it changed my perspective. Being a competitive bodybuilder I was familiar with restrictive eating but didn’t pay much attention to my non physical response. For the first time in a long time (maybe ever) I had to tune into what my body was telling me. That experience allowed me not focus on the scale, food or otherwise. I really came to appreciate the emphasis on non scale victories. The thing I am most grateful for is learning what foods work well with my digestion. I'm especially glad my body loves oatmeal as much as I do. My Whole30 journey was similar to being on a fun roller coaster. At first your nervous to get on the ride. Then the ride starts and your a little disoriented and your stomach drops. By the end your exhilarated and leave feeling like a little bit of a bad-ass.