Whole30: Results

Whole30 Results

How do I feel?

I feel great! It feels empowering to successfully finish something difficult. My clothes fit better and I feel better. Multiple people told me my face looked thinner, and while weight loss wasn’t my main motivation for doing a Whole30, I am happy it was a side effect!

Was it hard?

Yes and No. Completely changing the way you eat is definitely hard, but having clear rules and boundaries made it easy to stick to the plan. There was no, “should I?” or “I will just have a little..” the answer was just no. Giving up sugar is hard. I think the one thing I might not have done correctly was I occasionally used fruit and homemade Larabars to take the edge off my sugar cravings. I realize that is kind of missing the point, but I only had so much self control left!

Will I continue?

The main thing I miss, as mentioned above, is sugar, and that is also the number one thing I want to continue to cut out of my diet. Aside from the natural sugar in fruit, sugar, especially added sugar, will have no place in my diet on a day to day basis. The exception being special occasions, and the occasional treat.

As for the rest of the off limit foods, I still plan to keep my diet very clean, but my definition of clean does include dairy, legumes, beans, and some whole grains. I actually started another nutritional challenge at my CrossFit box. It is a lot less restrictive than the Whole30 but it lasts for six weeks. My hope is that it will help me transition into allowing the previously off-limit food back into my diet without going crazy!

Bottom-line: Am I glad I did it?

YES! I learned a lot about myself and I discovered a lot of new meals and foods that my family and I all enjoy.  I am really proud of myself for sticking to it! I also inspired a few family members to do a Whole30 too! Good luck Mom, Dad, and Taylor! You can do it!

Whole30: Day 1

whole30 before picture
My Before Picture.

Going into today, I was excited and motivated, but, now I am panicky and uneasy. This is going to be a long month. I am already bored with my food. I carefully planned food that I know we like, but tonight’s steak does not sound appealing (which is a major first!) I am full, but I don’t feel satisfied. Chocolate has always had a strong hold on me, I knew that would be really hard for me to go without, but I didn’t expect to feel this crappy about it, this soon. 

I am still committed, possibly even more committed. I need to do this to loosen sugar’s hold on my body. I want food freedom. My “last meal” yesterday was homemade mac and cheese. Can you think of a more anti-Whole30 food than mac and cheese? I did not enjoy it. It made me physically ill that was a reminder of why I wanted to do this in the first place. My food habits are making me sick and I want to get better. 

This morning I went to a special Labor Day CrossFit workout. It was a team WOD and among my team members were four girls who were new to CrossFit. I was reminded me of how far I have come in the four short months I have been doing CrossFit. One girl asked me, “Does it get any easier?” And my answer is yes, and no. Parts of CrossFit have gotten easier, and my endurance has definitely improved, but every workout is still hard. I think that’s how eating will always be for me. I don’t think there is a cure for my food addictions, that will always be there, but I have hope that parts of it can get easier.

Why I Love CrossFit

WHYILOVECROSFITT

I have participated in a lot of different sports and activities; tap dance, ballet, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, swimming, water polo, ultimate frisbee and aerobics–I love a group/team atmosphere. That’s probably why working out, alone, in a gym just wasn’t working for me. I was hesitant to try CrossFit, not because I thought I wouldn’t like it, but because I was pretty sure I would like it, and it’s a lot more expensive than a gym membership. The truth is, CrossFit is worth every penny. I am addicted to CrossFit! Heres why:

1. No Planning Involved: I just show up and work hard.

2. Constant Variety: There are a few WODs we come back to, but for the most part everyday is different than the last. I find the constant change motivating. I never know what to expect, so I don’t dread it.

3. Very Scaleable: I have a long way to go in my fitness journey, yet I can come and do the same workout as everyone else–I just have to adjust some things. And it is so exciting when I get stronger and have to scale less and less.

4. It’s My Break: I get to leave the kids for and hour and a half and focus on me. That little break makes the rest of the 23.5 hours of the day so much more enjoyable.

5. I Feel Strong: During most WODs I reach a wall and feel like quitting, but then I push through and it feels amazing when I finish. This mindset has been seeping into other aspects of my day. When something gets unbearable, I remind myself that I can do hard things.

6. CrossFit is a Family: Everything is measured and tracked, which seems like it would lend itself to being all about the individual, but in my experience, it’s the complete opposite. I feel like part of a family. One person’s success or PR is celebrated by all. The camaraderie keeps me coming back, week after week.

Addictions

A few months ago, I was chatting with some friends from church and we got on the topic of anti-smoking ads. There were a lot of comments about how someone can keep smoking when they know how bad it is for them. The general sentiment was, the guilt they feel when seeing these anti-smoking commercials should be enough to get them to stop. I was a little shocked that they had so little understanding of what being addicted to something feels like. I must admit, I was also a little jealous too!

I cannot speak for those addicted to cigarettes, as I have never tried one, but I know enough about what addiction to feel great sympathy for those who want to quit but cant. Addicts don’t need a commercial to make them feel guilt. They feel enough from themselves, and this guilt usually drives them right back into the addiction to help them cope.

My addiction is food. I obsess over one treat or meal and the cravings torments me. If I try to resist, I can’t concentrate on anything or feel peace until I give in. If I am able to hold off for a while before I give in, I loose all control and eat myself sick, getting little to no actual enjoyment of the food, just the satisfaction of momentary relief from the constant nagging of temptation. Then I feel shame.

I have tried cutting unhealthy foods out of my diet and on the other side of the spectrum, I have tried eating anything and everything that sounds good to me. In my experience, both extremes yield the same results, binging. I love good food. Now, I know myself well enough to understand that I can’t forbid myself from eating certain foods. I need to find the right balance.

The last few months, my  goal has been to eat balanced meals. I try to make sure that my meals, dinner especially, have protein and vegetables along with my beloved carbs. I have avoided counting calories, because I have found for me, I obsess too much over staying below a certain number and if I mess up then I use that as an excuse to go crazy. Instead, I don’t eat unhealthy foods unless I really enjoy them. For instance, I am not going to eat a store bought cookie, just because it’s there. I don’t like them and then I just feel guilty about the wasted calories later. I indulge in foods I love, but I try to enjoy each bite–quality over quantity.

I try and eat until I feel full, and then stop. I have had a tendency to overeat, to the point of being sick. Being sick was almost comforting. Now, when I don’t listen to my body and I get to the point of feeling sick, it feels bad and I don’t like that feeling anymore. I try to remember that feeling and use it to help myself stop. I want to get to a place where I can enjoy good food but not let it control me. I want to get rid of all the guilt and shame I associate with food.

Exercise helps. Feeling happy and getting enough sleep helps. I turn to food to self-medicate, so when I am taking care of my body I don’t crave unhealthy food as much. The endorphins I feel after a good, sweaty, CrossFit workout make me feel satisfied in a way food cannot. Eating healthy foods makes my body feel better and when combined with exercise I find myself actually craving more nutritious foods.

No amount of exercise will “cure” me of my food addictions but for now, it seems to be a step in the right direction.

Smilling

My clothes have started fitting a little better, I have more energy, more patience. Today at CrossFit I discovered I can do a real burpee and successfully stretch my hamstrings without falling over. The exhaustion I feel after the workout is different than the kind of exhaustion I come to class with. It’s better and satisfying in a way I had forgotten.

I told a girl in my class that going to CrossFit was my break. That surprised her. Exercise is one of the few times during my day that is all about me. Apparently, everyone at my CrossFit gym knows me as the girl who is always smiling.

I return home, still smiling, to a relieved husband and a bathtub filled with two little girls. And tonight, putting the kids to bed doesn’t feel like a chore.