it starts with food
'It Starts With Food' is a book (that I did not read) about the Whole 30 Program. The premise is very basic and not revolutionary. Essentially that, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. If you eat well, it makes a noticeable difference. So I had been flirting with the idea of doing Whole 30 but never did it. I usually start the year off with a Daniel Fast and my success rate has been hit and miss over the past five years. This year, I decided to switch it up and do Whole 30.
Best decision ever.
So this is how it went. I woke up hungover on January 1st. I realized there was no way I would start that day. There's a reason January has 31 days. So you can start the year on the 2nd, once you have recovered :) So on the 2nd of January, I started.
To successfully complete this, I knew I had to make it as easy as possible for myself. I chose to "meal prep" which means cooking large batches of food to have readily available in the coming week. I chose to break the time down and do meal prep in 3 day intervals because 3 days sounds much easier than 30 days. Honestly, this was 90% of the reason why I was able to do this. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" I also used a little notebook as a food diary where I'd write my grocery lists, meals for the days, recipes and any food related things. I like to write things down, it helps me process (especially with pen & paper). Other people may have found doing all that, tedious but it worked for me. The program also comes with lots of helpful resources, like these - grocery guides, additives cheat sheet, sneaky sugars guide
Halfway through the month, I started to feel that I was spending too much money and that this was unsustainable. But then I actually went into Mint and did a comparison of my grocery shopping for the month with my past grocery shopping and eating out/ordering in. NOT EVEN CLOSE. I spent way less money. My personal preference is to make weekly trips to the grocery store but I could have bought in bulk and opted not to buy organic everything and that would have meant even more savings. I ate out twice in January. Both lackluster.
Hands down, my favorite thing about Whole 30 is how I felt while on it. I felt so so so good. My energy levels were great, I was sleeping well. I used to have these random aches and pains, especially in my lower back - haven't felt them since. I have good skin but my skin has been GLOWING on another level. I feel lighter.
There was never a point during whole 30 where I felt deprived. It's hard to explain this because there were definitely (junk) foods I missed or things I'm so used to eating that when I had to tell myself to walk away a few times. Like popcorn at the movies. But overall, I always felt full and satisfied with my meals. I started to really think how so much of how we eat is mental. If you tell yourself, you're only going to be full or satisfied if you have chicken wings, then you are going to hunt down those chicken wings until you have them. This is why having food easily accessible matters. Yes I see you croissant, but I'm going to have some sweet potato and forget about you in 10 minutes. There are so many food options and it wasn't like I'm having a carrot and lemon. So that's another reason for my success.
Changing what you eat can have some major effects on your body. Duh. The Whole 30 has a timeline detailing what you should expect to feel. Without going into too much detail, there were definitely times when my body did things that it had never done before. Not necessarily bad things, just very noticeable. I would recommend checking in with your doctor before starting Whole 30 or any other diet. I would also recommend making sure that you are eating balanced meals. Don't only eat fruit or meat for 30 days. I had a 3 day stretch where my meals weren't as balanced as they needed to be; my carb intake was much too low and it resulted in a lot of feeling dizzy. After I adjusted and corrected that and felt great after.
Like I said, I loved Whole 30. I'm proud of myself for sticking to it. I love feeling empowered and mindful about my eating habits. I did lose some weight which was nice. (I specifically chose not to add a proper workout regimen to my routine while doing Whole 30- just FYI). I'm yet to reintroduce most of this stuff into my diet. I'm thinking about the way forward - mainly how to adopt a modified version of it for the long term.