What Happened After My Whole 30 Experience
I don’t think that the Whole 30 plan is the answer to everything, but it can definitely be a transformational experience. With all of the knowledge, self-control, and healthy habits I was already confident in knowing, I couldn’t believe how much I learned about myself.
I realized how much of an emphasis I was putting on food and drink for pleasure. Every date night, special occasion, and social gathering seemed to involve food and almost ALWAYS was “off-plan.” I ended up being a little bit of a hermit for the month (which is what founder of W30, Melissa Urban would tell you NOT to do) and I didn’t mind that part. Even with all of the healthy options available to me in Orange County, I preferred making my meals at home rather than deal with my special ordering needs.
Personally, I like the “idea” of a cleanse, or a time-out. I may have been less social for a few weeks, but I was really focused on my work and just taking care of my body. I was sleeping so well from avoiding wine completely and I woke up every morning feeling refreshed. No headaches or foggy days. I honestly wanted to stay up later some nights because I just wasn’t tired. I’ll definitely be doing another W30 after the new year, and I’ll likely plan to make it one of my “super productive” chill-out-at-home-more months.
It was something I thought a lot about though: Why was it so annoying to miss out on alcohol at social gatherings and dinners out? I found myself scheduling less on my calendar for this reason alone. And that’s something I want to move through, for sure. By abstaining for 30 days, I proved to myself that I could do it. I showed myself that I could experience being content and more present with my family. I could visit with friends and say, “no thanks.” The awareness alone was totally worth completing the program.
It made me realize the difference between habitually eating or drinking something compared to truly wanting or craving something. And if I really did want it, why?
I quickly got used to eating more savory and complete breakfasts, and haven’t looked back. Starting my day with clean animal protein, healthy fats, and vegetables (yes, I know, crazy, right?) keeps me full and focused all morning long. Also, I officially can go much longer between meals and have no interest in snacking. This is something I really like to focus on with my clients as well.
Snacking and grazing does not satisfy us, it just makes you want more. I highly suggest that if you need to eat a 4th meal in the afternoon before a workout or long commute before dinner, to make it a small meal. Eating something with fat and protein will actually stop your hunger pangs rather than eating an apple or a handful of nuts. That may just make you hungry again in less than an hour.
Another part of the program that was weirdly eye-opening for me was how much sugar was in EVERYTHING. I never thought about sugar in bacon or breakfast sausage, in my taco seasoning, or even my vitamins and supplements! It’s nice now, being finished with the program, that I don’t have to label read as much, but now I do it even more automatically. There are some foods that I haven’t even added back in yet and I’m doing it very gradually.
It’s a great option to stick with Whole 30-approved options like grain-free chips, almond butter instead of peanut butter, ghee over butter, and making sure more of your foods are sugar-free for the long haul (not just while on the plan). I didn’t know how much I liked ghee and now I use it all the time! It’s really simple to keep up with these habits, and when I need a few days of W30 back in my life, I make it happen.
Now, I’m also aware of how much I do sometimes crave chocolate, and I need to be mindful of how often I grab a piece. Or that one glass of wine can really make date night special or my afternoon more enjoyable, but how more than that totally screws up my sleep and makes me feel less focused the next day.
If you’ve considered giving this Whole 30 thing a try, definitely invest 1-2 of their books. You’ll learn so much about the WHY of it, and if you just follow the plan without understanding the science behind it and what to expect, I don’t think your experience will be as complete.
I’m implementing so much of what I learned in my program with my current and future clients. Contact me to schedule your first call if you’re interested in working together through a Whole 30 or making long term lifestyle changes to balance your health. Right now, I’m also offering a unique opportunity to work together with my Healthy Through the Holidays Group with an option for discounted one-on-one coaching.