Last night, I brought my Whole 30 journey to a close, with a simple dinner of baked fish and roasted veggies and a surreal moment in which I realized that I had gone for 30 days without sugar, dairy, alcohol, gluten, legumes, artificial sweeteners, and any kind of processed crap (except for that one accidental dose two days ago.) It felt good, really good. It wasn’t what I expected, but then again, I’m not at all ready for it to be over. And that may be the biggest surprise of the journey thus far.
Thirty days ago, I was feeling like a schlub. My over-the-top holiday diet had somehow kept on rolling through the New Year and by the end of January I was about 10 pounds heavier than I wanted to be, but worse than that, I just felt gross. My pants were tight, my shirts were tight, my runs were hard, my knees hurt, I was not sleeping well, and I was hitting the caffeine and snacks (chocolate!) pretty hard in the afternoons in an effort to make it to the end of the day.
This is not at all how I wanted to go on.
So I was more than ready for a no-nonsense kick in the pants to get my eating habits back in check. And that it just what Whole 30 offers. Some people think it’s radical because there are a lot of ‘NO’s.’ But there are also plenty of ‘YES’s,’ and they are exactly what you need to get healthy – fruits, veggies, nuts, eggs, meat, fish, and poultry.
I took a little while to get used to the idea that I didn’t need to fill my plate with rice or pasta or clean up my soup bowl with a slice of homemade bread. Sure those things are yummy. And I do plan on eating them again. Just not at every single meal of my life.
So how do I feel? I feel good. To be honest, I was hoping for great. But considering the fact that in the last week of my journey, I had a stressful family emergency, back to back 6 hour road trips, a freezing cold long run, and wound up catching a nasty chest cold, it’s a miracle that I’m even still standing. I will settle for good.
What I am happy about is that throughout all of that, I never even considered reaching for something that was not Whole30 compliant. Just a month ago, a week like this would have kicked off a feeding frenzy of potato chips, chocolate, sodas, and copious amounts of wine. So I am very proud of the fact that through it all, I ate healthy meals and was comforted by the fact that even though I was dealing with a lot, at least I was making an effort to comfort my body with wholesome, nutritious foods.
To me, that’s a pretty big victory.
I did also get on the scale today and I was pleased to see that I lost around 7 pounds over the last month. That’s awesome but of course, it’s just a number. What really matters is that my clothes feel better, my knees feel better, and my runs (when I’m not sick,) feel so much stronger.
But here’s the funny thing. I had thought that I would slide to the end of this 30 days ready to bring on the cokes and cupcakes for day 31. But here I am at the end of day 31 and I haven’t even considered reintroducing so much as a black bean.
Remember all of that stressful stuff I mentioned? I’m still kind of dealing with it’s aftermath. So I just don’t feel like stressing about anything else right now. I have gotten so used to the foods and snacks I can enjoy during Whole 30 that I don’t even have to think about it. If I tried to make any changes right now, I would have to start rethinking everything again. And that’s something that I just don’t want to do right now.
And so here I am on Day 31. I’m not sure how much longer I will continue. We will just have to see. I do know that I plan to reintroduce beans, and then grains, then dairy, then gluten. Just to see how it goes. But I’m not ready for that yet.
For now, I’m taking comfort in the fact that I don’t need to think about what I eat. I’m in no rush to bring on the other foods. And that sounds like a victory to me.