Yep, I’m doing it: a Whole 30.
Last year I posted about no longer wanting to continue my restrict/binge eating cycle that I’ve struggled with for a couple of years. That meant starting to eat in moderation, no more cutting out entire food groups. That worked for a while, then I had a horrible race in Key West. I couldn’t help but compare that race with Williamsburg-every aspect of it including what I was eating at the time. A few weeks prior to Williamsburg, I had cut out junk food, gluten and most dairy and felt amazing during that race. Little by little around Thanksgiving, the junk food crept back in….and it stayed in. I felt like I was always looking for my next hit of the sweet stuff, and it just kept going downhill from there.
A group of Coeur team gals decided to do a January Whole 30 (#coeurwhole30challenge on social media). I didn’t start on January 1st with everyone else, but instead I read “It Starts With Food” to really understand it and help figure out 1. if this was the right thing for me to do and 2. if it was right, what’s my why? I think finding your why is very important-if you are just doing it for the hell of it or just to lose weight, you may not be successful (of course, this is my opinion, to each their own).
Not even halfway through the book, I found the answer to both questions:
Is this the right thing for me to do?
Yes. This one quote from the book, on the first page of chapter one pretty much did it for me:
“The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.”
The moment I read that, I paused and thought back to what I had been eating. I immediately knew my current eating habits were making me less healthy. Junk food on a daily basis, weekly Chinese or pizza takeout….gross, I know.
What’s my why?
I want to find answers to my questions. Why do I sleep for 9-10 hours/night but wake up incredibly tired? Why do my joints hurt/muscles take so long to recover after a run? Why am I still breaking out even though I take really good care of my skin? Why do I have to make sure I’m near a bathroom after I drink my morning coffee with milk (gross, I know)? I have SO many questions that I want answered.
I know the Whole 30 restricts, but it’s important to note (if you don’t know already) this is not something you follow for the rest of your life-unless of course you need to due to food reactions. You reintroduce the food groups you left out for 30 days and monitor for possible reactions before moving onto the next group. And exactly what I plan to do.
With regard to restricting, I looked back at my notes from last year’s eating habits (I keep a lot of journal posts from those days). I usually went in with the expectation of losing an unrealistic amount of weight, staying on the Whole 30/some sort of detox for several months and with over-complicated meal plans/recipes. This time, it’s by the book-30 days then reintroduce, making simple meal recipes that can easily be doubled so I’m not always in the kitchen cooking.
I started on January 23rd and am currently on DAY 11. I’d be lying if I said everything was rainbows and unicorns-the first several days are HARD. I had some lower energy days during the first seven days and missed some runs, but I put a positive spin on the missed runs: I’m better off missing some training now and figuring out my optimal way of eating rather than during half ironman training later this year. I still want ice cream, but that’s something I don’t think will ever change and that’s okay.
I have noticed some significant improvements already, which make it all worth a few hard days. I’m a little more productive because I’m not thinking about food all the time (“when am I going to get my next sugar fix”), I’m sleeping better and in the past few days I’m waking up energized and ready for the day. Really-I used to go to bed at 8pm in order to wake up at 5am for a workout and now I’m finding I easily stay up until 9-10pm and I’m still able to wake up at 5am and feel well-rested.
Foods I’m loving include fresh pineapple, sweet potatoes, Kalua pork and zoodles.
So there you have it, I’m doing a Whole 30. I’m excited to share my experience with you from start (well, kind of, I am bringing this post to you on day 11) to finish and beyond.
Have you done a Whole 30? Any recipe recommendations?