Dieting

Whole 30: My Journey [Week 1]

Earlier this week, I came home from a run with the dogs, took a quick shower, and, upon surveying  the current state of my body in the nude, had a full-blown meltdown to my fiance. “Our wedding is in six months! My arms are fat and my stomach is disgusting! I’m eating healthy, I’m working out, and nothing is happening! I don’t know what else to do.” [I know all you ladies can relate to this].

He, of course, thinks I look beautiful, and assures me every single day that even if I actually got fat [because, let’s be honest, I’m definitely not even close to “overweight” in any sense of the word], he would still love me as much as he always has. Of course it feels good to hear praise from your S.O., but let’s be honest – regardless of how many people tell you how good you look, you ultimately have to feel good to yourself. When I explained this to him, he threw out a suggestion, “Why don’t we do Whole 30?”

I’d heard of Whole 30 before. A couple of my friends had done it before and had huge success with it. I agreed to give it ago without doing any research beforehand. How hard could it be? I was pretty sure all you had to do was eliminate gluten and dairy. I could do that for thirty days, no problem.

It turns out it’s much, MUCH more than that.

When we decided to the Whole 30, I immediately went online and ordered the book and the cookbook, and start scouring Pinterest for any Whole 30 friendly recipes I could make in the meantime while I waited for the books to be delivered. I found three right off the bat that looked delicious, and prepped for the next three dinners of the week. My fiance [who really only ever eats dinner due to his work schedule and doesn’t actually need to do any sort of dieting], didn’t even last one meal without adding cheese and sauces that were on the no-no list. That was fine with me, as long as he was okay with me making the base of the meal, he could add all the crap he wanted. In my mind I was sure that I could make it 30 days without dairy and gluten NO PROBLEM.

The books finally arrived on the third day of my “diet,” and within the first two chapters of learning about Whole 30, I quickly realized there were a lot more things on the bad food list than I’d anticipated. Anything underneath the grain umbrella was restricted – including quinoa, corn and rice. All beans and legumes, peas, processed dairy and unnatural sugars were also not allowed. I immediately panicked. I’d anticipated cutting out two food groups, not FIVE. After reading a giant list of foods I couldn’t eat, I wasn’t even sure what I had left to choose from.

It turns out, there’s a lot more than I thought. Any type of meat, greens, eggs, veggies [minus peas], and potatoes are all on the approved list of foods. Pre-made sauces and dressings were out of the question due to added sugars, but I discovered plenty of recipes teaching you how to make your own. Instead of feeling disheartened, I started to see the fun challenge that the Whole 30 would bring for me. I had the opportunity to make fun new dishes with homemade sauces! And the first three days of trying new recipes had been extremely enjoyable for me, not to mention I had already noticed little changes in my body: I wasn’t waking up starving in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. I wasn’t having cravings, I wasn’t feeling bloated after meals, and I didn’t have an energy crash in the middle of the day. Even my mood had improved, despite it being my “PMS” week. I decided that if three days could make that much of a difference, ten times that could only be something short of miraculous.

With these feelings and hopes in the forefront of my mind, I am embarking on this new food journey with end goals, a plan in mind, and a new cookbook to boot. I would love to hear from anybody who has tried Whole 30 or something similar like a paleo or vegan diet [since there is a lot of crossover]! Part of my success will be learning what has worked for other people and what hasn’t.

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Diet + Exercise. They’re Just Four [And Eight] Letter Words.

You know those people who just absolutely love working out? Like, they freak out if they don’t get a workout in every single day? They hit several group workout classes a week, they do cardio every day, plus they go to the gym and do strength training.

Yeah, I’m definitely NOT one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love to run. It’s very therapeutic in the sense that it burns extra energy and allows me to get my head on straight [writer’s mind makes you a little extra loco at times]. The actual physical act of running, though? So not my fav.

I truly envy those of you out there who have such a passion for working out. I have honestly made a solid effort to become one. I commit to these workout challenges [Tone It Up, for those females out there that are interested – actually love their programs, the timing of them just never works well with my life], I set my alarm to run before work. I’ve even been seeing a personal trainer since February [MAPT Fitness, for those fit folk out there who want an awesome trainer who acts like your brother and best friend and doesn’t treat sessions like freakin’ bootcamp – if I wanted to join the military I would have] to try and make a habit out of working out. And literally NONE of it works for me. I get so burnt out, and life gets in the way.

I’m also not somebody who can commit to eating healthy for every meal, every single day. To be completely honest, trying to work out and worry about what I’m putting into my body is freakin’ EXHAUSTING. It’s a full-time job [maybe this is why people hire other people to do it for them – personal trainers, dietitians..]. I, for one, do not have the time or energy to put into meal prepping and planning workouts every day.

Let’s be real for a sec. Does anybody actually believe that your body will be absolutely RUINED if you have “cheat” meals, cocktails, miss a workout, etc? You guys, you will be FINE. And look, I get it – I know exercise and nutrition are super important. Especially in this day and age with all the genetically modified food that’s sold at our grocery stores, and how polluted our earth has become. I totally get it. But we only get one life! We can’t be so obsessed with these two things that we forget to just enjoy living.

Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a meal, overeat, eat poorly. Don’t feel guilty for needing more sleep one morning instead of going for a run. In this day and age, it’s all about enjoying the little things in life. Indulge yourself. We get so caught up in keeping up with the Jones’, pushing ourselves to be the best that we can, spreading ourselves too thin because we have mortgages, utility bills, car payments, children, pets.. Give yourself the okay to let your guard down every once in a while. A weekend [or even a week!] off from your obsessions won’t kill you.

For some people, I think there’s a fear that if they step off track for even one second they will fall off whatever wagon they’re on. And THAT is unhealthy. Using exercise and nutrition as a crutch for other things in your life is not good, and if you are one of these people then you desperately need a vacation far away from your daily life. Like, STAT!

You guys, I am obviously by absolutely no means a professional at anything I talk about on my blog, especially diet and nutrition [seeing as I literally just stated that I cannot stick to either one for very long]. But, that said, I do wholeheartedly believe in doing things that are good for you. I believe it’s healthy to unwind, put your walls down, indulge, relax – I’m sure you work hard, so spend some of that well earned cash on a weekend away. YOU DESERVE IT!

As Donna and Tom would say, “Treat yo’ self!” [Parks and Rec – if you haven’t watched it, it’s on Netflix, and it’s hilarious].