I might be jumping the gun here, because I have to get through today, but I wanted to post my thoughts on the Whole30 “program” while they are fresh.
Feeling a little bit like I might be addicted to sugar, I decided at the new year I would try to give it up. I thought about throwing dairy and gluten in there too, to see if they were contributing to digestive troubles, but was undecided and uncommitted until I heard about the Whole 30. (Thanks Jensie.) You can read all about it here, please do, but I just want to share my thoughts about it.
The main principles are
-Eat mostly veggies, with meat (mostly lean meats like poultry and fish) throw in some fruit and a few oils and nuts/seeds.
-Eat three meals a day.
– No preservatives, and no squeezing your old round diet into a Whole30 compliant box.
So what did I think of it all?
– I have some seriously unhealthy eating habits. Before I started this, I never prepared a meal for myself and sat down to eat it. (Except at dinner.) I snacked all day, ate when ever I sat down to do anything (read, watch tv, computer), and was more or less non-discriminatory about what I ate. I also ate emotionally and out of boredom. (Not REAL boredom, that’s unheard of. More like “I-can-eat-to-procrastinate-what-I-should-be-doing” kind of boredom.)
– Real food tastes good. I definitely missed things, I’ll get to that. But most my meals were satisfying AND tasty. I never felt hungry after eating, and when I made the right effort at meal time I rarely felt hungry for a few hours.
– Pinterest SAVED me. I found so many good ideas and recipes on there, and found things I will be making indefinitely. (Homemade almond butter and mayo.)
– I did NOT notice that I slept better at night, maybe because Eli still had nightmares and Simon still cries in his sleep. Nor did I notice that I had more energy. And maybe that is because keeping up with the four kids demands any available energy. But I was a little disappointed about those two things.
– I DID lose weight, which wasn’t necessarily my main goal, but a girl won’t complain about dropping those last few baby pounds a couple months before her baby turns two years old.
– Along those lines, I have to add my anecdotal research to the pile. What I ate was a lot more important to weight loss than exercise. Last fall I was running a lot. On Saturdays I would do long runs, 8-12 miles, and I didn’t lose any weight. That was very discouraging. I just didn’t realize until this last month how bad my eating habits were. The first two weeks of this “program” I didn’t even exercise (too cold/busy/sick) and I lost weight.
– It’s hard to say if avoiding gluten and dairy helped with my digestive troubles, I didn’t notice a difference. But I also found that eating too many nuts could cause the same problems. I guess it just goes back to moderation in all things. I didn’t ever feel bloated or “stuffed” which helped my pants fit more comfortably around the waistline.
– What did I miss the most? I would have to gauge this by the things that were most difficult for me to resist, and it was definitely desserts/sugar. I was very strict with the plan, and tried not to feed my sweet tooth the first couple weeks. But by the third week I made a “dessert” for myself with nuts, cocoa, dates and strawberries. And I loved every bite of it. I also envied the oatmeal and toast my kids were eating for breakfast, and hopefully my new appreciation for whole grains will last awhile. And of course, the goat cheese I bought before I started this “diet” called to me every time I made a salad.
– Eating out wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I only went out twice, to a seafood place and a mexican place, and had no trouble finding something filling, delicious and compliant.
– In order to stay motivated and read and listenend to a lot of things about the benefits of a healthy diet. This was also very imformative and helpful. I encourage anyone to embark on a food discovery journey.
– So what now? I know that practically speaking I won’t sustain this diet forever. And I don’t really have a desire to. Food is such a joy in my life, and variety is so important to that joy that I don’t plan to give up grains, beans and dairy entirely. BUT I do plan to make vegetables a bigger part of my diet, and my family’s.
– As for the immediate future, I plan to sit down to watch a movie and eat a bag of peanut butter M&Ms and popcorn tomorrow night. I also want to get french fries and FRO-YO on my birthday. But otherwise I’ll just deal with each sweet temptation as it comes along, and try to make healthier choices for meals and snacks on a day-to-day basis.
– Mostly I just feel really satisfied. I feel like I accomplished something hard, which is always a big motivator for me to accomplish other things. I feel healthier, which is good for my self-esteem, and I feel like I could do this again.