As some of you already know, at the beginning of January, Scott and I embarked on a health and fitness journey called Whole30. For those that don’t know, Whole30 is a diet of sorts, but more of a lifestyle change from hell. Its consists of eliminating certain food groups from your diet for thirty days.
Straight from the Whole30 website: “Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.”
The program doesn’t promise weight loss, but it does promise a new understanding of one’s relationship with food. After moving to Indy and settling in here, Scott and I got really caught up in some unhealthy eating patterns. Lots of snacks, and unhealthy ones to beat, drinking often and in excess on the weekends and just generally eating crap and too much of it. We were both feeling pretty fed up with our established patterns, but were unsure of what to do about it. For me personally, I was tired of all the gut-rot; tired of feeling like my digestive system was always out to get me. I’ve always been petite and people don’t like to let me forget it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have an unhealthy relationship with food. I was constantly tempted and gave into the temptation of breakroom treats, after dinner drinks and just generally cruddiness. Scott’s goals were a bit different from mine. Mine involved getting a better understanding of what upsets my stomach and breaking from bad habits. Scott’s involved losing weight and getting into better shape both physically and mentally. After some tough conversations on the long car ride from Iowa to Indiana and many bags of popcorn later, we finally decided that Whole30 would be the right path for us both. We decided to commit to 30 days without: grains, dairy, legumes, corn, soy, added sugar of any kinda (natural or artificial), carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, or alcohol. Literally everything that is good and tasty in life, we gave up. Alongside these restrictions, we both started workout routines, something we had neglected since moving to Indy. I ran 4 days a week and cross trained two days for 30-60 minutes each day. Scott elliptical-ed 6 days a week for 2 hours at a time. We both spent more time cooking and in the gym than we had ever before!
I won’t lie, it was hard. The website says its not, but from time to time it definitely is. Scott was challenged every day at work for the first week during Lilly fellowship recruitment with yummy foods he couldn’t eat and an open bar he couldn’t partake in. Pizza and donuts were shoved in my face at work during the third week and I almost lost it. Social events with friends at first were really weird (not because of our friends because you all are so awesome and supportive – THANK YOU!) but because when every one else is drinking, you feel you should too. Reflecting upon our alcohol use, Scott and I could not come up with a time in our lives since we went to college where we didn’t drink for two weeks, let alone an entire month! Alcohol is such a big part of how we socialize and it was tough to sit back and sip on our waters with lemon. Every time we went out, we had to explain what we were doing to the people around us. At times it felt like a chore, but we got so much support from our awesome crew that it never felt like we were pressured into drinking. I can only imagine what this type of lifestyle change would be like if I wasn’t doing this with someone. Sometimes its hard to be accountable alone, but with another person by your side making sure you staying on track is such blessing and it made this whole process easier.
Honestly, Whole30 wasn’t all that bad after we got used to it. It became part of our weekly routine to figure out recipes we wanted to make and then prepare our shopping list. Though I did most of the shopping and cooking, Scott was a huge support when it came to the eating and the validation 🙂 (okay, and sometimes the dishes). We liked the program and our results so much that we plan to continue this lifestyle about 80-90% of the time, allowing for days or meals off when something seems “worth it.” Today was our 31st day and so we treated ourselves to date night at a new restaurant and a glass of wine and a beer respectively. It was so nice not to have to fret about the ingredients list, but it also felt weird at the same time because we have been so used to this routine that it felt like cheating almost!
Weight lost: 5lbs
Non-Scale Victories: clearer skin, significantly less digestive issues, sleeping better, feeling well-rested in the mornings, significant reduction in acid reflux, less tempted by bread and sweets, no tension headaches (I used to get a couple every month) and overall a general sense of accomplishment and control over my eating habits
Weight lost: 20+lbs and “I woke up one night and immediately knew how to train lions” – Scott *not a common side effect of Whole30
Non-Scale Victories: Sleeping better, NO SNORING (thank god – he was a chronic snorer before Whole30 and it went away very quickly), less back pain, more energy, and overall a general sense of accomplishment and control over his eating habit. “Also, his habitual need and desires to eat couch stuffing dissipated, is no longer addicted to anthrax and now identifies sexually as a boa constrictor” – Scott *also not common side effects of Whole30
If anyone is interested in Whole30 in more detail, let us know! Or you can always do the 21st century thing and google it.
Stay tuned for a post about some of our favorite recipes from this month. For now, time to celebrate and then get back on the wagon! 🙂