Well, guys I have decided to accept another challenge. This is turning out to be the year of accepting challenges - squat challenge, reading challenge, now eating challenge. I'm a little nervous to see what else is in the works for me this year, but there's nothing like testing yourself and your limits. So, I say bring it on!
I have been hearing non-stop about this Whole30 eating challenge that's been circulating my friends groups and social media. Now, I have never been one to diet or obsess over eating. Those who know me well know that I love nothing more than to grub on some yummy food. So, why I chose to accept this challenge of knocking out some of the yummiest foods from my menu for an entire month? I have no idea! But, here I am coming to the end of my first week of participating in the Whole30 challenge. Boy, it's going to be a long month. I'm excited, feeling good and always willing to accept a personal challenge - it's only 30 days, right?
"The Ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Why I Chose to Participate
I've always been conscientious of my weight but more importantly the health of my body. Staying in shape, exercising, eating healthy (somewhat) and feeling good have always been the main goal. When it comes to looking thin and fitting into that size 0 I have never been one to approve or justify the whole "starving yourself" or "dieting" to support such gestures.
I strongly believe that God makes us all unique and especially as women it should be our right and goal to be proud of the body we are in as well as to encourage those around us to feel the same. The goal never should be - skinny - because of how others may judge you. It should always be - to feel your best, and be in shape. If you're constantly filling your body with processed junk and sweets and never exercising you're going to simply feel bad and at that point it really doesn't matter if you're as skinny as a pole or as round as a pumpkin. How you feel on a day to day basis really should be THE priority.
If we wanted to turn our health and careful discernment over our bodies into a biblical matter we could look at how God addresses multiple times the idea of being wise and making decisions that are healthy to our lives and bodies. In Romans 12:1-2 " Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and please to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will" and Phillipians 3:19 " Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things" this idea of dependence on food and desires is shown.
So, rant over, back on track..... when I first heard about the Whole30 challenge I thought, " Oh just another diet that won't give the results that people are looking for (referring to weight)." I brushed it off as just something silly - as I do most diet plans. However, I kept hearing from people that they felt so much better after just a few days on this plan. Many of my friends and acquaintances who were trying it were talking about how much more energy they had and how they felt less bloated. So, I became slightly interested.
I began doing my own research and quickly learned that the focus of the plan is not to diet and lose weight (although that may be an outcome). In fact, the goal of the plan is to feel better! To detox your body back to how it should be. I thought, I'm willing to try anything to rejuvenate my body and be healthier. So, why not give it a try? Plus, I always like trying these challenges. If I can make it through the entire 30 days it is an accomplishment in my book.
Rules and Questions
I began doing all kinds of research on the Whole30 Program. There is a book out there but I routed to check out the website and multiple blogs for my information. Here's what I found out:
A. Don't look at a scale the entire 30 days. - This program is NOT about losing weight. It's important to remember that!
B. No Cheating - If you take a break and eat something outside the realm of the program it defeats the purpose of keeping your body away from those substances and you will not benefit as well. You can do it - only 30 days!
C. Prep and Plan - Basically, that whole going into the fridge and grabbing the cheese and crackers because it's the most convenient thing is over! You will need to be well planned and prepped or else you will lose your mind! Trust me!
Regularly ate items that I took out of my eating plan:
Oatmeal, Honey, Syrups, Wine, Wheat, Corn, Rice, Cereal, Quinoa, Beans (this one was a surprise - I'll explain later), Milk, Soy Sauce, Cheese, Yogurt, Ice Cream, Pancakes, Waffles, Bread, Tortillas, Biscuits, Muffins, Cupcakes, Cookies, Brownies, Pizza, Potato Chips, French Fries
Not so regularly eaten items that I incorporated into my eating plan:
Beef, Tomatoes, Various Fruits, Salt
* Basically, my diet began to consist of lots of meat: Seafood (not a problem), Beef, Bacon, Eggs (already ate a lot of), Chicken, Fruits (I really had to branch out and try new things because eating the same three fruits can get pretty repetitive), Veggies (I was surprised that white, navy, black, kidney beans and peas were all eliminated. Many sources have discussed how healthy these are for you. But, they do contain starches. I will most likely add these back to my eating plan once the 30 days are up. )
The hardest items to eliminate for me were Corn, Rice, Cereal, Pancakes & Waffles, Bread and Tortillas. I have had many cravings for these throughout the course of this challenge so far.
- When I first agreed to do the plan I thought it wouldn't be a problem at all. I decided that If we ate out with friends or went for a nice dinner out I would just not participate during that particular meal. No biggie, right? Well, as I started doing research I learned that it would completely defeat the purpose of the plan. The goal is not to lose weight, it's to see how your body responds when you take many of these items away. It's serving as a cleanser of sorts. So, that nixed that idea. I guess I'll have to participate fully now.
- Beans were gone? I was very surprised when I learned many beans were not permitted. These included Kidney, black, navy, white, peas, chickpeas. In many health reports these beans have been shown to be a contributor to long living societies.
I am closing in on my first week participating in the Whole30 challenge. I haven't seen/felt any drastic changes but I have noticed that I feel less bloated. I'm also having a few major cravings. For example, yesterday ALL I wanted was a warm slice of homemade bread with some butter on top. Today, it seems my body is reminiscing for a beef taco. I've noticed these cravings have been more intense than many food cravings I usually have. I suppose it's my body letting go :) I have continued to run about 3 miles daily and do my squats challenge and I haven't felt any weaker or less energized. In fact, I'd begin to argue that I felt more energize and focused.
Some recipes that I discovered I really liked this week:
Shrimp and Sausage Skillet
Slow Cooker Beef Shanks
Fruity/Wheat Grass Mixed Smoothie
Eggs and Salsa muffins
Well, I have successfully completed my second week of the Whole30 Challenge. This week was rewarding in many aspects. I still had cravings and it became even more difficult to maintain control when we got around family this weekend for the Easter holiday. My cravings were primarily sweets (cookies, cakes, brownies), and bread! I would have done many things for a warm slice of bread. However, the obvious rewards were beginning to become evident and they out weighed the cravings. I already feel less bloated and lighter. I can't say if I've actually LOST any weight (remember the rules, no scales), however, feeling better is half the battle, right? I also noticed a major difference in my skin. My skin had changed with age and with moving away from the coast (I assumed). So, within the recent years I had become very agitated by rough spots on my hands particularly. Just with two weeks of being on the Whole30 those places have cleared up tremendously. I'm thrilled!
Another thing I've noticed this week was being full for longer lengths of time. I felt like I could drink a smoothie in the morning and not be hungry again until 2pm, or have a Whole30 breakfast and not want to eat again for hours. That was a satisfying feeling for sure.
It's proving to be challenging being disciplined with the meal prep and especially when around others who aren't participating, but it leaves me feeling proud of myself and my body is feeling better.
Some recipes that I discovered I really liked this week:
Purely Purple Smoothie
Pepper & Lime Chicken with Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
Egg & Pepper Beef/Bacon Skillet
Breakfast Banana Muffins
I have officially completed three weeks of the Whole 30 challenge. This was really the first week that I felt physically different and I will admit I had some ups and downs with it. Towards the beginning of the week I felt very tired. I read that this can be pretty normal, especially around these days of the challenge. I also felt pretty weak and experienced some stomach discomfort. I read that these could be side effects as well. However, despite some of the side effects being less than desirable, I will say that I had never felt more encouraged to continue through with the program during this week. It was, in a way, reassuring to actually feel physical changes happening inside of me. By the end of the week I was beginning to feel back to normal and particularly more energized.
I will also vouch that I am very thankful for fellow bloggers and forums representing others who have gone through the Whole30 program. It is very encouraging and helpful to read about others who have, and are experiencing similar side effects and challenges and have shared their stories for others, like myself, to read. Thank you!
Some recipes that I discovered I really liked this week:
Grilled Pork Chops with green beans
Lettuce Wrap Tacos
Black Coffee with Cinnamon
I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how I was going to still enjoy coffee while on the Whole30. So, I bit the bullet and decided to try black coffee with a little cinnamon sprinkled on top. I LOVED it! Surprise, surprise!
Fourth Week + A few more days.....
For me, this week was a challenging one. Not neccessarily because of the Whole30 Challenge but because it was my first week back at work while being on the Whole30 Challenge. I teach at a year-round school and had started the Whole30 Challenge while on track out. Therefore, I felt extra challenged to go back to work while still maintaining the program while returning to the demands, schedules and constant temptations of the sweets in the teachers lounge. I am here to tell you that not only is it possible to maintain, but actually EASIER than I had anticipated.
The one rule for working while being on the Whole30 program is to plan ahead. I learned very quickly that if I was going to succeed I was going to need to have my meals prepped and planned the night before.
As far as physical change notices, I didn't actually feel too different from how I had felt at the end of the week before. I felt energized, and healthy. Success! I did notice that I had lost a few pounds (or at least I felt like I had - remember, no looking at that scale)! I loved seeing, and feeling the changes that were actually happening.
I absolutely LOVED the Whole30 program. It challenged me personally to stick to something and it made me feel great along the way. Being disciplined enough to stick with something for an extended length of time, in today's society, is always difficult and for me that was the biggest part of the battle. I wanted to prove that I could give up some of these foods and choices that weren't necessarily the best for me. Completing the Whole30 challenged allowed me to feel that accomplishment. It has been almost a week since I got off of the whole30 and I have NOT wanted to go back to eating the way I was before. Sure, I have had mental cravings just knowing that now I can go and drink that milkshake or eat those french fries. But, remembering the way I felt then compared to how I do now takes those temptations away completely. I highly recommend the program to anyone! It's only 30 days and I promise you will feel better, look better and mentally you will be stronger than you were 30 days prior.
Thank you for reading along with my 30 days. I would love to hear about your stories with the Whole30 program and get any feedback!
I am no way affiliated with the Whole30 Program