that's just one of the many reactions i got from people when i told them i was thinking about doing a whole30. other common responses included:
"what (insert your chosen expletive here) is that?"
"why would you do that to yourself??
"so, what CAN you eat?"
"are you crazy??"
and perhaps my favorite, from the people who know me very well:
"30 days without beer or bourbon??"
(what? you don't drive to another state and use a shopping cart when you shop for beer?)
before i go into my own personal reasons for doing this, i have to confess that i used to be one of those people who had all of those same questions at some point. i've known about the whole30 program for a while and have even watched as a few friends completed their own, but i was always a little skeptical of the entire thing. i mean, no good can come from totally eliminating entire food groups from your diet. everything in moderation...right??
well, i sort of lost sight of the most important word of that last sentence.
(yes, i'm looking at you MODERATION.)
so, here are the reasons i decided to give this whole30 thing a try:
1. i was eating the same "fake healthy" (but really, totally processed and not at all good for me) things for breakfast and lunch week after week. and in addition to being so very boring and not enjoyable at all, the food i was eating was not providing the good fuel my body needed and i felt hungry all the time.
2. i was not cooking dinners for myself. like, at all. it got to the point where i actually ate takeout from a different place every night one week because i was was in such a bad mood or so exhausted after leaving work each day that the last thing i wanted to do was spend time in my kitchen on my feet.
3. instead of enjoying a few drinks during the weekend and maybe some random weeknight beverages, i was having a beer or some bourbon every night as a "reward" for getting through another day.
4. my sugar cravings were OUT. OF. CONTROL. i was hitting the candy jars in my principal's office after dismissal duty every day and following up most meals with something sweet. and the more sugar i ate, the more i wanted...well, MORE SUGAR. and food just didn't even really taste good anymore unless it was filled with sugar or coated in cheese or processed beyond anything resembling anything natural.
5. in addition to all of the weight gain, i felt like i was in a constant state of bloat. and with the bloating came this general unhealthy feeling and a total lack of energy or desire to really do anything.
6. and then there were the moods. the horrible, wretched moods unlike any i've ever experienced before and by that, i mean that they were happening on a near daily basis.
so, i ordered myself a copy of it starts with food, told myself that my spring break out in seattle and portland would be my "last hurrah" (and what a hurrah it was), and started mentally preparing myself for 30 days without any of the following:
-added sugar (including agave, honey and maple syrup)
-alcohol (even in cooking)
-grains (including non-gluten "grains", like quinoa)
-legumes (including peanuts/peanut butter)
-dairy (not even yogurt!)
-carrageenan, MSG or sulfites
with all of those restrictions, i was shocked by how excited i was to actually give this whole thing a try. but instead of thinking about all the things i couldn't have and dwelling on the negative, i found myself really looking forward to trying new foods and recipes and getting back in the kitchen. and yeah, the stubborn part of myself was really looking forward to proving that i could actually do it and stick with it for 30 days.
(also, in full transparency? the reports i read about people jump-starting their weight loss and losing anywhere from 5-15 pounds during their whole30 were definitely not hurting.)
however, i will put this out there right now - i have no intention of eating like this permanently after this whole experience is done. (c'mon now, have you seen all the alcohol that is still sitting on top of my fridge?) i'm also not doing this because i think i'm allergic to certain foods or because i think any certain foods are destroying my body. for me, this is all about getting back in control of my relationship with food, cleansing my body, and breaking the bad habits i've fallen into lately. but i will leave you with this little spoiler for now, as i finish day 22 of my whole30 -
I. FEEL. SO. EFFING. GOOD.
(like...maybe even good enough to consider eating like this *most* of the time after my 30 days are done.)