Wow you guys! I can't believe it's already day 30 on my Whole 30 Journey! What an experience it has been! I'm forever grateful to my friend Alyssa for turning me towards Whole 30 and for the wonderful testimonials everyone has shared with me. Also so grateful to have Alyssa and Nicole as my accountability partners. It was great to have a sounding board, to share experiences, and ask questions with each other especially with Alyssa who is a W30 vet! If you haven't been following me on instagram or Snapchat, this is probably news to you but I am here to tell you all about my experience and why I started whole 30 in the first place.
why whole 30
So I started Whole 30 because I felt really off, mentally and physically. Have you ever had that? I remember just before I decided to embark on Whole 30 saying to Landon, "Something just doesn't feel right... I don't feel like myself." I had been reading lately how the health of the gut has been related to mental health. My family lineage struggles with mental health: anxiety/panic disorders, paranoia (I think this is more adrenal related/adrenal fatigue), eating disorders, body dysmorphia, OCD, bipolar, and depression. This has been something I am really passionately proactive with especially after struggling with an eating disorder for 7 years and battling with depression/anxiety a few years ago. I think mental health is incredibly important and so I am always trying to be as proactive as possible so I can lead a really healthy, happy life. My mental health affects not only me but also my family and I think its really important to understand that your well being will affect those around you. I want to show up in my life the best I can without medication. This is a personal choice and I do believe that some disorders and diseases do need the assistance of medication. I also believe in the power of nutrition, exercise, and therapy. Food is powerful medicine. I see a therapist every month and I highly recommend for those in the Calgary area the Calgary Counselling Centre.
Whole 30 is all about whole foods and it actually was very close to what my naturopath wanted me to do for 3-6 months to help with a lot of the digestive issues I was having. 7 years of an eating disorder really damaged my gut and resulted in me being really sensitive to a lot of foods. It was very frustrating to feel sick all of the time and not understanding what was making me ill. Whole 30 is a great way to understand what foods are your triggers and the symptoms they create once you establish the integration phase. You help heal your gut for 30 days and then the exploration begins! The big learning happens after day 30 and what I have been looking forward to!
The first 2 days were easy-peasy. Afterwards I experienced crazy nausea and loss of appetite. I felt sick and had to force myself to eat which wasn't very fun! It was reminiscent of motion sickness which I am sensitive to. After the nausea phase everything was pretty easy. *Nausea actually means you are hungry, so you have to force yourself to eat otherwise you will get super light headed and dizzy.* I learnt quickly to increase my fat intake since I am a really active person. I am grateful I have John (a friend of mine) who is a nutritionist and he helped me with identifying this. Thank you John!!! Some people think you should increase protein but for more sustained energy you need fat! You are training your body to no longer use glucose (sugar) for energy but fat! So I increased my eggs, avocado, fish, and nuts and it did a WORLD of change for me.
I really enjoyed the food and didn't have too many crazy cravings. I did have "dream cheating" one night which is talked about in the book. I can only really recall one or two major cravings and that was for pizza and it was because I let myself get too hungry the second week. The second craving always happened while I was going shopping or going on errands. For some reason shopping is a huge trigger for me and all I want is sugary things. Landon pointed this out to me and I realized it was more of an emotional response as I find shopping to be a little stressful. So now I always have a big meal before we do errands and bring a snack with me.
It's important to note that everyones experience with whole 30 will be different! I was a little disappointed that I wasn't struggling. I didn't have days where I was crying and desperately wanting sugar which was surprising. Don't get me wrong, I definitely have a sugar monster! I get crazy hangry and ride that sugar roller-coaster like everyone else. Landon thinks its because my diet was already fairly clean. So if you try whole 30 and you don't relate with other peoples stories- that's OK! I didn't either. You're not alone. Your ecperience is very dependant on your diet before hand. If you drink soda every day I do think your experience will be a bit more challenging.
I do recommend not weighing yourself till the end. You will bloat for a long time as your gut heals and you may feel heavier and even be heavier in weight. The first two weeks I didn't drink as much water as I should. As soon as I realized that I was drinking a ton of coffee and not a lot of water my bloat minimized, my energy sky rocketed and I felt amazing!! Week 3 and 4 were easy peasy! The first 2 weeks I prepped and shopped my meals diligently but by week 3 and 4 it was just so easy that I didn't have to think about it or plan for it.
Whole 30 + Eating Disorders
I was scared, ill be totally up front about that. I'm really nervous with doing anything regimented or considered a "diet" because I am always nervous that it will kick up old habits and obsessions but I can honestly say that Whole30 didn't trigger any of that. With the aid of my therapist, I trusted myself and the process. For a long time I would stop and start things because I was too afraid of it becoming unhealthy which made me so afraid of taking care of myself. I thought if i was taking care of myself that it could turn unhealthy. So I stopped taking care of myself because I was so freaked out but when you don't take care of yourself, mentally you can get worse.
Whole 30 gave me way more freedom that I ever expected, I didn't feel obsessive. I felt for once in my life I didn't have to worry about what I was eating and how much of it. It helped heal the 'emotional eating' and 'over eating.' I don't know how but it just made me way more in-tune with my body. I think its because the foods are so nutritious and healthy that you don't get whisked away by your cravings, you find more satisfying foods that are better for the biology of your body and your brain becomes a lot happier. There is obviously some sort of science behind that but I have no idea! lol
It also helped heal a lot of the damage I have done to my body and to regain trust with myself. That in itself is SO valuable I can't even begin to tell you. Those of you who have dealt with an eating disorder will know that rebuilding trust with yourself and establishing a healthy mind is the hardest part of recovery.
integration - day 31 + beyond
Tonight begins the 'integration' phase and seeing how certain foods affect me. I am celebrating with one glass of wine tonight to see how alcohol affects me. I do know that I will very unlikely try refined sugar but I might try some village ice-cream after I try cheese on another day. Cheese only contains the protein and not the lactose. I am pretty sure I am allergic to dairy protein but I will know for sure now with the integration portion of this journey.
The whole point of this is to understand how certain foods affect you so you can start to have food freedom. Deciding on what you want to eat, what you like, and understanding "is it worth it to me?" I know dairy tends to make me bloated so when I want to have cheese all I do is ask, "is this worth it to me?" Yes or no. Then you decide! Sugar isn't worth it to me because I am a miserable cow on sugar haha and I know that about myself. It makes me irritable, cranky, and short. So no more refined sugars for me. I like being happy and feeling light and sunshiney! haha
I am excited to really stick with whole foods. The affects it has had on me physically and mentally have been incredible and going back to how I felt before isn't worth it. Balance is key and finding out what works best for your lifestyle, your body, and your mind.
To whole health, physically, mentally, spiritually,