whole 30

Guest Post! "The Whole 30 Halfway" by Amy Kocur

I'm so pleased to be able to share my dear friend Amy Kocur's account of her Whole 30 halfway-mark!  Check out her blog The New Minutiae for more great writing about wellness and style, and to read more about her Whole 30 journey.  -Cait

I am halfway done with my first Whole 30 food challenge.The way this has worked for me is I plan my food weekly  and I track my food daily. Weekly planning ranges from actually writing it down on a chart or a loose idea in my mind. I track daily using My Fitness Pal, for over a year and it's the backbone of my fitness transformation. My thoughts on The Whole 30 so far:

  • I feel healthier.
  • I'm skeptical about eating so much meat and eggs.
  • I worry a lot about relying too much on fruit and almond butter.
  • Within my support trio none of us abide the same 'version' of the plan.
  • I feel like I've lost weight and my physique has shifted (I also exercise and have not actually weighed myself - we're supposed to wait until Day 30!)
  • I have cooked more than I ever have in my entire life (honestly, the aspect I'm most proud of)!
  • The beginning was REALLY hard. 

The Whole 30 timeline is an invaluable resource. Having that as a guideline proves that nothing I'm experience is abnormal or something that needs to take me down (or cause me to go off plan). 

The first 11 days I experienced the headaches, exhaustion, and irritability. My body went through a major shift. I am a person who can resort to eating total crap junk food on the regular. Even when I was eating healthy - structured eating helped me lose 55lbs over the last year - that food routine was full of carbs, dairy and permitted sugars. Read: just enough dopamine-inducing food drugs to get by. I have not attempted eating Paleo since it was called Atkins in the late 90s (wink).  Inevitably, when I started, I was really grouchy and bitchy to my boyfriend who said I looked 'zapped' (drained) and grey or gaunt due to a rapid initial drop. Basically, I could tell my body was going through something. But I wanted to see what was on the other side.

Sugar and carbs are drugs and can have the same numbed-out impact of any wake and bake.   

I kept on - acclimating myself to this structure has had surprising positives. Don't tell anyone but I LOVE COOKING. I have cooked more in the last two weeks than I have in my whole life. I cook large batches of blueberry hash or ground beef with red onion, tomato, and balsamic.  I'm also more aware of my sleep hygiene, I see how my body fuels and restores itself. I'm more focused on goals and clear in my pursuits, personally -- The initial fog has truly fallen away to reveal a new, healthy aptitude.  

The nice part about turning the corner after the detox/ sugar hangover is that I barely remember how or why it was so difficult. I casually plan my meals for the week. I cook in bulk to be prepared for work days. I have go-tos when I don't have time to cook.  I am even focusing on how I'd like to refine my last 2 weeks to be more disciplined and get as much out of this as possible.

Once you hit the midway point The Whole 30 (or even just eating clean) is a healthy instance of, "if it feels good, do it."

I have struggled with food my whole life. Only in the last 2 years have I turned toward whole living, in many ways. I utilize support to help me through my struggles. I learn new and holistic ways to care for my body. I feel my feelings and inhabit my skin. I reach out to people who know more about topics I want to learn about. And I take action. The opposite of fear is action and all actions result in progress. So, while I'm glad this is only 30 days (or 20, or 3, or whatever you're ready to do in this moment) the amount of progress it speaks to is infinite. 

I'd love to hear your Whole 30 hooray or horror stories below! Take care. 

x/Amy

 

Getting Real About Sugar

 

Sugar, wtf.

So I’m in the middle of my first Whole 30, which I didn’t think would be terribly difficult for me.  30 days of no grains (I already don’t eat gluten), no dairy (already there), no legumes (eh, I can take them or leave them), and no added sugar – natural or otherwise (small amounts of fruit are ok).  I thought, no problem, I don’t eat THAT much sugar.  I’m generally a pretty healthy eater, right?

I was so wrong.

I AM generally a healthy eater, but what I didn’t realize is just how much hidden sugar there is in the everyday foods I was eating.  I definitely noticed some withdrawal type symptoms, similar to when trying to get off caffeine. I was feeling sort of angry, headachy, tired, and annoyed.  I think it really hit me when I was starving, walking around the grocery store trying to find a quick option for dinner and figured I’d pick up a rotisserie chicken.  Every single one had a form of sugar.  On chicken?  Really?

Everything from pickled peppers, to ketchup, to Emergen-C, to deli meat.  Everything my partner picked up and asked frantically “CAN I HAVE THIS” was a solid no, due to some form of sugar. 

It’s terrifying.  And it’s been a huge eye opener.

Food companies say they add sugar to their products to “enhance taste” but really, they do it to get you hooked.  Sugar lights up the same pleasure centers of our brain that a drug would, and once you have one hit you always want more.  Our bodies are hardwired to crave sugar in particular, because in the days of hunting and gathering, something sweet was a quick form of energy (Keep in mind, fruit was the sweetest thing you could typically find.  Not nearly as much sugar as that gluten-free donut).  It makes it extremely difficult to say no when that food comes up again.  And yet, we’re often told it’s a “lack of will power” that causes us to cave into food cravings.

No, asshole.  It’s you and all your added sugar. 

The other thing that’s been really striking to me is the way that I tend to use sugar, or food in general, in response to my emotions.  I knew I was sort of doing that, but this is the first time I’ve really had to challenge that, instead of giving in.  Generally, my idea of giving into a sweet tooth was a banana with almond butter, or some dark chocolate, but the point is that I’m reaching for those things for comfort, instead of dealing with whatever is going on. It’s been difficult, but I’m grateful for the chance to ask myself “what am I really craving here?”  I really noticed it when I had a few big projects due at the same time and was getting stressed out, and my first thought was “I just need a treat.”

No. I just need to sit down and do my work.  And maybe drink some extra water, write in my journal and take a nap.

To anyone considering a Whole 30, I can say wholeheartedly to give it a go.  Planning and prepping makes it a lot easier (so you don’t end up frantic and starving in the grocery store, like me), and it’s so SO worth it to be forced to take a good hard look at your current diet.  My body is super grateful for the break from sugar, and I’ll be sure to report more from the other side.

How about you?  Do you struggle with sugar cravings? Let me know in the comments below!

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