So for those who have followed the blog for a little while, you know that I started my Whole 30 a month ago. Today is officially Day 31! I am very excited to say that I managed to get through the whole thing and noticed tons of positive changes.
Today I’m going to tally up my non-scale victories (Whole 30 speak for things that aren’t losing weight), and I found out if/how much weight I lost, but in true Whole 30 fashion, I’ll get to that at the end after we get through everyone else.
Even though I have noticed tons of positive changes through completing this crazy diet/lifestyle change, not everyone is going to have the same results, and every diet will affect everyone differently. Pay attention to what your body wants and needs, and what makes it feel good.
Physical (outside): Clothes that used to fit tighter are now looser. My stomach feels flatter, I definitely have less bloating, and more muscle definition (although that might be more of a CrossFit victory). I do feel more confident in my appearance because I just feel better overall. Whole 3o lists longer stronger hair and nails as a common victory, but I’ve had chronic problems with those, related to iron deficiency, that will likely take longer than 30 days to completely repair. By removing food with the phytates that could blocking my mineral absorption, I’m hoping that I’ll see more improvements in this area later.
Physical (inside): Definitely a general overall improvement in GI health and regularity. I feel less tired throughout the day. I don’t have any large chronic problems that I expected to improve, but everything just seems to be running more efficiently.
Mood, Emotion, and Psychology: I’m happier, more patient, more optimistic, and somewhat less stressed, or more able to deal with it when I am (probably a side effect of not being hangry). Fewer sugar and carb cravings are something to celebrate, since this was such a large part of my diet prior to Whole 30. I didn’t feel reliant on the scale at all, since I was able to focus more on how the food I was putting into my body was fueling me, versus how it was impacting my waistline. I feel like I’m way more in control of my food and able to make better decisions about what I want to eat. You would think after 4 years studying nutrition and spending so much other time reading about food and diets, I would have a better relationship with food before Whole 30. Go figure.
Brain Function: I have a better attention span and can focus better on what I’m doing at work, which makes me more productive. I have more attention towards the end of the day than I used to, which means I can putter away at the blog in the evening.
Sleep: I’ve been falling asleep pretty much instantly for the last few weeks, but I don’t know if this a change, since I didn’t pay attention to it until now. I still feel groggy when I get up in the morning, but I’m more or less functional by the time I’m commuting to work, instead of waiting for the caffeine from my tea to kick in while I’m driving.
Energy: My energy levels are higher throughout the day, not just at my prime-time of 11 am. I do have some more energy in the morning, and don’t get tired in the middle of the day. I have tons of energy when I get to the gym after work, and still more energy to do stuff around the house after dinner. I don’t eat as often throughout the day, but I do still space my food out so there’s a small snack in the morning to keep me going, and a small snack before I head to the gym. I’m not as cranky when I’m getting hungry, but I still can be grumpy if I’m really hungry and tired. I don’t need sugar to keep my energy going, and several times throughout the month I brought my coffee to my desk and forgot to drink it, and still had energy.
Sport, Exercise, and Play: I had already gotten into the habit of going to CrossFit 3-5 times a week when I started Whole 30. I was consistent throughout this month, but I don’t know if that’s related to my diet changes or not. I was able to push through harder workouts and lift heavier, although again, I don’t know if this is necessarily related to Whole 30 or just my physical strength improving overall. I feel more athletic and I have found I’m not as sore all the time as I sometimes can be. I can’t say I’m more coordinated or have better balance, but my athletic style has been described as “spastic” so I have a long way to go.
Food and Behaviours: This is where I noticed the biggest change. I definitely feel that I have a healthier relationship with food. I don’t necessarily need to eat something just because it’s there. I’ve started to think more about my food improving my health, versus just what will give me enough sugar to power through a couple more hours. I’m also thinking more about foods that will not improve my health, and which ones are really worth eating. I’m more mindful about my eating and enjoy my food more. I already knew how to read a label and ingredient statement, but I found myself looking at them more to make more informed choices. I only ate until I was full and didn’t ever feel overly full-to-bursting. I didn’t think as much about how foods were going to impact my weight, as much as I focused on how they would make me feel. I started eating more fats without being afraid of them. I tried try new recipes, foods, and techniques. I looked at food as fuel and exercise as something awesome that I get to do, not exercise as punishment for food or food as a reward for anything. I paid attention to when I was actually hungry instead of just wanting a snack or bored. I started drinking tea when I had a sweet craving while watching TV. I tried to incorporate different foods into my diet, and tried to eat my favourite foods in different ways. I don’t feel guilty about eating. I’m looking forward to mindfully eating off-plan foods and really savouring them.
Lifestyle and Social: I became even more knowledgeable about food and nutrition, especially about how it impacts me personally. I’ve tried new recipes and still have so many more I want to try or adapt. I am much more efficient at meal planning and meal prep. I’m making better use of the food I buy, instead of wasting it. Co-workers have asked if I’ve lost weight. A coach at the gym mentioned that my squat and snatch are hugely improved. I just feel better about everything overall.
There’s so many testimonies about how the Whole 30 changed someone’s life or cured their rare un-treatable condition. That’s not what happened for me but I did improve my health and relationship with food. Moving forward, I’m planning to keep a lot of these habits, but let myself have desserts from time to time and not be quite so crazy about making sure everything I eat is Whole 30 approved. I will keep you posted.
And I lost 5 pounds. Boo-yah.