In the end, that is where Whole 30 and I parted ways. And for the most part, it was amicable. At least on my side. We haven’t really talked. It’s awkward.
ICYMI, a little over a week ago, I blogged about my plans to do a 30-day body reset called Whole 30. You can read all the details there, but to quickly summarize: no sugar, sugar substitutes, grains, dairy, white potatoes, legumes or alcohol for 30 days.
I was pumped. I was psyched. LET’S DO THIS!
I ignored the ‘what are you, crazy?’ comments and the ‘is that even healthy?’ inquiries. I was doing this. 30 days or bust!
Now, for me, the best part of starting any new eating regime is the RESEARCH. I’m a total nerd about it. I spend hours looking up recipes and getting ideas. I go to every health food store in my area, scouring the shelves for products that the internet swears will make whatever plan I’m embarking on a walk in the park.
So, when I say I was ready… I was seriously ready.
And then on day one, the morning got away from me (because I was making the most random, Whole 30 compliant coffee creamer) and I didn’t pack a lunch. No worries, I’ll run to the local grocery store at lunch! I will get a salad and some lunchmeat for protein.
Guess what? Almost all lunchmeat contains sugar. And at this particular store, I could not find a single item of cooked meat that didn’t contain sugar. This was my first eye opening moment of just how ‘difficult’ this might me.
But I soldiered on. I got a hard boiled egg and some avocado and put them in my salad, and that night I went to Trader Joe’s and read labels, seeking out hidden sugars, until my eyeballs fell out of my face.
So, with a fridge full of compliant protein, I was ready for day two! Being that there is no bacon made without sugar in my area, I did was some interwebs folks had suggested. I bought pork belly (the cut of pork bacon is traditionally made from), uncured and un-smoked, sliced it and pan fried it.
Kids, don’t do that. I mean, do it if you want to, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
So, as days two and three wore on, it struck me more and more that there was one basic staple of this diet that I don’t always get along so well with.
Don’t stone me, Paleo peeps! And don’t get me wrong. I like meat. Sometimes. In reasonable quantities. And as part of a dish. But this? This was a lot of meat. At some point on day two, I texted my sister and said ‘this is either going to turn me into a meat lover, or a vegan.’
The other issue that became an evident problem was that idea of eating only 3 times a day, and making those meals big enough so that you could last until your next meal. I’m definitely a picker, but I can usually calm that down as long as I have something small between meals. But trying to eat enough at 7 AM to not be hungry before noon? I was like ‘okay, so how many eggs should I have? Two? Three? Eight?’
By the time day 4 rolled around, I was doing everything I could to distract myself from the facts. Those facts being that meat was starting to make me nauseated, my digestive system was not a fan of this diet at all and I was hungry pretty much 24/7, but didn’t actually want to eat anything. And then there was a car repair fiasco and all I wanted in the world was a cookie.
I sent out the ‘hold me’ text to my best friend and we chatted for a while. Meaning I ranted, and tried to give sage advice, and then I ranted some more. And this what came out if that: I had seen SO MANY people talk about how Whole 30 changed their life, and their relationship with food, and I was like ‘What is going to change MY life??’ And in wonderful, brilliant best friend fashion, she told me this:
“I think…you are.”
Message received. Clearly.
I finished up day 4 with a heavy heart, and went to bed early. I muddled through breakfast on day 5.
And then, I was just done. I folded. I quit. Call it whatever you want, but I decided that for me, this was never going to go beyond Whole 4.
And I’m 100% okay with that decision.
To the people who love and live Whole 30, I applaud you. Despite the ‘it’s not hard’ mantra of the program, I think it really is a difficult change to make, even if you are already a ‘healthy eater.’ And if you do it for 30 days, and beyond, I’m a little in awe of you. Rock on with your bad selves and your sugar free bacon! If this is what works for you, that’s fantastic.
This wasn’t it for me. Maybe there is no set plan that is ever going to work for me, or maybe I just haven’t found it yet. For now, I’m going to work on forging my own path. I’ll start to clear the brush and overgrowth that cover the road from here to where I want to be in my relationship with food, my weight and my body. And I’ll make changes I can live with for a lifetime, not just for 30 days, or 4 days, as it ended up.
And if you’re wondering what it is that’s going to change your life the way I was?
I think YOU are.