Whole 30 Holidays

Remember how I sprained my ankle last month? Remember how that meant no running for an undetermined amount of time? Yeah. We’re still at no running status.

And for a while, #bustedankle meant no exercising at all. Which is generally a problem, because no exercising means eventually, my clothes don’t fit. Which is REALLY a problem because I’m in a friend’s wedding this weekend and there’s a dress that I have to fit in to.

Knowing this a month ago, I decided to preemptively combat the clothes-not-fitting and the holiday food and drink onslaught by doing Whole 30.

If you’re not familiar with the Whole 30 plan, the easy explanation is this: no sugars, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no alcohol. No processed foods. Only meat, veggies, fruits, and nuts. (There are more rules, so check them out here: http://whole30.com)

I’ve done a strict Whole 30 before (when I was training for the Chicago marathon) and I generally try to eat Paleo most of the time, so I knew that 1. I could do it, and 2. It would be a good way to avoid most of the crazy holiday food nonsense and hopefully help me fit into the dress for this wedding.

I actually love eating Whole 30-compliant food and have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to paleo/Whole 30 recipes. My favorite this round? Bacon Brussel Sprouts. I seriously made them at least once a week.

Some of my other go-tos: apples and almond butter, guacamole and plantain chips, and any breakfast bake with eggs and sausage and sweet potatoes and all of the veggies.

Now that the end of December is here, I can say this about my attempt: doing Whole 30 during the holidays is really stinking hard. Also, I didn’t stay strict the whole time. Reasons: 6 million holiday parties. It just gets really annoying to say “oh I’m not drinking because…” Or “no thanks, I don’t need any cookies…”

Or really, quite frankly, to hang out with family and not join in the frivolity.

That said, I did do fairly well. I allowed myself a few nights of fun and treats (not too many), but stayed to the plan the rest of the time. Which is really the big takeaway. If you eat the healthiest you can 80% of the time, and use the other 20% to enjoy yourself, you’ll be okay.

I also got the okay to start exercising again, which helped, too. Back on the bike and in spin class, and on the elliptical and the rower. Thank goodness!! I’m still not cleared to run, but my PT seems to feel confident that I’ll be able to start doing that early next year. (In my head that means tomorrow. Because hello 2015!) Until then, more physical therapy and crossing of fingers.

A handful of my coworkers and I will be doing a Whole 60 when we all get back from Christmas break, so now that I’m on my last official day of this Whole 30, I’m excited to partake wholeheartedly in the wedding festivities this weekend. BRING ME THE FINEST DRINKS IN ALL THE LAND. And cake. Also bring me cake.

Tried the dress on this morning, and it fits, so SUCCESS YOU GUYS! Boom. Nailed it.

Have you ever done Whole 30? How successful were you? What are your favorite recipes?

Whole Four

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.



Whole Lot of Crazy

If you’ve learned anything about me through my blogging in the last year, you’ve probably learned that I am a complete goldfish when it comes to healthy eating. I get distracted by shiny things. And then, before that thing has a chance to take hold, I’m distracted by another shiny thing. Or by ice cream.

It’s a thing. A not-so-great thing. Me and food…well, we’re in what I like to call a relationshit. It’s completely dysfunctional and something definitely needs to change.

Enter Whole 30.

If you don’t know about Whole 30, it’s essentially a SUPER clean, Paleo-esque program for 30 days. It’s something I’ve been contemplating for well over a year, but I’ve always brushed it off as being ‘too hard’. According to the Whole 30 website, this is NOT HARD.

You can find the complete program rules here, but in short:

  • No sugar or sugar substitutes (meaning no added sugar, real or artificial)
  • No grains (no, not even quinoa)
  • No white potatoes (oh French Fries, how I will miss thee)
  • No legumes (this is the one that I don’t really understand, but I’m rolling with it)
  • No dairy (I’ve been trying to break up with dairy for over a year. It’s time.)
  • No carrageenan, MSG or sulfites (hello, reading ALL the labels)
  • No alcohol (this is actually the only one I’m not remotely worried about)
  • No ‘paleo-baking’ (essentially taking all compliant ingredients and turning them into cookies)

This is pretty far from where I am right now. Being that right now, I am eating a giant breakfast sandwich and drinking an Extra Extra iced coffee. I’ve been to Dairy Queen so many times in the last week that I think they are going to start calling me by name (curse you, Celebration Cake Blizzard). I leave my house every morning with no lunch bag, no snacks and no plan, which ultimately dissolves into a high-calorie, high fat lunch out.

And if you think my relationship with food has fallen into toxic territory, you should probably know that my pants and I are in the midst of an epic battle. (My pants are losing terribly. It’s tragic.)

So, why not just make some moderate dietary changes? Why so drastic? In truth, I’m not at the point right now where moderation is my friend. While as an overall ‘lifestyle’, I fully support the ideal that you can, and should, be able to eat what you want IN MODERATION, right now a cookie = two cookies = a bag of cookies.

I’m a classic Type A personality. I do best with a set of guidelines and a goal. I’m competitive and results oriented. And I like to WIN. While I don’t necessarily buy in to the ‘this is NOT hard’ mantra behind Whole 30, I get what they are saying. In the grand scheme of life, nothing about this program represents actual hardship. You get to eat. You don’t have to be hungry.

There are plenty of delicious things to eat. Fruits. Veggies. Lean protein. Avocados. NUTS.

And it’s 30 days.

Honestly, the thing I think I am going to struggle with the most is the non-food related regulation that you not weigh yourself or check your measurements at all during the 30 day period. I am a complete slave to my scale. That said, while I am sure weight loss will occur, I’m really doing this as more of a personal challenge, to see if me and food can come to a more peaceable coexistence.

I’d also like my pants to fit, I’M JUST SAYING.

As of today, I’m T-minus-four days. I’m trying to suppress my natural urge to eat EVERYTHING I won’t be able to eat during the program over the next four days. Trying. Failing thus far, but still trying.

Monday, I jump on the Crazy Train. All aboard!

Have you done Whole 30? Do you have tips/tricks/recipes you want to share with Bec? Do you want to join her on the Crazy Train? She loves company!