While listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Go Fork Yourself with Andrew Zimmern and Molly Mogren, I came across this interview with Melissa Hartwig, co-founder of the Whole30 movement. It peaked my interest at the perfect time, I needed a big distraction, you know something else to focus on besides, well, life.
Now, I have not been one to jump on the Paleo bandwagon. In fact I have been known to call b.s. on Paleo on more than one occasion. While in some ways similar, the Whole30 my friends, is not Paleo. It is also not a fad diet, or really a weight-loss program at all. It is a way for people who seek to change the way they eat or their relationship to food. I personally looked at it as a cleanse more than anything. I have been struggling with my skin for ages and ages and didn’t know how to figure out if it was related to food. This program is really great for allowing your body to show you which foods you have sensitivities to so you can stop putting those in your mouth if you so choose.
Melissa describes it like this: if you have bad allergies and then you go on a vacation for a couple weeks and stop having the allergies, this would make you think it was something at home causing your allergies. When you return home and the allergies kick up again, you will be more able to recognize the source of your troubles is coming from the flowering tree right outside your bedroom window. So of course, you cut the tree down rather than continue to suffer.
And that’s exactly how Whole30 works. You cut your diet down to clean meats, vegetables, and fruit for 30 days then slowly reintroduce other foods like dairy, grains, and legumes, giving your body a chance to recognize its sensitivities. For a complete run-down on what’s allowed and what’s not during the the Whole30, visit their website or buy the book.
I’m sitting down to write on day 30 of the program and am hear to tell you I survived the cravings, eating out, parties, holidays, and food dreams. Surprisingly, people around me were very supportive including family, friends and co-workers. My family was so worried about what I would order at a restaurant one night that I had to reassure them not to feel too badly for me, this was a choice after all!
The most difficult time was the first week. I was feeling very, very tired in the afternoons and didn’t have much, if any, stamina for exercise. I felt like falling down dead in Bikram yoga. The good news is, I sincerely didn’t feel overly hungry or have intense cravings. It was difficult to break the snacking habit, but once I did (after about 2 weeks), I didn’t even think about snacks anymore.
Now my skin did clear up, but not completely. According to the book, it will take longer than 30 days for my hormones to re-stabilize which I definitely think contributes to my acne. I’m looking forward to figuring out if any of the foods I reintroduce causes flare ups so I can be sure to avoid those foods.
So about weight-loss. Yes, I did lose weight. I don’t know how much because I don’t weigh myself, but my clothes do fit differently. I should also add that I’ve been working out really hard the last 4 months or so, which I think contributes to the weight-loss more than anything.
I feel really kind of stuck up and humble-braggy writing about this, so I hope you all don’t take it that way. I just wanted to share my experience and encourage you, if you’re up to it, to try it out. Mostly because after two weeks or so my energy sky rocketed, my moods evened out, my belly was calm and in general my body felt GOOD. Do it.