Whole30, A Blessing & A Curse
January 25, 2017
It’s been a little over a month since I finished my first Whole 30. Although I’m happy to have completed it, felt great during it, and am more “food-aware,” there are definitely some things I was not expecting to feel or experience after completion.
- Worrying too much about weight gain when eating non compliant foods: During Whole 30, my stomach looked the best it’s ever looked in a long time. Throughout my life, my stomach has always been my “problem area” and area of insecurity” on my body. Given that I was not drinking, eating any sweets, and absolutely no bread, I wasn’t that surprised that I showed more tone. However, since completing Whole 30, I notice that I waste too much time worrying whether a weekend including drinks and eating more freely has led me to gain .5 of an inch back on my waist or make my jeans tight again. Sure, this happened in the past post holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas, but the amount of times that I get these stupid insecurities and fears after Whole 30 really gets to me and I know to a certain extent is just not healthy. I don’t own a scale and haven’t stepped on one once since finishing, but really wish I didn’t get so caught up in these minor changes in body composition because they don’t matter. Many of my friends who also completed a Whole 30 are in the same boat and get very frustrated about the frequency they worry about gaining back the weight they lost. I honestly think its part of the reason many people repeat Whole 30s. I hate admitting to be at fault for such a vain issue, but I know it is the reality of many of my friends.
- Feeling paranoid when eating non-compliant foods: Aside from gaining weight, there other other initial paranoias when reintroducing non-compliant foods. Think about it, for the first time in 30 days, you’re attempting to put something in your body that you banned because it has the potential to cause you to “bloat, have gastro intestinal issues, break out in hives, get pimples, gain weight, not absorb nutrients, retain water, etc.” After you’ve read about all the reasons on why not to eat it, you can’t help but feel guilty eating them again. For me personally, I was super disappointed when I took three bites of the caramel and sea salt kind bar (which I wasn’t expecting to feel any reaction to), then broke out in hives all over my face. That initial reintroduction in itself had me paranoid and fearful of everything else I tried to reintroduce. In some situations, it took the joy and fun out of eating when at a party or dinner outing. A month later and I’ve definitely gotten a lot better about this, but I know this can be very hard for a multitude of people. I can’t speak for everyone, but many think that once you complete a Whole 30, you run back and rip open that Hersey bar or buttered bread you couldn’t have. This is true to an extent, but what most people don’t realize is that with reintroduction, there is often a sense of guilt and fear that comes with it. It’s almost like you’re still doing Whole 30 and cheating. It’s like breaking the rules and getting caught.
- Sensitivity to Sugar: Sugar hangovers are very, very real. I am very happy to know that sugar is hidden everywhere, but I didn’t expect that after eating one chocolate chip cookie I would wake up the next day feeling like I had a cold and a HUGE headache. When combined with crackers or bread in a sandwich, I have discovered that post Whole 30, my body has reacted very very poorly to eating sweets. Even if it was a single cookie from a bridal shower, one piece of cake at a wedding, I would get an instant headache and sluggish attitude. I guess the combination of added sugars from other foods and eating so little of it in January has made me very sensitive to it. It’s hard for me to figure out how I feel about this because although I know that sugar has no nutritional value, I do believe there’s a time and place for everything and many times, these “treats” are made with love, for special occasions, and a sign of affection. It’s also a little discouraging that now I get nervous eating a chocolate bar or cookie thinking “I hope I don’t feel like crap tomorrow”.” It almost makes me envy those who did not do a Whole 30 and think, “why can’t I just eat a damn cookie and not feel anything!”
As you’ve probably seen on my instagram, I’d say I’ve stuck to a 80% paleo diet. On weekends, I’m more flexible and eat foods I’m craving and in the mood for. As far as sweets go, If I’m craving chocolate during the week I’ve been trying to stick to 75% dark chocolate with sea salt, RX bars (often topped with some kind of nut butter), energy bites, or healthier alternatives. However, the office is back to being packed with donuts, cookies, random occasions of cake, and I occasionally (but far less than I used to) give into it.
Would I ever do a Whole 30 again? Honestly, I don’t think so. I might do a Whole 10 or 20 here and there (and if I do it will probably be 20 days before my wedding), but I think I’m one and done. I’ve always been very healthy and interested in nutrition, so eating well isn’t that difficult for me and I love how I feel when I eat clean and green. I do, however, promote balance and everything in moderation, which Whole 30 is not.
So, what about the blog? I’m going to transform this blog from being about Whole 30 to a health and fitness platform for those in Charleston. Exercise and nutrition has always been a passion of mine, and I would love to help those in the low country learn all the options they have. The south is often associated with fried food, biscuits, grits, and collards, but there is much much more to it than that.