If you know me in real life or if you follow me on practically any social media, you know I’ve been doing Whole 30. A common thing I’ve been asked over the last 30 days is “Why oh why are you doing this thing where you can’t have alcohol, sugar, chemicals, dairy, grains, legumes or soy?” My answers have ranged from: “I want to drop some of the weight I gained from getting an IUD,” to “I’ve always had lots of food allergies so I wanted to do an elimination diet to see if I’m still sensitive to anything,” to “I have no idea, fuck my life, fuck it right in the face,” depending on the day and how I felt.
Originally I was going to do Sober January and just not drink for a month. I was gonna do this because, for some strange reason, since November 8, 2016 I’ve been drinking more. I’ve always been a consistent drinker. I mean, I’m more of a “pour one vodka soda as soon as Rachel Maddow starts” person than a “do shots at a baby shower” person but, yeah, alcohol is my coping mechanism. I decided to go ahead and do Whole 30 instead of just Sober January because I knew cutting alcohol would be the hardest part so why not just make everything totally terrible for thirty days, right? I mean, you only live once.
Here is a wrap-up of my Whole 30 experience for those of you who are curious or thinking of doing it or just, you know, total voyeurs:
I lost 4 and a half pounds of the 6 or 7 I gained from the stupid stupid asshole known as Mirena. (The husband lost 10 for you dudes out there.)
I also noticed I had less cramps and my boobs didn’t feel like they were trying to separate themselves from my body and roll away to freedom during my period, which was nice.
Another good thing: Whole 30 asks you not to weigh yourself the whole time. I felt like I hadn’t lost any weight but I couldn’t weigh myself so I spent the whole time feeling pissed off. My therapist has tossed the term “body dysmorphic disorder” at me several times but this was the first time I really got it. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see any noticeable weight loss even though clearly I was shedding pounds. Whole 30 taught me that you can’t always trust what you see. You might be too hard on yourself and not the best judge of your progress. You just gotta keep on keeping on and trust you’re doing okay. It was a valuable lesson, maybe one worth the price of admission.
I realized I can totally live without a lot of these foods. As of now, I’m adding back in alcohol and non-gluten grains like rice and corn (gotta have popcorn and tacos) and I’m not going back to frequent chai lattes and Old Fashioneds. Almond lattes and vodka sodas for me from now on, baby. But I’m not going to be crazy. I will eat your wedding cake or your birthday pizza. I’m not a monster.
Where do I begin? This shit is HARD. I was exhausted the first week. I had two whole days toward the middle where I was nauseous and running for the bathroom all day. I never felt completely normal on this thing. I canceled tons of plans. I always felt halfway sick, even on days 29 and 30. I don’t know why this is but I’ve always been super sensitive and I suspect it’s all the chicken and turkey I had to eat. I’m not used to so much meat in my diet. Maybe, as some of the Whole 30 boards suggest, my body was detoxing. After all the holiday eating and drinking I did, I can buy that. I have no clue. But it sucked. Yes, I take a probiotic.
I never reached that euphoric energetic “Tiger Blood” phase people crow about online. I don’t know if those people were living on Taco Bell pre-Whole 30 so their results were more drastic or what but it didn’t go down like that for me. Other than feeling like I was in the last stages of a stomach flu for 30 days, I felt fairly energetic but nothing obvious or dramatic from how I usually feel.
Boredom. You just get very bored with fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs. Even almonds lose their appeal. Mealtime ends up being something you dread rather than something you look forward to.
There were times I cried and there were times I wanted to shake a fist at the sky and scream, “SCREW YOU, UNIVERSE!”
The two days before my period and the first day of my period (the day of the Women’s March as it turns out) were brutal. While I had less cramps and boob pain, I was also just extremely pissed off and emo those days. I couldn’t self soothe with chocolate and wine and I was LIVID about it. I saw pics online of people celebrating the Women’s March with cocktails and I wanted to murder all of them. (My friends were kind enough to celebrate with me after we marched with a delicious iced sugar-free almond latte.)
Going out to dinners and lunches with friends was ROUGH. We attended our nephew’s birthday brunch and, while our sister-in-law is a sweet goddess who had tons of stuff we could eat, it was very hard to not eat breakfast burritos and birthday cupcakes.
One day on the way into yoga class, I noticed that the studio was providing free tacos to celebrate their anniversary. So I smelled tacos for an hour and a half while practicing, then had to WALK PAST THE FREE TACOS on the way out and not grab one. Watching my fellow yogis shove delicious tacos -one of my favorite foods- into their pretty faces as I put on my shoes was a low-point. It felt so unfair and I had to remind myself that no one was forcing me to do Whole 30. It was all my own idea. If I was gonna be mad, I had to be mad at myself.
Another time Tim and I were walking down the street and had to pass a bunch of lovely mothers raising money for an anti-bullying campaign with a bake sale. We had to smile at them and just keep walking because neither of us could be trusted to purchase a cupcake or whatever and not eat it. It was the worst.
Aaaaand, it’s Girl Scout cookie season. FML, you know?
You better enjoy cooking and eating meat if you’re considering doing this. I hate both. I can cook and I can eat meat but I taught myself to tolerate both, like broccoli or going to the dentist. I’m just not a meat-eater. After over a decade as a vegetarian, I added the occasional fish and poultry back into my diet two years ago in order to give myself more flexibility in social eating situations, especially in my home state of Texas. But I only eat it once or twice a month. Whole 30 forces you to eat it all the time and I got bored and sick of it really fast. Plus, cooking. SO. MUCH. COOKING, you guys. I’m giving myself a week off. I’m not even gonna walk into the kitchen except to grab the vodka from the freezer.
Buy a lot of La Croix. Also: hot sauce (I’m a Cholula girl myself), Nutpods creamer for your coffee (you’ll end up drinking a shit-ton of coffee), almonds and Larabars to keep on you at all times in case of emergency.
Don’t make plans. Trust me. It’ll just be lame. Hide yourself away in a cabin somewhere for a month. Maybe put yourself in stasis or a coma?
Pinterest has tons of recipes. Plus, sooo many cute dog pics on that site, you guys.
Ask someone you love to do it with you. Tim did it with me just because he loves me. It was all my idea and he went along for the ride as my emotional support peacock. If he hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have made it.
Reach out to people you know who have already done it or are currently doing it. I would’ve quit without my friends and family. (Shout out to my fitness friends and my sis and Tina!)
Write your reasons for doing Whole 30 down somewhere because you will FOR SURE forget them along the way.
I’m never ever doing this again but I will say that it’s given me some self-confidence. I mean, I rocked that shit. I’m proud of myself. If I can do Whole 30 I can do anything. Well, except cook again because NOPE. Joy of cooking, my ass.
*featured pic of me with dried mango, which -at the time- tasted like a gummy bear.