Well, 30 days has come and gone. And Louie and I are still alive to tell about it. In fact, we’re doing better than ever! We embarked on the Whole 30 on February 13, meaning we finished on March 14, and the final results are generally positive. Obviously, it wasn’t the pure magic the book promised (I’m always a bit of a skeptic) but resulted in some positive changes that we’ll keep up.
First and foremost, both of us have much more energy during the day. I usually don’t feel like taking a nap around 2:30 every day (with the exception of a few really looooong Thursdays), which was how I used to feel. I still drag a little before 8 a.m., although I really think that’s just my own natural biorhythm and nothing will “fix” that. (Also, there is nothing wrong with not being extremely perky and chipper before 8 a.m. I’m looking at you, dear husband!) Louie and I also noticed that we sleep much better. We also don’t have night sweats due to fluctuating blood sugar, which he has always had and I started to have about a year ago.
I can’t report any dramatic weight loss on my end. My pants fit a little better and that’s pretty great, but without time to exercise regularly right now, it’s just not going to happen–and that’s fine. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you how much I lost because we don’t own a scale, and honestly, I really like the clothes I own and don’t want to buy a ton of new ones. Louie, on the other hand, has lost quite a bit of weight and is feeling really positive about the changes. I’m proud of him for sticking with the 30 days–actually, he did way better than me–and it will be nice to have someone to keep me from sliding into old eating habits.
Speaking of eating habits, I appreciated becoming more in tune with my body’s own needs. At first, I really was hungry all the time, but as I got used to it, hunger changed into cravings. It has become a lot easier to tell when I am hungry and when I’m not actually hungry. My tastes also shifted a little, so that a lot of artificial flavors simply taste…artificial. Really strong and often too much.
The last positive is that my skin has cleared up and become much less oily. In fact, it’s almost a little dry in the morning, which almost never happens. We’ve also had the heat on, which might contribute to dryness, so I’ll be curious to see what happens as Louisiana heats up for the warmer months.
The Whole 30 definitely had some unintended negatives. At first, I craved carby/sweet things constantly. 24 hours a day. Louie, who doesn’t really like those things as much, didn’t experience this problem. Eventually, I realized what I actually missed–the texture of baked goods. This was solved last weekend when we discovered that Magpie Cafe sells amazing paleo muffins. I ate a muffin and haven’t had a craving since. Even though the muffin broke a few of the “rules” of the Whole 30 (it contained honey and I’m sure something else not allowed), in this case it was honestly best to eat it and move on with my life. I was getting super cranky and sarcastic about the diet until then.
Another texture issue came up, too. I was a sort-of-vegetarian until the Whole 30, eating meat maybe once a day. Since Louie won’t ever be a full vegetarian, we compromised by making at least one meatless supper a week, and that was perfect. All of a sudden, I was eating meat all. the. time. Chewing meat. Meat is really chewy. And meaty. I got tired of chewing on meat at around day 20, but stuck with it because for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what a vegetarian on the Whole 30 can eat. (Yes, I realize the book covers that, but I didn’t want more prep time in the kitchen. See below.) We did eat some fish, which helps, and I’ll probably start doing some suppertime egg casseroles, but I will be glad to make a bean soup every once in a while or something.
The last point of contention involves the practical aspects of the Whole 30. I didn’t realize that by doing this, I’d be spending what felt like 6 hours a day in the kitchen, and 3 hours each weekend planning meals and shopping. In truth, it wasn’t this long, but it impacted my already-crammed schedule quite a bit. Due to eating at home more, I am constantly loading and emptying the dishwasher or preparing meals. I finally got very annoyed last week and planned a whole week’s worth of Crock Pot meals. It felt amazingly liberating. The other negative practical aspect involves our budget. Eating paleo is expensive, or feels that way. Truthfully, it’s probably a bit less expensive because we don’t eat out as much. However, we also don’t follow the advice to eat only grass-fed, free-range, organic, etc. everything. We simply can’t because that WOULD be too expensive. And even in Baton Rouge, a fairly large city, we don’t always have easy access to happy, organic meat and produce. Yes, I could get up early and go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. I can also sleep/relax an extra hour, which makes much more sense for my life right now.
In the end, we’re happy we did it and will keep most of our new habits going forward. I enjoy not getting hungry between meals and having a steady amount of energy. I still also enjoy the occasional treat (like the Red Mango yogurt I had today) and am not going to beat myself up if I eat something not approved by the Whole 30 powers that be. In fact, some of the things I used to enjoy don’t make me feel that great and I no longer wish to eat them. I’m probably better off that way. We’re looking forward to a future of healthy eating!