I have an honest update for you on my Whole 30 progress: I quit. I lasted 17 days and I decided to give up on all that progress not because I couldn’t do it but because I honestly realized that I didn’t want to do it anymore. I got to that point where I stopped necessarily missing / craving all the “bad” stuff that I had given up. Instead, I started missing my love of food. The Whole 30 started to feel like a chore. I dreaded cooking another compliant meal. I missed the camaraderie of eating out with friends. I missed baking and treating myself with a Starbucks coffee or a sweet of some sort. Plus, the more I read about the whole 30, the more restricted, angry, and bitter I started getting. And the worst fact of all was that I was getting mean and resentful thanks to my decision to abstain. Basically, the reasons that I had started weren’t working out the way I wanted them to: I felt like my relationship with food was getting wore instead of better.
But the Whole 30 was not a complete bust. I learned a lot through my experience. I lost 7 pounds. I got the chance to really examine my eating habits. I really got a handle on the whole mindless eating thing. I re-ignited my desire to spend more time in the kitchen with Brian. We cooked a lot of simple yet delicious meals and I plan on continuing that trend. I also was forced to reconsider portions and how I construct a plate of food. I tamed my sugar sensitivity a bit and I realized that I have the willpower to make healthy eating choices without completely abstaining from eating things I enjoy.
In her book on habits, Better than Before, Gretchen Rubin talks about knowing yourself. One of the characteristics she mentions is knowing whether you are a moderator or an abstainer. I think I’m more of a moderator than I thought I was. I didn’t think that I had the willpower to be moderate when it came to the foods that I enjoy but after going 17 days without any sugar, milk, or grains I’m realizing that I have more willpower than I could have ever imagined. But abstaining like that didn’t bring me joy. I just couldn’t wait to end the Whole 30 and dig into all that I had been missing out on.
Today was my first post Whole 30 day and I didn’t go crazy. In fact, my first meal of the day was actually completely Whole 30 friendly (steak and eggs with country potatoes). I honestly have grown to realize that the key is to listen to my body. I need to only eat when I’m hungry (not when I’m emotional or social) and I need to keep my meals simple and nutritious. I thoroughly cleaned out my kitchen in preparation for the Whole 30 and I don’t think I’m going to be rushing to the store to fill it back up with junk. I’ve learned how to read labels more carefully to look out for added stuff that I don’t necessarily want in my body. And when that fails, I recognize that I have the option to make my own which is pretty awesome.
So while I thought I would be super disappointed that I didn’t actually complete the whole 30 days, I’m strangely okay with my decision. In fact, I’m excited to move forward. I’m going to be stepping my game up at the gym over the next couple weeks to really prep for the wedding and I finally signed up for a personal trainer to help with those efforts. I realize that diet and exercise go hand in hand so I’ll continue tracking and logging my food on MyFitnessPal to keep me aware of what I’m stuffing in my mouth and help me stay on the healthy path.
So I’m curious: are you more of an abstainer or moderator? How do you keep your eating habits healthy? Have you ever embarked on a Whole 30 diet (or something similar)? How did that work for you?