Now that I have gone over the detox phase of Whole 30, we get to the good stuff.
Around day 15, I started having super weird dreams about food. The book (It Starts With Food) goes over this and talks about how people start craving things they would never normally eat and dream about them as well. The first dream I had was that my husband busted out a king sized Hershey’s Cookies n’ Cream chocolate bar and ate it in front of me (while we were both doing Whole30). It’s one of my favorite treats, and I was TICKED! I woke up in the morning and felt like he had cheated. It was weird. The next night (day 16) I had a dream that I was out with friends and completely binged on whatever I wanted. When I got home from the dinner, I was SO mad and disappointed in myself. I kept thinking (in the dream), “Now those two weeks were for nothing. I have to start all over.” And I was so worried about confessing to my husband that I had cheated so badly. Once again, WEIRD. I woke up and thought, “Wait, did that really happen?” Nope. Whew. I was still on track! On day 17 I had another dream about my husband eating in front of me (I think it was ice cream) but that time, I said to him, “Well, I guess I will be the successful one who can stick with it and succeed.” ha. I was rude. Those dreams were very vivid. I am a vivid dreamer anyway, but they were crazy (like pregnancy dreams – intense). The feelings and thoughts were very real to the point where when I woke up I felt like it had happened and I was emotional about it.
Around that same time is when my energy started to skyrocket, and my sleep . . . oh the sleep . . . it was amazing. I could tell that my blood sugar was leveling out and remaining steady all day long. I felt just as great at 6 a.m. as I did at 6 p.m. It was an incredible feeling, especially since I still randomly get up with my 10 month old in the night, and have four little kids keeping me busy all day long. As far as my sleep, I could not believe the difference. I laid my head down at night and was almost instantly asleep – no tossing and turning, no thinking and not being able to shut off my brain. Just pure, heavy, restful sleep. When I woke up around 5 or 6 to nurse my baby, I felt fabulous. I was ready to go for the day.
Heading into the second week I started finding new great recipes and loved making new dishes that we could all enjoy. This is where everything started to taste out of this world incredible. Food was opening up to me again like it did after my first juice fast. Raisins were too sweet for me, I could only eat a few at a time. Vegetables were rich in flavor and spices that I don’t normally use were making an appearance and we were all loving it. Simple food like eggs and vegetables were so satisfying and amazing to me. I loved the reconnection with my food. I really tried to savor each bite and try and realize when I was full – and it didn’t take long for my body to get there. One of the goals of the program that I talked about in my first post is to change your relationship with food. Part of that is getting rid of the ideas of counting calories, keeping your metabolism up with snacks all day, worrying about the fat content, etc. and just paying attention to your body and when it’s full. It really does let you know. Once you take out all of the processed sugary filler foods, your body comes alive like crazy and lets you know exactly what it needs, and when. I can’t gush about it enough.
I remember one night during the last week my kids were in bed (they have a bed time of 6:30 p.m.) and my husband wasn’t home. I was on my own for a meal so I threw some diced sweet potato, mushrooms, spinach, and peppers into my pan with a little coconut oil. I sauteed them for a few minutes, scooted them to the side and added an egg. I cooked it so the yolk was soft but not runny, then slid everything onto my plate and sat down at the table by myself. It was one of the best meals I ate the entire time. The egg was perfectly cooked, the flavors were so vibrant and intense, it was heaven. And so simple! I ate it again the next night with zucchini added.
Feeling satisfied and not having the need to eat the entire house after my kids were in bed was a huge benefit for me. I drank herbal tea every night in the evening, just for something to sip on. It was a change though, in my mentality. I had to make that switch from thinking I NEEDED a little something, to realizing that in fact, I was completely satisfied from my dinner and would be fine until the next morning. There were probably two or three nights where I didn’t eat as much as I should have at dinner and ended up needing something to tide me over – a grapefruit, pistachios, an apple, etc. Nothing big, but something. And that’s fine. I listened to my body, realized that I was only eating in the evening before for something to do, and made that change.
I started INSANITY at the beginning of the third week. I was feeling great and ready to get going with my exercise again. Those first couple of weeks I felt so tired and gross that I just didn’t want to do anything, and I felt fine with that. When I started, I was pretty much on fire. I felt awesome – my energy was high, and I had strength that I didn’t think I still had. After being pregnant and working out every day, then having a really fussy baby and four small children, I hadn’t gotten back into a regular routine with exercise yet. It felt so good to start again, and to feel so great doing it. I am now into the fourth week of doing Insanity 6x a week, and I feel so much better. It’s helped me to maintain that energy throughout the day.
One big thing did happen at the beginning of the third week. I made a delicious fruit “crisp” out of approved ingredients. However, I used raw almonds instead of soaked and roasted ones like I had been eating. I ate a lot of it, it tasted so sweet and good. Then. I died. I got so incredibly bloated and was in so much pain that night and all the next day. I could not believe how bad it was. I could only pin it to the raw almonds. Soaking your nuts breaks down the phytic acid (which makes them hard to digest) and makes them easier on your system. I have eaten almonds forever and never noticed a problem. Until now. It was very eye-opening to me that I’ve been eating them so long and didn’t know that they were causing some of my digestive problems. It was sad, too. I love almonds. I tested it a few days later and the same thing happened almost immediately. Now I know, and will be more careful about how I prepare them in the future. I learned so much about myself and about how what I put into my mouth effects my body.
The third week was . . . interesting. I was feeling good, the bloating was gone (minus the almond encounter), and I loved all the food I was eating. However, it felt kind of long because we weren’t seeing major changes. My husband had to be reminded that “Most changes come in the last week, even last few days.” From everything I have read, so many people quit the program early because they don’t think anything is happening. But it is. Things are changing. And for me, it quite honestly was the last few days out of the 30 where I noticed the major changes. I hadn’t noticed weight loss until that last week, or any changes in my skin. But those last few days almost made me terrified to quit after 30 days – I finally felt that momentum and didn’t want it to stop!
As far as being tempted, I wasn’t really. There was one moment around Easter (yes, we did this over Easter) where I thought, “I could use some of that chocolate.” But it wasn’t bad, and I got over it quickly. I had to make cookies for someone and had to resist the reflex to lick my fingers afterward, or making my daughter some toast with honey and taking the drip off the counter and licking my finger – I had to stop and think about it first. But those were just reflexes, nothing I really wanted to eat.
I didn’t cheat or slip at all, neither did my husband. It wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I basically cook this way to begin with. We don’t drink pop or have anything like that we’re addicted to. We eat eggs, meat, and lots of veggies and fruit and fats. Double checking my ingredients and taking away cheese and my natural sugars were probably the biggest changes for us. The program discourages smoothies – drinking a lot of fruit instead of eating a meal and causing your blood sugar to spike first thing in the morning isn’t so great. So I tried to ease off and we only had about 4 or 5 the entire time. For me, that is a big change – I LOVE my smoothies. I figured that because they are mostly greens, we were okay, and I always had them as part of our breakfast (eggs and veggies) so we weren’t just drinking a smoothie for our meal. Fruit juice is allowed, but not as a beverage, more to sweeten or use in recipes in moderation. We did grab a kombucha or mamma chia drink while out and about in town a few times, but nothing excessive. We mostly drank water and herbal tea sans sweeteners.
One of the biggest changes came with my children. This deserves an entire post on its own, and I will give it that space. However, when I stopped buying dairy and took my 2-year old milk addict off of it cold turkey, a miracle happened in our home. She went from just wanting to drink milk ALL day long, to eating anything and everything – all real food. Fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, she ate it all. She shocked me over and over again at every meal. She wanted everything – she kept asking, and asking for more! I cried a few times out of sheer joy, and kept staring at her smiling watching her gobble it all up. It was incredible and continues to be so. If for nothing else, seeing my children expand their tastes (they were good eaters before, but this helped tremendously) was worth it. They didn’t have sugar, or many grains. I did cook oatmeal for them a few times in a pinch, but other than that they ate almost exactly what we did. Doing this as a family was the way to go. It helped in so many ways. I will go into more detail with that later.
To summarize: I lost 9 lbs and 4 inches doing the Whole30. One of the rules is that you can’t weigh yourself or take any measurements during the 30 days. I didn’t. I could tell I lost weight, but was pleasantly surprised by how much. I am a small person to begin with, but did have that extra 10 lbs of baby weight hanging around. I have never cared much about the number on the scale, my goal is to feel healthy and strong. That’s what matters to me. I want to live a vibrant, long, active life. I want to run and play with my kids and keep up to them and take them on adventures. So I lost weight, and feel fantastic.
Because this ended up so long-winded, I will post about the re-introduction and post-Whole30 in yet another post!