Today I start the Whole 30 for the second time. I successfully completed a round last month and had such a good experience that ending the round didn’t sound at all appealing. After completing the thirty days, I spent the next two weeks eating about eighty percent Whole 30 and two weeks after that eating what I wanted. It was sort of a casual experiment to see which new habits stuck, how my taste buds had changed and how I would react when living a life with no rules.
Turns out, I respond well to rules and struggle a bit when there are too many choices. I almost exclusively stayed compliant with my meals at home and when I packed lunches. The problems developed when I ate out or when I snacked.
It turns out that my Sugar Dragon is alive and well.
You can’t expect to change lifelong habits in a month or two and it’s unreasonable to think that you can. That’s why I’m doing another round and why I’m thinking about extending this one to a full 45 days. I suspect this could be the new normal for me: a month on and then a few weeks off before starting over again. It isn’t reasonable to live Whole 30 all the time. If you have to eat out or go to a business function with food, it’s basically impossible to eat and stay within the rules. But, the truth is, I really like the Whole 30 way of eating and I love the way it makes me feel.
The Whole 30 is not a weight loss diet. It’s about eliminating foods that commonly cause allergies, inflammation, digestive issues and other health problems. Ultimately, you reintroduce foods one at a time to identify the culprit that’s causing your problems. It’s also about changing your relationship with food and that’s why I wanted to try it. With that said, I did lose weight on my first round. More importantly, I celebrated several Non Scale Victories or NSV’s as the Whole 30’iers say.
It’s this list of victories that I count on to keep me going through this round. Here are a few:
1. I sleep better. I wake up before the alarm and get up on time. At bedtime, I fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through the night.
2. My stamina is better and I no longer experience the 3 p.m. slump. I used to go scavenging for a snack or sugary drink in the mid afternoon and could almost set a clock by these cravings. This hasn’t happened in two months.
3. I’m calmer.
4. My focus is better at work and I can walk into a room and remember why I’m there.
5. I’m off my cholesterol meds!
6. My cooking skills are evolving and improving.
7. My tastes are changing and, while I may sometimes crave pancakes or candy, these things no longer taste so good when I do eat them.
8. Instead of automatically saying ‘yes’ to dessert, I now stop and think about whether I’m hungry and how a sugary treat will make me feel. I used to just eat dessert because it was there.
9. My tolerance to heat has improved. I’m guessing this is because I have lost weight.
10. Fresh produce tastes amazing! There is nothing more delicious than a fresh peach or watermelon. Fresh asparagus and sweet potatoes are pretty amazing too.
The list could actually become quite long. For example, my skin is clearer, I never feel bloated, I’m more excited to try new foods and am physically stronger. Another victory is that I’m never hungry and I don’t feel deprived just because I’m not eating treats. Instead, I feel fortunate that I can afford to buy and prepare fresh fish, vegetables and fruit. People the world over would do anything for fresh food and water and I choose to feel fortunate that these things are within my reach.
I have read that each Whole 30 round is more challenging than the one before so I’m a little nervous this may not go well or that those NSV’s may seem less plentiful. Here’s hoping round two is as good for my mind and body as the first!