Doncha love it when people do blog posts about big, huge, drastic, sweeping changes they're doing in some aspect of their lives... then you don't hear from them for 2 weeks?
Yeah, leaves ya wondering if they did a horrible miserable fail and dove head first back into their old ways so deep that it'll take them years to dig out so they're back where they started...
Or (if you're more a more positive thinker than I am ;) you figure they're doing so well with things they are in happy lala land and have no need to be validated or report to others.
Yeah... those are usually the two I come up with as well.
To catch folks up to speed, I decided to embark on the 'Whole 30' plan which follows the paleo model of no grains, no sugar, no dairy, and no legumes, and also removes alcohol from the equation for 30 days... As with most 'elimination' type eating plans, it's designed to remove the major inflammation offenders from the diet to give the body a chance to rest, heal, and get back to healthy. The caveat is to commit completely 100%, no cheating, no 'sliding', nothin...
For me, I went in not planning to do the "whole" 30 days, but closer to 25 days to line up with the parental units visit... but decided to do it to see how it'd make me feel to commit 100% to something. I'm sittin here at day 15 and (because I do need validation and feel the need to report/be accountable to others) I'm happy to report I'm actually closer than the 2nd option than the first.
Here's a little touch base/update on things so far:
What I did:
- Met the change in eating with a good attitude. I looked at it for what it could bring to my life and my health... the fact that people were having great results (hitting personal records, sleeping better, living happier) all were compelling reasons to get to it.
- Looked at what I could have food wise, which is a great variety.
- Was willing to experiment with food. I looooove me my butter, but was willing to find out if I really needed it on some stuff, or if I could find a better alternative to make do during this time.
- Listened to my body. If it was hungry, I ate... if it was full, I stopped. If it was screaming at me to give it sugar, I had a chat with it to figure out what was really going on, and offered something else (usually food in general helped). When it was tired, I put it to bed.
- Ate more fruit! (I'll get to the significance in a bit)
What I didn't do:
- Stress... at least not too much. I will be 100% honest - I followed the plan 100%... for 10 days. Then I went away for the weekend and while I planned well (I packed a cooler with some salads, meat & snacks), there were still opportunities that I encountered when I CHOSE convenience over consistency. Did you get that? I made a choice to go off the eating plan. I didn't slip, no one made me, and I'm living with it. Cheese on the egg, dinner out with family that included a bit of pasta/bread, a piece of toast rather than waiting another hour to get breakfast, a glass of limited ed. beer with my hubby that I hadn't seen in almost a month rather than saying no. There was some GI issues with a couple of the choices, but for the most part no major blips, and went back to the plan at the next opportunity.
- Bemoan/focus on what I couldn't have... yeah, I miss the smidge of honey in my coffee in the morning, or butter on my broccoli, but I'm dealing. (Though out of all the stuff that I thought I'd "miss"... those are the only 2 things that I actually do miss.)
- Count down the days when I'd be done. One of the things I was bouncing around in my brain was if this was something I could live with long term. So instead of waiting till The End, I was counting UP the days that I did stick to the plan... and since I'm a total geek, my inner princesses & I had a lot of fun putting gold stars on my calendar for the days I did 100%. (seriously, you HAVE to make it fun! :)
- Eat enough. Yeah, this was fun... I couldn't figure out why I had no energy, but when I recorded the food for a couple of days it was glaringly obvious, my calories were way too low to support any sort of intense activity... like waking up, or showering, let alone sitting at a desk all day at work.
- Eat enough carbs. This part was extra fun... again, I couldn't figure out why I was feeling like total poo... and we all know I'm all about avoiding the poo. Well, I was already eating at the lower end of the carb range, but take away the morning toast, and add in more fiberously dense, but calorically light veggies, you've got yourself a pretty low carb eating plan. Here's the thing, cutting your carbs in half like that (for me it was going from about 100g to 50 grams) will encourage your body to expel a lot of water, and with it, essential nutrients - sodium, potassium, magnesium to name a few. Those nutrients are electrolytes and if they're low, you're not doing much of anything for long. So hence, more fruit... and bananas (and parsnips, which will made my dad smile. :)! Oooh and the happy, nutrient rich salt (not the regular bleached white stuff, we're talking Pink, Grey and nearly Black stuff... NUM!) Once I got those back in line, all was right and happy with the world again.
What I didn't expect:
- Creativity! This whole experience, short as it's been so far, really got the mental juices flowing. It got me thinking a lot more about the role/relationship with food in my life... and looking at a few other areas that haven't quite gelled yet, but are still niggling around the brain.
- Feeling like cr@p. Seriously, was annoying that I felt like poo so early on when so many people report feeling AH-mazing when they get going... glad I figured out what it was early on.
- The sugar monster that apparently was lurking deep within me. I had blocked out the daily chocolate fix (a hershey kiss here, a mini reeses there, etc...) so when I chose to stop it, I discovered how many times I did reach for the sugar. I could act all better-than-you and say that fruit is all you need, but I won't. Because when the brain is telling you that only processed white stuff will do, belive it. That's what it's been programmed to run on for the last however many years, and it does not like changing to lower octane fuel without a fight. Be prepared. And have dried fruit & nuts handy at all times.
- NOT having as much of an issue with the all-or-nothing thinking. I was really expecting this to be a battle of wills between the Princesses & I, but there really hasn't been much of an issue, much to my happy surprise. When I made once choice early on in the day to not stick to the plan, it didn't open the flood gates to keep on 'messing up'... in fact I think Stevie & Veruca did more to help keep that in check than I did for myself. The inner kiddo's did more parenting than the 'parent' by serving to remind me that it's just meaning that I won't get the full health benefits from sticking to it 100%, but I'm still getting a lot out of it.
So my summation:
The last 15 days has been a serious learning experience, but a positive one, and one I'm looking foward to seeing how the next several days go.
Is it sustainable? Absolutely... and will most likely continue with it to a good degree, but I love butter too much to keep it this restrictive. :)
So how about any of you? Have you committed yourself 100% to any changes? Share your experience!!