Today is my 14th day on Whole30. For me, this is an amazing accomplishment. I went my birthday without eating cupcakes and drinking wine. I haven’t had Swedish Fish, ice cream, or even an organic gummy bear in two weeks. I have spinach, kale, and avocado every day. This is the healthiest I’ve ever eaten in my entire life and I know that the promised Whole30 “Tiger Blood” is on it’s way. At least it better be, because frankly, these past two weeks fucking sucked.
Week one wasn’t terrible. There is always an excitement when you start something new with equally enthusiastic people whom you like, and knowing that they are going through the same tiredness, food boredom and sugar headaches you are helps in the complaining department. I certainly can’t complain to my husband or parents, as to them this was my choice and if I don’t like it, just stop it. Well, this doesn’t work that way. At least I don’t.
I didn’t really get any sugar headaches. There was maybe one mild one but nothing that was dire. I’ve heard of people getting headaches for days and almost quitting due to that, but surprisingly I was fine. I ate so much sugar the month before so I took that as a blessing. I was tired and my workouts were weak, but that was to be expected. I think the worst “side-effect” I got was my absolute stabbiness. I was so quick to snap at my loved ones and the fact that my poor husband hasn’t left to stay at a friends house for the rest of the month shows his true support of this endeavor.
Now let’s talk about week 2. What a fucking nightmare. I started this post a few times during week two but they were mostly paragraphs of swear words and incoherent babbling about my wanting to take a nap and never eat an egg again. (I’m throwing in a few “potty” words in this post as an homage). Day nine was when things got bad. I woke up exhausted and felt like my muscles had atrophied. Getting out of bed, getting my kids ready for school/daycare, taking them to school/daycare, then having to interact with humans the rest of the day took everything I had. Luckily I worked from home. Somehow I was able to force myself to go to Cardio Strength class that night, as Tuesday the whole family goes to the gym together, and it was during that class I decided to quit Whole30. I was done. I had nothing prepared for dinner, I was incredibly tired, and I desperately wanted alcohol. I figured we would make a Chick-fil-a run on the way home, I would get grilled chicken nuggets so I was still somewhat healthy, then finish my night off with a glorious glass of wine. When class ended and I started talking to my Whole30 friends, I knew I wasn’t going to do it. I ended up going through the Wendy’s Drive-thru for the kids and getting myself three plain baked potatoes. Then I went home and made eggs. Again. I passed that test.
You would think the universe would have rewarded me for my extreme mental determination the night before, but no. It didn’t. I woke up on day 10 feeling like I got hit by a bus. Worse, I had a very long work day ahead of me that had me meeting partners that needed to like me. When I got to their office, the first thing I saw were the beautiful Publix doughnut assortment laid out on the conference table. Agony. I drank my black coffee and pretended that I was a smart, kind person that anyone would want to give their business to. Lunch was worse. It was a place known for it’s local, organic fare, but that included gluten-free pastries and cheesecakes of so many kinds. I had a very plain salad and another black coffee. I was miserable, but I made it through the day with no casualties.
Day 11 I woke up less feeling like I’d been hit by a bus, and more like I was side-swiped by a healthy, fit and energetic cyclist who, after swiping me, gave me the finger. Progress.
Each day did get a little better energy-wise, plus I was less stabby which was a blessing for all. My workouts weren’t leaving me drained and I woke up with less hate in my heart. In fact, there was some real positivity creeping in. I could see that my skin was starting to look pretty good and I felt thin and never bloated. Maybe too thin though. I could tell I was losing too much weight so I did the one of the things they tell you not to do: I weighed myself. I felt I had good reason in that I wasn’t doing this to lose weight, just a few holiday pounds, and I definitely didn’t want to lose muscle, so I needed a numerical gauge. I had lost 9 pounds. This was too much so I knew I had to add more fat into my diet, which led to eating an avocado a day and a lot of nuts. Not a bad thing.
Even though my weight had dropped, I think a good five pounds was bloat from all the sugar and carbs I had been sustaining myself on for, well, years. When I look at my body today, I see thin but I also see more tone. I look and feel stronger. I was able to do the “bird” or “crow” pose in Body Flow on day 13 for about 3 seconds, and I had never done it before. That felt amazing.
So today, Day 14, how do I really feel? Decent. Better. There are noticeable changes and I can feel a few benefits. Tiger Blood? No, not yet, but here and there I have moments where I feel something like it. The next few days are when you’re really supposed to feel it but I’m not counting on it happening that soon. What I realized is I have spent the last 37 years sustaining on sugar and bread, and my body now has to learn to burn fat and healthy carbs to maintain. Maybe I was fit before, but I wasn’t eating nutritiously and doing what was best for my body. I think this is why I had such a rough week two, and why Tiger Blood could possibly be delayed a few days. It’s there, ready to come out, but I think my body wants to be totally sure I’m really really doing this before it gives me my reward. Imagine how confused it must be: All these vegetables! This protein that didn’t come from a powder or bar! No alcohol! No dessert! Too good to be true!
Do I feel jealous when I see those around me eating cupcakes and having an ice cold beer? Yes, but I made a choice, and that choice only lasts 30 days. I can have that cupcake in just a few weeks, if I really want it, but who knows? Maybe I won’t even want it by then (we’ll see about that). I’ve learned I can say no to something, that I won’t die or even be in any physical pain by not having a cupcake. I can survive motherhood for a few weeks without having a glass of wine or two. I can cook! And it’s really not that hard! I’ve learned that my body needs a lot of fuel to keep it going, but how I feel depends on the type of fuel I feed it. I know when I’m actually hungry and not just bored. I can easily stop a craving by switching my mind to something else. I can talk myself out of even licking French fry grease off my fingers after I hand one to the baby. If this is all that happens, if this is all I get, then Whole30 was/is a total success, but I know there’s more. My life is already changed dramatically in two weeks, and I know that by completing this challenge, I will have accomplished something I never thought I could do. The mental achievement of Whole30 could easily surpass the physical benefits. Because now, now it’s mental. Now that my body is somewhat “recovered”, it’s my mind that will need to get me through to the end. Here’s to keeping my sanity!