Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Whole30 Experience

I've written about going grain and dairy-free before and spoken about how much better I feel without them.  I've also talked about how I discovered dairy breaks out my face and gluten makes my stomach hurt.  I was slowly stripping away the inflammatory foods but had never done a full Whole30 before July.

The Whole30 is not about fat loss, although you probably will experience fat loss if you do a Whole30.  It's about healing your gut, getting your hormones in balance and making yourself healthier by fueling yourself with the right foods.  The biggest change for me was the best sleep I have had since high school when I played two sports and more energy than I knew what to do with (seriously, I was ANNOYED at how much energy I had.)  The combination of energy and good sleep caused me to have better weight training sessions than I've had in a long time which led to muscle growth.  Over the course of my Whole30 I went from 16.3% body fat to 13.8% and I only exercised 9 times in those 30 days.

When I started the Whole30, I was already grain, legume and dairy-free.  I would indulge in dark chocolate almond sea salt bars and occasionally gluten-free cupcakes on the weekends but I thought I was in a good position.  All I had left to give up was added sugars, seed oils, and alcohol.  And wow, what a difference that made.

Let me back track a second and say I also like coffee.  I like coffee but I have the personality type where coffee doesn't really affect me.  I like the taste of coffee. You might say that is BS - and I thought it was too - until I did was Dallas and Melissa suggest and self-experimented.  I gave up my beloved coffee for 30 days.  What sparked this coffee quitting was the fact that I was having serious sleep problems.  I would fall asleep easily but would wake up around 3AM and not be able to fall back asleep before I was up at 530AM.  It was awful.  An interesting thing happened when I gave up coffee.  I had ZERO withdrawal symptoms, the same sleep issues, and 30 days later when I added coffee back in, I couldn't tell any difference.  It wasn't the coffee.  I think it was denial that kept me from experimenting with giving up wine, but after the Whole30, I KNOW that wine was the culprit.

When Condition Kettlebell Gym decided to do this as a group, I decided that I wanted to participate instead of just moderate.  I knew it was time that I got out of the habit of going to the pub next door and doing my accounting with a glass or two of wine... that would into a glass or two at a networking event later.  I knew I needed this challenge to break myself of the wine.

The transition was not too difficult - again, it was just a matter of preparing my own food and not drinking. But the energy was insane.  That may sound like a good thing, but it was extremely annoying to me.  All I wanted was a glass of wine to calm myself down.  It made me revisit hobbies, it forced me try new ones, I got back on track with things that are important to me like getting to Bible Study and organizing my apartment.  And by Day 29 - I was waking up after 8 hours of sleep without and alarm clock... just like I heard was possible.

The Whole30 has seriously changed my life.  The only things I have added in in the last 3 weeks are local, pastured bacon/sausage that has a small amount of sugar in the curing process and wine.  And I realize exactly what the wine is doing.  I'm not talking a lot of wine! I had ONE GLASS on Monday night and woke up at 3AM... ONE GLASS.  Now, instead of casually drinking it throughout the week and being sluggish and not sleeping - which affects EVERYTHING, I only drink it on the weekend... because I LIKE it and poor sleep on a Friday when I can sleep late on a Saturday is not the end of the world. At least I know it's side effects and can make a decision as to whether it's worth it.

The rest of the "stuff"?? I don't care if I ever eat grains or dairy again, and I haven't had a "dessert" in almost 2 months. I'm too afraid that I will get addicted to sugar again, that the dessert - even if it's "compliant" isn't psychologically worth it.

I highly recommend doing a Whole30 to learn how the foods you eat affect you - not just for fat loss...