Last week was hellacious. I had to wear my heavy glasses (which put a strain on my neck, and are too strong to read with, but they’re so cute and I rarely wear them) and I started Whole30 (which involved a lot of arguing with my husband and a lot of work). But I am so excited I made it through!
In case you don’t know what Whole30 is, it’s a simple exclusion diet that only lasts a month. It cuts out dairy, gluten, sugar, legumes, alcohol, and soy. It sounds difficult, but it really isn’t (read on for why it isn’t for me though). I actually did another exclusion diet a few years ago but broke down after a few days and had a bowl of cereal with dairy milk. I quickly discovered that all of my abdominal pain I’d been experiencing for 6 months had been dairy induced!
It’s a great thing to do if you are interested in jump starting a lifestyle change. It’s actually similar to my favorite lifestyle diet, the anti-inflammatory diet, which is more about moderation as opposed to complete exclusion.
Doing this diet I have learned a lot, even in only a week. I have grown in myself, my marriage, and in my planning abilities.
- Don’t force your husband to do anything unless you’re prepared for a fight. David was not into this at all. He’s in politics in South Carolina and while he doesn’t drink heavily (maybe once or twice a week he’ll have a few beers), alcohol is part of political culture. He also is on the road a lot, and while I’ve offered to pack him lunches, he does not desire to be seen carrying a lunchbox around the statehouse. Go figure.
- Don’t start something this major during an abnormal week. I apologize if I sound like a broken record about my glasses, but they have really been a huge nuisance. I wore glasses in middle school, but since high school I have almost exclusively worn contacts. I’ve also worn 24 hour contacts for about 10 years. Needless to say, it has been an exhausting week dealing with my new eye condition. But then cooking multiple meals a day has only added to it. While every week is different, do your best to at least start this diet during a normal/slow week.
- Meal planning is very important. I don’t think I would have been nearly as successful, or successful at all, without the meal plan I found from Our Paleo Life. Nearly all of the recipes and meal plans are available on their website, but they also have a packet available for purchase and download. I opted for this for simplicities sake, and it was a huge life saver. I still opt for my usual, grocery shopping for the next few days meals, but meal prepping really has been a huge life saver.
- Meal-prep is also very important. I had never been big on meal prep, only recently did I begin chopping onions and gathering spices before I began cooking. But I decided to try it as instructed by Our Paleo Life, and that change has been incredible! I cook and combine recipes as best as I can at a single time, and then that way I just have to combine the last few ingredients, warm up, and serve. In the past, I haven’t been consistent with cooking because I’m often too tired, and order delivery which just makes me more tired. This way, unless I am so tired I can’t even stand, I am able to cook a meal.
Overall this whole experience has made me excited to cook again. I love cooking but it can be exhausting, especially when you are trying to cut out dairy and gluten, the consumption of which is basically an American past time. But I have decided not to continue Whole30. I have a history of stress induced anorexia. It has nothing to do with personal appearance (while I wish I was a bit more toned I’m at my heaviest and I’m still fine with my weight), I literally stop eating when I get stressed. Just about every time I’ve tried a diet I end up not eating much and end up getting exhausted because I’m not consuming enough. Before big events (like a test I had to take to get my teacher’s license when I tried to teach again), I literally stop eating. It’s usually just for a few days and I supplement with protein shakes, but still not fun.
I’m still going to try to follow the principles of the Whole30 diet, reducing gluten and dairy and sugar, but I’m not going to restrict myself. I want to live my life and enjoy it. I’ll probably periodically do a cleanse where I do not consume sugar or dairy for a week, but I don’t think major dieting is for me.