I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
Day 26. TWENTY-SIX! As my 4 year old daughter said this morning when I got up, “Mommy! You only have four days left until you can eat SUGAR!!”
So it’s been twenty-six days of being incredibly mindful about what I eat. I have read label after label on food packages and jars. I have packed freshly baked sugar cookies (from family friends) into my kids’ lunches longing to sink my teeth into the soft, still-warm sweetness, but staying strong. I have attended an AMAZING star-filled VIP Rogers party and passed up quality wine, custom baked cupcakes, and delectable hors d’ouvers. I have stared into my fridge, freezer, and pantry trying to decide what to make and wishing I could just open a box of pasta and use the pre-made meatballs and spaghetti sauce that lists sugar on the label.
You’re not supposed to weigh yourself during this challenge because the focus is being mindful about food, not about how much weight you may or may not be losing. I did, and noticed that I stopped losing weight after 2.5 weeks. That’s how long it took my body to get used to the new way of life. It was a super side-benefit, and I know that it’s going to be difficult to keep it off after I start bringing other foods back into my diet, but I’m determined to keep the sugar and carbs at a minimum – a bonus instead of a meal staple.
So. Have I enjoyed this?
Not one bit. Well, that’s not quite true. I’m proud of myself for committing to this and not cheating with even a tiny morsel for the past 26 days (although I did lick my fingers after serving up some Ritz crackers for the kids…), so I suppose that’s a positive benefit of this. I enjoy the personal satisfaction that I’ve gotten, learning that I CAN DO THIS.
But. The rest of it is terrible. I don’t like depriving myself of things that I like, and I like things like cheese and bread a lot. I don’t like doing things that I don’t really want to be doing. I was reminded several times of that one time I climbed Grouse Mountain in BC. It’s a baby mountain climb, but I hated Every. Single. Step. of that hike. I was so proud of myself when we got to the top, but that didn’t make me like it any more than I did during it! I still have no desire to ever climb a mountain again and that was 15 years ago.
Am I sleeping better?
Nope. I was really hoping that better sleep would be a side-benefit, since most people I’ve spoken to have remarked on that milestone of the Whole30. If I could get a solid 8 hour sleep without waking up in the middle of the night, being in a semi-conscious state between 5-7am, or taking hours to fall asleep at night, I would commit to the Whole30 FOR LIFE. I haven’t seen any change in my sleeping patterns, much to my dismay.
On the bright side, I don’t have to feel badly about having a glass of wine in the evenings because I now KNOW that wine has zero impact on my rest at night.
Do I have a lot more energy?
Nope. Again, a side-benefit that I was hoping for, but it probably goes hand-in-hand with still sleeping terribly. I’ve upped my veggie count dramatically and didn’t really have to work on the water intake (drinking enough water daily has never been a difficult task for me since I stopped drinking juice 10 years ago), so I was so very hopeful about increased energy. However, I must confess that I did *not* pair this challenge with increased physical activity (I blame it on the move and not “having time”, but I could have made the time if I made the commitment to myself), so that probably has quite a bit to do with the end result.
Does my hair shine and my skin glow?
I ask this one because I have read SO MANY REVIEWS from Whole30 survivors who mention people commenting on their gorgeous hair and healthy, glowing skin. I have rosacea and I was hoping that this would be my secret weapon to getting rid of it, since the foods that I had to cut out are some of the most common triggers for this skin condition. Simply put: it didn’t do much. I still have the bumpy skin on my cheeks and the extra dry-but-oily forhead. If I try to use any sort of exfoliant, no matter how gentle, on my face, I’d walk around with beet red cheeks for the next three hours. My hair is the same as always if not a little more oily, but I did switch to a new conditioner at around the same time as we started the Whole30, so that’s probably the culprit.
How do I feel, overall?
I think, once I got over the terrible crabbiness from the first week of sugar withdrawal, that I have been less roller-coaster-ish with my emotions. (Although as I sit and write this, I can feel my hormones amping up for their monthly fireworks show, but even that is more subdued, I think. You’d have to ask my kids, though, for the honest answer on that.) I feel thinner.
I feel pleased with myself.
I feel more knowledgeable about healthy food portions of various food groups.
I feel that we made the right decision in doing this challenge.
Is the last week of the Whole30 easier than the first week?
Not for me. My husband seems to be coasting along just fine, but he’s a guy, and he didn’t have a hard time the first week, either. I don’t have sugar withdrawal anymore, so that’s easier, but my mouth still waters whenever I see pictures of ice cream sundaes, chocolate bars, croissants, etc. Just knowing that this is all coming to an end of 4 days is making me impatient. I want to be done NOW! But, as the book says, it’s called the Whole30, not the Whole26 or Whole28. Twenty-six or twenty-eight days is NOT thirty days, and I committed to myself that I would do this for 30. I owe it to myself to finish this up as strongly as I started it.
Would I do the Whole30 again, knowing what I know about the experience?
Yep. Absolutely. I’m grown up enough to realize that not liking something doesn’t mean that it’s not good for me. The discipline, the self-control, and the sugar detox have all been really good for me in spite of the fact that I neither look nor feel like the well-rested glowing ball of energy I was hoping to turn into.
My husband and I have talked about doing this again in November to remind our brains how we should be eating as we head into the Christmas season, but we might do a slightly modified version and allow a few legumes and perhaps a limited amount of hard cheese.