JOIN COACH KALEENA AS SHE GOES THROUGH THE WHOLE30 PROGRAM.
WE DID IT! We completed our 30 day health and fitness challenge. Through the ups and downs, the cravings, the mood swings, the avoidance of alcohol like the plague, the seemingly endless hours of meal prep, and the careful reading of nutrition labels, to the restful nights of sleep, to synching belt buckles tighter, to seeing muscle definition, clearer skin, jaw lines and smaller boobs; we did it. By no means was it easy, but it has been so worth it. Indeed, the view from the top of the mountain was worth the climb. As someone who has never done a committed diet or nutrition plan, I am pretty darn proud of myself. I didn’t have beer for 30 days….I’m pretty sure I deserve a medal of some sort. This journey has been challenging, eye opening, and satisfying all in one. I’ve learned more in the last month about how food affects my body than I learned in the last 2 years, and that has been the most rewarding of all.
Now in being totally honest, I was not a by-the-book Whole30er. I didn’t strictly eat 3 meals a day. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a very talented snacker (it’s one of my strengths), and so I did snack throughout the day. I also have a career(s) in which I am moving and on my feet 8-12 hours per day. If I didn’t snack, I would starve to death. Okay, maybe that’s just a tad dramatic. What’s more realistic is that when I get really hungry, I turn into a cranky mountain troll. “Hangry” (angry when hungry or hunger anger) is a very serious condition that millions of women suffer from. When left un-treated it can lead to temper tantrums and irrational fits of rage. It’s essential, for everyone’s safety, that I remain in a somewhat satiated state. The difference between before and after Whole30 is my choice in snacks. I’ve stepped away from chips and ________ (insert any sort of dip) and instead go for a sort of trail mix. My favorite combo is almonds, cashews, and some raisins. Any sort of candy (ex: M&Ms, Twix, Recee’s peanut butter cups) sounds absolutely disgusting to me now. Keep in mind that this is coming from the girl who would eat and hide candy wrappers under her pillow and then throw them away at school so that Mom didn’t know how much I was actually eating. Now I reach for an apple or orange to satisfy my sweet tooth instead of digging into the gallon of mint chip ice cream. Yes, I eat it straight out of the tub. You can’t define a serving size if you can’t measure it. Duh. How I ended up in the fitness industry is still mind boggling.
Week 4 was a little bit stressful. What do I do when this is over? Will I just go back to eating the usual crap? I don’t want to go back to the old habits. I’m enjoying so much of how I feel and look that I have no desire to regress. It was like walking backwards, uphill, in the snow, and barefoot to get up this mountain. An avalanche of cheese back to the bottom of the hill would be a huge let down. The ultimate goal was never weight loss. My end goal was to change my relationship with food, I can say with certainty that Whole30 did just that. By Week 4, I didn’t miss carbs or cheese. I didn’t miss chips or garbage foods. I found satisfaction in real food and not empty calories. I was actually enjoying spending my Sunday’s meal prepping for the week. It was a nice and relaxing change from this fall where I spent every Sunday either coaching soccer or firmly planted on a bar stool from 10am-5pm watching football. Drinking my body weight in beer and heaps of bar food made for a terrible cocktail of indigestion and guilt. My game plan moving forward, is to take as much with me as I can. To continue to eat clean, to read labels and cut out food loaded with chemicals or ingredients that I can’t pronounce. I want to continue to meal prep because I like having a wholesome and satisfying lunch at work. I want to be aware of what and how much of certain items I am ingesting. I feel like I’ve transformed from a beat up Ford Pinto into a sexy, high powered Dodge Charger. Sorry if that’s a disappointing car example, but I do love me a good muscle car. Regular gasoline won’t do the trick anymore. I’ll accept nothing less than Premium fuel. Only the cleanest and best foods available will do.
Favorite foods this past week:
- Butternut squash curry. Delicious over cauliflower rice and add veggies and/or a protein to spruce it up.
- Spaghetti squash with ground turkey in homemade Whole30 pesto.
- Pan roasted chicken simmered in coconut milk and spices. Serve up with cauliflower rice and veggies.
I apologize for the lack of photos. I am usually so hangry (it happens a lot) that by the time I’m done cooking I just scarf it down and forget to take pictures. Just imagine something delicate and delicious, plated perfectly, like on Pinterest.
Note: several of you have asked for recipes from my meals. Most of these things I just throw together. I don’t really measure anything, but I will happily be re-creating and posting another blog on some of these Whole30 foods soon. Stay tuned!
The good stuff: Before and After
I’ve been so thrilled with the results and changes that I saw in myself over the course of these 30 days. My clothes fit better. I have extra room in the waist of my jeans. My arms are looking lean and mean, and my legs got more toned (I didn’t think that was possible). I don’t have to tuck in that spare tire around my waist when I wear yoga pants. I feel like Steve Urkle every time I hike my Lulu’s up to my sports bra to give myself that smooth waist line appearance. My skin feels soft and looks healthy because it’s hydrated with water and not alcohol. I haven’t felt bloated or gross after eating. The sleep. Oh my gosh. The restful night’s sleep has been the absolute best, and because I’m sleeping better I have more energy throughout the day. I walk by a mirror and do a double take because I’m still in shock with how slim I look. Yup, I’m shamelessly checking myself out. Let’s be honest, we all just want to look good naked, and I’m feelin’ pretty good about myself right now, and I have to give most of the credit to Whole30.
The difference is incredible to me. If I played “What’s the Difference?” between the two photos: My face has some cheek and jaw bone definition. Those chicken wings (those pinchable little flaps under your arm where your bra is) are considerably smaller. I have collar bones and traps (those are the muscle on top of your shoulders). My waist is considerably smaller. I don’t have a 6-pack, but I have some freaking definition, so I’ll take it! I’m also not sucking it in on Day 31. I am beyond happy with my results. I’m down 3% body fat, I’ve lost inches in my arms, legs, and most considerably my waist, and I even shed a few pounds. I can’t lie, I did go against the rules during the challenge and I weighed myself at the end of each week.
So many of us are so concerned with the number we see on the scale. I spent a lot of time hating the scale, hating the numbers, hating food, and hating myself. I always thought if I hit that magical number that I would be happy and skinny all of a sudden. Not true. I could weigh 100 lbs, be all flubber, and I would still be unhappy. By the way, I was so excited when I hit 100 lbs…in 6th grade. I was dense. Physically not mentally, thank you. Now, I want to feel good about myself based on what I see in the mirror, not what I see on the scale. I weighed myself to prove a point to those of you frustrated with dieting, exercise, and your weight. I lost 5lbs in the first week, but after that I lost, at most, .8 lbs per week. That can be so frustrating for some people, especially after seeing such a large drop off after Week 1. Well, Week 1 was probably a lot of water/beer weight and just shedding off all the crap from the holidays. Over the next 3 weeks I lost a total 2.5 lbs. The only number that I cared even a little bit about, was my Body Fat percentage. As long as that number went down, then my weight didn’t matter. I’d rather lose fat than lose weight. Now can those things go hand in hand? Certainly. But, let’s change the culture from caring about our weight to caring about the numbers that actually matter- inches and percentages.
Whole30 is a little bit of a lie, as it should be called Whole40. There is an additional 10 day reintroduction period so that you don’t blow out your colon by diving into a pizza as soon as you’re done. The idea is to go through a little experimentation to see what you have intolerances to. While I am looking forward to beer, I’m not looking forward to see if I’m adversely affected by it. Ignorance is bliss! I’ve had issues with some wheat beers in the past, so I’m a little nervous. I also know that dairy is going to be a big no-no, so I’m terrified of cheese. I’m super terrified to try any sort of added sugar because I am so in love with sleeping. What if I have BBQ sauce with added sugar and I can’t sleep? I would have to break up with BBQ sauce, and that’s been a very committed relationship for a long time. I have no intention of ditching what I’ve learned from Whole30 and going back to old habits. I have high hopes to continue to eat clean, train hard, and meal prep on Sundays.
All in all, this has been a very rewarding and very positive experience. As someone who has struggled with food for a long time, this has truly been a great way to mend that relationship. I was not alone in this journey, and I have to thank so many people for the help and inspiration on the way. A big thanks to Gymnazo, who continues to push me to be the best that I can be. Thank you to all of my fellow Whole30 Challengers who shared their stories. It was incredibly motivating to see all of your transformations over the last month, and it was so fun to hear what your experiences were. Thank you to Phil for embarking on this challenge with me. You cheated heavily the first week, worked out less, ate more, and still ended up with an 8-pack at the end of it all. I hate you, and I love you. Finally, a big thanks to all of you that reached out and let me know that you read my blog! I’m thankful and flattered that you took the time to read about my experience and hopefully laughed at me along the way. Thank you again, and don’t worry, I’ll be doing a follow up blog: 30 Days Post Whole 30.
Cheers and happy eating!