Whole 30: Lessons from the first 20 days

Whole 30 soup

We are over 20 days into our Whole 30 challenge! I can hardly believe that it is almost over! The first week felt like it dragged on. 30 days seemed like an eternity. But now, I feel like it has flown by and I’m wondering what in the world I am going to eat when this is all over!

Whole 30 - first 20 days

If you are not familiar with the Whole 30 rules, then let me tell you one rule that the authors are very firm on: You are not allowed to weigh/measure yourself for 30 days. This may not seem like a big deal but it does feel a little strange not stepping on the scale to see if I made any progress. It’s odd to have no idea what I weigh but I have grown to really appreciate it. Without the scale, I am forced to focus on a different type of progress. Instead of analyzing weight loss, I am focusing on how I feel and my new mindset with food. Even though it seems out-of- the-norm and I believe that checking weight can be helpful with losing weight, it is nice to push that aspect aside. Because, after all, this is not a diet.

Now, you might be thinking I sound crazy. This has to be a diet, right? People tend to lose weight on Whole 30 so that must be all there is to it! But that is not the truth at all. Based on my experience so far with Whole 30 (reading the book and participating for 20 days), it is all about redefining my relationship with food. I am taking 30 days to clear my body of the junk I had been putting in it and teaching myself that food is just food. It is not my comfort, it is not what I need to have a good time, and there are lots of things I can certainly live without!

Kale Salad

With all of that said, here are 5 things I have learned in the first 20 days.

  1. Food has always been my comfort – I notice that, on the tough days when things aren’t going so right, I immediately start racking my brain for something sweet to eat. I am looking for comfort to get through the difficult moment I am in. Throughout these first 20 days, I have had to battle those feelings and learn the correct response. Because this isn’t just about getting through these 30 days. It is about making a life-long change.
  2. I can live without the meal “staples” – The meal staples, for my family, have been pasta, rice, and bread. Our meals in the past consisted of at least one of these things. So, when we started Whole 30, we kind of looked blankly at each other, wondering what we should have with our chicken and veggies! At first, our meals felt unfinished. Now, we see it differently and have realized that we can live without those things! I have even noticed it in my kids! I made my daughters pasta the other night and Myra (who usually devours her pasta and leaves her veggies behind) left almost all of the pasta on her plate and ate all of her sugar snap pea “treasures” (as she calls them). It was a moment of triumph as I realized that Whole 30 was making a difference in my whole family!
  3. I can live without…sugar?!? – This is a biggy. If you ask my husband what my absolute favorite food in the world is, he would quickly and confidently say “chocolate”…and he would be right! I particularly love dark chocolate. But along with chocolate, I love cake, ice cream, cookies, and almost all things loaded with sugar. This Whole 30 experience has been such a needed detox from sugar. I have not defeated my “sugar dragon” yet, as I still have some intense sugar cravings. But since I cannot have sugar, I have been forced to deal with it. I have found some healthy options for the times I just need a little something sweet but I am hoping that the next 10 days will rid me of this sugar craving…hopefully, for good!
  4. My pantry looks bare and I like it! – We started this Whole 30 adventure at a convenient time. We had just moved into our new home and our cupboards were bare. The very next day, we started Whole 30. And ya know what? Our cupboards never had a chance to fill up! We usually have tons of cans, boxes, and bottles but now, the majority of our food is in the fridge! Besides a few snacks for my kids, our only pantry items consist of oils, almonds, and Larabars! I love this new way of living!
  5. My temptations are beatable – We all have food temptations. It is different for lots of people, but it’s that thing that you have to have if it’s there or you long to buy as you pass it in the grocery store. Throughout these 20 days, I have defeated tons of temptations. Just the other day, I picked up pizza for the teens on Wednesday night. I was all alone in the car with the delicious smell of cheese and carbs filling the air. I was tempted, but I did not give in. Yes, the reason I did not give in to my temptation was because of Whole 30 and the fact that I would have to start over if I did give in. However, I still learned a valuable lesson. I can say “no” to any food temptation. If I couldn’t, then believe you me, that whole pizza would have been in my belly within minutes. But I didn’t even think about taking a bite. Even as I watched people eat it in my very own house, I never once felt that pizza would make me feel better or satisfy me in any way. (I was even faced with chocolate pie! Now that was an accomplishment!)

Zoodles with veggies

This Whole 30 experience has been a lot of fun, so far. I have had my ups, where I feel like I can eat this way forever and I enjoy trying new recipes. And I have had my downs, when all I want is something sweet and nothing seems to hit the spot. Throughout it all, I am excited to be challenging myself, revealing the truth about how terrible my relationship with food is, and working toward a life-long lifestyle change.

Cauliflower Rice

I’m excited to share the end results with you! Less than 10 days left!

Have you done your own Whole 30? What helped you defeat your temptations and “sugar dragon”?

P.S. Introducing Whole 30 and What I Learned in the First 10 Days

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