When I was posting regularly, I used to try to post something about food on Fridays – recipes, or for awhile I was obsessed with those meal delivery services and reviewed a bunch of those. My most recent food obsession? Whole 30.
I’ve been “paleo-ish” for the past few years, and it seems to work really well for me. The “ish” comes from the part of the week where I still mow like four slices of pizza on Friday nights and eat ice cream on the weekends. I like how I feel and look when I do the Paleo thing, but let’s be real: life is too short to completely cut out pizza. And ice cream. And icing. And fries. (I think I might actually be a twelve year old trapped inside the body of a 34 year old). Besides, I’ve never really been one for labels so I’m certainly not about to label my diet.
After the Atlantic Pole Championships and Boston last year, I “opened the trap”. Meaning I spent the rest of April and all of May living on junk food- specifically icing (so many work parties with cake, so little time) – and whatever else I could get my hands on. The real low point for me was the last day of school. I host a party each year that my friends and I affectionally call “Teacherpalooza”, and last year was a rough school year. I drank all of the drinks and like any classy woman would do, I ended up puking in the arborvitaes that line my driveway (I know better than to mix all of the alcohols but I just couldn’t contain my excitement that the year was finally OVER). I woke up the next day and was ready for a reset. Enter Whole 30.
There are lots of little rules, but the basis behind Whole 30 is that you cut out all sugar, dairy, alcohol and anything processed for 30 days. Even though my end of the school year shenanigans would lead you to believe that I regularly enjoy adult beverages, I don’t drink that often. So the no alcohol thing was the least of my worries. I have a big sweet tooth and the no sugar thing seemed insane. I love my pizza Fridays and all of the cheese on everything so no dairy? Eeek.
I went to Whole Foods to try to find things I could eat. Even going to Whole Foods proved to be challenging – I learned just how many things have sugar in them – including bacon, mayo, etc. I mean, I knew these things before but when you are Paleo, you can eat things like coconut sugar and maple syrup and honey so you sort of forget. But I was determined to give this a shot and detox myself from the diet of sugar and grease that I’d adopted over the past month.
After the first week, I realized I didn’t crave anything. At first, I would have probably killed for a brownie or some goat cheese, or a slice of pizza. But once I had a full week down, I was determined to last the entire 30 days and see how it went. I went to parties (including the Fourth of July) and didn’t cheat. I didn’t go out to eat too often for lack of options, but when I did, I stayed true to the plan.
At the end, I was actually super sad it was over! I really only lost about two or three pounds doing it, but I LOVED how I felt. I had so much energy, and I didn’t crave sugar. I learned how to perfectly poach an egg without any special tools, and I found out that unsweetened, dried organic mangos might be better than candy (well…that might be taking things too far). Homemade may is super easy, and I could probably eat it right out of the mason jar with a spoon – and I don’t like regular mayo. Ghee is easy to make and is basically brown butter, but with the milk solids removed. I could probably put that on just about anything (also would be great on a spoon). I found out that grain free granola and hot cereal is a thing (Wildway is an amazing brand!). I absolutely LOVE EGGPLANT in any capacity, and here I thought I only liked Eggplant Parm and my Eggplant Lasagna.
When it was all over, I decided that I would stick with the Whole 30 thing from Monday-Friday, and cheat on the weekends. Well, Monday-Friday afternoons. One thing I never stopped missing the entire time was my Friday night pizza fix. I have to say, this absolutely works for me and has really helped to control my sweet tooth. I’m running half what I was when I was training for Boston, but somehow hit my target race weight (after the strict 30 days was over, not during) – and I wasn’t even tracking much in Fitness Pal like I did religiously for years! It’s funny because with pole becoming my primary exercise, I think my goal race weight looks totally different on my frame.
My first round of Whole 30 ended back in July, and I have been able to maintain my diet and weight since then. I plan to do another full round with no cheating after the holidays, another time of year where I like to “open up the trap”. It was a huge commitment to stick to the plan without cheating, and I liked the challenge. I still see the benefits by applying the rules to my diet during the week and letting loose on the weekends. And really, doing that way is really my style – now I can say I’m “Whole 30-ish”.
Have you ever done a round of Whole 30? Do you ever “open the trap”? What’s your junk food weakness?