Shortly after I kicked off my July Whole25, I realized my friend Julia was also doing a Whole30. She's a friend from the gym and she's also in the process of becoming a coach! Going through the Whole30 with other people makes it so much easier and it was great to have her support (and someone to commiserate with) throughout the month! Congrats Julia :)
To preface my improvements throughout the past month, let me give you a background of where I am coming from. I did my first Whole30 November 2013. I did well throughout the program, but once I was done, I spiraled back into my bad eating habits prior to my Whole30. Not being completely able to get back into a steady 80/20 paleo diet I watched my progress in crossfit slow down, my sleep patterns falter, and my overall mood become negative.
Improvements during my detox:
- My weight lifting improved. At the end of June, my gym (CrossFit Valley Forge) tested its members’ max effort clean and jerk. My previous max was 140lbs, and I couldn’t even get close to it. I was ashamed of my futile effort, hitting only a modest 125lbs. That one instance in which I failed to set a new record drove me to do my second Whole30. Six days ago, I cleaned 135lbs. FIVE times. Three days ago I cleaned 145lbs. one time. The improvement is 99% due to the dietary choices I made. I don’t think I necessarily got that much stronger over the past month. I think the fact that I was able to be a more positive thinker contributed to that extra 20lbs. I added to my lift. Bottom line: the right food allowed me to confide in myself.
- I didn’t drink as much caffeine. When your hormones work properly, the rest of your body can function independently of drugs and chemicals. In fact, the time of day when we need caffeine the least is in the morning as long as our (stress hormone) cortisol fires at the right time. Most people don’t even know what that initial jolt of early morning cortisol is supposed to feel like because it gets buried under the mentality of “needing” caffeine to function in the morning. I’d have a small cup of coffee or tea and be all set for the rest of the day.
- Meal preparation is a useful task for everyone, Whole30 or not. Meal prep not only saved me money during my Whole30, but it kept me from overeating those restaurant sized portions of food. One of my take aways this time is to always be prepared. Especially since I play in a band and often find myself at bars which specialize in chicken wings and greasy French fries. Even if prepared meals aren’t an option, find an approved recipe for a protein shake and bring some compliant jerky, cut up veggies, or Larabars with you – something is always better than nothing.
- Coming out of the Whole30, it is perfectly okay to cheat in moderation. In fact, cheat meals (pizza, a slice of cake, whatever your guilty pleasure might be) act like a “jump-start” to your metabolism. Believe it or not, cheat meals are crucial to successful weight loss. The mistake I made after my first Whole30 was that I pigged out on everything I had missed for a whole month. The thing to remember is, you will absolutely be able to have that cup of ice cream again! Don’t worry, I promise. But you probably shouldn’t have that cup of ice cream, half of a pizza, a 6 pack of beer, and a box of cookies all in once sitting (sadly, a true story). Space it out over a couple weeks and you’ll have been able to treat yourself to all of the things you missed out on during your Whole30.
- Once again, I have made it alive through a Whole30. The non-compliant things I have invited back into my diet all have a purpose in the grand scheme of my 80/20 paleo regimen (I’ve been calling it “As Paleo As Possible.”). Whole milk, for example, has an exceptional amount of calcium and vitamin D. I only drink it right before I go to bed, as it helps me sleep and provides protein to aid the body in recovery. Honey, too, because it is in many of the paleo sauces available via Steve’s Paleo – at 2 grams of sugar per serving, I’m not that worried about it. Eventually, I will add rice post workout and maybe even yogurt for the benefit of its probiotic content.
Thanks for reading my post. I hope it helps answer some of the questions and concerns that might surface during your own Whole30. My first Whole30 overlapped Thanksgiving and Christmas; meaning I had to be compliant during holidays, too. It just goes to show that nothing is more important than the food with which we choose to fuel our bodies. Remember: it’s only 30 days.