Today is day 31 and I have successfully completed my Whole30. Hoorah!
I shan't go into detail about the programme, if you don't know what it is, please refer to my halfway point blog here.
The main thing that I've noticed is that no matter how many times you try to explain why you're doing it - it's about resetting your metabolism, cleaning down your system so that when you reintroduce food groups afterwards, you have a clear idea of their effect. It's about examining your relationship with food to better understand why you eat the things you do (addiction, habit) - most people just want to know.....
How much weight have you lost?
So you try to explain that it's not about weight loss. It's about resetting your metabolism, cleaning down your system so that when you reintroduce food groups afterwards, you have a clear idea of their effect. It's about examining your relationship with food to better understand why you eat the things you do. Blah blah blah. And they smile and nod and then tell you that you look great, like you've lost a lot of weight. Which is great, it really is. But it is not the point.
So this morning, when I had this conversation with my colleague:
Colleague: "So are you going to go wild in the aisles for dinner tomorrow night?"
Me: "Errrm no. That would have made the last 30 days a bit pointles, wouldn't it."
C: "Would it? Why's that?"
M: "Because the whole idea is to clean your system and then slowly reintroduce foods one by one to see the effect they have on you"
C: "Oh. I thought it was going to be a 'school's out' kind of situation"
Me: *quietly goes to ladies loo to BANG MY HEAD AGAINST THE WALL*
I wanted to scream.
As a society, we're so obsessed with that number on the scale. On how we look. On what dress size we can squeeze ourselves into. And really none of that matters a crap.
Which is why I love the friends who have asked me "How do you feel?". Because that's the point.
And how do I feel? I feel great. I didn't really notice that I didn't feel great before, because when you feel that low-level-just-meh all the time, you get used to it. It's being in the monkey house and not realising that it smells like poo. But you learn it on days 2-4, when you have a killer headache as you experience the caffeine and sugar come down. You realise how powerful those substances are when they leave your body and they are not going to go quietly. They are going to rage, rage against the dying of the light.
You notice it when you have a moment of panic on day 28 about what you might find yourself eating on days 31+ when you "can eat whatever you want" and then have a moment of epiphany when you realise that you could have eaten anything you wanted for the entirety of the Whole30, you've not been locked in a prison cell. You have simply chosen not to. Doesn't that feel great? To take back control and realise that you can have a packet of crisps, if you want. It doesn't mean you have to feel bad about it, or subsequently eat an entire multipack. You can have a bit of chocolate, if you want to. I bought a slab of this to celebrate the end of my Whole30, chopped it into small sections, had one piece and shared the rest with my colleagues. One piece was enough. What a revelation.
Would I recommend doing Whole30? Well generally I hate to evangelise about things. I get so annoyed when people who say things like "Have you seen Blah blah film? No?! You have to!". Actually, no I don't have to and I probably won't, so please shut up. So I won't tell you to do it. I'll just tell you that in doing this, I have taken the first steps to changing my life for the better. The past 30 days have taught me a huge amount, about the food that I eat, about the person that I am.
And if you're the one sat there thinking "It just sounds so hard!", I'll leave you with this from the Whole30 website:
It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.