I did it.
Guys…. I did it!!
I successfully completed the Whole30!!!!
I’m still in disbelief that I crossed the finish line of a month without all of my favorite foods and beverages. I knew I coooouuullllddd do it, but I haven’t… ever. Do you ever think about that? We get defensive with others (or our inner selves) who call us out when our words don’t align with our actions, like, YEAH BRO, I CAN DO THAT! But, can you? I’ve gone without drinking, but continued to eat whatever I wanted. I’ve given up dairy for lent or bread temporarily, but everything…. all together…. at the same time? No sugar (real or artificial), no alcohol, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no carrageenan, MSG or sulfites, no attempting to re-create baked goods and junk foods and no weighing myself.
Real talk? I was so focused on the food and drink restrictions that I forgot I wasn’t supposed to weigh myself. After a week or 2, my amazing boyfriend very politely asked if I was just not following that rule… “….what?” “You know,” he says, “You’re not supposed to weigh yourself, right?” OMG. He was right. I stopped after that and felt terrible (and secretly happy that I had seen the numbers start to go down #truth). I also had minor “realized after the bite” cheating with sauces at 2 separate restaurant outing occasions. I’m cool with it.
Along with all my incredibly supportive friends and family (primarily my roommate and boyfriend who had to experience Rachel’s Whole30 Wrath first hand), there were two important people by my side. My wonderful friend Monica had recently completed the Whole30 and gave me the final convincing that it was a powerful, effective and enlightening experience. My incredible friend Chanel was buzzing for a body reset just like I was and we mutually decided to go at it together. She would be doing the vegetarian version while I remained a savage meat eater. To make things even more exciting, the three of us sat down and decided to plan a celebration; something to look forward to and keep us motivated. Our shared passions for health, fitness and Athleta Pasadena created an easy foundation for our creativity and led us to an action plan that would connect and inspire even more of our community. I’m incredibly proud to begin releasing that project today – right here, right now. There’s lots more to come, so if you’re not really sure what’s happening yet, you’re all good homie.
All you need to know for now is that you get perks at Athleta Pasadena for being one of my amazing readers! Stop by the store this week, mention The Love Fit Life collaboration and find your way into the best fitness and lifestyle wear out there!!!
So here I am. I conquered the Whole30 a week ago and I feel awesome.
In addition to losing a total of 8 pounds, I….
got a lot of my body and muscle definition back,
started sleeping better,
noticed a dramatic improvement in my skin,
exercised with more ease,
felt a more positive attitude on a daily basis,
began tasting foods like never before,
worked through tremendous physical, emotional and mental barriers,
experienced a decline in back aches and general body pains,
fit into my clothes better,
found more confidence,
saved money and ate out only a handful of times,
and connected with my body like never before.
Throughout my month-long lifestyle makeover, I thought a lot about what I would do when it was over. I fantasied about my perfect cheat meal and remained vague when asked by friends and family what I would indulge in. As my body got deeper into the reset, I entered a mental space that considered keeping cheat meals out completely. Instead of allowing myself to slide back downhill, I could immediately transition into a program that would treat my relationship with certain foods like a drug. Three days before the finish line though, I accidentally ate a sauce with soy in it. I felt awful. Not sick, per se, but incredibly uncomfortable. I didn’t like it. Without any real thought about previous opinions, I became infatuated by my body’s reaction to each specific type of “toxin” or “allergen” I had eliminated for the month. What was really setting my body and mind off? Was there one or two things specifically that would dramatically increase my quality of life if I left them out? Was a blaming the wrong ingredients for certain feelings and outcomes?
My first meal “back” was wine and dumplings (har-gow, vegetables and juicy pork). It was….so….wonderful. Just right. The days that followed became a curious trial and analysis of primarily grains, dairy and alcohol. My body felt bloated and lethargic, but not nearly as uncomfortable or awful as my accidental bout with soy. Legumes and sugar seem to have very naturally kept themselves out so far. I’m surprised to say, I just don’t want them. Legumes have always made me gassy. Now I’m just accepting that and interpreting it as my body works better without them. Sugar, on the other hand, is just a seemingly endless poison.
Through my month of eating real foods, reading labels and trying to release old habits, my eyes were opened to just HOW MUCH soy and sugar we consume. They are in EVERYTHING. Literally…. like, EVERYTHING! I quickly discovered I didn’t really need or want added sugar that much, I was just so used to it. My tastebuds were burned with sugar crystals even when I thought I was soooo good about avoiding it or keeping it to a minimum. Splenda in my morning coffee, covering less favorable foods with honey, agave or syrup, adding it to most recipes, enjoying anything processed or pastry-like, almost every sauce or dressing…. the list seems endless. Now that I’m getting so used to the taste of foods and beverages without it, I’m not concerned with going back yet. I get my fill with fresh fruit and I’m loving it. Soy was another major eye opener for me. From sauces to meat products, a huge amount of vegetarian and vegan options, non-stick sprays and more… It was shocking to realize how common it was. As I shared my surprise, I began learning more and more about interesting connections, histories and reasons way a hiatus from these foods wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Sulfites struck me pretty hard as well. Not sure what sulfites are? Oh you know, sulfites are chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives. From a long list of foods to medications and even cosmetics and beauty products. That’s right – they’re in your pastries AND YOUR SHAMPOO. I’ll admit, I didn’t really realize their role in food at first. I learned about them from my mom who swears by her decision to throw away all beauty products containing sulfites. After hearing her go on and on about how much of a difference it made, I went home, looked in the shower and found that every single product I owned had sulfites in it. A trip to CVS and a shower later, my skin felt better than ever before. No more itching or discomfort. Amazing.
My week of post Whole30 cheating is now over. I feel more confident about what makes my body rock, roll and fall down in a wheelbarrow. I’m ready to take the next step forward and explore a new long-term lifestyle goal. Wondering what that might be?
Let’s discover it together….