April 23, 2016

Day Four: What I Learned From My Failed Whole30

I may not have stuck with the Whole30 for the, uh, whole 30, but that doesn't mean I didn't take anything valuable away from it. I learned a lot in those 15 days, and I'm learning a lot more now that I've started adding non-Whole30 foods back into my diet. These are just a few of those things.

I think the most important thing I learned is that I can eat 3 meals a day, and get enough nutrition from those that I don't need to snack at all. Snacking is one of my biggest downfalls when trying to lose weight. I'll grab a bag of chips, or some crackers, or chocolate frosting, and before I know it I've eaten everything in my apartment. Snacking is discouraged on the Whole30 - you should be getting all the nutrients and calories you need from your 3 square meals a day. So with that in mind, whenever I wanted a snack, I asked myself, "Why?" Was I actually hungry, or only bored/tired/upset? In my 15 days on Whole30, the answer was only "hungry" one time. So I only had a snack one time. And I survived, and will continue to do so. Snacking is a gateway to food overload for me. Even if it's not junk food, if I snack when I'm not really hungry, I will inevitably overeat. So snacking is out.

I also learned that I don't need junk food/packaged/processed foods in my life. I didn't even miss them. Do you know how good grapes taste? And strawberries, and feta-less Greek salads, and roasted chicken breasts? They taste amazing, and there is nothing in them from a box, bag, or carton. I don't even miss Coke, which has always been my drug of choice. There are still 3 cans of Coke in my fridge from before the Whole30, and they've sat untouched, even since I stopped following the program. For some reason I can't bring myself to get rid of them, but I've yet to be tempted by them. Cold, refreshing water is enough for me. So no more junk food? Check.

Probably the worst thing to come out of the Whole30/15 for me is also the saddest thing that has ever happened in my life. Cheese and I, we are not friends. And even though I pretty much already knew that, I was hoping this would prove that it was something else making me feel queasy all the time, and not dairy. But it is. Because I ate some cheese yesterday, and my face got puffy, I got bloated, and then I suffered. I was lactose intolerant as a baby/toddler, but it went away for most of my childhood and teenage years. It has come back with a vengeance in the last few years. And even though I knew going in that dairy was probably the culprit behind a lot of my problems, I'm still really sad to have it confirmed. Like, deeply sad. I never even got to have pizza before I found this out. Goodbye pizza! You were my best food friend in the entire world! I'll miss you! *sob*

In addition to dairy, I will also be giving up gluten, at least temporarily. I don't think I truly waited enough time between eating a flour tortilla, and eating that cheese, to know if the gluten had any real effect. The effects from the dairy were immediate, and obvious. I'm not so sure about the gluten, so I'm going to go a few more weeks without it to see.

So even though I "failed" at being a good Whole30'er, I still learned a lot about myself. About what I am capable of NOT eating, and what kinds of things I actually enjoy eating. I also found a love for cooking, and a great disdain for doing the dishes. But since I live alone, and those things have to go together, I will deal with the dishes for now.