Follow by Email

Search Past Posts

Blog Archive

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Whole30 Challenge: Final Thoughts

Well, we did it! Sort of. We started the Whole30 Challenge at the beginning of the month, but about two weeks in I told Matt that I would finish the whole month but the last week would probably be hell in our house because I could only handle one more week of it. He agreed to stop at 21 days.

He's a wise man.

And he's even wiser for agreeing to call it off a day earlier when we had no food to pack for lunch at the zoo, thus necessitating a stop at Chick-fil-a. Oh please, don't act surprised that that was my first un-Whole30 choice.

But I say "we did it" because, although we didn't go the whole thirty days, I would still consider this challenge a success.

You know why? Because it has changed the way we view food and how we fuel our bodies.

So here are some of my thoughts on the challenge and what lies ahead.

We'll start with the good:
  • Weight loss. Matt started at 265 lbs (he says he was 275 over spring break; he started working out again before the challenge) and I started at 137. We each lost a significant amount of weight. Matt's down to 259 (6-16 lbs) and I'm down to 131 (6 lbs). I can't remember the last time I weighed 131. But it's not even about the number; both of us have noticed a drastic change in the way our clothes have been fitting us (read: getting baggier by the day).
  • We feel better. Well, Matt especially says he feels like he has more energy. I don't really feel that different, but I like feeling skinnier!
  • Our kids loved it. Avery's a pretty adventurous eater, so she loved eating different types of food. It was also easier to feed Landon table food because I knew exactly what we were eating (like no extra preservatives, sugar, etc.). I also feel like kids will eat what you serve them, so by making fruits and veggies the norm, that's what they'll get used to and enjoy eating.
  • More time in the kitchen. Each meal became an ordeal because there's a lot more prep work involved when you can't use convenience foods. It was kinda fun though, and I really got used to spending the extra time cooking/preparing meals.
  • Real food is good. We already love sweet potatoes, avocados, and eggs (staples of Whole30), so it wasn't like we were forcing ourselves to eat stuff we hated. We also learned that romaine lettuce makes a fantastic taco shell and hard boiled eggs are an awesome snack.
  • It redefined "full." We didn't even realize how much we were overeating before this challenge. I also learned that I do not have to have dessert every night. Dessert should be a treat. I actually don't know when it became a norm for me, but I'm glad to know that I can change that norm!
And here are some of the negatives:
  • More time in the kitchen. With a two year old and a ten month old, time is valuable. There were some days that I just wanted to scream, "WHY CAN'T I JUST MAKE MYSELF A FREAKING SANDWICH?!?!" But I got over it.
  • Food obsession. When your menu choices are so limited and you have to know every ingredient in everything you put in your body, it's easy to get obsessive over your food. There's gotta be balance.
  • It's hard to pack lunch when you don't have leftovers. (That one's for Matt.) We usually eat leftovers for lunches, but we pretty much ate everything we cooked for dinner at dinner. 
  • It's expensive. Buying fresh produce and lots of meat is more expensive than buying processed food. It just is. And while I didn't think we ate that much processed food, the fact that our grocery bill doubled this month tells me otherwise. However, I am willing to spend more money now to ensure that we're eating better quality vs quantity.
  • No flexibility. Yes, the challenge is only (supposed to be) thirty days long, but it's hard to eat at a restaurant and stay Whole30. Fortunately, we only had to do that once.
  • The first week. It's a beating. It's basically a detox and your body responds as such. I woke up the first few mornings shaking because I felt so week. I was eating plenty of protein and fats, but I think my body was almost in shock. That's a little scary to think about.
So where do we go from here?

We've talked about doing a Paleo lifestyle or a modified version of it, but that didn't really seem feasible for our family. I was so excited to find 100 Days of Real Food. It's a blog about a family who took a 100 day challenge to just eat real food (not highly processed or refined). She posts some great stuff, and it's been really educational for me.

Eating "real food" seems very doable for us, and it fits with our goal to cut out the processed convenience foods from our diet.

Yes, that means I'll have to pay lots of attention to ingredients. Yes, that means cooking with coconut oil instead of vegetable or canola. Yes, it means I'll spend more time in the kitchen.

We're also switching back to organic milk (while cutting back on consumption of it). I'm cutting back on sugar. We don't have to eat so much bread.

Don't worry, this isn't about to become some crazy food lady blog or anything. I think we're pretty realistic in our understanding that there will be plenty of times that we won't be eating "real food," and that's okay.

We're also not throwing out everything from our pantry (i.e. white flour) on our road to eating real. It'll be an ongoing process to change our eating habits, but we're up for it.

As long as I can still eat a dang cookie every now and then.

No comments: