If you are a relatively regular reader (alliteration!! rah-rah RAH!) here at Ashley’s Devotions, then you probably already know that roughly a month ago I posted about my participation in The Whole 30 program. Well, the program is finished! Am I a quitter? A whiner? A victor? A weirdo!…well yes, to the last one at least.I am going to be completely honest about our days spent on The Whole 30, because that’s just the only way to do it.
First off, let me tell you all what I mainly survived off of while we were doing our Whole 30 thang. Pineapple. Yes, that’s right, pineapple. When you can’t have sugar or anything sweet, to say that your body is craving something sweet would be a big fat understatement. Around week two we discovered that if we browsed through enough of the canned fruit, we could find pineapple that had no added sweeteners or fruit juices. Once we cracked open those cans we never looked back.
I also fell in love with avocados. I already was fond of a ripe Haas avocado, but started a love affair with them when I started my diet. You can jazz up an avocado so easy that it’s ridiculous. I added sautéed pineapple, I added green and red peppers, I added lime juice. And I would saute a chicken breast slowly with some spices, top it off with my avocado blend and that would be my lunch. I also developed an appreciation for almonds, but did discover that I had an aversion to cashews. A bit scary, might I add, to be at home by yourself and discover that you’re having a reaction to the cashew butter that you’re chowing down on.
I also discovered that I loved making my own spaghetti sauce. Granted, no, we couldn’t have pasta. But there is a lovely vegetable called spaghetti squash that is a great substitute for pasta. Diced tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, red peppers and onions and spices and meat and I could make some fabulous italian dishes. And now I almost prefer making a sauce from scratch to jarred sauces which are loaded with sugar and salt. Don’t get me wrong, Prego is kind of where it’s at, but when you’re on a diet, sometimes the kitchen table looks appetizing. But my sauces – definitely much, much better than wood.
So, here is how it all went down after I last left you….
Around week three, my husband started to go a bit crazy. I had always marveled at the fact that my husband could eat the same food, day after day and never seem to tire of it. I could make him the same ham and cheese sandwich on wheat bread with spicy brown mustard and pepperjack cheese and he never seemed to tire of it. So, it came as no surprise when at the beginning of the diet I was an irritated mess over my (lack of) food choices while he was trucking right along on his merry way, seemingly unfazed.
My desire to kill everything in sight ended around week two. Rob and I continued to adhere to our diet while our late night activities turned from catching up on our favorite shows to discussing the wonders of Dairy Queen Blizzards and s’mores. And then it happened. Around week 3…Rob started to go a little bit crazy. He isn’t a whiner, I will give the boy credit where credit is most certainly due. He didn’t moan he didn’t cheat on his diet…but he was starting to get sick of eggs and eversoslightlyaveryteenytinybit sick of bacon for breakfast every single morning. Let me add that I was sick of eggs by day THREE.
Memorial Day weekend rolled around. Rob got even more ancy. We were both ancy- the end of this diet was in sight. We could feel it in the air. We were hosting a bbq – a friend had even offered to bring over some of his HOMEMADE brewed beer. Rob offered us a compromise to celebrate the holiday – we could each cheat just a smidge.
Now, let me rewind to about week three (Memorial Day was into week 4) Rob and I were proud of ourselves for doing our diet. We both knew that we had to have been making progress because our pants were fitting better, our love handles were smaller and people were noticing the changes to our physical appearance. But we both didn’t feel…incredible. The authors of the diet insisted that participants would feel noticeably different – better- after being on the diet for a few weeks. Rob and I didn’t really notice a significant change in our energy levels. We certainly felt great knowing that we were eating healthy food, making great choices and disciplining ourselves. And we were liking what we were seeing in the mirror. But as for any more than that…meh. Personally, we did not notice a change but for others, a dietary change like this might make a world of difference. Everyone’s reaction will be different, so keep that in mind if this is something that you are considering.
With all of that said, we were really ancy by week four to be finished because we were ready to be not so limited on what we could eat. There are traces of sugar in everything, or corn syrup solids, or soy or this or that. It really does limit what you can eat, and after a while, working around all of that to make compromises gets a bit tedious. Plus, I also want to point out that this was pretty heavy on our wallet. We were maxing out our grocery budget every week.
By week four, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel and by that point, we were ready to step into the sweet sweet sunlight, baby.
We cheated on Memorial Day.
It is worth noting that it wasn’t a super-huge cheat, but it was worth it. I had a burger with CHEESE and a bun. I had a bit of my mom’s beer dip and I had orange soda and a tiny brownie. Man…was it delicious, and not too terrible because I didn’t feel like I had overdone it.
But come the following morning, I was kicking myself. There was leftover junk food still in the house, the taste of brownies was still fresh in my memory and I just couldn’t make myself go back to the Whole 3o. So here ends our story friends, after about 22/23 days we ended our diet. And I had PEANUT BUTTER.
That evening we weighed ourselves. Here is why I am especially kicking myself now for jumping off of the Whole 30 bandwagon so quickly – in three weeks I had lost 14 pounds. Holy smokes. I figured there would be some change, but not that much change. Rob lost around 16 pounds. We were both pretty tickled. Sure, we’re complete and utter dieting failures but COME ON. However, two weeks later, I have resorted to some of my pre-Whole 30 bad habits and I’m fighting to get back to where I was.
This week, I’m going after no grains and little to no sugar. I have allowed myself low-fat dairy because it isn’t one of my pitfalls. I still haven’t decided what exactly my approach to eating is now, but it is good to not feel quite as food focused. We are still clinging to what habits we developed last month because they really are healthy ones to have. But worrying about having a s’more? Not so much.
We are still adjusting to life after The Whole 30. One thing that I can enthusiastically say is that being in a program like this helped me to evolve as a cook. I don’t need some of the more processed foods to make a dinner – I just need meat, veggies, olive oil and spices and I can come up with something. Our dinners have basically stayed Whole 30 friendly, save for the addition of perhaps some low-fat dairy. I am actually hoping in the coming weeks to share meal ideas with all of you. Even if you aren’t looking forward to overhauling your diet like we did, these are still great tasting and healthy options that I approve of. And you can totally trust me, right?
At the end of the day, we’re really glad that we did the Whole 30, and that we did it together. I’m also kind of (selfishly) glad to have seen my husband crack just ever so slightly and admit he didn’t want another egg or piece of chicken. Sorry, honey. But it’s TRUE. The man WAS laughing at me in my sugar craving stupor when we started our diet, so turn about is fair play I suppose.
I am so glad that I did the Whole 30, and am especially thankful to have had a husband willing to participate with me. Thanks for being such a fantastic support, hun. I would absolutely recommend something like this to any of my readers. The results are worth it, and the habits are good ones to have. And a making strides towards being healthier are steps in the right direction, even if they are only small steps in the beginning.
Everyone has to start from somewhere.