Whole 30 Journal

Hi there. With the help of my awesome sister and some very supportive friends I’m embarking on a slightly less intense Whole 30 for the month of March. My goal is to eliminate sugar (dessert!) cravings and develop better coping techniques for stress rather than turning to sugar/wine. I plan to avoid grains, dairy, alcohol, and sugar, with the exception of oats, occasional legumes, and a splash of milk in my coffee. In the spirit of keeping a journal to stay honest and work through unanticipated emotions and reactions, I’m sharing my experience here. I hope you find it helpful.

Food Freedom Forever

Day 1: Wednesday, March 1, 2017

6:45am Woke up with a lot of energy and excited to start my modified Whole 30. Solid 8 hours of sleep for once – woot!

7:45am Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, applesauce, and cinnamon. Small coffee.

9:15am Awesome run – maybe 4K

10:45am Getting hungry. Time to make lunch!

11:00am Lunch: Hardboiled egg; smoothie with cooked vegetables from last night’s dinner (cauliflower, peppers, onions, chard, broccoli, asparagus), pre-prepped raw vegetables (celery, cucumber), half a banana, egg shell, lemon slice, ginger, garlic, turmeric, and water

Could taste the egg shells – try puree it twice tomorrow! Surprisingly not bad taste though, yay banana! Would be delicious heated up as soup. Rushing to finish eating because have to pick up my preschooler right NOW. Need to be better prepared so can be more mindful during meals and enjoy the food and moment.

1:00pm Feeling bloated. Maybe too much vegetables or the shells? It’s been a while since my last drink of water because of busy day. Maybe hot water to help gas between meals??

2:30pm Starting to get hungry but have been busy the past two hours so barely noticed. Not crampy any more.

2:40pm “Snack” (more of a late lunch): Spinach salad with cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, small amount of chic peas, and splash of flax oil and balsamic vinegar. Apple dipped in peanut butter for dessert.

4:00pm Feeling bloated again. Mint tea! Still a lot of energy, more than I expected I would have at this point in the day without cheese or bread – a staple of my pre-Whole 30 Lunch.

6:45pm Dinner: Roast beef and squash, steamed vegetables

Dinner

Rub for the roast had a small amount of sugar in it and I only realized after making it. Oh well. Nice to not feel guilty taking seconds because it’s vegetables so I can have as much as I want! Need to find a replacement activity for after dinner to break the dessert habit. Maybe tea and then get busy? Need to leave the kitchen though – getting busy prepping school lunches and overnight oatmeal keeps me wanting to eat!

9:15pm Snack: Small handful of almonds and Brazil nuts; snap peas and carrots. My pre-W30 snack at this time was always plain Greek yoghurt with nuts, berries, and cinnamon. Want to avoid fruit after 3pm to see if the sugar affects my desire for sweets late at night and/or sleep. Hard to resist continuing to snack! Decided not to keep eating any more vegetables even though they’re healthy because I want to break the late-night-TV snacking habit. My hands want to be busy while watching TV but I don’t like to play on my phone late at night so I spent longer than necessary flossing my teeth while watching. Kinda weird but it worked.

12:00am A bit hungry going to bed but should have gone to bed earlier!

Lemon water through the day: 10

Mint/ginger tea: 3

Day 2: Thursday, March 2, 2017

5:00am Woken up far too early because one of my kids peed the bed, something that hasn’t happened in months so of course it happens on a night I went to bed late. Starting the day off exhausted and grumpy, not good. Today will be harder than yesterday so I need to try to be mindful of my stress levels and grumpiness, and take extra time to breathe and relax when I can.

7:45am Breakfast: Oatmeal with the usual fixings; coffee.

Overnight oatmeal

10:00am TIRED! Debating if I’ll try for an early afternoon nap but naps never work out for me. Another big glass of water and then yoga helps.

11:20am Starving! Also feeling weak. Went too long between meals and need to eat ASAP. Need more food to make up for lack of sleep.

11:30am Lunch: Spinach salad with vegetables, egg, and avocado; Apple with peanut butter.

Jealous of S’s bagel with melted cheese – it looks and smells so good! Consoled myself with a pickle and green tea.

1:30pm Starting to feel hungry, usually can go longer between meals when I’m well rested. Water and cleaning to distract myself because I like to wait at least 3 hours between meals. Maybe I need to re-think this on days when I haven’t slept well since I’m eating such healthy stuff anyway?

2:30pm Snack: Vegetable smoothie with navy beans. It tastes pretty much the same as yesterday but I’m not loving it today. Still crunchy even though I pureed multiple times. Adding egg shells might be a little ambitious – like going to the gym too often on a new health kick and then getting injured. Will leave them out tomorrow.

3:00pm Tired and sooooo lethargic waiting for the food to kick in. Water and a walk to wake up.

5:00pm Starting to feel hungry again. So. very. sleepy.

5:45pm Dinner: Squash, leek, and potato soup; leftover roast beef; steamed cabbage and vegetables

Very much want a drink and/or chocolate because of kids fighting before and at dinner. We’re all feeding off each other’s’ grumpy moods. Frustrated and no energy to deal with it well. Peppermint tea and found a quiet spot to read the newspaper by myself so I don’t make things worse.

8:30pm Great chat with my awesome hubby, which helped me de-stress. Usually we just watch TV once the evening chores are done, but tonight instead of puttering around getting stuff done I was just ready to sit.

9:00pm Snack: nuts, peas, and carrots again. Really wanted a glass of wine or chocolate (again) but nothing particularly tempting in my house so it was easy enough to ignore the cravings.

11:00pm Going to sleep. Still not early enough but better than midnight. The quiet house at night is just so calming and hard to resist.

Lemon water through the day: 9 cups

Herbal tea: 4

Day 3: Friday, March 3, 2017

7:00am Woke up after a solid deep sleep, already today is much better than yesterday.

Feeling stiff and a bit weak. Maybe the lack of carbs is affecting me more than I think?

7:30am The usual: overnight oatmeal and a coffee.

9:00am My regular ~4K run. Really didn’t feel like it because it’s cold and my body is stiff, but the beautiful sunshine and my eager dog persuaded me. Still feel a bit weak during and afterwards but also proud that I went and generally feeling good.

11:00am Lunch: Egg and a smoothie with a little bit more fruit (strawberries), no eggshells, and no ginger. Tastes delicious and not nearly as intense (gross) as yesterday’s.

Banana eggshell smoothie

11:45am Small mango green tea. Was thinking I’d give up my post-lunch tea to try to reduce caffeine, which worked on day 1 but definitely did not yesterday. Green tea is good for me, right? I’ll play it by ear and see if I need to reassess caffeine’s affects throughout the month.

1:30pm A bit bloated and my stomach is churning. Maybe too much vegetables in my smoothie? Or possibly just because I’m still wearing my running tights and the elastic is too tight??

2:30pm Gassy! Hot lemon water to see if it’ll help. Also finally changed into comfier pants – why am I still wearing these tights anyway? Oh right, such a busy day running around with children that there wasn’t one spare minute to run upstairs to my closet.

2:45pm Very irritable. Four hours between meals is too long! Must. eat. now.

3:00pm Spinach salad with vegetables, avocado, and navy beans; Green apple and peanut butter. I might be eating a bit too much fruit. Not nearly as much as I used to but more than I have in past months. Berries in oatmeal, ½ banana and 4 strawberries in smoothie, and apple after my salad. Are 3-4 fruits a day too much? Will be lenient for the first bit of W30 and see if I want to cut down further in.

4:30pm Gassy. Maybe the beans are the culprit! Possibly my W30 should exclude legumes after all?? I also just realized that I was assuming I was dairy free because I’ve been avoiding cheese and yoghurt, typically staples in my diet, however I’ve been adding milk to my coffee as usual without a second thought. Oh well. This month will be hard enough so I’m going to continue to allow it.

7:00pm Dinner: roast chicken with leftover vegetables heated and pureed into soup. Delicious!

Stopped tracking my water and herbal tea because I realized that I drink plenty. Is there such a thing as drinking too much water? Maybe that could be why I felt weaker than normal today?

Day 4: Saturday, March 4, 2017

I don’t think I need to track my meals any more since so far I’ve been eating almost the exact same thing every day with slight variations so that I’m not bored. I also know that I NEED to eat every 3-3.5 hours so will stick to this basic routine, which translates to 5 meals a day, and document if anything changes.

This is the first weekend of the W30 which brings a new set of challenges because I have to watch everything my family is eating without being able to eat most of it. They started the day with scrambled eggs, toast, and a fruit smoothie. I would have had the eggs but we didn’t have enough and I had already packed a salad with a hardboiled egg for this afternoon anyway. After a busy running-around hockey morning we went skiing. I prepared all of my regular meals last night so I would be ready to go, along with PB & J sandwiches, chicken noodle soup in Thermoses, and cut up veggies and fruit for the rest of my family. We got stuck on a chair lift for about twenty minutes – freaky and freezing – and then took longer than usual to get down the run thanks to a couple of wipeouts, so by the time I got to eat my afternoon meal I was starving and very low blood sugar. I had cramps on the way home that could have been from the chic peas in my salad or (again) from my running tights. Will have to experiment with this to see if I have a chic pea sensitivity or just need new tights! We picked up pizza on the way home and I surprised the kids with donuts for dessert, which was a much more appetizing looking meal than the leftovers I heated up into a mushy and mostly disappointing stew. Herbal tea and a pickle helped. Overall the day was very manageable because I’d prepped everything last night and had a good sleep. Yay!

Zig Ziglar Success Quote

Day 5: Sunday, March 5, 2017

This morning I turned off my phone’s mail and social notifications after reading about how much they drain our willpower in Food Freedom Forever. It was remarkable how much more time I had during the day without the pings distracting me into checking my phone/wasting time. We all slept in and had a relaxing and fun day, so I felt great. The only time I was tempted was when I noticed the leftover donuts from last night after the kids were asleep (I’d only bought one per kid to avoid temptation but then ended up cutting them in half). I had thought they would ask/demand them for dessert tonight but none of them remembered. So I stayed silent and stuck them in the freezer to save for another dessert – possibly one that I’ll get to eat! This reassures me that their sugar addiction is nowhere near as bad as mine since for me, dinner is not complete without dessert. Yay!

Day 6: Monday, March 6, 2017

Not much different about today. Back to the usual weekly routine and lack of temptation until the kids are home. Beans in my salad didn’t seem to affect me today, so maybe it is the tights. I haven’t been going to bed early enough and feel drained around dinner time. Want to start a new routine of stretching and meditating after dinner to get me out of the kitchen and give me more energy for the rest of the evening, but the hockey practice/piano lessons/hubby-out-of-town triple whammy made it impossible tonight. Aiming to have lights off by 11pm.

Lunch

Day 7: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We had a lot of running around today but it was mostly fun and none of it involved food so I was busy and distracted, a great combination! We squeezed in some lake shinny, which was awesome but ended with tired and bickering siblings, as it often does. I maintained a level head through the ridiculous arguments and dealt  with it well, which doesn’t always happen when I’m eating more junk food. I also didn’t feel the urge to dive into the chocolate chip bag, something I’ve often done in the past when the stress of parenting gets to be too much. Yay!

Day 8: Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I didn’t get enough sleep last night (7.5 hours) and felt tired most of the day. My son had an important game tonight and I was kind of nervous/distracted/stressed all day because of it. I had all my food prepped and packed to take with me, this is a lot easier than I thought it would be now that I’m in the groove and eat variations of the same meals every day, but we spontaneously went to a restaurant after the game and I ordered chamomile tea (which I don’t love but it was way too late for caffeine and my only other option was mint – another non-fave) while everyone else enjoyed their delicious meals. I was jealous but also felt proud that I had enough willpower to resist. Need to go to sleep early!

Day 9: Thursday, March 9, 2017

I helped out on a school field trip today and I was nervous about having enough energy and eating according to their schedule. They called for snack at 10am and then lunch at 11:30, which doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t work for a lot of kids either because they fill up on snacks and then have no appetite for lunch, but that’s a rant for another day. I delayed my breakfast slightly so I’d be able to push through until 11:30 without getting hangry, and it worked. The field trip was very fun and interesting, and my group of kids was awesome, plus I’d had a solid eight hours of sleep, so that all worked in my favour. I had a moment of weakness when I noticed a chocolate chip fall to the floor from a student’s granola bar and I seriously had to resist. the. urge to pick it up and pop it in my mouth. I also noticed that my egg+smoothie “meal” is more filling than an egg+salad meal because I ate the salad at 11:30 and was starving by 2pm. Typically I have my smoothie at 11am and start to feel hunger pangs around 2:30. I’ve been putting squash in my smoothies so having some kind of healthy carb with each meal is probably a good idea.

Day 10: Friday, March 10, 2017

I’m tired earlier in the evening than I used to be. Perhaps because my diet has fewer carbs and sugar I’m not able to stay up late like I always have. I’m a night owl at heart, but lately I crave an earlier bedtime and feel like I’m pushing it to get to lights out at 11pm. I haven’t changed my caffeine intake (one small coffee after breakfast and one small tea around noon) and I don’t plan to. It’s probably healthier for my body to crave sleep rather than supplement with food, but it doesn’t feel great.

Love Coffee

Day 11: Saturday, March 11, 2017

Made it through the first ten days, officially one-third of the way there! Yay! Unfortunately I haven’t noticed any huge health benefits yet. I do feel like my moods are more stabilized (I don’t lose my temper as easily) and I don’t feel bloated often, but I also don’t feel like I have enough energy and didn’t typically feel bloated before anyway (except for the times when I totally overdid it on treats: Halloween, Christmas, birthdays). I think I should take a look at the Whole 30 Non-Scale Victories to try to get re-motivated. And probably add more healthy carbs. Still haven’t found the time to regularly stretch and meditate, which I know would help.

Day 12: Sunday, March 12, 2017

We’re all a bit grumpy and off today, hopefully just because of the time change. Really would have liked a glass of wine to unwind after the kids went to bed, but nothing in the house so it was easy enough to ignore the temptation. Still, looking forward to when I’m “allowed” to have a drink every so often after this month is over. I’ve been freezing little bits of tempting food when we have it in the house – a few nachos and small portion of ice cream from last night’s takeout was the latest addition. Makes it easier to not feel too left out. Love my freezer!

Day 13: Monday, March 13, 2017

Still tired from the clock change but nothing terrible. I stretched and meditated in the morning instead of working out, which I did before dinner. Trying to tweak my schedule so I regularly stretch and meditate, and it’s harder to squeeze it in after school when the kids are home (but they’re used to seeing me workout and it doesn’t require as much focus). Will have to see if this theory holds. Enjoying a variety of spices to make what is relatively the same meal seem different every day. Also love that I’m actually craving healthy food – finally restocked on snap peas and eating them with my evening snack made my day! Food really does taste that much better when my taste buds aren’t deadened by sugar.

 

Day 14: Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Smelled cinnamon buns on our way into swimming lessons. Smelled amazing! Green smoothie was not much consolation. Still, I’m surprised by how strong my willpower is two weeks in. Maybe not even giving myself the option makes it easier – simply saying no versus “Just this one treat since I’ve been so good.” Or maybe just because I’m halfway there and the end is in sight.

Green smoothie

Day 15: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Another busy day running around, keeping me distracted from thinking about food. The routine of my meals and freezing tempting food really helps make this easier.

Day 16: Thursday, March 16, 2017

I had a social thing tonight and it was VERY hard to resist the wine and treats. I consoled myself with a veggie sushi roll that I thought was “safe” because it didn’t have rice in it, but I didn’t notice (purposely overlooked?) that it was wrapped with “unsafe” rice paper until it was in my mouth. Oh well. Freezed leftover cupcakes before my kids and husband could see/eat them. Not entirely sure I’ll share when I defrost them in April. Sharing is something else I need to work on.

Day 17: Friday, March 17, 2017

We left on a weekend road trip today so I prepped a smoothie, oatmeal, and extra veggies to bring along. I’ve realized that with wine and chocolate off-limits the thing I crave the most right now to deal with stress is quiet. It’s hard to build quiet times into the day with children almost constantly underfoot. I’m more in tune with my stress levels now than I used to be, so I force myself to slow down and breathe when I start getting tense. It’s a band-aid for solitude.

LetSilenceTakeYouToTheCoreOfLife

Day 18: Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hotel breakfast is included, so I loaded up on eggs and fruit and had a couple of sausages, which are probably not allowed, and saved my oatmeal for my late-morning meal. I can’t resist free stuff! Proud that I’m not too tempted by the muffins, cinnamon buns (so warm and delicious smelling), and pancakes. The English muffins and bread were the hardest things to walk away from – it’ll be great when toast will feel like a treat come April. Hoping that will feel decadent enough, and my taste buds will have changed enough, that I won’t crave dessert all the time again once this is done.

Day 19: Sunday, March 19, 2017

Another hotel breakfast with more sausages, eggs, and fruit than I’m probably meant to be consuming. After dinner I sent my husband to the basement to watch TV so the kids would actually eat instead of staring zombie-like at the Raptors game he was watching (visible from the kitchen table) while I kept getting more and more frustrated that they weren’t eating and more and more annoyed by the noise. It was great! Surprisingly, they finished quickly and joined him downstairs and I had about forty minutes to myself before one of them came up needing me because of a bathroom emergency. Forty minutes! That never happens! So I think I need to just ask for quiet, or whatever I need, more often to help me deal with stress/emotional eating. That aside, this weekend was hard. There were so many treats I had to resist and my willpower is just drained. My freezer is very, very full. I’m starting to question how this month will actually change my mindset so that I’ll be able to limit myself when it comes to dessert (and feel satiated) versus totally overdoing it (eating everything in sight.) I think I need to re-peruse Food Freedom Forever to prepare for post-Whole 30. Also need to develop better coping mechanisms than just food. I can’t help but wonder how I used to deal with stress considering how much effort I make now to exercise, eat well, sleep enough, stretch, and meditate. Was I emotional eating all. the. time. or just a super-stressed basket case and have since blocked it out?

Day 20: Monday, March 20, 2017

Today was much more calm and manageable thanks to my kids being at school. Not a lot of noise or tempting food to stress me out. I realized while meditating that my brow and most of my face was furrowed, so I’m super tense even while meditating! Gotta love the fact that I store all my tension in my face – that’s not going to cause me to age faster at all! Also noticing more and more that my posture is terrible. Is there such a thing as stress-induced slouching?

There’s a chunk of time between dinner and the kids’ bedtime where I’m in a lousy mood and totally worn out. A glass of wine and/or dessert used to put me in a better mood, so I think my body craves that short-lived pick-me-up. I’m trying to get around it by going off to be by myself, which helps. I remembered that I used to listen to a lot more music before having kids (and it was all music that I loved versus the noise I often put up with because the rest of my family wants to listen to it) so I’ve been playing more of my old favourites when doing chores and yoga, or when I need to get away from my family’s noise with my headphones. I’m so glad I remembered that – it’s an amazing mood-changer!

Day 21: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Today was tough. Every time I pull open my freezer I’m tempted by the treats I’m saving for April. Not strong enough to throw them away. I rearranged things to hide them so at least I’m not depleting my willpower every time I open the freezer. I realized today that nuts and seeds actually ARE allowed on the Whole 30, which is awesome! I thought I was cheating by including them, which made me feel slightly guilty. I also realize that I’m maybe eating too much fruit, or at least I’m not eating it “properly” because I’m still tempting my sweet-tooth by finishing most meals with fruit, which does totally nothing for the habits I’m trying to break. Kind of frustrated and disappointed that I’m three weeks in and don’t really notice any real improvements in terms of my energy levels, waistline (not that I did this to lose weight but I figured/hoped I would lose at least a little bit of my mom pouch), or sugar habits.

Courage

Day 22: Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I did some more surfing on the Whole 30 website to try to figure out what I’m doing wrong since I’m feeling demoralized and think I’m supposed to be feeling awesome. I’m going to limit my fruit intake to three servings per day and do a better job of incorporating fruit into the meal so it’s not simply my new dessert. I also need to ensure I take adequately sized portions and don’t go back for more, because that’s always a slippery slope for me. I reach for three snap peas and suddenly the whole bowl is gone. Even though it’s snap peas and not gummy bears it still reinforces the binge-eating habit I need to break.

I’ve also started reassessing my stress triggers because I feel so grumpy at the end of the day, so I get really annoyed really easily, then I feel guilty after snapping at my kids, then I  reach for the snap peas… ARGHHH! This morning was a perfect example of a stress trigger that I’ve never realized, or at least never fully acknowledged how much it affects me. My preschooler was dawdling with breakfast so we were late for school, and I got frustrated, starting my day off in a bad mood. I realized that meal times are hugely stressful for me because it’s a constant “Hurry up and eat your food; Less talking more eating; It’s time to go to bed/school/anywhere else because you’re driving me crazy!” Part of my problem is that I’m such a control freak, so I stay in the kitchen to make sure my kids are eating long after I’ve finished my meal and want to be off doing other things, so that time is spent listening to their antics and getting frustrated as well as feeling tempted to keep eating. Additionally I really, really hate to waste food, so I try to get my children to finish their meals even when they may not be hungry. I’m going to work on better strategies to deal with meal time frustration so I can stop depleting my willpower at every. single. meal. and hopefully feel less worn out at the end of the day. I also need to get more sleep – I’ve been slack about this. No wonder I’m exhausted by bedtime!!

Day 23: Thursday, March 23, 2017

Feeling good today and more in control. I think the new fruit strategy helps although need more time to truly assess. I’ve started setting a timer and then walking away from the kitchen when I’m done my meal – my kids are old enough that they don’t need me there to make sure they won’t choke and really by that point they’re dawdling rather than eating anyway. They get five or ten minutes to finish up whatever they want to finish up and then mealtime is over. If they don’t finish in time, I ask them to clear their places, don’t make a big deal, and don’t give them any more food before the next meal/snack. If they do finish in time, they can have a small dessert after dinner (sometimes chocolate, sometimes fruit) and cut-up veggies, which they love, between meals if they feel hungry. So far it’s working well and my mood is better but again, need more time to truly assess. A nice bonus is that I’m reclaiming time to do something else that I enjoy (yesterday after each meal I went off to meditate, read, and do the crossword and sudoku – I rarely have time to do any of those things let alone all in one day!) instead of lingering in the kitchen getting frustrated while waiting for them to finish eating.

Lunch variation

Also really love playing more music throughout the day. I pulled out our old CD collection and was listening to Ella Fitzgerald while doing chores/crafts with my preschooler, and she was just mesmerized. Later my ten year old and I were listening to Radiohead and he announced that old music is better than new music, followed by the statement that Kisses of Fire (ABBA) is better than Hotline Bling (Drake). Made my heart so happy.

Day 24: Friday, March 24, 2017

Things are looking better. This experiment has revealed a bunch of body image issues from my youth that I didn’t know I still had. When I was poking around on the Whole 30 website I noticed many articles about our relationship with food. Some of them scared me. I walked away wondering if I needed to abandon my Whole 30 and immediately seek the help of a food therapist, or any kind of therapist, to help me work through my food and related body issues. I felt very low. But buried amongst the wisdom was one small paragraph telling me that maybe I just needed some tough love. The words ‘Get over yourself’ were a welcome slap in the face, and repeating them whenever it felt like I was starting to wallow helped to bring me out of my funk. Coincidentally the topic of my meditation today was Body Image. Up until this point I’ve been meditating by using the free version of an app (I like Calm and HeadSpace) or simply setting a timer and checking out. I’ve considered splurging to unlock the paid portion of the app but I’m not one to splurge and what I was doing seemed fine. Until I saw the topic of today’s meditation, which required a membership. I splurged without hesitation and had an extremely uplifting experience. I also realized that since I don’t like to waste food, money, or anything, paying for the app means I’m more committed to meditating, which is just great. So, things are looking better.

Day 25: Saturday, March 25, 2017

My fruit intake now resembles something like this: 1/4 cup blueberries in oatmeal + 1/2 grapefruit at breakfast, 1/2 banana and 2 strawberries in my smoothie, and a small granny smith apple and/or grapes mixed into my salad. No fruit after 3pm. This is probably still more fruit than recommended but since I’m not using sweet fruit as a dessert I’m hoping it’ll be okay. At least it feels better habit-wise than it did a few days ago.

Fruit in a salad

Part of getting over myself means admitting why this Whole 30 might not be working as I’d hoped. I didn’t have a ton of weight to lose but I wanted to trim up. This hasn’t happened, which has been demoralizing. But my sister pointed out something I already knew but was having trouble accepting: I didn’t have a ton of weight to lose. I started from a healthy starting point: a diet consisting of mostly fresh produce, very little dairy and grains, and no prepackaged foods or sugary drinks. My sugar habit involved occasionally splurging on too much dessert and a glass of wine two or three times a week. And I’ve been working out regularly for years. So, not an incredible amount of room for improvement. In other words, I’m not seeing the dramatic results that so many others report on the Whole 30 because I’m already in great shape. And although this is demoralizing, it is also pretty freaking awesome! Part of my body image issues that have resurfaced is the idea of perfectionism. I strive for (demand) perfection in everything I do, which means I’ve done some amazing things and I’ve also placed incredible and often unnecessary pressure on myself. Realizing that things don’t have to be perfect to be pretty freaking awesome is an eye-opener. I hope I can incorporate more acceptance into my life.

Day 26: Sunday, March 26, 2017

Weekends are hard! I go into each one feeling confident and optimistic and come out of each one demoralized and exhausted. This one was particularly tough due to some medical things and my tendency to overextend myself. Hoping things will settle down over the next few days. Really could have used a glass of wine tonight.

Day 27: Monday, March 27, 2017

Our first official day of spring vacation. Happy to take a break from the hectic morning rush and school lunch grind, but not so eager for the bickering and constant noise. I will be relying heavily on my favourite music, Calm app, and post-meal cup of tea in lieu of dessert over the next week. Our dog clearly did not get the memo that things need to settle down because she’s got a stomach bug… it’s not pretty. Sometimes it’s very frustrating to be a dog-owner.

Today was cooler than it’s been and I was not in the mood for a mostly frozen fruit/veg smoothie, so after pureeing I switched things up by heating it, throwing in some extra vegetables, and voila: soup. Very tasty and a nice way to feel like I’m eating something new when in fact it’s one of the same things I’ve eaten every day for almost a month. Can you tell I’m getting excited for some variety?

Day 28: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Last night I tried to skip my nightly snack because I keep hearing about how critical it is not to eat two hours before bed. It didn’t work – I was starving! Knowing that it would keep me awake (because I struggle with insomnia and almost anything will keep me awake) I had some nuts, seeds, and a bowl of raw veggies before heading to bed. Don’t know why I still feel guilty even though it’s healthy food??

Today’s one of those days where nothing’s going right – even my trusty meditation app failed halfway through and I didn’t realize until I’d been meditating (poorly) for too long and started to question why a guided meditation was taking forever to give me any actual direction. If I didn’t have kids I would have given up on this day and crawled back into bed hours ago. But instead I had an extra piece of fruit after lunch (sacrilege!) and schlepped off to do the laundry and finish painting my son’s bedroom. Slowly.

Day 29: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I had too many beets in last night’s dinner and it was so sweet that my taste buds revolted. Clearly they’ve changed! I’ve been wondering the past few days if it’s worth riding out until day 30 because I feel like I’ve gotten all I’m going to get from this experiment, and I’m overall slightly disappointed because I don’t feel like I got the amazing results I expected, but then something like that reminds me that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. I was reading Food Freedom Forever again and am reassured that my disappointment is likely because I started from a healthy starting point and am too focused on the wrong things. I never did look up the non-scale victories Melissa Hartwig recommends, really should have done that!

FFF has also helped me plan my re-introduction. It’s been a pleasant distraction the past few days to daydream about what food I’ll eat on day 31. At first I was annoyed when I remembered that I’m supposed to do a re-introduction phase for a few weeks (or as long as it takes depending on how my body reacts) and I don’t just get carte blanche to devour anything and everything come Friday. But then I browsed through the book again and remembered why I’m doing this whole thing, and since I’m almost done the hardest part it seems ridiculous not to ride it out properly. Although I can’t wait to enjoy my freezer treats (cupcakes! donuts! pie!) and wine, I plan to have dairy on Friday for the first time in a month (well, first time aside from the splash of milk in my morning coffee) Cheese! Yoghurt! Milk! Nom. nom. nom.

One thing I still don’t know how to deal with is food-associated guilt. I (obviously) feel guilty from overeating junk, but I also feel guilty when I eat too much healthy food or even off-schedule. So far from what I can tell MH’s advice is basically just don’t feel guilty. Oh is that all? No problem then, right? I would love to feel like food is just food instead of obsessing about it like I do. Part of me thinks reading so much about health and doing “resets” (diets) only exaggerates the problem, kind of like searching for happiness. Maybe instead of researching food guilt/body image and contemplating therapy, I just need to chill.

Day 30: Thursday, March 30, 2017

Terrible sleep last night and today was tough. I came very close to throwing in the towel and diving into the cupcakes and wine after dinner. But I resisted. Here’s what this past month has taught me:

  1. When I feel hungry between meals I’m probably bored. If I breathe, drink water, and do something fun or interesting my cravings will go away.
  2. Sleep affects me far more than food. When I have a crap sleep I feel more hungry, grumpy, and stressed the next day.
  3. Fruit is not my enemy. I can enjoy fruit with my meals without feeling guilty.
  4. Old habits die hard – mine still need work. I will continue to try to resist going back for seconds by serving myself adequate portions, not eat fruit/nuts for dessert, and go to bed before my late-night cravings hit.
  5. Food is neither the source of nor the solution to all of my problems. It’s just food.

I didn’t experience an incredible transformation and don’t have more energy. I asked my husband the (loaded) question: have you noticed any physical or emotional changes? He gave me the (honest) answer: you’ve been more irritable. We’ve just had (minor but still stressful) medical things going on with two of our kids, March break so no school/camps/privacy, visitors bringing donuts to our house daily… hellz yeah I’ve been more irritable! I should have relied more on my stress-buster toolbox (exercise, meditation, music, solitude) but whatevs, at least I didn’t kill anyone. I didn’t even lose it on anyone! So, feeling proud. And looking forward to tomorrow’s cheese.

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