HOLIDAY RECOVERY ZONE: MY WHOLE30 DIET EXPERIENCE
WHY THE WHOLE30?
Around the holidays, I overindulge on sweets. It wouldn't be an issue If I were able to stop after one piece of cake, but I eat dessert to the point of feeling uncomfortable. And I know I’m not alone.
Once I get a taste of sugar, it’s all downhill--I can eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for dinner and feel completely euphoric...until the stomachache sets in.
Normally, it takes me a solid month or two after the holidays to get back to eating like a responsible adult. This year, I found a faster path to recovery.
We all overindulge around the holidays, so why not work together to take back control over our eating habits?
Going through the Whole30 with some of the members at Tsantosfit made the experience and transition seamless.
WHAT IS THE WHOLE30 ?
Most diets revolve around restricting calories, while the Whole30 focuses on resetting your body and making you more in tune with how certain foods make you feel. For 30 days you’re encouraged to eat foods that have one or two ingredients-- and you’re to avoid the following foods and habits.
Eliminate for 30 days:
Grains: corn, rice, quinoa, wheat, rye, millet, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, bulgur, or sprouted grains.
Added sugar (honey, maple syrup, etc.)
Carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites
“Healthy baked goods” even with approved ingredients
No weighing or measuring of any type
PROS OF THE WHOLE30
CONS OF THE WHOLE30
CHALLENGES OF MY WHOLE30 JOURNEY
The first week was challenging because I felt hungry. For the previous two months I had been on a “see food diet”--I saw food and I ate it. Instead of eating until feeling satisfied, I ate until I was stuffed.
After dinner I’d eat dessert. If there wasn’t any, I’d eat some of my wife’s cereal while watching TV. My stomach got used to feeling stuffed.
I had to retrain myself to feel ok and accept feeling satisfied after a meal. The first couple of days I felt a little hungry and fiendish for sugar. As the days progressed I felt healthier, energized, and less bloated , which gave me it a needed incentive to keep going.
I went out to dinner on two different occasions and attended a couple of parties. In one case I was able to order Whole30 approved ingredients--a Portuguese steak with a double serving of veggies. After dinner I felt stuffed, but emotionally, I was not satisfied. After browsing through the dessert menu out of habit, I craved the tiramisu... but I was able to pay the bill and bolt out of there before making any brash decisions.
The second time out to dinner wasn’t a success by Whole30 standards. For starters, my friends had ordered fried pickles and buffalo cauliflower for the table. At this point, I was about two weeks into the program and decided to reward myself for good behavior. If these foods weren’t battered and fried they would've lined up with Whole30 guidelines.For dinner that night I was craving a pizza or a juicy bacon cheeseburger, but I ordered the steak tip salad with avocado, black beans, corn, and little strips of tortilla chips . The beans, corn, and tortilla chips were a no-no on the Whole30, but I figured it was better than the alternative.
Watching football is a favorite American pastime. What could be better? Eating nachos while watching football-- that’s what.
On this particular Sunday, the NFC & AFC Championship games were on. That means I was glued to the TV all afternoon. Watching important football games has a Superbowl feel and it calls for plenty of snacking. I kept my food choices within the Whole30 recommendations, but I confess I probably ate over 1,000 calories worth of cashews and almonds.
TAKEAWAYS FROM MY WHOLE30 EXPERIENCE
Do it with friends if you can. At TSantosFit, It was comforting knowing that I wasn’t alone and that the members I work with were all going through the same challenges. Before class we would briefly share our struggles, successes, and some healthy recipes.
Don’t expect perfection and extend grace to yourself If you slip up. I broke the rules on several occasions: I used cream in my coffee when almond milk wasn’t available, I ate peanuts. But I wasn’t too concerned; my goal with the Whole30 was to eliminate the amount of processed foods that I was consuming, and I certainly achieved that.
Processed foods are like cheap gas that can gum up the works of your precious Porsche--your body. Sure, if you need to get from point A to point B you could, but the vehicle's performance will suffer overtime.
If you want to feel your best, you must fuel up with quality nutrient dense foods and limit the amount of sugary processed foods you eat.
Step out of your comfort zone and try new foods. Eating nutritious foods doesn't have to be bland or boring.
One of my favorite things about the Whole30 was cooking up Whole30 comfort foods such as cauliflower mac and cheese, chicken pot pie soup, and slow cooker meatballs in marinara sauce--hungry yet??
WHAT’S NEXT FOR ME
For some reason developing positive, healthy habits requires a lot of work, but developing bad ones happens overnight.
In the last 30 days, I’ve worked hard to eliminate my craving for sugar. The last thing I want to do is fall back into old habits.
I will reintroduce (whole) grains back into my diet to see how it makes me feel, and continue to eat until satisfied--not stuffed.
As for desserts, I will eat them sparingly and limit myself to ONE serving. All things in moderation!