Well, everyone. It is 10:00 pm on Day 30, which means that in two short hours my VegetarianWhole30 experience will be done! I’m going to celebrate by eating homemade challah, because it’s Shabbat, gosh darn it.
A lot has happened since July 1st. I went from almost instantly getting a headache when I stopped giving my body sugar to now comfortably going on 42 days without it. I won’t lie, if I see chocolate or pastries I still want to eat them, but I don’t have those daily, addictive impulses to eat sugar that l used to have. I feel much more rehabilitated, though not totally “cured” of my sugar dragon’s firm grip over my life.
I also feel like my body has started to settle into its new nutrition patterns. At first l felt hungry ALL THE TIME. Now I stay full longer. I think part of that is because I have gotten better at meal planning and portioning. I will spare you all any discussion about the change in my bowel movements. You’re welcome.
I don’t feel like my body has changed shape much. My pants fit about the same. I think maybe my measurements may have changed, but l wouldn’t be surprised if l weigh about the same. I think my body is really stubborn about losing weight, and it always has been. I remember as a teenager, a nutritionist once put me on a 3 week no carb diet. I exercised almost every single day during that time. I slipped up once and ate one cookie, and was otherwise perfectly compliant. I could see visible changes in how my clothes fit. I was so excited to go see the nutritionist at the end of the 3 weeks to show her my progress. We talked a bit, she commented about how great I looked, and then we both were shocked. When l stepped on the scale, the number was exactly the same as it had been 3 weeks before, even though I looked and felt lighter. I felt so crestfallen.
“What did I do?”
“Well”, she answered reproachingly, “you did have that one cookie…”
I am prepared to look at the number on the scale tomorrow and see that not much has changed, and am trying to tell myself that it’s just a number. It’s hard, because so much of our conditioning has made that number seem so very important.
What has changed the most has been my relationship with food. I feel like I’m actually nourishing myself now instead of just feeding myself. I definitely plan on continuing to foster this renewed sense of purpose in the kitchen.
I guess what has been most surprising for me has been how remarkably normal these 42 days have felt. The first week was a bit of a tough adjustment, but by now, part of me feels like this is just the way it’s always been. I expected to whine and complain about my food restrictions a lot more often. I expected to feel frustrated regularly, as I often felt as a teenager on a diet binge. Instead, I often find myself thinking “this is so delicious, I can’t believe it’s compliant.” I think it all goes back to the fact that Whole30 is not a “diet”, promising that magic number on the scale will drop and you’ll burn fat fast. It’s about your lifestyle, your choices, and your longevity. While I definitely wouldn’t keep Whole30 up forever, I can see myself prioritizing compliant food choices even when I don’t have to. I can also see myself relying much less on my old staples of pasta and rice/ quick and lazy meals.
Since I’m breaking my Whole30 by breaking bread on Shabbat, this week I’m reintroducing the following: flour, butter, sugar, and milk. I don’t like milk, really, but I’ll let myself eat off plan yogurt or put milk into things (like bread!). I could use butter instead of ghee to cook things for a day and see how l feel. As for sugar, I’m not going to dive right into eating a candy bar again, but will probably eat some dried fruit with added sugar, or other things like yogurt or bread. As for flour, I thought of getting tortillas so l could try a wheat product that doesn’t have much else in it. The Whole30 website suggests reintroducing everything in a span of 10 days, but honestly, I think I’m going to take it slower. That means I’ll still be mostly Whole30 for a little while longer – and I’m totally ok with that.
Shabbat Shalom, everybody!