So, I'm halfway through my first Whole30. I learned about this program from an Instagram acquaintance I follow, and looked more into it on my own. After reading about the program on the Whole30 website, I made the decision to commit to it for 30 days starting February 1st.
I've been overweight for years now, and having two kids has only added to the problem, though in a wonderful way that I do not regret, haha. But having two young boys who are both picky eaters, I got into the mindset that I should feed my kids whatever they would eat, just so that they would eat. In the end, having less than healthy food/snacks around, I ended up eating a lot of crap too. Every few months I'd get upset with how I looked (usually seeing a less than flattering image of myself helped that along), and would be negatively "inspired" to make a change. Counting calories seemed to always be the solution most recommended, but it always left me frustrated and hungry, and nothing changed.
In the past year I was also diagnosed with severe depression. I was put on antidepressants that helped. I also joined a gym to make sure I exercised more regularly. My doctor recommended trying a gluten free diet to aide me in healing as well. I kept it up for a few months, and lost some weight in the process which was nice, but didn't really see a big difference in my mood when on or off gluten, so I got sucked back into eating the way I used to.
Even with the medication, exercise, and what I convinced myself was "healthier" eating, I was having issues with low motivation, low energy levels, and bouts of depression on and off. I'd also taken to eating entirely too much. I found that when I was bored I'd eat. When it was a certain time, I'd eat because it was habit. When there were sugary treats around, I'd have waaay too many. When the kids went to bed, it was my time to enjoy a show or book, and eat. I didn't know when to stop, and it wasn't easy to stop even when I wanted to.
Reading "It Starts With Food" was a real eye opener in understanding why my cravings and overeating were occurring. I definitely give the book credit for convincing me of why this program would help me. And thus I was even more committed to sticking with it.
The first few days on the Whole30 were tough just because of the headaches I'd get from "withdraw" from the bad foods I had eaten prior to starting. I also had a lot cravings, mainly for sugary foods those first few days. I got through the cravings stage relatively quickly though. My next big issue was that I felt nauseous for the first 10 days. It was hard to eat certain meals. The forums on the Whole30 website were helpful, as people suggested I try to include more carbs to lessen the nausea (this was something I did during my second pregnancy for nausea too!). I also made sure I had the recommended amount of fat at each meal, as some others suggested that might help too. By day 11 or 12 the nausea was much less, thank goodness.
I missed 2 days in a row of taking my anti-depressant around day 9. I had missed taking my medication the same way prior to the Whole30 and it didn't have any negative effects on me. But because I wasn't consuming many carbs (something necessary for serotonin production), I felt extremely low after my 2nd missed dose. I felt worse than I had felt in quite a few months of taking my anti-depressant. Thankfully I came across an informative post in the forums about people dealing with depression and being on the Whole30, and I realized not only do I need to keep up the carb intake, but I need to not miss doses of my anti-depressant!
Things have been going more smoothly in the past few days, though I do still see certain foods and want to just pick them up and devour them. Hah. But it's amazing how much easier it is not to do that because I made a commitment to this program. I'm also hoping because I've kicked some cravings and I'm teaching myself to not eat just to eat.
What I Hope to Get Out of My Whole30
1) Of course weight loss would be fantastic, but I don't expect anything amazingly drastic in a month. And weight loss for health reasons more than anything else.
2) I'd love to come off of my anti-depressants in a month (about a year after I started them), having given myself that time to heal. Sustaining this healthier diet will be necessary, I feel, to keeping up my mental health.
3) To be more energetic and alert and on top of things!
4) I don't expect to be able to eat Whole30 forever, as ideal as it would be. But my goal is to eat this way as much as possible, keep the junk food out of my house, and indulge only when I truly want to, and be able to not over do it. Which brings me to...
5) Have a healthier relationship with food psychologically.
Any other outcomes would just be an added bonus.
If you're interested in what recipes I've found thus far that have gotten me happily through the past 15 days, check out my Whole30 board on Pinterest!