Days 8 & 9

This weekend was a gladly received break. The past 48 hours had been spent nose-deep in journals searching for new sources for my research proposal due in April, and studying for an exam that I forgot about (still made an A so no sweat). Looking forward, I have my sorority’s philanthropy week (if you wanna donate to child abuse prevention feel free to donate here), and FOUR exams the week before spring break. Four, people. F-o-u-r. And a presentation.

My takeaway? Don’t graduate from college if you don’t want to cry yourself to sleep every night.

JUST KIDDING. I know I could have it way, way worse.

So how does a busy college student do their Whole 30? Planning, lots of planning. That’s how. This program will not be successful if you fail to plan. I’ve been caught in a couple of situations where I didn’t, and it was tough to say the least.

My favorite thing to prep? Chicken salad, tuna salad, and egg salad. These are all things I loved prior to Whole 30, and that’s why they work so well for me. They’re easy to make, and the tuna and chicken salads keep well in an air-tight mason jar. Just throwing some onto a bed of greens and another choice veggie on the side makes a quick and filling lunch or dinner. If I’m home and I have a free afternoon, I like to heat up a couple sweet potato slices and eat my salad on that. Having three different choices helps to keep me from getting too bored, and I can feel confident that I’ve got enough protein and fat on my plate to keep me full.

Another safe bet is frying up some compliant sausage, and throwing in some cauliflower rice, diced sweet potato, onion, and bell pepper or carrot. Simple, but quick and easy enough to make a little extra for leftovers.

I think that’s the second key to doing this program: making it as simple as possible. Of course I love to try some more intricate recipes, but when your body is transitioning from a constant supply of sugar, it’s best to make things as easy on yourself as you possibly can. And remember: the whole reason you probably started in the first place was because your food was way too complex and filled with harmful chemicals and hidden sugars. Our bodies love simple. They know what to do with simple. So make it as easy on yourself, and remember the three necessary components: vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats.

Update on how I’ve been feeling: generally normal. I feel like I still have a little bit more energy than I did before. I’ve definitely been sleeping better, even when my sweet, sweet Bear nudges me awake at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. Finally, my skin is starting to clear up and my keratosis pilaris on my arms has vastly improved. I’m also praying that cutting out sugar and gluten is going to help with the oiliness on my face. Fingers crossed!

Until next time, y’all!

Xoxo, Shelby


Day 7: Smiling through the pain

Okay, folks. Let’s talk about procrastination: I’m the expert in it.

So if you’re curious about why I jumped from the beginning post to day 7, refer to the previously mentioned fact.

This is not a journey for the faint of heart. If you’re an “everything in moderation” kinda guy/gal, this is not your cleanse. Whole 30 is a slash and burn of your dietary budget, leaving behind only the cleanest of the clean foods.

Is it easy? No. Would I say it’s super duper hard? Definitely not.

I’ll spare you the whole Melissa Hartwig melodramatic “Whole 30 is hard but it could be harder” speech, but just know that this is do-able. It doesn’t take intense mental strength. What it does take is a paradigm shift. Shifting our idea of “healthy” from “non-fat” and “light” alternatives to food that once had a life. If you asked me where all the food in my fridge and pantry came from, I could tell you. A child could read the ingredients list ease (maybe not xanthan gum, but give the kid a break).

It also takes a shift in thinking about “fast food.” Yes, it is about ten million times easier to drive through Mickey Ds or Chick Fil A, but you know what else is easy? Taking fifteen minutes to chop some veggies and sausage, and throwing it all in a pan. BAM. Dinner is served in about the same amount of time it’d take to drive to your restaurant of choice, wait in the drive thru, and drive back home.

I know I sound preachy, but I cannot tell you enough how much it drives me nuts for people to hold all these mental blocks that keep them from jumping in. If you want to succeed, you will succeed. If you want to fail, you will always find excuses to fail.

Anyway, here’s an update of how I’m feeling at this point in the program:

Days 1-3 were filled with headaches. All day long. They weren’t terribly painful, but they did endure all day which in and of itself is incredibly annoying. Considering I was as dependent on sugar as Buddy the Elf prior to starting, this came as no surprise.

Days 4-5: I was literally so crabby and tired. I think I almost murdered about four people (just kidding but not really).

Days 6-7: I’ve been relatively tired. Today I was especially bloated, and my face has been breaking out like crazy. I would like attribute both of these to hormones as well as my body detoxing. I’ve discovered ghee and compliant chorizo, and my life has been changed. As in, I may never go back to regular butter.

I was challenged today and experienced my first non-scale victory (NSV). I was required to attend a luncheon as the final exam for my Professional Competence class. I was anxious for the entire week, and even had dreams that I ordered a sandwich and ate the bread. Once I got there, I realized that the only thing I could order was their house salad with grilled chicken and oil and vinegar for the dressing. And while my professor ordered cheese plates as appetizers, and my neighbors ate some incredibly delicious looking food, I was satisfied with my plate. I got to enjoy conversation instead of stuffing my face with cheese and bread like I normally would. And of course there was dessert. And of course it looked amazing. But I abstained, and I realized that I wasn’t upset not eating dessert. In my mind, I knew that I wasn’t going to need a nap after my meal like normal. I wasn’t going to experience a sugar crash, and so I was happy.

And if that doesn’t indicate a dramatic change even this early in the program, I don’t know what will.

Why in the world would I do this in the first place?

I get asked this question a lot. I tell people all of the restrictions of a Whole 30, and they stare at me in shock. Especially if they’re someone who knew me before I began.

So here’s the reason why: I woke up one day and realized all the damage I have subjected my body to in just 21 years (specifically in four years of college). I realized I had gained over twenty pounds, had developed increasingly severe depression, and could barely sleep through a full night. I couldn’t make it through a full day without a nap. I was fed up with not being able to use my body to its fullest capacity because I was feeding it crap.

Does it sound downright idealistic that I can *magically* change my life in just thirty days? Heck yeah. Did it terrify me to take the plunge and eliminate essentially every part of my regular diet? YES. Wasn’t I afraid of failing? Hello, yes. This is me we’re talking about here.

I’m not a big risk taker. I don’t gamble. I always put a seat belt on. The thought of sky diving makes me break into a sweat. So it came as no surprise that I eventually decided to do a Whole30, as I had been pondering the idea since December. I knew I wanted to do a reset, but I had no clue when.

And then it happened. One random Thursday, I made the resolve to start the next day. On a Friday. Who starts a new “diet” on a Friday? Oh yeah, me.

Because I owe thirty days to myself. Thirty days of clean food. Thirty days to change the way I eat and feel so that I can potentially increase my longevity.

So if you’re intrigued, and want to watch the peaks, pits, mental breakdowns, and (likely) laughter, stick around. It’ll get interesting.