I am officially halfway through my Whole 30 and it has been a rollercoaster!
When I first started, I thought the cravings would be the hardest part. Once I could get through those, I thought I would be on the path to success! In the past, my worst downfalls came because I associated food with entertainment. If I was tired and wanted to watch Netflix all evening, I needed a snack! If my friends were coming over to have a wine night – gotta have pizza rolls! These behaviors had become habit and I wanted Whole 30 to break these habits.
What I didn’t realize was that my body has a say in this mind game, too! The first couple days of Whole 30 weren’t bad. It was strange having to give up coffee creamer and ketchup, but it was a fun new game! It wasn’t until Day 4 or 5 that things began to feel… off.
First it started as a piercing headache that lasted two days. Whatever, I figured, people get headaches occasionally. But then, I suddenly began to feel overwhelmingly tired. I couldn’t get through the day without a nap and I was excessively moody. I decided to research within the vast Whole 30 community to see if anyone else experienced this. It turns out, this isn’t only normal behavior, it is expected! The Whole 30 brand even publishes a “Timeline” of how your body will probably react to the endeavor. It is as follows…
Day 1: So what’s the big deal?
Days 2-3: The hangover.
Days 4-5: Kill all the things!
Days 6-7: I just want a nap.
Days 8-11: The hardest part.
Days 12-27: Tiger blood! (explanation will follow…)
Days 28-30: It’s almost over. What will I eat?!
Basically, the first week was my body detoxing from the sugar overload I had unknowingly been assaulting upon it. At first, I found this hard to believe. I don’t eat donuts. I don’t eat fast food. But when Whole 30 forced me to analyze labels, I realized I had been eating SO MUCH extra sugar. Coffee creamer every morning. Honey in my tea. Salad dressing (even the oil-based kind!) The single fun-sized chocolate square I would eat at work. The artisan ketchup, mustard, and BBQ sauce I would eat with dinner EVERY NIGHT. Not to mention – cocktails galore! Even if I wasn’t guzzling Coke by the gallon, I didn’t have to. I was still getting my sugar overload from sneaky sources.
Now that my body didn’t have sugar as a go-to fuel source, it had to learn how to use older stores of energy (i.e. fat). This was where the exhaustion came from. It’s like switching your car from sport mode to eco mode – it feels different, but it still gets you where you need to go.
Luckily, I have reached the Tiger Blood phase! I’ll be honest, I still don’t understand where this phrase comes from, but it seems adequately descriptive. I wake up feeling refreshed every morning and I (mostly) have bounds of energy. I’ve been kicking butt in my workouts and it feels so great!
The best part of Whole 30 are the little victories. I am surprisingly less moody and my emotions are even-keeled all day. I feel in control of my daily outlook and far less agitated. Most importantly, I’ve stopped picking at my fingers! My nervous habit used to be biting my nails, but somehow evolved into picking the cuticle skin around my nails. I try to use lotion to soften the rough patches, but nothing worked. I can now say that my hands look pristine and without a scab in sight!
I’m excited to see what the rest of Whole 30 holds. It is set to end on June 30th and I fly out to DC soon after to visit my friends from study abroad. I plan on letting myself have a few indulgences (mostly alcohol) but mostly staying on track. Then, I plan to do a Whole 15 before leaving for my trip to Kentucky. It is scary going back to sugar! Will I have to suffer the dreaded headache and hangover phase? We will see…!