I Can See the Light!

… but there are a few shadows behind me.

I’m 5 days out from finishing my first Whole30 and introduction to the paleo lifestyle! I’m feeling pretty darn good about myself – I’ve almost made it! I know I haven’t done everything perfectly this first go-round. There’s definitely room for improvement next month when the bell rings for Round 2 on March 1. I’m making a little list here of reminders for myself and maybe tips for you in your future Whole30 ventures … I’m sure I’ll be continuously editing this post as more of my screw-ups come to mind. Read and do not repeat!

  • I wasn’t fully prepared at the start. Jeanie and our friends got started a little ahead of me and my boyfriend. We were on a week-long vacation and during our road trip, we committed to starting the day we got back so as not to fall too far behind the group. There was both good and bad with this decision … but mostly bad. YAY: we weren’t procrastinating and decided to jump in with both feet after our binge session. NAY: What were we thinking?! We were adapting back to the realities of everyday life while simultaneously starting a new diet. We woke up Monday with the intentions of being bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to take on the challenge. Reality check! We were tired, we were stressed, we weren’t even unpacked since we got in around almost midnight the night before. We hadn’t stocked the kitchen (please, for the love of god take a weekend and do this). We hadn’t cleared out the temptations (hide them or throw them out but keep them out of sight). We left the house without breakfast and were on our way to beginning our adventure.
  • I didn’t finish It Starts With Food. I ordered the book before going on vacation and it arrived while I was gone. Since our start date was the day after returning home, there was no way to read it beforehand. I wish I had been able to. I can hear you now, “Why didn’t she just start the follow week and save us all the whining?” Well, for two reasons. 1) If I had done the smart thing I wouldn’t be able to impart this learned wisdom upon you at the moment. 2) I am stubborn. Moving on …
  • I didn’t drink enough water. I am terrible with this. Terrible. What is so hard about drinking water? Nothing. But I didn’t make enough effort  to drink a specified amount each day, I just sipped here and there and hoped for the best. It was very obvious on days I was well hydrated versus those that I completely failed in the hydration department. Even without Whole30, drinking more water always helps flush out toxins and drop a few pounds – duh, why would I skimp on this easy bonus?
  • I weighed myself (a few times). DiSCLAiMER: If there are any boys reading this post, you probably want to skip this bullet. So one of the Whole30 rules is that you are NOT allowed to weigh yourself. Reason being, people are too fixated on numbers. Not seeing them change may discourage you or even make you give up. I did it anyway (hangs head in shame). I lost eight pounds my first week! EiGHT! I was so happy and so motivated. I kept following the plan and kept off the scale. My next check-in was right before (earmuffs, Boys that Don’t Read Directions) my period. Ladies, we all know our weight fluctuates around that special time of the month, and I was absolutely horrified when I saw I had gained it ALL back. EVERY POUND. I wanted to cry, I wanted chocolate but I stayed strong and kept going … wouldn’t you know a week later it’s all gone and then some? Here’s the other problem with weighing yourself while on this diet: I had also started going to the gym again – not hardcore, not Crossfit, just Zumba twice a week and some cardio/light weights one day. I was BUiLDiNG MUSCLE, and wasn’t taking that into account. Now I’m not looking at my scale anymore, because I can see the changes in the mirror better than on the scale.
  • I didn’t measure myself before I started. I should have gotten a soft tape measure and taken measurements all over beforehand and then done it once more at the end. I’ll be doing that for Round 2. What I AM doing is using my “motivation dress” as a measuring tool now. I’ve tried it on once per week and can see the changes in how it is fitting – so awesome. I think every woman has one (or several) items in their closet that can be used the same way: that dress you maybe ordered online and it was a bit too tight but you didn’t have the heart to send it away, or that outfit you looked amazing in a few months  (maybe years) ago that will NOT go to Goodwill because you KNOW it will fit again someday. If you don’t have one of these stashed in the back of your closet – well, lucky you, and I hate you (I kid, I kid).
  • I went overboard with the dried fruit and nuts. This is just basic knowledge of the Whole30 and I fully knew I was doing it wrong, but in a pinch they are easy to have on hand and/or take with you out the door. I’ll be more prepared with alternatives moving forward.
  • I lost my cooking inspiration. Somewhere around Week 3 I got bored. I got tired of cooking three meals a day (or more if I was preparing in bulk for work lunches). I was trying to squeeze too much into the day and instead of dinner being exciting experimentation with blog finds or my Well Fed cookbooks (MUST HAVE), dinners became a game of hunt-and-gather-whatever-is-in-the-fridge-and-requires-the-least-amount-of-effort-to-consume-without-poisoning-yourself. Making a meal plan for the week either before or after shopping for staples would have helped take the guesswork out of what I was making by the time I got home from the gym at 7 PM.
  • I didn’t make bedtime a strict rule. Yes, getting enough sleep is essential to health and also weight loss, we know this. But did you know that when you can’t get out of bed in the morning and are rushing just to get to work on time you’re also not going to cook yourself a Whole30 compliant breakfast? Thank god for my discovery of Monkey Salad, or I quite possibly would have had breakfast 15 out of 30 days. I’m going to shoot for 10:30 PM every night during Round 2. To be ASLEEP, not starting to get into bed and putzing around for another 45 minutes.

Have you done the Whole30 yet? If so, what mistakes have you made? Did you relate to or repeat any of mine? Any advice for first-timers or people who are starting the next round but need a refresher?

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Dorothy

Book hoarder. Red lipstick aficionado. Compulsive shopper. Crazy cat lady. Adores alliteration; couldn't give a @$%& about an Oxford Comma.

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