First, let me answer the question I know you all really want to ask. How much weight did I lose?
I lost twelve pounds in 30 days.
Every one in my family lost at least ten pounds without increasing their exercise level at all. These twelve pounds have stuck like glue since Amos was born and it was stressing me out. I was able to drop all my baby weight from Griffin within his first year. I half-heartedly counted calories and began exercising regularly and it just fell off.
This time not so much.
No matter what I did the scales would not budge. Turns out the solution was simple. Stop eating sugar. Go figure. Not exactly easy, but simple.
The weight loss was fantastic and I did feel good, not insanely different than I usually feel but still good. However, by the end, I was in psychological trouble. Turns out I do not enjoy being told what to do. Who'd have thunk it?!? At the beginning of the Whole30, I felt empowered and in control. I felt like I was taking my health into my hands and really paying attention to my diet for the first time.
However, by the end of the fourth week, I felt like these stupid people wanted to keep me from chocolate chip cookies and I did NOT understand why. What had chocolate chip cookies ever done to them!?! Had they ever HAD a chocolate chip cookie? Did they not understand how delicious they were?!? I no longer felt like I was the one steering the ship and it was really pissing me off. The limits felt arbitrary and punishing and by the final meal I was over it.
Nicholas and I decided the final meal was the end of the experiment for us and waiting until the next day served no real purpose. We opened a bottle of wine and I made cookies...well, cookie. I only baked one for fear of my mother finding me the next day on my kitchen floor in a cookie coma.
But here's the funny thing. I sat down with a splash of milk and I savored exactly half of that cookie. Don't get me wrong. It was delicious...but...it wasn't the mind-blowing, earth-shattering experience I had thought and dreamed and obsessed about for four weeks. It was a cookie. A good cookie but just a cookie.
So, really the lessons for me from the Whole30 didn't come until after the experiement was completely over. As I added back the foods I thought I couldn't live without I found that they were not that essential after all. Desserts and sweets taste a little one-note suddenly. Grains taste DRY. I haven't even had a latte yet!
I've learned that I am truly self-motivated when I feel like the choice is mine. Tell me I can't have a chocolate chip cookie and it's all I want. Let me CHOSE to eat a chocolate chip cookie and I feel good about taking only a bite or walking away all together...ok maybe I haven't WALKED AWAY yet but you get the idea!
In the end, I am very happy I did it and really happy I did it with my family. It is one thing to feel healthier yourself but it is an even better thing to watch those you love the most become healthier as well. I've learned that spending real time, energy, and money on what you eat pays dividends in health and happiness. I've learned you can cut a hole in almost anything and fry an egg in it. I've learned not to be intimidated by chopping and ending a meal without dessert is not the end of the world. I've learned I can give up more than I ever thought possible and live to tell the tale.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland