Friday, January 20, 2017

January Whole 30 Half Way: Lessons from Failure

In case you didn't gather it from the title, we failed at the first two weeks of the Whole 30 diet in January.

But I still don't think of it as a failure! We made some good choices when failing (ha!) and I think we've found a healthy balance that we can keep up.

When we started Whole 30, we modified to allow regular almond milk (I do the Silk Unsweetened Vanilla), one glass of wine or beer a week, vanilla extract for baking/cooking and allowing baked goods that are Paleo for breakfast.  To read about the Whole 30 diet, you can check out my original blog posts (here and here).  You can also check out the Whole 30 book on Amazon!

Even with out modifications to the diet, we strayed big time. Between snow days, birthday parties, crazy four hour meetings at work, sometimes not wanting to cook after a full day of work followed by the gym and our love of Cookout, we failed. We cheated a lot. But I look back at the past two weeks and still see it as a gain.

In the past two weeks, I've:
  • Said no to bagels and cream cheese.
  • Said no to homemade sausage pinwheels (that was painful, but not overly so).
  • Have mostly drank water, almost exclusively, minus a Bojangles sweet tea.
  • When we've cheated, we've made smart choices. After a 4 hour meeting that lasted until 8:00 PM, we got Subway as our take out instead of Cookout or Taco Bell.
  • Found more recipes that we like!
  • Have actually gotten in our 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day.
We learned the first time around that meal prep is what makes or breaks this diet! I think I tried to do too much the first time and that's why I burned out in 2 weeks. This time, while we've cheated immensely, I've also learned a few more things.
  • Good snacks are key! You aren't supposed to snack. I get that. But I'm pretty sure the authors of the diet don't sit in back to back meetings the way I do. Or make dinner after working out, so dinner is around 7:30-8:00 PM. We need snacks.  Our favorites have been Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips (amazing!!!), apples with almond butter, and carrots with homemade ranch. 
  • Backup meals are your friend! This past week, I made some backup meals based on a FB video recipe.  I did two sheet pans with veggies (broccoli, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower) and chicken breasts.  I roasted them and then split them up into 5 meals. The Facebook recipe called for rice with the chicken and veggies, which isn't Paleo or Whole 30 friendly, so I used white potatoes instead (Whole 30 friendly!). The backup meals took about an hour total - prep and cooking time. They've been a huge help to cover nights I don't want to cook and lunches for the next day.  I'll definitely be keeping this up!
  • Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan! We already knew this, but I really can't say this enough! I plan out my dinners, the lunches they will provide and snacks.  This helps me shop smarter and be prepared.  I always include one or two meals that take less than 30 minutes to make so there's less chance of cheating. 
  • Frozen and pre-cut veggies are your friend! When we did this the first time, I did all fresh produce. Which is awesome. And time consuming! This time I spent a little more on veggies that I didn't have to prep such as frozen riced cauliflower and pre-chopped butternut squash. 
  • Habits don't take as long as you think when you have a goal. This was a biggie for me. An eye opener of sorts. When we did Clean 14 back in September, we stuck to some of it (almond milk instead of dairy, no soda, mostly cooking Paleo), but a lot we didn't. I didn't gain any weight back, but I also didn't lose any.  This time, I was super specific about what I wanted out of this: weight loss and something we could stick with. I knew that we wouldn't stick with Whole 30 as a lifestyle, so I think that's why I've been okay with the cheating. Because we've found ways to make a lifestyle that works for us. Knowing these goals make it easier to start new habits, like drinking water almost exclusively. I don't miss soda and I almost (almost, not totally) can't drink a large sweet tea from Bojangles. I've had one sweet tea since we started the diet, one glass of wine and maybe one or two La Croixs.  Everything else has been nothing but water. 
Some of my new favorites!

I'm not going to report how much weight I've lost (it's pretty sweet) or inches (also pretty sweet), but I will tell you that I have drank the Clean Eating kool-aid. I work out like a mad woman on a regular basis. I love it, it's part of me now. But nothing, and I mean nothing, has allowed me to lose weight like Whole30, Paleo and Clean Eating. I don't know if that means that I'm gluten intolerant (I hope not, cause cake), but now I know what my body needs and how to make it work for me. It's kinda cool. If you've been on the fence about trying this (Whole 30, Paleo or Clean Eating), try it out! I'm happy to answer any questions I can or tell you where to look for your answers. A healthy you is a happy you!

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