We’ve just wrapped up a successful fitness challenge here at MommiNation. It has been amazing seeing all the beautiful mommies get serious about their health. As moms I know the challenge firsthand of trying to keep everything working and losing sight of my own self care. While I was inspired by all of the workout inspirations and daily encouragement I knew that working out alone wasn’t going to give me the help that I needed to get my self care journey back on track.
Sugar and I, we’re tight
I have had a long standing friendship with sweets. We’re the best of friends. I try not to discriminate in my friendships either. Donuts, cookies, cakes, cupcake, pies, I’m friendly with them all. If I had to choose between my sweet friends I probably couldn’t choose, that’s how tight we are. I enjoy them and they enjoy me. My diet largely consisted of something sweet for breakfast; a donut, a muffin, or some sugar coated cereal, combined with tea with an unhealthy amount of sugar added. Lunch was similar, if I remembered to eat lunch at all. Dinner was perhaps the most healthy meal of my day, mostly because I tried to set an example for my kids. We’d always have a protein, along with a combination of grains, carbs, and vegetables.
Something’s gotta give
While my genetic makeup has always kept me smaller than others (even after six kids), my eating habits and overall health were terrible. I was always irritable, very sluggish, and often times depressed. Every day seemed the same with my lack of energy. I used sugar as a way to boost my energy and eventually sugar became a crutch to get me through my days. My husband would go to the grocery store and come back with whole coffee cakes and I would spend the next day or so eating that coffee cake for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. I was miserable, but I couldn’t figure out why. I needed to make a change.
Time to make a change
When you’re a new mom, you eat what you can, and go with the flow. I don’t have babies anymore so my poor eating habits are pretty much self inflicted. Finding myself in this position wasn’t a first for me. I remember moving up a size in my clothing, but I kept thinking it was no big deal. It wasn’t until we took family pictures over four years ago when the weight gain was noticeable. The moment when we got a sneak peek at our family photos, I realized that I had to make some changes. It was at that time I found out about a program called Whole30. The Whole 30 program is what I have recently returned to to get my eating habits back on track. It was time for another reset.
In my search to reset my diet and live a more healthier life I stumbled upon the Whole 30 program. The Whole 30 program is not something that was overly complicated or expensive to carry out. It requires preparation and dedication. At this point in my life I came equipped with both. Over the span of 30 days, I was going to make the life changing decision of eliminating sugars, grains, legumes, dairy, and alcohol from my diet. Not only was I going to get my health back on track, I was bringing the family along with me! It was going to be a fun 30 days, for sure.
The Whole 30 journey tasks it’s participants with eating moderate portions of REAL food. According to the Whole 30 standards, real food includes: meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables, fruit in moderation; lots of natural fats; herb, spices, and seasonings. The key is to eat food with very little ingredients, with all of the ingredients things you could pronounce, or better yet, foods without ingredients and unprocessed. So what can’t you eat? That’s a great question, for a bit more clarity I am including the official list of foods to avoid for 30 days while on the Whole 30 program directly from their website :
Avoid for 30 days.
Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial.
No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
Do not eat grains.
This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
Do not eat legumes.
- This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
Do not eat dairy.
- This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites.
- If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients.
Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is totally missing the point of the Whole30, and will compromise your life-changing results. These are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
Some specific foods that fall under this rule include: pancakes, waffles, bread, tortillas, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pizza crust, alternative flour pastas, cereal, or ice cream. No commercially-prepared chips (potato, tortilla, plantain, etc.) or French fries either. However, this list is not limited strictly to these items—there may be other foods that you find are not psychologically healthy for your Whole30. Use your best judgment with those foods that aren’t on this list, but that you suspect are not helping you change your habits or break those cravings. Our mantra: When in doubt, leave it out.It’s only 30 days.
As a final rule for the Whole 30 program, participants are discouraged from weighing themselves. The program is not as much about weight loss as it is about resetting your body and the benefits that come with sticking to a more healthier lifestyle. While weightless is sure to occur, but the focus should be on non scale victories. They do encourage participants to weigh themselves before the program begins and once the 30 days have ended.
Let the journey begin
I knew the rules, I was prepped, I was dedicated for 30 days to get my eating habits under control. I needed to feel like myself again. The first few days of the program sucked. I’m not even going to sugar coat it and tell you everything was fantastic. The headaches I was experiencing from my body detoxing from the large amounts of sugar it was used to having was the worst. I spent what felt like hours reading over ingredient lists in stores. My goodness, why is sugar in EVERYTHING? Lots of ingredients like to rename sugar so it was a bit tricky trying to find things that didn’t have added sugar in them. I learned to live without many things during my 30 days and I honestly can’t say that I missed it.
Here’s how my body responded
It took a few weeks for my body to come off of it’s sugar dependency. Once I was clear of that, my energy levels began to increase. I found myself being less irritable, smiling more, and being more conscious of what foods I put in to my body. When I knew I would be out of my house for long periods of time, I packed Whole 30 approved snacks to tide me over until I could get back home. My skin began to clear up from all of the water I was consuming. The best part, my monthly cycle didn’t feel like it was going to be the death of me! I had little to no cramping and for the first time in a long time I felt good.
When I was consuming large amounts of sugar, I found myself unable to get a good night’s sleep. As a result of this detox, my sleeping habits changed. I was able to get plenty of rest and woke up feeling energized. I also saw changes in my children’s behavior once the program progressed. They began making healthier food choices, they too were going to bed on time, and they weren’t jumping off the walls with the excess sugar intake.
Are you ready to make the change?
When our Whole 30 was complete, my husband had lost 16 pounds, and we were feeling amazing. I didn’t weigh myself before we eliminated all of the unhealthy foods from our diet, but my clothes definitely fit looser. As a side note, I committed to working out twice a week during the 30 days, and I failed miserably. I worked out 3 times. We have had such great success in this program that we have chosen to make this a lifestyle. If you’re looking for some encouragement, or you want to begin your Whole 30 journey, I’d love to hear about it. You can find me on Instagram