TNG Does Whole 30, Week 1: Cravings, Crashes, and Commitment
If you caught Jamie's Midweek Mashup yesterday, she gave her reasoning for wanting to embark on the Whole 30 journey. My reasons are very similar - years of riding the sugar high/crash roller coaster and a tendency to binge eat in order to deal with stress or emotions. Today marks Day 8 of cutting out dairy, wheat, sugar, legumes, and preservatives in favor of fresh veggies, meat, fruit, nuts, and seeds. Here's how the first week of Whole 30 went for both of us:
As predicted by the book, I am on a determination high on Day One. Unlike in the past, I've prepared for this dietary change weeks in advance, and after 2 weeks of Mardi Gras revelry I'm more than ready to introduce some spartanism to my life. For breakfast, I bake an egg in an avocado and ate it with skillet potatoes. I eat a good deal of fruit, and a balanced dinner. I don't experience any noticeable cravings that day until the evening when I'd usually be having my beer and chunk of brie or carb-y treat. But it doesn't really bother me yet.
We started on Ash Wednesday, a day off work, so I spent my holiday roasting a huge pan of vegetables, sweet potatoes, and these amazing little egg cups that basically make my morning world worth waking up for. I also congratulate myself on how awesome I am.
Right on time, the Sugar Dragon awoke. Low-grade headache, fatigue, and cravings all day. I eat another avocado/egg/potato concoction for breakfast and a giant chef salad for dinner. Papaya is my go-to fruit to replace the late night snacking since it's so filling.
What's this? Seething, crop-burning hatred for all mankind? Fire-breathing vengeance I want to call down upon each of my enemies, AKA anyone who dares speak to me? Oh, this must be the Sugar Dragon, and she will eat your face. I can't break the late night snack habit and have dates with almond butter, basically dessert. It's amazing.
Like yesterday, but worse! And now along with the cravings and fatigue is a mental fuse so short you couldn't light a stick of incense with it. I'm anxious, irritable, and internally starting to panic staring down the barrel of 27 more days of this shit. I know that according to the timeline I'll start to feel better soon, but I wish someone could lock me in a padded room somewhere (ideally with a comfy bed!) until this phase is over so I'll stop snapping at innocent bystanders, a.k.a. my husband. We go to a concert that night and my body literally doesn't know what to do with itself at such an event if I can't nurse a gin and tonic the entire time, so I get a water and crunch the ice cubes.
My days are easy for me because they're structured. I have my egg cups already prepped for breakfast, Whole30-appropriate almond milk for my coffee, and I can quickly toss a bunch of Sunday's prepped veggies and meat into a bowl for my lunches and dinner. But this is the point that evening anxiety really starts to kick in for me. I text Nikki who talks me off the ledge. But now I understand that this is a regular thing, and I would normally soothe myself with ice cream or a brownie.
Headaches and the worst of the cravings are over, and now I'm just TIRED. I'm starting to develop a repertoire of Whole 30 recipes that I like, and we have slow cooker chili for dinner that's delicious and filling. Because I'm not able to distract myself with a zillion snacks at night after the kids go to bed, I'm actually getting writing done. The chronic bloating I've had for a while now has also gone down drastically. Frozen grapes are really yummy.
Hey, you know what's fun? Starting your period in the first week of a Whole30. So, now am I not only punch-your-face angry, I'm also exhausted, much like Nikki. Reaching for a cup feels like dragging my arm through water. Having to get my own laundry out of the dryer feels like I have to hoist the Pyramids 6 inches to the left my own damn self. I also eat 3 Lara bars in a row, and I'm not proud of this.
But this is the day after 2-3 months of really uncomfortable, puzzling constipation that I have a sorta normal poop. I'm so excited I post this Instagram - no shame, homies - and text everyone I know. Poop is important.
Still feeling tired, as evidenced by the fact that I could barely work the garden shovel after about ten minutes of digging. I'm thrilled that Marc and I's sudden obsession with eggs at breakfast has actually made Eleanor willing to try them again (she's notoriously picky), and she "looooooves eggs" now. I try to meal prep for the week by roasting a big batch of veggies, hard boiling some eggs, making a giant salad mix, and cooking a beef roast in the slow cooker. I've tried almost every Whole 30 compliant Larabar and have a newfound appreciation for cashews.
I'll be honest. I'm cruising through my days because I've prepped so well for lunches and dinners, but evenings are still a total struggle for me. Anxiety hits around 6 or 7, a tightness in my chest, a little bit of untethered worry, and I don't really know what to do with it except feed it. I'm still relying on almond butter and dates to get me through, but I also journal like a mofo and realize I'm fretting over something just below the surface of my consciousness.
I start to feel my energy and strength come back, which is good because it's my first day back at work since starting the program. I'm nervous about how I'll feel being around the usual temptations of snack machines, indulgent food within walking distance, and giant sheet cakes for birthdays in the teacher's lounge, but I navigate through the day with surprising ease. Desserts are starting to lose their strangle hold on my heart, and I'm genuinely enjoying the food I'm eating and cooking. I'm delighted with how much money I'm saving.
I name this day THE EVACUATION. Because that is what my body does. I end up in the bathroom 4 times before 10 a.m. and I am ecstatic about it. Again, I text everyone I know, including my grossed out husband who needs to get over it because everybody poops. Including me now.
On a roll. I can feel the unhealthy habits breaking down, like the late night snacking thing. The voice that shouts at me to do it is down to a whisper, and pretty easily silenced by half a papaya and a big glass of water. I'm starting to find non-food ways to reward myself and celebrate things: a bath, a favorite TV show, lighting incense. My meals for the week ran out way quicker than I realized, though, and I'll need to prep better for next week to avoid having nothing ready for dinner except beef jerky and fruit.
Still pooping. Still happy about it. FTW. Perpetual bloating has gone away, my HS is healing, and the cyst on my tailbone has reduced in size by half. I still have a couple of mystery rashes, but I'm not nauseous as often. Overall, I feel pretty great and can see a future in which I don't go back to eating gluten, which I know causes some of my issues.