Today marks three whole weeks of the Whole30. This means I have nine more days of no wheat, added sugar, artificial sugar, peanuts, corn or legumes. I would be lying to you right through my computer screen if I said that I have had a squeaky clean 21 days. There have been a few incidents, accidental and some not-so-accidental, that probably should have made me start this bad boy over again, but considering my previous bad habits, a couple slip ups and three whole weeks without any wheat (or splenda in my coffee) whatsoever is a pretty big accomplishment for me.
For the record, I started this program as an experiment. On the one hand, yes, I did/do want to lose weight, but not a significant amount. The experiment was really a way for me to be able to better listen to and understand my body. I've mentioned on this blog many times my struggle with being lactose intolerant (and being obsessed with cheese) and the thing I don't-so-much-like-to-talk-about: my IBS. That's irritable bowel syndrome. Yes, bowels as in the things that make you go number 2. It's embarrassing to talk about, sure, but mostly it's a medical condition that I have and it just so happens to be very difficult to understand. The first time a doc told me I had this condition he basically said, "Figure out what hurts your stomach and don't eat it." Now that, my friends, is far easier said than done.
I thought of this cleanse, however, as the perfect way to do this. I did not realize all the other benefits that come along with eating clean. I've been reading "It Starts With Food" and learning more and more about the inflammation these irritating foods are cause and the problems this inflammation causes, from the obvious symptoms like cramps, bloating, gas and irregularity in the bathroom region, to the less obvious symptoms like sinus headaches, fatigue and tendinitis.
Some of the success stories in this book are almost intimidating (i.e. getting off of diabetes medication because blood sugar levels are perfect, boundless energy, no sugar cravings ever, etc.) and I can't say that I feel like a completely new person, but here's what I can tell you after three weeks of significantly changing my diet:
My Skin: After the first week, I noticed a change in my skin. It felt far dryer than usual. I have always had oily skin and stuck to a pretty regular, strict routine in order to keep from breaking out and suddenly I was having to put lotion on after washing my face to keep from peeling (a couple years ago the thought of putting anything even remotely greasy onto my face would've made me cringe). But now, it seems to have leveled out and I've even forgotten to wash my face a couple times and it's clear! No one has told me I'm glowing or anything like that, but can definitely tell that my skin is clearer and my pores look smaller. I love that.
Bloating: Before I started this cleanse, I was in a fairly constant state of bloating in my abdominal region. If I eat the tiniest bit of dairy, my stomach automatically bloats, but I just assumed it was all from dairy. Now I realize sugar (and I'm sure gluten) has the same effect. I have had far less bloating lately.
Weight Loss: I am not allowed to weigh myself until after day 30, so I can't give you definitive answer as to have many pounds I have shed, but I can tell you that my pants are fitting way looser these days. I have started having to wear a belt with my work pants and feel more confident in my clothes.
Running: When I first started this program, I had some adverse effects, like feeling super tired and even getting sick, so I took sort of a hiatus from running to allow my body to adjust. I've since reintroduced it and brought my dog along for the ride. We both seem to be improving vastly. I really haven't gone farther than usual, but I have been going more often and faster. Usually I do LSD (Long Slow Distance, you dirty minded folks!) and my first mile is usually around 10:30 - 11 minutes with the miles getting slightly faster as I go and generally averaging out to 10 minutes per mile. Lately (since Ziggy has started getting her groove back) I've been doing an 8:30 minute mile to begin with. I haven't tried running without a chubster beagle-mix trying to chase squirrels/run under my feet in quite a while, but I have a feeling that when I do it's going to be excellent.
Sleep: I noticed right away how much easier it was for me to fall asleep. This might have something to do with me no longer chugging caffeine-laden Coke Zero every night, but before this cleanse I definitely spent a long time lying in bed before actually falling asleep. Now I'm out almost as soon as I hit the sack. Now I just need to work on going to bed earlier so I can start waking up early. This is definitely one of my goals I need to get crackin' on.
Cravings: They're still there. If I smell something awesome, for example, but just seeing bread or cookies doesn't torture me nearly as much anymore. I miss sweet stuff way more than I do bread/sandwiches/tortillas/etc. I am looking forward to being able to eat honey and agave nectar, but I don't plan on using artificial sweeteners or eating bread even after the 30 days are up.
If you all have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments or e-mail me at mackensieg(at)gmail(dot)com.
And if you're interested, here are the recipes shown in the photos above for bacon wrapped scallops and paleo mayo.