Six weeks ago, one of my friends told me she was “gearing up to do The Whole 30.” My sugar addiction and I trembled in fear, because we knew it had to end for us, too.
The Whole 30 isn’t about losing weight; it’s about breaking bad eating habits, and in particular, sugar. This is done by removing sugar — and food that becomes sugar — from your diet for 30 days. That includes dairy, grains (wheat, oats, corn, rice), legumes (black beans, peanuts), and, of course, all forms of sugar (natural and otherwise), as well as drinks that contain sugar (alcohol, juice, soda). Potatoes are allowed (but not chips or crisps) — thank God.
The reason I want to do it is simple: I think I deserve to eat whatever I want. One reason is because I started overnight fasting three years ago. Almost every night, I don’t eat between 7:30pm and 9:30 am, and I love it. (Don’t pity my evening social life — I have two small kids.) The other reason I deserve to is that two years ago, I quit drinking alcohol.
Because of this, and because my family and I eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast and dinner every day, I believe I deserve to eat 14 Oreos for lunch, and ice cream after dinner (at 7:20pm, of course).
But really, isn’t that a bit much? Do I want to be so indulgent in this one aspect of my life? No, I don’t. I’d rather be a woman who eats one Oreo a day for the rest of her life.
The Eve of the Diet
My husband, Thomas, and I are starting The Whole 30 tomorrow morning. I spent five hours looking at websites, trying to figure out what we were going to eat, then went to the cupcake shop and bought six chocolate beauties. I ate three; he ate one. Let his display of moderation show what a good sport he is, coming along for the ride.
The End of Week One
Good grief was that a lot of work. I’m exhausted from the meal planning, recipe searches, and daily trips to the grocery store. I couldn’t handle more than one day at a time. But things are improving — I just planned three days worth of meals, and placed a grocery order for delivery. Here’s what I've learned:
- Black coffee is delicious, especially if you buy really good coffee.
- Withdrawing from sugar wasn't terrible. Maybe that’s because alcohol was already gone, and we don’t drink soda. Regardless, I was scared of it, and I’m glad it’s over.
- Coconut milk and homemade mayonnaise, which many Whole 30 followers swear by, are a bit off-putting, and so far, not that necessary. (I’m making tuna salad with an avocado and lots of celery.)
Bonus #1: Making meals outside of my comfort zone is making me a better cook.
The End of Week Two
I’m a pro at meal prep now, and I can see how people make permanent changes after this. If Sloppy Joes on a weeknight (made with sugar-free ketchup) are as good with sweet potatoes as they are on a bun, why have a bun? Here’s what else I've wondered:
- Why do so many women have dysfunctional relationships with food, and so many men do not?
- And on that note, why do I think of food as a reward?
- And lastly, why can’t I just have one Oreo? (Admittedly I was never great at just one glass of wine, either.)
Bonus #2 has revealed itself in an excellent way: Thomas and I are having a hilariously good time together, bonding through this suffering.
The End of Week Three
I’m a little bored by the food we’re eating, but love the way I feel. I still haven’t weighed myself, but my trousers are loose, and my skin glows. (Although it could be the absence of Oreos.) I’m starting to wonder if the trade-off of eating sugar and carbs is worth it. Here’s what else I've figured out:
- “Dump Ranch” is really good for a ‘compliant’ creamy salad dressing
- This Sweet Potato Chili is also delicious, and great to freeze for easy lunches
- The combination of olives and macadamia nuts is sublime. And while snacking is discouraged, I eat 7 olives and 14 macadamia nuts very day around 4pm, and plan never to stop.
Bonus #3 was a “paleo” birthday cake, which I made (with honey) for my husband's birthday. It was so good that it furthered my feeling I could make a permanent cut-back of gluten in my life. A macro win for a micro cheat on the honey/cake front.
The End of the Diet
Yeah! I lost 10 pounds. Thomas lost 6. But right — this isn’t about the weight. It’s about the sugar, and incredibly, I don’t want any, or much, anyway. In fact, in the past week, I’ve only eaten a few pieces of fruit. And right now, I don’t even want an Oreo. (Maybe that’s because Thomas told me he ate a doughnut hole yesterday and it almost made him sick.)
I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to keep the weight off, and since I like rules, I might limit myself to one “bad” thing a day — one meal with bread (pizza, pasta, banana bread) OR something sweet. And neither, if I don’t feel like it. I’m not going to worry much about dairy or legumes, and I’m going to plan and eat a healthy lunch every day.
10 Days Post Diet
I still haven't had a highly-processed Oreo, but I did eat a homemade Snickerdoodle every day for three days. I love being thinner, and no longer think eating crap is worth the trade-off of a few extra pounds. I'm avoiding bread, replacing pasta with sweet potato, and being thoughtful about everything I eat. I also look at each day as a whole. Will I be having dessert tonight? Then I'd better be good the rest of the day. And do I still have a sugar addiction? I do not. And as much as I love sugar, I love this more.