If you read my 2018 goals earlier this week, then you know that I have a big weight loss goals for the year. As I said in that post, I’m not unhappy with my body right now, but I do want to turn around the slow creep of weight that I’ve been seeing over the last few years. So, I’ve set two January goals in relation to this: take my dogs for a walk every day and complete the January Whole30 challenge.
What is the January Whole30?
If you’re unfamiliar the Whole30 challenge, you can read more about it at www.whole30.com.
The high-level overview is that for 30 days, I am cutting sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and a number of preservatives out of my diet. During the challenge, I will be eating high-quality proteins, vegetables, fruit, and herbs & spices.
By participating in the January Whole30 challenge, I want to allow my body time to rest and reset from foods that have shown to cause reactions for other people. After 30 days, I slowly re-introduce these food categories one at a time, taking note of how my body responds so I know what foods don’t work well for my metabolism and health.
“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”
Why take the Whole30 challenge?
- Last year, I started loosely following the Paleo diet, and I was really pleased with how my body responded to the changes in my food habits. I found that during my busiest season of the year, I had more energy and felt full longer. I was also seeing changes on the scale and in how my clothes fit. Then, the holidays happened, and I decided to relax my diet while traveling and spending time with family. Participating the January Whole30 challenge is a good way for me reset and get back to eating a Paleo diet afterward.
- The Mister and I have decided to take this challenge together. For years we’ve been talking about how we need to eat at home more often. We know it will save us money, and we would make healthier choices. And since it’s easier to stay Whole30 compliant when eating at home, we’re using January to establish that habit.
- I have a community. Several other bloggers that I follow and local friends are also taking their Whole30 challenge in January. It’s always nice when you have others to look to for inspiration and motivation.
My Whole30 Resources
- The first tool might seem pretty obvious. I signed up for the Whole30 Newsletter. We also purchased the founder Melissa Hartwig’s daily field guide: Whole30 Day by Day because it’s good to have a journal to track our progress.
- I use a meal-planning service. Planning ahead is key for Whole30 success. Luckily, we’ve been using Prep Dish by Allison Schaaf since November. Her meal plan is already gluten-free or Paleo, so it has been easy to adapt to our January Whole 30 challenge. I simply leave out the ingredients that aren’t compliant when possible. If the meal itself isn’t compliant, I just don’t make it.
- I pulled out my Paleo cookbooks. Again, I don’t choose meals that aren’t compliant with Whole30, but many Paleo recipes work within the challenge. Since Prep Dish provides four dinners each week, there’s still room for a few other meals from my cookbooks. Currently, my two favorite cookbooks are Michelle Tam from Nom Nom Paleo’s Food for Humans and Ready or Not. (Michelle is also blogging every day this month at Nom Nom Paleo to support her readers taking the January Whole30 challenge.)
- I’m using Social Media for accountability. My Instagram profile and stories have been full of discussion of the wins and challenges so far. And as mentioned earlier, there are many other accounts to visit for inspiration. Check out @honeybewell, @bitesizedpaleo, @sunnysweetdays, and @pretend_its_a_donut.
Observations About the Challenge
Yesterday, marked our first week of the January Whole30 challenge, and this is what I’ve observed so far. Because we’re eating at home, staying compliant hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be.
I thought it would be difficult to give up creamer in my coffee, but it hasn’t been a big deal. I think this is because the Mister makes our coffee every morning via Chemex; the slow pour method brings out a lot of the coffee’s flavor.
For me, the hardest part is not having a glass of wine in the evenings after work. That’s definitely part of my process of unwinding at the end of the workday. (Not on jujitsu days, mind you.) It was especially hard on our date night. but we’ve been substituting kombucha and sparkling water for our “happy hour” treats.
The Mister has had a really hard time with snacking. He has a physically active job, and he snacks a lot during the day at work. He said that for the first week, he was hyper-aware of how much candy and sugar is around the shop.
I love that nearly every evening the Mister and I are sitting down in the dining room for dinner. We’ve also been squeezing in a lot of lunch dates at home. It’s been a great way to spend some quality time with each other.
One of the rules of Whole30 is you aren’t allowed to weigh or measure yourself once you start the challenge, but I am seeing changes. My body definitely tells me when it’s time to eat. I’m noticing that my skin is clearer. My stomach looks flatter. And my energy levels have been high.
If you’re doing the January Whole30, let’s encourage each other. Drop me a comment and let me know how things are going for you. Share one non-scale victory and one difficulty. Let’s do this together.