Whole30 Challenge – What Happened Next


Three weeks ago I almost finished a Whole30 challenge.  Almost.  There was a slip up with me stupidly forgetting that maple syrup was not on the accepted ingredients list, so I’m not going to claim actual completion.  I will be making sure next time however (and there will be a next time) that I hide all banned substances to save me from myself.  What I’ve found most difficult about the Whole30 experience is not the 30 days grain/dairy/sugar free (yes maple syrup, that means you) but keeping myself in line now that I’m ‘free’ to eat what I want.  It’s not like I’m eating lots of unhealthy foods; 80% of my diet is still paleo/primal.  I still exercise regularly and my strength is increasing (have just started being able to Snatch a 12kg bell and boy am I excited about that).  I don’t eat grains or refined sugars, but I am susceptible to drinking them.

I lost 2 cms from my waist and hips while I was doing the Whole 30, and I reckon I’ve got another 5cm more to lose before I’m in the vicinity of where I want to be (I’ve stopped weighing myself because while I’m wanting to lose fat, I want to gain muscle, which weighs more than fat but takes up less space; hence the tape measure rather than the scales).  And I’ve no issues with having a glass of wine or whisky from time to time – but note the ‘a’ part of that sentence.  One.  Not two, not three and definitely not five!

I’ve spent a little bit of time lately reflecting on these things – mainly because the 2 day hangovers prevented me from doing much else.  My body has gotten so used to being toxin free that when I assault it with poisons (yes, alcohol is a poison, even if it’s a very tasty one) it reacts very badly.  I feel lethargic and the brain fog is horrendous – I do not feel healthy and I’m definitely not happy about it.  Unfortunately I’m a slow learner, and it took not one but two fairly heavy drinking sessions to make me realise that I need to exercise a little willpower and listen to my body more.  I’m also now a total lightweight when it comes to booze, so for my own good, I need to approach alcoholic beverages with extreme caution; sip very slowly, ensure I have a lot of water at hand (a big catch for me is drinking more alcohol instead of H20 when I get dehydrated – it’s a vicious little cycle), know my limits (and stick to them!).

So, what have I learned from all this?  Well…. when I eat good clean unprocessed foods, I feel GREAT: I have energy, I feel stronger, my mind is clearer (note: ‘clearer’ not ‘clear’; it’s a nut house up there on the best of days) – basically I feel Happy, Healthy and Strong.  When I eat/drink crap, I feel crap.  So bloody obvious right?  Then why is it so tempting?