Can you believe 30 days is already over?! I cannot. This month flew by!! As I prepare to leave for Europe tomorrow (be prepared to see tons on the blog), I am now reflecting on this month with my key takeaways from the Whole30.
With the end of this month comes the end of the whole30. While I must say I have been counting down the days til I can eat popcorn again, I honestly have loved this experience so much that I am now planning on maintaining a majority paleo diet.
This last moth, I have had more energy than ever, my athletic performance has progressed more than I could have ever imagined, and I have been an overall healthier and happier person. This experience has changed me from the inside out and I could not be happier with my decision to take on this challenge!
If you look back at my blog post here, before starting the whole30 I can not deny I was very unsure of what I was getting myself into. I thought I needed bread and carbs to maintain my energy throughout the day; I thought I needed protein bars and protein powder to gain muscle and recover from my workouts; I thought I needed yogurt for calcium and probiotics; I wasn’t sure how the paleo diet was going to treat me and I didn’t know if I was going to stick with it during the first couple days. It surely took getting used to, but I could not be more proud of myself for sticking with it and ever since the fifth day of doing the whole30, I have been astounded by the results! I really learned and can now completely stand by the fact that you do not need anything but whole and natural foods from the earth.
Aside from the energy, good moods, and physical benefits my body has experienced, I also picked up some super important habits and lessons this month as well that I am now sharing below! These lessons have completely changed the way I look at not only food and physical well-being, but life as a whole and I could not be more grateful. I wish I had realized them sooner!
1.) Eat for Intent
Food affects your mood; each and every food has nutrients with specific properties to help you get through your day and once you realize how to analyze what foods your body needs, I promise your days will run that much more smoothly. When you’re in a bad mood, eating something calming can help you settle down. When you are too tired to go to the gym, sometimes you need food to give you the burst of energy to bring you up ! Food is truly the best medicine, you just have to realize what kinds of food you need and when you need it. Foods like avocado, broccoli, sweet potatoes, fish, and coconut oil have all properties to make your brain function more clearly; so now I have learned to take sweet potato wedges (you can buy these pre-made at Trader Joe’s or make them at home!) with single-serving packs of guacamole to school as a snack before a big test! I learned coconut water is incredibly calming, so now I drink this whenever I am stressed or sometimes I have a glass before bed!
Being on the Whole30 helped me realize the specific properties behind each food and what the best foods are to eat, as well as when to eat them.
2.) Fat is not the enemy. Sugar is.
As I have said, before the whole30 I ate pretty healthy majority of the time but fell prone to “healthy crap” such as cereals, granolas, sweetened yogurts, and many other foods that try to claim they are healthy and may be fat free, but are secretly loaded with sugar.
Ever since going on the whole30, I have been forced to cut all added sugars of any kind out of my life and the difference is indescribable. After this month, I do think I will go back to eating bread when I want it (whole grain though of course), I will eat beans, I will eat popcorn, but I WILL NOT go back to added sugar. Ever since eliminating added sugar and cutting back on all sugars in general, I cannot tell you the difference I have felt. I really believe cutting sugar has been a huge part of my whole30 success.
SO, after personally experiencing the benefits of cutting sugar out of my life, I did some research and am now sharing my findings..
So many people these days try to avoid fat when trying to loose weight and do not see the results they want. In many cases, this is because they are now resorting to the real enemy, sugar. Sugar causes an immediate insulin surge to be released from your pancreas and the more sugar you eat, the more insulin is released. When insulin is released, your blood sugar in turn lowers dramatically. When your blood sugar is too low, your body then sends a message to your brain that you need more fuel. So what do you do? You go binge as you feel desperate for food.
Then, if you eat more calories in sugar than your body can metabolize, the sugars are converted to fat which is stored in your cells for future use, causing the weight gain.
Sugar poses a much deeper threat however than just weight gain..too much sugar puts stress on the liver and pancreas, both which are responsible for detoxing your body. It creates inflammation, it raises cholesterol levels, offsets healthy bacteria any your gut, and it ages your skin (um..no thank you.)
Sugar lacks all nutrients needed in your body and is also incredibly addictive. It raises serotonin and dopamine (chemicals making your brain feel good) and they leave you always wanting more and more and never leaving you satisfied.
So long story short, sugar and I are no longer friends.
3.) Enjoy Yourself.
While on the whole30 people have constantly asked me why I am doing this “diet” and I have to constantly explain, I am not dieting. I have never believed in diets, but this experience really proved that belief to be true. I think of my whole30 experience more as a lifestyle change. A way of giving back to my body. A way of detoxifying, a way to find myself. NOT A DIET.
When people are dieting, they are often restricting themselves and will most likely fall prey to the same unhealthy habits they were practicing before.
So long story short, don’t restrict yourself. Listen to your body and nourish your needs to curb your cravings rather than restricting yourself and depriving your body of the nutrients you are obviously lacking.
In the end, I could not be more grateful for this whole30 experience and the lessons in which I have learned. After this month I not only feel my body is physically different, but I am mentally a different person in so many ways.
This post is in no way sponsored. All views are personal to Gracie Parish and may not relate to everyone. I am not a dietitian or nutritionist nor do I claim to be. Everyone is different however I am sharing my opinion and what has worked for me as inspiration to others. Listen to your body, love and take care of you.