I did it – I finally finished the Whole30 and the reintroduction days! It was definitely an enlightening experience that I suggest everyone try at least once. It will totally change the way you look at food. Below are a few things I learned from my experience.
I was totally shocked at how my sleep was affected – for the better! About 5 days in during the Whole30, I noticed I was sleeping like a rock. I get up often in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and usually struggle to fall back asleep. During the Whole30 I had no problem falling back asleep immediately. I also felt that it was easier for me to get up in the mornings. I felt well rested and it was so much easier for me to get out of bed.
During the reintroduction phase I noticed that it wasn’t as easy for me to get up in the morning. I was still sleeping heavily, but I felt more tired when waking up. I’m not sure if this was because I was reintroducing legumes, grains and dairy back into my diet, but I would assume there has to be a correlation.
Hidden Sugar is Everywhere!
When doing the Whole30 you really have to be aware of the foods you are eating. I was always checking ingredients to make sure things were compliant. It really opened my eyes seeing how many ingredients that are added to foods you wouldn’t expect. For example, there are very few brands that sell Canadian bacon or smoked salmon that don’t have added sugar in them. Sugar is a no no on the Whole30 so it made buying things very difficult. If I lived by a Whole Foods it probably would’ve been easier to find compliant products, but unfortunately I don’t.
Brands will try and trick you by saying that there are 0 grams of sugar, but if you check the ingredients sugar will be listed as an ingredient. So be careful! If you’re thinking of doing the Whole30 it is essential that you read the ingredients of everything you eat. You all know my cashew story.
Certain Foods Don’t Like You as Much as You Like Them
It’s a tough pill to swallow but unfortunately it’s true. I learned this about bread, (you can check out my blog) my long time friend that I have given up this past year. During my reintroduction phase, I was disappointed to learn that dairy doesn’t agree with me as much as I would’ve hoped. I was convinced that grains were bloating me, but it turns out it is dairy. Not something I’m ready to give up yet, but definitely something I need to watch. I’m looking into trying some alternative options such as kefir.
You May Feel REALLY Good
The one thing I read numerous times before beginning was how great you’re going to feel during the Whole30. I thought this might be a bit of phony baloney but hoped for the best. Turns out it’s true. After my adjustment week in the beginning, I had felt the best I ever have. I physically felt better and I was also so much happier. After the reintroduction days I could feel the physical benefits slowly dwindle. I feel like I’m carrying a bit more baggage on my belly compared to when I was doing the Whole30.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience doing the Whole30. Yes, it can be very difficult at times when you are trying to eat out or all of your friends are drinking, but it’s totally worth it in my opinion.
I do enjoy the ease of not having to worry what exactly restaurants are cooking with, but I will continue to eat a lot of foods I was eating during the Whole30 on a regular basis.
I will be honest; I rarely used to stretch when I was playing college volleyball. I used stretching time as a time to chat with my teammates…. oops! The only times I actually put effort into stretching was when I felt like I was really sore. This is definitely something I’ve worked on since studying for my personal training certification.
When studying, I learned the importance of stretching and why it’s crucial for people to incorporate into their fitness routines. However, stretching tends to be something we often neglect. When I asked a few friends if they stretch they used excuses like, “I’ve always had tight muscles”, “I don’t think it really does anything for me”, or “It’s just so boring!” But all of these excuses don’t really matter – stretching is essential!
So why is stretching so important? First off, stretching can help improve your performance in physical activities. Flexibility is joint specific so stretching helps improve your joints range of motion. By having a better range of motion, you will decrease your chances of getting injured. And NO one wants to get injured! Stretching also helps increase the blood flow to your muscles.
It’s also important because during intense workouts, there is only a certain amount of oxygen available. This is where lactate is made. Our bodies convert that lactate to energy without the use of oxygen. What tends to happen is this lactate acid builds up in our bloodstreams faster than we can burn it off, causing lactate acid buildup. Stretching after an intense workout helps ease the tenderness of those muscles that have lactate acid buildup.
I’ve definitely stepped up my stretching game since my days of playing college volleyball. Now I incorporate stretching after every workout. For me personally, I’ve found that stretching after my workouts helps decrease soreness the next day. In college, I remember waking up the next morning after a late practice (where I didn’t stretch afterwards) and felt so sore and stiff. Now that I’ve incorporated stretching into my daily workout routine, I find that this happens much less. I can still feel a bit of stiffness but much less than I did in college.
So what stretches are important to incorporate? Stretching your whole body is obviously the best idea, but if you don’t have time to get a full stretch session in after a workout, try to stretch the muscles you just focused on during your routine. If you ran 6 miles, make sure you stretch your legs, butt and even your lower back. If you did an arm workout, make sure you get focus on your arms, neck and upper back.
Make sure you listen to your body. If it you are in pain while stretching stop doing that stretch! You should never be in pain.
If you are stuck and don’t really know where to start, take a look at this article for a great 5 minute stretching routine. And if you are trying to improve your flexibility and want to take it a step further, consider incorporating yoga into your weekly routine. It’s an activity I’ve been incorporating and it’s really helped! I use the YogaStudio app, which you can download through the iTunes store.
To say that I grew up on bread is probably an understatement. Growing up, my dad worked for a bread company in San Francisco called Boudin Bakery for anyone reading in the Bay Area! Every night, he would bring home a bag of baguettes for us to nibble on before dinner. Nibble, eat a whole baguette… eh same thing right? It became such a habit that when we would go to an Italian restaurant I would just eat the bread basket and not touch my entree. My connection to bread was so intense, I even bought a bread phone case that had baguettes on it. Don’t judge.
I love bread so much that I studied abroad in Paris for a summer just so I could get my hands on some of the best bread in the world! Ok, kidding… but it was a huge perk of living in Paris. I would eat a baguette with cheese for lunch and a baguette (or two) for dinner with meat or hummus. It was the best summer of my life, and Paris wasn’t too shabby either.
Fast forward about 15 years and 1,589 baguettes later. I’ve recently been listening to a lot of health podcasts lately because I’m in the process of becoming a wellness coach, and the ongoing theme is to really listen to your body. So I thought I would give it a go and listen to how my body feels after I eat certain foods. This turned out to be great news for me, terrible news for bread.
I realized that when I ate bread, I always felt really bloated and sluggish. The biggest problem though was it never fully filled me up. I always felt like I could eat more bread, which can be quite dangerous when you’ve already tackled a full baguette to yourself in 30 minutes.
So a few months ago I decided to do what I considered unthinkable and give up bread, potatoes (I still eat sweet potatoes) and pasta. Now let me breakdown how these 3 foods alone are so big in my life. I have some Italian blood in me so I grew up on pasta, my boyfriend is Irish and they eat potatoes on the daily, and you just learned about my relationship with bread for the past 25 years. So to me, giving up these 3 foods seemed impossible, but I did it and my body is thanking me for it.
I’m not saying bread, potatoes or pasta are bad, but for me, it wasn’t a healthy relationship. Everyone is different and people react differently to food, which is something I’ve really started to learn over this past year seeing friends struggle with gluten and diary allergies.
It’s important that we start listening to our bodies more. Try thinking about how certain foods make you feel after you eat. Do you feel bloated? Backed up? Tired? Or do you feel happy and full of energy? Your body can tell you so much, we just need to start listening!
Just a girl writing down her thoughts on life post-trauma, body acceptance and wellness.