So- I finished my Whole30 cleanse a week ago. It was 30 days of… struggle.
I wanted to walk through my thoughts now that I have wrapped up my cleanse and I’m about a week out from it. If you are unfamiliar with what I’m talking about- check out this post talking about why I wanted to cleanse and this post that broke down the Whole30 program.
The Whole30 program was hard. Really hard. I honestly can’t imagine ever wanting to live on the program on a full-blown, strict day-to-day system. In the process of my cleanse, I realized a few things were more important to me than a “perfect diet.” While I did I realize that yes I do struggle with snacking and sugar and empty munchy-foods- I also realized that in several circumstances I thrive off of the community that gathers around food.
But let’s break this down…
the pros (things I will hold on to)
There were parts to the program that I found to be incredibly powerful that I want to carry with me the rest of my life.
Processed sweets mess me up.
The biggest thing I have learned so far since ending the cleanse- is that the amount of sugar ingested in something little (like an oreo) is too much, especially on a daily basis. Occasional major indulgences like that are fine- but dangerous as they can get me craving them quickly… and eating that kind of sugar a couple days in a row can make me feel pretty awful (emotionally and physically).
Food does not control me.
It is powerful to look at something and say ‘no, I do not need that or want it.’ Since breaking the cleanse, I have since fallen back into bad habits, but I was kind of expecting that (Super Bowl parties and leftovers). There is grace though and I know for a fact that I can say no.
Numbing with food is sooooo counterproductive.
In my personal existence- I’ve numbed with food a lot. It’s a vicious cycle though- as often I’m numbing feelings of inadequacy because of my body… which is caused by over eating (and couch-potatoing it up). I’m sure I knew this to be true before the cleanse but it definitely became crystal clear to me during the cleanse.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland.
While it was a bit of a hassle to hold on to Whole30 in social situations- eating healthy was delicious most of the time. Especially as my body became more used to not having processed foods and sugars around- flavor in ‘ordinary’ foods became more pronounced.
the cons (things I will not hold on to)
There were parts to the program that I found to be so incredibly restrictive that it kept me from participating in important parts of my life.
Community is more important to me than the perfect diet.
Plain and simple. I felt completely unable to go to people’s homes if it included a meal. I ended up eating before hand and feeling horribly guilty for turning down what they prepared. Also- going out to restaurants was very difficult… and bland. Eating something on plan meant eating salads without really any seasoning on them… which sucked.
I need more grace for myself in my life- not less.
This is a weird one… because the cleanse itself doesn’t label foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in those words. What got me was when I was reintroducing things back in. The book recommended this idea of maintaining this diet and very slowly (like over weeks) adding things that were prohibited… and I just felt choked with guilt and frustration. I wanted rice damnit… but I felt sooo guilty that I wanted rice.
a few last thoughts
• It was an interesting experience- and a successful cleanse. I would recommend trying it to anyone honestly.
• It was a uplifting jumpstart to my healthy goals this year- I had lost around 10lbs by the time the cleanse was over and I got back on the scale.