I wrapped up my most recent Whole 30 two weeks ago.
It was a breeze. My doctor told me to quit gluten and grains years ago, so the only things I need to drop during the Whole 30 are sugar and alcohol.
I missed my usual glass of wine the first night, but quickly settled into an evening tea routine to fill the gap. Well Fed 2 came out at the beginning of my Whole 30, and I spent the 30 days happily cooking through the book.
I cheated a few times: I chewed some verboten gum so I could teach my daughters how to blow bubbles, I tasted a lentil soup my 8-year-old made, I ate almonds that turned out to have canola oil on them.
Because the changes I made during this Whole 30 were so small, I was shocked to lose 7 pounds–again. I’m pretty sure those pounds have everything to do with sugar, mostly in the form of wine.
I really didn’t notice a difference in how I felt while I was on this Whole 30. I thought I might sleep better, but my Jawbone Up tells me my sleep was pretty much the same. I felt good, but not any better than usual. (Although I did feel awful for two days after eating the canola-laden almonds. It turns out I’m not the only one in my family who can’t handle canola oil.)
But the scale doesn’t lie, and every time I quit wine for a month I lose 5-10 pounds.
I never gained the Freshman 15 in college: I ate reasonably healthy, used the gym, and stayed out of the all-you-can-eat dining hall my senior year.
And, perhaps most importantly, I didn’t drink a drop.
I’m 35, too old to be carrying around the freshman 15 (or 5 or 10). I’m comfortable with my weight and body image, but I still find the idea that I’m carrying around extra pounds as a direct result of a nightly wine habit disturbing.
In addition, I was surprised by the strength of the warning in the Whole 30 handbook It Starts With Food. Whole 30 founders Dallas and Melissa Hartwig advise against daily consumption of alcohol: it provokes a hormonal response, it’s not doing anything to make you healthier, and consuming an addictive substance on a regular basis is a terrible idea.
During our joint Whole 30, my husband and I regularly discussed what life would look like on Day 31, particularly regarding sugar and alcohol. We’ve decided to not keep any sugar or alcohol in the house. (This is based on experience: I couldn’t kick my diet coke habit until I stopped buying it for guests.) If we want to get a bottle or bake a treat, that’s fine, but it requires a special trip to the store, and won’t happen more than once a week.
(I’m also staying open to the possibility of altogether quitting both, because I’m a better abstainer than moderator.)
This is a challenging time of year to start new habits, but I’m certain I’ll be happier if I stick to them. Wish me luck?
Tell us about your Freshman 15 or 30-something 15 in comments.