Failed. This Sunday morning I came to the conclusion that the Whole30 Challenge was not the healthiest option for me. As you read in last weeks update I was struggling with low energy and headaches as well as some digestive issues, while at the completion of week 2, the same issues were still present. I was constantly low on energy, was still waking up with throbbing headaches and my digestive system was completely twisted and causing some extreme discomfort. I think a lot of the digestive issues came from the large quantities of protein I was consuming as well as the large amounts of fiber from all the fruits and vegetables. The headaches and low energy I believe are on account of the great amount of training that I am doing as I prepare for my next half ironman. Most of my headaches felt like they were a result of low blood sugar. Even though I “failed”, I want to share what I have learned during my experience, as this still may be a great route for you to try:
1. The cravings for “bad” foods did decrease. Be patient through the first couple days, no doubt it is tough. Keep in mind, you aren’t a dog. You can say no to food.
2. I thought it was a great kick start towards getting back on track to eating healthy. Because what you can eat is laid out so clearly it made it easy to choose what to eat and stay on track.
3. You must like eggs and sweet potatoes to complete the challenge. These will be your staples.
4. Guacamole tastes great on just about anything.
5. If you are trying to lose weight, I can see how this would be very a beneficial way to start. Fruits and vegetables do not have nearly as many calories as other forms of carbohydrates making it so you can still eat quite a bit.
6. If you are doing a good bit of exercise, especially high volumes of cardio, it may be beneficial to make slight adjustments to the plan and add some form of a grain carbohydrate to help keep your glycogen stores up.
7. Be prepared to do a lot of cooking. Fruits and vegetables will not keep you full as long as you are accustomed to with your more traditional snack options.
8. It is a great opportunity to learn to read the ingredients list on packaged foods. It will defiantly be an eye opener to the large quantities of sugar and crazy number of chemicals present in the foods we are eating on a regular basis.
9. It got me to eat a lot more protein. Although this wasn’t ideal for my digestive system, it was beneficial to my muscle recovery.
10. I tried and enjoyed quite a few new foods. When you venture from your typical way of eating you get the opportunity to try quite a bit more and this was a fun way to experiment in the kitchen.
For those of you who have done it, what did you learn? And for those of you who are considering it, what questions do you have?
Take care and have a great Monday!