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Holiday Survival + Whole 30 Day Restart


pickymissnicky

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I started the Whole 30 16 days ago, knowing that I was going to have to restart again today.  Before starting, my stomach was bloated, I had gained weight and my face was breaking out non-stop, not with piddly little pre-teen zits, but with cystic acne.  It hurt, it was ugly and I hated how it looked to my family, my self and my clients.  Further, I was starting to get on the scale and let the numbers dictate my days!  Down 2 pounds? Great day ahead, full of rewards and self-sabotage.  Up 3 pounds?  Bad day ahead, topped with self-loathing and frustration all day with no solution in sight.  I have struggled with food allergies and sensitivities for a long time, receiving positive IgE tests for wheat, rice, corn, black beans, peanuts, pistachios, scallops, grapes, sesame, dairy and some others I can't remember off the top of my head.  In short, I've been working toward the Whole 30 for a decade without even knowing it; I was falling out of compliance and needed a kick start!  

The Whole 30 was exactly the kick start I needed.  This weekend's deviation from the plan was contemplated months ago after dropping my son off for school in Ann Arbor, MI, where for our last meal together, we stumbled upon a greek restaurant that served gluten-free, rice-free pita bread gyros.  I haven't had a gyro in over ten years, so this is a big treat for me and it's one that I'll settle for 1-2 times per year.  So I knew that I'd be eating it this weekend and starting all over again.  Was it worth it?  Yes, but not for the reasons you think.  It wasn't that it felt good to be bad or to "cheat" or whatever.  It was because I knew that the minute it was in my gullet, I'd be going back to the Whole 30 and I looked forward to going back!  I don't care if it meant that I'd have a reset and have to start my 30 days back over because I've been feeling great on the Whole 30 and enjoy the security of it--it's a great default place for me to be and I like it here.

As for Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up...years ago, when we lived in Europe, we sort of tossed aside the traditional Thanksgiving meal and opted to do ribeyes and twice-baked potatoes (for everyone but me, I always have a sweet potato), with a salad.  Since coming back to the States, however, we have had to "do" Thanksgiving with other people and I've learned a few hacks along the way.  One, turkey is easy.  Two, if you like the sides, make some green beans and some compliant mashed potatoes or a baked sweet potato and bring them with you.  After 10+ years of food allergies, I've come to terms with the fact that it sometimes feels like grief while others are eating all the stuff you love right in front of you, I've been known to have to leave the room and just take a time out.  I mean, if I ate the food, I'd feel awful (buttons bursting, really, is that a good time for anybody?).  If I'd relied on others to prepare it the way I need it prepared, I'd go hungry.  The psychological warfare is no joke, either: HEAVEN HELP YOU if you SAY anything about your needs and make others feel bad about gorging themselves all day.  It's tough.  But I've done it for years and will do it this year again.  I don't prattle on about a special diet or talk about it, I sort of play a little shell game where I stay busy helping the hostess and then roll in on a plate of food that satisfies MY needs and then find a place at the kids' table or whatever.  If someone asks (who doesn't know about my food allergies or Whole 30 this year), then I just say that I am saving myself for two pieces of pie.  They aren't going to track whether I eat those two pieces of pie!  

And while everybody else eats a mountain of food, followed by 2-3 desserts (WHY!?!) and hates themselves into a 40+-day death spiral of holiday gorging, you can coast through the holidays knowing that you aren't going to have to lose those 7 pounds you gained in December.  I've been doing this part for years, it's TOUGH, but I'm going to survive it this year, too.  

Anyway.  After 16 days, I didn't get on the scale, I just restarted.  I wanted to add some chocolates onto the greek pita pile, but I walked away.  I like the way I feel when I'm Whole 30 compliant, my skin looks so much better, it's 100% cleared up and I have more energy.  I will say that on days 10-11 of my first run, my stomach was suddenly bloated just like the book said that it would be.  If the book hadn't told me that this was normal and to push through it, I would have punched out.  Also, since about Day 3 of the Whole 30 (round one), I am sleeping like a champ, even through hormonal cycles.  

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Thank you for your perspective on how to handle the holidays.  Day 30 will be the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for me so I am trying to decide how to handle that.  Take a few days off and then start again?  Or try to stay on plan?  I'm hosting so staying compliant shouldn't be a problem if I choose to go that route.  

Good luck to you on your restart.  

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Lady Lois:  I'm not sure what you should do, I haven't gotten to the 30 days yet, but I suppose that if it were me, I would want to try to be Whole 30 compliant-ish, give myself some grace, and then stay on it through Christmas and New Years.  When I got out of the cycle of the holiday 7 pound weight gain, maintaining my size has been much easier.  My weight still fluctuates throughout the year, but there's something about holiday spread in particular that is tough to move off of your frame, maybe it's the parade of soft buffet pants that arrive on your doorstep in time for Christmas Eve photos?  Oooh, how I love those soft, cuddly lounge pants!  

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