Are You Up For The Whole 30 Challenge?

It’s Day 3 of the Whole 30 Challenge/Detox/Torture Program.  Holy cow, I imagine I feel as bad as someone giving up crack.

The headache started last night, the stomach cramps at 2am and by 9am I’m feeling lightheaded, lethargic and hungover.  All I’m able to do is lie around and ponder why am I putting myself through this hell?

And why on earth do I feel so bad?

For the past few days I’ve been eating a ton of nutrient-rich vegetables, fruit, meat/fish, eggs and nuts.

You’d think my body would be doing flips with joy.

But it’s not.

It’s revolting.  Because it’s missing its drug.

No, not crack.  And not alcohol, which is forbidden on the detox, but I don’t drink anyway.

I’m missing sugar.  No, I’m not just missing it – I’m going through withdrawals from it!

I didn’t even think I ate that much sugar.  But now that I’m adding it all up I’m realizing with horror that I was eating way more sugar than I thought.

And now here I am lying on the floor in misery because I haven’t had sugar for 48 hours.  That is frightening.

Is Sugar A Drug?

Let’s see – there’s no nutritional benefit.  Check.  It gives you a quick feeling of pleasure – a high. Check.   There are lots of negative side effects:  weight gain, tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease… Check.  Sounds like it is.

In fact, the effect on our brain is the same as cocaine – just not as intense.

Sugar is bad for us – we all know this.  But the real culprit I’m finding is that it makes me feel horrible.

Thank You Tim Brownson!

My amazing and wonderful Business Coach, Tim Brownson (who is also a fantastic Life Coach) sent out an e-mail last week inviting all of his readers to join him in the Whole 30 program.  Click here to read his post and join us!  He has also set up a private Facebook page where we can support and encourage each other – which is so helpful!

One of the many things I appreciate about Tim is that he doesn’t send something out unless he’s really researched it.  He is the mad debunker of all myths, fads and hype. So after a quick read I e-mailed him back, “I’m in!”

Tim’s challenge doesn’t officially start until February 16th so because I had over a week until that date, I thought I’d be really smart and go on an eating splurge.  I rushed right down to my favorite taco stand and scarfed down 4 tacos… followed by 4 chocolate cookies!

And then I felt exactly as you imagined I would – I felt like shit.

Future Self vs Present Self

I have written and discussed at great length about the myths of our Future Self not having any greater willpower than our Present Self.  Click here to read the post.

We easily delude ourselves over and over into believing change will be easy in the future.   Because next week I won’t be tempted by tacos and chocolate.  I’m sure I’ll be lusting after big green salads and platters full of vegetables.

Of course, this isn’t true and it really hit home.  Here I was collapsed in my taco-induced coma because I wanted to do a detox to feel better but in the meantime I’m going out of my way to make myself feel bad.  This is crazy!

Not only was I punishing myself but I was delaying feeling good!

The promise of the Whole 30 program is more energy, fewer aches and pains and better sleep (and for any woman over 50 going through menopause we all know this is an issue!!).

Why would I wait?  Why would I deny myself all these benefits any longer?

So once the fog of tacos and chocolate lifted I decided I was starting the next day.

Is Short-Term Pleasure Really Worth The Long-Term Pain?

That good feeling we get from eating a yummy piece of chocolate cake doesn’t last more than a couple of minutes (if that!).

The dopamine hit we get from eating sweet food or any processed food is such a short blip of pleasure – it’s almost meaningless.

Even though the pleasure is fleeting we believe it’s worth it – “OMG that donut is going to taste so good,” we tell ourselves.  Yes, it will taste good but look at how long that feeling lasts – it’s here and gone before you know it.

Two minutes of pleasure for 30 minutes (or more!) of guilt and even if you don’t feel guilty your body will not appreciate it.  Your glucose levels after an initial spike will take a massive drop and you’ll be left feeling lethargic, bloated and in a brain fog. But we don’t tell ourselves that when we’re fantasizing about the donut – conveniently that part is left out of the story.

This is the first time I’ve stuck to a detox (I’ve never made it past day 1) and it’s been the longest time since I’ve been able to do a massive change in diet.  And barring days 2 and 3, it’s been the easiest.

I feel so good right now even the occasional thought of chocolate, potato chips or a slice of bread  doesn’t have the pull it did a week ago.  Why would I give up this good feeling for a couple minutes of pleasure?  It makes no sense.

I’m seeing the lies my brain is telling me and I’m not believing it.  I don’t want to give up this extra energy – I want to keep going and see how much better I can feel.

Also, one other thing I’ve been doing is listening on audible to books about how bad sugar is for you and watching food documentaries on Netflix (which really helps in the evening).

We’ll see how I feel on day 25!  But for now I’m not considering this a 30-day challenge, I’m viewing this as my new way of eating for life (with the occasional sweet treat or slice of bread – let’s not go crazy!!!).

So what do you think?  Will you join me?

5 Responses

  1. I might give it a shot after get settled in, & don’t have my life controlled by Dr, Dentist, & Physio appointments!!! My new Specialist says I need a knee replacement, but would have to be infection free for 6 months (in the knee area).
    I’ll do a family email later.

    Love Libby

  2. Thanks for the mention Meredith, and well done on your start.

    I’ve started my taper off and had my last glass of wine for a month last night!

    1. I can’t thank you enough for starting this! 🙂 Seriously, the best thing I’ve done in ages.

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