Whole30 Week 4: Ready for Reintegration

coffee

When we started our August round of the Whole30, I had fleeting thoughts that we'd never make it. Now, here we are on day 30, four weeks of a nutritional reset behind us, and I couldn't be more ready to move forward with the reintegration process!

Something about this round was a bit harder than the first few I completed, and I'm not sure if it's because I've already completed two before and it seems like old news? Or maybe if it's because this time I am just so ready for change that this was my first hurdle. Either way, for the past four weeks I've been fighting cravings, weird food dreams--like the one a few nights ago where I woke up in the morning thinking I really had eaten some gummy bears and ruined EVERYTHING--as well how I've been feeling.

Which is to say a whole lot better than I was four weeks ago, even if it isn't 100% like I hoped.

Week 4: harder but worth it.

I was in a slight food funk this last week, but I blame part of that on the fact that school started once again for me, and I'm back in the routine of 8 hour non-work-at-home days, so I'm adjusting to my new schedule. I'd like to mention, though, that my Instant Pot purchase back on Amazon Prime day has been worth it. Four out of seven dinners last week came via that handy-dandy machine, and I'm 100% in love with it.

But back to my update. 
Honestly friends, now that we're here on day 30, I can tell you it was so worth the obstacles we had this month. Thirty days ago, I was an anxious mess. And if you'll remember from my initial post, I also had a slew of other health issues I was struggling with. I say that in the past tense because as of today, my brain fog has lifted, and I'm feeling creative once more! In fact, I rewrote my first few chapters of my story last week, and made a breakthrough with some characters. I'm also sleeping better, my headaches are gone, my allergies aren't going haywire, my gut feels better, and I truly do feel less stressed. However, I'm still fighting fatigue a bit, but I honestly don't know if it's because I'm back to a work routine or something else. My gut also isn't 100%, but again, I did not get my kombucha brewed like I wanted too and so my fermented food intake is less than perfect. 

Here's the thing though too. In the last thirty days, I started recognizing how food affects me again. Not much else changed this past month, as in I didn't start gym routine, or vitamin/supplement usage. I only changed my food so that I can relearn how my nutrition plays a major part in how I'm feeling. Case in point--a few days ago I had a bit of caffeinated coffee in the morning for the first time in a long time (just two cups) and I had my weird little heart palpitations again. They feel as if my heart is caught in my throat, and I was a bit jittery all day despite loading up on protein. I'm almost positive that for some reason I'm much more sensitive to caffeine then I used to be (aka when I was in my twenties) or perhaps my body metabolizes it a littler differently now, but the more I read about caffeine and how it is connected with anxiety, the more I think I'm going to be ok with decaf for the rest of my life. 

Overall, these past 30 days have been a great start to my new Cait Goes Paleo journey, because I'm feeling better friends. I feel well again and more awake then I have been in six months. I know there's still more to my health journey, but I'm chalking these first 30 days up to a measurable success.

Reintegration

If you're up on W30 rules, you'll know that the first 30 days are only the first half of the nutritional reset process. They are where you begin to notice your successes and become more aware of your body and how you are feeling. What comes after is really the important part. In order to know how certain foods affect you, you have to reintegrate them into your diet and take note of how they make you feel. 

There's two ways of going about it: the 10-day approach way or the slow-roll approach. Basically, for the 10 day, you reintegrate each food group a day at a time with some Whole30 days in between to give your system a break and allow you to notice how the food group affects you. For example, maybe on day one after W30 you have some alcohol to celebrate. Then you go back to the W30 plan for two days after monitoring how that drink(s) affected you. Then, on day 4 you integrate another food group, like legumes, eating them at two or three meals, again seeing how they make you feel. Then go back to W30 for another two days, and on and on. 

This time around, I'm going for the slow-roll approach, hopefully maintaining my Whole30 and then reintegrating certain foods groups as they come up, which could be next week or three weeks from now. I'll still only add in one thing at a time so no pizza for now, and most likely I'll start with sugar because to be honest, I'm giddy inside for a decaf salted caramel almond milk latte. 

Just being honest friends.

But really, this reintegration is what I'm excited about. I want to take it slow and instead of going all out with dairy, I want to try just yogurt or just raw cheeses and see how my body handles them. I'm pretty sure they'll still be a no-go, but it's worth a tiny shot. I'll be looking for things like brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues, muscle aches, and my anxiety to pop back up as I'm reintegrating, and if any of those rear their heads, then I'm done. Out. Breaking up forever with that food. Except maybe not 100% forever because true food freedom means learning to say no and move on. But it's also about having that cup of sweet coffee if I want it, just without downing five in a week. But there's a whole book for that.)

Overall, I learned a lot more this month about my relationship with food in addition to how I think it affects me. I had way more odd cravings than I usually do, but I also realized it only takes a few minutes to break those cravings and move on. I also feel loads better than when we first started, and once again I'm saying how worth it these 30 days were.

Food freedom is learning to say no and move on. But it's also about having that cup of sweet coffee if I want it, just without downing five in a week.

Yes. They were hard, but nothing I couldn't do again.
Yes. I wanted to quit, multiple times, but I didn't
Yes. I really didn't think I was going to make it several times this month.

But yes. We did.  

Friends, if you're on the fence about jump starting your health, a Whole30 is one of the best ways I know to get things on track. I truly cannot explain just how much better I feel today than I did 30 days ago, but I can tell you how worth it is to go through this reset. Your mind, your body, and maybe even your heart and soul will thank you. 

The tagline of Whole30 is "let us change your life" and I bet, if you're willing to go through the plan for 30 days, it will. 
You'll change in ways you might now have even realized.

Just ask my hubby--who just last night told me he was really glad we did this. I'll take that as a success.

PS

Some amazing things happened in the world of the Whole30 this month, too

  1. Firstly, Melissa wrote TWO NOW books that will be out later this year and are available for preorder. One is a day-by-day handbook/journal while the other is a brand new fast & easy cookbook!
  2. They announced a certified coaching program that I'm definitely thinking about jumping into at some point.  So I have a request of you friends, if I have in any way inspired, encouraged, or helped walk you through a Whole30, would you be willing to let me know and perhaps write a short recommendation letter for me for the application process? I'd be so grateful!
  3. They announced a group Whole30 for September, so now is the time to jump in friends!

PPS

Weird cravings have nothing to do with being pregnant. No announcements here. I'm positive it was just my mind trying to get me to cave.

Leave a comment!
Where do you stand with the Whole30? Have you completed one? Do you want to try one? Where are you in your health journey?