I had big plans for how the Whole30 was going to go.....
We were going to discover how healthy eating made us feel amazing.
We were going to uncover the real, natural and delicious flavor of food.
It was going to be good for us both inside and out.
I didn't write much because I was waiting for it to get to the good part. The good part didn't really arrive.
The truth is we never really got to that place where everyone was feeling amazing, and it was just So Much Work! I didn't feel like I had energy to do anything beyond just getting by.
Here are the things that were positive:
My eldest had an easier time paying attention and working on school work.
My middle child had fewer belly aches.
We found that fruit was a great dessert, and it became a treat instead of a consolation prize.
I had moments of feeling pretty good, and my clothes got looser. When I got on the scale at the end I lost 13 lbs.
We saw how often we snack, and for most of us the sugar cravings went away.
Here's where we found it really hard:
After the novelty wore off a lot of the joy of meal time was absent. There weren't foods that people were excited about eating. Even more there were a bunch of nights where you could see that people were struggling to just keep chewing. I found it really miserable to be feeding people who weren't enjoying what they were eating.
My husband is a naturally thin man. Eating this way just didn't help him keep up with his energy need. He was cold all the time. He felt grumpy. He was losing weight he needed to keep. He never felt good. He was always hungry, but often tired of eating.
Cooking and doing dishes took up so much time. Breakfast was an especially difficult meal to find something that the kids wanted to eat.
People were hungrier, and had less margin to go from hungry to devastatingly hungry and tearful. I usually underestimated the amount they were going to eat because everyone was eating so much more. I thought I had planned enough dinner to have ingredients for lunch the next day, but that rarely happened and I was left digging through the fridge to see what I could turn into lunch.
Our conversation really suffered. With everyone feeling a little poorly, and grumpy, there wasn't enough energy to carry on conversations some nights.
We felt a real loss from missing some of the social aspects of eating. We missed having dinner with friends, and going out to dinner as well. Even when we did, because we were conversationally challenged we weren't too fun to be around.
Every conversation my children had, especially with strangers was about this "diet" their mom had them on, and they couldn't wait to be off from it. It made me feel pretty crazy when it was explained that way.
Most of us got to where we felt okay, but I don't think any of us ever felt amazing.
Some of you careful readers might have noticed that it was the Whole 27 for us. We made it as far as Mother's Day, and then threw in the towel. It was so much work, both physically and emotionally. There was no controlled reentry, trying a food group at a time to see what makes us feel badly, it was really just a free for all.
We've been left wondering where we go from here. There are some things that I now eat that really make me feel awful. I'm pretty sure wheat make me feel mean. It's such a nebulous symptom it is hard to know what to do with that.
In all honesty, it feels a little like I've broken us and I don't know what I should be feeding everyone.
When we began the Whole30 my husband and I talked about if we would look back at the this time as a turning point when we radically transformed our eating for the better, or if it was be a humorous antidote about a time when I made them all do something crazy.
All signs point toward the latter.