As this month-long experiment drew to an end, I was excited that I could once again be able to expand my diet to include things like grains and dairy. However, I have certainly learned those are ideal as accents to a meal–as opposed to the main component. I have never been much of a cook, so for me (before Whole30)–any meal was always grain based. Pasta dishes, rice stir fry, sandwiches, french toasts, veggie wraps, etc. Not only has the Whole30 provided me with a much healthier relationship with food, it helped me to embrace alternative foods for the bulk of my meals.
As far as positive results, it is difficult to decipher exactly which results came from the Whole30 and which were the results of new goings-on in my life. My knees are less sore, but that is just as likely a result from no longer working a physically taxing job five hours a day, five days a week, than legumes no longer causing joint inflammation. Whatever the reason, my joints have had a chance to relax and recover, and are therefore hurting less, which is nice. My skin isn’t noticeably better, but that could be due to the fact that I now wear makeup nearly every day, and with sensitive skin my face is pretty much the same as it was when I began (but that is okay because I expected daily makeup to make my skin far worse). My mood has improved, but it seems just as likely that it’s because my art is going well, and I have a more social job, making me feel less lonely, than a sole result of my dietary changes. However, consuming healthy real foods certainly can’t be hurting my mood. I absolutely attribute my stable energy levels to my change in diet.
Initial measurements: Weight: 167.6 lbs Chest: 35 in Waist: 29 in Hips: 37.25 in Thigh: 23 in
Weight: 159.6 lbs (-8 lbs) Chest: 34 in (-1 in) Waist: 27.5 in (-1.5 in) Hips: 36 in (-1.25 in) Thigh: 22.5 in (-.5 in)
I won’t say the Whole30 has revolutionized my life. To be honest, after reading all the testimonials, and possible results, I had pretty high hopes. However, I can’t fault the system, since as I mentioned in my previous post, I failed–not it. Perhaps if I did Whole30 for a longer period of time, and my body could recover more, I would feel higher energy and motivation. I should maybe try it again and not eat butter? I should probably try once I have finished reading the book in its entirety. (Yep, still not completely finished.)
All and all, I’m glad I did it. For one, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Most people have reacted to my explanation of the Whole30 in one of two way–the first is a sort of annoyance/disbelief as to why someone would take on 30 days of stupid, the other is “Well, that’s cool, but I could never do that.” The thing is though, all of those people could do it. Because, I have horrible self control and will-power. My husband has nick-named me Carly-Right-Now. My point is, if I can do it–anyone can do it.
I love a lot of the foods that I had given up these past thirty days. I know I still must be somewhat addicted to sugar because I think about eating it far more than a healthy person should. I don’t know if my fixation would constitute cravings, but they still aren’t ideal. However, if I can go four weeks without sugar, I can certainly revert back to my no sugar consumption during the week, with no problem.
Moving forward from here, I definitely want to make sustainable changes to my eating habits. I have decided to predominately cut processed food out of my diet, with the exceptions of work functions, etc. I noticed one of the things I hated most about taking part in the Whole30, was my irrational and self conscious fear of being perceived as that girl. You know that tall skinny girl who eats basically nothing. Especially at the Christmas party, I felt like the waitstaff or my co-workers had to be thinking, how is she even healthy or no wonder she’s skinny if she doesn’t eat–the negative self-talk pretty much spiraled down from there. In reality, the logical side of my brain would point out that—A#1 I’m not actually that skinny, B#2 The waitstaff probably doesn’t care one way or another and/or probably didn’t even notice my meal appeared to basically be a minimalist performance art piece, and C#3 Most of my co-workers know about my temporary dietary restrictions and probably weren’t being all judgey about it.
Anyway, I’m nervous where to go from here. I am happy to see positive results both physically and in my psychological relationship with food. I know I don’t want to go back to my old eating habits, however, it also seems like such a first-world problem that this is even something I have dedicated this much thought to? When all is said and done, I want to be healthy and I like how I’m starting to feel.
Carly Swenson is an intuitive painter originally from northern Montana. She spent more than a decade working primarily as a mixed media artist before shifting to acrylics. Swenson received a BFA in Visual Arts with an Art History Minor from Bemidji State University. During and after university, she traveled and lived abroad, this included studying in China, traveling throughout Europe and living both in England and the Azores.Swenson’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout the US and internationally. Her freelance writing and mixed media journals have been published in nationally distributed art magazines. She has facilitated art workshops for various age groups. Swenson’s work is also included in the permanent art collections of Angra do Heroismo Museum and Bemidji State University (Bemidji, MN). Currently, she lives in St. Paul, MN with a smart little dog and a weird little cat. They’re nice.
All images (artwork and photography) protected by copyright and belong to Carly Swenson, unless otherwise noted. Any images not owned by Carly Swenson have been used with the consent of the copyright holder. Please do not reuse/publish/edit/copy/etc. any images from this blog without consent of the copyright holder. Thank you for your understanding and respect of artistic integrity.
View all posts by Carly Swenson, Visual Artist