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In my quest to lose 10 pounds in two months, I decided to give the Whole30 diet a try. I’ve never been really good at dieting and will admit that I lack discipline when it comes to food. I eat what I want, when I want, so I decided it was time I challenge myself and assert more control. I wanted to change my relationship with food because as you get older, your body just doesn’t bounce back the same way it used to.

The Whole30 diet was created based on the theory that digestion and good health begins in the gut. If you can reset the bacteria in the gut by removing foods that you consume on a regular basis that aren’t good for you, you will have more energy, clearer skin, less inflammation in the body, and you might even lose weight in those areas that won’t seem to budge. The plan is 30 days because according to creators Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, it takes 30 days for your system to reset. Before starting the diet plan, I researched what it actually consisted of. The plan requires the removal of sugars, legumes, baked goods, dairy, alcohol, and grains from your diet. There are no cutting corners or loopholes, so sugar also includes agave nectar, honey, as well as organic brown sugars and artificial sweeteners. I had to cut out breads, pastas, hummus, cereals, oatmeal, quinoa, beans, nuts, nut butters, wine, cakes, brownies, cookies and the like. It left me wondering, what the heck can I eat? I knew this was going to be a long 30 days.

Week One (Days 1-7)

The first week was the absolute worst. I had failed to plan, therefore I had no idea what to eat. Meal planning wasn’t exactly my thing, but I learned quickly. I went through an intense withdrawal process where I was actively craving all of the things I couldn’t eat. I experienced fatigue and had a hard time completing daily tasks. I suffered from extreme headaches and my stomach was a bottomless pit. No matter how much salad, vegetables, grilled chicken and fruits I ate, I was still really hungry, so I filled up on water and went to bed early to avoid late-night munching. I had to constantly remind myself of what I couldn’t eat because it’s so easy to forget when you’re used to something. I didn’t want to risk exercising because I was feeling drained all of the time. Since I started the diet in the middle of the week, I marked out 30 days on my calendar and began crossing them out with each successful day completed.

Week Two (Days 8-14)

By the second week, my body had gotten accustomed to the Whole30 plan. I started buying and organizing what I could eat rather than focusing on all the things I couldn’t eat. Not to mention, people were getting tired of me telling them what I couldn’t consume every time they offered me something. It’s amazing how creative you will start to get when you’re limited. I created so many different salad recipes, chicken recipes, etc. to keep myself healthy. I lost two inches from my waist and I wasn’t experiencing that bloated feeling you get an hour after waking up. I had more energy throughout the day and I was waking up earlier than usual. Still, my junk food urges were strong.

Weeks Three and Four (Days 15-30)

I continued my routine and managed to drop five pounds in total. I realized that I had developed a lactose intolerance before the plan. After cutting out dairy, I immediately noticed a difference. I also noticed that my body didn’t do well with certain carbs such as breads and pastas without leaving me bloated, and I learned that after eliminating them from my diet. The sole purpose of the Whole30 is to reset your digestive system in order to make identifying foods that don’t agree with you easier.

After the 30 days, you can ease back into eating those food items that were removed, but in moderation, keeping in mind how your body responds to them. Overall, I learned that even foods that are considered healthy can be unhealthy to someone whose body doesn’t digest them well. I switched from foods with refined white flour to whole wheat and grains, but that didn’t matter because my system still didn’t respond well to them. And even though I love me some baked macaroni and cheese, and ice cream, those foods don’t love me back.

The Whole30 diet taught me how to be more disciplined and active in my eating habits. Usually when we’re hungry, we just grab something that will fill us up, but this diet taught me to be more conscious of the things I’m grabbing. I’ve lost a few inches and pounds thus far, so I don’t think that I will be reintroducing those removed foods back into my diet anytime soon. Whole30 has also given me a sense of accomplishment. I finally followed through with something related to my health.

Although this plan isn’t solely about weight loss, it’s still good for helping you reset your body once in a while and letting it rebuild itself up in a healthier way. So even if the Whole30 diet isn’t for you, detoxing from time to time is very necessary.

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