I've already teared up twice. (and this is the second sentence… you guyssss)
one of the things I love so, so much about blogging, is being able to see how far I have come. I've used this little space for so many different things – to hold my recipes, to make friends, to vent, to ramble (more often than not), but most importantly to challenge myself. owning and having the pike place kitchen over the last three years has been grounding. its kept me balanced and the relationship I have with it (and you!) now is something I really cherish. I cherish it a little more on days when i can look back and see how far I've come, even just over the course of thirty days.
30 days ago, when I wrote the first whole30 weekly update – i was a completely different person. mentally and physically, it's been a journey. a beautiful, life-changing journey that i'm struggling to put into words.
for the last 30 days i've put myself first. every day. i put my health first. every day. i did something for me and i'm really proud of that. i think maybe we get a little worried about sounding selfish too much – i know i do. I don't want to seem self-absorbed or overly confident or like all i care about is myself. but this experience taught me that sometimes it's okay, and really really good for you, to care about yourself first.
i found a cookbook in target on one of my moseying trips (where i spend too much money and come out with everything i didn't need but desperately needed at the same time) and unknowingly changed my life. When I nonchalantly picked it up and threw it in my shopping cart I had absolutely no clue what that was going to do for me. what it would mean. what it would change. I saw a cookbook and said hey this looks cool and that was it. i went home and POURED over it. I ordered delivery sushi (i knowww) and gorged on the book. I texted frankie. i said they call you out on your crap and it was powerful but he probably wouldn't like it. and then, in typical ashley fashion, i issued myself a challenge. (<- the best way to make myself do something) – “can you actually do this?” I'd cut out soda for eight months, surely i could manage 30 days with no added sugar, dairy, soy, legumes, grain, or alcohol. couldn't i?
the answer is yes. yes I can. and i did. I finished! and i'm so excited to tell you the “results,” which to you i know means before & after pictures and what my weight loss was, but before we get to that and “step on the scale” if you will… lets take a trip down nonscale victory lane.
Non Scale Victories
The program asks you to review a VERY long list of victories and note which ones apply to you before you actually step on the scale. this is supposed to shock you – you see JUST how much changed at the end of the month – and make it a little easier if that number isn't exactly as low as you wanted when you do step up to the plate. so i'm going to let you into the secret world of MY nonscale victories, like it or not:
Physical (Outside) – Blemishes went away faster, flatter stomach, leaner appearance, clothes fitting better, rings fitting better, feeling more confident in your appearance
Physical (Inside) – less stomach pain, improved “regularity,” better digestion overall, fewer episodes of illness, less acid reflux, less heartburn, less shoulder/back pain
Mood, emotion, and psychology – you're happier, you laugh more, you're less anxious, you're less stressed, you handle stress better, improvement in your mental health condition, fewer sugar cravings, improved body image, improved self-esteem, improved self-confidence, less reliance on the scale, feeling in control of your food
Brain function – improved attention span, clearer thinking, higher productivity
Sleep – you're sleeping more, you fall asleep easier, you sleep more soundly,
Energy – energy levels are higher, energy levels are more even, more energy in the morning, more energy to exercise, you no longer need to eat every two hours, you feel energetic between meals
Sport, exercise, and play – you started moving or exercising, you became more consistent with exercise, you can exercise longer, harder, or faster, you feel more athletic, you hit new “personal bests,” you have the confidence to try a new activity
Food and behaviors – healthier relationship with food, reduction in disordered eating habits, practicing mindful eating, learned to read labels consistently, know which foods make you more healthy or less healthy, listening to your body, don't use food for comfort, don't you food as a reward, don't use food as punishment, don't use food as stress management, no longer a slave to sugar and carbs, knowing the difference between hunger and cravings, fewer cravings, healthy coping strategies to deal with cravings, more variety, color, vitamins, and minerals in your diet, food no longer has unwanted “side effects,” no more food guilt or shame, no more bingeing, when you do indulge its deliberate and you savor it
Lifestyle and social – new healthy habits , more knowledgeable about nutrition, new recipes, meal prep is organized and efficient, you maximize your food budget, you've created other health goals, healthy eating habits have brought your family closer, you are whole30
those lists are supposed to be overwhelming (which they were) when you sit down on day 31 and really think about the process and the experience. things that mean a lot to me that aren't on those lists or deserve special attention:
improved body image/self esteem – when i started this I was going to write myself a letter about all the reasons I needed to do it to remind myself when i needed “inspiration” or “motivation.” the problem was… all of them toed the line of “i think i'm fat” without actually coming straight out and saying it because that's not cute. and that's what i used to do to myself – i'm not fat but i totally want to lose 20 pounds and i won't be happy with myself until i do. i'm not fat but i really hate the way I look and want NO pictures taken of me ever and they're not being posted on social media until i analyze every aspect of the damn photo. I don't care about the number, but i want to tone up. i'm not fat but i'm not healthy. <- that's the one that really kills me because I thought I knew what healthy was and i thought saying i wanted to be healthy was a more impressive goal than “i want to lose weight” which was the real and true motivation. I can slice it any way I want to, I can tell myself over and over again that it wasn't about the weight, but deep down it was, deep down i hated myself and the way i looked and I was so SO hard on myself day in and day out…. and i wish i could remember the moment that it changed for me. because thinking about the way i used to think about my body makes me want to cry. i was so mean to me. and i treated and thought about my body like it was worthless or a lost cause. i look back to a month ago and i want to yell at that girl for bullying herself. because i didn't know what healthy was. i didn't know, but i'm so glad i learned.
My entire relationship with food changed from this. I kicked habits yeah (sugar cravings, drinking to be part of the group, watching tv while eating, snacking mindlessly) but i gained a whole new perspective. food is no longer a question of “what can i eat to make my brain happy” but “what is the best thing for my body right now? how can i fuel my body?” i really took the whole “this is the only body you'll ever have” comment to heart and it made me realize that i need to start taking care of it. not pressure it, or belittle it, or criticize it. take. care. of. it. it's that simple. that's all I need to do. if i want it to work for me, I need to work for it.
create new goals – um kids have you HEARD about me signing up to run a 10K? hello new experiences…. i learned i actually… like…. running? WHO KNEW? and after my soap box up there^ i'm going to come right out and say I LOST WEIGHT (a pretty decent amount of it) and i'm really proud and happy about it… because i do think i look better – BUT also, because i think i can TRAIN better and WORKOUT better. my body is more willing to do things I didn't know it could do. I went to a barre class the other day and did like FIVE pushups. can i get a high five? anyone? no? that's fine i'll high-five myself.
all the physical (inside) wins – um. my stomach is SO much happier when i'm eating clean food… like A BILLION TIMES happier. i didn't have a single stomach ache and we will just end this one here.
I. feel. better. – i'm just going to try and summarize/wrap this up into those three words. I. FEEL. BETTER. i have so much more energy, my brain is clear, i'm happier, i have a healthier self-image, and honestly – i'm PROUD of myself. really, really proud. this experience has been so good for my soul. frankie and I are closer than ever. i don't have physical aches or pains and i'm rarely ever sedentary. i'm a different person. i can't believe i'm going to say this but, i really cherish this body that i was given. and i want to do right by it. because it deserves it. because I deserve it.
now that i've put you through all of that crap you probably didn't want to hear. I'll give you what you honestly probably came here for: the numbers.
over my whole30 I tracked costs on a weekly basis. I gave you the nitty gritty in Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4. Overall we spent $787 for all four weeks for two people. That covered 178 different meals!
$787 total cost/ 178 meals consumed = $4.42 per meal
honestly, when you think about it… that's CRAZY. its not that bad. we only ate things that were healthy or good for us and it only cost us $25 a day on average for TWO people. finding a restaurant where you can get dinner for two people at $25 is pretty difficult, let alone EVERY MEAL. i'm not mad about it. to be honest i'm pretty impressed. even if it didn't “feel” like we were saving money when I was shelling it out for the grocery bills, when I look at that I know that we did. theres no way we didn't. a bagel + turkey in NYC can run an average of $6 so even on the breakfast scale theres no way we didn't. I know Frankie will probably say he didn't eat breakfast before this so EVEN if I strip out 60 of the meals (2 people – 30 breakfasts) the average meal price comes in at around $6.67. my frugal boyfriend would have been eating out for lunch EVERY day this month and I'd challenge him to find dinner and lunch in nyc for under a combined $14.
I'd be lying if I told you I hadn't been dreaming of a drastic 15 pound weight loss while on the whole30. They say on average you lose between 5-15 pounds and boy is that a nice incentive. not stepping on the scale for 32 days was so much harder than I thought it would be. before I would hide from the scale because I was scared of how high the number would be – being told “you'll probably lose weight… but NO PEEKING” was incredibly frustrating. and really drove home how important that little number was to me in the grand scheme of things. and that wasn't healthy. my happiness shouldn't be determined by a number that really just tells me how much force is needed to keep me on the ground. it's a number. and I've NEVER said that and truly meant it: IT IS A NUMBER. that's it.
throughout this month, I noticed my clothes getting loose. I noticed my waist slimming down. my rings fit looser – which for some reason has always been a focusing point for me – who cares about having skinny fingers? I'm so weird. i felt less self-conscious at the gym and I felt stronger. I started appreciating my body for what it could do and what it was capable of. and i'll never be able to express how thankful i really am to the creators of the whole30 for giving me that.
I'm also incredibly thankful that i took a before picture. it DROVE HOME how much of a difference there really was. i never would have thought my body had changed that much in 30 days if i didn't see it myself. and even though I went BACK AND FORTH like 90 times, I'm going to share it with you guys – which is SO SO SO scary because i feel BAD for that girl in the before picture. i feel so bad for her. and i think you'll feel bad for her too. and its scary to put yourself out there so personally on the internet – like here see a picture that shows how unhealthy i used to be. but i think it's important. its important because it SHOCKED ME. what eating good food, healthy food – could do for my body in just 30 days. that's it. THIRTY DAYS caused this change (and no, im not “pushing out” in the before pictures – scouts honor, i definitely did NOT want to look worse than i already did):
sometimes i look at those pictures and I'm STILL shocked at them. i knew i wasn't happy or healthy before – but i look at those before and afters and think to myself, the girl on the right is so much more CONFIDENT and COMFORTABLE in her own skin. and that's the most i could have gotten out of this experience.
and in case you were still wondering, after all that rambling about why it is SO low on the scale of my wins from this, my overall weightloss – i started the whole30 weighing 145.9 pounds and finished the whole30 weighing 133.8. that's a 12.1 pound loss. am i happy about it? of course, I'm still human. but it's strategically last in this post because to me it's an incredibly small win compared to everything I've gained.
now that that's all over, i think you all know I'm in the reintroduction phase right now! I'm not tracking day by day meals anymore – but I'm keeping track of reintroduction days and how things make me feel. I'll be posting about that in two weeks when the reintroduction is over! next week on Wednesday I'm putting together a whole30 survival kit for you guys – all my tips, recommendations, resources, etc. i'll also be hosting a pretty sweet giveaway so make sure you stop on by at some point to enter to win some pretty awesome prizes!