Let’s be honest: whose New Year’s resolution doesn’t include some sort of weight loss initiative?
Ever since I started college, it has been hard to maintain a healthy weight. After I gained the inevitable “Freshman-15,” it’s been hard to lose it. But every time the new year comes around, I find myself making fitness-related resolutions, as if a new year will change the fact that I have a sweet tooth and hate working out.
Every January, I’ll typically try out a new diet, tea-tox, juice cleanse, or “daily 4-minute at-home workout” to try and shed a few pounds.
I would frequently get discouraged that none of these things would really work for me.
Then, this past year, I came to the self-realization that doing the bare minimum would never get me anywhere.
I was finally ready to accept that real changes would come from hard work, not quitting, and sacrificing some of my favorite, unhealthy foods.
Around the holiday season, a coworker of mine began a diet program called Whole30.
For the Whole30 program, participants eliminate grains, dairy, and sugar from their diets for thirty days. These food groups can potentially have a negative impact on your health, including low energy levels, aches and pains, skin or digestive issues. So, the idea is to completely detox your body and recover from any effects these food groups may have on your body.
It sounded crazy to me. I love sugar, bread, and order my coffee with extra cream. There was no way I could ever do it. At least, that was my mindset until I found out my coworker lost twenty-five pounds in thirty days.
The more I looked into Whole30, the more I was tempted to try it. You’re still allowed to eat meat, seafood, eggs, fruits and vegetables – real food. Processed foods were off-limits, though, as well as sugar of any kind, alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes, and soy.
The rules and limitations are all explicitly stated on their website, whole30.com. For $30, you can buy a complete list of approved foods as well as meal ideas. But, I’m a broke college student, so I thought I would just take everything I learned from their website and create my own shopping list and meals.
I also knew that thirty days was going to be extremely challenging for me, so I decided to try the diet for seven days to see if I could do it.
It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I craved carbs and fast food like never before, and fruit just wasn’t cutting it as a snack. I wanted to give up, cave in, and drink more than water and black coffee.
But by the end of seven days, I felt more accomplished than anything else.
I stepped on the scale at the end of the week, only to find that I had lost five pounds in seven days; nearly a pound a day just by eating well and making responsible food choices. I also found myself with more energy, and less headaches throughout the week. With results like that, I’m motivated to complete an entire month of the program in the near future.
Now, this isn’t me trying to sell you Whole30, or anything. This was just my first experience with an intensive diet, and it was one that actually worked. Though it was tough to get through just a week, I am definitely going to keep up, and I would encourage everyone else to do it as well. Even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, eliminating just some of these food groups can make your body feel a million times better.
Starting the year off by beginning to fulfill a resolution is a great feeling, and I can’t wait to start a full month.
You know what they say – new year, new me.
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