30 days ago I embarked on a 30 day challenge that embodied mind, body, and spirit all being one. It included a 30 day meal plan, meditation, and workouts. I would like to note here that I did my own meditation and workouts, but followed the meal plan and overall spirits of the program working on the whole person not just the physical aspects.
First thing on the plan was a 3 day detox in which you only consumed liquids and smoothies the first day, drank more liquids and smoothies the second day adding in a small meal for dinner, and then more liquids, smoothies, and another small meal for day three.
I started the process on a Saturday knowing that I may not feel well as my body detoxed and this would allow me time to just rest and relax. The first day I felt very tired and had a bit of a headache, but otherwise I felt okay. By dinner time on day two I was so excited for food that I scarfed down my small bowl of quinoa and kale like it was the best thing I’d ever eaten. Day 3 I was really missing chewing and was honestly craving gum, likely because it was something to chew on.
Day 4-7 went really well. There were a lot of new recipes to try and I was really enjoying how I felt in my body. There was a lot of food and eating which took a bit of getting used to. The plan goes like this: get up and drink a hot lemon water with cayenne and apple cider vinegar, an hour later eat breakfast, 2-3 hours later have a dandelion tea and snack, 2-3 hours later eat lunch, 2-3 hours later have a dandelion tea and snack, 2-3 hours later have dinner, and 2-3 hours later have a bed time snack. I felt like all I was doing was eating and never really feeling hungry. But, I felt like I had energy, I felt like I may be losing some weight, and I was feeling excited and motivated like I am at the beginning of a new program.
The one thing that was a little bit tough was that I had to stop at the grocery store almost every day for fresh produce and it was extremely expensive. Week one cost over $200 just for me to eat. That didn’t include some of the other food I bought to feed my significant other.
Week 2 price wise wasn’t much better costing $150+ by the end of it. While I did try to not waste food, so many of the recipes called for different ingredients and I just couldn’t keep up with all the produce. Aside from the expense and waste, I still felt good in my body. I didn’t notice any cravings and never felt hungry or like I was depriving my body. I started to workout and found a lot of benefit in the meditations helping to relieve stress and feel more relaxed.
Week 3 things got a little tougher especially towards the end. I started to feel hungry all day and couldn’t wait for my next meal. I also got sick with a cold and found it daunting to have to cook so much every day (I am not a good mealpreper so I made my breakfast, lunch, and snacks either the night before or in the morning while getting ready for work). I started to deviate from the scheduled plan and started to evaluate which meals I should make, sticking to the plan approved meals, based on what groceries I had in my house and what sounded good. In general, I enjoyed what I was eating. However. I did try a few meals including a green smoothie which literally tasted and felt like slime and a grapefruit salad that I didn’t care for.
Week 3 was also the first time that I had to deal with going out to eat. I went out to breakfast with my family and didn’t eat anything, which was tough. Now, the plan doesn’t specifically say you can’t go out to eat and is much more about portion sizes, mindfulness, and choosing the best options, but I’m a rule follower and stubborn so I didn’t allow myself the deviate.
Week 4 was super difficult for me. I felt crabby, tired, and a bit resentful of my food. I was craving burgers, pizza, and not having to cook all the time. There were several pizza options on the plan, but they were on a gluten free or Ezekiel tortilla and just not what I wanted at all. I felt very restricted and couldn’t wait to be done. I really started to crave rice and pasta as well, but felt like I needed to spread these carb heavy meals out. I started to feel like I was eating too much sugar; natural sugars such as fruit, honey and maple syrup, not processed added sugars. I felt like every meal I was eating had sugar in it. I really needed to rely on my meditation and workouts to get through these hard days, to center me and remind me of why I started this journey, and to help raise my energy.
Day 30, I actually felt surprisingly good., though I ate a carb heavy day including crepes, quinoa salad and pasta for dinner. It was the first time in about two weeks I felt truly full and satisfied. It was a nice note to end on especially after struggling so hard towards the end.
During this process I started a new workout program and between the eating smaller meal frequently and the intense workouts, it felt like my metabolism sped up and I was always hungry. I started to wonder if I was eating enough food to fuel my body, despite eating frequently. I felt extremely tired during weeks 3 and 4.
Below is a picture of my before and after. While I did find a lot of benefit from the program including learning portion sizes, getting back into cook and eating at home, and finding some great recipes, I don’t think it’s something I could ever do again. By the end I was feeling so restricted, that I truly felt like I was being set up for a binge. I actually sketched out a rough meal plan for the next week in hopes of preventing the binge and sticking to a healthy more Whole Foods based diet.
Overall, if you’re looking to kick start a healthier lifestyle it’s something to look as, just beware of what you do after you complete to the program and potential post program binges. Maybe taking a more relaxed approached would be beneficial.