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What I Learned Doing The Whole 30

An in depth report of one the latest white person fads. For those of you not in the know, the Whole 30 is an amazing diet challenge in which one does not indulge in any wheat/gluten, dairy, processed food, sugar (including alcohol) or fun for 30 days.

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1. The beginning is a hangover.

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In the beginning your body is going through a lot of cravings and dealing with the withdrawals from processed foods. Do yourself a favor and don't go all Mardi Gras on your last night before the Whole 30 because being actually hungover on the first day is extra tough. Raspberries and sparkling water will not be the same cure as a crisp Diet Coke and pancakes.

2. Coffee reached a new level of importance.

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I was never a big coffee drinker in my life but the Whole 30 has changed me. When it starts you are so tired all the time and coffee is king (or queen I'm not trying to discrimate). On the diet you can only drink organic fluids and coffee and espresso fall under that category. The downside is you have to drink your coffee black but because you aren't eating carbs the caffeine gets absorbed so fast that you tweak good and hard.

3. Timing is key.

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Choosing the right 30 days to do this can make or break you. Beware of times with major holidays, or multiple birthday celebrations and honestly I feel like summer all together. By doing this challenge you are agreeing to not drink alcohol, and going out to eat will become few and far between so choose a time where you will be okay with a little social decline.

4. Exercise was so much better.

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I've never been much of an athlete and an intermittent gym member at best. After I got past the hangover phase my energy started to increase. Before the diet I could only do about 2 miles on the treadmill but within the 30 days I was up to 4 which was a big deal for me.m

5. Television is so boring without good snacks.

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I mean it's just like what's the point? I found myself watching less television since I couldn't really have any salty snacks while watching. I talked on the phone more (remember when that was a thing?), listened to music, learned how to knit. Don't get me wrong though television is still my god and I didn't give it up completely.

6. I eventually became brainwashed.

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I reached a point around day 20 when I wasn't having as many cravings and I was killing it at the gym. Then all I could do was speak praise about the Whole 30 and try to convert everyone around me.

7. People have so many questions.

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People want to understand and boy let me tell you they will crack down on this like the FBI. "What about chocolate?" "If it's only 30 days, what's the point?" "How are your bowel movements?"

After a while it gets exhausting because everyone just comes to the same conclusion that you are crazy and they could never do that.

8. It gets really boring.

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No alcohol in your life lets one realize how little they have going on. Without it you have to say no to a lot of social events and eating out is so tricky that you barely go. It can become isolating very quickly.

I also found some quick staple meals that worked for me and those got repetitive quickly adding to the boredom.

9. I learned a lot about the gym.

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It's a whole different world. You learn about protein people who have the weird metal spheres in their water bottles. Be prepared to discover how barely anyone has good locker room etiquette (I'm looking at you old man who refuses to share any part of the bench with my gym bag). You learn what times won't have a zillion kids running around, and which classes are the most fun.

10. Occasionally I felt like people wanted me to fail.

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In the beginning I got a ton of questions but I also was met with a lot of subtle doubt. I witnessed a lot of skepticism from people around me and I remember coworkers nit picking my meals to make sure I wasn't cheating. My family was very aware to what day I was on just to keep tabs. They all changed their tune near the end and quickly changed to supportive but I felt more empowered proving them wrong.

11. I did my best to become an amateur chef.

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I literally cannot cook. Outside of poaching an egg I have no skills. That all changed on this diet. There is no processed food allowed and if you want to eat you have to cook. I would make cool chicken dishes, and I onced made this soup my sister hated. Also if you want to survive, meal prep is the only way to get by at work.

12. Having a partner is a huge component to success.

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I did the Whole 30 with my younger sister. I credit much of my success to having her do this with me. It allows you have someone to complain to which honestly was the best. Misery loves company was a reality for us. We would also make each other meals and snapchat eachother from the gym. Having someone who is actively convincing you not to quit weirdly enough helps prevent you from quitting.

13. Using social media kept me accountable.

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I kept a journal of my daily feelings during the Whole 30 and then wrote a weekly blog. Friends and coworkers actually seemed into it so it was reinforcing to keep writing. That also meant I needed to keep doing the diet so I could actually write the blog. Having a presence online was a great motivator to stay on task.

14. Research is a big step.

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The Whole 30 has a lot of rules and the website clearly spells things out but it's a lot of information about dos and don'ts. I decided to spend time researching so I knew what I was getting into before jumping in feet first.

15. It's hard but it's worth it.

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One of the most frustrating things I've ever done. I wanted to quit most days in the beginning and I got bored, and annoyed all the time. In the end I felt better and I was working out like a Greek God, I had so much energy and honestly the most important part was proving to myself that I could do it.

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