So, a client, who shall remain nameless, suggested I start a blog. I explained that I had a blog and pointed to this one on our website. She hesitated, smirked and then replied, “A blog with more than two posts.”
[Boom] She went there. To be fair there are four posts on my blog, thank you very much!
Truth be told, I needed a breather from writing and an inspiration to write. Today, as I washed my face, I got that creative bolt of lightning I was looking for in the form of a rash on my chin and cheeks.
In January, I went Whole 30. For those of you that don’t know – it’s a diet that basically eliminates whole food groups for 30 days (no grains, dairy, sugars, alcohol or processed foods) to help you figure out where you’re going wrong in your day-to-day eating. There are all kinds of reasons to do it. For me, it was weight loss. For others, it is about getting more energy from your food, maybe cleansing the body, or figuring out allergies. Regardless, I knew it would be hard to give up so much at once but I had tried protein diets and low-carb diets and none had worked. So this was a last shot.
Having been in a newsroom for ten years, I had some pretty bad eating habits. I drank something sugary everyday like coffee, but it could be sweet tea or soda. I had a donut or a piece of cake, often. I ate out almost daily and snacked on Doritos at 2:00pm, and then after work, I indulged in the fast food my kids were eating for dinner. After bedtime, I ate a bag of popcorn.
Needless to say, the first four days of Whole 30 were the toughest. I felt like I was starving and shoved almonds, sweet potatoes, eggs, veggies and chicken into my mouth around the clock. I had blood sugar crashes almost daily and had to carry bananas and oranges with me everywhere. Sometimes the crash just meant a headache or I was extra irritable and cranky, even sleepy. However, on the nights I taught Dance Trance, it meant I forgot routines, or didn’t have the stamina to make it through more than 45-minutes of class. By day five though, my brain felt clear, I was happy (like blue birds singing happy), my stomach felt full-but not bloated, my skin and hair were amazing, my arthritis in my injured knee was nearly gone, my menstrual cycle was, dare I say, pleasant and I had a lot of energy. But the best part was I lost nine pounds on that diet in 30-days.
Changing my eating habits plus, my already active lifestyle equaled big results. I’m told that doesn’t happen for everyone, but I think eating clean worked for me because I ate so crappy before. (Which I didn't really realize or want to believe.) You should also know, I have hypothyroidism so losing weight does not come easy for me. It's like trying to move a mountain. I’ve been about 15-20 pounds overweight since giving birth to my youngest son and it’s been a struggle to get it off but this diet provided a lot of clarity: I ate way too much sugar before because IT IS IN everything. I also ate way too many processed foods. In addition, I’ve learned that I’m allergic to corn. That’s why I have a rash on my chin now. Which is terrible because I’m Mexican-American and a lot of the foods I love from my culture are corn based but now that I’ve introduced them back into my diet, I get a rash and get flushed and my stomach aches something awful. (Going to see the allergist later this month.)
And yes, the diet has been over for more than a month now, but I really haven’t returned to my old eating habits. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had bad days and indulged in a potato chip or french fry here and there, but I often feel so bad afterwards that it’s just not worth doing it on repeat. I’ve also been leaning on the dinners from Eat Smart (see card in the studio) to help me avoid trash foods. The home cooked, healthy and well-balanced, prepared meals have helped me keep the weight off and lose another four pounds.
I share this with you to hopefully inspire you to look at your own diet for something that could be an over-indulgence or maybe even something that’s making you sick. For me, it was sugar and corn for you it could be dairy, alcohol or processed foods. Here's a clue, if you’re working out 4-to-5 times a week and not seeing the results you want, you may need to change your diet. Remember this, workouts are only 20% of your weight loss the other 80% comes from what you consume.
If you decide you want to do Whole 30, get the books and follow the Instagram pages on meal ideas and try to get into a support group. That helped me stay the course and ask questions when I had good/bad days or went out to eat at a restaurant and needed some reinforcements.
About the Author
Sandi Cauley is a small business owner, fitness instructor, dancer and retired broadcast journalist. She operates Turn Cardio Jam Studio in Richmond, VA (founded in 2015) with goals to mesh dance + fitness and connect others with some of their youth. She is also a 3 x boy mom, a Tejana, a wannabe