Mindful Eating & The Whole30 Challenge

I’m coming to you a little later than usual today. Why? Simply put, I’ve been sick as a dog for the last few days. It’s nothing major fortunately, but my throat has been on fire and I have been extremely fatigued. Nothing a little rest and Mucinex won’t fix, but annoying just the same.

I am, however, super excited to talk to you today! If you read my Level 10 Life post, you may remember that one of my health & fitness goals was to complete a Whole30 challenge.

With Mark getting ready to leave on Saturday, I thought the that having the house to myself for 6 weeks would be a perfect time to give it a go.

Before I get into the details of the challenge, I want to get into my “why”. When I set new goals for myself, I like to get clear on my “why” as quickly as possible. Being clear on why I want to complete a task helps me to maintain my focus and power through where I might otherwise cave.

WHY DO I WANT TO COMPLETE A WHOLE30 CHALLENGE?

Two reasons:

  1. I want to feel great.
    Last year, Mark and I decided that we were going to try eating a Paleo diet. We did it for 30 days and let me tell you: It felt amazing! I had more energy and stamina than ever before. The Whole30 challenge is a bit more restrictive than the Paleo diet, but I kind of need those strict guidelines to keep me on track.
  2. I want to slay the sugar demon.
    I’ve been a slave to sugar for as long as I can remember. I finally kicked the caffeine habit last year, so this is the year to tame that sugar demon once and for all.

WHY NOW?

To be honest, the biggest reason I’m choosing now is because I’m sick and tired of waiting to start. I’ve been eye-balling this challenge for a few months now, knowing in my heart that it was the first of my goals that I needed to tackle.

I plan on getting back into running soon, and I can’t think of a better way to kick-start my energy reserves. I know first-hand what it feels like to eat real food. I know what an impact this change will have on my life. There is no better time to start than right now.

What's up with this Whole30 "fad" anyway? Follow along on my journey to a healthier life through mindful eating.

WHERE DOES MINDFUL EATING FIT IN?

Last week, I started to research a few different ways to bring more mindfulness into my life. I was surprised to find that mindful eating is a real thing, and of course I was instantly intrigued.

You know that mindless eating that happens when you’re stressed or distracted? That’s emotional appetite, and it’s junky. During the Whole30, as your body gets off the sugar high and settles into better insulin management, your appetite starts to diminish, but real hunger – the need for quality food that signals when it’s time to eat – kicks in. It feels so good.

Jules Clancy (StoneSoup) wrote a great article for zenhabits.net about mindful eating. In it, she outlined the benefits of mindful eating as follows:

Reduced over eating. It’s been a while now since I went to bed feeling bloated and over stuffed. Which is great in itself but also means that my ‘muffin top’ is pretty much gone when I wear my favorite jeans.

Increased enjoyment of food. As a food scientist, I’ve always considered myself a big fan of eating. Now that I’m on the path to mastering the art of mindful eating, I am finding a new found respect for food and am gaining far more pleasure from meal times.

Improved digestion. Digestion begins in the mouth with the action of saliva. If food isn’t chewed properly it means that there’s more work for the rest of your digestion system. I may be imagining this, but I think I’ve also noticed I have less gas now that I’m eating mindfully.

Being satisfied with less. Linked with reduced over eating, the real benefit here is being able to trust yourself to feel satisfied after one or two squares of chocolate so there is no temptation to scoff the whole block. Suddenly there’s no need to deny yourself the occasional treat which makes for a far healthier relationship with food.
Ready to change the way you interact with food?

If that is not enough motivation to give mindful eating a go, then I just don’t know what is!

The concept of mindful eating ties in perfectly to the Whole30 challenge. Once I made that connection, I knew right away that I had to dive in as soon as possible.

WHOLE30 ACTION PLAN:

If you’re interested in the full details of Whole30 and how it works, go check out their website (www.whole30.com) and read through their getting started series.

If you’re looking to dive deeper after that, here’s links to their books:

* The following are affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love! (Learn more here)

   

Being the Bullet Journal lover that I am, I had to create a whole spread dedicated to Whole30.

Condensed rules & steps for Whole30 (Bullet Journal)

As you can see, I picked September 13th as my official start date. Mark is leaving on Saturday the 12th, so I figure that will give me a day to go shopping and prepare some meals in advance.

All this week, I have been planning out exactly what I need to buy at the grocery store to set myself up for success. I have also started the process of clearing the fridge and pantry of all those “no’s”. I don’t want any temptation in the house when I get that sugar demon shows his face!

I’m going to be checking in with a short blog post every week (in addition to my normal posts). I’ll be sharing what struggles I faced, what my successes were, and some yummy recipes along the way, so stay tuned!


I can’t wait to get started and share this journey with you all. Plus, the accountability of a weekly check-in will motivate the crap out of me! ;)

P.S. I’m going to be taking before and after pictures (for my eyes only lol). I’ll also post before and after weights and measurements so that you can get an idea of the transformation. However, I want to note that I am not necessarily doing this to lose weight. I am pretty happy with my weight, so my main motivation behind this challenge is to change how I feel and start living a healthier lifestyle overall.

Check out my weekly update posts here:

>> Whole30 Week 1: “The Detox Week”

>> Whole30 Week 2: The “I Need a Nap Week”

>> Whole30 Week 3: The “Boundless Energy Week”

>> Whole30 Week 4: My Whole30 Recap

Have you ever completed a Whole30 challenge? I’d love to hear your personal success (or fail) story, so drop me a line below! :)

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Kara Benz

Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.

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