What's Next?

I'm not sure if anyone out there is still with me on the Whole 30? Hello? Anyone? (Crickets...)

For all I know, everyone fell off the wagon and rolled down into a ditch somewhere way back in the first week of this challenge. But if anyone IS still with me, I wanted to discuss the process for coming out of the Whole 30.

This is the part no one talks about. I'm not sure why, because it seems just as important to me as the 30 days of the challenge. What do you do once the challenge ends? Do you throw all caution and good sense to the wind? Do you booze it up nonstop for the next 30 days? Do you jump in your car and head straight to the closest bakery and dive right into a tray of cinnamon buns?

Well, the choice is yours. But my plan is to choose my cheats very carefully after this month of cleansing.

Here are some things to consider: Do you feel better now that sugar, grains, legumes, soy, corn, alcohol, and all processed crap has been removed from your diet? If so, do you want to throw that away? (I assume not.) It might be worthwhile to add back one food at a time and gauge your body's reaction. Rice is typically the least allergenic grain. You might find you can eat some rice without having any problems. (But keep in mind that ALL grains are dense in calories and low in nutrition, especially when compared to veggies. Grains are "fillers" that make the belly feel full without providing much in return.) So if you are dying to add grains back in to your diet, try testing out one at a time for at least a week. See how your body feels about your choices. Things to notice: weight gain, bloating, increased cravings, headache, nasal congestion, rash, nausea, etc. These symptoms could indicate an allergy or sensitivity.

If you haven't been craving those grains, is it sugar you miss the most? Chocolate? Peanut butter? Wine? Again, I recommend choosing one addition for the first week of October. And then notice how your body reacts to that one glass of wine or chocolate bar. If you have had no alcohol for a month, you might be more sensitive to it. Alcohol affects your sleep in a big way so tread carefully when drinking. You might notice you have more trouble staying asleep once the effects of the alcohol wear off. Eating something high in sugar after a month without may cause instant headache. Start with a small amount of sugar and see what happens. Your tastebuds will be much more sensitive to sweetness now. Treats with loads of sugar will probably taste too sweet to you. Keep this in mind as you experiment with what you want to add back in.

We are in the last leg of this race. September 30 is just around the corner. If you ARE still with me, HOORAY for you! If you are in the ditch, no worries. Dust yourself off and try again. It is never too late to discover your awesomeness.