As with any process that is drastically different from what you’re used to, it’s important to be in the know about what you can expect throughout your journey, especially when you’re completely changing your eating habits. It’s really amazing what food can do to you! It is our hope that this day-by-day timeline will give you a hint at what you can expect as you endure 30 (or more?!) days of yeast-free eating!
DAY 1: What’s all the commotion about?
It’s 2 p.m. on day 1. Your breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs with a side of avocado and a cup of coffee (with almond milk as your creamer, of course). You breezed through lunch with a big heaping bed of greens and veggies lightly tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. Per usual, it’s snack time so you reach for a few celery sticks and dip them in your sugar-free peanut butter and head back to your desk to finish out your work day. You’re starting to feel like a very happy, healthy rabbit! You rush home from work, walk through the door and smell yet the most amazing aroma you’ve smelled all day long; your slow-cooker is full to the brim with yeast-free tortilla soup. You sit down at the dinner table with your family as everyone “oohs” and “ahhs” over your “healthy” soup and you think to yourself, “What’s so hard about this?”
Day 1 you’re feeling empowered by making one good choice after another all day long. GO YOU! You deserve to feel like a rock star today so enjoy it, but for today only… because just like with anything else, things are going to get worse before they get better.
Are you ready?
DAYS 2-3: Is it over yet?
Your alarm sounds off and you pop out of bed expecting to feel as great as you did yesterday, only to quickly realize…you don’t. You feel like you’ve been run over with a truck and smacked in the head with a baseball bat all at the same time.
Remember that pizza and beer binge you went on the night before you started yeast-free eating? And the German Chocolate Cake you went to town on, too? And let’s not even talk about the way you ate over the holidays…
Yep. It has all come back to haunt you.
The second and third days are usually a huge dose of reality for your body (especially for those of you who just “can’t have coffee without creamer”.) Many of those following the yeast-free eating program report headaches, fatigue and a little bit of achiness during this part of the diet. This, my friends, is completely normal. These feelings are referred to as “die off” and are more of a detox feeling than anything. After you’ve soaked your body in processed foods and sugars for all this time, your body has to have a way of releasing all this “junk” and it does so by releasing toxins, which can cause you to feel this way. These symptoms shouldn’t last the entire 30 days, so don’t give up. It may only last a few days and you’ll be back to feeling like a brand new you in no time. Drink plenty of water, take your Neutra Tabs as needed, continue making good choices and milk it for all it’s worth because…
DAYS 4-5: Get OUT of my way!
Day 4 approaches and you timidly step out of bed, expecting to feel like you just took a punch from Muhammad Ali. You’re pleasantly surprised when you realize you actually feel like you can function today. “Hallelujah!”, you say to yourself. You walk into the kitchen to grab your warm cup of coffee and are greeted by the smiling face of your significant other when you are suddenly overcome…with the desire to punch them in the face for smiling at you this morning. Well done, folks. You’ve made it to day 4.
When you repeatedly tell your brain that you CAN’T have something (like ooey, gooey chocolate brownies), it gets stressed out and anxious, which causes you to feel this way too. Not to mention, you have a busting headache, your gut is trying to heal and your hormones are being affected (in a good way) by all your new food choices. The fact that you “desperately miss your Dr. Pepper” doesn’t help either. This is 100% normal. Your temper is hot, your nerves are short and you have the patience of a puppy. The idea of warning all those around you by permanently tattooing “OUT OF MY WAY” on your forehead passes through your mind but just know this phase, too, will pass. Take a few deep breaths, make yourself a little yeast-free coffee cake and know that it will all be over soon. We promise!
DAYS 6-7: Is it nap time yet?
Okay so you’ve made it through a whopping 5 days of clean eating and you (and your family) are still alive. While you are officially over the “anger” stage of yeast-free, it’s literally all you can do to peel your head off your pillow. Your desk chair slowly morphs into a recliner and a lunchtime nap in your car has never sounded better. The trip to the gym you scheduled with your best friend…yeah right. Not happening. You fall into bed at 8 p.m. and when you wake up 11 hours later, you’re excited to feel “normal” again.
So what’s going on? Isn’t clean eating supposed to increase energy levels? Yes…eventually…but right now your body is trying to adapt to the fact that it doesn’t have simple carbohydrates to use as its prime energy source anymore. It’s slowly learning how to more efficiently burn fat and protein as fuel, which takes much more effort. Don’t worry…this part is almost over.
DAYS 8-15: Bouncing off the walls! Now give me back my cookies!
Whew! Glad that low-energy stuff is over with! Your energy levels are back and better than ever but something is a little off. You begin daydreaming about chips and candy and cookies…you know, the stuff you’ve always eaten. There’s a birthday celebration going on in the cubicle next to you and your co-worker hands you a pastry. REALLY??!!
This second week is one of the toughest because this is where your mind begins to trick you telling your body that it needs all those foods it was eating before. The cravings kick in and are stronger than ever. It happens. Our relationship with foods has gone back for many, many years so breaking up with things like Cheetohs and French fries is really tough! Try journaling your thoughts and your cravings as you work through this time period. Once you’re done with the yeast-free eating program and you’ve adopted this new lifestyle for good, you’ll find it humorous to go back and read all your entries!
DAYS 16-28: Eye of the tiger
Goodbye feelings of anger and cravings, hello champion! THIS. This is what everyone must be talking about! You’re halfway done and can almost see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Your energy levels are up (way up!), your cravings are non-existent, you are loving all these new foods and wait a second…your clothes are even fitting better! How about that?! Your time at the gym flies because you are so motivated and you, my friends, have almost reached the top. There’s not much more we can say about this phase so go out there and live it up!
DAY 29: It’sAlmostOverIt’sAlmostOverIt’sAlmostOver!
Ahhh…day 29. You are totally rocking it right now and the fact that day 30 is less than 24 hours away has you chomping at the bit. Only two more sleeps until this entire process is over. You’ve endured cravings, and naps and anger and are finally looking and feeling your best when all of a sudden it hits you…what on earth are you going to eat on day 31?? You say to yourself “Self, you can and you WILL keep up with this. You’re not going back to what you were doing before. There will be no deviation on day 31.” You high five yourself and go to work feeling like a champ.
It’s okay to have this feeling of panic as Yeast-Free with Me comes to an end. For the past twenty-some-odd days you’ve lived, breathed and literally eaten the rules and to be perfectly honest, you kind of like it! You don’t want to go back to the way you were before because your body has been reset and is excited to have this fresh new start. Remember: the yeast-free eating program was intended to be a lifestyle change, not a diet. It IS maintainable, and so is the way you feel right now.
DAY 30: Crossing the finish line. And maybe a bite of pie.
Your sanity has returned and you’ve realized that eventually, you will have to come out of your little yeast-free bubble. Realistically, it’s tough to remain yeast-free for the rest of your life so as you venture off your yeast-free path, remember that moderation is absolutely key. If you choose to be yeast-free during the week and slack off a little on the weekends, that’s perfectly fine! The goal is to maintain your health and your ideal body weight as much as possible. If you have a cheesy omelet for breakfast, you probably shouldn’t eat a quarter pound cheeseburger and fries for lunch. And for dinner, if you choose to go with the grilled salmon, roasted veggies on a bed of greens, reward yourself a little with that bite of pecan pie. It’s OK.
30 days of following a yeast-free eating program is no easy feat, we know. Be proud of yourself! Show off your new, slim waistline (& even those collar bones that disappeared a few years back). You have DONE it!
Have you done the yeast-free eating program before? Did you breeze through the entire thing or did you experience some of the phases above? Let us, and fellow readers, know how your experience was by leaving a comment below!