My Whole30 Experience & Results

My Whole30 Experience & Results

March 31 was my official last day of Whole30!  I wanted to get my thoughts down before too much time passed.

First off, I would like to say that I LOVED Whole 30!   Hands down this is the best thing I have ever done for myself.  Physically I feel fantastic!  Mentally I feel clearheaded and empowered.  Emotionally, well I’m still figuring out the emotional side of everything I’ve learned.

I’m going to warn you now this post may be very long.  So much has happened on Whole 30 and I want to share it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

How I learned about Whole30

I’ve been asked this question several times over the past month.  I first heard about Whole 30 last year on a financial forum of all places!  At first I thought it was crazy and too extreme.   The more success stories I read the more interested in the diet I became.

I continued to seek out  blogs and articles about clean eating and Whole30 in particular.   I started to get really inspired.  My husband and I have talked about eating clean and cutting out certain things like sugar, but I also felt it was such an unattainable goal.

What kept from starting Whole 30 when I first heard about it was fear of failure.  I grew up eating quite a bit of processed foods.  Hamburger Helper, Spam, boxed mac and cheese were just some of the foods that were on our dining room table.  For me this type of eating was normal.

As an adult I continued eating processed and fast food.  Intellectually I knew how I was eating wasn’t healthy, but I didn’t know how to eat healthy.  People would suggest, “just follow a recipe”, well that is easy if you have any kitchen skills.  My kitchen skills were very basic and I would easily get overwhelmed by complicated recipes.  What I needed to learn was how to eat simply but healthy.

When I was about 35, I discovered I was lactose intolerant.   This was a huge thing for me, because I loved all things dairy, milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, everything!  It was also that thing I needed to start reevaluating my eating habits.  It wasn’t an easy process but I slowly started to reduce the amount of dairy I was consuming.  Notice I said reduce not cut out?  For some reason I was still eating some cheese and cream even through I would feel like crap after.   I still can’t justify that.

Since moving in and marrying my husband, it has been much easier, because he is an amazing cook!  Bonus he likes to eat healthy’ish!  I have learned so much about cooking and meal prep from him.  As a result I become much more confident in the kitchen.

What drew me to Whole30 was I really liked the idea of only feeding my body 100% real food.  It sounded so fantastic, but 30 days of nothing but meat, fruit, veggies, and nuts also freaked me out!  Still I knew I was up for the challenge and I knew I would be better for it.

My Results

Whole30 has a lot of rules (no dairy, no grains, no sugar, no legumes), one of my favorites is you’re not allowed to step on the scale the entire time. They want you to focus on the non-scale victories (NSV), instead of what the scale says.  Focusing on the health benefits instead of weight loss was what drew me to the program.   I tried to keep that in mind, but I did break the scale rule!  It was too tempting not to!

I didn’t take a picture on day 1 so here a pic with my trainer on day 4 and my stats.  Do not let the motivation tee fool you.  I had zero energy, did not finish my workout, and felt like I was going to pass out more than once.

Day 4 of Whole30. This picture is a lie, I was not feeling strong that day.

 

Date March 3, 2017
Weight: 155.2
Waist: 36.5″
Hips: 42″
Thigh: 22.6″
Bicep: 11.5″

The first couple of weeks I didn’t notice much change except I didn’t feel bloated and puffy anymore.  Then I started to notice how much looser my clothes were feeling.  More than how my clothes were feeling, it was how I was feeling.

By the end of the month, my energy not only was up but was more consistent throughout the day.  I wasn’t experiencing that mid-afternoon slump.  Once I hit day 15, the NSVs started rolling in.

Here are my stats on Day 32 of Whole30:

Day 32 of Whole30. I crushed the workout that kicked my butt on Day 4.

 

Date March 3, 2017
Weight: 150.2
Waist: 36.3″
Hips: 41″
Thigh: 22.2″
Bicep: 11.1″
I am super happy with my progress.  On 3/31 we ran through that workout again.  Not only did I crush the workout I was supposed to do on 3/3 but I increased the weight I was lifting!
I do have to say at first I was a little disappointed because I was hoping for bigger numbers but then I started counting up all the non-scale victories.  I started to see that the numbers are only a teeny part of my success.
  • No more cravings, not even when I pass through the bakery section at the grocery store
  • Very little between meals snacking, I used to be a big snacker and I still will have a snack if I need one, but it is no longer a daily occurrence
  • Energy levels through the roof
  • Sleep is better.  I fall asleep much faster and feel more refreshed when I wake up
  • Skin is clearer
  • Skin has more natural color
  • Easier to get out of bed in the mornings.  I don’t feel the urge to linger as much.
  • I’m drinking way less coffee
  • No more mid-afternoon slump
  • Clothes are fitting looser
  • Eating a lot more vegetables
  • More confidence in the kitchen
  • My foot cramps (when I stretch or arch them) are gone
  • I don’t have the gross “OMG I ate too much” feel after eating
  • I sometimes crave something sweet, but now a piece of fruit more than satisfies that craving
  • My knees don’t “pop” as much when I bend down
  • I lost weight without counting calories, without weighing food, and without stressing I might go over my daily caloric limit
  • Most important:  I feel good and I feel good about what I’m eating. There was no guilt over eating any “bad” food because everything I ate was good.
Yummy Whole30 Meals
The Ugly
I’m not going to lie, the first 10 days were no joke.  Headaches, nausea, irritability, zero energy, and uncontrollable hunger plagued the first 10 days.  I was miserable.  My husband was miserable (I am NOT a silent sufferer).   It was pretty awful.  I had several strong urges to quit.   I am so glad I didn’t.
The withdrawal I went through is one of the reasons I’m following the plan a while longer.  The first 10 days were a massive slap in the face as to how I was treating my body.  I knew the reason I was feeling like that was because my body was figuring out how to work without all the crap I’d been supplying it.
ETA:  My friend reminded me that I did find a loophole called Larabars.   During the first couple of weeks I was starving and still craving something sweet I ate a lot of Larabars.  Eating them like I did was not completely in the spirit of Whole30 but they were 100% compliant.  Sometimes you have to do what you need to do in order to survive. I still keep Larabars around the house, because they are great to toss in my purse when I’m heading out the house or as an occasional snack/treat.
Tips
I cannot recommend Whole30 enough, however I recommend reading the books before you start.  Don’t just read the Whole30 book also read “It Starts with Food”.
I would also plan out your Whole30 and start the month before weaning yourself off the “off limits” foods.  I pretty much went cold turkey and it was painful.
Life After Whole30
Even though I’m still committed to eating Whole30, I might go a little off plan and make things like banana pancakes (bananas and eggs), but still make sure all the ingredients are Whole30 compliant.  I’m still eating clean and I have not begun the reintroduction phase yet.

My husband and I are also celebrating our first anniversary this month and I refuse to stress over food and drink for that. I plan to go out and have a great time with my hubs.

Everything in moderation is a phrase that gets tossed around, but what does that look like in real life? We all have a different view on what moderation means, now it is time for me to figure out what it means to me.

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