You guys, I cannot even believe I am typing this blog. But I am. I have officially completed my FIRST-ever whole30. Sure, I’ve attempted a few times before, but this was my first time to finish entirely with NO cheats!
If you are familiar with the Whole30 program and rules, you probably already know how rigid the program is. No dairy, grains, legumes, sugar of any kind, or alcohol (along with a several other rules.)
But to give you a little insight to how my personal experience was, I thought I would share here.
Days 1-10– Not horrible. I was mostly tired, felt hungry all the time, and was still trying to figure out what I could and could not eat. I wasn’t sleeping this first week. Had headaches. And just felt blah. Also, during this time, I realized HOW MUCH I was stress eating and mindless eating. If I was packing the kids a lunch for the park, I would snack as I packed. If they dropped food on the floor, I would eat it no matter how long it sat there prior (3 second rule only works outside people!). There were several times during these first days that I would be picking something up to put it into my mouth, and would have to stop before it reached my lips. I had no clue how often I did that until those first days.
Days 11-17– I wanted to die. I was so mad at everyone and everything. Every day I would contemplate quitting at least 10 times, talking myself out of it every time. Even on Day 16 as I was walking out the door to go to Annie’s homeschool co-op, Jordan said, “Don’t kill anyone today.” I guess it was evident how poor my mood had been. During this phase of my Whole30, I realized how DEPENDENT on sugar I had been for my moods. If I was tired, sugar. If I was mad, sugar. If I was sad, sugar. Sugar, sugar, sugar. By the way, they say sugar is more addictive than cocaine, so this detox was INTENSE. If I wasn’t mad during this phase, I felt very melancholy. Almost like I didn’t know who I was apart from the sugar high.
Days 18-30– During this phase, my main goal was to not get bored with my food. When you’re limited in what you can eat, it’s easy to have the same things every day. But creativity was KEY during this phase. I started feel really good too. No more sugar cravings. Sleeping well. Skin and eyes looked clearer. And all around just happy.
Which brings me to my NSV results (Non-scale victory, that is!):
- Falling asleep quickly
- Staying asleep better
- Waking up early without an alarm clock and feeling energized
- Mood swings were not as noticeable
- Clothes fit better
- Feeling more confident
- Not snapping at my children as quickly as I had been
- My muscles were more evident (I have been actively exercising since January 1)
- Today is Day 31 and I honestly don’t even WANT a single thing that I have taken out (ice cream, bread, pizza, anything…. I can’t even believe I am saying that!)
- And one of the BIGGEST takeaways I had: Even I was the only one eating a Whole30 compliant meal, I didn’t feel deprived. My husband and kids could eat ice cream in front of me and I didn’t feel like I was missing out. I was content with what I had just eaten and actually satisfied to the point that I didn’t want the ice cream that I had just scooped into bowls for them.
- And this isn’t NSV, but I am all the way down to pre-baby weight- first time in YEARS! (I wasn’t one that would drop the weight like it was hot while I nursed. I have to work EXTREMELY hard to see it come off.)
(I wish I would taken actual measurements and a before/after photo to give you more accurate results, but this is the only pic I have on my phone…)
So what made this time successful?
- Preparation is KEY! Every week I would make a Whole30 compliant mayo that I could use for chicken salad, dressings, and dips. Just having that available was HUGE. I also would meal plan and shop accordingly. If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. I also left my spiralizer (for noodles) and my food processor on the counter the entire month so that I had easy access when I needed to make a meal that required that equipment.
- Accountability is a MUST! I actually started this round with two girlfriends. Knowing that I had two friends who were also experiencing some of the same things I was, was very encouraging. Plus I didn’t want to let them down!
- Pinterest is your BEST friend. Don’t just pin the recipes, make them. You will be surprise how many different meals you can make with meat and veggies when you let spices lead the way.
- Have a clear goal in mind. For me, I had been experiencing SEVERE bloating that was painful and made me look 6 months pregnant. Also, my mood swings were awful, which I wanted to see if food had an affect on that. And, as I told my Annie, I wanted to have the discipline to tell myself “no” even if everyone around me said “yes.” Which that is a whole other lesson that I could write about and has many applications for life (but I will spare you today ;))
So if you are thinking about trying Whole30, YOU CAN DO IT! Surround yourself with supportive people, make the commitment to see it through until the end.
And if you are REALLY serious about giving it a try, here are my favorite recipes that I found!
- Sweet potato chicken poppers (my kids LOVED these too!)
- Coconut curry chicken meatballs (definitely broke up the monotony!)
- Zucchini noodles with creamy avocado pesto (Jordan gave me dirty looks when he first saw what I made, but as soon as he tasted it, he was hooked. Oh, so good, and oh so easy!)