Last fall, I became a believer in Whole30. I’m talking “Omg, why didn’t I do this sooner” kind of believer. I made the decision to do Whole30 after my manager started sharing some of the benefits that she’d been seeing since starting it. As she rattled off things like less headaches, less bloating, better sleep, and looser fitting clothes, I became even more intrigued. But, the true kicker was when she told me that Whole30 isn’t a diet. Say what? However, it’s true.
Whole30 is about restarting your metabolism by saying no to sugar (real or artificial), legumes, dairy, alcohol, and grains. Wondering what’s left? Ha! I remember asking that question myself. You can eat all of the whole foods that your heart (and stomach) desires. So, that includes meat, seafood, fruits, veggies, and eggs.
Thirty days seemed like a long time but it also felt doable. So, I made a Pinterest board, a meal plan, and grocery list and got ready to set out on this life-changing journey. The first two days were very hard on me. I spent the day before I started eating pancakes and apple cider doughnuts, so I expected some sort of “carb flu,” but nothing like what I got. On day one, I was shivering at my desk with a headache. On day two, I had a headache ALL day and felt like I was in a fog. However, things got better and by the end of the week, I was so proud of myself for successfully eliminating all sugar and carb cravings. My energy was bouncing back and I was starting to feel great.
Over the 30 days, I had some up and downs but I was able to maintain the program in spite of birthday parties, brunches, and a busy work schedule. However, I will tell you that planning is the major key to a successful Whole30. It is incredibly hard to be impulsive during this program. You need to have a game plan. And, when Plan A falls through, be ready with Plan B. For me, that included always keeping a sandwich bag of almonds and dried fruit in my purse and a couple of Larabars in my car. Those bars were a life-saver during the thirty days. Here are some other staples that I kept in my kitchen and tips that I rounded up during my first try.
My Go-To Products
- Trader Joe’s Olive Oil and Lemon Juice
- Pederson Farms Bacon
- Tessamae’s Cracked Pepper Salad Dressing
- Trader Joe’s Clarified Butter (Ghee)
- McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning
- Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
My Go-To Recipes (Meaning they appeared on my meal plan at least twice)
- Jerk chicken wings and sautéed cabbage
- Chicken fajitas with guacamole and pico de gallo in lettuce wraps
- Mini egg frittatas with veggies
- Balsamic pot roast with carrots and red potatoes
- Blackened salmon and mashed sweet potatoes
Biggest Adjustment: It’s a tie between eating eggs almost everyday and drinking my coffee black.
Greatest Result: I lost 13 pounds during Whole30 which was a major accomplishment. The weight loss got me back to my pre-baby weight and really boosted my self-confidence. It was great to finally get back into my old clothes without noticeable pudge. Even after Whole 30 ended, I was able to keep off about ten of those pounds.
After the holidays, I planned to go back on Whole30 for the month of January. My sister snagged me the cookbook for Christmas so I could really get it cracking on meal planning. I started my second Whole30 journey on January 9, but pushed pause on January 13. My planning was totally off and I didn’t have the same level of commitment that I had the first time around.
However, I’m restarted on Monday and plan to go at it for the next three weeks. I really do appreciate the discipline and control that I have during the program and the results don’t hurt either. If you are thinking about Whole30, do it! It really does change the way that you interact with food and helps you get a handle on cravings. The goal isn’t to keep you away from sugar, dairy, carbs, etc forever. You can add them back if you choose. The point is that you are more in tuned to what you are putting into your body. That’s a lesson that any of us could stand to learn.
If you want to learn more, check out the official website here.
Have you tried Whole30? What did you think? If you are thinking about trying it, what questions do you have?