Ok, so we made it. In the end, the Whole 30 was easier and harder than I imagined. My biggest advice for someone thinking of starting is to get the book! Haha, duh! I did not, I was just going to get it from the library but unfortunately I did not become ready until the last day of my Whole 30. There is tons of free information on the Whole 30 online (I will link to my favorites at the end of this post), and I made it just fine, but I found that the book would have been a great companion to have.
Case in point, I have been feeling exhausted the last two weeks when I thought I was supposing to be feeling “tiger blood” and that was super discouraging. I knew that I was fighting some allergies, but I was totally wiped. There is a troubleshooting section in the Whole 30 book that addressed that exact question, and basically, I just wasn’t eating enough food, specifically carbohydrates! Who knew it could be such a simple answer!
In the past week off the Whole 30, I haven’t added back any off plan foods except for a small amount of added sugar in the form of dark chocolate, some maple syrup in these awesome muffins, and a glass of wine. Besides that I have stuck to my Whole 30 meals but have been making a point of eating more, and allowing myself snacks since I am nursing and exercising, and my energy levels are SO much better! During the Whole 30, it wasn’t that I was purposefully not eating, it was that I never felt specifically hungry so I just didn’t eat if I didn’t feel like it, but I am realizing the tiredness was from not getting enough to eat.
Alright, let’s get to it! Here is my list of NSVs (non-scale victories)
Benefits of the Whole 30:
- It was easier* to get up in the morning , and no more afternoon slump. On days when I ate enough, I had a steady energy level throughout the whole day and didn’t feel the need for a caffeine or sugar boost around 2pm like I usually do. ( *I was not bounding out of bed, but I was also not just falling over on the floor and going to sleep on all the surfaces per usual. Sleep is tricky because I am still waking with my little, and working on keeping a good bedtime for myself)
- Digestion is awesome, I’ll just leave it at that.
- It made me keenly aware of what I was putting in my mouth, and put an end to eating for the sake of eating.
- I found the magic of meal planning! I have read article after article and heard of all the benefits of meal planning but I usually can’t keep it up through a week. The Whole30 forced me to cook or have something ready even on days when I would rather grab a pizza. This helped me realize that meal planning actually can be the key to success. It doesn’t have to take forever to make a healthy meal, it can be quick and easy if you keep it simple.
- I stayed full for longer, I felt satiated after every meal without feeling a heaviness.
- We don’t have a scale, so I don’t know how much weight I lost, and I wish I had taken a specific Whole 30 picture but I did take measurements the night before I started. I lost 2-3 everywhere, which was surprising to me! I also went down a pants size,and just felt less puffy and bloated. I feel like my body became streamlined, if that makes sense.
- I am gearing up for my first performance post baby # 2, and I don’t get to exercise or take class as often as I’d like. Normally, I feel like I got hit by a truck after a ballet class, but I have been feeling like I recover quicker in the last two weeks.
All that being said, Whole 30 is not some magic pill to fix all of your or my health issues and food hangups. It is only 30 days, you have to factor in how long you have spent making the food habits that you currently have and give yourself more time. We went and had some allergy testing done after the Whole 30 and my doctor recommended that I avoid gluten, soy, and dairy (NOOO, not my cheese! ) for at least 30 more days and then test again. The Whole 30 has been a great jumping off point for me, previously if someone had said this I would’ve felt completely overwhelmed and just wanted to bury my head in the sand. “Gluten- free AND dairy-free??? So basically, nothing? “. However, I have come to see that there are a lot of tasty things you can have and I am seeing that the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Things I still need to work on Post Whole 30:
- I am still no good at eating a proper lunch. When I look back, my lunches are all pretty random.
- I want to work on getting more veggies in at breakfast, but I still don’t love it. I just have not broke out of my “only breakfast foods at breakfast time” rut.
- I was doing well at the beginning at getting to bed on time but reverted back into my staying up late ways.
- I am still having rough allergies, but in all fairness it is possible the Whole 30 helped lessen their severity. It is hard to say, normally when I deal with the amount of congestion I have been having I end up with a sinus infection and that hasn’t happened.
Here are some of my favorites online resources that I pulled from during my Whole 30:
- http://whole30.com/ – obviously, you can learn the most from the makers,there is tons of info on this site.
- http://meljoulwan.com/2013/12/29/whole30-2014-week-1-meal-plan/ – I really appreciate her approach to meal planning and it help simplify how I thought about meals.
- http://goodcheapeats.com/?s=whole+30 – she has tons of posts on the whole 30 that I enjoyed, as well as a great meal plan.
- http://amzn.to/2lKJiac – we ended up getting a veggie spiralizer on clearance right before the Whole 30, and now that I have it I would gladly have paid full price. We used it a ton for zucchini noodles and our fried sweet and regular potatoes making the process super quick and easy.
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/Whole30FirstTimersSupport/ – I joined this group and facebook and they were awesome. I think it is essential to have people that you can draw inspiration and encouragement from and get new recipe ideas.
I definitely see myself doing another Whole 30 in the future, and as of now I am going to stick to a paleoish template since I have to stay away from gluten and dairy. I will keep you posted on any reintroductions I do and how they play out. Let me know if you are thinking of attempting a Whole 30 or any other nutritional challenge, I’d love to hear about it!