My Whole 30 Experience
Call me crazy, but after the stupid amounts of junk food I consumed over the holidays, I took on Round 2 of Whole 30. If you've been following me for a while, you know I did it last year as well (and technically only made it 28 consecutive days, cheated 2 days and then finished up a couple days later in the week), but by Whole 30 standards did not complete it.
30 DAY CHALLENGE
Added or Processed Sugars
Legumes or Beans
Carageenans, MSG, Sulfites
This time, I planned to do it after the holidays and made sure it didn't run into any others (Easter treats messing me up last year). I joined an accountability group with some of my family and friends and vowed to make it through this time.
Despite my cheating last time, the benefits then and now blew me away, from clearing a brain fog I didn't know I had, to eliminating my fatigue, sleeping a little better, inches off the love handles, clearing up my skin completely, and reducing my need to snack constantly. I've learned to read labels, question companies who deliberately put disgusting and unnecessary ingredients into our foods, and support the farmers and businesses who believe in feeding real people real food. I'm not a big cook, but I surprised myself with the creations I was coming up with to make meals something to look forward to.
While everyone around me was seemingly annoyed that I was "limiting myself", I felt empowered by the fact that I had complete control over my choices and felt great about it. It's 30 days out of 365 for goodness sakes! That are stil 335 other days of the year I can pack my stomach chuck full of cookies if I really wanted to.
6. I've seen the ugly face of jealousy as people would make comments about my choices about how stupid it was that I would do this, that I don't need to diet, that I'm not living my life, etc... While my social life did take a bit of a hit as my focus shifted to work over dinner parties, I reminded myself that if someone is bothered that much by my choice of eating clean for 30 days, that's their own personal problem they'll just have to get over.
7. I've also been reminded who my supporters are! I had plenty of friends and family who weren't doing Whole 30 who would cook for me, encourage me not to cheat on days I questioned it, who offered to cook an approved dinner for me before going to a party together and who sent me ideas and recipes. You all know who you are and I freaking love you for your true support!
Here's how it went:
1. I SURVIVED! I made it all 30 days as of today. While I typically eat pretty clean, I still could easily find at least one of those in nearly all the food I consumed on the reg so taking them all out cold turkey isn't easy.
2. You may think Whole 30 would be eating rabbit food nonstop, but I truly only had 3 salads during those 30 days. I had delicious buffalo chicken bowls, thai zucchini pasta, sweet potato toast with almond butter, delicious omelettes, dry rubbed chicken tenders and pulled chicken tacos in lettuce wraps filled with guacamole. And one bun-less 5 Guys Burger because they are the best and don't put crap into their burgers! My husband made a comment the other night that he could do Whole 30 way longer if it always tasted like the meals I'd just cooked. I commented I could as well if someone else cooked and did the dishes each time. The food was good guys.
3. While my goal was not to lose weight, just gain allll the other benefits, I still lost a couple pounds and took inches off the hips. I weight lifted weekly and up'd my fat intake (an avocado a day keeps docs away). My husband lost over 10 pounds.
4. I still hold true to the fact that I hate washing dishes more than any other chore. I swear I did them 3x a day on Whole 30 and that was the worst part about the entire process.
5. According to my journaled notes, my energy level (on a scale from 1-10) went from a 4 on Day one to a continuous 10/10 during the final days. I don't feel the need for coffee, but I love the taste so much, I still drink it and feel like I have boundless energy. My focus and sleep has slightly improved. I rarely bloat up or feel sick after eating anymore. I'm glad it's over because I've missed a few things (like the cookie from a recent wedding that I put in my freezer to enjoy post), but I'll be introducing each thing slowly to see how my body reacts. It's an incredible way to test yourself to the foods you're sensitive to. We're all different.
6. How grateful I am to have my husband along on the journey with me because someone else to help out with meal prepping, cooking, those dang dishes and holding me accountable is a real deal game changer.
Words of advice if you're willing to take on the challenge. Get a friend or spouse to do it with you. Do it right. If you mess up, start over. Accept that you're an adult and you can say no to whatever you want, despite the pushback you'll get from the jealousy crew. Know that the first couple weeks are the hardest and that it DOES get much better. All power to you my health loving friends! You got this!