My Whole30 journey has been one I would consider not only a success, but also one of transformation. I began my Whole30 journey back in mid-July. In fear I would fail, I didn’t want to tell anyone until I had seen I could actually survive for a few days with these new eating habits. However, my 30 days ended last week, and now I’m back to tell you how I did, what I did, and why I’m not quitting. This is what I loved and learned from being Whole30. Oh, and I didn’t forget to tell you the grand total of my results either! Here’s how Whole30 changed my life!
I’ve said previously that I had read about Whole30 months ago, but I felt like it AND anyone who tried it had to be a special kind of crazy to live on that kind of diet. “It’s SO restrictive”, I would tell myself. No way could I or would I want to go without bread or cheese. Who does that?! Well, that all changed when I noticed my weight creeping up. A pound or two a month. And my pants were starting to cause that horrible and uncomfortable “pinch” look in my waist. I had gone and gotten myself another muffin top. What. The. Heck. Met the man of my dreams, and apparently let myself go. I wanted so much to be healthy for him and my kids! And Lord knows I have tried every way possible to do that, but I haven’t been running. Like AT ALL. And I know that my body responds well to that. I was making time for raising two littles alone, and making time for a devotion and quiet time every morning, and making time for a nightly skype with my husband. Those are the most important things to me, and I just let being healthy become unimportant. I quit taking care of me.
A friend of mine did Whole30 back in the spring, and raved about how good she felt. I was happy she felt better, but still thought she was crazy. Then in June, my best friend decided to do it. And then right after her, my Zumba instructor decided to do it. It was suddenly surrounding me. And all these women were going on and on and ON about how amazing they felt, and the changes they were seeing. Meanwhile, remember me: The one with the puckered tummy and the zitty skin? The lady with no energy and abysmal eating habits? A few hours of Zumba a week weren’t helping that. I needed to get a handle on myself, and that was going to start in the kitchen.
Quietly, I started Whole30. I weighed and measured myself (which nearly caused me to lose my appetite!) and then went to the grocery store to buy “compliant” foods. Basically, this was much easier than I expected. I don’t hate fruits and veggies, and I rarely ever drink anything but water and black coffee, so the initial struggle was going to be giving up bread and dairy more than anything else. This girl isn’t exactly known for turning down cheesecake, and I can eat a whole loaf of that amazing rosemary bread from Macaroni Grill all by myself. The struggle was going to be real. But so were the measurements I took earlier that day. And those made me determined to do this.
The first week, my only hard day (really hard!) was day 5. I wasn’t hungry, but I was exhausted. And when you’re tired and barely able to hold your head up, eating the right things kind of takes a back seat. But I didn’t give in. Fortunately, I decided to meal prep on day one, so it was actually fix it and forget it for dinner. That saved me. I honestly can’t sing enough praises of meal prep. It has saved me from potential pitfalls, and helped make bad choices less enticing.
Now, I’ve said all of this to say that I would absolutely do the Whole30 again. And in fact, I just started my next 30 on Monday. This time, it’s much easier. I don’t find myself overwhelmed with cravings or fear that “there’s nothing I can eat!” I learned during my Whole30 journey that so much (So.Freaking.Much) of what I ate was out of habit and on autopilot rather than for health reasons. So part of the journey became eating for FUEL instead of for FUN. Those two had been switched in my mind. Now, I’m telling you this because I want you to understand that this wasn’t easy for me. Not even a little bit. It took commitment, awareness, desire, effort, and a huge dash of grit (oh yeah…now I miss grits. Fab. Anyway…!) But the point is it isn’t easy. And just because someone makes it through the 30 and has results does NOT mean they had it easy. In fact, on day 29, one of the girls I’m in choir with came in with a starbucks cup filled with what I am pretty sure is something straight from Heaven, and – bless her heart – I almost crawled in her lap just to snort the amazing fumes coming from her coffee cup. Yep. Not proud of it. But it happened. The point is, even by day 29 I hadn’t gotten it all figured out, but I had gotten to a place where I was good at saying “I don’t eat that”. And saying I “don’t” instead of telling myself I “can’t” made all the difference.
The last day of Whole30, I could hardly get myself on the scale. I was so nervous. Actually, I may have neglected to mention that I date my scale. I hate it. But I spend a great deal of time with it. Daily. I’m obsessed with it. Do I really think that number is the “end all” of my health status? No. I even blogged last year about Burn the damn scale, but I am also aware that there is no way my body should have carried the amount it was carrying. And I’m not going to try and lie and say any of it was muscle! Haha Anyway, part of my journey in Whole30 (and admittedly one of the hardest for me) was staying off the scale the whole time. I knew that if I got on that scale in the middle of those 30 days, and it hadn’t moved, I would have potentially thrown in the towel, despite all the progress I had made just in how I felt! I wasn’t bloated anymore, my skin looked amazing, I was sleeping really well, I was awake before my alarm, I didn’t have any energy slumps during the day…I could honestly go on and on about how GOOD I felt. But if I had seen little to no movement on that little glass square, I could have quit. So I genuinely stuck to the rule of staying off it. The only problem was, when it was time to get BACK on the scale, I was afraid. I actually did the “Step on and stare straight up” method, and waited to look down. It was probably completely stupid. But I just wanted that number to change. I felt like I had changed. My opinions of food had changed. My habits of food had changed (I was making my own mayonnaise for crying out loud!). But I needed that number to be a little different. Am I the only one?! When I finally mustered the nerve to glance down, I nearly jumped off the scale for joy! 11 POUNDS! It was down 11 POUNDS! In 30 days of *just* eating clean and healthy, I had managed to get BACK to the weight I was before I hit 30 and my hormones flipped me the bird. My measurements reflected the same progress. EIGHT inches lost! 1 from my chest, 4 from my waist, and 3 from my hips. It was confirmation that everything I was doing was right. I felt AND looked better. Often diets don’t have both of those effects. And I didn’t spend extra money on fad diet supplements or memberships or anything crazy. No pills or powders. Just good old fashioned Stop Eating Crap. BOOM. Now that is powerful!
Before I wrap up my excited rant on my new eating lifestyle, I want to make a few points and give a few shout outs. First, I want to say that now that I have made it through Whole30, I do plan on continuing this eating plan with only a few minor (and rare!) modifications. I will have a glass of wine with my meal when I go to a nice dinner (see why I said “rare”???), and I will have fresh baked bread at a restaurant (I am mainly referring to Macaroni Grill’s mouthwatering and sinfully delicious rosemary bread. I mean, I’m not Super Woman). However, other than those few changes, I’m pretty much going to keep on the straight and narrow. Eating clean isn’t that hard once you get the hang of it. And it isn’t awful either! Who knew right?!?!
So my shout outs are going to be to the companies who make products that we eat normally, but that are made so that we can still eat them on Whole30.
- Maverick Ranch Bacon
- Boar’s Head Prosciutto
- Annie’s Organic Mustard
- Applegate Hotdogs
- LARABAR *not all are compliant so you have to check the labels
- Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
I also want to say that I do not spend MORE money on groceries than I did before I started Whole30. I actually spend about the same amount, and the major difference is that there is NO waste in what I buy. We eat what we buy, and nothing goes bad or has to be thrown out. That is really encouraging since I sometimes felt like our trashcan ate just as good as we did.
So to end this rant about what I loved and learned from my Whole30 journey AND my results, I will say that I am thrilled I did it, that I’ve never felt better, that I look better, that I am happy to keep it going, and that I’ll happily answer any questions you might have about giving it a shot. And I mean that: If you’re on the fence about whether this is right for you, or about whether you can do this (and you CAN), I am happy to be your sounding board. I’m always happy to talk about how Whole30 changed my life!