I hate “dieting.” To me, the word “dieting” signifies a start and an end. It means going back to old, unhealthy habits when the “diet” is over, thus negating all the good, healthy efforts you put forth during your diet.
When I decided to do the Whole 30, it wasn’t to lose weight (though I did – more on that later.) It was a decision to get control over my sugar cravings. It was a decision to stop eating so much processed food. It was a decision to get back into real foods that tasted good.
I knew there would be a lot of prep. I knew it would be difficult to omit a lot of things from my diet (um, hello, wine??) but I knew if I could do it for 30 days, I would feel better.
For me it was about feeling better. Some people who have completed the Whole 30 report their new way of eating has helped with:
- Type 2 Diabetes
I knew I could do it. What’s 30 days, anyway?
What is the Whole 30?
The Whole 30 is like a 30-day nutritional “reset” in which you omit processed foods, sugar, alcohol, peanuts, dairy, bread, whole grains – really the list is too long!
You can have things like fruit, eggs, avocados, meats, vegetables, coffee, coconut milk. Yes, you will spend some $$ buying groceries. Yes, it’s advised everything you do eat be organic.
My Whole 30 Goals
Like I said before, my goals were to curb my sugar cravings. It seemed every afternoon around 3 pm I needed something sweet. It was sabotaging any healthy eating I was doing throughout the day.
I also wanted to omit dairy because I was convinced it was making me breakout. I’d get horrible, cystic-like pimples (gross) under my skin whenever I ate a lot of dairy.
I had to ditch my addition to Coffeemate non-dairy creamer. I was consuming way too much of that!
And wine. This was bothersome for me to give up. I would definitely have a few glasses a week, and I really enjoyed wine!
What else was I hoping for? More energy. I was hoping for better sleep, better mood and more energy in the morning.
I was the only one in my house to embark on this journey – that was difficult. When you have kids who eat cereal and oatmeal every day for breakfast, and when Girl Scout Cookie season is here – and you are a leader! – it’s tough. Fortunately, I had 2 friends who started the Whole 30 with me. Each day we’d support through texts and emails with recipes we’d try. It was really helpful, and if you are going to do the Whole 30, I’d suggest trying to enlist someone to do it with you.
That being said, I had the full support of my husband! Though he didn’t officially do the Whole 30 with me, he enjoyed the foods I prepared – we even started eating kale 🙂
What the Whole 30 Was Like (for me)
The first week was the toughest. At first, I didn’t think I needed to prepare foods, or try new recipes. I was wrong. By day 2, I was so bored with eggs, avocados and bacon, I needed to try new recipes to get me excited.
And I wanted sugar. Like, a tall glass of orange juice. Like maple syrup. Seriously, I was craving sugar like nobody’s business.
That being said, it could have been worse. I didn’t experience too many headaches or mood swings from my lack of the “drug.” In fact, by Day 5 – I felt downright great! By Day 8, my mood was bright and fun.
I felt awesome!
Some of my favorite recipes are:
- Quick Cream of Tomato Soup
- Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup (I totally “snacked” on this!)
- Golden Cauliflower Soup
- Sweet Potato Buffalo Chicken Casserole (my husband loved this too!)
- Kale Chips
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Mini Frittata Cups
Other things I ate included:
- Grilled salmon with cauliflower rice
- Roasted chicken breast with baked potato and kale
- Scrambled eggs with avocado slices and bacon
- Flank steak with sweet potato fries broccoli florets
- Paleo pancakes
My Whole 30 Results
First of all, I need to underscore the fact that the first week (ish) of the Whole 30 is really tough. It was for me. I didn’t get headaches and feel awful physically, but it was really hard for me to get past the whole “I can’t have this” thing mentally. But soon, rather than focus on what I couldn’t have, I focused on what I could have.
Snacking was tough for me. At night, I was in a habit of snacking, so I turned my attention to tea and nuts like almonds and cashews.
I also ate raisins. The Whole 30 says to eat these sparingly, but I had some practically every night.
By Days 8-10, I had more energy. I finally painted and completed a room I’d been planning to do forever. I’m not saying I finished a project because of the Whole 30, but I definitely had more focus.
I did feel more focused. I worked more efficiently. I woke up in good moods – despite the fact I’d been woken up by crazy kids and a 55-pound dog jumping on me in bed.
I happen to be training for a 1/2 marathon, so I am on a pretty regimented running program, and at first my running was tiresome. I was missing those carbs! But I figured out that the nights before my runs, I would have some sweet potatoes for dinner and all was good. In fact, by the end, my running got better! I got faster and my breathing was better.
The cystic acne I mentioned earlier? Gone. I haven’t had one pimple since starting the Whole 30.
The other thing I noticed? My sinuses were clearer. I wasn’t stuffy in the morning and I didn’t have a sinus headache a few times a week. In fact, I haven’t had one headache since beginning the Whole 30.
And the weight. The Whole 30 does not encourage you to weigh yourself throughout the 30 days, but I did. By the end of the 30 days, I had lost about 12 pounds!
And this jump-start on weight-loss has encouraged me to go on. In fact, since the 30 days have ended, I’ve just continued. I have re-introduced some things like natural peanut butter every now and then, but I just felt like if I could go for 30 days, why not continue?
So I have. I have had a little wine a couple of times, but every time I do I wake up the next day with a horrible headache and sinus congestion. I guess this is what sugar/sulfates does to my body.
So far, all in all, I’ve lost 16 pounds.
If you are planning to do the Whole 30, definitely plan, plan plan! Plan ahead. Stock your fridge and try to get someone to do it with you!
Good luck- maybe I’ll check in when I am done the “Whole 60!”