That’s A Wrap! Final Whole30 Thoughts + Before & After Photos

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I MADE IT! I treated my body like a pristine temple for 30 days with no:

Processed foods, preservatives, additivites, horrible vegetable oils. No junk, no common inflammatory foods:

Sugar or artificial sweeteners (that included the natural stuff like honey, maple syrup, stevia)
Alcohol
Grains
Dairy
Peanut butter (aka legumes)

(Personally, I think eggs should be included in the off-limits list since they’re one of the most allergenic foods, but this is Whole30, not the auto-immune protocol. I actually *thought* I was sensitive to eggs, but now believe it’s what I was consuming WITH them – cheese in my omelette, toast + butter, coffee + milk – I suspect dairy is problematic for me.)

My first re-introduction meal:

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Banana egg white oats with almond butter, coconut and chia seeds. It wasn’t as lovely as I remember. It tasted like nothing? I’ve become accustomed to my meals having a ton of flavour and texture.

Now that everything is said and done, let’s get into my perceived benefits, things that sucked, misconceptions and where I’m going from here! 

Benefits I received from the program:

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-Way more energy! The most high vibin’ energy I’ve ever experienced.  I found myself sleeping soundly and waking up 1-2 hours before my alarm. After the first week, I didn’t get any post-lunch “Omg I need a nap” crashes.

-NO BLOAT. Well, aside from some PMS water retention at the beginning and end of the program, the food I ate didn’t make my insides hurt.

-Improved mental clarity and mood.  I felt very balanced – body, mind and spirit. Less anxious. Optimistic and extra happy. 🙂

-My skin cleared up nicely after two weeks

-I saved a lot of money on food. Granted, it’s just little ol’ me, BUT I wasn’t buying snack-y foods like bars, crackers, chips or eating out. Purchasing seasonal produce helped immensely too.

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-Not sure if this is coincidence or a benefit of Whole30 but I didn’t experience PMS symptoms or menstrual discomfort at the end of the program. My “normal” is extreme fatigue, sugar cravings and mood swings a few days before. Day 1 of my flow always promises terrible gut-wrenching cramps. I KNEW my period was going to be arriving based on the calendar, but other than a little water retention, I felt nothing.

The Cons:

-I experienced FOMO a few times. I missed the social aspect of dining with my friends. So many of our encounters with people are centered around food and drink. I always offered alternatives to friend dates – such as a hike, hitting the gym, etc. But damn, I just wanted to enjoy some wine and post-hike beers with my girls!  (I kept reminding myself, “it’s only 30 days, you can do anything for 30 days)

A guy asked me out for drinks last week and our conversation went  like this:

“Let’s go for drinks”
Me: “I’m not drinking right now”
“Why?”
Me: “This is going to sound weird, but I’m doing a wellness program and I haven’t had anything processed for a few weeks. I’m not fun right now.”
“You can drink juice”
Me: “That is a terrible idea”

The end. (We haven’t talked since)

-I felt very annoyed and simply, OVER IT during the last few days. I desperately wanted to be done with it and have a treat. I was tempted to say F IT a few days early – because, really, what is 2-3 extra days going to do? But Jo doesn’t quit. Nope.

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I have so much energy that I have a hard time sitting still. I need to burn it off!

Misconceptions about Whole30:

“What is the point of doing something for 30 days if you’re just going back to what you were eating before?” I had this exact same thought, but after putting my ignorance and assumptions aside to research the program, that’s NOT what Whole30 is about.  I don’t know if I’ll go back to eating exactly the same way I did before. I definitely want to establish a middle ground between the two and find something that works for me. Would you guys be interested in hearing about my reintroduction phase over the next few weeks? 

It’s very ‘meat heavy’. It’s not! The only thing that really changed for me was  I started eating eggs instead of oatmeal in the morning. 75% of my plate was always filled with vegetables.

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“It’s hard”. It’s not hard, it’s just different. All it takes is a different way of thinking. It’s not a human rights violation to NOT eat sugar. It’s simply breaking out of a usual routine.

You’ll spend so much time in the kitchen. <– if you are someone who NEEDS to follow recipes, then yes, you will. I kept my meals simple because I hate doing dishes, cleaning up huge messes or coming home from work hangry and having to wait forever. My meals typically came together in 15 minutes.

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My go-to simple meal has always been chicken, sweet potato and broccoli. I love it!

It’s a weight loss program. No! It’s definitely a reset program that will make you feel amazing and teach you how to shop, cook and eat whole foods. It will show you how you’re “supposed” to feel.

The Physical Results

First and foremost, the #1 reason I wanted to do Whole30 was to see if changing my diet would clear my acne on my face and back.

Here’s what my “normal” looked like before:

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The results: 

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This is the first time since the age of 11 that my skin is clear. I still have some lingering acne scars, but hopefully they’ll go away. (Anyone know how to get rid of the dark spots blemishes leave behind? Exfoliation?)

Out of curiosity,  I weighed myself at the gym before and after. The scale *says* I lost 3 lb. However, I didn’t notice any visible changes in my body composition.

I don’t regularly weigh myself for no other reason than I don’t own a scale. I use how my clothes fit as a gauge. If my pants are getting too tight, it’s usually because I’ve been consuming too many treats  and dial it back. 

I didn’t change my workouts, wasn’t following a fitness program nor have I been pushing myself hard while I recover from my running injury. That being said, I wasn’t trying to lose weight. There is a small part of me that was hoping I’d magically develop visible abs, but my body isn’t like that. A few years ago, I weighed 15 lb less than I do now, was very thin, had hardly any muscle and I STILL had fat on my stomach. It’s just how my body is!

My body looked different depending on where I was at in my cycle. I started and ended while I was on the verge of getting THE P.

Here’s my before:

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And after:

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I look exactly the same! Hahaha

Okay, so I didn’t develop *visible* ab muscle tone (which isn’t the point of fitness, health and well being anyway). Wellness is all about how you FEEL. And I absolutely FEEL GREAT. I FEEL STRONGER. <– I remind myself of this when I entertain silly thoughts like, “Maybe I ate too much? Do I eat too much? Should I eat less? Maybe I shouldn’t have so many snacks”

REAL TALK: Guys. I’ve never asked myself those questions until fairly recently when people started saying things to me like, “Geez you eat a lot” “Are you going to eat that entire plate of food?” “Wow that’s a lot of food you’ve got there” “For someone as little as you, you can sure eat. Most people would love to have your metabolism”

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This was a snack ^^

Over to you.

Have you tried an elimination diet or Whole30? Are you sensitive to any foods? What were some of the benefits you experienced? What was the hardest part for you?

First ‘post Whole30’ treat or meal? I still haven’t treated myself yet! I told myself I was going to get some good quality dark chocolate or coconut milk ice cream – if I wanted it – and the craving hasn’t struck yet? I’m having sushi and tequila on Friday though!

Do you think you could handle Whole30? Would you try it?

 

37 thoughts on “That’s A Wrap! Final Whole30 Thoughts + Before & After Photos

  1. “It’s hard”. It’s not hard, it’s just different. All it takes is a different way of thinking. It’s not a human rights violation to NOT eat sugar. It’s simply breaking out of a usual routine.

    Best damn comment I’ve read in weeks.

    • HAHA WORD. We get so “attached” to objects – like food. Don’t get me wrong, food is AWESOME. I love cheesecake, pizza, ice cream, wine as much as anyone else but the world doesn’t end when you don’t eat those things regularly.

  2. Yay! Your skin looks wonderful 🙂 I have some acne scaring also and I do a few things for my skin, but I found that using an organic rosehip oil at night has started to make my scars lessen in appearance.

    • Good to know! I have rosehip oil at home so I’ll add it to my bedtime routine! 🙂

  3. I would like to do the Whole 30 with my husband this summer. He needs to get better at healthy eating and I would LOVE to wean myself off caffeine and sugar.

    Also- I get annoyed sometimes when people comment on how much I eat or how I’m “always eating”. 90% of the time it’s healthy stuff and I’m active- pretty sure if I commented on how fatty or unhealthy a coworkers lunch is I would be considered rude. Why the double standard? Oh well.

    • You get to keep caffeiene on Whole30! Black coffee or tea only though. 🙂

      There is definitely a double standard when it comes to healthy eaters vs. non healthy eaters. If we pointed out all of the unhealthy stuff people ate, they would take to the media and masses to talk about how they’re being bullied.

  4. Very interesting! I’m really glad you are sharing your thoughts on this and I definitely look forward to hearing about re-introduction of foods! The most interesting part of your recap was the PMS stuff… I get the EXACT same things going on (cramps, bloat, blah blah, blah) so it is interesting that you noticed a difference from change in diet. Great recap Jo!!

    Also… I’ve decided to drive down next weekend (hike on the 23rd?!) 😀

    • After reading this, I just realized I had no back-ache before my period while on the Whole 30. Also my acne improved as well. Any idea which eliminated food group(s) are responsible for the (presumptively hormonal) improvements? I’m wondering if it’s dairy… I typically ate a LOT of dairy.

      • It’s quite possible! I suggest reading the book Woman Code – it talks a lot about how dairy can mess up our hormones.

  5. Loved reading this post and congrats on making it through the 30 days! My fiance and I did a whole 30 in February this year and I loved the benefits I saw. The biggest benefit for me was feeling “food freedom” and taking back my control over my cravings and food consumption! I’m disappointed in myself though because I treated myself too much after whole30 and now the cravings are back! I think I’ll definitely do another round at some point 🙂

    • It seems like a lot of people say they don’t want to go back to feeling out of control and that’s why they stick with a predominantly Whole30 diet and save the treats for special occasions.
      I want to keep the momentum going 80-90% of the time, that’s for sure!

  6. Congrats on getting through the program! I was sure Ryan and I were going to get a text at some point that read ” I hate this !!! Kill me now “but it never happened. I’m sure it wasn’t always fun to stick with so good job ! I’ve been using dr Dennis Gross wipes to help fade dark spots. They seem to work well and I haven’t had a single break out on them. They are chemicals though … Philosophy Turbo vitamin c powder is really good too.
    Definitely blog about the reintroduction phase

    • Yeah, I’m looking for a non-chemical approach. I don’t want to dry out my skin or end up with weird bleached splotches.

  7. I’ve so enjoyed reading about your experience! So yes, please do write about your introductory phase. I’m curious to see if you notice any trigger foods for yourself and what they may be. It’s all very fascinating, isn’t it? Your skin looks great. I know mine looks better just when I clean up my diet a bit, so I’m not surprised how great yours turned out! I would imagine the 3lbs lost is from water weight or “bloat weight” since you state you are no longer feeling bloated, because it’s quite normal to weigh a few pounds more during your cycle when bloating is at it’s worst.

    • Oh for sure. Even when I was in marathon training, I’d sometimes weigh myself for fun to see how much water weight I’d lose during a long run and it was often 5-7lb!!! Another reason why I don’t trust the scale. It’s not a very good indicator of health.

  8. Congratulations on sticking with the program, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your skin looks INCREDIBLE! That’s one benefit that I hadn’t heard mentioned a whole lot. I’ve never done any kind of elimination diet but I’ve considered doing whole 30 or at least a paleo-type challenge at some point.

  9. Why do people think it’s okay to comment on the amount of food people are eating?!
    Ugh your food looked amazing throughout Whole 30, and I’m so glad that you found it helpful in many ways. I feel like I get my best energy from grains, but I’m interested in how I’d fare without them. Also, without peanut butter. I’d try Whole 30 in the summer maybe!

  10. “Would you guys be interested in hearing about my reintroduction phase over the next few weeks?” You’ll do it anyway, geeze.

    I think you did it really well and also I’m impressed with the results- Honestly, I thought you might find the exercise part harder but I’m thrilled to see you killed it! I did whole30 with modifications and (sad face) realised I needed a ton of processed carbs to keep me beautiful. I mean human.

  11. Good work lady! I commend you for the peanut butter thing.. also as Arman stated, if we didn’t want to hear about reintroduction… wouldn’t you write it anyhow?! haha (but I do want to hear, obvs)

    Anyhow, yeah I feel like I eat a tons but a lot of times its because healthy food isn’t as dense calorie wise as say, a protein bar or chocolate bar? So obviously you have to eat tons to make up your energy needs. At least that’s what I tell myself.

    Also, mini rant- why DO people feel like they can comment on food choices, like screw off- if I ever have problems fitting through a door, THEN we will talk.

    • That’s just it though – when you eat wholesome food, the volume will be bigger to meet your nutrient requirements.

  12. Please blog about the reintroduction faze! This is all so interesting to me. I would love to do the Whole30 but since I’m in recovery from an eating disorder I know it’s not good for me. However you have been inspiration to me to start eating “more whole30”. Sweet potatoes with my eggs in the morning, lots of huge salads with healthy fats instead of Turkey sandwiches. It’s helped my digestion (er, constipation) immensely! I would love to see how your transition to a more 80/20 diet goes!

    • I’m delighted to hear you’re switching up your meals. Have you tried mixing mashed sweet potato with cinnamon and almond butter yet?! It’s divine.

  13. Congratulations!! Glad you had such a positive experience but acknowledge that there were some negatives and it wasn’t always roses.

    Thanks for clearing up a few things that I wasn’t sure about. I would love to do this one day- I need to wrap my head around giving up cream in my coffee since I think that’s the only thing I really care about!

    I agree the social aspect is a hard one! We missed you at dinner. I’ve also been trying to do more fitness-related gatherings with friends rather than drinks and coffee. That always turns into eating.

    Your skin looks great! So glad this helped it!

    • I used to only be able to drink coffee with cream and milk in it too. One of the best lines in Whole30 is, “Beating cancer is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black IS.NOT.HARD.” Hahaha it definitely helped put things in perspective for me!

      • Well that certainly puts it into perspective! I know I could give up cream in my coffee- I did it for 6+ months when nursing my son and we were trying to figure out what was causing his eczema. I survived but I was very glad when I was able to drink cream again! Can you have almond milk?

  14. Congrats for making it through! Dairy doesn’t sit too well with me either, and neither do egg -whites.- The egg thing showed up on an allergy test when I was a teeny, tiny thing, and the dairy thing developed a little later and just keeps getting worse as I get older. Cutting way back on both (basically only using them in baking) has seriously helped both my digestion and skin. The eczema struggle was REAL before that.

  15. Did you get at all self-conscious or annoyed from people commenting on your food/portions/etc? I often get this from coworkers and think of it as a different type of “food shaming.” It drives me crazy having to justify to both them and myself. I then begin to doubt myself and what I’m eating. Curious how you handled it mentally and verbally to commenters!

    • Never self conscious. Slightly annoyed when people would strike up a convo about what I was eating and then bored me to tears with all the reasons why they don’t eat healthy or can’t find time to workout. Hahaha

      Sometimes, I wondered if I was eating “too much” based on portions, but it was just a thought.

  16. On Whole30 now, loving it so far. =)

    Thanks for the post! Im currently working on my blog post covering my first week so far….its crazy how much it throws your body into wack but also quickly makes up for it with noticeable improvements in a short time!

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