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)
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:
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:
-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.
-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.
-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”
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.
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.
“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.
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:
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:
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”
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?