I absolutely LOVED Whole30! The entire experience was so eye opening and life changing for me! I initally loved how I could do the program without spending a dime on special products (not counting groceries), memberships, or apps. I did however buy the Whole30 book which technically is not necessary since they openly provide an abundance of information on their website. It made me feel like the program was genuinely set up to help people succeed and not fail (so they could collect money).
But first, let me rewind: There were so many times over the past year or so that I thought about trying Whole30 but would quickly think, “that plans not for me because I couldn’t restrict myself or go without ______” (insert favorite junk food of choice here). I was initially worried I would feel restricted but then I told myself that it’s only 30 days, I can do it… and to be honest I never once felt restricted. I ate plenty of whole meals with healthy, fresh, filling foods. I never even felt hungry and there was times that I couldn’t believe I had to eat another meal since I was still comfortably satisfied from the last meal. I overate once or twice since I am accustomed to cleaning my plate. I felt over full so I made sure from then on to take my time, eat slower and stop when I was full. I have never felt so free from food! Free from feeling like I NEEDED to have dessert at night, chocolate everyday and endless (embarrassing) amounts of diet soda.
Another thing that initially turned me off from Whole30 was the way some (not all) of the social media accounts seemed to deem themselves better than others because they “ate clean/whole” food and not “chemical laden garbage”. I always thought it seemed like they were putting themselves on a pedestal and it was pretentious of them to believe they were better than all of us who were eating the SAD (standard American diet). I vowed if I ever did give Whole30 a try that I would NEVER make these types of remarks about foods that I was no longer eating. I would only comment on the food I was eating. I never wanted to make anyone feel less than because they chose a pre-packaged food since I myself have had my fair share of those in my life. Also, the day before I started I ate a donut and a cupcake so really, who am I to judge?
Back to why I loved (and still love) Whole30… first of all I felt like it was much easier (FOR ME) than I anticipated! MUCH easier! This is true for ME for a lot of reasons:
(I’m emphasizing the “me” because I know Whole30 is not for everyone. Some people have tried and didn’t make it the 30 days and thats okay… not all plans are for everybody. We are all different and different things work for different people. :))
1- I build things up in my head to be much scarier, much harder and much more complicated than they truly are.
2- I was BEYOND ready to make a change and this was my last ditch effort to change my mindset about food for good!
3- I was very prepared and it also makes it easier since I stay home (minus my small part time job). This made it very simple for me to cook healthy/fresh meals and plan ahead.
4- I love this type of food, there are very few foods I don’t like/won’t eat so I had zero limitations.
5- I set myself up for success: I made sure to pick a 30 day window with no birthdays or other special events scheduled. I cleared out the cabinets and refrigerator, I asked my husband for support, I made healthy food I knew the whole family would eat (or made simple substitutions for them), I made sure to meal plan and grocery shop often with a detailed list so I always had what I needed, and I closed the kitchen down after dinner and went right to bed after my daughter instead of sitting in the living room right next to the kitchen.
6- I initially put my running on the back burner. Since I had just run a half and I was taking a short break anyway, I took an extra week off so I could focus on Whole30 and not feel overwhelmed. When I felt comfortable on week 2 I added running back in to my routine.
7- I read the books!! Trust me, it makes a difference! I also Googled any and every question I had. I followed Whole30 accounts on IG and read the Whole30 website and forums to supplement the books. Knowledge is power!
8- I put my scale away. This was strangely the hardest part for me and there were times I wanted to find where my husband hid it and jump on. I stayed strong and I’m so glad I did! I didn’t need the number on the scale messing with my mind and with the process.
9- I ate all my meals at the table with no distractions… except a talkative 3 year old and a hyper cat.
10- I tried my hardest not to snack (unless it was to fuel a run) and if I felt hungry between meals (which only happened a couple of times). I would make sure I had a conversation with myself to see if if I was truly hungry or just bored. 99% of the time I was bored and drank water instead. I also ate larger meals than I would have in the past (with plenty of veggies, protein and healthy fats) which made me satisfied until the next meal.
11- I tried new foods and experimented with difference spices and flavors to add variety to my meals. I also tried my hardest not to focus on what I couldn’t eat and focused on ALL the foods I could eat!
12- I rewarded myself with non-food items every week. This really was a great extra incentive!
Whole30 NSV’s: This is a VERY short list of all the positives I experienced
-increased energy (as much as my thyroid issues allowed me)
-better sleep (it went back and forth but was all around better than before)
-HUGE decrease in cravings
-kicked nightly dessert habit
-tried new foods
-honed my cooking skills
-broke up with daily weigh-ins
-KICKED MY DIET SODA ADDICTION (this was HUGE for me)
I also lost 9 lbs and 3 total inches which is a nice added bonus since Whole30 isn’t focused on weight but more so how you feel and changing ingrained food habits.
Below are my day 1 vs day 30 pictures. It took a lot for me to post this so please be kind.
So now what?!
First of all, I am not quite back down to my goal weight so I will continue working on that. I’m going to pay very close attention to ingredients and try to eat food that is minimally processed. A huge thing that Whole30 taught me is that there are no “good” or “bad” foods… just food! Some foods make you healthier when you eat them and others make you less healthy. If I want something, a specific food like a dessert, I will make sure it’s worth it. It will have to be the most decadent, deliciously perfect dessert I can get my hands on. I’m not going to bother with pre-packed foods that just aren’t worth it… unless they are (like PB Oreos). I just really want to make sure something is worth it because I tend to eat just to eat and I don’t even taste things sometimes. I’m going to take my time deciding if something is worth it. I will think about it and if I deem the food worth it I will still give it time. If in 15 minutes I still want it, than I’ll eat it. If in 15 minutes I feel like it isn’t worth it, than I won’t eat it. Simple as that! I am planning on keeping my sugar cravings under control as much as possible. If I do choose to indulge, I will make sure to get right back to eating Whole30 as soon as possible to reset. The reset will make sure that I don’t fall back under the power of sugar. No regrets, no feeling like a failure, no leading to overeating… just eating food. Will I make mistakes? Maybe. Will I fall off the wagon and overeat again? Possibly. But, now I have the confidence to know that I can get back on track by using the Whole30 reset program to tame my “sugar dragon” (Whole30 term). I am on the road to rebuilding my relationship with food. My journey will not be perfect, never has been. Especially since my food tendencies date all the way back to my childhood. This is going to be a long road to completely feel free from food but I am worth it and I deserve to live a life no longer under the rule of food.
In conclusion, I would recommend this plan to anyone struggling to find food freedom. Like I said above, WHOLE30 CHANGED MY LIFE and my relationship with food completely. My only regret is that I didn’t try it sooner!
Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments below! 🙂