No Sugar, No Dairy, No Wine, No Beans, No Bread for 30 Days. Sounds scary at first, but 30 days later, I realized it wasn’t so bad. Last week, I completed my first ever Whole30 and wanted to share my results and thoughts on the whole thing. This is a long post, so grab your coffee for this one.
The biggest physical change was that I lost 5 pounds during the past 30 days. I noticed my waist and arms are smaller, and my jeans are fitting a little bit better. I did experience bloating from about day 7-10, and after that was when I started noticing small body changes. One thing I noticed after about a week was that high cellulite areas (aka back of the legs) was noticeably improved! I felt like I would randomly notice little changes too. Like I went to put my hand on my hip, and my little love handle was gone.
My skin has been all over the place. In the beginning, I started getting small breakouts which went away after a few days. I was then left with glowing skin for about a week, followed by more breakouts and a little bit of red splotchiness. I haven’t made any changes to my skincare routine, and I did notice fine lines seemed to improve a bit during the month. Other than that one week, I would say my skin wasn’t greatly improved by the end of the month.
Ya’ll my sweet tooth dessert cravings really did go away. I haven’t had a craving for a sugary dessert since I ended the program. I mean I have girl scout cookies in my cupboard and have yet to desire one. This is HUGE for me, as reducing sugar cravings was a main goal for me.
Overall, I really feel my desire to snack all day has diminished. In the beginning, I would see food and want to eat it. I don’t have that as much or feel like I’m forcing myself to stay away from the yummy chips. My eyes see them, and my mind isn’t instantly going to I have to have that now mode. Over the weekend, we received free popcorn at our movie. Normally I probably would have finished the bag just because it was there. I ate a couple bites to try it, but never touched it again. I think it’s a combination of not craving junk type food as much and learning to listen to what my body/mind needs vs wants.
The first half left me tired and often feeling off and unable to focus on what I should be doing. By the end, I was finishing to do lists and then some. My Fitbit tracks sleep and tells you how restless you are during the night based on your arm movement. I noticed throughout the program that I became less restless in the middle of the night. I slept more in the beginning often snoozing until I had to get up. Currently though, I am waking up with or just before my alarm goes off and ready to hit the gym.
I have more energy throughout the day especially at night. I can be kind of lazy at night after work, so I make daily to do lists that help ensure I do some productive things each night. Last week, I had a day where I did the full list and was like what else can I do. Prior to the program, not the case at all. The list was more like a hope to do list with usually only a couple things actually getting done. I also have more focus and concentration. Although, I think some of this comes from having the energy to tackle so many to do list items. I’m not thinking about the 101 things I need to do, and I can really tune into the task at hand.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER WHOLE30?
After your 30 days end, they advise that you don’t go on an all day eat all the things bender, but rather slowly re-introduce off plan foods and see how your body responds.. They give 2 suggestions a fast and slow reintroduction period. I chose to do slow because I felt it worked more with my plan to continue eating close to whole30 without being as strict. I will be gradually trying off plan foods as the opportunity arises verse creating the opportunity in the fast pace plan.
My personal opinion is that Whole30 is not something you do for a month and then go right back to your old eating habits. The program should help you change your eating habits into healthier ones that teach you what your body needs verse wants.
MY PERSONAL POST WHOLE30 REINTRODUCTION PLANS
No surprise here, I already had a glass of wine. The first night I could I enjoyed a chilled glass of Chardonnay, the next morning I felt like I drank an entire bottle. A friend warned me that the first glass was brutal and to enjoy it at home because it hits you quick. I have had wine since then and no bad post-day headaches.
Meal planning and not having to think each night what am I going to eat (which would often lead to dinners of girl scout cookies and wine) was a game changer for me. I plan to continue meal planning most of my meals and prepping as much as I can on weekends. It’s really nice to come home from a long work day, look at my menu, and now exactly what healthy dinner option I have to eat.
My food reintroduction is to add in foods as they happen but not too many at one time. I’m trying to only add in one item per meal at most two. Saturday at the movies, I had turkey sliders which was bread and cheese. After I reintro a new food, I try and determine if I had any side effects like being tired, bloated, upset stomach. I plan on doing this gradually over the next couple weeks.
I haven’t had a big sugar craving yet, but I also told myself I didn’t want to eat any sugary desserts for my first post whole 30 week. When you have been eating with such restriction, it’s kind of scary to realize you can now eat whatever you want. You feel great and have all this energy and you fear one bite of something bad and it all goes away. Since sugar is my biggest vice, I want to get comfortable with adding in other foods and finding a new food rhythm first.
My first sugary sweet will probably come Easter Sunday, because I can never say no to one of my Grandma’s desserts. I’m hoping to keep desserts as something reserved for special occasions and extra special treats vs a daily treat. One thing they talk about in the book is savoring and enjoying these special occasion foods you don’t plan to eat often. You can enjoy the moment, the taste, the experience, and hopefully this will help you not eat all of the sweet desserts on the table and not re-awaken my “sugar dragon” and sugar cravings.
5 THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY WHOLE 30
1 | SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING! – When you start reading labels, you start to see that some form of sugar is in so many things! I ended up having to make my own broth, because I had a hard time finding one without sugar. All I could think was why does vegetable broth need sugar!?!? Same thing for bacon, I only found ONE that did not have added sugar.
2 | BREAKFAST REALLY IS AN IMPORTANT MEAL – Ya’ll know I’m not a breakfast person, and I still don’t wake up hungry. BUT eating breakfast first thing in the morning did keep me full until lunch. I personally feel eating breakfast early helped kick my all day grazing habit by keeping my full and satisfied until lunch. One of the books I read talked about how breakfast can also keep you from overindulging at night, something I was 100% guilty of pre-whole30, and something I never even have cravings to do anymore.
3 | YOU CAN LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT COUNTING CALORIES – While I didn’t set out to specifically lose weight, I wasn’t going to complain if I did either. I’ve been at the same weight for close to a year. The only way I found to drop weight was to count calories and stay in my “goal range” which I hate doing. On Whole30, I never counted calories or worried if I was eating too much. I just ate until I felt satisfied. Some meals seemed huge to me, and I still lost weight.
4 | EATING OUT IS HARD – I only ate out once on my Whole30, and I only had a fruit cup. Nothing on the menu was part of the program. I asked if I could just order a side salad with just some veggies only (this wasn’t on the menu), and I was told I could only order the menu salad which was lettuce covered in all non-whole30 things, so basically I could eat just some really expensive lettuce. To stay on program, you have to ask so many questions about how things are cooked. I found it easier to stay home where I could control everything.
5 | YOU CAN DO IT! – Some days suck, some days you just want a bag of chips or cupcake or glass of wine, some days it feels like you have FOREVER left. Other days you realize you aren’t craving things anymore, your jeans fit better, and for the first time in a LONG time you completed your super long weekend to do list. Then day 31 happens and you realize you did it.
My bestie asked me yesterday, if I would do it again. Take me back to February when I had never done this before, I would 110% do this again. The changes I have noticed make it worth it and make me want to continue eating healthy majority of the time. BUT I don’t know if now that I have completed it, I would do a full Whole30 again. I very strategically planned a time when restricted eating would work with my schedule, but I did miss out on things like the rodeo and a few happy hours because I didn’t want to be around the temptations. I do see myself doing mini programs though, like 7-14 days of on-plan eating after the holidays and vacations or when I find myself craving all the sweet things again.
At the beginning of 2016, I started on a quest to eat more vegetables and less processed food. I struggled to find a way to eat that still allowed me to enjoy comfort and sentimental foods on occasion, feel satisfied and not hungry all the time, and feel healthy. Whole30 helped find a way to eat that allows me to incorporate healthy real food into my diet, feel satisfied and love the healthy foods I am eating, but still indulge in the comfort foods that feed the soul so to speak from time to time. I’m really happy I put my pre-conceived opinions aside, learned more and tried out this program, because it really did change the way I eat and feel towards food.
Thanks for sticking with me throughout this LONG post! If you have any questions about anything I didn’t mention, feel free to shoot me an email! You can also read my first 2 posts about the program here:
And So It Begins: Whole 30 Day 1
Whole 30 Halfway Mark: What I’ve Been Eating and Feeling
SHOP MY WHOLE 30 KITCHEN SURVIVAL TOOLS