My Whole30 Experience

Last week when I posted the May meal plan, you probably noticed that I referred to a program called “Whole30” and how I made meals compliant or not.  I’m sure you thought, what is wrong with this lady, has she lost her mind? Sometimes I think so, really, I do.

WHAT IS WHOLE30?

Whole30 is a 30 day eating plan primarily consisting of protein, veggies, and healthy fats, with minimal fruits.  You cannot eat any grains (gluten free or not), sugar in any form (not even stevia, etc…), no alcohol, no dairy, no preservatives, and no legumes (beans, peas, etc…).  You are to eat three meals a day with no snacking or anything in-between if you can.  Your meals should be large enough to sustain you until the next meal time.  You need to stop eating two hours before bed.  There are a host of other rules too that you can check out on their website.

It sounds super restrictive but it’s actually not that bad.  I found making meals and keeping it fresh through the program pretty easy actually. I mean come on – I literally put homemade mayo on everything, what can be better than that?  I also snacked a bit.  If I was hungry, I ate.  That’s how I roll.  Honestly though, I wasn’t hungry much in-between meals.

The plan overall is supposed to improve your health in many areas including weight loss and non-scale victories, like being able to sleep better or wake up easier, increased energy, healthy skin and hair, etc….  They also claim that many participants experience something called “Tiger Blood” where you just feel like you can do anything with the extreme energy burst that this program gives you. Insert confused look here because that so did not happen to me.

WHY WOULD YOU DO A WHOLE30?

Good question because I asked myself this almost every single freaking day.  First off, last month I posted about how I just wanted gluten period.  Well it had gotten to a point where I wanted it all day every day.  I already know that gluten does not do well within my system since I’m gluten intolerant (I’ve never been tested for celiac disease). I was experiencing so many symptoms and I was in a downward spiral.  I knew that if I didn’t do something soon, that I could do some real damage to my body.  I needed a reset of sorts, to get my brain around the fact that gluten and I do not get a long.  Enter, the whole30.

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THE WHOLE30 PROGRAM?

I first heard about this program from the clothes make the girl blog about a year or so ago.  Melissa Joulwan, the author of this blog, is a big whole30 fan and will do it several times a year to reset herself after a long trip or something like that when she falls off her paleo wagon.

Since she does it so often, Melissa actually created two cookbooks that are whole30 compliant.  They are Well Fed and Well Fed 2.  Without these books, I would have NEVER made it.  The recipes are super awesome and flavorful.  I highly recommend getting at least Well Fed 2 for the awesome sauce recipe that I put on literally everything – seriously, ask my family.

WHY DID IT TAKE YOU SO LONG TO DO THE PROGRAM?

Well, frankly, it scared the bejezus out of me.  I just didn’t understand why people would do this to themselves.  Why would I give up bread and cheese?  chocolate and soda/pop?  Why would I give up my coveted coffee shop drinks for a whole 30 days??? WHY?  It just seemed completely bonkers and out of reach to me.

But then when I started to go hog wild with the gluten I knew that I had to do something and super fast.  I had already studied the program a bit and had purchased the latest whole30 book.  It didn’t seem so bad and I was desperate.  Plus they claimed major weight loss and this tiger blood.  Hells ya, I had try it out.

SO, HOW DID IT GO?

Well, unfortunately for me, it went just “OK”.  I made it through a whole 30 29 days with compliant meals.  I almost quit at least over half of those days which was an interesting mental struggle that I got to see play out.  In fact, some say the first week is the hardest and man is it hard but the last week was the super duper hardest for me because I wasn’t feeling all the tiger blood or weight loss.

Oh yea, I said feel the weight loss because you are NOT supposed to weigh or measure yourself until you are 100% finished with the program.  This is a big deal to most, but not to me. I hate the scale.  But I could tell that my clothes were not getting super baggy, so that was a sign that not much was happening.  I did end up losing 5lbs, 2 inches from my waist and 4.5 inches from my hips.

I do find that I can wake up easier to go to my early morning workout class and that recovering from those workouts is much much easier than I’ve ever experienced. So that has been very nice.

But mostly, I felt super crabby about this whole thing up until day 18 or so.  Then I sort of just felt at peace with it.  Then day 25 hit and I was like, “I’m over it. Why am I doing this?” all over again.  These thoughts plagued me for the remaining days.  That’s why on the actual day 30, I said to myself, “Screw it, you deserve a frappucino.” So I got it.  The funny thing was that at the end of that day, I ate my whole30 food for dinner and on day 31 (today), I’m pretty much back to the same routine because *GASP* I kind of missed the food.  This surprises me the most.

I’m also seeing how dairy and sugar affect me since those are the two foods I introduced back.  So far, the dairy is ok but the sugar kind of makes me have a flush face and warmth that comes over me.  I don’t recall this reaction ever before.  It’s making me wonder.  Next up will be gluten free grains.

WILL YOU CONTINUE THIS WAY OF EATING?

I’ve thought long and hard about this actually.  I of all people am completely floored that I missed the food, so now I plan to eat mostly paleo with some dairy thrown in.  Unfortunately sugar is in every single thing so it will be hard to avoid but I’m going to dabble in using other forms of sugar like honey, coconut palm sugar, and pure stevia.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS TO OTHERS?

Yes, if someone asked me but I’m not going to go around evangelizing that this changed my life.  I’m not there yet and I didn’t feel any of the major components that the program said you’d experience.  It has helped me in a lot of ways and upon further reflection I’ll have a clearer idea of what all of that was.

Right now, I’m just glad it’s over!

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