We completed the Whole 30 on Wednesday and I wanted to share my honest thoughts about it.
In the name of transparency, I also decided to share some before and after photos. They are a bit scary, but here goes nothing!
1. I did not read the book before beginning, which was a mistake. I have begun reading it, and hope to finish it while we are at the beach next week. Though I know the Whole 30 principles, and I am educated in food and nutrition, I do think it really would have helped.
2. My husband did it with me! Having a partner during Whole 30 is a game changer. Todd was a trooper, and I seriously appreciate his support. Even though I did all of the cooking ;), the accountability was so needed.
3. I feel GREAT. I would love to keep eating this way. My plan is to eat mostly Whole 30, allow myself wine (not in excess), and something to make my coffee taste better. I have had plenty of energy to work out, I enjoy the food, and I feel accomplished and focused. I eat plenty of vegetables normally, but I increased the amount during this program, and I can feel the difference.
4. My stomach is flat(ish) again. I have a little bit of a postpartum baby pooch, but it’s mostly gone. It isn’t perfect, but I’ll take it. Let me be real for a second. I am sensitive to several foods, but the only one I had completely eliminated before was gluten. Bloating was a real issue for me, but on Whole 30, I can’t remember being bloated at all. But honestly, I have a basically flat stomach now. And I just had a baby 8 months ago. Eliminating sugar, dairy, wheat help reduce inflammation, and bloating in particular.
5. I did NOT experience significant weight loss. I think I may have lost 1 or 2 pounds? At one point I had gained weight and I was a tad pissed. 😉 My goal was to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but that has not been achieved yet. And truthfully I may not get there. I was thin before I got pregnant, and as much as I want to be that thin again, it may not be in the cards.
6. BUT, my clothes fit better, I am more toned, and I have lost some excess fat. I have some real work to do in my legs still, but I can start to see my abs again, and my arms are getting back to being toned. I’m trying to appreciate the progress.
7. I have loved working out for the past month. I’m talking real, dripping-sweat, sore-the-next-day workouts at least 3 times each week. The energy boost from the healthy level of fats, proteins, and carbs has truly made a difference in getting me through these workouts. I’m still not at the exercise level I once was, but I feel major progress. Heck, I even made it through a couple spin classes and those normally kick mah tail!
Driveway workouts have been key on days the gym was not an option. This picture was taken after doing lots of burpees.
our workout faces
8. Sugar is not my friend. It truly is not good for any of us, and we eat FAR TOO MUCH of it. Cutting it out has taken away some of my brain fog, anxiety, and sluggish feeling. I have been more alert lately. Another bonus is that my skin has been clearer! Fruit tastes sweeter to me now, and the cravings for dessert have decreased tremendously!
9. I followed the old rules and ate plantain chips. Because honestly I thought those were allowed at first. Again, I should have read the book first. I also broke another rule and had a little red wine on the weekends. Because, well, life as a stay-at-home mom of 2 little boys. And I can be quite high-strung, and OCD about food, so I thought it might be healthier, mentally, to give myself a bit of a break. I did say from the beginning that I was going to do it about 90%. And I did.
10. I pay very close attention to the foods that trigger inflammatory responses in my body. As I said, I am a bit OCD about it. I have also done elimination diets in the past, so I am aware of my “trigger foods,” which is why I felt comfortable doing Whole 30 90% of the way. If you have never done any type of eating plan like this, I would recommend doing this full-out.
11. I do not like black coffee. I just don’t.
12. It can get repetitive. BUT, that is partly my fault. For some reason I picked a really busy month, and a time when we were renovating our kitchen, to do Whole 30. What was I thinking? We ate well, but nothing was all that creative. Next time, I will allow more time for food prep.
13. I am still not tired of eggs. Even though we ate them for breakfast 27 out of 30 days, I do still enjoy them. Put an over easy egg on top of some hash browns, avocado, or sautéed kale, and breakfast is served!
14. I did snack some. If you are breastfeeding or you work out regularly, you will need to snack, and that is allowed. Keep compliant Lara bars and Rx bars handy! My favorite Lara bars are apple pie and cherry pie. And the best Rx bar is mixed berry, in my opinion. The bars with chocolate or peanuts are not allowed on the Whole 30.
15. It is educational and enlightening. It truly shows you how good you can feel and look, simply by taking care of yourself, nutritionally.
Ready for the before and after photos? The before photos were taken after Memorial Day weekend, and we clearly indulged a bit too much. I look 5 months pregnant. Yikes! (Sorry they are blurry…nothing like a good iPhone mirror selfie!)
Would I do it again? Yes, I would absolutely do it again. My version, at least.
My goal is to eat according to Whole 30 for most of the week, then enjoy a few meals on the weekends, or for date nights.
Even though I ate healthy to begin with, I feel a million times better doing a complete elimination diet. I just wish that tortilla chips were not made of corn. Because going without those is rough. I’d give up desserts for a year, but I need something crunchy. I’ll just stick to plantain chips I guess!
P.S.: I had some quinoa pasta last night as my first non-Whole 30 meal, and I felt rough. I honestly got nauseous while I was eating it, and had to stop. The bloating was almost immediate, too. I think I’ll stick to a grain-free diet for the most part moving forward.
P.P.S.: I am planning to incorporate some Paleo treats, like vegan coconut milk ice cream (made with dates), and maybe some almond-coconut flour muffins. Our vacation starts this weekend, so I will probably indulge a bit!
If you have questions or feedback about the Whole 30, let me know!