You guys! The day is finally here where I get to tell you all about the adventure I’ve been having this past month attempting my first first round of Whole30. Honestly, it’s been a winding path that has taught me a heck of a lot about myself and my relationship with food. If you follow me over on Instagram, I’ve shared a lot of behind the scenes in myself stories featuring all the different meals, ways that I’ve rewarded myself and food hauls. Living the Whole30 lifestyle is definitely an adjustment, but truly rewarding in the end.
First things first, what is Whole30?
You can learn all that you could possibly need to learn about this program by hopping over to their website, or buying the book here. (They also have an amazing cookbook that will help you get through those 30 days SO much easier!) But in the simplest terms: it’s 30 days of removing dairy, gluten, alcohol, legumes and refined sugar from your diet. Once the 30 days are over, you go through a reintroduction process where you reintroduce one of each thing that you took away every 3 days. Doing this allows you to effectively diagnose any allergies, sensitivities, gut problems and even what’s causing skin irritations and breakouts. It’s not a diet, but a cleanse to help reset your system, get back to healthy ways and figure out of you have any intolerances along the way.
You are also only to weight yourself before and after, so you’re not focusing on what you are losing, but what you are feeling. It’s all about listening to your body and fueling it with healthy foods that will keep you energized and satisfied.
My Whole30 Takeaways
I learned a “whole” (no pun intended) lot, here goes:
I have a crappy relationship with food
This is pretty much what it all boils own to right here. I relied too much on food for happiness for rewards – everything. Some days were fine, and others I really wanted that sugar that I was craving so badly. I learned though that after the first few days that I was able to shift my thinking and that I could be satisfied by eating whole meals with minimal sacks. Yes I still have cravings, but I’m able to work through them better or find a healthier alternative.
I actually eat pretty healthy, but need to be more active
Being 5 months postpartum, I originally loved the idea of Whole30 because I wanted to help drop some baby weight and help cleanse my system after the holidays were over. To my surprise, I didn’t really lose too much (I don’t weight myself, just focus on the fit of clothes) and I upped my workouts to 4 days during the week instead of 3. I pretty much confirmed to myself that my wight loss needs to come from adding more fitness to my routine versus changing the way I eat.
My skin cleared up the way I had yearned for my whole life
When I was prepping to start Whole30, I literally had enormous, cystic acne on my chin that swelled up so badly that I almost thought I was going to need to visit the ER. I knew deep down inside that this came from my holiday sugar overload and I was right – during the first 3 days of Whole30 not only did that drain completely (I know, gross) and go away, but my entire face cleared up. This was pretty awesome.
I effing love food and sugar is still my weakness
During Whole30, if you know you are a sugar addict, you should turn towards non-sugary things like hard boiled eggs and fresh veggies for snacks if you are craving something to help combat those weaknesses, and I definitely turned to fruit (both fresh and organic freeze-dried) during the program probably more than I should have. But within the same breath, there are many Whole30 recipes that I started loving and have adopted into my regular cooking for my fam.
I learned to love cooking again
I will confess: I started to hate cooking. Towards the end of my pregnancy I lost my love to cook or come up with dinners at all that everyone would enjoy and once Blake was born, I turned more towards things that were easier to throw together and less healthy. Whole30 unlocked that love again and gave me some new ideas for quick and easy and healthy meals that we’re all loving.
My Whole30 Tips
The week before I even started Whole30, I cut sugar from my coffee (which I don’t even use anymore) and I stopped eating after dinner at all. This greatly helped me transition my body into Whole30 mode and prepare. In addition to that, start saving recipes (I recommend a Pinterest board) and get your grocery shopping list sorted because you will never make it through without having everything ready to go.
Make everything ahead
Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep – let that be your new mantra! I’ve never been one to food prep, but you must if you want Whole30 success. If you are hungry and there is nothing around to cook, you will reach for takeout menus. Make sure that you set sometime aside on Sundays and have things ready to go to make all of your meals easier or know what you’re cooking each day at least.
Tessame is your new bff
Tessame is dressings and marinades that are Whole30 compliant and taste amazing! I loved having their honey mustard and dressings handy because I need to look forward to what I’m eating and these made everything amazing! I would marinade chicken breasts every Sunday (I still do now), in their cracked pepper, grill them, and cut into strips to use on salads or have with leftover roasted veggies for lunch. It was also great to use their BBQ sauce on chicken wings because then Chris and Branden could still enjoy meals that they love without much alteration.
Have a buddy
Chris was supposed to do this with me, but he failed on day 2 (he ate non-compliant beef jerky that had their second ingredient as sugar and then just fell off the wagon hard), thankfully I used a Facebook group as my support. Without people doing this with you, you will be much more likely to fail – so do Whole30 with a group and you will have the most success!
Thrive Market is an online grocery store that has tons of organic and whole30 compliant foods that are difficult to find other places. It works like Amazon and you spend $65 per year and then get free shipping and everything is also discounted so it pretty much pays for itself. I grocery shop there now and my regular grocery store and am constantly comparing prices. Since I eat compliant during the week, I order all my favorite snacks there, pasta sauce without sugar, and they even have things for home and baby – it’s amazing!
Moving forward, my plan is to do Whole30 5 days per week (Monday-Friday) and then be more relaxed on weekends. I will still probably eat a compliant breakfast and lunch, but enjoy what I want for dinner and desert on those days. Have any of you tried Whole30? I would love to hear about your experience!