Back in the middle of October 2017, I tried out Whole 30. My company at the time had a fitness trainer (hi TMAC!) who did weekly workouts with us, and he encouraged us to join him. I had heard about Whole30 before and my competitive side kicked in so I stubbornly agreed to do it for a month. Here’s my recap:
What is Whole30?
First, I’ll quickly explain what Whole30 is, if you don’t already know. It’s an elimination diet of almost all food groups that could cause indigestion, to detox your body for 30 days. Those food groups include: dairy, soy, legumes, grains, added sugar, alcohol, junk food, etc. If you mess up and cave in to eat a single potato chip on day 28, you have to start over on day 1. Once the 30 days are over, you slowly reintroduce these food groups back into your diet and see if your body has any intolerances or allergies. The spirit of Whole30 is mainly to change your relationship with food and be more mindful about what you eat. It encourages you to read your labels and see how food manufacturers sneak sugar or salt into your snacks. The goal is to eat whole and as less unprocessed foods as possible. Also, you can only weigh yourself BEFORE you begin your Whole30, and AFTER you complete the full 30 days. You cannot count calories or macros either, and this is to promote intuitive eating more than anything. You are not to restrict yourself, but rather just eat wholesome foods.
One thing to note is that there is no perfect Whole30. I just wanted to get through the 30 days, and even though I messed up a few small times here and there, I kept going. Typically, my mistakes were when I realized that the “sad burger” (aka: burger with no bun) I had 3 days ago used caramelized onions or something. So it’s totally up to you and how strict you want to be with yourself. This is what I noticed happen to me and my body throughout those 30 days:
- HUNGER. I was SO SO hungry the first couple days. No matter how much I ate, I felt hungry and nothing could satisfy my appetite. Already, my body was detoxing from all the processed stuff I’ve been piling on for years and years. After day 3, I noticed my hunger start to curb. Or maybe I just stopped noticing how hungry I was. ????
- I started sleeping better and falling asleep right away. I’m a light sleeper and it often takes me anywhere up to an hour to get comfy enough to fall asleep. While on Whole30, I had better sleep and I woke up feeling refreshed!
- I also had enough energy throughout the day that I didn’t get that afternoon slump that always plagued me. This was probably the most notable change for me as I didn’t feel the need to take a post-lunch nap! My work productivity soared because of this.
- My workouts were also better. I didn’t feel a crazy energy boost as other people did, but I did notice that they were just overall more productive and energized. I’m typically in the right mindset when I work out anyway, but I did notice a slight improvement. Other people have reported having a lot more energy in their workouts.
- I never had any issues with my skin after discovering salicylic acid, so I didn’t experience my skin clearing up dramatically.
- People were noticing that I got leaner and toner. (This is my second favorite part of Whole30.) I felt like my stomach was flatter and tighter (even though I wasn’t increasing my abs workouts). My workplace knew that several of us coworkers were participating in Whole30 so it was awesome to hear non-participants tell me that I looked toned!
- Meal prepping is hard work! At my company, we were served catered lunch every day so it made me sad to forgo that and bring my own meal prep every day. I did get better at cooking though! One of my favorite Whole30 recipes that I still make today is this Thai yellow curry. I can’t seem to find the recipe I used but there are plenty online to choose from and customize.
- I really missed cheese and ice cream and bread. And company happy hours that had melted cheese on toasted bread? I cried internally.
And I think that’s it!
I had a work trip to Seattle that made it harder for me to stay Whole30 compliant, since I ate out for every meal and it was difficult to tell what sauce was in my steak (I wasn’t vegetarian at the time). I definitely ate a ton of potatoes, which I love anyway. When I started reintroducing food groups, I don’t think I did it correctly. Rather than go one group at a time, I was just excited to be able to eat things I missed. I even made this entire list of restaurants or foods that I needed to indulge in post-Whole30!
I didn’t find any food intolerances, which I was glad since I thought I might have become lactose intolerant. During Whole30, I only lost 2 pounds. My coworkers who finished the 30 days lost between 6-10 pounds, which is what I was kind of expecting and hoping for myself. That certainly didn’t happen, and I think muscle growth also contributes to that number. Nonetheless, I was happy with myself for sticking with the 30 days and I’m now a lot more mindful about what I put into my body.
I think every person should attempt Whole30. It’s not for everyone and kind of hard to sustain, but I think there are great benefits with learning good eating habits and being aware about sneaky sugar. Since completing the program, I’ve been wanting to hop back on it and feel just as energized as I did before. But, I’ve failed in keeping 100% compliant after multiple stabs at a pseudo-Whole30, so I went with vegetarianism instead 🙂 If you’re interested to read about how I’ve been doing after going veggie, the post is here!
As always, thanks for reading!