Hello there! This past week I completed my first round of Whole30, so I wanted to give an update on the process, my results and thoughts on the program.
If you are not familiar with Whole30, you can read more about it on the website or in the book It Starts with Food. If you are interested in the program I highly recommend getting the book. It contains a lot of information on why certain foods are unhealthy, and what they do to your body. I'm the type of person that needs to know that information, because if you just tell me: ok- no more bread and dairy, I'll say yeah, ok and go back to eating my ice cream.
Whole 30 Overview
The idea behind Whole30 is to cut out foods that cause unhealthy tendencies like over eating, foods that do not nourish your body, and foods that cause systematic inflammation. I won't go too much into the science information, the book explains it way better than I ever could. To follow the program, you cut out all wheat, dairy, sugar and unhealthy oils for 30 days straight with no cheats. This is pretty similar to a Paleo diet, but not exactly the same. The approved list of foods includes meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats (such as avacado, coconut fat, and olive oil).
I first heard about Whole30 around Christmas time. It is becoming pretty popular and I know a few people who have tried it and liked it. I bought the book and began reading it, but kept putting off starting the program. Then, at the beginning of February I decided enough it enough and I began my first round on February 8th.
For a little history, I have always struggled with my weight. When I was in high school I decided to stop eating junk food and began excising. I was able to lose 30lbs in about 3-4 months by just eating better and running at night. Then, when I went to college I became less concerned with my healthy. I gained some of the weight back and just could keep it down. Then, when I was pregnant with Nora I gained 65lbs. I was at my highest weight ever and needed help, but I couldn't make myself stop eating junk. I finally realized that if I am going to set a good example for my daughter, I really need to start living a healthier lifestyle. This eventually led me to the Whole30 program, and out of all of the weight loss programs out there, I am so happy I picked this one.
My first day of Whole30 was a breeze. I started on a Sunday, which conveniently enough is grocery shopping day in our house, so I had plenty of good food to eat. I felt like my first week was pretty easy, despite the fact that it was the week of Valentine's Day and I was offered cupcakes or cookies on no less than 5 occasions. Madison and I also had to change our Valentine's date plans from sushi to steak, which worked out fine for us.
Meal planning is key to succeeding on the Whole30 plan, so we had everything for that first week planned out ahead of time. This just made the week easier in general because we knew what we were cooking for dinner before we got home. For breakfast I had an omelet almost every day of the program. My go to was spinach, onion and prosciutto. Super tasty, I recommend it. Since I'm a coffee drinker, I didn't want to cut that out. In place of cream and sugar I used unsweetened coconut milk. It took a while for me to get used to it but now I really enjoy it. For lunch, I brought a salad to work and made sure I had some protein too, either some chicken or nuts. Dinners were mostly centered around meat and veggies. I grew to love roasted Brussels Sprouts, which I never thought would happen.
The second week was a little more challenging. I had a lot of cravings. My diet previous to this consisted of lots of grains and dairy, so it was hard to get used to that. I stuck to it though and kept at it. My goal is to lose weight and feel healthier, so I didn't want to jeopardize that for a bowl of cereal.
The third week was similar to the second week for me. I was starting to get bored of my meals, it felt like I was having the same thing over and over again. Madison and I varied up dinners a little bit by including more fish, which helped to get out of that rut.
The fourth week was pretty easy. Most of my cravings were gone. I had come so far that I felt motivated to finish. I was also starting to see results so that made everything a lot easier.
I actually only ended up doing the program for 29 days. On my 30th day I woke up so sick with a stomach bug and needed to leave work early. I didn't think a salad or grilled chicken would sit nicely in my stomach so I ended up eating some oatmeal and it was really fine. I still consider myself finishing and I'm not going to beat myself up over it.
When my program ended, I had lost 6lbs, 3 inches from my waist and 1.5 inches from my hips. I do not have before and after photos to show but I can tell you I feel better overall. I fit into pants that I haven't worn since before Nora was born and my coworkers are noticing that I have lost weight. At first I was a little disappointed with my results, I though that there would be some miracle and I would lost 15lbs in the month. Then I remembered that 6lbs is still huge! Most people lose weight averaging around 1lbs a week, so I passed that by a bit. Also, I only exercised probably twice during the whole month, so those pounds and inches came off by only changing the food I ate. It's really amazing what can happen when you are truly nourishing your body.
Besides the weight loss, I just feel better overall. I don't have any bloating or cramps and I have more energy during the day. No more 3pm crash at work. Another reason I began this program was in the hopes that it would help the horrible onslaught of adult acne I have been dealing with for a few months. Unfortunately, I think it did nothing for that I have been seeking out alternate methods to fix that problem.
Life After Whole30
The week following the completion of my program, I tried to stick with it as best as I can, but not entirely. I have been eating some wheat and dairy products, but not as much as I used to. I really do not want junk food anymore. I made chicken nuggets for Nora the other day and tried one to make sure it wasn't too hot and thought it tasted awful. There have been a few other foods I have tried that I just don't think taste good anymore. I had been craving pizza and cupcakes throughout the whole program so yesterday Madison, Nora and I went down to Connecticut to visit Madison's mom and had pizza in New Haven and got some cupcakes later. I really enjoyed it while we were eating, but that night I got so sick and I think it's going to be a long time before I try that again.
If you are thinking of trying the program I say just go for it! Clear out the cabinets, through away all the junk and start fresh. Something that helped my tremendously through the program was Instagram. There are a lot of Whole30 accounts with plenty of meal ideas and motivation. Some of my favorites are @whole30, @whole30recipies, @holymamamoly, and @teamwhole. There are a ton more if you search #whole30. There is a great community of people who just want to see each other succeed which is always nice to see. If you are already taking part in the program and are struggling, just try to remember why you started in the first place. It is impossible to change you life if you do not commit to eating healthy. As cliche as this sounds, we only get one body, so why not take care of it?
I plan on doing another round of Whole30 soon. If not this month, then again in April. Possibly when the new Whole30 Book comes out. If you're interested in following along or need some Whole30 encouragement, I will be posting about it much more regularly here, as well as on Instagram @hellokelcey.
I hope this helped anyone out there who has been curious about the Whole30 program! If you have any questions for me about my experience feel free to leave a comment.