When people ask me how I liked Whole30, the first thing I say is this: It is one of the best things I have ever done for myself, both physically and mentally. It was so challenging at times, but oh so rewarding in the end. I am still blown away by how these 30+ days changed me for the better.
The four weeks went like this. Week 1 was a challenge and adjustment. Week 2 was a mix of a challenge plus getting into the groove of things. Week 3 was finally settling in with a routine and the onset of feeling good. And Week 4 + the last two days WERE GREAT.
- By the middle of Week 3 my energy was amazing. I was falling asleep so easily at night, and waking up earlier than I usually do, without an alarm clock.
- I never once felt an afternoon energy crash.
- I never really felt hungry; I ate bigger portions of healthier foods that kept me satiated throughout the day.
- The first half of the program I usually had 3 big meals and 2 snacks. Towards the end I had 3 big meals and 1 snack. It took me a bit to figure out the right portion sizes so I wouldn’t end up hungry a couple hours later.
- I am a grazer by nature, but Whole30 encourages you to eat meals that fill you up (focus on protein + healthy fats + veggies) so you don’t end up snacking between meals.
- I realized that all the picking and grazing I was doing before Whole30 was simply because I was not eating enough at my meals.
- I felt/feel lighter. I saw the most changes in my lower stomach/hip area. It was as if my stomach/intestines had been clogged with junk (likely gluten, preservatives, stabilizers in food) and were finally cleared up.
- Before Whole30 the way I felt after meals was not normal, but I had no idea that it wasn’t. Now I know what it feels like to be full and satisfied but not bloated or in pain.
- I can remember nights where I would have to lay down and “stretch out” my stomach because it hurt after dinner. Not normal, but I would laugh it off as me eating too much. Probably not as I was actually eating too little.
- For as long as I can remember, I have had a problem staying regular. I know it’s TMI, but I could go DAYS without going to the bathroom. During Whole30 I was very regular and went almost every day. Huge difference.
- My anxiety has significantly decreased and I am so grateful for this. I’m not really sure what it’s attributed to, but I’m sure that removing caffeine and sugar was a huge help.
- I started Whole30 at 114.6 lbs. I ended at 108.0. After the reintroduction phase, I’m hovering around 109 and am very happy with these results.
- Losing weight was not my main reason for doing this, but it was a bonus. I’m happier with where I am now, for sure, but my focus was to change my way of eating for the better.
The reintroduction phase was a funny thing for me. I had zero desire to add back in the things I eliminated, aside from champagne & hummus. 😉 To be honest, because I didn’t care to add a lot of these things back in, I didn’t do a very good job at testing them.
- I first added back legumes with peanut butter at breakfast, hummus at lunch, beans later. I did fine.
- As the plan dictates, I returned to Whole30 for the next two days, and then reintroduced dairy. My body HATED it. Cheese pretty much destroyed my stomach. I had bad cramps, bloating, and gurgling for hours. That afternoon I was super tired for the first time during this challenge.
- Non-gluten grains went okay, but I actually only tested it with quinoa and corn.
- Gluten grains didn’t go as well but it wasn’t as bad as dairy. That said, the only thing I had was a bagel in the morning. For the remainder of the day I felt fine but the next morning I felt like there was a rock in my lower abdomen area.
- I’ve also lost my appetite for chocolate. Shocking, I know. To celebrate the day after I finished, I ate a mini OCHO bar. A mini is tiny. I couldn’t even finish it because I simply didn’t like the taste of chocolate. I’ve since tried to eat it a couple times and I just don’t want it.
- My taste for wine has changed as well. I bought my two favorite wines to celebrate and both of them tasted weird to me. I now prefer lighter, more crisp wines versus my usual fave buttery Chardonnay.
- Alcohol will now be a very occasional thing. And when I have it I will enjoy it for what it is and not go overboard.
- No more dairy. I was blown away by how bad it made me feel, especially because I thought I didn’t consume a lot to begin with. I almost always drink almond milk, only eat cheese occasionally, and rarely have yogurt anymore. But little did I know that dairy is a sneaky thing and hides in so so many products.
- I want to retest gluten. I think I’m probably safe here, but want to eat Whole30 for a couple more days then retry this again just to be sure.
- I strongly prefer eating Whole30 and would like to continue as much as possible.
- Will I occasionally indulge? I’m sure of it. I wouldn’t be living life to the fullest if I didn’t. The only thing I’m going to avoid is dairy because I honestly think it was the one group that had been giving me problems all my life…and I didn’t know any better.
Should you do Whole30? YES YES YES YES. And if you do, do it right. Read the book, commit to it, and don’t cheat. I highly recommend that anyone try this at least once. While 30 days may seem like a lot, think of 30 days out of the rest of your life. It’s really not that bad. Not only will completing the challenge give you an immense feeling of satisfaction, but you will feel so good. And you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn from it. I guarantee it. And when you need a buddy to support you along your way, I AM HERE! Promise.