March 10, 2015

Whole30: My Overall Thoughts

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.

Overall thoughts:

  • 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.

Now what?

  • 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.
  • 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.


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  • Meg Doll

    It was life changing for me, too, sweetie. i am so so so happy you had such a great experience!!!!! that makes me SO HAPPY. I hear you on the bowel movements and the sleeping. those were huge changes for me, too. my acne also all went away and my stomach pains, too.

    so happy for you girl! loved keeping up with your journey <3

    • so glad it was a positive experience for you too. thank you for your sweet comment. it means a lot! that is really great about your skin too. i’ve heard that from a bunch of people. you’re such a pretty girl and you certainly do glow!

  • amelia

    Love love love your review! I’m so happy that you stuck with it and know your body so much more now. With the exception of oats & brewers yeast, I think I could do it. I am now keeping these in rotation so I don’t affect my milk supply. Either way, eating simple is easy, quick, and in my opinion, less costly!

    • thank you!! i agree – eating simple is the best!

  • Elise Nichols

    What an awesome recap! I’m so proud of you. I definitely want to do it I just have to find the time to actually commit, read the book, and go for it!

    • thank you darling!! i’ll be so excited for you if you do!!

  • Great post! I am currently reading the book and then going to give it a go. My first attempt I didn’t read the book and I am understanding it better now.

    • thank you! glad you’re enjoying the book. it’s a lot of information to digest (ha) but very helpful.

  • Lindsey Fister

    I would love to try this sometime soon I have some questions: a) I workout/train often so did you ever feel like you didn’t have enough energy? And b) what did you eat for breakfast, that seems the toughest for me to make on the go.

  • Mary Krulia

    I feel the same about Whole30! I think I’ll do it every January to reset after the holidays! Hopefully I won’t need to, buuuuut we shall see. 🙂

    • love it!! i would definitely do it again too. and january seems to be a great month!

  • Jen from pretend it’s a donut

    Bravo (all the hand clapping emojis) whole30 is the best.

  • Such a good recap! I personally prefer 5 small meals throughout the day, with 2 being snacks, but would love to incorporate whole 30 recipes into my everyday!

  • Sheanna Caban

    Dairy is evil. I’m convinced of it. I keep that stuff as far away from me as possible.

    • haha!!! i still want to do more research on it. ahem, china study. but for now, yeah, peace out cows.

  • this is a great review for people who are thinking about trying it.

    i eat clean anyway but my latest thing was cutting grains out. although i love me some fresh bread and pasta, i dont think i’ll go back to it because you’re totally right — the feeling of feeling “full” yet not bloated is actually something i haven’t felt before…and it feels great! with the elimination of grains, i thought i’d be hungry all the time but in actuality, i no longer have 5 small meals (3 meals + 2 snacks) and have done away with the 2 snacks and i’m never hungry between meals. that surprised me. so glad that you love doing this experiment!

    • thank you! i remember reading on your blog about how you felt after cutting out grains. that’s so awesome. and you nailed it with the feeling full yet not bloated thing. isn’t it weird to think that we thought that was normal? 🙂

  • Kelsey

    Yay! Great review! How interesting that your chocolate and wine preferences changed! Glad hummus didn’t upset your stomach with reintroduction!

  • Alissa

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts–I was wondering what you’d found in the “re-introduction” phase. Although I’ve not done Whole30, I have been trying to re-work my diet, little by little. I already know my body does not like legumes, unfortunately, and for some reason, I cannot eat quinoa anymore–the last two times I had it I got really sick, like chills and food poisoning sick. Our bodies are pretty weird and interesting, huh 🙂

  • Biana Perez

    I love that it was a lifestyle change for you – at least for the 30 days but now it’s changed how you look at food too!! xo, Biana – BlovedBoston

  • I love your review – you did so awesome! Ahhh reading this makes me want to give Whole30 another run. I miss feeling really, really good.

  • You have me so convinced. The energy level being higher and not being hungry I think were the two biggest things that would make me try it. Dairy is really the worst for you. I have given it up on everything except cheese. I think your review may really push me over the edge to cut it out completely!

  • ok now you have me thinking about trying this! great overview of the program!

  • This post is probably the most helpful recap of the Whole30 I’ve ever read, and makes me a little excited to start mine next month.

    My only worry (and this has been my worry ever since I started thinking about this a year ago), is I don’t want my tastes to drastically change. The idea of not wanting chocolate anymore makes me sad. And other peoples recaps mention that they now hate the taste of things they LOVED before hand, namely pizza and sushi. That’s terrifying to me, since I could (and would-if I could afford it) eat sushi every single day.

  • Alina

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s great that you stuck with it, and I’m definitely inspired to try Whole30 myself in the future, though I’m wondering how good is would be for vegetarians (since it seems like it eliminates some important vegetarian protein sources.) What do you think? Did you feel like you had to rely on non-vegetarian protein sources?

    • Kelsey

      The whole30 site has some good info on this! 😀 whole30.com/2014/09/vegetarian-whole30/

  • I’ve been waiting for this post, thank you for making it very comprehensive. I agree with everything you said and so glad I started whole 30 as you were finishing yours. Thanks for the support, it was much needed in the beginning. Now I’m doing the same for a friend who is just starting this week.

  • Congrats on sticking with it! And learning what works/doesn’t work for you!

  • I’m ordering that book. You recap pushed me over the edge I really want to do it!

  • Melinda Lawson Pollard

    Wow, this is so interesting! I have the same issues with dairy- it hates me! I am going to try the non-pasteurized milk to see if it agrees with me (I’ll let you know). Grass fed cheese and raw milk cheese usually agree with me okay. I am with you on Whole 30 eating lifestyle it’s pretty awesome!

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