What is Whole30? It’s an eating plan that aims to reset your relationship with food and better understand how your body works when given certain foods. In a nutshell- you can’t eat dairy, gluten, grains, legumes, alcohol, or added sugar. You can read more about the program here.
Round 1 vs. Round 2
Last January, Ben and I set out to do our first Whole30 together. We really stuck to the plan and found that it pretty much monopolized a lot of our time in January. It seemed like we were non-stop meal planning the entire time. We didn’t really socialize too much. While it was nice to spend quality time at home, we found ourselves telling our friends, “We would love to grab dinner, but wait until we finish Whole30.” By the time February 1st rolled around, I was dying to get myself a glass of wine and a bowl of sushi rice.
I was ill most of the 30 days. Digestive discomfort that I stupidly chalked up to my body cleansing itself. (Majorly dumb in hindsight) I’ve dealt with severe IBS for much of my adult-life, so I figured I could handle it. I ate a ton of eggs- so many eggs.
Fast forward six months, and I was at my naturopath going over the results of food sensitivity testing. Come to find out, I have a pretty intense sensitivity to egg. Duh! No wonder I felt so sick while doing Whole30. If only I could have made the connection while I was doing it.
In hindsight, I approached my first Whole30 all wrong. I have never “been on a diet” before. I let Whole30 restrict me. I counted down the days until the end. I made it into a diet- not a lifestyle change.
This time around, I can proudly say that I stuck to the plan for a solid 17 days. I’ve been off plan about 5 times since then, and it was never by accident. I decided to have rice with my sashimi the other night, and I don’t intend on starting over at Day 1 as Whole30 suggests. I didn’t let it derail me, and I didn’t fell guilty about it. I went away on a girl’s trip last weekend and I had delicious vegan pancakes and my fair share of vodka sodas. When the trip was over, I was back to eating in what can best be described as a Paleo diet. The point is, I’m not focusing on it or worrying about. Moments in life are meant to be enjoyed.
What DID Happen
This time around, I decided to track my meals in an app. The first two days, I felt like I was starving in the afternoon. I simply opened up the app, and it was a quick reminder, “Hey! You aren’t actually starving. You’ve consumed 1400 calories of wholesome, good food and it isn’t even dinner time yet. Drink some water and power on.”
Two weekends have come and gone. I usually reach for that glass of wine on a Friday night and maybe a scoop of Dairy-Free Ben and Jerrys. Instead, I find myself reaching for a cup of tea or an apple with almond butter. After I leave the gym on Sunday, I usually grab a bagel at WholeFoods and manage to inhale the entire thing before I even get home. I’ve been replacing that with roasted potatoes and grilled protein instead, and I feel great.
I’m so hydrated. I’m consuming a gallon of water each day, and I just feel like a million bucks.
I crave vegetables now. I’ve always loved veggies and actually do a good job eating them with every meal. This time around, I find myself craving greens with every meal.
What DIDN’T HAPPEN
Last year, I did not lose a single pound, and the same thing is ringing true this year. In fact, I think I consumed way too much fat last year and may have actually gained a little weight. I still feel bloated and need to take my supplements to keep things at bay with my IBS. Whole30 didn’t cure it or really make a difference at all. I still get bloated and feel like I’m pregnant with an elephant. Grains and legumes make it worse.
My skin isn’t glowing. It is exactly the same as it always is. I didn’t consume dairy before doing Whole30. So, perhaps if you are eating dairy and then do Whole30, you would notice clearer skin.
I’m not sleeping better. I still sleep for 7 hours each night and feel the same when I wake up.
My thoughts moving forward…
I don’t think I’ll ever do the “official” Whole30 ever again. However, I will take the main principles of the program and use it in my own way to feel my best whenever I need a reset. Whole30 taught me to take a step back and notice when that occasional bagel becomes a Sunday ritual. I notice when one glass of wine with dinner becomes two plus a huge dessert or when trips to Gofer become a weekly thing. Whole30 taught me how to reset, revaluate, cleanse, and move forward.