***I could have broken this up into part 1, 2, 3, etc… but I just put all my overall experience here (for the most part). Skim through, read what looks interesting, come back…however. But most anything you want to know about my overall Whole 30 experience you will find here in this post. Anything else, check the links below for the rest of the posts from this series.! xx
The Whole 30.
Wow. This has definitely been a wild ride. What I thought was just going to be a food experiment turned out to be an emotionally stimulating experience that has brought about a new level of maturity in me that I couldn’t be more grateful for.
In my last post (‘What now?’) I talked about going through the Whole 30 evaluation checklist and I did, but before I get into that, I want to talk about a something else that is super important to think about before starting this experience.
For me, this was kinda like pregnancy. They say it’s 9 months then you get into it and then you find- actually it’s ten. I haven’t experienced this firsthand but I’ve read the blog posts. I was so scared about the meal planning prep part that I glazed over reintroduction and totally wasn’t ready. Physically with my food options or mentally. That is totally on me yes. Combine that with our trip to the beach and I was just all kinds of messed up.
So. With that being said, I have to be honest and say that I tried reintroduction and did not succeed. I’m kindof ok with it though because my main focus wasn’t really trying to track down the source of something problematic happening. I kinda just went back into eating beans and rice and that kind of thing whenever I wanted but waited on bread until I got home from beach.
I would recommend anyone wanting to do this to take reintroduction into account before starting the program, while still in the planning stages.
It’s important! Even though I wasn’t looking for the cause of a specific health problem, I do in some ways feel like (in the smallest way) I fell a little eentsy bit short of my goal. I still feel successful but I will most definitely be paying more attention to this should I do this again.
This is also super important to think about before starting but I thought it best to include my thoughts on this in tomorrow’s recipes post so stay tuned!
So on to my evaluation…
Not going to lie, I was hoping to see some improvement in my pms symptoms but I didn’t. That was kinda a bummer but I did have so much going on that week and the stressful situations just seemed to pile up so that could have been a contributor. I didn’t see improvement in my pms but lets talk about where I DID see improvement…
***highlighted in red are my original program goals mentioned in my first post, ‘Thoughts on beginning the Whole 30’.
• Leaner Appearance
Although I appear smaller because of my leaner appearance, I was able to do exactly as I said I wanted which was to maintain/gain. On my last day I weighed in at 1 lb heavier with my weight flocculating between 1-5 pounds heavier than my first weigh in over the course of the 30 days. Victory even despite the fact that 95% of people end up losing weight on this program. I was doing 30-35 minutes of yoga 3x week.
• No more chronic fatigue
I wouldn’t really say I had chronic fatigue in the way that a lot of people experience it but I most definitely feel more alert all throughout the day.
• An improvement in your specific symptoms or condition
I had been experiencing a chronic chest tightness for a while. I had an xray done of my chest not too long ago and everything was fine. A shoulder massage would relieve the discomfort a bit but I have had a significant reduction in the tightness to the point where I barely feel it, if at all. This is probably my most favorite thing I noticed.
• More optimistic
I’ve always tried to be a pretty positive person but I can honestly say I feel more optimistic about my own self if that makes any sense? I feel like I proved something to myself. I’m proud of myself I suppose :)
• You respond better to stress
I don’t think I 100% have won this battle but I certainly feel more equipped.
• No more anxiety
This is another one that I don’t think I’m 100% there yet but I have had zero panic attacks in the last 30 days and have had only a couple hypochondriac moments which for me is amazing. My husband will tell you I’m always thinking my arm is going to just fall off or something and there has been non of that! Ok except for those couple of times. But progress is progress!
• No more sugar cravings
I can honestly say my sugar cravings are under control (VICTORY!!!!!). I was able to identify them early on and learn myself. It’s important to pay attention to all aspects of your cravings. For me, I noticed I craved sweets first thing in the morning and right before bed. I recognized that, stopped allowing myself sweets (fruit) in the morning and at night and I no longer wake up with that “gotta have OJ or I will pass out” feeling. I also don’t even really feel hungry at 11pm-12am any more. They say eating before bed is ok for people who have a hard time gaining weight so I don’t mind eating before bed (10ish) but I was tired of craving chocolate and ice cream at midnight for sure.
• Improved self esteem
• Improved self confidence
Both of the above things are very true for me. I said I was going to do this and I did. I didn’t stray from the program once. Not when everyone was eating pizza and sweets in my face during eater (I even resisted my FIL’s famous stuffing!!!!!!!!!) and not when I was stressed as all get out and there was tons of Easter candy left out and about as my mind tried to tell me it would ease all the frustration. I resisted and stuck to my goal. Definitely a boost of self esteem and confidence in the self disciple department.
• You remember things more easily
Strangely enough, my husband even commented on this!
• Your focus is improved
I’m not sure if this is a physical side effect or if this is just because I have improved self esteem and confidence but either way I have felt somewhat like super woman lately in the focus department…
• You fall asleep more easily
• You sleep more soundly
• You awaken feeling refreshed
After the chest tightness improvement, this little trio of sleep improvement is my favorite. All of these things are true in every sense of the word. My husband has noticed and it has just been wonderful. Waking up no longer takes me an hour but I can pop right out of bed and get to my day. I’m even able to wake up earlier! Anyone who knows me knows this is NOT the norm. Sleep improvement is awesome. You should try this program for that alone.
• Your energy levels are consistently high
• More energy to exercise
• You can go hours between meals and still feel ok***
I am modifying this a little bit because this has never been an issue for me. My issue was that I could go for what seemed like forever without eating and be ok. Then suddenly, I would be starving. Quick glass of orange juice and I would be fine. That is not the case any longer! I have a more consistent body hunger clock I guess you would call it and I love that!
• You have a healthier relationship with food
I definitely have a greater appreciation and respect for it for sure. This program has changed the way I look at food without a doubt. It showed me that it’s not the food I have an issue (or disinterest) with, it’s the navigation of my circumstances. I do think I need to work on breaking my traditional breakfast food standards though. I just have a hard time wanting to eat anything for breakfast that isn’t considered breakfast food. There is progress still to be made!
• Reduction in disordered eating habits
• You practice mindful eating
• You have learned how to read a label
I have definitely dipped my toes in the understanding and importance of food ingredients. I can’t lie though, I have gained a bit of a distrust for the food media but I plan to touch on that later.
• You learned how to cook
And people actually liked it! A foundation for cooking confidence has surely been built.
• You don’t use food for comfort
Week 3 success!
• You are no longer a slave to sugar
and carbsI am still a slave to pizza. I think about it all the time.
• You know when you’re hungry and when you’re just craving
• You have fewer cravings
• You have coping strategies to deal with cravings
• You naturally have more variety, color, vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Although balance is something I am still working on!
• When you indulge, it’s deliberate
I did have a few coconut date balls on Easter…
• You have healthy habits to pass down to your kids
• You are more knowledgeable about nutrition
• You have new cooking skills
• You have a whole new good food recipe repertoire
• You have learned how to make mealtime prep organized and efficient
• You know how to make a health goal and stick to it for success
• You have a new nicer food vocabulary
• People come to you for advice
All of that in 30 days.
And to be honest, I don’t even feel like I was the best at this! To see the full evaluation checklist check out this page on the Whole 30 website. When I went through it, I couldn’t believe how many things it was shaping up to be. Things that had improved without me even noticing! The sleep one was probably the most surprising because it took me so long to realize haha!
One thing I wouldn’t do again? I wouldn’t do this over a holiday. Even if you think you can, even if it’s an “easy” holiday. I managed. I succeeded. But I think I made things a lot more difficult for myself as well.
Any other important advice? Don’t forget about reintroduction! So if you’re planning to take a trip after the program, make sure you budget 12 or so extra days to be completely through.
Would I recommend this program? YES. I do think this program is geared more toward people who have overeating issues but that doesn’t matter. If you go into knowing what you want from it and remain true to the program, you’ll get what you want out of it. I sure did. I recommend this program because it’s not just about food. It’s so much more than that. For me, what I thought was just a 30 day nutrition program to get me off bad food, and started on better eating habits, turned into a month of self discovery about the way I deal with circumstances in my life, overcoming anxiety and taking notice of the ease of putting off your feelings only to take them out on something totally unrelated. Buuut, I achieved my food goals too. ;)
Would I try this again? Absolutely. I plan to actually. Not sure it will happen this year but if it does I’m thinking September. Now that I know more of what to expect I imagine the process will be a little more simple next go around and I will feel more confident in what I am doing as opposed to it feeling more like trial and error. The crew over at the Whole 30 describes it as “a learning tool designed to help you figure out which foods make you more healthy…” As I’ve said, I didn’t get into it to pinpoint a specific health issue, I just knew I wanted to get away from the sugar and processed foods. I think the next go’round I will pay more attention to this aspect of the program.
Would I say I feel like my “life has changed?” Yes. I would say yes because this program empowered me mentally and physically. I’ve learned to give myself grace, and not beat myself up so much. I’ve seen my self discipline at work and also learned a lot about the food industry in general. My interest in food is at a place I never thought it would be and I feel like this is only the beginning. I would call that life changing, but I suppose we shall see! I don’t think I’m exactly where I need to be but I also have no intentions of jumping back into the way I was eating before. I’m going to take what I have learned and experienced and apply it. In all aspects of my life. And I can’t believe I’m saying this but…I might actually post about food here.
I hope all of my success even in the midst of hardship has encouraged you! To wrap up my Whole 30 series I have a list of the recipes I used throughout the month coming at you next. Like I said, I will also be talking about meal planning. That may be my last “Whole 30” post but I do in fact have some more thoughts on food I’ll be posting soon.
Thanks for traveling this journey with me even if you’ve just been skimming through. If you plan on trying this and have any questions please hit up the comments below or my contact page and shoot me an email!
Love to you all!