February 4, 2020
When I started my 30 Before 30 project, one of the items I wanted to cross off was to try an alternative diet than the one I’m used to. After looking at different options, I thought Whole30 would be the best one for me. Whole30 emphasizes whole foods and eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy. It sounded challenging but the benefits made me want to try it. Matt told me he would join me too on this adventure! I mean how hard can 30 days be?! HARD! But, on Saturday we completed this journey (yes, ALL 30 DAYS) and I’m excited to share my experience.
We prepped out a meal plan for the week and made sure the foods we were supposed to avoid were either out of the house or stashed FAR away. Food temptation is not my friend. We didn’t stuff our faces before Day One either. We didn’t want our detox to be as severe. But we were definitely sad to be giving up peanut butter and ice cream the most.
I also did a ton of research on food, meal ideas, and grocery store shopping list. There are SO many amazing resources out there and Pinterest was definitely my friend during this time.
My Plan & Routine:
I knew that if we didn’t plan every week, we would have issues. Our lives get so busy that we need to have food ready. So each week we made a meal plan. On Fridays, I would head to Fresh Thyme after Pure Barre and pick up everything we needed for the week. Then I would prep all our meals that morning. Usually on Tuesdays, Matt would pick up any additional meat or veggies we needed special for a weeknight meal. I truly believe having a plan in place helped up accomplish this goal!
The Process & The Tests:
For the first few days, we felt pretty good. We were proud of ourselves for committing to this program. But then around Day 4-5, our hangover kicked in. We felt tired and had a headache. Thankfully, we followed the Whole30 timeline so we knew this was completely normal. Thank goodness! Throughout the process we went back to the timeline to see if what we were feeling was normal. It’s amazing how accurate it is!
After the first week, that excited feeling had worn off. I was already bored with my food and annoyed that I had to make it all. Can’t a girl just get a quick snack?! I remember walking into Fresh Thyme and immediately frowned, thinking, “Everything in here I have to make.” But I bought the food, came home, turned on some jams, and started meal prepping. By the end, I was SO proud that I powered through.
That weekend, we attended a party at our friend’s house. Our first BIG test to see if we could stick to our program. I made a Whole30 compliant snack, brought my sparkling water, and was ready to go. When we got there, it felt like the yummy food and drinks were teasing us. We wanted so badly to indulge! But we stayed strong! We also thought maybe others would think we were weird for not taking part. But we have the BEST friends and no one even seemed to notice. Or if they did, they didn’t say anything to us. We drove home that night feeling a little sad we couldn’t completely enjoy everything but so thankful we passed the test.
The BEST part, the next morning after the party, we woke up feeling great! Because we didn’t indulge, we didn’t feel hungover or felt bloated from too much food. We felt good and ready to take on our day.
My next test came when I attended a Packers game. Usually games for me mean beer and cheese curds, two things I definitely couldn’t have on Whole30. But I prepped a delicious pre-dinner before I went to the game and enjoyed a Whole30 compliant Larabar right before we went into the stadium. During the game I only had water. Was it hard to avoid temptation? Heck yes! But did I still have an amazing time and cheer my butt off? You bet! Another test passed!
When we hit the halfway point, we really started cruising. This felt like our new norm – reading ingredients, filling our body with only the best food, and taking lots of time to prep meals.
Our last test, Matt’s birthday! Thankfully, this was towards the end of the month so we already knew we could get through. We didn’t even think twice about cheating or picking up birthday cake. There are more ways to celebrate than with food.
The last week started off just like any other week but towards the middle we were starting to get anxious. What happens AFTER the 30 days are over?! We didn’t want to go back and screw up all the progress we made. Thankfully, we found Whole30’s Reintroduction to food and are now following that plan. We are slowing bring foods back into our lives and also continuing to avoid ones that we don’t really miss. So far we have reintroduced beans and corn back in and our bodies are happy. We are giving ourselves a little grace during this time and knowing that we may make mistakes but it’s okay. We know what to do if we ever need to get back on track.
We feel SO much lighter, healthier, and happier. There are so many benefits like sleeping restfully and having plenty of productive energy. I didn’t weigh myself (you’re not supposed to) so I don’t know exactly what I lost but I’m noticing changes in my body. I’m seeing more definition in my muscles and my clothes feel looser. Matt said he notices the same things about himself too! He’s feeling more healthy and slimmer.
But my favorite result has to be the way Matt and I look at food now. We’ve always been relatively healthy with some indulgent ways now and then. But this program really made us THINK about what we are putting in our bodies. We had to look at all the ingredients in EVERYTHING and it’s amazing how many things you think are sugar-free, gluten-free, or natural and they are not! Like trail mix, you think it’s just nuts but SO many of them have sugar or some kind of oil that’s not compliant. I think I will be reading food labels for the rest of my life!
Matt and I also talked about our relationship with food. How we’ve used it to either punish ourselves or treat ourselves throughout our lives. That we associated different feelings with it, instead of treating it as what it is – beautiful nourishment for our bodies. Plus we talked about so much over our meals. We didn’t bring our phones to the dinner table and just spent time together. It was the best part!
Key Takeaways & Helpful Tips If You Are Thinking of Trying Whole30:
– Preparation is key! You’ll fail on this program if you don’t make the necessary preparations.
– Cheating is not an option. We didn’t think once about trying to cheat. If you have the mindset that you are sticking with this, NO MATTER WHAT, you’ll get a lot further.
– Print off a blank 30 Day Calendar and fill it with encouraging messages. We put ours on our fridge!
– Breakfast is seriously the best meal of the day and the easiest time to make fun Whole30 meals!
– Having a support person do this with me made a WORLD of difference. If you can, have a friend join you!
– You realize you really aren’t that hungry most of the time. The reason you grab that snack or sweet is because you’re probably bored. Notice the difference and then try to redirect that energy.
– You get to eat avocados! How great is that?!
– Some foods I don’t even crave any more (others I missed the entire time!) Just go with the flow and take note.
– Chipotle has Whole30 compliant options! We went there twice for date nights.
– Call ahead to restaurants to see how they cook their food if you are worried. We went to The Creamery and they made us a Whole30 breakfast. We only went there once though because we didn’t want to be a pain.
– Coconut aminos and avocado mayo are life-savers!
– Keep a diary of your progress! You want to be able to look back and see how far you’ve come.
– You’ll be SO happy and proud of yourself if you finish all 30 days (don’t quit at Day 28 or 29.)
– It’s okay to have a snack during the day, just make it a healthy one. I really enjoyed an apple or a handle of almonds to keep me going.
– Stay hydrated! Water is always your friend.
– Bored with water? You can have sparkling water and coffee on Whole30 too! Hooray!
– Get creative! Use this challenge as a way to try new things.
– It’s worth trying, trust me! From a person who rarely sticks to a diet, you CAN do this!
Even more iPhone images of some of the meals we prepared!!
Questions about Whole30? Need encouragement? Reach out, I’m happy to help!