Oh my gosh.
I woke up yesterday morning, looked at the date, and smiled the biggest smile. January 30th. 30 days into the new year. And the last day of my Whole30.
Y’all… I just accomplished thirty days of eating only meat, veggies, fruit and fats. Yes, that meant no added sugar, corn, soy, legumes, grains, and alcohol.
I still can’t believe that I did it. Coming from a girl who’s ALWAYS had a difficult time with willpower when it comes to food, I am so freaking proud of myself. This round of Whole30 I decided to go all in. No cheating. No “eeehhh oh well”s. No iffy compliant foods (like fries and sweet potato chips). And no excuses.
I’m not gonna lie. It was HARD. But I knew I could do it.
Going into January I was nervous. I am exclusively breastfeeding James. I was planning on really committing to my Bar Method classes consistently again. And I started a Couch to 5K plan that turned into a half marathon training program two weeks ago. It meant I was going to have to be very intentional about the foods I prepared, how much I made, and what “snack” foods I kept around the house. I had to really read my body to decide if I was actually hungry, or just thirsty or munchy. I googled SO. MUCH. And I learned a ton about myself in the process.
This was the first “real” Whole30 I did, and I just have to say… I’m glad it’s over, but I’m also so thankful I did it. After my halfway point, things actually got harder for me. For most people, the second half is easier (there’s something called “Tiger Blood” that makes you feel amazing at that point), but I had the opposite. I was a lot hungrier because of how much more I was running. I was getting tired of eggs and longingly looked at all the yummy foods other people ate (read: brownies and cheese) as I nibbled on a salad and chicken. But I pushed through and freaking did it!
My Whole30 Recap
Physically: I feel stronger, I’m falling asleep faster and sleeping better, and I have more energy. I’ve lost over 10 pounds, and can already tell some of my clothes are fitting differently!
Mentally: While I did have some rough days here and there with James (and just wanting some chocolate to make things better), I actually feel more clear minded and on top of things. After a cRaZy 2018 year, one of my goals this year was to simply get my life together, and I’m slowly getting there! This month I got back into meal planning, exercised regularly, and took control of my nutrition. It’s crazy how the foods you eat impact so many areas of your life.
What have been some of my favorite meals?
I’m actually working on a detailed blog post of ALL my favorite meals from Whole30, so keep an eye out for that!
I had a lot more cravings the second half of the Whole30 than the first. Like my favorite banana bread from Against All Grains, chocolate, biscuits, pizza, pancakes, peanut butter and CHEESE. Thankfully they are all short-lived cravings, but still frustrating when you’re trying to hard to eat well, but your mind wants #allthecomfortfood.
What helped me the most?
– Well for starters, posting all my meals on my Instagram stories was perfect for accountability! I know it was probably obnoxious, but if I ever felt like eating something I shouldn’t, knowing I’d have to admit it there made me stick to the “rules”.
– Isaac was SO supportive and didn’t complain once. Even though I had to be that annoying person at restaurants and enviously eyed him every time he drank some hot chocolate or ate something I couldn’t, he was so sweet and understanding! Having someone support you, even if they aren’t doing it themselves, can really make or break your Whole30 success.
– I love love love all my Danielle Walker cookbooks (<- affiliate link)! Even though some of the recipes aren’t Whole30 compliant, most of them are and they are a GREAT way to mix things up when I am getting bored with eating the same foods over and over again. Also, the meal plan from Healthy Little Peach was a game changer!
– And I can’t forget my pal, Costco!! Buying compliant foods in bulk made everything that much easier. #praise
How have I changed?
I feel like this is different from the “Results” section above. Or maybe it’s the same. I don’t know… But either way I’m coming out of these 30 days very changed. I didn’t do the Whole30 because I was having gastrointestinal problems. I didn’t do it to find out what food source causes problems in me. I simply did it because I needed a reset. After pregnancy, the first few postpartum months and the holidays, I ate basically anything and everything. I couldn’t say no. And that’s a BIG problem.
So I decided to take control over my nutrition. To see if I really could have the willpower to do something like Whole30 and stick to it. Turns out… I can!
I learned that I really don’t need sweets after dinner. I’m perfectly happy with zucchini pasta and potatoes instead of bread. I don’t need to snack on food while cooking dinner because “I’m just so hungry”. And all those baked goods I love? Yes I miss them, but I did totally fine without them.
Giving up all the foods that I love was hard. Especially when you REALLY stick to the rules by not making Whole30 versions of your favorite things (like paleo pizza, banana and egg pancakes, or baked goods with nut flours). Because while technically they are compliant, it’s not helping your mind take the break from those binge-worthy, addictive foods you have given up for thirty days. But here I am, 30 days later, knowing I did my absolute best to stick to the Whole30 and riding high. It’s like that moment you cross the finish line of a race you’ve been training for for weeks. Accomplishment. Pride. And complete relief that it’s finally over.
My view on food is different now. It no longer controls me. I know I have the power to say yes if I want to, or no if I want to. And that, my friends, is SO freeing.
So… What now?
The big question everyone keeps asking me. I started thinking about what to do now weeks ago. Do I continue Whole30? Do I try their reintroduction plan? Do I just go back to normal? And so on. And a few days ago I finally made up my mind.
I’ve decided that I’m going to stick to a mostly paleo diet. It’s a lot less strict than Whole30, but still has many of the same characteristics- no dairy, no grain, no legumes. I’ll give myself more freedom by having things like dairy free chocolate chips, sweetened foods with honey or real maple syrup, and even potato chips. I feel amazing right now, and I want to keep sticking to meats, veggies, lean fats and fruits as much as possible!
Will I have “cheat” meals? Of course. But within reason, of course, and in my mind they aren’t really cheating. They are meals that I have the freedom to eat because I WANT to. And I can. I just won’t go crazy like I have in the past. ;)
I am so excited to see what the next few months hold. I feel refreshed and ready to see how my body changes as I continue to fuel it with good foods and consistently exercise. Maybe I’ll do the Whole30 again in the future, but for now I’m looking forward to more freedom and less strict of a diet. It was a lot of work, y’all!!
Are you considering doing the Whole30? Check out these blog posts that may help you!
Whole30 Costco Grocery Haul
Whole30 Meal Prep Tips
Five Cookbooks You Need in Your Kitchen
Stock Your Kitchen: Healthy Eating Essentials
And as always, feel free to comment below with questions. I’d love to help you out as you embark on a journey to food freedom!