A couple of weeks ago I shared my decision to do the Whole30, a 30-day diet “reset” to find my food intolerances, habits and all the ways I subconsciously interact with food. As of Sunday, I am officially two-thirds of the way through it (not including the 10 days of re-introduction…that’s another post for another day). I have gotten so many encouraging messages via email, Instagram DM and text message (y’all are so sweet) about this journey, but I have also gotten a lot of questions about how I feel and whether or not I see any results.
The short answer is yes.
Now, my disclaimer is that I did not weigh myself before I started. While the idea of shedding some pounds is cool, I'm not doing this to lose weight. So, the results I'm after aren’t going to be found on a scale. A really cool feature of the book that outlines this program is a section that walks you through the different weeks and days and gives insight to how you may feel, cravings you may have, etc. It also gives an explanation for each reaction.
The book is very clear that the first half of Whole30 is a bit tough. It’s when you are hit with the negative physical symptoms as a result of not having the usual carbs and sugars your body is used to running off of. However, it also says there is a direct correlation between how bad you feel and how poorly you were eating leading up to your Whole30. As I mentioned in my first post, I had been mentally preparing myself and slightly adjusting my diet for about two months before I started.
I say all of this to say that my first two weeks weren’t as hard as I thought they would be.
My biggest concerns were my work schedule, late night cravings and undeniable love for fries and a shake after a stressful day. I also wondered if eating on this plan would really satisfy me.
Don’t get me wrong, the cravings hit me…hard. On the first day of my program, the newsroom was celebrating my co-worker’s birthday. There was cake and cheese bread and a very disgruntled me shoving baby carrots in my mouth in the corner. While every now and then I wish I could grab a donut on the way to church or think about how awesome a big ole slice of pizza would be, the cravings have definitely eased up. Not being able to eat these things has also shed some light on the fact that I have a tendency to eat when I’m not hungry. I eat socially, out of boredom and out of stress, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t turn to green veggies and almond butter in those times.
Each time I have one of those cravings, I ask myself what the book tells you to ask when a craving hits…"would you eat fish and steamed veggies right now?". The answer is no 98% of the time, which means I'm not actually hungry.
The other thing I realized is that a lot of my eating out, especially with regards to fast food, is because I have not taken the time to consistently meal prep and cook for my week. I was doing it occasionally, but inconsistently enough to fall off with the smallest change in my schedule. Why? Because I knew there were a plethora of drive thru’s, frozen pizzas and to-go menus to pick up the slack.
While Whole Foods has a bomb hot bar and salad bar with compliant options, and I have found some cool restaurants that make food I can eat…on Whole30, if I don’t cook for myself, I’m just going to be hungry. And that just won’t do.
Those two things, alone, are huge issues this process has shown me about my relationship with food in just the first half.
As far as the rest goes, I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the food so far. The only thing I haven’t liked was a salmon salad that actually wasn’t in the cookbook. It was a recipe I have made many times before that just happens to be compliant. I accidentally mixed two different kinds of canned salmon and yah…yuck. Everything I have made from the Whole30 book, cookbook and online resources has been delicious and satisfying.
Turning down non-compliant food socially hasn’t been nearly has difficult as I thought it would be. I’ve even gone to a few bars, and ordering water or sparkling water hasn’t been as weird or awkward as I thought. Granted, the friends I hang out with have been beyond supportive and understanding. They encourage me and are totally open to eating at places that work with my plan.
The first week and a half, or so, I didn’t see much of a difference. I was actually feeling slightly tired and sluggish and had pretty sizable cravings. However, mid-way through the second week, I felt like a switch flipped for me.
I started sleeping so well. Going into the program, I was having major issues falling asleep…no matter how tired I was. When I did get to sleep, I would wake up multiple times throughout the night. I rarely woke up feeling rested. I also got bad sinus pressure that usually turned to bad headaches, if I went a single night without taking my allergy medicine. I was often dehydrated, had bad break outs and just, honestly, didn’t feel very good regularly.
20 days in, I am sleeping all the way through the night and falling asleep easily, without any sleep aid medicine. I have not had a SINGLE issue with sinus pressure or a single headache since I’ve started. I also have a ton of energy for no reason. I drink less coffee, and some days (just some cause I loooooove it) have gone without it and been fine. My skin is also clearer and has a bit of a more rested glow to it.
I am happier, more focused, more satisfied with less food and lighter. Some of my co-workers have told me I look slimmer. My clothes fit better.
More importantly, I feel more capable and powerful. There were moments leading up to this when I legitimately questioned whether or not I could do it and really stick to it.
I’m writing this on Day 20, and I really cannot believe that.
I am so excited to share with you guys in 10 days, after Day 30 and then 10 days after that, once I finish the re-introduction.
Another question I have been asked is how I will translate this stuff into my habits once I’m done with the program. I don’t have an exact answer yet, but I know this- the way I view eating has completely changed.
My goal is to stay pretty Whole30-ish in my day-to-day because I love the food and how I feel. I will eat fun things on vacations, etc. However, I don’t see myself running to McDonald’s during the week cause I haven’t cooked. I also don’t see myself adding a bunch of creamy cheeses and sugary additives and grains that I don’t need- because so much food is so delicious without it.
Speaking of delicious, I have gotten some recipe requests on Instagram from some of the stuff I’ve made. So, I wanted to share some links!
My first week, I made a beef and sweet potato chili and a broccolini flounder bake. The chili is a Whole30 recipe and the flounder is actually SkinnyTaste…I just took out the non-compliant ingrediants.
For my second week, I made a shepherd’s pie with sweet potato topping and turkey meatballs with tomato sauce and spaghetti squashta. All delicious.
Last week, I made Mexican twice-baked potatoes (with cauliflower rice…so awesome). I actually couldn't find this recipe online, so I will post it later.
Today, I’m making walnut-crusted pork tenderloin, Mexican tuna boats and Mexican salmon cakes with mango relish.
I also just want to thank every single person who has taken the time to encourage me, give me ideas and cheer me on through this process. I really see this as self-investment and self-love, and I am so encouraged and joyful about how it’s going.
I most definitely do not have this good eating thing all figured out, and my diet will never be perfect. But right here, right now, I feel so good. I am such fan of this program, and I am so excited for the next 20 days.
With Love & Glitter,