So I did it guys…..I completed a Whole 30 and I have soooooo much Iwant to tell you about it! In fact, as I started writing this post I realized it was just way too much information for one post. I’m going to have to divide it up into 2 or 3 posts and hope to god you come back and read the others 😊 So let’s dive
Why this? Why Now?
I first toyed with the idea of doing a Whole 30 waaaaay back in September of 2015. Actually, if I’m being completely honest I first considered it in 2014 when my sister did it with great success but that was fleeting. It was in September of 2015 that I threw a huge tantrum and wrote THIS POST and was getting back from a vacation that I really thought it was time for me to do something. But I was in a bad mind set (as the blog post clearly shows)feeling lazy, struggling to work through some intense personal issues, and a Whole 30 sounded like WAAAAY more work than I was looking to put in at the time
Enter….. Isagenix. I did their full to the T program for the 30 days and lost 12lbs. I was thrilled to see results and only have to think about one meal a day and a couple snacks. It was the epitome of easy and exactly what I was looking for at that point in time, but I was never jaded by the fact that ultimately it wasn’t doing anything to help me long term. It wasn’t getting to the root of the problem at all. I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t actually making me address the deeper issues I was having with food and myself, but I was in the mindset of “Just lose some of the weight now and I can deal with all that shit later.” Welp…..later is now. After the initial month I still stuck it out for about a year off and on, but not with the same dedication. Basically, I got really sick of drinking my meals, missed eating food terribly, and the taste and texture that used to not bother me at all became disgusting to me to where I was gagging the shakes down.
I went back to my old stand by of eating keto, but still being deep in an unhealthy mind set I couldn’t keep my shit together for more than a few days at a time before completely blowing it and ultimately making myself gain more weight. The strength, will power, and ease that I had once had for 3 years being keto was no longer natural for me. I struggled constantly and started to have a binge type mind set worse than I had ever had before. I became obsessed with opportunities to eat bad food. Planning things out waaay in advance, binging when I was alone, and basically turning every Sunday into a free for all. The Boy and I were ordering in copious amounts of food (Uber Eats is seriously dangerous, it’s the food version of having your drug dealer on speed dial) and eating off it all day long. Then when evening time came around and the threat of Monday and having to “get back on the wagon” looming I would be searching for one last fix at 9pm. Sometimes going to pick up ice cream, other times hitting the gas station for a donut, or sending The Boy to retrieve so some salty French fries. I was basically like a junkie shooting up in the van on the way to the airport before entering rehab.
I completely recognized the sickness of my behavior too but would still shovel the food in my face. It was insane. My inner dialogue sounded something like this: “Stop eating you fat fuck...just STOP!!” As dramatic as it sounds, I would sometimes be crying as I was eating and having these thoughts but it never made me put the food down. I just felt so incredibly out of control. I’ve had a weight issue since I was 14 (read all about that here) but this was on a whole other level. I could tell that this was getting to a point where it was much more than needing to lose some weight. I needed to fix what was going on in my head.
I started to plan doing a Whole 30 In February of 2018 all the way back in October of 2017. I knew I couldn’t handle it during the holidays...it just wasn’t going to happen. I still had my junkie mind set of trying to get it all in before I had to give it up. I purposely planned not to start on January first (like seemingly the rest of the world lol) because I was planning to have leftovers from the New Years to still eat. Whaat?? How pathetic is that? I’m telling you.....I was constantly looking for excuses to eat badly. There didn't even end up being any leftovers, but since I had already planted that seed that I was going to eat bad it was like I was giving myself permission to keep making bad choices up until February 1st.
Luckily, I came to my senses and decided I was ready NOW and moved up my start date to January 15th. As cheesy as it sounds, I had such peace when it came time to start. For the first time in a really, REALLY long time, I felt ready to make a change. I think it stems from the fact that this was the first time ever in my 28 years on this earth that I was doing something about my eating for more than weight loss. I was tired of feeling like shit both physically and mentally. Physically I was ready to pinpoint the foods that were making me feel miserable and bloated all. The. time. Mentally, I was ready to fix this unhealthy obsession I was having with food. Every other “start” before this had always been to reach a certain weight. I honestly set out this time just wanting to feel better. Not to be a certain weight by a certain date, but to get healthy in both body and mind....and while that is actually a bigger task than JUST losing weight, it came with a sense of relief and overall a lot less pressure because I was giving myself some grace and all the time I needed to get there.
Lastly, I also desperately needed to prove to myself that I can accomplish something. That I CAN do hard things and that I am not just a weak piece of shit with no self discipline (all things I was thinking about myself at the time). I was ready!
I predicted that my two biggest struggles would be eating breakfast, getting REALLY sick of all the cooking and crap that comes with it, and staying off the scale. I was right. I will say though, I did take a step back and try to objectively evaluate whether these were just self-fulfilled prophecies or actual things I was feeling........they were for real.
Breakfast-I’m not much of a breakfast eater at all. I usually drink my coffee and then don’t eat for anywhere for 3-5 more hours depending on the day. Whole 30 specifically addresses this and recognizes how hard it can be to go from nothing to a full-fledged breakfast within an hour of waking up. They are completely ok with you starting off small and working your way up and I was completely prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for though was how even the smallest amount of food in the morning made me want to throw up for HOURS. Unfortunately, my body does this weird thing where anything like stress, lack of sleep, or my schedule being out of wack will set my gag reflex off something fierce!I spent the first 5 days just trying not to throw up every morning. By Day 6 I was hopeful that it would get better because my body was starting to finally feel hungry for breakfast, so it was pretty crazy to me that even with the hunger my body was still basically rejecting food and I was lucky if I could get a hard boiled egg down within 2 hours of waking. I’ll spare you the full 30 day play by play.....but it got a tiny bit better by the end. But not by much.
I’m so tired of all the COOKING!!- This is a really common theme for Whole 30ers and the program definitely addresses it. It can be a huge reason why people jump ship. You are putting so much time into all of it. The shopping, the label reading, the prepping, the cleaning...all for 3 square meals a day is a lot. I’m not sure anyone can honestly say it isn’t. Remember thought...its only 30 days!
Just as predicted, there was a day early into Week 3 that I threw a tantrum. I didn’t want to cook. I didn’t want my husband to cook for me because that would still mean there’s a mess in my kitchen. I wanted nothing to do with any food coming out of my kitchen. I just wanted to eat out and my one compliant option was a bridge too far for me to go get at that point....so I went to bed cranky and hungry like a child. I powered through it for the next couple of days and later in the week I treated myself to a Five Guys burger.It was jut what I needed to give myself that mental break from it all and then I got right back to it the next day/meal.
Staying Off The Scale- Me and the scale are hot and cold. I either weigh myself obsessively every day for months at a time, or don’t weigh myself at all for months on end because I don’t want to know the damage. There is no in between with me. The obsessive weighing comes into play when I am actively trying to make a change, like the Whole 30. Because I was feeling SOOOO good I desperately wanted to get on the scale and see if it reflected how I felt. As hard as it was and the curiosity KILLED me, I trucked though it and never broke the rules.
Non Scale Victories + Other Things That Came To Light
Drinking Diet Soda- Sometimes I’m all about it, other times I can leave it just fine. Right before I started Whole 30 I did notice that I was pounding them like a frat boy but the WHY hadn’t really occurred to me. I just figured I was “on it” again with grapefruit soda (Squirt & Fresca are my jam!). Day 1 of Whole 30 I had just gotten home from work and I was incredibly thirsty, and I instantly reached for a can of good ole Diet Dementia. I stopped myself, made note of it, then poured myself a glass of water. This knee jerk reaction to grab a soda when I was thirsty repeated the next few days until I realized that I was never really cracking a can because I wanted the soda at all. I mean ya, I like the taste but that wasn’t even why. All this time I had been going straight for the soda because it was easier and faster. See, me and The Boy live in the primitive ages and we don’t have a fridge with the built in filter/dispenser. We depend on an old school Brita filter to get cold and delicious agua. Without even consciously realizing it I was only drinking the soda out of pure laziness. Because pouring myself a glass of water might mean I need to refill the pitcher (oh the humanity!). Or change out the filter (how do I even live with in such disadvantage??). Or I wouldn’t get the full glass I wanted and either have to wait or mix it with tap (that’s just a travesty!) Basically, I was being a lazy ass and I was finally realizing it and calling myself out on it. Now is when I would look directly into the camera with a big stupid grin on my face givings a thumbs up and say “THANKS Whole 30!”
Eat Yo Veggies- Eating veggies has never been an issue for me. I like them so it’s not like I had this aversion to them and starting Whole 30 was forcing me to eat them….not the case at all. I did however realize that I had not been making them much of a priority. I had plenty of meals that would have a minimal amount, or while cooking the entrée I would be so ready to just eat I would skip making them and we would just load up on the entrée alone. Having the Whole 30 meal template made me pay attention and now my veggie intake has easily doubled if not tripled.
Making veggies a priority has also made me better at utilizing all my groceries. For quite a while before Whole 30 I had developed the terrible habit of letting my produce go to waste. I always bought plenty of fresh produce with full intentions of including them in all my meals….but before you knew it I had a brown puddle at the bottom of the veggie drawer and floppy celery. Now I am continually going through the fridge to see what I have and incorporate whatever needs to go in that days sides
Energy- About a week in I noticed huge differences in my energy levels. I have been told by a lot of people that I am the yawniest person they’ve ever met. It’s true. I yawn more than Sleepy in Snow White. Usually by 1pm I spend about 80% of my time with my eyes closed and mouth gaping open. Once I got home from work I would spend the entirety of the evening just trying to get the bare minimum done before melting into a puddle of uselessness on the couch. Accomplishing anything felt like the biggest task as I was always physically exhausted.
Once Whole 30 came around I found myself yawn free at work and then coming home and zipping around get laundry done, dinner cooked, lunches packed, clothes ironed , floor swept and mopped…..the list goes on. I couldn’t believe how productive I was being but always being the skeptic I just chalked it up to mental motivation rather than energy. But after another week I could no longer deny that it was largely attributed physically feeling completely different. Food really does some crazy shit! (both good and bad)
Drinking- I was drinking way too much. Not in a “look in the camera and spell out your name” kind of way.
But in an it just became too much of a habit kind of way. I had stopped making it a purposeful decision and it had become more of a ritual. Like it’s Friday night…..so I drink to celebrate the end of the week. It’s Saturday, so of course that means it’s time for Tequila! On Sunday it was “Crap! The work week starts tomorrow….let’s have some drinks to get ready.” And of course, with that came less productivity, and more snacking and hunger. These were things I hadn’t seen in myself until drinking wasn’t an option. Ultimately, it’s working against all my goals for getting healthier, so I have taken a step back and really set myself boundaries. I have only had 3 drinks since finishing Whole 30 over a month ago and I am going to put a real effort into making it a conscious decision rather than an automatic response. I’m sure it will come much easier someday, but until I get more weight off and break it as habit I have to follow the rules I have set for myself.
Bloating & Stomach Issues- Besides feeling rotund, the other physical aspect that made me start Whole 30 was my constant stomach issues. I would eat a meal and instantly blow up and stay that way for the rest of the day. I would be so uncomfortable I couldn’t even concentrate on anything else. I also had the LOUDEST stomach on the planet. It has always been a joke between me and The Boy about how my stomach is so talkative. But I was getting sick and tired of feeling so self-conscious about it when I was stuck in quiet rooms surrounded by people. I would get struck with such anxiety over it.
3 days into Whole 30 my gut felt SO GOOD! No noise, no bloating,…..it felt “clean.” I’ll talk more about this and what the culprit was in my post about reintroduction, but this was one of my biggest Whole 30 victories hands down.
So honestly…..Did I Ever Cheat?
My answer to this question is no, I never cheated or slipped up. Here is one of my favorite Whole 30 quotes tough love style on “slip ups”
Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip.” Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a pizza, there is no “slip.” You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. Commit to the program 100% for the full 30 days. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail before you’ve even begun.
I did however ingest two things during the 30 days that were non-compliant. So how can I say I never cheated? Let me explain…..
My job has two parts to it. Half of it is full blown office work, the other half is catering and recipe development. The caterings always seem to come in waves where I got a bunch at once, then sometimes I spend 2 weeks in the office. It just so happens that my first week of Whole 30 there was a shit ton of caterings. I instantly started to get stressed so I sat down and wrote out a plan. I looked over all my orders and went over what I could make without tasting and what I needed to taste. Breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwich platters, yogurt parfaits, fruit trays….all those I was in the clear. But there were 2 things I just could not avoid, the first being lemonade. I had to taste it a few times when making it to check the strength…..especially when making 15 gallons of it the way I was. But I feel like I did it responsibly and within reason. I took the TINIEST spoonful sips as I could and as few as possible. The other item was hummus. The hummus was more difficult for a few reasons. One, this was for recipe development so I was actually creating the recipe that we would be using to make giant batches. Recipe development requires A LOT more tasting as you are tweaking it to make it perfect. Again, I took the smallest bites possible and had others assist so I could taste it less by going off what they were telling me. I also tried to spit it out a few times but let me tell ya…..do you know how hard it is to spit out pureed food?!? Babies make it look so easy. Rolling it around in your mouth enough to get the flavor and then spitting out the now runny mixture is harder than I ever imagined lol. It’s much easier to extract the flavor and then spit out something that needs to be chewed…that’s for sure!
Some might consider this a Whole 30 fail, but I do not. I put careful thought and consideration into it and did the very best I could in the situation that literally IS MY JOB. I didn’t do all the things I normally would. Eat a chunk off that cookie that broke while plattering, pick at the crispy bacon from the breakfast croissant sandwiches I was assembling, or make myself a turkey an cheese roll up from the extras in making sandwiches. I truly feel like I stuck to the spirit of Whole 30 and that is what matters to me.
On the same note, The Boy suffers from what I believe is the onset of arthritis at the ripe old age of 31 (although he has been showing signs of it since I met him when he was 22) I would really love for him to do the Whole 30 and see what results he can get for his inflammation, but he is a full blown chef by trade. Not a halfsies like me. Not making simple food that requires little tasting if push comes to shove…nope. He’s making intricate food that is constantly changing….which equals a lot of tasting. It’s completely unrealistic to think he could go 30 days without eating (tasting) non-compliant food…...it’s literally our bread and butter (err….ghee and cauliflower?) Sure, we could make sure his meals would be compliant……but there’s not a chance in hell that he would make the entire time without something off plan passing his lips. This makes me think a Whole 30 is not possible for him, but maybe I’ll consult the headmistress for her take on this predicament.
So like I mentioned in the very beginning, this was the first time that it wasn’t only about weight loss so before I was finally able to weigh in on Day 31 I made sure to really take a moment to recognize and appreciate all the other positive changes I had made. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hoping like hell the number on the scale wasn’t lower. I was nervous! Luckily, I lost 7.7lbs….I’ll take it! And since then it has increased to a 10lb loss. I didn’t have the chance to take measurements before I started which is a bummer, but I’m satisfied with my results even without them.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how my Whole 30 went. I learned so much about myself (and even more in reintroduction) that I’m hoping will help me lose even more weight and change more habits...even if they are slow. At this point I’m just looking for progress in any way I can get it.
Check back for future posts on my Whole 30 tips, my reintroduction experience, and reviews of Whole 30 compliant products.