My boyfriend’s sister did the Whole 30 before her wedding and felt/looked amazing. When she told me you couldn’t eat dairy, grains etc., I decided I wasn’t tough enough to give it a shot. I had done a couple months last year with no booze, but cutting out all that other stuff? Yikes.
At the end of 2016, I had changed jobs, gone on vacation and then of course, the holiday season hit. Overall, I try to eat healthy and enjoy working out throughout the week, but I was stuck in a rut. I did some Whole 30 Googling and decided to order the book, which was a nice hard cover filled with information, recipes and fancy pictures.
I told my boyfriend that January 2nd I was going to embark on the 30 day journey and he agreed to come along for the ride. Thousands of people have done this so I figured if they could, so could I. It’s only one month. The lamest, coldest month of the year. Why not?
I heard it changes your life, and as corny as it sounds, I now agree. The list of mental and physical benefits goes on and on and it changes the way you think about food.
What I noticed the most…
- Clearer skin – I have battled with bad skin my whole life. Friends and family would laugh and say “your skin is great!” but breakouts literally consumed me. While eating cleaner (I believe dairy was the culprit), my skin has become clear and glowing.
- Better sleep – Overall, I am a good sleeper, but I slept through the night every night as soon as my head it the pillow! Yes, it was still hard for me to roll out of bed in the morning but once I did, I became energized more quickly.
- More energy – Battling with headaches, from stress or hunger, has plagued me over the years. I figured that headaches and I would become “friends” again while on the Whole 30, but surprisingly, I only had a headache one day the first week! My energy level was high throughout the day and I didn’t feel the afternoon slump.
- Less stomach bloat – My stomach felt a LOT flatter just after two days
- Weight loss – I ended up losing 8 pounds! I did go against the rules and jumped on the scale every few days.
Now besides these physical/mental benefits, I also made some changes in the way I eat that will stick long after the 30 days:
- Cutting out unnecessary sugar – Did you know some types of garlic salt have added sugar? How about pickles? Most salad dressings? Bacon? So many items have added sugar that it is incredible. Advice? Read your labels or do your research on the best brands before you hit the supermarket
- Accepting no carbs at meals– Now I love salads. I don’t even eat a ton of pasta or bread, but when making dinner, one often thinks “protein, veggie, starch.” I’ve shifted this mentality to doubling the veggies. Is it okay to have brown rice or whole wheat pasta? Of course! But it doesn’t need to be a staple in every dinner. Advice? Double the veggies. Buy a ton to roast up or grill for the week.
- Cutting the cheese – I LOVE cheese. Platters. Pizza. Melted goodness on pretty much whatever. When you have cheese on hand, you are more likely to add it into a recipe just because. Omelettes, salads, pasta, sandwiches, soups are just some items that we tend to throw cheese on just because we think it tastes good. Um, well yes it does taste good, but when you cut it out for a bit, you don’t miss it as much as you thought you would. Advice? Cut the cheese. At least sometimes.
- Healthier choice in general – I am definitely going to be more conscious at home and when dining out. Whole 30 meals will probably become very common throughout the week.
Though it made me feel good, lose weight, and change some of my eating habits, it wasn’t easy. The hardest part was managing your weekend social life. Luckily, a few of our friends decided to commit too, so we had a few Whole 30 parties with approved only foods and a mocktail bar. Having support and someone to do this with makes it much easier.
Here are some of the recipes/foods that saved me:
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Soup
- Magic Green Sauce
- Homemade Ranch Dressing
- Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meat Sauce
- Roasted Vegetables (especially sweet potatoes!)
- BLT Lettuce Wraps
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- RX Bars
- Party Ideas
Overall, it was a great experience and I would recommend it. For those who think, “I could never do that!” Yes you can. Just commit. It is only 30 days. You will feel better. You will feel healthier. You will feel skinnier. You will feel empowered to make better choices that make your body feel best.
Remember, after the 30 days, don’t jump right in and eat pizza and cupcakes; you will feel very sick. Reintroduce foods gradually and stick with some of the healthy habits you picked up for a balanced and happy lifestyle.