Thoughts on the end of the Whole30 and beyond
I’m officially two weeks post Whole30 round 1. And yes I have to add in “round 1” because I’m starting to think about when I can fit my next round into 2017! So I guess I should start by saying that I’m a fan of the Whole30. Which is probably obvious since I’m going to do another one.
I didn’t feel deprived at all, and knew if I was hungry inbetween meals it meant I didn’t eat enough healthy fats (aka I ate SOO much avocado this month) or I needed to up my protein and veggies. I was in the thought process that I needed carbs to stay full longer, so realizing I could go 30 days without the carbs I was eating just because I thought I had to was a huge win.
Before I get into next time or giving you an overview of my thoughts from February, let me get to the good stuff first.
I lost almost 8 lbs which I thought was perfect for 30 days! I did work out between 4-5 days a week but I was already working out about that prior to this month. All of my clothes fit better by the end of the month (duh I lost 8 lbs). A pair of pants that barely buttoned at the end of January, I wore comfortably by February 14th and then since the end of the 30 days I’ve worn them again and they fit even better. I was so much less bloated by the end of the month too. My daily headaches went away some time during the middle of the month and I didn’t even notice until I hadn’t had a headache in almost a week. (Which is kind of sad that headaches were so normal to me I didn’t even notice when they were gone). I still don’t have daily headaches and this for me was the BEST impact of doing the Whole30 and why I plan to continue these eating habits as much as I can (more on that later). My face has cleared up so much too! This picture was taken the day I finished and I no makeup on except eyebrows and mascara. My acne wasn’t horrible, but it was more than I wanted to have at 28 so this was a very happy change. I haven’t figured out what caused the acne though it was obviously something I was eating. Probably sugar or dairy.
Speaking of things that effect my body, with the reintroduction I learned that gluten gives me headaches. The reintroduction allowed me to eat one food group (grains, dairy, etc.) at a time then go back to strict whole30 eating for two days to see how my body reacted. Well of course I had pasta Friday night post- whole30 and by Sunday afternoon I had a headache. Since that was the only addition to my diet, I know that’s the cause. Which is super sad for me as a huge pasta lover. At least now I know to reduce gluten in my daily life and to just prepare for the headaches when I gotta have that pasta! I’m also planning on trying out some gluten free pastas.
Even though dairy didn’t mess with my stomach as much as I expected it to, I’m still not eating it that much. Which means less cheese. But I actually have cheese in my apartment now and have been adding it sparingly to a few meals a week, instead of to every meal. I just need to find out what balance works best for my body! I’m trying to go with the how much will cheese enhance this dish, or should I save my cheese eating to stuffed shells (YUM) or pizza this weekend.
I plan on attempting to keep up with the Whole30 guidelines as much as I can Sunday through Friday. I may be a little more flexible on added sugar here and there if it saves some money (which it totally will since I had to limit my sales purchasing to keep up with the whole30) but otherwise we’re going to attempt to be strict for these days. Then Saturday will not be a free-for-all. I want to be more loose on Saturdays which probably will include an alcohol beverage or two. If there’s an event, I can be flexible about this schedule, which is the greatest part, but I think allowing myself the “cheat day” of Saturday will help this be sustainable for a long period of time. I love the way I feel eating like this even though I didn’t get the “tiger’s blood” of energy I expected, I definitely have more energy. And I don’t feel guilty when I get hungry and grab a snack of almonds, a banana and almond butter or a protein bar before a work out.
I was so afraid for over a year to attempt it. I spent pretty much the whole month of January telling myself how hard it would be but that I would be able to get through it. So I’m not sure if I psyched myself out, or if I just planned well enough, but it was way easier than I expected. Which isn’t to say it was easy, I had serious cravings for pasta the entire 30 days (as I mentioned more than once here!) but having all my meals already cooked eliminated the temptation to eat something I wasn’t allowed to eat. I also didn’t keep anything non-compliant in my apartment. This would obviously be harder if you were living with anyone who was not participating but it definitely helped me reach for approved snacks like almonds instead of Cheez-its.
So I would definitely suggest to anyone who wants to try the Whole30 to plan out breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyday of the full 30 days. I adjusted my menu during the month but having that structure already there eliminated some thinking! AND you have to, have to, have to meal prep. I cooked every 6 days, (more on that in this post) and one of the ways I saved myself some time was to double recipes and freeze them for later in the month. But really the meal prep didn’t take that long. Also Trader Joe’s will be your best friend. I referenced this list a lot during the month and I got used to reading ingredient lists pretty quickly.
Check out the ingredients on EVERYTHING, including cooking spray and spice mixes (which are two things I didn’t check and should have!). It sounds more daunting than it is. I would just google the food or brand or recipe I wanted and add ” + whole30″ right into the search bar and find my info that way. I didn’t read anything beyond what I found on the internet and at Whole30 but I now have a few of the books on the wait list at the library. I knew I could force myself to finish without needing to know why I wasn’t allowed to eat my pasta or cheese, but if you need the science behind it, I definitely suggest that you don’t follow in my footsteps there.
I also think picking a month where there was no big birthdays or events to celebrate was to my advantage. I didn’t have to sit out while everyone was celebrating with copious food and alcohol I wanted to partake in. It’s definitely doable to skip out on a few activities during the month if you don’t trust your self control but I think by the middle of the month you’re going to want to prove you can make it to the end and you’ll have more self control than you would at the beginning or end (when you’re so close!).
That was one of the biggest things for me, I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. That I could not eat cheese or pasta or drink a glass of wine for 30 days. And I did, and it didn’t kill me!
I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing round 2 in August but if not (since summer is notoriously bad for diets/limiting eating and drinking) then I’m going to find a time before the holidays to fit another round in to make sure I’m staying on track with my Sun-Fri as much as I can!