On April 1 of this year, my beloved hubby and I embarked on our first-ever Whole 30 challenge. You know the one – it’s basically the cult of clean eating. I never dreamed I could do it, because nutrition has always been my #1 vice and nemesis, but I just had to get that sugar demon off my back for good. The end result is that I absolutely loved the experience!
Here are my honest, in-progress reactions and experiences from the journal I kept during our Whole 30 in April.
Day 1: I didn’t plan ahead well enough. I don’t have enough veggies in the house. MUST BUY ALL THE VEGGIES! But we survived Easter, avoided all the chocolate and candy like it’s poison, and I feel good.
Day 2: Didn’t eat enough at work – but also surprisingly didn’t feel hungry! Need to plan more and prep better. Loving this eggs for breakfast thing – they really fill you up! Also, avocados are my new best friend and daily habit.
Day 3: Ate super well today. Fresh, whole food tastes AMAZING! Sweet potatoes are a staple. I had a scare with balsamic vinegar (thought I used something that would “disqualify” me or count as cheating), but turns out mine is Whole 30 compliant/acceptable though few are, apparently. Thought I might have to start over from day one again, but I won’t have to! Phew.
Day 4: Literally craving fresh veggies and fruits. Need to invest in some Whole 30 approved salad dressings and sauces – plain grilled chicken breast is starting to get old. Made some roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts with olive oil and sea salt, and when it came out of the oven I found myself *literally salivating* while rushing to get it into a bowl so I could devour it!
(SO far, no cravings for non-compliant foods, including breads and sugars! It was really hard making a peanut butter sandwich for Z and not licking my fingers, but I managed. Prepping foods for her that I love but can’t eat is definitely the hardest part for me.)
Day 5: I swear I feel skinnier already. Is that possible? Still finding new, creative ways to eat veggies and meat. I’m really enjoying prepping and cooking more – we have been to the grocery store twice for produce already this week! I don’t miss eating out like I thought I would. It’s nice having more time at home – and think of all the money we’re saving!
Day 8: I am LOVING not eating out so much. We had become far too reliant on that – Z keeps saying how much she loves eating at home! She is eating a ton more fresh fruit and even a few more veggies. Whole 30 is good for everyone! Side note: I can’t believe I made it through a whole week without any sugar, bread, cheese or pasta! It must be some kind of miracle. I’m going to keep up my Whole 30 program til the end – can’t wait to see my results.
Week 2: Favorite meals so far include meatloaf made with Whole 30-friendly ketchup (we love Tessemae’s sauces and dressing), sweet potato “toast” slices with avocado on top, fried eggs and a few cashews for breakfast with a Tio gazpacho bottle to add a few easy veggies, and my all-time favorite: sweet potato noodles tossed with Whole30-compliant tomato sauce and sliced chicken sausages. This last meal always fills me up and makes me feel as satisfied as if I’d just eaten a big bowl of pasta, sauce and sausage! I just love it!
Week 3: I cannot believe how easy this has become and how natural. I feel AMAZING physically, mentally, intellectually and emotionally. Eating out for business is a pain – I had to go to one business buffet lunch where literally all I could eat was a salad with lemon juice on it. But you know what? I survived just fine! It feels good to conquer this one thing – such a huge thing in my life, personally – and feel in control. I also feel that my increased energy and productivity that has sprung from good, clean eating is radiating into many other areas of my life! “How you do one thing is how you do everything,” right?
Week 4: Most people claim that the first week or two are the hardest, but for E and I it was definitely the last week. In fact, the last 3 or 4 days were KILLER for us. We were starting to burn out on healthy foods and both of us felt like… we’ve done this for 26 days, surely we’ve proven ourselves and we can have X now (X being whatever that one lingering craving was – pizza, ice cream, you name it)?! Although it was relatively simple for the first few weeks, it was really tough for us to hang in there all the way through the end of the 30th day! I’m really glad we did, though. We lost 8 lbs each and felt AMAZING in every way. It’s a phenomenal feeling that’s hard to describe!
Returning to normal eating
Whole 30 has a great program for how you can slowly, carefully return to normal eating by adding in ONE food group/type at a time and then watching how your body feels/responds so that you can truly learn what foods make you feel bad and then avoid them thereafter. I’d love to report that we did that, and returned to a broader diet in a slow and thoughtful way, but I’d be lying.
It wasn’t a sudden rush to eat all the bad foods. It was more like one Whole 30 meal, then pizza. Then another Whole 30 meal, then ice cream. Then another Whole 30 meal, and then bake brownies with Z (the one thing she hates about Whole 30 is that I refuse to bake with her while I’m on it! It would be just too hard to resist a lick of batter!).
I continued to feel pretty good for a pretty long time after Whole 30, because we did continue to eat that way for the most part while we’re at home. However, then we set off on a long weekend trip to NYC, followed shortly after by our big 10-day European adventure, so let’s just say all remnants of a whole, clean eating plan went out the window. And I feel foggy-headed, tired and rundown again.
But, the good news is that we’re back on Whole 30 as of this month, and this time we’ve got our sights set on a 60-day duration! Yes, we’re on day 3 of 60 and I am already feeling pretty great again. It’s amazing how your body responds when you fuel it right and quit filling it with sugary garbage! (And boy did I go overboard with all those delicious English and French sweets. But who could resist!)
I’ll check back in during my Whole 60 to let you know how it’s going – and in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences with Whole 30!