This past January I decided to embark on my second round of Whole30. I did it at the beginning of 2017 as well, but this year I actually found it easier. Last year I was planning out my end of Whole30 "cheat meal" basically before week 1 was even over. This year, I barely gave it any thought. The difference for me this year was mindset.
I went into this years Whole30 with the mentality of taking things one day at a time. I wasn't going to think about how many days had gone by and definitely not how many days I had left - I just focused on making it through one day at a time. I can't even explain what a difference that made for me. Whole30 is a pretty intense "way of eating" so a positive mindset is definitly something you'll need.
What is Whole30?
You can read the full concept of Whole30 here, but the super-condensed version is you basically cut out:
- sweeteners (Natural and Artificial)
- MSG, carageenan, sulphites
- recreating baked/junk foods with healthy ingredients
If done properly, it's supposed to help you identify any food sensitivities that you may have (at the end there is a "reintroduction" phase where you're supposed to reintroduce 1 food group at a time) but in all honesty, I never do it and just go back to regular eating because I do Whole30 to get my sugar habit under control and lose the Christmas weight.
I don't typically do well with "diets" (I've been off and on the Keto train more times than I can even count at this point) but I have been able to complete Whole30 for the past 2 years in a row.
I think for me, I need the "rules". In the case of a Whole30, if you cheat at all, you're supposed to start back at Day 1. That alone is pretty motivating. Who wants to do well for however many days and then ruin it with one meal and have to start over again? Not me, that's for sure.
One of the hardest parts (as a mom of kids not doing Whole30) was not "tasting" anything. Even a bit of ketchup or peanut butter that I got on my finger when getting the kids food ready...I had to wipe it off instead of licking it.
Also, the kids food scraps. It was so hard wasting them by throwing them out instead of just eating them myself.
I did struggle a bit around Day 20 when I got sick. Not so much with the food, but not being able to exercise put me in a bit of a funk and that's when I want to "emotional eat" (hello half box of dates). Not being able to eat out at a restaurant or grab something quick from a drive-thru if I was out was also difficult. Some days I just didn't feel like cooking anymore but I wanted to stay compliant so I did.
My Top 5 "Staple" Foods:
- Sweet potatoes/potatoes
- Cashew butter
There was actually way more than 5 "staple" foods for me on this Whole30. Many people get sick of eggs everyday but not me, I LOVE eggs and had them at least one meal a day. I also really enjoyed my veggies, salads, almond butter and burgers. Most days I really didn't feel like I was missing out on anything and it certainly didn't feel like I was on a "diet".
Top 5 things I missed the most while doing Whole30:
- Protein bars
- Coffee creamer
- Peanut Butter
I was actually shocked with how much I missed protein bars. I thought for sure that donuts would have been my number one (because donuts are life) but towards the end it was the protein bars that I couldn't wait to eat. Cream in my coffee was a very close second. I love all kinds of coffee, but after a few weeks you get sick of black coffee and just want the creaminess back (at least I did). Donuts, no explanation needed here, just because they're amazing. I missed the gum when I was working out, especially when running. My mouth gets really dry when I run so I like to chew a piece of gum to help with that - but no go on Whole30. And peanut butter basically the same reason as donuts...it's just SO GOOD!
3 tips to help you get through:
- Don't over complicate your meals - Pinterest has a bunch of fabulous meal ideas. As great as they are for when you're wanting something new, a lot of them take quite a bit of time and I personally found that making simpler meals was way less stressful.
- Have a support system - I am so lucky that my family was so supportive of me this round. Anytime I went to visit my parents, my mom made sure to cook in a way that there was always something for me to eat. It's so much harder when you don't have that support and have to bring your own food.
- Dates - these are the best and worst. They are incredible for when the sugar monster hits, just pop a few in your mouth and pretend you're having Timbits. However, the problem comes when the sugar monster over takes you and you can't stop eating them. I actually had to stop buying them for a while because I would eat a whole bag in a matter of days.
I managed to lose about 10 pounds in the 30 days, my skin cleared up, and I wasn't as tired as usual. These are my personal results and yours may vary from this.
January 1st --- January 30th
I am currently back to eating Paleo which is similar but not as strict, and I plan on doing a shorter version of Whole30 at the beginning of May (a Whole15 if you will) just to re-set myslef into healthier habits before I go on my trip.
Have you ever done a Whole30 before? If not, would you consider it? Let me know in the comments below.