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I Survived the Whole30 — and You Can Too!

New Year…New Me!

Like many people, my 2017 new year’s resolution was health related. I wanted to drop a few pounds, get back into running, and start setting an example of good habits for my two little ones at home. I know resolutions have a bad reputation, but like 2017 T.Swift…I was determined to come back strong! I started slow. I started running/walking with my boys during the days, I let go of the “mindless eating” habit, and I added more “greens” to my day. I did drop a few pounds, but I still wasn’t feeling great. I was tired all.the.time. My workouts weren’t getting easier no matter how many times a week I worked out. There was something missing; I just had to do a bit of research. 

Hello Whole30!

I originally heard of the Whole30 back in April when one of my favorite authors, Jen Hatmaker, chronicled her journey through the Whole30. She shared the highs and lows, all while being ridiculously funny. I followed from afar, but thought, “I could never do that. It’s too restrictive. I’m sure people gain back all the weight they lose right away.” So I forgot about it until September. I looked at my calendar and saw I had a month of vacations and weddings coming up and knew I needed something to help me look and feel my best. I texted my fitness friend and asked if she had heard of the Whole30 and if she would do it with me.

We made a pact. Thirty days to a “new us”!

So…what is the Whole30? 

There are a few misconceptions about the Whole30…most of which I believed before I did it. The Whole30 is NOT a diet. It is a 30 day “reset” to help repair your gut and your body. The creators of the Whole30 strategically chose which foods were and were not “compliant” based on how they affect the body.

Once the 30 days are over, you slowly add different foods back in to see how your body responds. If your body does well with the food you reintroduce, you can keep eating it. If your body doesn’t do so well with it, you know to avoid it. 

What can and can’t I eat while on the Whole30? 

Simply put, you can eat fruits, veggies, and meat. Any breads, refined sugars, processed foods, dairy, and legumes (beans) are non compliant. Some veggies like corn and peas are also on the non compliant list. Alcohol (for both consumption and cooking) is also a “no.” For a complete list of rules, check out the Whole30 website here   

Sounds kinda hard…seeing as nap time rolls around and my sugar cravings are at an all time high. How could I possibly go 30 days without my favorite foods…or wine? As I lamented and felt sorry for my future self I read this excerpt from the Whole30 website…

This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

…Wowzers… that is some tough love right there. As humbling as it was to read that it gave me the absolute push I needed to just rip the sugar coated bandaid off and just do the darn thing. 

My tips to surviving the Whole30

1. Keep it simple! I spent the first 20 days keeping it very simple. To plan a meal where you have to read every label to see if there is anything non compliant in there (spoiler alert…there is) gets old fast. Instead of setting yourself up to look at everything you can’t eat, stick to the sections of the grocery store full of the things you can eat! I kept my recipes simple. No fancy sauces, no recipes that made your Whole30 food seem like your pre-Whole30 meals.

2. Don’t eat salads for every meal! For some reason I always default to eating salad for many of my meals when I try to eat clean. But then that lasts for three days and I find myself shame eating a cheese burger and fries. I went almost the whole 30 days without eating one salad. Zoodles, roasted veggies, shrimp, and eggs were my very best friends during the Whole30. Find the foods that inspire you to cook and eat! 

3. Pay attention and celebrate the non scale victories! One of the rules of the Whole30 is to not weigh yourself at all during the process. I wish I could say that I stuck to that rule, but the truth is, I checked quite a few times. However, the thing that really kept me going was how AMAZING I felt. My fog was gone, I had energy, my workouts became easier, and my sugar demon was gone! I could literally sit in front of homemade cookies and not care one bit to eat one.

Life after the Whole30

I ended my Whole30 the day before I flew up to Iowa to visit my cousin and her newborn twins! I was nervous about diving into the real world of travel and temptation so fresh off my Whole30. But I honestly felt so good I had little desire to deviate from how I had been eating for the past month. Although I slowly added back some grains and legumes, I found that dairy upsets my stomach if I have too much of it. The best part about my life after the Whole30 is I haven’t gained any of the weight back, and I still don’t crave sugar like I used to. I have had some treats now and then, wedding cake, and a few holiday cookies, but I don’t need it like I used to. 

If taking control of your health is something you are longing for this New Year, I really recommend committing 30 days to yourself. It isn’t the easiest thing, but it is so worth it! Remember…it’s only 3o days!  

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