My Whole 30 Experience: 5 Popular Questions Answered
Happy Friday, everyone!
I wasn’t going to share this post with anyone. I was going to move on with my life, but after reading your kind comments about Whole30 on my recap post the other day, I felt excited about sharing my Whole30 journey with you all. This is the first of three posts I have planned. Today, I’m going to be answering five popular questions about my Whole30 experience. Next week, I’ll be sharing the day by day outline that I wrote each day along with what I ate. It’s so helpful to go back and look at what I was feeling each day and how I powered through. Your body goes through some pretty crazy changes when you cut out some problematic foods for 30 days. I will also be posting the Whole30 grocery list that I stuck to each week. I mentioned this in the post, but I ended up saving so much money on groceries during Whole30.
**I want to say this! This was my Whole30 experience, and I’m not here to tell you that I think you should try it. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary changes. I’m just here to share my experience, and please understand all of our bodies are different, so what I experienced may not be the same for you.**
What is Whole30?
The first thing I want to set straight is that Whole30 is NOT a weight loss diet. Atleast for me, it wasn’t. Sure, some people do lose weight, but the diet wasn’t built for that purpose. Whole30 is a diet that consists of whole and unprocessed foods. For 30 days, you’ll be eliminating foods that the scientific literature has ruled to be the most common problem to our cravings (**cough** ADDED SUGAR), metabolism, digestive, and immune system. Things like meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, spices, and seeds are all acceptable during the 30 days. The Whole30 is meant to help you figure out which foods affect your energy, sleep, digestion, moods, cravings, focus, anxiety, self-confidence, chronic pain, fatigue, and so much more. The goal of Whole30 is to reset your body from these problematic foods and take you back to the “baseline.” Even after the 30 days, you have to be careful with adding the foods back into your diet slowly and taking notes on how you feel.
Things you cannot have while on Whole30 include: alcohol, dairy, added sugar (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, monk fruit extract, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, and xylitol), legumes, grains, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, or baked goods with compliant ingredients. So many paleo recipes use Whole30 compliant ingredients in their baked goods, but they must be avoided during Whole30 to help with cravings. This was one of the rules I didn’t LOVE but followed it 90% of the time. A couple of Friday nights, I wanted something chocolately, so I made the three-ingredient brownies, and I had no regrets. It helped me stick to the Whole30 by allowing myself that treat. I didn’t add any honey or anything that would take away from the purpose of what Whole30 was doing to my body. Now, if you’re doing Whole30 to help your relationship with food, then maybe the no baked goods rule is better for you. If you want to learn more on that, definitely check out the Whole30 guidelines and purposes.
What made me decide to try out the Whole30?
Inflammation, bloating, swelling, and continuously getting stomach aches. What I had been battling behind the scenes has been unreal when it comes to inflammation and swelling. There have been many nights of just tears because I’ll wake up feeling great, and then by 1 pm, my face is round, my knees are inflamed, my stomach is swollen, and my entire body aches. I’ve gone to doctors, cut out dairy and gluten for years, and have tried many supplements. Nothing was working. It wasn’t normal for someone to go up two pant sizes within hours, but the doctors had no answer for me (I do have an appointment with a new allergist in a few weeks, which will hopefully help!)
I chose Whole30 to help me figure out if it was a food I was consuming that may have been causing me to feel this way. After reading many testimonials, I wanted to try it out myself. I was already eating a healthy diet, but most of the foods I was eating fell under the problematic foods on the Whole30 list. I was consuming legumes, hidden added sugars, sugar alcohols, gluten-free baked goods, rice, protein powders, oatmeal, grains, and “healthier” processed foods. I thought it would be worth a shot, and I was pretty excited to change things up for a while. What I loved about Whole30 was that it was simple. You could memorize the list of things you’re allowed to have within minutes, which made grocery shopping and meal planning easy. I’m the type of person that does not like to have too many options, so this was my style of diet. I was so motivated and inspired to try it out after reading up on it.
What were some of the ups and downs of Whole30
I thought Whole30 was going to be much harder. I thought I was going to miss my morning oats, my protein shakes, and my nightly ice cream treats. Of course, I did have times when I was craving something, but I went for a banana or a handful of nuts instead. And it magically worked. I think learning how to push past the sugary cravings and go for something more nourishing was an up for me. I learned that even though I ate healthily, I had a sugar problem. I depended on my sugary treat each night, even if it was sugar that came from honey or monk fruit. It was a habit that I was so excited to break. I never thought Whole30 would make me even more intuitive, but it did.
Some of the downs were that eating at restaurants was harder, and I avoided it at all costs. Restaurants use a lot of sugar to make things taste better, and there is no sugar allowed since it’s a reset. If you consumed sugar, you had to start on day one again. So figuring out how to navigate restaurants was tricky. Chipotle does make Whole30-approved bowls, which was a nice treat.
Whole30 taught me that cooking at home is so much better, and I took the time to eat meals and not graze throughout the day. It gave me a better pattern for eating, and I took the time to cut up veggies, prepare food in advance, and put less thought into my meals. I mentioned this before, but the simplicity of this diet is what made it so easy. I knew that my meals would consist of protein and vegetables. My grocery shopping was so much easier because I stuck to three sections. I was also shocked by how much LESS I spent on groceries. Buying seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables is much cheaper, and I found myself using up everything in the house rather than letting produce go to waste. My produce consumption skyrocketed compared to before. I was eating piles of vegetables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I mentioned this before, but the no baked goods rule was a bummer for those 30 days, but it did help with training my brain to eat food rather than focus on what I’m craving.
What results did you get from Whole30?
I know this question is a popular one. Let’s talk results!
Everyone wants a magical quick fix, and even though I had terrific results, I didn’t get the magical fix. I gained a lot of knowledge about my body, food habits, and ways I can treat it better. The most significant result I got was fixing my inflammation and bloating. It’s unreal that I can look in the mirror and finally see a flat stomach. This made me realize that one of those foods was 100% problematic for me, but now it’s up to me to determine WHICH food it was. I had blood tests done before Whole30 and after Whole30, which surprisingly remained almost identical. I had the doctor weigh me before and after so she could see if I lost any weight because I knew that would be a huge question. When I have the doctor weigh me, I don’t let her tell me the number, but I do let her tell me if I’m up to or down. I ended up losing 4.1 pounds at the end of Whole30. I’ve been the same weight for about two years now, so it did cause a bit of weight loss. I didn’t count calories or work out a ton while I was on Whole30, and if anything, I was eating way more than normal. I will share my before and after photos in the day by day post so you can see the difference in my inflammation and bloating.
I learned that added sugar was a problem for me, and now I’m depending on fruits and nuts to curb my cravings. I now do not crave desserts or other sugary treats, which is great. I also pay more attention to ingredients with added sugar and try to find options without any added sugar. I also learned that it is possible to eat foods without ketchup 😆. I’m keeping the no-ketchup rule for life now (let’s see how long this one lasts.)
I slept better. I’d be in bed at 9 pm and up by 6 am, and hardly ever craving that afternoon coffee. My joints were a lot less sore during my runs, and I had so much more energy during the day. I was notorious for hitting that afternoon slump and feeling anxious, but I don’t think I had one episode of anxiety while being on Whole30, which just proved that those foods were affecting my moods.
Skin? The first two weeks my skin was pretty bad. I think this had to do with me introducing eggs back into my diet. I avoided eggs for a long time and ate oatmeal or protein shakes for breakfast instead. After day fifteen, my face cleared up, and it has been clear ever since. I didn’t even get the pre-period acne. Another thing I noticed is my eczema on my legs that I get nearly disappeared. Oh, and my dark circles under my eyes decreased by 75%. I think a lot of that has to do with my iron level increase.
Oh, let’s talk period. I was secretly hoping this would help me with my period cramps, but my cramps were actually way worse during Whole30. I don’t think my cramp pain can be helped with foods because it’s an endometriosis problem, but I still thought I’d give it a shot.
Would you do another round of Whole30?
100% yes. Right now, I’m eating 80% Whole30 because I loved the format of the diet. I’m continuing my morning eggs, giant lunch salads, and protein with veggies for dinner. I am adding honey and paleo-style baked goods back into my life, but I do LOVE the Whole30 foods and I feel like they make my body feel the best. I would love to do another round in Mid September or October. This time, I’ll for sure do it publicly. And if you’re interested in following along with me, let me know in the comments, and I can set up a Whole30 challenge for those wanting to join!
I’m excited to share more about the experience, and answer any questions you have! I’d also love to hear all about your Whole30 experience if you’ve ever tried it. xo
Questions for you!
- Have you ever tried Whole30?
- What are your questions for me?