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“Wait, what’s Whole 30?”
A question I’ve heard a lot in the past 30 days and was surprised so many hadn’t heard of the newest food trend given its popularity. But I embarked on Melissa and Dallas Hartwig’s plan 30 days ago with two goals in mind: kick my sugar addiction, and feel better. I accomplished both of those goals, even though I failed and didn’t make it 30 days. And I’m totally OK with that!
S0 What is Whole 30?
Whole 30 is an elimination diet where you eat only whole foods for 30 days. The rules are strict; no dairy, no wheat, no grains, no sugar, no processed foods, no legumes, no sulfites, no sweeteners, no alcohol, and no baked goods. Sounds fun right? As the creators pointed out, it’s 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.”
And you know what? They’re kind of right. I had already been living a partial paleo lifestyle, so I didn’t miss the grains or dairy, it was the sweeteners and baked goods that kicked my ass. But it was actually easier than I thought, until day 18.
How Did I Do On the Whole 30 Plan?
If you are considering doing Whole 30, please learn from my mistakes. I went totally rogue. I didn’t read the books at all and just started it flippantly one Sunday morning. After a few days though I checked out the Whole 30 Cookbook at our local library and bought the actual Whole 30 book. I learned a lot from that, like my protein powder I had been using wasn’t Whole 30 compliant so I had to start over. Whatevs. You live you learn right?
I did pretty well though on the diet the first two weeks. I was jacked to take control of my health and eating and found lots of workarounds. Like I loved NutPods for my decaf coffee, and eventually just cut coffee altogether. Some nights were hard though, like when my kids would eat Chick-Fil-A in front of me and I just wanted to scarf down their fries after I dipped them in their Oreo milkshake.
I did have some major sugar detox headaches and cravings, but after day four they were gone. And it was a relief to not constantly be craving and snacking. I stuck to just three meals a day except on workout days, I definitely needed an extra meal those days. But I stumbled on day 18. We had a fundraiser and I allowed myself to have two vodka drinks and a bite or two of chocolate cake.
After that, (and a massive hangover) I realized that while Whole 30 works for most people, for me in some respects it was too lenient. I have an autoimmune condition and not all fruits are great for my body, and potatoes are a no-no for Candida overgrowth. With Whole 30 I was eating way too much fruit and white potatoes and needed to cut back. I also don’t do well with eggs, and Whole 30 recommends eggs almost every day so I switched on Day 19 to the Candida Cure. This is very similar to Whole 30 minus all the fruit, potatoes, and eggs but does allow the protein powder I like and legumes twice a week. This ended up being the best bet for me and my situation. So even though I failed, I still rocked it for 30 days!
What I Learned From Whole 30
The past month has been quite an experience and took an enormous amount of time to prepare foods, willpower, and positivity. I also learned quite a few things about myself, and my unhealthy relationship with food.
How To Stop Emotional Eating
Food is my vice. There I said it. Seriously, I never knew how much I turned to food (and wine) until I started this Whole 30 thing. My kids make me angry? I grab the crackers box. My husband is out of town and I’m lonely? I start itching to bake and eat my feelings. I seriously never knew how much I relied on food to help me deal with my emotions. And while it’s a hard lesson to learn, I turned to writing and journaling more this month than I have in the past eight years. I still have ways to go with this, but I started a great habit of catching myself before I “cheated” and stuffed my face.
To Ask For Help
I do not like asking for help, and I’m not sure why. But during the Whole 30, I needed a boatload of support. Though my husband didn’t want to do this diet with me, he was my biggest cheerleader. He made sure I stayed on the plan, gave me lots of encouragement, and even tried many of my meals. I also found a friend that was doing it too and her texts really helped. (Thanks, Tara!)
Real Food Tastes So Amazing
A funny thing happens when you stop eating crappy boxed food and sugar and eat whole food. It tastes so much better! I mean, who knew a green apple was so delish?! And homemade sweet potato fries could be so filling? I really enjoyed cooking again and nourishing my body and my family. Instead of scrolling on my phone for hours on the weekends, I put down the devices away and meal planned and prepped like a mother!
“I Can’t” Doesn’t Exist
How many times do you say to yourself, “I can’t run a mile, no way.” Or hear your kids whine, “Mommy, I can’t! You need to help meeeeeeeeee.” I can’t is a phrase that’s not allowed in our home anymore. Because let me tell you, if you can give up your favorite sweet amaretto creamer in your coffee, your beloved french fries, and all of your other favorite comfort foods, then you know that you can do anything. These last 30 days made me realize how strong I really am, and I am capable of anything. And so are you.
So Did Whole 30 Work?
I know what you’re thinking, “Great Kristen, you kick ass, but did the diet really work?”
So from a scientific perspective, I can’t really answer this because I technically only stayed on the plan for 18 days. But I did stick with the Candida Cure to give me a full 30 days, so here’s what I’ve noticed.
- I am falling asleep easily and staying asleep which is a beautiful thing. I was a horrible sleeper, and I can’t believe how rested I am now. I used to wake at night with sweats and hot flashes, and struggle to fall asleep, but now I am so tired each night I pass out.
- My hot flashes are better. They aren’t gone, but they are less frequent which is nice. I wish the temps would drop below 90 but that’s for another day.
- I do feel more positive and in control of my eating habits. I’m not hangry anymore and never famished where I need to eat all the things. I also don’t get that crash around 3:00 pm anymore.
- I didn’t lose much weight, which is a total bummer. I’ll be honest, thought weight loss wasn’t a goal I did hope to drop 10 pounds. But I’m still having hormonal issues and just got my blood tests back so I have a bit of work to do in this department.
Would I Do Whole 30 Again?
If Whole 30 was right for my body type, hell yes. In fact, for as long as possible I’m sticking with the Candida Cure. I feel better, am bound to lose weight, and it’s good for myself and my family. I’m even researching ways to make foods and desserts healthy for the holidays. Will I indulge sometimes? Ummm…yeah, I’m human. But this will now be the basis of how I eat forever, and I’m totally OK with that.
If you too are wavering on whether to try Whole 30, do it! It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, and the benefits outweigh your excuses. Because they are excuses, you can totally do this!
Stay tuned for my next post, I have loads of tips to help make your Whole 30 journey a success. Just because I failed doesn’t mean I won’t rock it next time. And I have some tips of things I wish I would have known before I started too.
Or my fav Paleo Desserts!