I have a confession to make.
On Wednesday, my first day post-Whole30, I got to re-introduce legumes – known to this girl as “peanut butter.” I ate it twice before eleven o’clock.
I also managed to eat an entire jar of peanut butter in three days.
At least we know legumes don’t bother me. I promise I tried a few other types of legumes!
While I haven’t followed the Whole30 re-introduction as strictly as recommended, I’ve been slowly re-introducing foods and learning what my body does and doesn’t like. Some of it I knew. Some of it has surprised me.
Now that I’m post-Whole30, I want to share my results with you, as well as my thoughts on Whole30.
(You can read about all things Whole30 HERE or under the “Food” category in the nav bar!)
First Things First
I know we’re all here for the “results,” but Whole30 isn’t about how many pounds or inches you can lose. It’s about resetting your body, curbing unhealthy habits (like that 3pm candy bar), restoring your metabolism, healing your digestive tract, and balancing out the immune system. Any weight or inches lost is just a bonus. We’ll get to the physical results shortly, promise. .
Personally, I didn’t have too rough of a go of it through the “detox” phase. I ate pretty healthy leading pre-Whole30, my trip to Italy and the holidays the exception, so it wasn’t as much of a struggle for me to adjust to a diet of mostly protein, veggies, and fruits. I did have some digestive issues around day eight, but that was the worst of it. What I struggled with at first was hunger.
I was used to eating breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-day snack, dinner, and sometimes an evening snack. Whole30 encourages you to eat three big meals a day to keep you satisfied and to not snack. You’re also encouraged to eat your meals when you’re actually hungry instead of when you think you’re supposed to eat them – lunch doesn’t have to be right at noon. During the first week, there were a few days in which I would have salted my arm and ate it around that magic 3pm hour. A couple of times, I did break down and have a compliant Larabar or Rx Bar. I worked on making my meals bigger and including a post-workout meal on lifting days. By the start of the second week, I was able to recognize the difference between actual hunger and thinking I was hungry because I was used to Greek Yogurt and berries after lunch.
By midway through the third week, I realized I didn’t want the foods that weren’t Whole30 compliant. I felt so good and was enjoying the foods I was eating so much that I wasn’t even remotely tempted by the cupcakes at my friend’s baby shower. Save for peanut butter, I’m still not tempted by those foods.
My Whole30 was full of “non-scale victories.”
My skin has been clear and has lost the red tint that tended to show up by day’s end. My eyes have been bright and clear and my energy level has been through the roof.
The biggest thing for me, however, has been the disappearance of my stomach issues. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble with my stomach. In elementary and middle school, I would find myself in desperate need of a bathroom and missed more than one day of school because of it. As I got older, the bathroom need disappeared, but I’ve struggled with “I look six months pregnant” bloat and what felt like someone digging their fingers into my stomach and pulling. It became one of those things that was just part of my everyday life.
But now, after three weeks of not having stomach issues, I don’t want to go back. I had a theory gluten bothered me. I’ve cut it out before and had symptoms clear up. I ate a waffle on Saturday and it was delicious – until a half hour later when the stomach cramps returned full throttle. Yesterday, I ate some of my mama’s taco dip – the first time I’ve had cheese in 30+ day. It was an almost instant reaction.
I was entirely unsurprised by my gluten reaction, and only mildly surprised by my dairy issues. I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant as a baby, and have always had mixed reactions to dairy. Milk and cheddar cheese? Not a chance. Feta and yogurt? Kind of okay.
What surprised me was my reaction to alcohol. Day one of post-Whole30, I had one single Bold Rock IPA, my favorite locally-made hard cider. I didn’t feel any different afterward. I woke up with a hangover the next morning. I’ve always been a light weight, but that was surprising.
As for the physical changes, I lost 7 pounds, an inch from my waist, and an inch from my hips. I’ll take it – I admit it, I like seeing the abs appearing – but the vanity changes are nothing when compared to the disappearance of my stomach issues and the boost of energy I’ve seen.
I loved Whole30 and highly recommend it to anyone who wants a reset. I’m going to be largely gluten and dairy free moving forward as it’s just not worth the stomach pain. Now that I’ve experienced life without it, I really don’t want to go back. I’ll keep the peanut butter and the occasional glass of wine, but I’ve ditched the two packets of sweetener in my morning (afternoon… evening…) coffee. I have added my favorite hazelnut creamer back into the mix, however. Treat yourself!
Meal prep and planning ahead proved to be a crucial point for a successful Whole30. It was a bit of work on the front end, but it made sticking to the program so much easier. When I had to travel for work, I packed lots of compliant snacks and checked restaurant menus in advance to make sure I could find something on plan. If I had a Junior League meeting or taught evening classes at the studio, I had a Larabar or some fruit to keep hunger at bay and even out my blood sugar. When I joined friends for drinks, I stuck to a seltzer with lime.
True, my grocery bill was higher in January. However, I ate out exactly once which was while I was in D.C. for work. Ultimately, I actually saved money in January. Who knew I ate out or met friends for drinks so much? Cooking my own meals at home on the weekends instead of grabbing Chipotle or a Wegmans salad on the way home from whatever turned out not only healthier, but less expensive.
Finally, I’ve been eating so much more food. My weightlifting coach often tells us to “eat more.” Everything I’ve read on nutrition for someone as active as I am says I need more calories. I was struggling to eat enough before Whole30, counting calories and driving myself crazy, trying to figure out what else I could possibly eat that day to reach whatever caloric or macro goal I was shooting for. I didn’t count calories on Whole30, although I did count them for a period of three days, for comparison sake. I confirmed what I thought – I was eating more food (fueling my body) and seeing the results I’ve been looking for.
Not only was I eating more food, I was eating GOOD food. I’ve kept this pattern up this week, right down to making some of my favorite Whole30 recipes for meals. It can be hard for a woman to wrap their head around eating more calories than they think they need, but sometimes it’s necessary – food is fuel! You can’t hate eating MORE food and seeing real results.
Will I do Whole30 again?
I think this will become something I do at least quarterly.
Got questions about Whole30? I’m no expert, but ask away! I can probably at least point you in the right direction!