I completed my first Whole30 diet! …Did I miraculously lose weight? Become happier? See an increase in energy levels? Let’s chat about my (honest and real) Whole30 thoughts.
My oh my the time has finally come (!!!!) Cue the balloons and confetti.
Well, actually that excitement happened on Wednesday. I woke up and was like “THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER”.
Ha, not exactly. Here is where if you’re following the Whole30 “rules” you start the reintroduction phase of the diet. I’m *trying* to do this phase of reintroducing one food group at a time, then going back to Whole30 foods for two days, etc. I started with dairy because I was really looking forward to a yogurt bowl 🙂 And I don’t think chocolate is considered it’s own food group but I definitely reintroduced that as soon as I could (I have a special treat coming on Monday for you 😉 ) However the next week will pose a few challenges, in that Drew and I are traveling to Phoenix for a few days to visit some family. I understand the significance of the reintroduction phase so I am going to give it my best shot, but I am not going to be super strict about it while eating out in Phoenix and traveling about.
Alright so the Whole30… so many thoughts, feelings, MOODS. Where to begin?
The weeks in general were… somewhat tough. But mostly I just really missed chocolate.
I kind of hated life. Okay, that’s a little dramatic. But I was definitely annoyed with not only myself for starting the Whole30 but also very annoyed with the “rules”. I literally thought “What the hell am I doing?” pretty much every day. And when I had the realization I was already eating fairly close to Paleo/Whole30 for many of our main meals, I got mad that “they” took away my chocolate.
I also struggled the the first week with figuring out how much to eat at each meal. I was aiming to snack less, but figuring out how much I needed to eat at each meal to hold me over (a good 3-4 hours) required some patience. I became frustrated when I got hungry after only a couple hours and felt like I wasn’t doing “enough” whatever that meant. But I gave myself some grace and started factoring in workouts, listening to my hunger cues, and eventually figured out what I needed at each meal.
I was still annoyed. Still mad about chocolate. Still thinking about quitting. But continually going back to my WHY I was doing a Whole30 in the first place kept me going during Week 2. I can’t say I experienced any crazy headaches, or felt exceptionally tired, or even super energized on the other end of the spectrum. I DID feel less bloated; I was staying hydrated and getting in warm lemon water on a consistent basis. Of course there my disdain for whoever decided to take away chocolate from me stayed until about day 15. Which brings me to…
FINALLY I was starting to feel like a ray of sunshine. I no longer felt bitterness towards (not having) chocolate, I was enjoying the meals we were having and truly settling in to the “lifestyle” so to speak. Looking back on this third week though I realized I could have done a little bit better in managing my sugar cravings. It was somewhere towards the end of week 3 and I realized I had let my water intake slip, and when I felt “hungry” I would go for a spoonful of almond butter… Not the best habit, I know.
Oh, and I also made a batch of cookies for my Father-in-Law’s retirement party and didn’t taste a single crumb. That was a difficult day. I also watched Drew take a bite of his mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies and thought I was going to fall to the floor like that kid in the Jimmy Kimmel videos “I told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy”. Not kidding, I had to avert my eyes.
OMG IT’S THE LAST WEEK!!!! But minor hiccup: I had a wedding to attend four days before officially completing the Whole30. And while I could have stayed compliant by eating a substantial meal beforehand, I didn’t. I ate a couple of meatballs (I actually even scraped off the cheese) during the cocktail hour but passed on the open bar. When when dinner time came I decided I wasn’t going to worry about it. Had I known I was committing to the Whole30 before I sent in our RSVP, I could have potentially been in the clear. But after all of the other challenges I faced (those cookies almost did me in) I figured eating a slightly non-compliant dinner wasn’t going to kill me. Sorry Whole30 gods, I broke the rules there. The dinner was chicken breast covered in some creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and green beans. I mean, it definitely could have been worse. (Like the pasta-based vegetarian option I originally requested… that my youngest sister so kindly agreed to trade.) I also passed on the champagne even though I didn’t actually want to. I like me some bubbly.
Let’s circle back to WHY I decided to do a Whole30 in the first place…
I was in the mood for a challenge
So was I challenged? Um, yes. Yes, indeed. Mission accomplished.
In all seriousness, it was more challenging at times than I thought it would be. The excitement wore off quickly when Mr. FMK came home with a GIANT bag of homemade monster cookies from a friend’s grandma… ON DAY ONE. I mean, I don’t *typically* turn down cookies, you guys.
Also, I was so sure of this need for a “challenge” that I never thought I’d be thinking about quitting as much as I did. At least once a day for the first two weeks I thought about giving in. I seriously considered it, almost every day. I wasn’t expecting that.
Oh, I also had a dream the second day of my Whole30 that I “accidentally” chugged a bottle of chocolate milk. You know, just casually chugged 16oz of chocolate milk… Because I do that normally? No, I don’t even typically drink normal chocolate milk so why the heck was I dreaming about it?
I wanted to get out of my comfort zone
And that I did, my friends. I didn’t test or bake any snacks, healthy desserts, treats, or anything like that for the blog for 30 days! Without a doubt a new record. I shared various meals with you, not just snacks (although I had to throw in some protein bars, duh) and had fun getting creative with this sandwich…
I also was out of my comfort zone when it came to breakfast and trying to limit my snacking. It’s easy for me to fall back on yogurt bowls and toast for breakfasts. But getting in savory breakfasts more often did help me feel satisfied and keep my sweet tooth in check (at least a little bit) throughout the day.
I was hoping for clearer skin and maybe some answers to digestive issues
This one is half and half. Did my skin clear up? Yes, for the most part.
REAL TALK: Day 1 of Whole30 was a few days before I started my period that month (perfect timing, I know *eyeroll*) so right on schedule like previous months, cystic acne on my chin appeared. I was less than pleased but I was also expecting it. Typically those will last anywhere from 7-10 days for me. This time around it lasted maybe four days. And wasn’t nearly as bad as the previous month.
During the third week I started seeing some blemishes again but I attributed that to the fact that I may have overdone it on some date-based snacks. This was the week I also let my water intake drop back down. And I noticed I started feeling a little bloated compared to where I felt during the first couple weeks.
As far as digestive issues go though I am not so sure. There were days my stomach felt horrible after eating certain vegetables (like bell peppers, oddly enough) and then the next day I was fine. And it wasn’t like the normal bloating discomfort you get from sometimes eating too many veggies. I actually felt great the first two weeks and not bloated at all. So I suppose I have more work to do as far as the digestive issues go. I did drink kombucha throughout the Whole30 and was so thankful that GT’s is *technically* compliant. Had it not been compliant, I honestly am not sure I would have followed that rule… juussttt being honest.
Questions I’ve been asked lately…
Would I do it again?
I can’t say that I would never do it again because I honestly never thought I’d be doing a Whole30 diet in the first place.
Was it worth it?
Overall, yes, I do think it was. Even if I don’t fully “see” all the results, I can say from a mental standpoint it was worth the challenge and growth for me.
Did I “cheat” or break the rules?
Mmmm I mean if you count the non-compliant dinner I had as cheating (on Day 27) then yes, I guess I cheated and broke the rules. But between my husband coming home with cookies, and me having to bake two different batches of cookies last month for others, I actually did not cheat in that regard. Not even a taste. And that was so freaking tough, you guys.
Oh funny story though… So I was at Whole Foods part way through my first week or possibly during my second week, I can’t quite recall. But I was there buying some compliant creamer I couldn’t find at Meijer. I noticed Kite Hill cheese was on sale and got really excited because I had been wanting to try it out. So of course like any Whole30er I immediately checked the ingredients list. I saw a few gums but remembered them being compliant. There were no added sugars, and everything else on the label checked out A-OK. So I happily added them to my basket. I even saw another two Whole30ers in the non-dairy milk section and we exchanged some words of encouragement and I shared with them the awesome Kite Hill cheese I found….
I get home and start researching more about Kite Hill cheese. I asked The Google “is Kite Hill Cheese Whole30 compliant” right as I decided to try a small taste, just to see if this product lived up to it’s hype. I was pleasantly surprised with the taste and as the search results popped up I figured I was in the clear…but NO, I WAS NOT. Sorry for the caps, still bitter. Apparently things like “cheese substitutes” or even non-dairy yogurts are not compliant because they’re trying too hard to be real cheese… or something like that. *insert eye roll here* Say what? I mean, I don’t even eat normal cream cheese! So this is where (as a healthy, real food advocate) I started getting annoyed again with the rules and decided some rules were meant to be broken. Mainly that was only because the the product was going to expire before I finished the Whole30 and I don’t like to waste food… 😀
Did I drink my coffee black?
Hellz to the no. I am a cafe au lait style coffee drinker. Meaning I like my coffee with my milk. I fill up my cup with about 1/3 of the way full of unsweetened almond or cashew milk, sometimes a splash of (sweetened) coffee creamer, warm it up and top my cup with coffee. I did attempt the “coconut cream” method for the first week, but it was kind of gross. And honestly, I’m not ready to give up coffee (or drink it black, I’ve tried, not gonna happen) and knew I’d be going right back to drinking my milky coffee post-Whole30. So when I found this handy document regarding compliant Whole30 addtives I bought my usual unsweetened almond milk and started enjoying my morning coffee again–usually with collagen peptides. I did kind of feel like I was cheating a bit at first, but when I felt like a normal person again during Week 2 I bought more almond milk.
Did I lose weight?
I don’t think so…? I wasn’t paying very close attention in that regard, not to mention dropping pounds wasn’t ever really a goal in the first place. Full disclosure: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for a couple less inches as a result of the last 30 days. Not to say I am not happy with my body and all that jazz… but I am human. And a woman who spent way too much time at one point in her life obsessing over food and exercise. That mindset doesn’t go away over night. And now that I have been back to fueling my body right over the past couple of years, I need new pants 🙂 Or I could just vow to only ever wear leggings and dresses forever…. too soon?
I’ll leave it at this as is for now (sorry for the wordy post–there was a lot to cover!), but be on the lookout for another Whole30 post in the coming weeks! I realized I still have some more things I want to share with you 🙂
Any questions? Comments? Let me know below!
Or feel free to shoot me an email 🙂 fitmittenkitchen(@)gmail(dot)com