I am officially one third of the way through my Whole30 program. Today is day eleven, meaning that I have ten cheat-free days behind me. For anyone who is not aware of what the Whole30 is, it is essentially a thirty day paleo diet. It is grain, legume, dairy, and added-sugar free. The goal is to eliminate common inflammatory foods, feel really great after, and slowly introduce those food groups (if you wish) after thirty days to see if you have any sort of reaction to it. You can read more about it here.
I’m going to make do a blog post for every third of the program I complete, to keep everyone updated on how I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and what changes I’ve noticed. Let’s get started with the first ten days!
How I’ve Felt
Overall I have felt really great. The first couple of days I had a bit of a headache and found myself incredibly tired by the time seven in the evening rolled around. I also felt a little bloated and uncomfortable. This is common, they say, for anyone who is experiencing withdrawal symptoms during the program. I didn’t think I was consuming that many added sugars in my diet until I looked at bottles of sauce and dressing. I also work as a manager of a bakery production kitchen so I think I was nibbling and tasting more than I realized (and more than necessary). Once I started to get my energy back I was feeling really great. The entire thing felt easy. They say that people quit most often around days ten to eleven which I can totally understand since yesterday I felt a little bit bored with the entire thing. However I can happily report that, for the most part, I’ve been feeling happier, healthier, and better overall.
What I’ve Eaten
I have kept my meals fairly simple. I noticed on blogs and websites before I started the program that people were creating these elaborate Whole30 meals to get them through. I didn’t, and still don’t, find that necessary for two reasons:
1. Once you take bread and a few sauces out of my meals, they were generally Whole30 compliant so I didn’t feel the need to get much fancier.
2. I feel that the simpler I keep this thing, the better. It feels like there will be a better chance of giving up if it always requires elaborate meal planning and prep.
I eat a lot of eggs, meat, and vegetables. I try to stick to two servings of fruit a day to keep a regulated blood sugar level but sometimes I have three. I use coconut oil for most of my cooking unless I’m cooking a meal for both Sam (who is not doing the program) and myself in which case I use olive oil. I’ve swapped spices for sauces and I was using coconut milk in my coffee anyways so that hasn’t changed a thing. My plates tend to be half to three quarters vegetables and some sort of protein filling the rest of it out. It’s worked and I’m sticking to it.
What’s Changed so Far
I’ve noticed minor body changes including looking slightly slimmer but this could be completely psychosomatic. I did break one of the Whole30 rules which was to not weigh or measure yourself during the entire thirty days. They say this because your body is changing and adapting to this new regime which may result in bloating and weight gain at times. Stepping on the scale and seeing a higher number could be enough to discourage you from continuing if you’re already feeling tired, headachy, and generally shitty about the whole thing. It can also deter you from focusing on how you feel during the thirty days and instead send you back into an unhealthy habit of looking at the scale only. However, I knew that there was a chance I could weigh more, and I knew I was feeling better and I was noticing positive changes happening, so I didn’t really care about the number. After six days, I had gained five pounds. Three days later I had lost them again. This is why they say to not weigh yourself, you see. In all honesty I’m going to continue to do so because I want to see how my body changes, and at what stage it does so most rapidly, during the thirty days. Sorry, Whole30 purists!
Beyond the weight thing, my moods have definitely changed. I feel calmer, more grounded, and way more in control. I suffer from horrific mood swings at times and I have taken huge strides in trying to minimize them. I have had only a couple moments that were more emotional than normal and even then, they weren’t as terrible as they have been in the past. This is the biggest change I’ve seen.
The Biggest Challenge I’ve Faced
As I said previously, I work in a bakery. I am surrounded by grains and dairy every single day. I have delicious baked goods at my disposal at all times. I also manage it so I can easily excuse a nibble as quality control. My coworkers have been fantastic, though, and are all aware of what I’m doing and have been completely supportive. I hate to sound high and mighty here, though, because even working in the bakery hasn’t been that tough. It’s simply been the toughest part.
My Advice to Others so Far
Do your research beforehand and tell everyone you know what you’re doing. Make sure you know what you can and cannot eat and prepare for that. If this means cleaning out your fridge and pantry beforehand, do that. You need to shop appropriately to have a well-stocked kitchen at your disposal. If you find yourself hungry and you need to run out to grab something Whole30 compliant, you’re more likely to cheat. Prepare yourself for success.
I’ve found that having everyone know what I’m doing has been important as well so that they’re not surprised if I ask for certain things at dinner time or say I can’t go out to eat. It also prepares them for a moment when I decline an item and they understand why I’ve done so. Also, support support support! It goes a long way.
Overall this has been a great experience so far and I’m really excited to see how it goes for the next twenty days. I’ll keep you posted on everything and I hope to hear some feedback from you as well if you’ve ever done the Whole30!