My Whole30 – Highlights, Tips and How Much I Lost

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On Tuesday I completed my first Whole30. If you aren’t familiar with the Whole30 program by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, it’s a 30 day reset where you eliminate alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, sugar (real and artificial), and harmful food additives (carrageenan, MSG, sulfites) – learn more about it here.  Basically, what you are left with are whole, unprocessed foods that allow your gut to heal, which is crucial to healthy immune responses and overall health.

Completing this program has taught me so many things about what foods truly make me feel my best and has helped me beat my snack monster into submission.

If you haven’t already, check out my previous posts that detail what I ate, how I felt and what helped me each week of the program. Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4. Days 29 & 30 weren’t included in my last post, but they went smoothly and I enjoyed food on the grill on Memorial Day and made Magic Wings for my graduation dinner on Tuesday night.

Here are some things I learned, helpful tips and some highlights from the last 30 days:

Things I learned about myself

  • I realized that the iced coffee I was drinking before was just as much about the sugar as it was the coffee. I am actually enjoying the flavor of coffee more now and I’m pickier about what kind we buy because I want it to taste good just as it is, without the added cream and sugar.
  • I’m in love with eggs. Especially fried with a little ghee.  Eggs are the most wonderful, versatile food on the planet.
  • I was a serious snack-a-holic.  I cannot believe how much longer snacks stick around in our house when I’m not eating them.  If I have a snack now, it’s seaweed, dill pickles or a Larabar.

Non-Scale Victories

  • I’ve been having some unexplained joint pain over the last year.  Within 4 days of being on the Whole30 it was gone.
  • After the initial first few days, my energy kept increasing.  I have more energy now than I can remember having in quite awhile.
  • I have struggled with breakouts forever, but ever since I had my son, it’s become a serious battle.  Between using the Fat Face Skincare I posted about last month and this program, my skin is dramatically improved.
  • I have more patience to deal with stressful situations that I did before.  I can stay calm and not lose my cool, which has always been hard for me.
  • My overall attitude has improved.  I’m smiling more and enjoying life without the aches and pains and low energy.
  • My sleep quality is so much better.  I hit the pillow and I’m asleep and it’s a deep, dreamy sleep that allows me to wake up feeling rested.
  • My appetite is completely regulated.  I feel like someone turned on the switch that lets me know when I’m actually hungry and I can stop eating when I’m full.
  • I have never thought of myself as someone who likes sweets, but I had some serious sugar cravings in the first week of this program.  I didn’t realize how often I was treating myself with sweets before the Whole30, especially sweetened ice coffees and chocolate.  My cravings for sugary snacks and drinks are gone.

Ok, fine, the question everyone really wants to know is “How much weight did you lose?” The answer is 11 pounds. I’m super excited about that too ♥.

My Favorite Meal

Crispy eggs and butternut squash. This was honestly my favorite meal of the entire 30 days, it was a perfect combination of flavors and textures. Crispy eggs are always good and I pan-fried some butternut squash that I had previously roasted to go along with it. The butternut squash was wonderfully crispy and delicious. It also had a lot to do with the ghee that I use, Tin Star Foods Buerre Noisette.  It’s brown butter ghee that is completely dairy free and makes everything taste amazing!

My Least Favorite Meal

Buffalo chicken, roasted Brussells sprouts and hard-boiled eggs. Sometimes leftovers are just not meant to be mixed together. I like all of these foods individually, but together they just did not work.

Tips & Tricks for your Whole30

  • Familiarize yourself with the Whole30 Timeline.  It really does help knowing what to expect.
  • Every meal does not have to be the most amazing thing you have ever eaten.  Just get some veggies, protein and a healthy fat on your plate.
  • Get creative with spices. I fell in love with Pele’s Fire Hawaiian from Aloha Spice Company and Magic Mushroom Powder from Nom Nom Paleo. Find a blend or make your own. We like things really flavorful and spicing things up kept our food from being boring.
  • Pick 5 go-to meals and rotate them regularly. For me those were Crispy Eggs, Easy Breakfast Casserole, Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup, grass-Fed hot dogs + roasted veggies and a simple salad.
  • Breakfast foods don’t need to be for breakfast and the same goes for lunch and dinner foods.
  • You’ll find that while recipes can be fun to try, your everyday meals don’t need a recipe.  After your first week or so, you’ll find yourself using a template.  Ours went something like this – What protein are we going to have? Ok, how are we going to season it? What veggie will be our side? How will we cook it? What cooking fat will we use?

So what now? At some point I will follow their re-introduction where I specifically eat the foods I’ve removed one at a time and see how they make me feel. I’m not quite ready to do that yet, I’m really enjoying how I feel while eating Whole30 compliant foods and don’t have plans to stop eating this way anytime soon.

Have you done a Whole30? Please share any additional tips you have in the comments!

Eating Real Food for Health & Happiness

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19 comments

  1. Having done the whole 30 as well at the end of last year I’m so glad that you’ve seen some massive changes. My biggest ones were energy levels, my skin cleared up and all of those horrible spots on the back of my arms disappeared. The biggest eye-opener was when I actually did have some sugar and the terrible exhaustion it made me feel immediately afterwards! Well done on making it to the end – it isn’t easy!!!!

    ~Lucy

  2. Congrats! Those are some great results… I really need to do this! It’s been months since I read the book and there will never be an easy time to start.

    1. Thank you Christine! I would definitely recommend giving it a shot. I know what you mean about finding the right time, it took me a year before I found a time I thought would work. The Whole30 also has a new book that has everything you need to know about the program all in one place, which I found so helpful.

  3. I’m so glad I came across this post! I am due any day now and have been thinking about doing Whole 30 after I settle into motherhood. I’ll definitely be checking out all of your Whole 30 posts.

  4. Wow, way to go! That is some serious commitment, you should be proud of yourself! I’ve changed the way I eat a lot, and my mid-section definitely showed some improvement. I’m impressed you were able to go to straight black coffee and you don’t miss the cream?? I need cream! 🙂 Keep it up!

  5. I am seeing it has been almost a year since this post. How has life been for you over the past year? Have you maintained a paleo lifestyle? Have you done anymore rounds of w30? Any additional nsv? Of even sv? I finished my whole30 in March and we are very aware of what we eat, but it seems a little bit of a struggle to maintain an active social life while doing another round of whole30

    1. Hi Lisa! Yes, I’ve maintained the paleo lifestyle since my first Whole30 just about a year ago. The W30 really solidified for me that eating paleo is really what makes me feel my best. I did 2 more rounds of Whole30 last year and am about 3/4 done with round 4 right now. I find that after a few months of eating paleo, I am indulging in too much gluten free food, occasional dairy becomes twice a week dairy and I go back to the W30 before I veer too far off from my health goals. My NSV have continued and I’ve become so acutely aware of what I should be eating to feel my absolute best, which I find really empowering. As for SV – I’ve lost a total of 35 lbs from eating paleo and doing the Whole30 in the last year. For activity, I walk and I love it. No special equipment and you can do it anywhere. Social life is hard on W30, I try to time ours the best I can between holidays/social events, but there’s bound to be something that comes up. I keep my purse stocked with Larabars, Epic bars and almonds all the time, just in case. Please let me know if you have any other questions. If you’re looking for more Whole30 recipes/tips I’ve created a Whole30 page (in the menu) that has all things W30 there 🙂

  6. My partner and I just finished a whole 30 ……it was so awesome! It takes a lot of thinking initially but does get easier and making extra and freezing is a huge help. You get into a routine pretty quick. My partner lost 4K and is pain free. I, on the other hand, gained a little. I was using way to much butter on my veg etc and too much coconut oil. I also Overdid Lara bars and dates! I had never had medjool dates before and fell in love!

    We intend for the whole30 to be our preferred way of eating ….except for planned variations for social things.

    You get such an appreciation for whole food ……

    1. Hi Audrey! Sorry, your comment got marked as spam for some reason, so I’m just now seeing this. Congrats on finishing the Whole30, it’s definitely not easy! Yes, it was so eye opening to see all the different types of fruits and vegetables we hadn’t tried. It’s opened up a whole new world to us 🙂

  7. So thankful I found your post. The week to week diary of meals and moods is most helpful. I am gearing up to start tomorrow and have a better idea of what to expect and how to make the next month easier. Thank you again for your time. Stay tuned….I’ll be back in 30.