Guys, guess what? I made it! This past Tuesday was officially the last day of my Whole 30.
Unless you’re new around these parts (which if you are, welcome! so glad you’re here) you’ve probably heard about my adventures in Whole 30-ing. For anyone wanting a refresher, the Whole 30 is a 30 day dietary “reset” where you eliminate all added sugar, dairy, grains, legumes and alcohol. The idea is that these are inflammatory ingredients that can affect your health in numerous ways, and by eliminating them you can discover how they affect your body. Another big part of the Whole 30 is focusing on eating 3 meals a day that are built around protein, complex carbs, veggies and healthy fats. To learn a little more about the program here are the official rules.
I thought the best way to evaluate whether I felt the program was success was to compare how I feel now to my original reasons I wanted to start before I began a month ago:
Stomach Cramps/Feeling Bloated
My stomach cramps and gas was becoming a daily occurrence and it was one of my biggest motivators to re-examine my diet. I still occasionally will get stomach cramps after eating a lot of fruit, but on the whole they’ve gone way down. Before the Whole 30 I’d have at least one apple every day and usually a quest bar. While I’m definitely not saying apples are bad, I think my body has a difficult time digesting them. Now that I’ve cut down on snacks including the cutting out the quest bars and cutting down on the daily apples I’ve noticed a big difference in feeling bloated, especially at work.
Snacks I used to eat daily before starting the Whole 30.
Feeling Unsatisfied After Meals
Before the Whole 30 I’d usually finish a meal and either still feel hungry or feel full but not satisfied. I’m not sure exactly why. I think it has something to do with the fact I was eating lots of small meals throughout the day, but not the right combination of fats, proteins and complex carbs to be truly satisfied. But I’m happy to report that I’ve felt much better after eating. I no longer need a mini dessert or sweet snack after each meal.
This is probably the biggest change I’ve seen. My sugar cravings are almost entirely gone. My morning smoothie routine is definitely the sweetest thing I consume (aside from Bai) during the day. At night I’m usually able to remind myself that I can hold off until morning comes. It feels pretty fantastic not to crave sugar in the afternoon or feel the need to snack for energy. If you’re feeling like you want to kick your sugar habits defintiely consider the Whole 30.
I’ll be totally honest, I still don’t have as much energy as I would like. I don’t know whether that’s due to my diet or in part due to the bleak weather we’ve been suffering through in Boston. I only drink one cup of coffee a day and I don’t feel like I’m going to crash at 3pm, but I’m definitely not exploding with energy either.
Late Night Snacking
This really goes hand in hand with the sugar cravings but I’m SO proud to say my late night snacking is virtually non-existant. I used to have a small to medium snack usually granola, chocolate, nut butter and yogurt right before bed. It went from being an occasional treat to being a nightly occurrence even when I wasn’t hungry. I’ve been getting better sleep and waking up more refreshed now that I don’t eat right before bed. A big part of cutting down this habit was taking time to make dinners that I really wanted, savoring them as I ate them and then “closing” the kitchen after dinner. Another tip to try is brushing your teeth after dinner, which can help you mentally stop eating for the day.
Jeans Feeling Snug
I didn’t weigh myself before I started because I don’t have a scale and haven’t stepped on one for over a year, but I was hoping that with all these changes I might feel a difference in how my jeans fit. I’m not sure if it’s just mental, but I feel a slight difference. I didn’t really see any changes until the fourth week, so if you’re doing the Whole 30 don’t expect to see results right away, be patient because you’re doing it the right way.
Some of my favorite Whole 30 meals
All in All
I’d say this was a successful program and I’m very happy I did it. More than the elimination of things like dairy and grains, I think eliminating sugar and focusing on eating 3 meals built around nutrient dense proteins, carbs and fats is the most beneficial part of the program. So if you’re looking for something a little less extreme start focusing on cutting down your sugar and focusing on what you SHOULD be eating versus what you SHOULDN’T be eating.
It’s not a perfect cure-all and I think some of their claims are a little extreme at least for people who eat a moderately healthy diet already. I also don’t love how EXTREME they are about all the rules, but I think it’s a good way to keep yourself accountable and really stick with it. I don’t love labeling foods as “bad” because it can be triggering to anyone who has had a history of disordered eating.
Because of how many great changes I’ve made I really want to keep up this style of eating for the foreseeable future. I may occasionally indulge in some dairy or incorporate unprocessed grains here and there, but for the most part when I’m cooking for myself (which is 90% of the time) I’ll be following the structure of the Whole 30.
- Do you prefer 3 bigger meals or more smaller meals? (I think I prefer 3 meals)
- What’s one food you’d never want to give up? (for me it would be almond butter or avocados)