I did it! I survived 30 days on the Whole 30 diet! I started this journey because I wanted to have more energy. I was taking naps everyday and was completely exhausted. I do have two young kids so I wasn’t sure if I would actually get more energy because they are pretty exhausting themselves (especially when they don’t sleep through the night!). I also wanted to lose a little of the baby weight. I had 15 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight for baby 2 and another 10 pounds to lose to get back to pre-pregnancy weight from my first (but I got pregnant right after being in the best shape of my life and having run half marathons so that is a big stretch goal).
I admit that I was super skeptical at first. But I’m happy to share that I did really see increased energy levels. I had more energy over the past four weeks then I think I’ve had in a LONG time. In fact, I actually stopped taking naps!!! This was a huge victory to me because I would barely be able to survive the day without a nap!
The Whole 30 program is all about the Non-scale victories (NSV) because you aren’t supposed to weigh yourself during the program. So besides the increased energy, I also noticed that my joints hurt a little less. Prior to starting the Whole 30, I was noticing a lot of pain in my joints, especially at night. Some nights it would keep me up because it was pretty painful. After completing the program, I have noticed that my joints don’t hurt as much. In fact, when I lay down to go to sleep, I am out almost immediately! I used to take a while to fall asleep but lately I’ve had no problem (I’m sure the sleep deprivation plays a part though).
I was curious what other NSV I would have. I’ve heard about skin clearing up and things like that but I have never really had a problem with my skin. However, my arms do tend to be red majority of the time. This was one NSV that I was curious if it would improve or not but sadly my arms are still red (well red bumps). I didn’t really notice any stomach improvements but I’m curious when I start the reintroduction phase, how that will play out. I was gassier than I usually am which was frustrating (and sorry about TMI). A surprising NSV was that I was able to recover from illness quicker. I got a cold while on the program and normally it would take me a week or two to recover but this time I was feeling better within a few days.
Now onto the SCALE victory….I lost ELEVEN pounds!! I’m only four pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight – woohoo! I honestly never thought losing 11 pounds would be so “easy”. I say “easy” because it was definitely hard at first but once I got going, it got much easier. I used to think you should only lose like a pound per week otherwise it wasn’t healthy but with this diet, I never went hungry and I ate really good food. It’s so interesting the kind of affect sugar can have on the body. By not eating sugar, I was able to shed those pounds that were hanging on.
*Confession time – I did weigh myself through the program even though you aren’t supposed to. I got into the habit of weighing myself everyday while pregnant so I have just sort of continued on. I lost the majority of the weight the first two weeks. In fact, I was shedding like one pound per day. But then I plateaued and stayed steady, sometimes gaining a pound or so. Towards the end I was able to shed a couple additional pounds. Even though I weighed myself and you aren’t supposed to, I also paid attention to how my clothes were fitting and they were definitely getting looser. I didn’t take any before and after photos but my stomach is definitely looking less pudgy than it was before.
I’m definitely on board with the Whole 30 program now, despite being skeptical at first. I do question some of the things though. Was my weight loss really because of the program or just because I got rid of alcohol and chips? Was the increased energy because of the program or because I wasn’t drinking alcohol at night so I was sleeping better or because I was diligent with taking my prenatal vitamins and Vitamin D? I guess my main question is if I still ate healthy but didn’t restrict my self from certain things like dairy or legumes, would I have still seen the benefit? Do you really have to follow such a strict diet to see the benefits? Also, if my baby had been sleeping through the night, I wonder how much better I would be feeling and I’m sure it would have been a dramatic improvement!
While I am questioning some things, I am still really happy I did it. One reason is because I am motivated by goals. I have been saying all along that I should stop eating chips and desserts so often but I never could get myself to stop. By being forced to follow strict guidelines, I was able to stop. A few times throughout I wanted to cheat and go get a McDonald’s egg biscuit or a Dunkin Donuts donut but I didn’t because I wasn’t allowed to. At first, not being allowed to eat something was really difficult emotionally but then it become easier and I appreciated having limits. (*Side note is that I did cheat a couple of times…I had two bags of popcorn when I was sick, I had two bags of Skittles to treat overnight lows and I did have a piece of cake at a birthday party. I also ate a TON of Larabars which are supposed to be reserved for emergencies but I needed them to get through the day when my son wasn’t sleeping overnight).
One thing this program got me to do was to cook more. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to cook more and try new recipes and I definitely accomplished that. Here is a list of all the recipes we tried over the last 30 days (ranked in order of my favorites to least favorites):
- Harvest Grilled Chicken Salad (Whole 30 book)
- Grilled Coconut-Curry Chicken (Whole 30 book)
- Thai Cucumber Cups (Whole 30 book)
- Spicy Tuna Cakes (NomNomPaleo Blog)
- Walnut-Crusted Pork Tenderloin (Whole 30 book)
- Tandoori Chicken with Curry Cauliflower Rice (Well Fed Blog)
- Diner Breakfast: Eggs, Sausage and Home Fries (Whole 30 book)
- Spinah Frittata (Whole 30 book)
- Pulled Pork Carnitas (Whole 30 book)
- Kitchen Sink Scrambled Eggs (Whole 30 book)
- Melissa’s Chicken Hash (Whole 30 book)
- Grilled Steak with Garlic-Shallot Puree and Avocado (Whole 30 book)
We also tried veggie noodles and cauliflower rice and made our own ketchup! It was definitely cool to try new recipes and I think we gained some new knowledge on how to cook better.
The program was definitely hard. I am lucky that I don’t get sick of food too quickly. My husband never wants to see another egg again, while I have started to crave eggs. We also ate a lot of potatoes which I NEVER did before and now I crave those too. The hardest part of the program was probably all of the cooking and cleaning we had to do. The first week while we got our act together was especially tough because we were CONSTANTLY in the kitchen. After we started to get a groove going, we were able to make enough for leftover and prep food ahead of time so it was less daunting and less time per day in the kitchen.
My husband and I have been talking and I think we are going to try and do a 90/10 or 80/20 version of the Whole 30 where we eat compliant foods 90% of the time. I’m not quite sure how its going to pan out but I’m not opposed to doing another round of the Whole 30 if I need to. I am looking forward to having the occasional glass of wine or a piece of chocolate.
Here is a recap of my Whole 30 experience:
My husband also did the Whole 30 program with me so I wanted to share his “diary” of his experience. It’s pretty funny to read. He ended up losing at least 10 pounds, he didn’t weigh before we started but during the program. *Warning a little bit of language.
Extreme fatigue. No muscle strength, just want to sleep all day. Several days of this. Sucked ass. F*ck this. I want a beer.
Mon 2/6: (Day 8)
Discovered I could make my own salad dressing, homemade ketchup. Got over the food is super bland issue. Grilled burgers. More optimistic now.
Tues 2/7: (Day 9)
FEELING GREAT TODAY!
Didn’t get much sleep at all overnight, Baby woke up 3am. During the day I felt great though… energy is coming back, didn’t feel hungry. In fact didn’t snack at all… only one Larabar for my 3am breakfast!
Wed 2/8: (Day 10)
FEELING GREAT TODAY!
Weight in morning: Down 5 pounds
Still not much sleep overnight, woke up about 4am, Baby woke up a lot overnight. Still feeling good today, lots of energy and can focus. More so than usual. Can focus well. Did coffee + coconut oil, larabar for breakfast at 4am. Had chicken hash for breakfast – was a small portion, not enough. Ate a larabar about 10:30am.
Lunch was too small too… got hungry in the afternoon, ate cashews and an apple.
Kel: she’s feeling really lethargic today. Had her test ketones, she’s 1.2 mmol/L. Had a high this morning. Worried about this.
Thurs 2/9: (Day 11)
Slept really poorly due to baby. Did okay, ate a couple Larabars. Really tired but still mentally awake and productive. Forgot to put oil in my coffee, seemed a little foggier than normal. Slept in accidentally too which always messes me up.
Friday 2/10: (Day 12)
Another terrible night; Baby up almost every hour, then toddler had a nightmare. Woke up at 3am b/c I had a lot to get done. Two larabars in the morning (from 3am to breakfast about 7am). Feeling really alert mentally though… did the oil in my coffee thing.
Saturday 2/11 (Day 13)
Headed to DC to visit Joe. Not sure if I’ll cheat or not…
Sunday 2/12 (Day 14)
Tired today. Snacked a lot. Kel sick with a cold.
Monday 2/13 (Day 15)
Woke up 2am. Really windy outside. Baby has been out cold since 7pm?! Who is this kid? What changed? No solid food tonight, forgot. Related?
Last several days we’ve been doing well. I’m not really craving anything. Have noticed more breakouts where I shave. Related?
Make awesome chicken on the grill. F*ck yeah good.
Last week has been awful. Baby’s been sick, waking up every couple of hours then needing an hour or more to get back down to sleep. We’ve been sticking to the diet though. I’m down 8 more lbs, which is great. And despite me snacking a lot (mostly Larabars, Apples/Applesauce, Cashews).
Salad Dressing: Olive oil and apple cider vinegar