May 9, 2017

Why I Did Whole30 and Would I Do It Again?

Good morning, friends! I really meant to have this post finished a lot sooner but I'm actually pretty glad it took some time. I learned a bit more over the months after completing the Whole30 Challenge than I realized I would and had I made this post earlier, it would not be the same as it is today. That said, a lot of you have had questions for me and I promised I'd try to answer as many as possible so let's get started.

You can read each week's recap on my previous posts: WEEK 1, WEEK 2, WEEK 3 & WEEK 4.

Number 1 question I got asked was, "Why are you doing Whole30?"

I posted about it here but in short:
  • we were eating out too much as a family 
  • it was a personal challenge - I wanted to prove to myself I could do it
  • I wanted to get better at eating breakfast & I thought it would probably force me to


That looks so hard, how could you give up dairy?

Honestly, I thought this would be the hardest part of the 30 days. No cheese, no yogurt, no milk - I mean, I ate cheese with every meal so I knew this would be the worst. But it wasn't. I did miss it though, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't as hard as I made it out to be in my mind. So that was a nice surprise.

Then what was the hardest part of doing Whole30?

That depends. Hardest food wise? As in what was the thing I missed or craved the most?
Sugar.
And that was a shocker to me. I've always considered myself a salty over sweets person. I prefer biscuits and gravy to pancakes or waffles. I'd rather have a chips and salsa than a bowl of ice cream. And we just don't have a lot of sweets around so I didn't even consider sugar being hard.
I'm not sure if it was the fact that I couldn't have it that made me want it so badly (hi, I'm 5 or something) or the realization of how much sugar is in things and how it was added without me even knowing so I was actually eating more than I thought, thus making the lack of it what I craved. You guys, there is sugar in everything! Food I'd never expect! Like bacon, deli meat, some seasonings like garlic salt (what?!) and salsa. So that was an eye opener for sure.

But the hardest part of Whole30 in general?

All. The. Cooking.
Chopping.
Prepping.
Cleaning.
Y'all, I felt like I lived in the kitchen. Apparently it's easier if you spend a day prepping food for the week but I didn't do that. We did make use of leftovers, A LOT, but I just cooked how I normally would during the week, meal by meal.

Once all the prepping and cooking was complete, then it was time to wash all the dishes used. And then it was like I could go to the bathroom and then go right back to the kitchen for the next meal. haha. Maybe not that bad but I did miss the ease of ordering a pizza and using paper plates.

Did your cravings pass?

Yes and no. Initially I didn't crave much, other than sugar as mentioned earlier. Having all the fruit for breakfast was nice and since I never really ate breakfast regularly, I didn't crave much at breakfast.

Lunch wasn't too bad either. I definitely missed cheese on my salads or a bun with my hotdog but I wouldn't say I craved it. I just didn't think of it as an option so I kind of pushed it out of my head.

Dinner, however, I craved eating out. I missed someone cooking for me and the family. Eating whatever we chose from the menu, thus making everyone happy. And then not cleaning afterwards. I craved that the most. Especially by Friday.

My cravings came and went with the week. I would be super on track and have a great attitude Monday-Thursday. By Friday I wanted to give up and eat some pizza or a cheese enchilada. But willpower.



How many times did you think of food you couldn't eat?

Hmm, how many seconds are there in a day? Partially kidding on this one, I did sleep ;) But man, I thought about it a lot. My kids love oatmeal and since we bought the Instant Pot, I make it a lot more. Every time I would make them oats, or toast or pull out the cheese so they could put it on their salad or ketchup for their fries, putting jelly on their pj&j, watching the Taco Bueno commercial or any food commercial for that matter, driving down the street and passing all the restaurants, all the time. Food is everywhere! So yeah, I thought about it a lot but honestly tried not to.

Oh, and there may have been a few times I sniffed the bag of doritos just to get the essence of it. Shame.

Did you ever feel full?

No. Haha. Seriously though, no.
There would be times we'd finish a meal and I'd turn to my husband and say, "I'm still hungry, you?" It's amazing what some croutons can do to a salad or a slice of toast with eggs.

On that note, I think that's also a reason we started getting tired halfway through. I just don't think we were getting enough to sustain our energy, especially with working out every day. And y'all, I ate all the time so it's not like I felt like I should be eating more but I do think there are health benefits to wheat bread and grains or yogurt if you have no allergy or adverse side effects..

How much weight did you lose?

This is a funny one for me to answer because I didn't do the challenge to lose weight. Sure, I thought it would be nice to lose a couple pounds after all those holiday treats but that wasn't the goal so it weirds me out when people assume that's the only reason someone would do the challenge. Not only that, but I also worked out during the challenge. I try to stay active and in goodish shape but I joined a friend in this 12 week fitness challenge and it is intense! It puts my Jillian videos to shame! Anyway, all that to say, I lost 5 pounds in those 30 days.



How much weight did you gain back?

It's been a few months since doing Whole30 and I haven't gained any back.

What were the best/cheapest places to shop?

There were four stores I hit up each week during Whole30: Aldi, Trader Joe's, Sprouts and Reasors.
  • Aldi: good prices on produce, guacamole, nuts, oils and nut butters.
  • Trader Joe's: they have a some random little treats that really added ease or flavor to ordinary meals like, riced cauliflower, saurkraut, seasoning blends, plantain chips and shrimp stir-fry.
  • Sprouts: not the best for normal grocery shopping but I'd check their weekly ad for sales and their produce prices were tough to beat and the quality is super.
  • Reasors: our local grocery store, they have their own farms so I like buying our meats here.


You mentioned you felt a lot better, are there any other benefits you noticed?

Yes!
  • Definitely sleep. I've never slept so soundly.
  • I also noticed a more sustained energy level throughout the day.
  • I honestly feel happier too. Working out everyday, eating healthier, it just feels better.
  • I am now a "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" believer! It only took me 35 years to learn that one but Food is Fuel y'all.


What's the first thing you'll eat when it's over?

Chips and salsa. Plantain chips are good for Whole30 but they don't stand a chance next to restaurant chips and hot salsa. I eat chips and salsa as a snack nearly every day. 30 days without my favorite snack had me ready to dive head first into a vat of salsa and swim in a sea of salty chips. I can eat an embarrassing amount of chips and salsa and that is just what I did when we ended Whole30. Apparently there's a easing back into normal life plan after Whole30 but I did not follow that. 30 days was good.




Is there anything you'll continue now that's Whole30 is over?

  • Yes, breakfast every day. 
  • Less sugar. Having been off sugar for 30 days and then reintroducing it, perhaps a little too aggressively,  I quickly learned that sugar affects me the most. It honestly makes me feel like crap. A little bowl of ice cream, not big deal. But a little bowl of ice cream and a brownie - almost makes me feel like I'm getting the flu. No lie.
  • And with that, yep, I still drink my coffee black. I know, ew, gross bean juice, but it's not so bad. I do put a little milk or almond milk in it from time to time but no sugar. It just doesn't take good enough to make me feel sick.
  • More sweet potatoes. I never realized how much I like them! Roasted sweet potato fries, baked sweet potatoes, leftover sweet potatoes with eggs for breakfast. They're good.
  • Finding all those produce deals! I love getting my weekly ads to see what we'll be eating the next week. 
  • Less eating out. It's expensive. It's funny when you finally get to go back out to eat at a restaurant and nothing tastes good. Sad. But seriously. My enchilada was bland, the pizza was disappointing, the sandwich was lacking. Simple, real food is so full of flavor. However, the bread I got at Panera was what dreams are made of. And restaurant chips and salsa, I could eat it every day so when I do go out I will be looking for healthier options on the menu.


Will you do Whole30 again?

No. I am so glad I did it. In fact, I would recommend it to anyone. Spending 30 days eating real, unprocessed food will teach you so much about your body and willpower. For me, Whole30 was all about getting healthier and not about losing weight. You don't have to want to lose weight to do Whole30, just like you don't have to want to lose weight to work out so I'd encourage anyone to do it. But don't do it for 5 days and say it was easy and then quit. That's not going to teach you anything. I know because I did it before.

What won't you continue from Whole30?

No dairy, no grains, no legumes.
I am not lactose intolerant and I love cheese and I like yogurt for breakfast so I will enjoy eating those. I also feel more energetic when I have some whole grains in my diet. Like granola with my yogurt and fruit for breakfast. Or an egg with my toast. Theses foods don't impact me in a negative way so I'm fine keeping them in the rotation.



WHEW!

So that's that. More info than you probably cared to know but I tried to answer all the questions. And thank you to all of you that left me encouraging comments throughout the month - they meant a lot and helped me make it through, you guys rock!

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