So back in August I completed the Whole30 and I have been meaning to write a blog post about my overall experience but of course, life got in the way. My bad! I journaled how I was feeling throughout the whole experience (check them out here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, and the Reintroduction Phase) but, I wanted to dive deeper into some of the things I liked and didn’t like and if I would ever consider completing this miserable diet ever again.
So Why The Whole30?
My reason for doing the Whole30 in one sentence, because I was beyond obsessed and addicted to sugar and didn’t know how to control myself. I tried The 21 Day Fix earlier this year and managed to lose weight but I think because you have to measure your foods and are only allowed to eat a certain number of servings a day from each food group, it wasn’t sustainable for me. Because let’s be honest, I am lazy AF. I had also tried Weight Watchers but again, since I am lazy AF, I hated typing everything into my diary to see how many points I used. With the Whole30, you can eat as much food as you want, as long as it meets the specific criteria. Not to mention, there are so many recipes and shopping guides for the Whole30 on Pinterest. All I really had to do was find a recipe I liked and use the guide to go shopping.
My Favorite Resources
What I Liked.
So here are the things I did like on the Whole30….
For starters, I went to the gym a total of 2 times on the Whole30 and still managed to lose 11 pounds. Granted some of that was water weight but, I still lost weight. Prior to the Whole30, I was going to the gym 2 or 3 times a week and going to a spin class or long bike ride on the weekend but wasn’t really losing any weight. Probably because I was stuffing my face with cookies every night and justifying it with, ‘but I’m working out so it’s okay’. The Whole30 really showed me that, it’s not just about how often you work out or how many calories you burn working out, you have to eat the right food too.
Another thing that I loved was that I could eat as much as I wanted. Yes, I was limited as to what kinds of foods I could eat but I could still eat as much food as I wanted to. I mean I think I ate potatoes at almost every meal because it was the closest thing to pasta and bread that I could have. I also loved the fact that I didn’t have to measure anything or keep track of my calorie intake. I loathed that about my previous diets because it becomes such a pain in the ass and makes me not want to do it.
After the initial first few days of withdrawal hell, I felt really good. Instead of feeling sluggish and tired, I felt refreshed when I woke up and energized throughout the day. I continued to feel this way throughout the entire diet.
Pretty much all you can eat on the Whole30 is natural food and while it sucked, it felt like such a good change from all the sugary and processed food I had been eating. I never finished a meal feeling sick because everything I ate was natural, minimally processed food. I always felt good about what I was putting into my body and never, regretted eating anything.
What I Didn’t Like.
Of course, with positives come negatives. Here are the things that I didn’t like about the Whole30…
I seriously couldn’t eat like 95% of the food at the grocery store. Pretty much if it wasn’t found in the meat or produce department, I couldn’t eat it. I mean do you know how hard it is to find bacon with no added sugar? Well let me tell you, twenty labels and three grocery stores later, I found one brand! And it was twice as expensive as the other brands! It was super challenging to find prepared foods or minimally processed foods that were Whole30 friendly at the store but once I found something that was compliant and I liked it, I pretty much bought it every week.
So in theory, you can go out to eat on Whole30. You could eat at restaurants that serve sushi or Chipotle or most steakhouses but let’s be totally honest. Are you really going to want to sit with people eating rice and fried food and butter while you basically sit there eating protein and maybe some vegetables? Uh hell no! I went out to eat at a sushi restaurant once and was miserable the whole time because my boyfriend was chowing down on curry and rice while I was left eating chunks of tuna dipped in coconut amino acid. That being said, you basically have zero social life during the Whole30.
Another thing that I hated was the fact that there is zero cheating. It’s basically an all or nothing for 30 days. No cheat meals, no cheat days, I mean Jesus, not even a freaking cheat snack. Let’s be honest, sometimes after an awful day at work or when it’s that time of the month, you just want to relax and eat comfort food. But none of that here. Here, eat this Larabar because that’s the closest thing you’re going to get to dessert. Plus on top of that, you aren’t even supposed to replicate healthy versions of desserts.
I would say the worst part of the Whole30 was the awful mood I was in for almost an entire month. I found it so annoying and frustrating that I was constantly surrounded by food that I couldn’t eat. I would be eating my Epic Bar while watching people eat slices of cake, bread rolls, cheese. I mean all I wanted was a bite! Around 28 days in, I finally came to terms with how miserable my life was and I wasn’t in such an awful mood but at that point, I had two days left. Always such great timing.
So overall I realized how sugar was in basically all foods, including foods that shouldn’t have any sugar in them (um hello bacon?!). Pretty much if you aren’t buying it from the produce section or from the butcher, it probably has some form of added sugar in it. Now when I am going grocery shopping and I am buying a food or brand I don’t normally buy, I read the label just to see what the ingredients are. I still stick to mostly compliant Whole30 foods, with the exception of hummus and peanut butter. Oh and desserts because I am weak AF.
That leads me to my next lesson, bad foods are okay in moderation. Sure it probably wouldn’t be a good idea if I ate several spoonfuls of peanut butter every day, but if I ate a tablespoon or two with my banana some mornings, that’s okay. Living life on a constant diet like Whole30 or paleo is pretty unrealistic because life happens. Some days you don’t have time to meal prep or cook dinner or maybe you’re on vacation in France and they don’t have Whole30 compliant restaurants because of its freaking France and that’s okay. Just eat the damn croissant and walk it off.
So would I do the Whole30 again? Absolutely. Don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly challenging, frustrating and depressing most of the month but I felt very accomplished and good about my self after. I felt like my body needed a good reset and boy did it get it. I plan on doing shorter versions of the Whole30 in the future when I get back from vacation or after the holidays.
The biggest thing to remember is that a diet isn’t going to change your eating habits forever or keep the weight you have lost off. It is just a step in the right direction, towards a lifestyle change.