My Whole 30 Experience: How I Survived (& Loved!) 90 Days
In January of 2015 I was contemplating starting my first Whole 30. I was intrigued. I’m sure I was probably a little intimidated. I was not committed. Just pondering it.
I went to my usual hot yoga class. There’s nothing like doing burpees in a 100 degree sweat box to make you seriously contemplate your life. After class the subject of Whole 30 came up while I was in conversation with two of my best friends. One of them had a brother who completed the program. She thought it sounded crazy. Suddenly I was all in. That’s just how I work. I’m not sure what that says about me.
I left the gym and headed straight to the grocery store with my two kids. I was sweaty, exhausted, and hungry.
And so it began.
Whole 30 isn’t easy. Let’s just start there. Until you completely eliminate sugar from your life for a few weeks you will not understand how dependent your body is on it. Going without grains and dairy is tough but nothing compares to the loss of sugar. You, like me, may be someone who doesn’t even love sweets. I’d pick something salty over something sweet any day of the week. Friend, I speak the truth here. It will blow your mind to learn how brands include sugar in EVERYTHING. We are a nation with a full blown addiction to sugar and most of us do not even know it.
The first week was the hardest for me. It was brutal. My body was dragging because it was so accustomed to using sugar as a source of energy. Without it I was a pretty worthless human being. I started to get in my groove in week two and was even noodling with the idea of stretching out my Whole 30 for 60 days.
I spent A LOT of time in the kitchen. Basically any time I could force myself to my feet I was making a meal. And I loved it. The dishes, not so much. I tirelessly documented my meals on my Instagram account. Doing so really made me accountable not just to myself but also to other Whole 30 participants.
Then day 11 came. I had an event to attend. Lunch was being served. Mmm what are the odds that Whole 30 options would be included? Zilch. I brought an Apple Pie Larabar with me (one of my favorite go-to snacks) but I wasn’t as prepared as a I should have been.
I was able to eat the side salad with a squeeze of lemon. Lettuce, shredded carrots, two teeny tomatoes, and lemon. It tasted as terrible as it sounds. Anyone who tells you that is delicious is no friend of mine. I drank a cup of black coffee. Also disgusting. I suffered. That was my first lesson in planning ahead. I should have brought my own salad dressing and filled up with a quick bite before I arrived. But I survived.
Week three and four were a piece of cake. A delicious flour-free, sugar-free, dairy-free piece of cake. Does that even exist? If so, I’m fairly sure I don’t want it. Nonetheless the last two weeks were actually great. I knew what I was doing at this point. I was enjoying trying new recipes and was comfortable ordering out in restaurants. I became the girl who brought her own plantain chips to Mexican restaurants. I still am. I’d basically become a one woman self-appointed ambassador for Whole 30. My friends and family knew everything about it because I was shouting from the rooftops. They may very well have grown tired of me but in my Whole 30 high I didn’t even notice.
When I completed the 30 days I was so excited to share my results. I had gone four weeks without stepping on that scale and I was ready. The wait was worth it. I lost 9 lbs. My non-scale victories included kicking my addiction to sweet drinks (namely vanilla lattes and sweet tea), developing the habit of eating breakfast in the morning, and I saw an improvement in the year round congestion I suffered from.
I was hooked. I wanted to do another 30 days but I was worried I wouldn’t last that long so I committed to another 15. At day 45 I increased my commitment to 60 days. And then it was 90 days.
Over my Whole 90 I lost a total of 20 lbs. 9 lbs in the first 30 days, 4 in the second 30 days, and 7 in the last 30 days. I had always been a big believer in the power of a colorful plate, but I had completely transformed my relationship with food. Through this experience I was able to identify that dairy is what was causing my chronic congestion. My husband, who has never been a healthy eater, even became a believer in the importance of eliminating processed food. We became a family who reads labels. We became a family who knows better. We became a family who does better.
My parents, sister, and several friends have since tackled the Whole 30 program. A few friends asked me to participate in another round after the holidays. I agreed because that super sweetened coffee has crept back into my morning routine. If it was just one cup it would be fine. But it’s three. Gulp. So I am currently in my fourth Whole 30. It’s day 8. 8:45 AM. Is it time for a nap?
Are you completing a Whole 30? Check out my tips to make eating out a breeze. I promise it’s possible to leave a restaurant feeling satisfied and not deprived!