Hey guys - it's finally here! I'm wrapping up my Whole30 series after completing the program back in January, and today I'll be sharing my overall results and reintroduction process. You can read more about why I decided to do Whole30 here and catch up on the weekly updates here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4.
I loved sharing these updates and got several questions and great feedback from y'all! I even had a few people message me to say that they were starting Whole30 and that my posts were helpful through the process - that makes me so happy to hear because I want this information to be useful for you guys! I think the best way to share my results is to answer some questions I've gotten from y'all, so let's talk about my overall experience with Whole30:
How much weight did you lose? This is the number one question I got, and while I know the weight loss is really important to some people, I want to remind you that Whole30 is about so much more than weight loss - read more about that here. With that being said, I lost 8 pounds and couldn't be happier with those results. I also started training for a half marathon while doing Whole30, so I feel like I lost a lot more than 8 because I gained more muscle!
What were some of your non scale victories? Oh goodness - where do I even start?! No headaches, no abdominal pain, no digestive issues, glowing skin, better sleep, less bloated, more energy (which helped me be more active and exercise more), more focused, less foggy in the mornings, no sickness, no afternoon fatigue, no food hangovers or comas (you know how you feel after you eat a grease bomb meal), healthier relationship with food, and overall just a happier, more satisfied person!
Is it hard? Yes and no. I realize that's a wishy washy answer but that's truly how I feel. Is it hard because it's challenging? Yes. Is it hard because it requires a lot of preparation? Yes. Is is hard because your mind tells you that you need sugar to be happy? Yes. But is it really that hard? No. I say that because of one quote that really stuck out to me in the book and put things into perspective:
"It is not hard. Don't you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black is. not. hard."
Is it worth it? Yes - 100 times yes!! Were there some nights that it didn't feel worth it because I really wanted a glass of wine or to order out because I was so tired of cooking? Yep. But the way I felt and what I was teaching my body about food and cravings was so worth it in the end. I'm not perfect now, but I do have a better relationship with food and understand more about cravings and how to control them.
How did you reintroduce the food groups? I did a fast track reintroduction because we had a trip to planned with friends and I knew that I would want to enjoy that time and not stress too much about my meals. So here is the plan I followed: On day 31 I had one glass of wine to see how I felt - I felt fine and it was good to have a celebratory drink! I stuck to Whole30 rules on day 32. On day 33 I had cheese on my salad and later that day I had an upset stomach. On day 34 I had cream in my coffee and again had an upset stomach, so I noted that dairy may not sit well with me. On day 35 I went back to eating Whole30 and felt great. On day 36 I had a bun on my burger and a beer with my meal and my body did not like it - at all. Gluten is not my friend. On day 37 I went back to Whole30 eating. On day 38 I had corn and beans on my salad and felt fine all day. On day 38-40, we were in Houston for the Superbowl, so I tried my best to make smart choices but definitely splurged. I felt the worst when I ate gluten. I got back on track with Whole30 once I got home and started feeling great again! I learned from the reintroduction that gluten definitely bothers me, so I try to limit it as much as possible when eating out.
Are you continuing to eat Whole30? While I wish that I could eat only Whole30 approved foods all the time (simply because I feel so much better), I realize that it would be very difficult to do that and still enjoy some things that are very important to me - like meals out with family, happy hours with friends, or splurging while on vacation. However, I think indulgences like that should be at a minimum, so that's why I'm sticking to an 80/20 rule. Everything I cook or bring into our home is Whole30 approved. I don't buy anything that will tempt me while I'm at home, and I meal plan so that I am still cooking Whole30 for every meal. With that being said, if I go out to dinner with family or friends, I try to make smart decisions while ordering - like no bun with my burger and steamed veggies as a side. I don't ask the server a million questions (like I did when I was actually on the program), but I still try to stick to Whole30 as much as possible. If I'm at happy hour with friends, I'll order a drink and enjoy it. If I'm on vacation, I'll enjoy the food and the experience and get right back on track when I return home. The point is, it's so much easier for me to control now because I understand my body and what makes it feel good, and I understand when the splurge is worth it and when it's not!
Overall, what did you learn most? That what we put in our bodies is directly related to our overall health and how we feel. I loved that the process taught me what my body responds well to and what it doesn't - I now know what causes major inflammation in my body and how to avoid those foods as much as possible.
What are your must have Whole30 products? The book is a must have because it has so much information about the program in it, as well as recipes and tips! I'm also a huge fan of the Primal Kitchen Whole30 Kit because it comes with essentials that you will need in a lot of Whole30 recipes - like avocado oil and mayo. It also comes with a delicious ranch dressing that will bring all of your salads to the next level. Last but not least, I really love Tessemae's Lemon Garlic Dressing - I use it to dress slaws, as a salad dressing, and even as a marinade!