Saturday, September 24, 2016

Whole 30 Recap & Results!

I did it! I finished my first Whole30! Overall, I feel great and I'm proud that I stuck with it. I thought I would do a quick recap and share some of my results, as well as a few tips in case you are reading this because you are considering doing a Whole30 yourself. 

A quick disclaimer that everything here is my own opinion, I paid for all the products with my own cash money, and I am not receiving any sort of compensation. I'm mentioning specific products because they helped me to be successful, and to me that's worth sharing. 

Now that that's out of the way, a recap... 

Why I Did It: Three and half years ago, I was the unhealthiest I'd ever been (and will be). I started following fitness-focused people on Instagram, people who openly shared their health journey, successes and challenges, and I was inspired to make positive changes in my own life. I started a Couch-to-5K app. We started eating more lean meats and veggies and fruit and less processed foods. Within a few months, I lost ~40 pounds. While I have been successful in maintaining my weight loss, I started to feel ready for another challenge. I started hearing friends and colleagues talk about Whole30 and I started following more Whole30 peeps on Instagram. Thirty days of clean eating? Sounds good to me! I like planning and rules, so Whole30 seemed like a great fit for me. I mentioned it to my honey and he said he would do it with me. I looked at the calendar and noticed that starting on August 22 would allow us the full 30 days, plus 10 days for structured reintroduction, before our friends' engagement party on October 1. Decision made. 

Let the Planning Begin: I purchased (and read) It Starts With Food and Whole30, as well as America's Test Kitchen's Paleo Perfected. I started mentioning it to family, friends, and colleagues. I started to gather compliant recipe ideas. The weekend before we started, I mapped out our meals for the following week and prepped food, including making homemade chicken broth and veggie broth. 

Tip #1: Plan... to an extent.

I found that a week at a time worked best for us. I would map out the recipes, go grocery shopping, and prep. That left little room for excuses, while still allowing us to change things up week to week. I should note that this was how we started. It worked just fine until our fridge broke. Yes, OUR FRIDGE BROKE A WEEK INTO OUR WHOLE30. Ugh. Luckily, my parents were able to lend us a small fridge, although this still meant that we had to plan (and prep) for just a few days at a time, because of the lack of space. We did that for two weeks. TWO weeks! Nearly half of our Whole30... The good news is that we made it work and we didn't let it ruin our Whole30. Oh, and our fridge is functioning again! 

Tip #2: Double the recipe.

When we found a recipe we loved, and one that is just as delicious as leftovers, we made a big batch and portioned it out for additional, easy meals. Such as Melissa Joulwan's (Well Fed) The Best Chicken You Will Eat. Ever. It really is the best chicken ever and was perfect alongside a simple Greek-inspired salad of tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, and artichoke hearts. 

Containers are Chefland. Got them on Amazon.
Tip #3: Recruit a Friend... or Family Member... or Colleague. Anyone.

I was stoked that my honey was up for joining me on the Whole30 adventure and that definitely helped keep me accountable. A colleague at work also decided to do it and I cannot begin to express how appreciative I became of her and our nearly daily check-ins about how I was feeling, new recipes, and overall cheerleading.

On Day 31, I got to my desk to find my copy of It Starts with Food, along with a Chomp stickRX Bar, and the sweetest thank you note. 

Even if you cannot find a buddy who will do the Whole30 with you, at least recruit some supporters. It's important to have support. 

Results: One of the rules of Whole30 is that you are not allowed to weigh-in. This was probably one of the biggest behavior changes for me. I liked the shift from a focus on the number on the scale, to how I was actually feeling. Within a few days, I was feeling much less bloated. Within two weeks, my clothes all started fitting better/looser. While I knew I had lost weight, I was still shocked to discover that I lost 10 pounds. Here's a before and after...

While I'm happy that those 10 pounds are gone, what matters most is that I feel better. I have more energy and don't experience a mid-afternoon slump. My sleep has improved. I'm still well on my way to meet my next goal of running my first 10K on Thanksgiving morning. 

Now what? During the last few days of Whole30, my honey and I started to talk more about what we would carry forward. While I have no intention of doing a Whole365, we do have control over the food in our home and our home will remain Whole30-ish. 

Oh, and the first thing we introduced was wine. Cheers! Tonight, we reintroduce cheese. Mmm... cheese.