It. Is. Finished.
After 30 long, grueling days I can finally say I successfully completed Whole30. Other than catching 3 wedding bouquets in a row this might be my life's greatest accomplishment.
Whole30 is a month long deprivation process where you deny yourself of anything fun, oops, I mean anything processed. No complex carbs aka no bread, no sugar, no alcohol, no legumes, no dairy, no nothing. It was by far the most interesting experiment. I nearly burned down the house not once, but twice, and we discovered that you can milk almonds. Who knew?
People have been rather curious about the Whole30 adventure. In an effort to process what happened over the past month I've compiled a list of Whole30 Frequently Asked Questions. These are based, not off my expertise, but off my experience. So here goes nothing:
What were your takeaways?
Honestly, it's too hard to sum up in a sentence or two. Second only to rediscovering my faith and spirituality I would say Whole30 was one of the more profoundly impactful experiences I've had in my life. It completely altered my relationship with food, people, myself, and with God. I don't think you can do anything for 30 days straight and not be a different person afterwards.
Did you lose weight?
If you're interested in Whole30 to lose weight then you're probably setting yourself up for failure. Whole30 is about reprogramming your relationship with food and detoxing your body. If you're looking for a "diet" then Whole30 isn't for you. You'll crash and burn and get really bitter along the way. Did I lose weight? Sure. Was that the intention? Nope.
Was it hard giving up chocolate and alcohol?
Does the Pope wear white?? Of course it was hard. If you know me then you know my 3 major food groups are wine, chocolate, and cupcakes. None of which are allowed on Whole30. There were some pretty dark moments during those 30 days. Hanger is a real thing people.
Were you hungry?
Nope. One of the great things about Whole30 is you can eat as much as you want, so long as it's Whole30 approved.
What did you eat?
Everything. People often assume eating healthy means eating boring. I can say without a doubt I was never bored during Whole30. My roommates and I were really committed to making quality meals with quality food. I ate better on Whole30 than I've probably eaten my entire life. Following accounts like Stupid Easy Paleo, Whole30 Recipes, Lexis Clean Kitchen, Nom Nom Paleo, Paleo Grubs, and my friend Young and Rungry made it easy to keep coming up with some amazing recipes. Read It Starts With Food and visit the Whole30 website to find out what you officially can and can't have.
How did you have time?
Did you know the average American only spends about 20 minutes in the kitchen per day? Not cool. We've become so accustomed to quick and nutrient poor food that we've forgotten we were made to feed ourselves. On average I spent about 3-6 hours per week in the kitchen but you make time for what's important. Thankfully, my roommates and I took turns preparing dinners for each other so we could take a break. Goodbye Netflix, hello cutting board.
Was it expensive?
Yes and no. You can make Whole30 as expensive or affordable as you want. Because I'm on a budget I ate a lot of eggs, sweet potatoes, and brussel sprouts. Sharing the budget burden with roommates and friends was very helpful to stretch pennies. But you don't have to shop Whole Foods to eat Whole30. Aldi has an organic line that was both tasty and cost effective.
What about social situations?
Brutal. Truly the hardest part about Whole30 is being in public. I didn't realize just how much of my social calendar revolved around eating and drinking. Whole30 is tough because very few, if any, restaurant options exist. If you can actually eat something out in public odds are it will make your friends uncomfortable. People continuously apologized for eating or drinking in front of me. Being Whole30 seemed to bother other people more than it bothered me.
Make sure you have a support system to do Whole30 with you. I honestly couldn't have survived without my roommates and some dear friends who decided to join in the journey at different points along the way. Accountability makes most things in life much easier and Whole30 is no exception.
How did you feel?
At first- HORRIBLE. There was a brief moment when I descended into the depths of a sugar withdrawal and nearly murdered my dog. In a blind rage I picked him up by the neck and nearly strangled him to death simply because he barked too loud. The first 10-14 days you learn to understand anger, sadness, grief, boredom, loneliness, pain, etc. If it's on the human spectrum of emotion then you're going to feel it as your body detoxes from one of the world's sneakiest drugs: sugar.
But don't lose hope! On Whole30 I looked, felt, slept, ate, performed, and thought better than I have in my entire life. The level of clarity and consistency is amazing. My acne cleared up. I had more energy and slept better. My IBS and stomach issues disappeared. It was hard fought and hard earned.
What does life post Whole30 look like?
Depends. Immediately after I went rogue and gained 8 pounds in 2 days. Eight pounds. Do you know how hard that is to do? Apparently not that hard when you fall asleep eating a pint of gelato stuffed with candy bars. I drank 2 beers and was hungover for 24 hours.
But now I've regulated my lifestyle and feel much more stable physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I've learned the ebbs and flows. While I'm not completely Whole30 I've taken a lot of the principles and adopted them into my every day lifestyle. It would be impossible to completely revert back to my previously unhealthy lifestyle.
Can I be Half30?
That's the term I'm using for people who want to adopt some parts of Whole30 without fully committing. Moving towards a healthier lifestyle and breaking addictive habits or patterns is always a great idea. There are some manageable parts of Whole30 anyone could incorporate into their daily choices.
That being said don't be a wuss.
Most people are afraid to fully commit to Whole30 because they say things like "I just couldn't give up blank." Yes, yes you could. If it's not water or oxygen you can technically live without it. My strong recommendation to people would be to fully embrace a Whole30 lifestyle. You can do anything for 30 days and if it leaves you with a radically different view of health and food then it's completely worth it. Something as simple as creamer in your coffee or a glass of wine at night isn't worth depriving yourself of a really impactful experience.
Basically if you can't go all in then don't say you're doing Whole30. Maybe try something like Paleo or cutting out dairy before fully transitioning into Whole30. But don't do a "modified" version and call it Whole30 either.
How do I start?
Grab someone who you see every day, whether that's a roommate, spouse, friend, or co-worker. You can't go it alone! Then read the book It Starts With Food. Afterwards make sure you fully read the Whole30 rules and expectations. Throw away all the shit you have. Or you can binge eat everything in sight like I did. When you crawl out of your sugar-induced coma the next day go to the grocery store and stock your fridge/pantry with only Whole30 approved items. Meal prep for the entire week. Follow some blogs and Instagram accounts for recipes and tips.
Whole30 isn't for everyone but health certainly is. You've got one body so rock it. If you aren't interested in Whole30 then there's no shame! As long as you're pursuing a healthy and sustainable lifestyle then YOU GO GLEN COCO.
There's so much more to Whole30 that isn't covered here. If you're interested in learning more then shoot me an email, text, or message and I would love to chat over a smoothie. Or, if you've got some resources or recipes send those my way too.