If you missed my post in the beginning of the month then you probably didn’t know that I was doing Whole 30 this January. For those of you who are like what in God’s name is Whole 30, you can read more about it in my post from last year. Basically it is a dietary program that restricts the consumption of grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, added sugars, MSG/sulfates, soy, and creating “junk” type food out of compliant ingredients. This forces you to eat foods in their most natural state and eliminates overly processed items from your diet. It also helps you create a healthier relationship with food in general.
We did Whole 30 last January too, you can read my wrap up from our first round here. This second time on the program was very different in a lot of ways and I’m going to break it all down for you in today’s post.
Even though the goal of Whole 30 is not to loose weight, it is a natural side effect of eliminating junk from your diet. I did loose about 9 lbs. Last year I dropped between 12 and 13 lbs, so this year was not quite as substantial, but I’m still pretty happy with my results.
You can’t weigh in during the Whole 30 process (another program rule), but I was able to tell my body was changing as I noticed certain parts of me looked smaller and clothes were fitting a bit better. I adopted the mentality that the number on the scale isn’t something I should be a slave to. Instead I’m more focused on how I look and feel.
One of my favorite things about Whole 30 is the energy boost! I love how much extra energy I have during my day to day routine. Also, I feel like I much sleep better throughout the night, which helps me to wake up a little earlier. In the evenings I’m not dead tired which has allowed me to get my butt to the gym several times a week. I was even able to complete my first spin class! Go me!
The biggest difference between my first time and our second time is how I now think about food. Last January, Whole 30 was more of a challenge for me. I just wanted to see if I could do it and the whole time I was fantasizing about what my first off-plan meal would be!
This time around I truly feel like I’ve had an epiphany. I never really accepted that my weight gain was due to my changing body, slowing metabolism, and less active lifestyle. I always felt like once I lost the 10 or 20 lbs I wanted to drop I could go back to my old ways of eating. Now I realize that this is just my life now and in order to be healthy and maintain my desired physique I have to work at it every day. It isn’t a diet, it’s a truly a lifestyle.
Now when I’m hungry the first thing I do is chug a bottle of water. A lot of the time my hunger goes away, so really I was just thirsty. If it doesn’t go away I fix myself a compliant meal or snack. I always have complaint protein likes grilled chicken and hard boiled eggs ready for a quick meal. If I feel like I want to eat because I’m bored, I’ll get up and do something to keep myself busy. Food has become fuel rather then a constant indulgence.
Coming off the program I feel much stronger mentally this time and like I am prepared to keep this lifestyle going. I’ve found a lot of really great recipes I like and even created a few to add into my weekly rotation. We grocery shop every two weeks, so I’ve started planning out our meals two weeks out. This helps to eliminate the what are we going to do for dinner panic that used to happen a few nights a week.
I plan to follow a more paleo style of eating where I’m still avoiding processed foods. Paleo is similar to Whole 30 in the sense that it’s very protein based and foods in their natural state. The difference is Paleo allows added natural sugars. So you’re able to sweeten a sauce with natural honey or maple syrup. Also, I’m fine with the idea of making “junk” food out of Paleo compliant items. The occasional pancake made from mashed banana and almond flour never hurt nobody!
Mike and I will have the occasional cheat meal though, it isn’t realistic to say we’re never going to touch a real brownie ever again! That kind of food may not be great for the body, but it is good for soul and that kind of food is necessary every now and then. I’m really embracing balance in this season of my life in all aspects. Treats are okay, but they aren’t treats if you indulge too often, then they’re just bad habits.
Have you tried Whole 30 before, what was your experience? Would you ever try a program as strict as Whole 30?