Well. I did the Whole30. I did it for a few reasons. I’m addicted to sugar, namely, and I also thought it would be a good idea to you know, be more responsible about my eating habits. After talking about how I was going to do it for a few weeks, I was like “OK! Setting a start date!” And January 29 it was.
I only had one intentional cheat, and honestly, I don’t even really count this as a cheat. If I was going to cheat, I was going to CHEAT.
I made Lobster Mac and Cheese for a party we had. I had never made the recipe before, so had a taste of the cheese sauce because you just never know if it’s going to be flavorful enough. Homemade mac and cheese can go south reeeeeeal quick.
One of the questions I’ve gotten most since completing the Whole30 is: What did you miss the most while you were on Whole30?
EASY. COFFEE CREAMER.
Anyways, I have a lot of thoughts, and after writing and deleting a lot of times, I just decided to do a list. Here goes; it’s a long one!
1. HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER.
I am what Gretchen Rubin defines as “an obliger,” meaning, in the simplest terms, that I meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations I impose on myself. Hence, my need of an accountability partner. My sister Taylor and I decided to embark on the journey together. She was my number one person in this whole thing – the person I called when I was feeling weak; the person I called when I was really proud of myself. Taylor and I meal planned together. We live 2.5 hours apart, so we created the same menu and grocery list so that we knew what each other was planning to eat during the week. This was WAY more helpful than I thought it would be! And it made it more fun, too.
Tay and I ended up seeing each other more over the 30 days of the Whole30 than we have in the last like, three years. When we were together, we grocery shopped together and meal prepped together. Again, made it SO MUCH more fun and just like… Man, we felt accomplished.
Because I know myself well, I also figured that my like 400-ish Instagram followers would also be good accountability partners. I am nothing if not weak, so I was like “I CANNOT LET THESE PEOPLE THINK I’M WEAK.” So I started doing Instagram stories of every meal I made. I missed some, but got most! Thanks to all who cheered me on. It really, REALLY helped!!!!
2. MEAL PREP LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.
Man, meal prep. MEAL PREP was KEY to my success on Whole30. I managed my time better on the Whole30 than I ever have in my life. I had a solid three meals per day, and they were (mostly) delicious. There were a few duds. Like, REAL duds. Like, I kind of cried and ended up throwing the food away. Lucky for me, I seemed to have other food prepped when times got rough.
3. HAVE A ROOMMATE THAT SUPPORTS YOU.
So, Pete didn’t do the Whole30 with me, but he was very, very supportive. Like, one day, he had a Diet Coke open on the counter and I said, “Ok, I’m really sorry to be this way, but can you please get that away from me because I’m VERY tempted to take a drink.” And he didn’t huff or puff. He just said, “Sure thing!” He also tried a lot of new foods and never complained. Not even when the food was kind of gross. He also didn’t complain about me being like, “Sorry you can’t have frozen pizza because I’M FEELING WEAK.” And he shrugged and said, “OK!” I mean, if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.
4. CELEBRATE WINS, AND DON’T GET DEPRESSED WHEN YOU FEEL WEAK.
So, when I had a good day where I wasn’t wanting to dump sugar down my throat or binge on Twizzlers, I was openly proud of myself. I would go to bed and tell Pete, “I was so mentally healthy today!” On days where I was very crabby or just felt WEAK, at the end of the day I ended up celebrating because I didn’t give in to my cravings or weaknesses and was very proud of myself. It was really easy to sink into a hole and wallow in my sadness. And then it was easier to sink DEEPER into the hole and think about how sad it was that so much of my mood depended on FOOD. Anyways, this sounds very depressing and sad, but I didn’t have that many moments like this, especially when I changed my mindset.
5. DON’T TRY TOO MANY “NEW” MEALS IN ONE WEEK.
I think Taylor and I did a really good job of not being overly ambitious each week with new meals to try. A few of the meals were some family favorites in our house that I was able to make minor adjustments to so they were Whole30 compliant. That was nice because I already knew that I liked the recipe. At the bottom of the post, I’ll link our favorite recipes.
6. TRY TO NOT HOST A PARTY WHEN YOU’RE ON WHOLE30. IT WILL BE DEPRESSING.
So I had two work trips planned at the beginning of the year that dictated when I would do the Whole30. I had NEGATIVE desire to be on Whole30 while traveling for work. Unfortunately, after I had committed to my start date, we all of a sudden had a weekend-o-fun scheduled. Like. Dinner at a supper club with friends on day five, hosting a party for Pete’s team from work on day six, and having a couple of friends over for the Superbowl on day seven. Yeah, it was hard. BUT it helped being so open about that fact that I was doing the Whole30 because then people weren’t like “Seriously! These cheese curds are SO GOOD! Just HAVE ONE!!” It was really hard getting a piece of cake for Pete’s birthday at our dinner with friends and not having a bite. BUT I DIDN’T GIVE IN TO MY CRAVINGS.
7. HAVE AMAZING COWORKERS THAT SUPPORT YOU.
Guys, we need to give a big hug to my coworkers J and A who fully supported my Whole30 journey. In solidarity, they didn’t re-fill the candy drawer at work with Twizzlers. When I was crabby because I was craving sugar, they were SO NICE about it and not like, “OMG SARA EAT A PIECE OF CANDY, PLEASE.” For example, the day after the Superbowl, J said, “Let’s all share the best thing we ate on Superbowl Sunday!!” I responded, “No, sorry, but we can’t have this conversation. I’m feeling really weak and can’t listen to what you guys ate.” And I was not very nice when I said it. J and A just said, “Ok! No problem!” And we moved on. They are the true rockstars here.
Firstly, and in my opinion most importantly, I am SO PROUD of myself for actually completing the Whole30. It was such a challenge! There is sugar in EVERYTHING, and I wanted to put cheese on EVERYTHING, and I wanted to eat yogurt in the mornings and have a Twizzler snack in the afternoon. And the coffee creamer. THE CREAMER. MY VICE. Almond/coconut creamer just isn’t the same. About a half cup of the stuff leaves coffee one shade lighter than black, and I like my coffee light-khaki colored.
People told me that after Whole30, I wouldn’t even LIKE coffee creamer. Well. Let me tell you what. The first time I put delicious peppermint mocha creamer in my coffee after Whole30, it was amazing. In fact, to steal from Jen Hatmaker, it tasted like unabridged joy and fulfilled dreams.
Ok, ok, moving on. The Whole30 really DID make me think about my food choices in a different way. Day two was the worst with my sugar withdrawal. Around day 14/15 I felt like I had been doing Whole30 forever and day 31 would never come. The second half was easier than the first half because I had gotten into a groove and was confident in my choices. I never had the surge of “tiger blood” that they describe, it was more of a slow moving thing for me, but it came either way.
I do have to admit, though, (kind of ashamedly) that I fell totally off the wagon after I was done. I went on a trip for work on day 31, and I had two desserts a day, plus a mocha WITH whip. Every day. And it was sad (but delicious). But now I’m working on my food freedom and will hopefully find it soon! I’m a work in progress here, people.
Now, the physical results.
First, the Whole30 is NOT a weight loss program, although many of the people who go through the program do see a nicer number on the scale when they’re done.
I lost ten pounds in the 30 days, three-and-a-half-inches around my waist, one-and-a-half-inches around my bust and one inch around my hips. This was amazing. I also noticed that my hair and nails were like pregnancy hair and nails AKA AMAZING. I didn’t notice a difference in my skin until after I completed the Whole30… As soon as I started eating crap, I got three zits 😑
In summary: I would do the Whole30 again, especially after the holidays or when I just feel like my body needs a reset. In the future, I’ll have better plans for the post-Whole30 days that don’t include traveling for work.
If you are thinking about doing the Whole30 and want more info/thoughts, feel free to reach out to me! Or if it’s in the future and you’re looking for an accountability partner, DEFINITELY reach out. Depending on what’s going on in my life, I might just go ahead and say YES let’s do it together!!
Here’s to everyone’s journeys!
PS: Favorite meals were…
Beef Cauliflower Fried Rice
Shrimp and Sausage Skillet
One Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
These easy-peasy chicken drumsticks
If you’re starting the Whole30 journey, let me know and I can scrounge up my meal plans for you! And make any recommendations about what I would change about the meal plans I had.