So I finished my first Whole30 you guys and I have some seriously mixed emotions on the whole thing.
First, let me start by saying that I feel pretty incredible – like maybe better than I have ever felt, which is a big statement, I know!
I have specifically noticed the following:
Lessened under-eye circles
Longer, stronger nails
Stronger, thicker hair
More defined muscle tone
More confidence in my appearance
Less allergy symptoms
Fewer asthma flare ups
Less chronic fatigue
Fewer mood swings
Fewer sugar cravings
Fewer carb cravings
Improved body image
Feeling in control of my food
Healthier relationship with food
Improved disordered eating habits
More mindful eating
No longer afraid of dietary fat
No more binge eating
No longer using food as comfort
Cooking a lot more
No longer a slave to sugar/carbs
Can identify cravings vs. hunger
Healthier strategies to deal with cravings
Better nutrition in diet
Can exercise longer, harder, faster
I feel more athletic
I have more strength
My balance and coordination is better
More knowledgeable about nutrition
Better at meal prep
That’s a long list of non-scale victories (NSV’s) in just 30 days!! And before I move on, I am so extremely proud of all of those things!
Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you that I actually gained weight while on Whole30 – like a whole 5 lbs.
Which is a lot.
Don’t remind me.
I will be totally honest and tell you that my heart sunk a little looking at that number on the scale – first, because it was much higher than I anticipated. Second, because I realized that even after 30 days on the program I am still just as reliant on the scale to determine my self-worth as I was before.
The thing is, in the moments before I stepped on that piece of plastic I felt great about myself and I was convinced I had lost based on the way I looked and how my clothes fit. If the number would have read 5lbs. less instead I would have totally believed it – however, since I gained, all my hard work went out the window since I immediately looked at myself differently now.
After my pity party, I realized the following about my Whole30 journey:
1. Coming off of Weight Watchers may have influenced me in this process more than I realized.
Looking back I can say with 98% certainty that I abused compliant foods like nut butter and plantain chips because they were approved and I hadn’t eaten them in soooooo long, because those foods are so high in Weight Watchers point values. So I was probably eating way too many calories a day.
Also, that background has seriously trained me to count on the scale. Every week, without fail, for years, I would let that number tell me how successful I had been the week prior. Habits like that may need more than just 30 days to unlearn.
It’s not that these were trigger foods for me, I have never had a problem over eating these foods before, ever. So where did the need to abuse them come from? Best I can come up with was the fact that I could.
Portion control was one of the biggest issues Weight Watchers helped me with – so I think the “eat till you are satisfied” mentality of Whole30 is a difficult one for me. Instead, I hear “eat as much as you want” – which is not the case.
In the future, I probably need to avoid those damn plantain chips altogether and save nut butter for the occasional treat – instead finding better foods to replace them with.
2. I’ve been working out a lot more, like a lot more. Which is great, and I have notice a serious difference in my body and strength and endurance because of it – but as a result, I have been constantly sore and not allowing my body to recover between workouts.
Since weight can go up and down based on hormones or water weight, even time of day you weigh – it’s not really a reliable measure, since it is so temperamental.
I am trying to remember that health and weight are so different. It is entirely possible that my healthy weight is a number that is very different than the one in my head. Coming to terms with this reality is difficult and part of the reason it is so important to not weigh yourself while on the Whole30 program, which leads me to…
3. I may need more time on the program.
My progress never really fell in line with the suggested timeline of symptoms and experiences during the 30 days. I’m thinking that maybe my body just needs a little bit more time to really maximize on the benefits of this clean eating lifestyle?
While my relationship with sugar is completely changed (I do not crave or desire it AT ALL!!) there are still those other areas that I really need to work on. I am now debating on making my experience a Whole60 instead*, or stating another Whole30 on September 5th – which is a big deal and gaining the attention of Whole30 alums everywhere because it is timed around the release of Melissa Hartwig’s new book Food Freedom Forever, which would hit the shelves on Day 30… can you say brilliant marketing?
I’m leaning toward the #SeptemberWhole30 just because of the amazing support and recipes that will be available during that time – I’ll take all the help I can get, ya know?
I think its human to be a little disappointed in the number on the scale, but I am working on that unhealthy relationship. Overall, I think the last 30 days have definitely changed me for the better. Besides learning I can live without sugar, dairy and carbs, I have a much healthier relationship with food now. I am reading labels, cooking at home more and trying new things – and falling in love with them.
I rounded up all my must-haves from the last 30 days – that have since become staples in our house…
Anyone want to join me for round two?
*I have since had a glass of wine and limited carbs and cheese and I can report that I felt awful after eating everything – except the wine. So, it is safe to say I am “officially” starting round two in a few weeks and that I have adopted a new way of eating in the meantime.