It’s been a month since I completed my first Whole 30 Challenge, so I thought it was about time I shared some of what I learned from those 30 days.
First things first…
It’s actually the Whole 45.
The most disappointed I felt through the entire diet was on day 30 when everyone asked me “what are you going to eat first”, and I had to tell them, “Actually, I’m sort of still on the diet for another 2 weeks”. If you follow the Whole 30 to a T, it will actually be about 45 days, not just 30. The book instructs that you reintroduce all the foods that you were avoiding every 3 days over 15 days. I decided to cheat a little bit and reintroduce one food every 2 days, so it only took me 11.
Of course, you can skip the reintroduction phase and start eating everything you possibly want on day 31, but then your 30 days will be in vain. The purpose of this cleanse is to find out how your body is affected by certain foods. I was actually pretty surprised at what I learned over those 11 days.
Two. Dairy is not my friend.
Speaking of what I learned….
My reintroduction schedule went like this: Day 1 – Sugar, Day 3 – Legumes, Day 5 – Corn, Day 7 – Non-gluten Grains (rice, quinoa), Day 9 – Dairy, and Day 11 – Gluten. Day 9 and 10 were by far the worst I had felt since I started the diet. I had Greek yogurt in the morning and cheese with my dinner. By the time I went to bed I had the worst stomach ache.
Fortunately, I handled all the other foods fine. I definitely noticed a difference in my energy levels when I ate them, but nothing that was totally unbearable. Other than dairy, sugar (and artificial sweeteners), had the most noticeable effect on me, including headaches and tiredness.
Three. It’s not good for weight loss.
I know a lot of people who do the Whole 30 to lose weight. I would be lying if I didn’t say that wasn’t one of the goals of this experience. But if I did lose weight, it wasn’t noticeable. I had mentioned in my weekly updates that I wasn’t weighing or measuring myself, so there is no way to actually know. But just judging by how my clothes fit, there wasn’t much of a change.
The good news is I still felt pretty great. I wasn’t limiting my intake of food (just what foods I was eating), so I always had lots of energy and overall felt better about putting good, natural, whole foods in my body.
Four. Everything comes down to poo.
Any Scrubs fans out there? (No? Watch this.) If you aren’t, this is probably going to be really awkward for you. Hell, it’s awkward no matter what. But, lets just put it out there….I saw a pretty big difference in my bowl movements while on the Whole 30. I really don’t know how to talk about this without getting to TMI, but I felt like no one warned me how much more I would be pooping, so I feel like I should warn you if you decide to do this diet. You truly can tell how much better your body is reacting to your diet by your bowl movements. And during the reintroduction phase, it was equally as easy to see what didn’t agree with me.
Ok, I am done talking about poop. We made it through this. Now let’s forget this ever happened.
Five: It has changed my outlook on food.
I can’t look at food the same way anymore. Sure, I have eaten lots of bad, processed food since. But now I really think about how it will affect me and if it is worth is. I even look at all the yummy baked goods that I used to make all the time in a totally different light. Instead of licking the bowl and “testing” half a dozen cookies to make sure they taste okay, now I will just have a bite of one.
And don’t get me started on snack foods. I can’t watch a commercial anymore without this lens of skepticism. Like, if I see a commercial for a new low-fat yogurt that helps you poop, I just think about how much sugar and artificial junk is in it that will make you feel worse.
Now that is over, I have decided that I will try to eat a mostly Paleo diet when I have control over what I am eating. Since the worst part of the Whole 30 was going out to eat of socializing with friends, I won’t worry to much about what I am eating in those situations. And of course, everything in moderation. I want to be able to enjoy my life while also being healthy and treating my body well.
And if you are curious, I would definitely do the Whole 30 again. I plan on doing it again later this year and maybe get in a couple Whole 14’s every now and then, too.
If you want to check out some of the recipes I made, just search ‘Whole 30’ or ‘Paleo’ in the search bar.
Also, read about the products that helped me survive my first Whole 30, and all around are just good products to have if you are trying to be healthy!