So I always make it a personal goal to start blogging more and being more consistent, but it never happens. So instead of starting each post with a promise for more content, I am going to breeze over that for now and get right into the good stuff. 😉
Between college graduation, living at home for a while, and starting my new live in Madison, I felt like every positive eating habit that I once had was basically gone and forgotten. One of my coworkers told me about Whole 30 over the summer, and I figured it might be time to give it a try.
For anyone that doesn’t know anything about Whole 30, it’s basically a month straight of no added sugar, no flour, no dairy, and ALL whole foods. The point is essentially to get into good habits and eliminate the things in our diet that are less real and bring on sugar cravings, bloat, etc. I was almost hesitant to start, knowing that I would miss all of the goods that I was used to enjoying at any time. I think for me, one of the issues in my diet was triggered by long days working. When I got home, if I wanted to eat chips because that was easiest, so that was what I would eat. It wasn’t like my diet was absolute trash, but I noticed myself trending towards what was easiest instead of what would benefit my body. In addition, I am a major habit person, so one bad choice turned into another and another.
Obviously Whole 30 isn’t the most difficult thing you could ever do. There are so many other things that a person could experience at any given time. BUT, I would be lying if I said that this wasn’t hard for me at some points. Definitely not as hard as I originally expected, but it was difficult nonetheless.
Certain times were harder than others. I felt like I was more want to veer off course when I was bored and by myself. Weekends were tougher than weekdays, because I was either eating at home or going out to eat with friends, which meant less order and organization. Even though you can definitely go out to eat on Whole 30, it’s not as fun. 100% less fun. No alcohol, no ketchup, no dressing, etc. However, I noticed that I had less anxiety around going out to eat on Whole 30. Sometimes when I have plans to go out to eat more than one time per weekend, it stresses me out because I have less control over the food that I am putting into my body. It’s SO easy to overeat when you enjoy a delicious meal at a restaurant. And with all of the great choices that some places have to offer, it’s hard to turn down good options (that may not be quite so healthy). There was one weekend that I had plans to go out three times in one weekend, and I felt totally confident that I would stay on track and eat healthy things, even though it was out of my hands to prepare those things.
For those times that you do go out to eat (whether it be by choice or to honor plans with friends/family) there are definitely ways that you can stick to the plan. Most times going out to eat, I would stick to chicken breast with a salad. Dressing is kind of lame (I usually stuck with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing) but you can have mustard and most veggies with your chicken breast to spice it up! If you do need to go out for a quick meal (or get stuck out and about and catch yourself starving with no food available) Chipotle is the BEST OPTION. I will admit that the first time going to Chipotle on Whole 30 and not being able to add sour cream, cheese, and chips to my order was hellish. But this is the best way to get a super filling meal that you can be super confident fits your Whole 30 guidelines.
For reference (even though you can find lots of suggestions for Chipotle orders online) I almost always ordered a chicken salad with no rice, no beans, fresh tomato salsa, tomatillo red salsa, fajita veggies, and guac. So good and SO filling, and completely Whole 30 friendly.
I am typically not a calorie counting person. I feel like it does nothing for me, especially when I eat a more whole diet. I have always liked veggies and have never been a picky eater, so I prefer to eat good foods (i.e. low calorie veggies) until full, rather than counting calories (if that makes sense?) All that aside, Whole 30 does not encourage counting calories or measuring food, so I have no idea how much I ate at any given point. My typical day (when I was being organized and prepped) was usually as follows:
– Hard boiled egg, hot sauce, and fresh cracked pepper
– Veggies (usually cooked carrots, roasted sweet potato, steamed broccoli, etc)
– Nuts (pistachios, cashews, or almonds)
– Chomps beef stick (my favorite)
Dinner (I honestly stuck to one of these for most of the 30 days):
– Turkey burger, onion, avocado, and mustard
– Salad with mixed greens, ground turkey or shredded chicken, hard boiled egg, avocado, veggies (whatever I had on hand), and Trader Joe’s Green Goddess dressing
– Trader Joe’s frozen carrot noodles, frozen turkey burger, and NSA spagetti sauce
Treats (not encouraged on Whole 30, but sometimes you need some saweeeeet in yo life):
– Trader Joe’s ‘Just the Mango’ dried mango pieces
– Trader Joe’s dried pineapple
I never took any measurements before or after (you aren’t encouraged to do so during the program, but before and after are obviously encouraged so that you can measure your progress). I think that my absolute biggest victory was something that I noticed from the beginning to the end of my program. On the second day of the program and the second to last day of the program, we had work events that required us to bake a treat to bring into the office. On the second day of the program, I made Oreo truffles to bring in. I wanted to badly to shove like 80 truffles into my mouth. When I put the Oreos into my food processor, I was literally drooling. I almost dumped like 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips down my throat. Flash forward to the second to last day of my 30 days, I made s’mores bars. It was 100% uneventful. During those 30 days, I lost any and all interest in baked goods and treats like cookies, bars, cake, etc. I would die for treats like these most days, so this was a major victory for me personally.
Throughout the entire 30 days, I was slightly pissed that I had all of these restrictions. I was kind of bitter that I couldn’t drink alcohol when I went out for work happy hours. Family friends brought me to Portillo’s for lunch and I was beyond bitter that everyone but me could enjoy a piece of that AMAZING chocolate cake. But immediately after I was done, I was wishing that I wasn’t. Some part of me enjoyed the strict parameters that Whole 30 provided to me. I liked knowing that every day I would wake up feeling good, energized, and bloat free (most of the time). As much as it surprised me, I am already restarting the program (at least to some extent). If I had to give any piece of advice to those starting for the first time, I would say to try to avoid replacing your bad habits with something better if at all possible. For example, I feel like I replaced any treats I used to eat with dried fruit or a spoonful of almond butter. I eventually craved those foods instead of chocolate or candy which was a good thing, but I wish I would have broken those habits completely rather than adjusting them to make them healthier.
To close, I would like to encourage anyone curious about Whole 30 to give it a try!!! Honestly, it is 30 days of your life. It will more than likely teach you to check your ingredient labels, make better food choices, and feel more confident in your ability to choose foods that benefit you and your body. In addition, I would feel like I was doing a disservice if I didn’t include some of my favorite products that got me through Whole 30, attached below. If you have any questions about the program, I would honestly love to chat! Drop a comment and I will do my best to share any advice or tips that I have gathered from experienced Whole 30-er’s online (or we can just complain together. :-))
My Favorite Whole 30 Products:
Best of luck on your Whole 30 journey!