Let me first get this out of the way: The mission of Whole30 isn’t solely on weight loss, actually, weight loss really isn’t a key priority of the program.
That was a major characteristic that I loved when I was researching how I could possibly tackle Whole30. The program is about giving your body a reset, helping you get rid of your cravings and transforming your health habits. While losing weight is a strong possibility (you’re no longer eating processed and refined foods), the Whole30 Program actually advises you to toss out your scale!
I was very intrigued. But before committing to anything I needed to consult my Gastrologist.
I have a colon condition called Ulcerative Colitis, an inflammatory disease that can cause ulcers in your digestive tract. I was diagnosed when I was 12 years old and take specific medication to keep everything in check. Drastically changing my diet could have possibly induced a flare-up of my colitis, so before I took the plunge I need to talk with my doctor. Luckily, she agreed to have me proceed (with caution, of course) with the Whole30 Program, advising me to stop immediately if I was having any sort of pain or discomfort. She believed that it would be a great way for me to find what my trigger foods are — am I lactose intolerant? Do I also have a gluten intolerance that I wasn’t really aware of? She gave me the OK to find out. And with that, I was ready to jump in and do research on preparation.
And I’ll continue to be open and candid with you, I didn’t do this to lose weight.
I didn’t consider this a “crash diet,” and I didn’t plan of starving myself to make myself feel good. I took part in this challenge because I have a condition where I have to be a bit more particular about what I’m putting in my body. While I knew I would lose weight, it wasn’t the true goal for me.
As I was doing my research on how to prep for this program (financially and realistically), I knew there needed to be extreme budgeting and planning when I go into the challenge.
Here’s a breakdown:
The week leading up to January 1st:
I mapped out when I was going to go food shopping and what specific Whole30-approved items I could buy. No surprise here, but Trader Joe’s was my true MVP throughout the process. I knew I could hit TJ’s on the weekend to pick up things to keep me fed for the week. You should 100 percent follow @TraderJoesWhole30List to get a handle on what products are Whole30-approved!
In order to not waste all the money and food I was buying, I decided to start a food journal so that I can map out each of my meals for every day of the week. Every Sunday night I looked at my current supply of food and created menus for each meal, for every day of the week. It also helped that I was anticipating birthdays, bridal showers, Sunday dinners and eating out to keep me as grounded as possible so that I wouldn’t break the program.
I feel like I can’t talk about this program without mentioning meal prep. In the beginning, I kind of dreaded doing it — after work, all I want to do is hit the gym and then, sleep. But instead, I needed to set aside time to prep things in advance to take them for lunch and have them ready for dinner the next day. Should you decide to embark on a Whole30 journey, write up a food journal and document your menu for the week, meal prep will be a breeze! What I loved so much about the program and planning my meals was that it really pushed me to be creative with my meats and vegetables, so that I never got bored of eating and that I was always looking forward to my next meal!
Each week I felt like my body was craving something different. The first week I held strong, it had just started and I was motivated. By week two, all I wanted was a giant cheese and sour cream burrito. However by week three, I noticed that my skin was clearing up and I wasn’t feeling bloated AT ALL. I had gotten used to drinking black coffee and really wasn’t craving sweets. I also found that I was sleeping a lot better most nights and was waking up feeling well-rested. And in the final week, I was so accustomed to my meal planning schedule, things started becoming a no brainer, everything was just a routine.
Social Media Inspiration:
I’m a sucker for big inspiration energy. I looked into following a few credible Whole30-alumnae accounts that could give me some inspiration on what I could eat and how I could prepare and cook the food. Accounts like @mad_about_food, @dfineddish and @broccyourbody were super pivotal in giving me ideas on how I could make my meals. Especially if you find yourself stuck in a rut, look to your favorite health accounts for a swift kick in the butt to keep you motivated and on track.
Getting real about alcohol consumption:
I truly didn’t realize how dang hard it was going to be to not only restrict what I was eating for 30 days, but also avoid alcohol completely. Yep, if you decide to participate in Whole30 you cannot touch alcohol all month either. Throughout January I was attending bridal showers, birthday parties and family dinners not being able to drink socially with my friends and family.
My little trick to stay on track, you ask? I would go over to the bar and ask them to put seltzer and lime in a whiskey glass to make it look like a cocktail. To my surprise, I didn’t realize how many people would ask why I wasn’t drinking, and I (blushing) had to explain that I was crazy enough to do the Whole30 Program. People cheers’ed each other, saying they could never give up drinking for a whole month. I’d respond, “I know, I’m crazy!” and then sip my seltzer and fade into the background.
While weight loss is not the goal for this program, it didn’t come as a shock that I lost weight on the program. There’s so much more to look at with this program than weight loss alone. Since I’m being candid with you in this article, I’ll tell you that I didn’t weigh myself until February 1st, so I could see for myself how much weight I had lost and that I’m keeping to myself.
It’s important to understand that the Whole30 Program is to reset your body, and eventually, reintroduce those restricted foods back into your diet over time. Could you do Whole30 forever? Possibly. You’d be really living and eating in a lifestyle that requires you to eat real food. Is it realistic to continue after the 30 days? I’m not entirely sure. Working in food media really put a hold and how I would normally eat, however, my body took to Whole30 so incredibly that I’m not sure if I want to stop it completely. As I look to February I think I’ll try to take what I’ve learned on Whole30 and apply it to my life, while also remembering that it’s okay to want a little bit of cheese on a turkey burger.