Exciting news! We jumped on the bandwagon and did the Whole30! Aaaand we didn’t hate it . . . at least not the entire time. What started as a way for Jon and I to fit better into a kilt and a bridesmaid dress, respectively, turned into a pretty habit-changing experience.
I borrowed the Whole30 book from a coworker and read what I felt I needed to get started. (I think half of the time, I’m one of those people who doesn’t read the instructions and tries to figure it out; the other half of the time, I need to know everything that’s going on. This time, I was somewhere in the middle and just didn’t want to eff it up.) Turns out it’s pretty strict. Basically, you cut out grains (rice, corn, wheat, etc.), dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk etc.), legumes (chickpeas, black beans, peanut butter, etc.), and added sugar and fake stuff (includes chewing gum and alcohol). This is a way for people who have stomach issues, like Jon, to eliminate likely trigger foods so that, after day 30, they can reintroduce these groups of foods one at a time to try to narrow down what causes the problems.
In the book, the authors make it abundantly clear that you should be eating meat. I do not eat meat most of the time slash ever, so this was going to be interesting. The authors also say that if you do a vegetarian version of the Whole30, you’re not really doing the Whole30. Okay. Harsh. But I get it. Still, though, I was not going to eat meat. I decided to include plain Greek yogurt and plain kefir in my diet as a way to get some protein, and Jon ate some yogurt, too, but not too much. He was able to find diet-compliant turkey deli slices and chicken sausage.
So we crafted a meal plan for the first week and made it through (though not without struggles—see my previous post). We did the same with the second week, and things were going smoothly. There was only one time when I wanted to sock Jon in the mouth in the middle of the protein bar aisle because I was so damn hungry and he probably breathed wrong. But the important thing is that I did not hit my husband. By the third week, I couldn’t believe we were in the third week already. It was getting easier! And then we had a wedding—the wedding we were trying to slim down for. I freely admit that we did cheat, but we actually didn’t cheat that badly! We pressed pause on our diet, but we avoided overindulging, which included passing on mimosas, multiple bagels, and Wegmans sammies. After three days off, we resumed after returning home from the nuptials.
THE LAST TEN DAYS FELT LIKE FOREVER. The book talks about “tiger blood,” which is supposed to be this surge of energy you get at some point in the thirty days. Yeah, I don’t know if I got that, and maybe it’s because I wasn’t eating meat so my nutrients were a little different than others who’ve experienced the tiger bloodiness. But the last ten days just dragged on, and all I could think about was the food I couldn’t eat. I was planning out my first meal on day 31: brick of cheese, ice cream, pumpkin spice latte (#PSL), toast and peanut butter, mac and cheese . . .
And then day 31 happened. It was today. And I was terrified to eat anything off the diet. I’m so happy with our progress and results that I don’t want to go back! I also realized that my cravings had actually changed. While I had planned on having all these seemingly delicious things I had once craved, like chocolate or cheese and crackers, I was now looking forward to an apple with almond butter or a dish of green olives.
I did end up having a few non-Whole30 foods today, like falafel from the Whole Foods hot bar and a little bit of Halo Top cookie dough ice cream, but I’m not planning on going crazy. I didn’t even have any alcohol during the football or baseball games today! Jon is taking a much slower approach in an effort to identify his trigger foods, so I’m going to follow suit and stick to the recommended reintroduction program.
Results: Jon lost a total of twelve pounds. I lost approximately eight pounds (I didn’t weigh myself at the start because I was looking more for how my clothes fit, so my start weight was my last known weight).
What We Ate:
- Black coffee. (OMG I’m so proud of myself for this one.) It’s honestly not that bad. If you find that it’s just not your jam, try buying better-quality coffee, buying whole beans and grinding a pot’s worth at a time yourself, using a French press, or, if all else fails, adding some coconut cream to it. A little goes a long way, though. Favorite: Daily Planet‘s X-ray Vision.
- Sweet potatoes. I think we all knew this was going to be on the list. We had sweet potatoes probably five times a week, and they work for any meal.
- Butternut squash. Thank goodness it’s in season because this was a good way for us to have something hearty for lunch or dinner, and we usually had leftovers.
- EGGS. Amazingly I am not sick of eggs yet. Well, I am definitely sick of hard-boiled eggs. But fried eggs are still great. We ate anywhere between two and four eggs a day.
- Kefir with mango. This was my late-night snack. I blended some frozen mango with about a cup of kefir, and it was like a yummy smoothie/fro-yo treat. Favorite: Wegmans probiotic kefir, plain unsweetened and Dole mango chunks.
- Nuts or olives. Almonds and cashews were our go-to nuts. And I indulged in the Wegmans olive bar while Jon enjoys the classic black olive. These treats kept me full at work.
- Seltzer water. We have a garbage bag full of cans we need to return. This was my lifesaver when regular water just wasn’t cutting it. They also work for when you want to look like you’re drinking something alcoholic so you can avoid some questions (I’m not pregnant). Favorites: Polar Seltzer in Cranberry Lime and Ruby Red Grapefruit; La Croix Water in Pomplemousse.
- Protein bars. The book tells you not to rely on protein bars, so I’m sure we ate them more than we were supposed to, but these were clutch when I needed a quick breakfast or we were heading to a training appointment. Favorites: RXBars in Pumpkin Spice (seasonal), Coconut Chocolate, Blueberry, and Chocolate Sea Salt.
Have you done the Whole30 diet? What did you think? Are you thinking about trying it? Let us know!