Hi Friends! Happy Tuesday.
It’s been a while since I published a new blog post. To be totally 100% honest, I’ve been feeling a little down and a little not like myself lately so I haven’t been motivated to do much, hence no blog posts. I’ve touched upon this before, but I struggle with depression and anxiety and I have to fight it off every single day because it’s so easy for me to get stuck in my head and go into a dark place. But sometimes, I just can’t fight it off and I let it consume me and I need time to just focus on myself. So with that being said, I’m happy to finally hit publish on this post and it feels really good to just write again and I want to say thank you to all of you who continuously come back to my site even though I may not be the best blogger out there.
Today, we are talking all things Whole30! You can actually check out this post where I talked about what the program is, why I chose to do it and how I prepared for it, so I won’t spend too much time on that. Instead, I’m going to talk more about my experience like the pros and cons of the program, if I really think it’s worth it, would I do it again and address a few questions I’ve received and questions that I had when I was researching the program.
I actually tried to keep a daily diary post while I was on the Whole30, but I found myself mostly complaining. There wasn’t any useful information in there and felt more like the diary of a 14 year old so I decided to nix that idea and instead just do one big roundup.
PROS OF WHOLE30
I’ll be the first to admit that I chose to do Whole30 to lose weight. Even though it is not marketed as a diet plan, during my research I found that a lot of people do notice weight loss and inches off their waist. I did weigh myself at the start of the program, but I didn’t measure myself because I didn’t have a tape measure and honestly measurements of any kind are not my speciality. I must have missed that lesson growing up. At the end of 30 days, I lost 8lbs and a lot of people in my life noticed. People at work told me I looked slimmer, my face looked slimmer and I was more confident looking at myself in the mirror. Prior to starting the program, I avoided the mirror like the plague. I noticed my clothes even fit better and instead of wearing the same oversized sweater to work, I pulled things out of my closet that hadn’t seen the light of day in a while.
While the weight loss aspect was amazing, one of the biggest reasons that people choose Whole30 is because it is supposed to educate you on food and help you figure out how certain foods affect your body and identify things that affect you negatively. I’m someone who has a really sensitive stomach and I’ve found myself getting frustrated with a constant upset stomach more times than I care to admit. Which is another reason why I chose Whole30 over other programs. During my time on the program, my stomach felt amazing. Is that weird to say? It’s true though! I didn’t feel bloated while I was on it. Even after meals, I didn’t have that uncomfortable stuffed feeling, I just felt comfortable and content. And I didn’t struggle with constant upset stomachs which made me so incredibly happy. It was just nice not feeling stomach pains or uncomfortable after every meal.
PROS OF WHOLE30
When I was doing research on Whole30, they kept saying that it was going to change the way you eat and it was going to change your relationship with food. And I have to say, it really did. I had a very picky relationship with vegetables and I was the girl picking veggies out of her lo mein or asking for a meal with no added veggies. Whole30 really did change my palette, I eat more veggies now and I eat veggies that I honestly never had before like brussels sprouts, zucchini, squash and cauliflower, although I hate cauliflower rice.
My sweet tooth was tamed. In the past, if I was drinking iced coffee, I would add like 8 packets of sugar in there. There was no such thing as “too sweet.” But, after Whole30, I feel more content with lightly sweetened things. It also forced me to pay attention to ingredients because I had to read everything to make sure it was Whole30 compliant and let me tell you, it was eye opening! For starters, there is sugar in absolutely everything. I used to think, okay I’m going to eat this for breakfast and this for lunch and then I can treat myself to a cookie since I haven’t had any sweets today. But, nope! There is sugar in ketchup, salad dressings, bacon, pretty much everything. So you think you’re treating yourself with a sweet treat, but really you’ve been consuming sugar all day. Mind blown.
I will say, after completing Whole30, it really just motivated me to eat better because I loved the way I felt while I was on the program. And it really encouraged me to pay attention to ingredients and educate myself on what I’m putting into my body.
CONS OF WHOLE30
The first and biggest con for me, is that Whole30 is expensive. I’m sure there are ways that you can budget and shop smart, but for me personally, it was really pricey. I chose to do Whole30 because I liked that you didn’t have to sign up for and pay for a program or app. There was no monthly or yearly plan they were trying to sell you on. You didn’t have to buy speciality containers or meal prep guides to do it. There was so much information and recipes out there, that you could just do it on your own. With that being said, your number one mission is to eat only Whole30 compliant meals.
I found that a lot of the recipes online called for speciality things that I had never heard of like ghee for example that was pretty costly and other things that I really only found at Whole Foods. I ate a lot of fresh veggies and fruit while on the program and those things don’t stay fresh very long so although I did an initial shop in the beginning to get all of the essentials, I also found myself shopping weekly to restock on veggies and fruits and snacks. One of my favorite Whole30 snacks was baby carrots, guac and prosciutto which was pricey and honestly I was being bougie and spoiled, but that prosciutto made me so happy! But, I will say, it was a struggle and at times I found myself getting frustrated when I would check out with my groceries and I couldn’t help but think that I could totally get a cheaper meal at McDonalds. However, I just kept thinking, it’s an investment in myself and in my body and it’s not like I’m wasting money.
Another con is that it is really time consuming. Between meal prep & dishes, it takes forever!! I really struggled with this my first week on the program because I didn’t anticipate how much time it would take to meal prep, especially if you’re an unexperienced cook like me. My first week, I made a meal plan and gathered all of my recipes, but as I was prepping my first two days of meals, I realized it was 10:00pm on a Sunday and I was still cooking. And throughout that first week, I found myself scrambling trying to figure out meals because although I planned out all these recipes, I really didn’t account for meal prep time which was doubled because I’m not a master chef. I will say, I did get the hang of it as time went on and one of my go-to easy dinners was picking up a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods which is in fact Whole30 compliant and then making some veggies. But, it was still really time consuming and I spent most weekends cooking and prepping for the week ahead.
CONS OF WHOLE30
I will say, it really sucks when you come home from work late or if you had a hard day and you’re tired, you can’t just order Chinese food or heat up a frozen meal or get fast food because it’s not Whole30 compliant! And don’t get me started on if I stayed over my boyfriend’s place during the weekend. I would have to lug a whole bag of food for the weekend with me because I couldn’t eat anything and I didn’t want to take over his kitchen. And it sucks if you have to deal with a group setting. Like, there were office parties where they would have cake and sweets and I would have to sit there and be tempted because I couldn’t eat anything!! The program does encourage you to take what you learn and challenge yourself to find Whole30 compliant meals if you have to go out to eat with friends, but I personally found that to be too much of a hassle and I felt more comfortable just making everything myself so I didn’t do much socializing during those 30 days.
And again, did I mention how many dishes there were! I swear I washed more dishes in those 30 days than I have my entire life.
WAS IT REALLY THAT HARD?
Yes & No. If you had asked me week one if I thought it was hard, I would have looked at you with pleading eyes and begged you to save me from myself. Week one was really hard for several reasons. The first being, I ate so many foods that I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy for the next 30 days like bubble tea and pizza. And because of that, my first day on the program, my body crashed hard! I was so tired that I could barely stay awake at work. I will say, I did the program with a coworker and both of us were like zombies the first week. I was so tired and exhausted all the time. And I just wanted to go back to eating foods that I was comfortable with.
Week two wasn’t as bad since I found quick and easy meals to make. I did find that my appetite went down that week and most nights I just had carrots, guac and fruit since that was all I really craved. The third week wasn’t as bad especially since I got more comfortable meal prepping and got used to my new way of eating, but I was also starting to get bored. And week four, was bearable, but at that point I was just bored!! Doing research on Whole30, the program even says that by the fourth week, you could have a gourmet meal by a world renowned chef and you still wouldn’t be into it because you’re over it at that point. And honestly it’s so true. Anytime anyone asked me how it was going during that last week, I would just say fine, but I’m so bored!
I will say, the hardest thing is that it is such a mental game. And as someone who is always in my head, I really struggled with this. The first week I had such a hard time sleeping because all I would think about was my next meal. I would think about the meal prep I had to do and the ingredients I was about to eat, I was literally living meal to meal. And I felt guilty because I was taking so much time in the kitchen so my mom couldn’t really use it and she offered to help me prep and I felt bad taking time away from her. I kept thinking that I was inconveniencing her and that it would be so much easier to just go back to our regular meals. And my body also went through adjustments that first week and I kept questioning if this was normal and thinking that maybe this isn’t working and I should just quit.
Weekends are also the most challenging in my opinion. Whole30 discusses that we rely on food and use it to celebrate or as a crutch when we’re upset. And it’s so true. I know for me personally, when Friday night rolls around I am so excited and love to treat myself with pizza or bubble tea and I could no longer do that. And Saturday mornings, I love to treat myself with breakfast like pancakes or a bacon and egg on a roll since I don’t typically get to enjoy a sit down breakfast and I could no longer indulge in that. Maybe I’m weird, but eating meals at home on the weekend that I would normally eat at work during the week is so strange to me. Sure, during the week I can eat salad and drink water, but I just can’t see myself on Saturday, watching netflix and chomping down on a salad. So that was difficult.
OKAY, BUT WAS IT REALLY WORHT IT? WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?
When doing research on Whole30, I saw so many mixed reviews. Some people loved it and swore by it. And some people said they hated it. Even my boyfriend’s brother thought it was crazy when I talked about it and told me he didn’t believe in it at all.
But, I can honestly say, I truly 100% wholeheartedly believe in the program and I love everything it did for me and everything I learned from it. I’m not a nutritionists or an expert by any means, I’m just sharing my personal experience, but I really love Whole30. It really did change my palette and I eat way more veggies and healthier options that I never would have considered before. I loved that you could do the program by yourself with information you found on the internet or you could have them help by purchasing their book and meal plans, but it’s not at all necessary. It really did help me understand how certain foods affect my body, like a lot of grains make me feel heavy and legumes just don’t sit well with me. I love that I didn’t feel bloated during my 30 days and just felt comfortable in my body. I did small workouts here and there during the 30 days, but nothing crazy and I love that the program showed that with small diet adjustments you can lose weight.
Would I do it again? Yes, but I hope that I wouldn’t need to. By that, I mean, as much as I complained, I liked that Whole30 challenged me to eat better and step out of my comfort zone and pay attention to ingredients. As someone who was eating junk food every single day and could go weeks without eating greens, I really needed that crash course. But, I hope that I could take what I learned from the program and apply it to my everyday life so that I have a healthy balance of eating healthy and treating myself. I will say, I’m writing this about two months after I finished the program and I fell off the bandwagon hard when I went to Puerto Rico. Honestly, I knew I would because I knew I wanted to eat everything and anything in Puerto Rico so I’ve been debating doing it again to restart my body, but haven’t decided yet. So I’m currently trying to phase things out slowly starting with sugary drinks like soda.
My biggest piece of advice, do it with someone! Or find some way to hold yourself accountable. Because honestly, if I had done this quietly and kept to myself, I definitely would have quit. No doubt about it. When I decided to do Whole30, I wrote a whole blog post about it, I told everyone at work, I enlisted the help of my coworker to do it with me, I told my whole family and bought all of this stuff to help me make recipes. That first week when I was really struggling and wanted to quit, I kept thinking, I can’t quit because I’ve told everyone and I really don’t want to sit there and explain why I no longer am doing it and I didn’t want to feel like I wasted money since I already bought all this stuff. So hold yourself accountable and allow those in your life to shame you to make you stick with!! No lie, Eddie at one point had to wrestle a piece of cake out of my hand because I was so close to throwing in the towel!!
My second piece of advice is just listen to your body and do what you want to do. The downside to sharing that you are doing Whole30 is that everyone has an opinion. I heard it all and it was honestly really annoying and frustrating at times. You hear a lot of unsolicitated opinions from people who know nothing about the program and have never done it. Prior to starting the program, I did so much research and I heard the good and bad and chose to try it out for myself and I’m happy I didn’t let anyone discourage me along the way. So do your research and just do what you want and listen to your body. If you feel good during the program then that’s all that matters.
Shirt: BP @ Nordstrom (only a few sizes currently left – it sold out before, but came back in stock so I would just keep checking back – but also love this eyelet option). Cardigan: ASOS. Denim: Abercrombie & Fitch. Shoes: Sam Edelman (old, similar option here). Bag: Chanel. Sunnies: Gentle Monster.
That’s all for me today! Thank you so much for reading and putting up with me as I try to manage life and work and this little blog of mine. I really do appreciate it.
And please let me know if you have any questions about Whole30. Happy to answer any and help in any way I can!