Ian and I recently decided to give whole30 a try. We’d been going back and forth on it for a while and we finally decided to just go for it.
WHY WE DID WHOLE30
Our main reason for trying whole30 was health. We started feeling the consequences that come with years of unhealthy eating and decided it was time to make a change.
Whole30 was very enticing because it’s suppose to be a reset for you body. All your cravings and food addictions are suppose to subside within the 30 days so you can walk away not needing all the processed food you trained yourself to craved. It’s just 30 days of healthy eating and by the end of it, you’re suppose to feel amazing.
Aside from all that, I wanted to start cooking at home more. It’s hard to eat out on whole30 so meal prep is crucial. I figured 30 days would help me get in the habit of cooking, meal planning, etc. All that adulting kind of stuff. We’ve always been prone to falling into the fast food trap which gets expensive and is in no way good for you. It was really time to get control of our eating habits and start trying to cook at home more.
I also wanted to get control of my skin quality. I’ve dealt with acne problems since I started puberty and now that I’m an adult, I’ve realized that being a teenager was not the problem. I decided it was time to take a look at my diet to see if food could be part of the problem.
From what I understand, sugar is pretty addictive, some say even more addictive than tobacco. This is why the beginning is hard.
Basically, when you’re used to having sugar everyday, your body starts to rely on it to function. When your body doesn’t get sugar, it tells you you’re hungry, even if you’re not.
Some people may have a body that gets mad and makes them feel sick without a certain amount of sugar. For Ian and I, we just felt immense hunger. More hunger than we’d ever felt. We we’re fasting by any means, we just weren’t eating sugar and our bodies didn’t like that.
If I had to guess, that’s what makes the whole30 experience so difficult in the beginning.
So if I’m being honest, we didn’t make it all the way through.
Before you stop reading, we really did learn a lot from our whole30 attempt.
Checking labels helped us learn how many ways we were taking in sugar that we never would have expected otherwise.
Ian learned that he needs the extra carbs that bread and sugar bring. His metabolism is so fast that he was kind of starving without it.
I learned that I thrive on a plant-based diet. My body gets so weighed down by the extra sugar in everything that I not only feel heavy, but it precludes my motivation and alters my mood if I’m not careful.
Obviously, Ian is not going to ever think about whole30 again. He hated it and I don’t blame him. It wasn’t good for him.
My plan is to follow a paleo/whole30 diet for 5 days of the week and indulging a little on the weekends. I’m not superwomen. I need candy in my life, but I’ve discovered that moderation is not only key, it is absolutely necessary for me.
In general, we’re both going to be more conscious of what is in our food. Just because we may not be indulging in whole30 all the time doesn’t mean we need sugar in our almond butter. We’re going to be careful about reading labels and more picky about where our sugar is coming from.
MY ADVICE FOR DOING WHOLE30
Because of all the hunger and cravings you’ll feel, prep is important. Go find recipes, make sure they’re easy, pre-make almost everything, and make sure it all sounds appetizing.
MAKE WEEK 1 YOUR (KIND OF) FREEBIE WEEK
They say to avoid excessive snacking and fruit intake on this diet. For week one though, just eat whatever’s easiest. Obviously don’t go off diet, but snack as much as you want and eat fruit as much as you want to. You’ve got 30 whole days, you won’t ruin it if the first 7 are a little more lax.
DON’T STRESS VARIETY
If I felt like I had to eat something different everyday I probably would have gone crazy. Trying to add a lot of variety to the snacks you eat or the meals you make is going to put a lot of pressure on something that’s really just a diet reset. Keep it simple and if you find a meal you love, eat it for the whole month!
UNDERSTAND YOUR GOALS
Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want curb your cravings? Do you feel bad most days and need to find the problem area? While all of these are valid reasons for starting whole30, they will shape the path you take through it. Curbing cravings may demand a strict schedule, while searching for problem areas will require experiments and Determining your ultimate goal will not only give you motivation, but it can help you cultivate a menu a structure that can better help you achieve that goal.
IT’S NOT GOOD FOR EVERYONE
As we found out, not everyone thrives on this diet. While it’s nice to eat healthier, it’s not worth it to suffer just for the sake of reaching a goal. Really make sure you listen to your body and be critical and honest about what you’re feeling.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
Whether you go into this diet to lose weight, reset your cravings, or learn how your body responds to food, don’t stress it too much. Whole30 is a choice that you make but it doesn’t mean it has to be terrible for you. If you eat the same thing everyday or even realize it’s just not working, it’s all good! The main thing is, you’re working on becoming healthier and that is the most important thing.
Let me know about your whole30 experience and leave any tips in the comments!
Interested in starting whole30? Learn more here ->
Photo by Daria Shevtsova