I finished the Whole30! My Whole30 Results

I finished Whole30

I can’t believe I made it. I am not the kind of person who does stuff like this. (Maybe I am now?) Friends, if I can do this, anyone can.

First, I have to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who inspired me by sharing their experiences and most of all, pictures, my sweet Instagram followers for encouraging me, my wonderful husband who volunteered to do Whole30 with me so that I would have support at home, and last but not least, my brother, for challenging me to do this in the first place and giving me ideas and support along the way.

THE BACKGROUND
I wrote a little here about starting Whole30, but I want to share a bit more because I’ve had some questions since that post. (I did a full Q&A here, and shared about my first week here). Lately a lot of people have been asking why I picked Whole30 over the other popular programs out there today (the 21 Day Fix, for example). Many of you know it was my younger brother who challenged me to do it alongside him. He has done several rounds of Whole30, and in between, lives a Paleo lifestyle. He’s been asking me for almost a year to do a Whole30. I spent most of my time reading up on Whole30 and didn’t really learn much about other programs until after I started. I still would have picked Whole30.

The two programs are completely different – most notably in their purpose. Whole30 designed to teach you how foods are affecting your body and mind through food category elimination. Though weight loss is a very common side effect, it is not the goal. The 21 day fix is designed for weight loss through primarily portion control, Shakeology shakes and workouts. It’s really apples and oranges to try and compare the two. There are so many foods you’re allowed to have on the 21 day fix (dairy, soy, legumes, gluten) that are strictly off-limits during the Whole30. Both programs are helpful in their own way. Both serve a purpose. They’re just TOTALLY incomparable. I have been feeling tired, bloated, crabby, irritable, and foggy for a long time and I wanted to see if it was my diet. And that question was answered loud and clear during my Whole30.

MY EXPERIENCE
First, my starting point was near goal-weight, already eating a relatively low-calorie diet (not the best diet, but I wasn’t over-eating) and lightly exercising. I did not have a lot of weight to lose, and I didn’t experience the dramatic results on the scale as a lot of other people. My dramatic results were non-scale-related. People ask me ALL THE TIME how much weight I’ve lost, and I really didn’t lose that much – but that wasn’t the goal to begin with. I also added strength training in the last week, and I can feel that I’m retaining water as my muscles are adjusting. So, to anyone who is looking at Whole30 JUST for weight loss, yes, you will probably lose weight, and probably a lot more than I did, but you’d be missing the whole point.

PHYSICAL CHANGES     I will use all caps to tell you that I FEEL LIKE A DIFFERENT PERSON. I noticed within the first few days that I didn’t have that uncomfortable bloat that you get after a meal or the morning after having a crappy dinner. I didn’t have that 2pm exhaustion every day. For the first time EVER IN MY WHOLE LIFE, I wake up around 6/6:30 in the morning and don’t feel like crawling back into bed for the whole day. My mind is not foggy. I have so much more focus. I feel more motivated. I’m not irritable. My skin is more clear and consistent. My blood sugar doesn’t dip and spike throughout the day. I feel smaller and healthier. I have far more energy. Although I didn’t lose a significant amount of weight, I lost a lot of inches which I think I can attribute mostly to the reduction in bloat. Which is so gross to think about. I feel leaner, especially around my midsection. I feel like I lost more than the scale said I lost. Here are my changes (and for reference, I’m 5’2”):

Whole30 Before and After

Weight -2.0 lbs
Waist: -1.0”
Arm: -0.25”
Bust: -1.25”
Hips: -1.5” (this is my belly-that-carried-three-babies pooch zone. SO surprised at how much this went down.)
Butt: -0.75”
Thigh: -0.25”

For those wondering, my husband lost 7.6 lbs and all of his pants are loose! My husband is 6’1 and already pretty slender and fit, so this was a HUGE change. He had all of the other physical improvements I experienced.

MENTAL CHANGES     I crammed donuts into my face the day before Whole30 started. I thought of all the junk food I wasn’t going to be able to have and carefully planned July 1 to be a smorgasbord of crappy and delicious food. As the days passed, the crappy food started to sound gross. I felt so good that I didn’t want to screw my body up.  I went to a few parties and didn’t think about the food how I usually do. I stopped looking forward to chocolate and salty carb-loaded snacks at night and started thinking about what else I could be doing. I stopped thinking about my favorite places and where I could drive through when my kids were asleep.  I broke my addiction to bad food. <—THAT by itself was totally worth it.

Have you ever spent a lot of time reading labels? WOW. There is so much junk in what we consume. Sugar, gluten, sugar, oil, sugar…Sugar in everything. Sugar in processed meat. Sugar in nut butters. Oil in bags of nuts and seeds. Vegetable oil in my old coffee creamer. (“Here, have some coffee with vegetable oil. Yum.” Not.) I know that it’s extraordinarily difficult to read every label of everything all the time (If you’re one of my food allergy or sensitivity friends, then this is your way of life and you understand), but it’s a new habit of mine that I’ll gladly keep. I don’t want vegetable oil in my coffee. I don’t want sugar in my meat. It makes a difference in how I feel, and I’ve learned that I like feeling better more than I like that stuff (and most of the time, it doesn’t even make a difference in the flavor! So not worth it).

I think of food differently now. Food is fuel. It’s not a friend, it’s not comfort, it’s not a cure to boredom, it doesn’t make me feel better about myself, and it’s not a coping mechanism. There are so many healthy foods I skimped on or skipped on Weight Watchers (which I’m not knocking, I really overall do still love WW), because they were too high in points even though they were healthy – avocados, nut butters, nuts, olive oil, salmon) that I LOVED having without guilt. My fat intake has increased but it’s HEALTHY fat. My body needs that. By the end, I was eating SO MUCH food every day. I loved not ever having to worry about what it would do to my body. I tracked a few days just to see what the Points Plus Values would be of my days and I was EASILY 10-20 over my recommended daily intake. When you’re eating good food, though, you don’t really have to think twice about the amount. I am so thankful that I got to experience this process because I truly learned what healthy food is and how it makes me feel. I get it now. I understand why people make what seems like a HUGE sacrifice. Eating gluten-free crackers isn’t going to make you feel different. Removing gluten entirely from your diet will. Eating low-fat dairy isn’t going to make you feel different. Removing dairy entirely from your diet will. I’m not saying everyone should, I just encourage everyone who is feeling crappy to look at your diet and consider that you might be the one making yourself feel this way. I know that I absolutely was.

THE DOWNSIDES
I did not have the “perfect” Whole30. I did not cheat, but I was not perfect. I spent the first few weeks snacking (on compliant foods), which is a no-no during Whole30, because it took me a long time learn what a truly full, complete meal is for my body. I had more fruit than what is typically recommended (not that fruit is bad, but filling up on vegetables sustains you more, so it’s discouraged to fulfill hunger with a lot of fruit because it won’t satisfy your body the way that vegetables and protein and fat will). I also let an almond butter label slip by me for a week before I realized it had cane sugar in it. I only had a very small amount a few times, but I was so disappointed. I switched as soon as I realized. ALWAYS READ YOUR LABELS! Lastly, we ate at Chipotle and I got chicken and fajita veggies (with lettuce, guac and pico de gallo) before reading that they cook the chicken and vegetables in soybean oil (the carnitas are the only whole30-friendly meat option there at this time). It was my fault for not researching ahead of time. Whole30 tells you to start completely over when this happens. I chose not to.

This program takes a TREMENDOUS amount of planning and discipline. You have to be willing to say “no.” You’ll go to parties, go out to dinner, travel for work, – and you’ll have to say no to things you want. We went to several get-togethers during Whole30 and just had to eat beforehand and only pick at the things that were compliant. It was hard, but it’s only 30 days. Our friends were more than understanding. My husband travels for work frequently and he was able to stay on program the whole time. He had a lot of eggs, fruit, salads with chicken, or steak with steamed vegetables and baked potatoes. It was hard, but there is always a way if you’re determined.

Reading every label, carefully planning meals ahead of time, prepping food to have it ready when it’s time to eat because you can’t just grab a pizza or pour a bowl of cereal, – the time investment is significant in the beginning. IT IS SO WORTH IT, but it is significant. If you choose to do a Whole30, be sure to allow yourself time to learn and plan and prepare. The discipline part, well, you just have to decide whether this is worth it for you. If you’ve felt any of those things I mentioned above, I would encourage you to at least try. I was not ready to do this until last month. I was not mentally there. I wouldn’t have made it. When I finally did commit to it, I knew I was ready. If you’re already making excuses about why you’ll fail, it is not the right time to start. You need to be ready. That said, don’t stand in your own way.

WHAT NEXT?
I am doing a reintroduction (reintroducing food groups and taking note of how they make you feel in terms of bloat, headaches, stomach distress, etc) to determine exactly what foods make me feel certain ways. I will probably do the full reintroduction and then go to an 80-90% Paleo (less strict but same food groups) lifestyle afterward. I feel so much better that I can’t go back to the way I was. I want to be mostly healthy but have the freedom to splurge on special occasions. I do plan to add back coffee and creamer (I tried drinking it black but just couldn’t, so I skipped coffee for the 30 days), but I’ll be switching to a natural creamer and not the chemical/vegetable oil creamer I used before. I’ll also be cutting down to one cup a day as opposed to my typical 4-6. I had a tall nonfat caramel latte this morning from Starbucks, and my stomach was in knots, so I’m pretty positive I’m going to be cutting dairy almost entirely with the exception of a little creamer some mornings.  I’m adding tea sweetened with raw honey into the mix some days, too. I really, really missed my warm cups in the morning. I’ll also be adding back certain condiments (ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, etc) in very limited quantities. I doubt I’ll be adding gluten back in anytime soon. Maybe a donut on a special occasion 😉 And of course, I’ll add back sushi.

MEAL IDEAS
Another big question people ask is where I got meal ideas. I’m a picky eater and as a mom of three kids 5 and under, I just don’t have a lot of time to make complicated meals. I listed out some meals just based on things I liked from the food list, I searched #whole30 and #whole30 recipes on Instagram and I searched the accounts of the Whole30 people I follow. Since I didn’t eat eggs, I had fruit with either nuts, almond butter or meat (compliant bacon or prosciutto) for breakfast. Lunches were usually chicken with raw vegetables and fruit, sometimes with sweet potato rounds. I had BLTA lettuce cups a few times and Buffalo Chicken lettuce wraps with celery and green onions, too (just toss shredded chicken with a little hot sauce mixed with a little melted ghee). Dinners were either grilled, roasted or sautéed proteins (chicken, pork, steak) with roasted vegetables and potatoes. I just toss with a cooking fat (ghee, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil), season with salt and pepper and then add any other flavors or seasonings I felt like (lime, garlic, herbs, paprika). I would say I had potatoes about half the time with dinners. We had “Addictive and Healthy Paleo Nachos” from paleogrubs.com a few times, I made meatballs and spaghetti squash with homemade pasta sauce a few times (meatballs were made with grass-fed beef, almond flour onions, one egg, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and parsley, mush together, form into golf ball sized balls and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, sauce was just a can of peeled tomatoes, onions and garlic that I softened in olive oil before adding the tomatoes, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and parsley that I simmered together then puréed) and steak-stuffed peppers (recipe at the bottom of this post). If you want to see more details and other things I ate, browse #jenplanscooks on Instagram!

IN CLOSING
I am so grateful for this experience. I never thought I could do such a restrictive program, but I found that the purpose of learning more about my body was valuable enough that it was worth it. It was only a month. I can do anything for one month!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments! Thanks so much for reading about my experience, and I wish you the best of luck on yours!

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Trying new things when you’re a creature of habit

Plank

I’m 31. I thrive on routine. It’s not that I don’t want to try new things, it’s just that trying new things takes effort and learning and time and sometimes failure. To someone who is already running on all cylinders, trying new things (no matter how great the potential payoff is) just sounds exhausting and it’s easy to feel like it’s not worth disrupting a good groove. I like to find things that work, set to autopilot in that area of my life and not worry about it. Survival mechanism? Maybe. It’s been a very long time since I tried anything new for myself because frankly I was just barely swimming. And there’s no shame in that, but it’s where I was.

The last month of my life has been SO UNCOMFORTABLE but SO WORTH IT. People – try the new things. I promise you even if you hate it, you will learn so much about yourself and the world around you. It is so hard but IT IS SO REWARDING. I remember my college orientation. I was 17. My leaders told me that it was important to step out of your comfort zone if you wanted to learn and grow and succeed. I spent many years doing that (and feeling really good about it), and then one day along the way…autopilot. Maybe it was when the kids came along. When it came to food and fitness, it was kind of like Groundhog Day (you keep living the same day over and over again). I wasn’t fed up or unhappy or at rock bottom. I just got a challenge from someone (my little brother) and felt like it was time.

I am the last person I thought would ever do a Whole30. I’m a picky eater, I don’t like deprivation, and I frankly felt like I’d be too lazy to stick with it for 30 days. I got a custom workout from a friend who is a trainer and did my first real workout today. I could only do the three-rep circuit two times because I thought I was going to keel over. It was so hard and exhausting and I was doing it in the gym in front of other people who at first I thought might be laughing at me (I’m sure my form wasn’t perfect) but then I just hit the wonderful feeling of NOT CARING AT ALL what other people think (and I’m sure no one was, but don’t you always think that when you’re doing new workouts?). I was doing something that was good for me. I was proud of myself. It wasn’t perfect, but I was getting it done.

I want to encourage anyone who feels like they’re on autopilot to shake it up a little. You don’t have to make a big change (or maybe you do?) – just step outside of your comfort zone. Try the new things. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. Do something even if you don’t think you can. Write out your goals. Read and learn about what you want to do. Find support. Give yourself that gift.

What’s something you’d like to do? Share in the comments! I’d love to hear what other people are doing, and you never know if your journey can spark someone else’s.

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Whole30 Q & A

Whole30 Q&A

I am no expert on Whole30, but I posted a call for questions on my Instagram account because I’ve been getting a lot of questions here and there, and thought I might be able to help others who are considering it by sharing my experience. I’ve compiled a list below and did my best to answer everything!

Q: What is Whole30?
A: Whole30 was designed by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig and is a 30-day nutritional reset. It’s designed to remove processed, inflammatory, allergenic, and otherwise potentially harmful foods from your diet entirely so you can fuel your body with foods that won’t interfere with the way it’s designed to work. You can read more here: www.whole30.com

Q: Is Whole30 the same as Paleo?
A: No. Paleo has no defined rules and everyone interprets Paleo eating differently. Whole30 also excludes some things that are generally allowed on most people’s interpretation of Paleo. Whole30 has very clear restrictions.

Q: Why did you decide to do this?
A: See my post here.

Q: Do you have to pay for this program?
A: There is a book they suggest you read, “It Starts With Food” but I haven’t read it, and I found everything I needed on their website for free (steps, rules and shopping list).

Q: Is snacking allowed on Whole30?
A: The answer is no. There’s a great section of their website which addresses snacking and the message there is that if you’re going to snack (on compliant foods), you should be reflecting on why you need the snack (not eating enough at mealtime? Not eating enough vegetables? Not drinking enough water?) so that you don’t snack in the future. I still struggle with this part, personally. I’m trying to craft my meals in a way that stays with me until the next one, but if I’m hungry, I eat (but only compliant foods).

Q: What results have you been noticing?
A: SO MANY. I’m on day 12 now. I can feel a difference EVERYWHERE. I’m sleeping better, my blood sugar levels don’t spike and dip, my energy levels are better, I no longer have stomach issues, I don’t feel bloated after meals, my clothes are fitting better, I’m thinking more clearly, the list goes on. I also don’t feel that emotional attachment to food which is HUGE for me. Food is just fuel now. It’s not a friend, it’s not a time-killer, and it’s not a reward. It’s fuel. I will be forever grateful to have learned that feeling. In terms of weight and measurements, I will report back at the end of the Whole30. But my husband says he can see a difference!

Q: Is your husband/family doing Whole30 with you?
A: My husband was such a great sport and said if I was going to do it, he wanted to do it along with me for support. For the most part, we’re eating the same stuff. He and I do like some different foods (he doesn’t like sweet potatoes, I do. He loves eggs, I don’t.), so I’ve just tried my best to make sure we have enough around of what we both like if it’s a meal we both aren’t in love with. If he has eggs over hash browns for dinner, I’ll make myself some bacon, slice up some avocado and have some of the hash browns on the side. So, our meals are similar but not identical. For the most part, our kids are eating some of what we do and some of their own foods. We did not cut any food group from their diet, but we have removed a lot of the processed foods they were eating and swapped them with more fruit, veggies, raisins and cashews. I do make some different foods for them at mealtimes. (I should note that my daughter has some sensory issues and her diet is always a bit different from ours). My little brother is also doing this with us long-distance from Houston, and he’s the one who asked me to start. He’s done this before and checks in with me every day to see what I’m eating and how I’m feeling, and he’s giving me the encouragement I need when I need it. He eats crazy healthy and I’m so grateful for his help!

Q: Did you have headaches when you started? If so, how long did they last?
A: Oh my gosh YES. The first day was absolutely awful. I couldn’t believe how awful I felt. The combination of skipping caffeine and sugar sent me down fast – but it was an incredible moment of clarity for me. I realized how much my body depended on crap and I HATED that and wanted to stick with the program even more. By day two I was a little groggy but ok! Day three on I’ve been great!

Q: Do you get cheat meals or is it super strict?
A: No cheat meals or snacks! Not even a bite or lick of anything. You aren’t doing Whole30 if you’re cheating!

Q: What are some red flags on labels?
A: The last time I read labels this much was when I first joined weight watchers and they had a little cardboard slider card to determine points values and you had to calculate EVERYTHING (anyone remember that?). Now, I have to avoid anything with added sugar (often listed as dextrose), most oils, MSG or alcohol. You wouldn’t BELIEVE how much of those things are in EVERYTHING we eat.

Q: Where do you find sugar-free bacon?
A: I found mine at Sprouts, but I’ve heard Whole Foods and Trader Joes carries it as well! Read the labels VERY carefully! It’s expensive, but it’s worth it.

Q: Have you had any cravings for non-compliant foods and how do you deal with that?
A: Occasionally, yes! I’m an extremely competitive person and once I know something is off-limits, I block it out of my mind. If I don’t, I get so fixated on it I want to cave. I will not cave in these 30 days so I just stop thinking about it and distract myself. If I want something salty, I go for cashews or almonds. If I want something sweet, I reach for some fruit. It’s not the same as a donut but I feel a lot better afterwards!

Q: Do you follow a specific workout regimen or program on Whole30?
A: No. Whole30 is totally focused on food. I’m just doing me regular routine at the gym.

Q: Other than water, what have you been drinking on Whole30?
A: Nothing. I tried coffee black and decided I’d rather drink water. Ha! A lot of people drink tea or sparkling water (as long as it’s naturally sweetened with fruit juice and not sugar).

Q: Can you have smoothies?
A: Nope. Even with compliant ingredients – the point of this program is to eat the actual whole foods. Ice cream made by blending whole frozen bananas is also off-limits. The way you eat the food is just as important as the food, according to this program.

Q: How did you get started?
A: I only took a few days to prep. I thought a lot about why I wanted to do this. I think getting mentally ready is just as important as being prepared on paper. I read the Whole30 website and then printed off the shopping list from their site. I scoured Pinterest and Instagram (search #whole30) for meal inspiration and made a list of things I thought my family and I would like. I got rid of everything that was part of my old diet (coffee creamer, dark chocolate, cheese). Then I went grocery shopping!

Q: Where do you get your meal inspiration?
A: Mostly Instagram! I’m a visual person and need to see a picture of something before I try to make it. If you go to my account (@jen_plans), you can click on who I’m following (upper right corner) and I have a bunch there that I love! You can also search #whole30 for pictures too! There are a TON of blogs out there posting Whole30-compliant meals so don’t be afraid to search Whole30 + your favorite foods. And don’t be afraid to try new foods.

Q: How long does meal prep take?
A: Honestly, less than before. Less ingredients, more grilling and roasting and more foods in their natural form make prep really easy overall. I probably spend 30-60 minutes on shopping day to prep food so that it’s ready when I need to cook it, but I’ve always done that so it’s no time added. If I have cut up broccoli in a big zip-top bag in the fridge, it’s easier to dump some in to steam than if I have to get out the cutting board each time. Anything I can do to make meal time faster or easier, I do ahead of time.

Q: Do you miss any non-approved foods?
A: Of course not! YES. My coffee creamer. See you July 1! For everything else, as each day goes by there’s less I miss, truly. I like the way I’m feeling. I like that I don’t have to worry about portions. I like that I’m fueling my body and not making it groggy, slow or bloated.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope I was able to answer all of your questions!

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First week of Whole30

This first week of Whole30 has been such a valuable learning process for me!

Some history: My brother has been encouraging me to do this program for a while now. I always said no because I was scared I’d fail and honestly because I didn’t want to give up the food I love. I love food. I love eating. I love events that revolve around food. When I know I’m going out to eat, I look up the menu online ahead of time to read every single thing and decide what I’m getting then drool until I go. That’s how much I love food. A few weeks ago, he came in town and stayed with me for a few days and finally convinced me to try it (and said he’d do it too, long-distance). I also roped my always-a-good-sport husband into the program.

Whole30 Image

Why’d I say yes? A few reasons. I’ve been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers for 13 years. I joined in college to lose the freshman 15, went back after each of my three children were born to lose the baby weight (successfully), and have maintained pretty close to my goal weight. I love Weight Watchers and will always recommend it, but I was ready for something that was solely focused on healthy foods. I’ve been feeling sluggish lately and the scale was stuck despite “eating mostly well” and exercising. I want to break my love affair with food. Not because I don’t want to keep loving what I eat, but because I don’t want to love things that are bad for me. I need to retrain myself. I’m also a very competitive person (with myself) and really don’t like feeling like I can’t do something. Because I can. I can do anything. And so can everyone.

Fast forward: So after I clutched my coffee with crack-creamer and shoveled donuts in my mouth, I logged on to www.whole30.com and started reading. These are the things that stuck with me: “Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it . . . so how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days.” Ummm. LIGHT BULB. “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.” LIGHT BULB. “there may be other foods that you find are not psychologically healthy for your Whole30. Use your best judgment with those foods that aren’t on this list, but that you suspect are not helping you change your habits or break those cravings.” LIGHT BULB.

Noticing a theme? The PSYCHOLOGICAL relationship with food is also being addressed. I love this. This is not about creating your favorite junk foods with Whole30 ingredients and pretending it’s healthy. It’s about really, truly, eating clean. And feeling good about it.

The food: I printed off the grocery list and started thinking about meals. You don’t have to get fancy or eat a bunch of stuff you’ve never tried (though it’s been GREAT trying new foods). I looked at Instagram pictures tagged with #Whole30. I made a list of easy dinners I know I could make. I went to Sprouts (comparable to a Trader Joe’s or small version of Whole Foods) and stocked up on produce and healthy proteins. More on meals in a bit.

The first week: The first day was awful. I was SO excited to start and stayed compliant, but I skipped coffee because I didn’t want to drink it black, and if you go from drinking four to six cups of coffee each morning to zero, I will tell you a secret. It hurts. Also, when you completely cut processed sugar out of your diet, that doesn’t feel great either. So around 2 p.m. I started getting dizzy and feeling nauseated. I’ll spare you the details but basically I was literally sick to my stomach from about 4 p.m. on, and for the first time in 10 years, had to call my husband home from work because I physically couldn’t care for the kids. WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS TO THEMSELVES? Then I realized . . . huh. These things I was putting in my body were so significant that it made me physically sick to remove them. I was literally dependent on crap. Our bodies were not made to depend on crap. They were made to depend on real food. Food is fuel. That was a big eye-opener and one of the things I’m happy to have learned right away.

Photo Jun 07, 12 00 42 PMBreakfast: I have a weird texture issue and cannot eat eggs unless they’re on toast. Like in the same bite. (Weird, I know). So eggs are out for me. I also am/was not a breakfast eater, but without my morning coffee (wasn’t ready to try it black), I decided fruit and some cashews or almonds (or almond butter) were good.

Today I made a big brunch for the family and had fruit and compliant bacon (not cured, no sugar added. Did you know most bacon contains sugar? I didn’t.

Photo Jun 03, 5 32 33 PMLunch: These have been the hardest for me. I’m by myself with the kids all day and it’s so easy to make a sandwich and I can’t eat a salad every day. I bought a big container of shredded rotisserie chicken from Sprouts and kept it in the fridge all week. (Lasted three to four days, then I bought a second container). My lunches were pretty much the same every day: Chicken, half an avocado, some fruit, almonds or cashews, and sometimes raw carrots. You can eat compliant lunchmeat (check the ingredients!) on Whole30, but it’s fairly expensive, so I skipped it this week. All in all, it was repetitive but good.

Photo Jun 04, 11 48 44 AMPhoto Jun 04, 5 07 12 PMPhoto Jun 04, 1 16 44 PMPhoto Jun 05, 7 57 00 AM

Snacks: Mostly fruit, cashews, almonds, avocado with a little sea salt and roasted sweet potatoes.

Photo Jun 05, 6 43 03 PMDinners: The first night, I was too sick to eat. Two of the nights, I had lunch repeats. The other dinners this week included Philly cheesesteak-stuffed peppers (minus the cheese), grilled steak and zucchini with baked potatoes, grilled boneless pork chops with roasted vegetables, and a chipotle salad (lettuce, chicken, pico de gallo and guacamole). See end of post for recipes!

 

Whole30 Dinner

Overall reflection: I’m so glad I’m doing this. It’s SO HARD, but I am breaking my dependence on crap food, eating SO MUCH MORE healthy food (especially fruit and veggies) than I ever have,drinking more water, being more thoughtful (am I hungry or just bored?), and really fueling my body. I’m setting a good example for my kids. My blood sugar is so much more stabilized – I don’t feel that up and down and food coma you feel after eating. That part is crazy to me. It’s going to be hard to stick with this for another 23 days, but mentally I’m just taking it one day at a time. I can do one day. I can do that 23 more times.

Do you have any questions for me? I’d love to answer them! Comment below and I’ll answer them in my next Whole30 post!

RECIPES:

Philly Cheesesteak-Stuffed Peppers (minus the cheese):Whole30Food

Ingredients: 4 green bell peppers, two yellow onions, half a pound of compliant roast beef sliced thinly, a splash of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), salt and pepper.

To Prepare: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut peppers in half from top to bottom and remove stem and seeds. Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper and pop in the oven. Caramelize onions in a little EVOO (this will take about half an hour). Remove onions from pan and crank heat to high. Tear up roast beef and toss in the pan to sear. When all the meat is seared (will only take a minute or two), add the onions back in and mix everything up. Pull your peppers out of the oven and fill each one with the roast beef/onion mixture. Serve!

Roasted Veggies:

Ingredients: 1lb carrots, 4 red potatoes, 2 onions, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), herbs de provence herb mixture

To Prepare: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season and sear all vegetables on high heat in a little EVOO and put on a foil-lined baking sheet. Pop into the oven for an hour, flipping everything halfway through. Serve with grilled pork chops or meat of your choice!

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Picky eater tries Whole30

I’m writing this the night before I start Whole30, which is a 30 day commitment to only eating whole, unprocessed foods. (To learn more about Whole30, click here.)

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I decided to do try Whole30 for two reasons. I’ve been following Weight Watchers for 13 years (of which I’m a HUGE fan and which has helped me lose the baby weight successfully three times), but over the last few years, I’ve felt a major decline in energy. After blood tests came out normal, my doctor said my fatigue is likely from my environment (mom of three kids age four and under), and to try to improve my exercise and diet. I like the structure of Weight Watchers but want to try something more rigid that didn’t include shakes or supplements (not knocking them, they’re just not for me). I’m going to try Whole30 and then gradually reintroduce certain food groups to see how my body responds (I’m guessing dairy will be a difficult one). The other reason is that I’ve become much more of an emotional eater recently and I really need to get a grip. I love food, it’s the part of my life I feel like I can indulge in that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort, it’s the focus of most family celebrations and it’s fun and relaxing to prepare. I don’t want to stop enjoying indulgent food – but I want to stop making that food the center of things that bring me joy.

I don’t doubt my willpower or my ability to meal plan. My biggest challenge is that I’m extremely picky (actually, I’m fairly certain I have some sensory/texture issues), and that limits what I will be eating from the Whole30-compliant foods. I won’t be eating eggs as part of my Whole30 experience, which are a HUGE part of what I see when I look at Whole30 meals. I’m nervous to give up coffee for a month (or at least to try and drink it black) because I have about 47 cups every morning. I love cheese. Enough said.

Whole30ShoppingListMy prep work included reading about the program on whole30.com and then printing out the shopping list, grabbing a pen and meal planning. I searched #whole30 on Instagram for meal ideas because I’m a very visual person and that helps me feel like there are a lot of options. If I can see what other people are eating, it makes me feel a lot better.

I’m looking forward to cleaning up what I put into my body and seeing if it makes a difference in how I feel! For good measure (and possibly because he knows me well enough to know that I need a buddy), my brother is doing this with me (long-distance from Houston), and I’ve dragged my always-a-good-sport husband along for the ride, too. I’ll report back soon on how things are going. 🙂

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