Now that I have completed my first Whole30, I am ready to share my own Whole30 story, what I learned, and what I plan to do going forward.
I strictly followed the Whole30 program for 30 days. That means I eliminated all sweeteners, dairy, grains, and legumes for 30 days. I did not even lick my fingers or a spoon if I was making something for the rest of my family that I wasn’t supposed eat. That was a big challenge for me!
A few weeks ago, when I first started the program, I talked about why I decided to do a Whole30 and what the Whole30 program included. Feel free to hop over to that post if you want more of the back story.
I should also point out, this program is completely free. You could buy books and resources to help you, but I got all of the information about the program requirements and tips for free from whole30.com.
I didn’t even buy any of the Whole30 books that are available. But now that I have finished my Whole30, I want to read Food Freedom Forever. It seems like it was written for someone who has completed a Whole30 and wants the next steps for maintaining healthy habits.
I followed the Whole30 program strictly with the following exceptions:
- I continued taking a prescription that contains corn starch.
- I resumed taking my Vitamin D supplements on Day 10. Those also contain corn starch.
After my 30 days, I did a modified 12-day reintroduction phase.
Here’s how the suggested reintroduction phase was laid out:
- Day 31 reintroduce legumes. Go back to strict Whole30 for Days 32 & 33.
- Day 34 reintroduce non-gluten grains. Go back to strict Whole30 for Days 35 & 36.
- Day 37 reintroduce dairy. Go back to strict Whole30 for Days 38 & 39.
- Day 40 reintroduced gluten grains. Go back to strict Whole30 for Days 41 & 42.
I say “modified” reintroduction phase because I was not so strict at following the reintroduction plan.
I was ready to go back to eating peanut butter. So after I reintroduced legumes, went back to Whole30 for 2 days, and then took a day to reintroduce non-gluten grains, I decided that was enough of a test for legumes. I decided it would be beneficial for me to have peanut butter back in my life. #noregrets
I did a similar thing with non-gluten grains. I took the next 2 days to only eat Whole30 approved foods and also legumes. Then I reintroduced dairy on its own for a day. Then I decided that was enough of a test for non-gluten grains and resumed eating oatmeal of breakfast with my family.
You’ll also notice there is no separate reintroduction for sweets. So I went back to eating the sausage and bacon I had been avoiding during Whole30, since they contained sugar.
In the last stage, when I reintroduced gluten grains, I decided I was pretty much done with Whole30 at that point. On what was supposed to be Day 42, I went out to lunch with co-workers and had Mexican food with no worries about the chips and flour tortilla not being Whole30 compliant.
My Whole30 Results
1. I was disappointed my skin didn’t clear up during this Whole30.
One of the benefits people have reported after completing a Whole30 is that their eczema or other skin conditions cleared up. I have never gone to a dermatologist, but I have a skin condition that appears to be keratosis pilaris (self diagnosis at its finest!). My skin did not change when I removed those food groups.
2. I lost 8 pounds during those 30 days.
I expected to lose some weight, but I didn’t expect to lose quite 8 pounds. But I know I could have lost some weight by simply eliminating sugar, instead of eliminating all legumes, dairy, and grains too.
Twelve days later, at the end of my reintroduction phase, I was still at that same new weight, but my scale showed I was down 1 percent body fat. I should also add, I did not exercise during my Whole30, and I wasn’t doing much as far as exercise right before the Whole30 either.
I did start to add in some exercise at the end of my reintroduction. I’m just doing basic at-home strength exercises. I do sit-ups, modified push-ups, squats, planks, arms exercises with light hand weights, or sometimes just stretching.
3. I reduced my sugar cravings.
This was one of the main reasons I wanted to do a Whole30. But I also could have done that by simply eliminating sugar for 3 weeks. I have done that other years after the dessert-filled Thanksgiving & Christmas seasons.
After my Whole30, I just want to eat those really great treats that I enjoy most instead of any old sugary treat. I still want treats. I’ve just been pinning lots of homemade
4. I learned to get creative with meals & snacks.
I couldn’t rely on easy sweets and grains. I learned to enjoy celery. I enjoy it even more with peanut butter. Eating celery with peanut butter as a morning snack has even helped my digestion (let’s just leave it at that).
I also realized how my I enjoy two eggs fried in olive oil and topped green pepper. It’s such an easy and healthy breakfast. Knowing that I have more options will help keep me from relying on grains as much. Grains are fine, in general. But they are also so readily available that it takes work to balance your diet.
Changes going forward
I’ll continue to make a salad for my lunch at work every day. Actually I make several days’ worth of salads at one time to save time on meal prep. With a $.99 head of lettuce from Aldi, I have the base of salads for the whole week. Plus I can shred a whole carrot or two and spread that over salads in advance.
I am continuing to record what I eat and drink. I like being able to look back at patterns to get a better idea of how certain foods and hydration levels affect other areas of my life.
I will continue to weigh myself once a week. Until I am fully confident in the food choices I am making, I want to track any weight changes as a way to help me evaluate my eating and drinking choices that week.
What about energy?
I almost forgot to talk about energy levels. I guess that’s because I didn’t really notice a change. I’ve heard people say you will gain SO much energy when you eliminate all those foods that tend to make us feel sluggish.
I didn’t really have a problem with energy when I started my Whole30. I had already stopped drinking coffee daily before doing Whole30, so my body was not dependent on caffeine like it had been in the past. (Black coffee IS allowed during Whole30.)
I also had made great efforts to make sleep a priority prior to my Whole30, so I didn’t feel like I was lacking energy when I started the program.
Have you completed a Whole30? I would love to hear your own personal experience in the comments.