04 May 2015

[ talk: My Experience with Whole30 ]

I once read, "a year from now, you'll wish you had started today."


Well.  Today marks a milestone for me - Day30 of the Whole30 Challenge.  Is it a diet?  No.  Is it hard?  Sometimes.  Has it changed me?  Most definitely.

Will I be changed forever and never fail with poor food choices again?


Thirty days ago, I was defeated.  A day of good intentions, seemed more often-than-not to be finished with a bag of Halloween candy and a litre of ice cream.  And what I realized, was that it was always a progression - and my mood ultimately decided what I would put into my body.   My mood was deciphered by the weather, my stress level, my struggle between the balance of being on my own and loneliness, and my cycle.

Sorry.  Had to put that last one in - because it is SO true.

If you know me, you know that the success and defeat with what I put into my body has been an ongoing one - and one that I will probably go to my grave with.  I'm not delusional and think that after these 30days, the relationship my body has with food is going to be all rainbows and unicorns.  

BUT.  This feels different.

Thirty days ago, I saw myself in a photo from our Easter service and thought - "Tawn.  You need a reboot.  You are out of control.  Again."   I wanted to be able to run well (I love to run), I wanted great skin, I wanted to sleep soundly, I wanted to look at my wardrobe and say, "I'll wear that today," and actually fit into it.

What to do?  Where to start?  Well - fortunately for me, a friend of mine had just completed a Whole30 and raved about it.  So, I began to check it out.

What IS Whole30?  Well - simply speaking - it's sticking to a plan of no grains (or legumes/beans), no sugar and no dairy.  So - it's basically Paleo, except no honey or maple syrup ... or goat cheese.  And no peanut butter either, I should add.  I miss some of those things and am pretty sure I'll be adding them to my diet shortly.  Paleo eating seems to be a good fit for me after this ... 

What Whole30 isn't?  Whole30 is NOT a diet.  You are not supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days (I totally did.  Sue me).  It's not supposed to be about weight loss, but rather about rebooting your body and giving it a break from the absolute crud we put inside of it.  

Is is hard?  I love what the site says, and THIS paragraph is actually what smacked me into starting Whole30 right away:  "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. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime." 

So - I started thirty days ago and what are my thoughts today?

1.  My Body Size:  I'm not a "big" girl.  I'm 5"1, but I'm pretty strong and definitely not little-boned.    I weigh a lot more than people think I do.  That's ok.  But in the 30days, I lost 3¼ inches around my waist;  1inch around my arms; 1inch around my thighs.  That's HUGE for me.  Huge, huge, huge  --- motivation like none-other.  As for weight, I'm down just shy of 6pounds, and more importantly almost 5% body fat.

2.  What did I eat?: At first, I ate like a toddler LOL.  A plate with chopped fruits and veggies, like what a three-year-old would eat.  It took a few conversations with my good friend who had just completed Whole30, to start using recipes that helped me out.

3.  What recipes were your faves?: Here's my Pinterest Board that I daily checked Whole30 recipes from ( HERE ).  I also have a couple other boards you may be interested in ... one is called "smart sweets" and is clean eating/paleo ( HERE ).  The other I called "wheat-free and worth it" -- it has yummy treats that are wheat-free ( HERE ).  My friend has a lot of boards called "Clean Eats" and she has them in categories based on food type ( HERE ).  Now those boards aren't necessarily Whole30 - but they have a lot of great info on them!  Pinterest was SO helpful -- so many blogs and helpful hints out there when you search Whole 30.  There's a muffin recipe with eggs, almond butter and bananas.   I have no clue how that turns into "bread", but it was a gift for me on day 15.  I needed something that felt starchy ... and this totally cut it for me.  There are a lot of things with coconut milk, yams, avocado, eggs and almond butter -- as well as all veggies + fruit and meat you can eat (check your packaging for hidden sugars and preservatives.  Or better yet, don't buy anything with a shelf life).  I've learned a lot about marrying flavours from herbs and spices - cilantro, dill, tarragon, red currie paste.   Whole30 does NOT mean bland.  

I also got creative and made the BEST darn soup I think I've ever eaten.  No lie.  I put the recipe up on my "Make: by Homemakingirl" ( HERE ) if you're interested.  I've frozen a batch, and having some for lunch today *drool*.  

4.  What was the hardest thing about Whole30?:  Learning to order at a restaurant.  But I'm pretty good at it now ... simply put - no butter, no sauces.  I would ask for "no dairy or gluten please" and that always upped the waitress' attention.  But you would be surprised at how much junk is in our food ... until you ask for it to be simplified.  Also - it was tricky when invited to other people's places.  It doesn't feel right, making other people feel uncomfortable with your new eating habits.  For some reason, if I passed on something, I sometimes felt that others thought I was judging them for partaking.  That just isn't the case - although I am definitely more aware of how bad some of our choices are.  Sometimes I would get teased -- but all in all, most people have simply been interested in the "why" of my choices.  

The other thing that I found hard - was the no honey or maple syrup thing.  They are considered "clean" - so I was used to having them in my diet.  And I have a sweet tooth.  That is not gone ... just as someone with a liking to salt, isn't going to stop liking salt after 30 days.  I am SO looking forward to adding honey to my diet this week ... yum!!

Time can be tricky.  You MUST take time to "prepare" your meals -- you have to think in advance.  That may mean dedicating an afternoon to preparing snacks so that when you're actually hungry, you won't take the easy route with processed foods (which are NOT allowed).  I bake yams 4 at a time, have one - and store the rest in the fridge.  I always have a rotisserie chicken on hand.  I buy produce (apples, berries, cucumbers, peppers, bananas ...) twice a week - they're the best choice for snacks for me.  I hard-boil egges, a few at a time ... some simple planning goes a long way.  And don't tell me, "I can't do that."  You can.  

5.  Is Whole30 basically Clean Eating?:  Yes.  And no.  It's a more amped up version of Clean Eating.  There are a lot more restrictions.  For example, in Clean Eating, you can have grains --- like oats, quinoa, brown rice ... you can have beans, natural peanut butter, whole milk, greek yogurt, butter ... get the drift?  In my opinion, the easiest is Clean Eating, then Paleo, then Whole30.  Just my opinion.

6.  Now what?  Are you done?:  I'm a bit OCD with things like this.  When I finally get control, I'm actually really nervous to let the reins loose - even just a little bit.  I have considered doing another Whole30, but my intentions would be for weight loss ... and they really drill it into you that body numbers should NOT be a motivation with this way of eating.  So - we'll see. 

In conclusion ... what have I noticed after being on Whole30?

1.  my skin:  I literally got a half dozen compliments on my skin last week at church.  That was a foreign thing for me!  And sure - maybe only a half dozen ... but it means that it was different.  I've personally noticed a BIG difference in my skin ... apparently it has to do with omitting dairy.

2.  my sleep:   I sleep like a rock.  For 8 hrs.  Straight.  And I wake up --- awake LOL.  That was huge for me.

3.  my endurance:  I ran 11km last week ... longest distance in a good 8 months.  And I felt like I could've ran forever ... again, another obvious change in my body.

4.  my body size:  Look - it's far from perfect.  I'm not 20.  I'm not tall.  I'm no model.  BUT.  I am starting to fit the clothes that I want ... I feel leaner - and the truth is, how you FEEL has a huge affect on how you present yourself.  I would say that I've been enjoying dressing up and presenting myself to the outside world a little more ... all because of Whole30.



Did that help?  Are you interested?  Have you done one before?  Would love to hear your experiences!

Have a great one!


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Yin said...

Hi Tawn, I came by to catch some more of your fabulous layouts, but this post really caught me. Wow, I'm a pretty clean - eating person but this whole 30 concept is very new to me. I'm having more dairy as I've been told I have low bone density, as opposed to taking calcium pills, but this got me thinking.
Anyways, I am sharing layouts on my blog soon and will you mind if I snag some of your awesome ones? :)