This past weekend, I just completed my first Whole30, and I loved it! I've been vegetarian for about a year, so I decided to give the vegetarian Whole30 track a try, still including eggs and fish in my diet like I've always had. One of the main things I realized was that I missed meat. So much. I felt hungry all the time even after adding more bulk to my meals and loading my plate up with colorful vegetables. I decided after my vegetarian Whole30, I would reintroduce meat. So far, after eating meat for only a few days, I feel so much better and satisfied and hope to complete another true Whole30 this summer with meat back in my diet.
During my Whole30, I was also training for a marathon and cross training through Orange Theory. I've read a lot of posts about the Whole30 with Orange Theory and other sports training. I feel my experience in this department was unique in the fact that, in the beginning, I was killing my workouts. I was performing well at OT and getting that heart rate up, but the last two weeks of the Whole30, I still had plenty of energy, but my resting heart rate was so low from my distance runs that my performance stalled- despite feeling so good! Training for a marathon during Whole30 was very interesting. I've been a runner for many years and have always been one to "carbo-load" before races with pasta and other grains, so navigating my way through pre and post run snack/meals was a challenge in finding what my body best responded to. As a runner, I've never felt better. My digestion was on a schedule, my recovery after long runs was quicker, if I were sore it would only last a day and it was a quick fix with a lot of water and stretching. I didn't experience any joint pain or stomach aches and generally just always felt prepared for my runs. Granted, I'm in my mid twenties, and didn't experience much of these difficulties beforehand, but I still noticed a significant difference in performance.
So, let me back track- my whole reasoning for starting Whole30 was because of my gut issues. I've been having stomach pains for years, some which have ended me up in the hospital as mistaken for appendicitis. Ultimately, I became sick and tired of constantly having pains, so I decided to give Whole30 a try.
I also feel it appropriate to share that I have a history with an eating disorder, more specifically anorexia. Since the Whole30 book does highlight a bit about eating disorders, and I feel that there is the possibility of a community out there with a similar history, with some who may have completed a Whole30 or some who are afraid to try it because of their eating disorder/disordered eating. For me, my eating disorder onset was several years ago and have since been many years recovered. After treatment, I started following paleo which really helped me focus on forming a peaceful relationship with food, and realizing that food is fuel and to enjoy all of its goodness. The Whole30 was a similar experience. I was able to really focus on intuitive eating, use cooking as a way to bring my family together for dinners, and focus on how my body really felt, focusing on my sleep, mood, energy levels, skin- instead of focusing on weight, calories, etc. So for me, the Whole30 was a positive experience in regards to my history. I know everyone is different/different experiences/histories, but wanted to share my perspective/story for anyone who wanted to hear a testimonial.
So if you're still reading this- thank you. I hope hearing some tidbits about my Whole30 journey helps someone else along with theirs. It may have been challenging at times, some days I just really wanted to eat a handful of chocolate chips, but I knew in the long run this would significantly improve my health and help me get some answers about my body.
Thank you to the Whole30 team for providing such detailed resources and guidance, everything was so helpful and appreciate all you do!