MrsKT

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Introduction:

I have spent the last several years trying to reclaim my college figure, which really started about 5 minutes after I graduated. I have been plagued over the years with seasonal allergies, a horrible caffeine addiction, uneven bouts of energy over the course of a day, poor sleeping patterns, and gut bloat among other things. Over the years, I tried so many “diet plans†and options including (1) calorie cutting, (2) meal replacement shakes/ drinks, (3) diet pills and supplements, and (4) crazy exercise routines. After multiple unsuccessful attempts, I heard about Whole30.

I originally learned about the plan from my friend Sarah, who was in the last days of her first Whole30. Turns out a college friend, Laura, also had experience with Whole30. Between these two ladies, I had a good accountability and support system. After hearing their personal testimonials, I decided to begin “Mission Whole30 Educationâ€.

However, even with the support system and research, I had to deal with myself. Time and time again, dieting had failed for one reason or another. When it came down to it, I was afraid. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of changing the routine at home, afraid of admitting I had unhealthy relationships with food, afraid of a new lifestyle, afraid of the financial and time commitment required for clean eating, and the biggest fear… Failure: “It will be too hard and this isn't a good fit for my lifestyle, so I already know it won't work.†At the end of the day, the only thing I had to be afraid of was my future. Did I want my future to be one where food controlled or contributed to my mood, sleep, health, stress level, work productivity, or personal relationships? The answer was a resounding “NO!†inside my head. And food is linked to all of those things. Whole30 promised a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet as so many before had done. I felt this time was truly different. So, after a lot of researching and soul-searching, I was ready to move from pure contemplation to actual preparation. In the few days before my start date, my determination only continued to grow. At that point, I was sure that I would make it to 30.

Method:

I was 99.9% compliant with the program—only one small issue with some salad dressing during my first week.

During the Whole30, I ate beef, chicken, seafood, eggs, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, olives, clarified butter or ghee, and healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil.

Notes:

The Whole30 involves a lot of prep-work and planning. No really, a ton. I spent about $100 just buying non-food supplies that I would need for the new plan which included extra plastic storage containers, Ziploc bags in all sizes, an insulated lunch bag, freezer packs, Nalgene water bottles, and cast iron pans. (In case you wondered: Plastic storage containers and Ziplocs are for pre-portioning, freezing and traveling with food. The lunch bag and freezer packs were also for food travel, mostly to take to work. The Nalgene water bottles—2 of them—were to make sure I was drinking the recommended half-my-body-weight-in-ounces of filtered agua per day. Agua means water, I live in Texas folks. Cast iron is generally thought to be a safer cooking tool than non-stick pans, which will eventually start to degrade and become an undesired “additive†to your food. When eating chemical-free, fresh food those additives are highly undesirable.)

My only setback occurred with salad dressing on a business lunch. I called prior to the reservation, spoke to a manager regarding my restrictive diet, and was assured that a dressing option was available without sugar, only to find out that was not the case… After I was halfway through the salad, of course. I chalked it up as a “learning experience†with the Whole30 moderators, as it was purely accidental in nature.

Also, I indulged in some faux-ice cream during week 4, around day 26. It had 100% compliant ingredients (frozen bananas, unsweetened cocoa powder, fresh ground almond butter, and coconut milk blended) and I only ate a small amount, which did not affect the remainder of my meal or the day. Therefore, I do not regret that decision to have a little “faux-creamâ€.

Lastly, I was not compliant in breaking up with my scale. I did not get good measurements for myself on day 1 of the program. Therefore, I used once weekly weigh-ins to help me determine my progress in addition to the changes in the fit of my clothing. Looking back, it would have been much more fun to be totally surprised on day 30. I think I will stick to that on my next Whole30.

Results:

We have arrived to the conclusion section for my personal results in following the Whole30 food regimen.

WEIGHT: Lost 10.8 pounds. Obviously, the first 2-4 pounds were water weight. After that, my body began using fat stores as energy instead of the previously negotiated route of readily available insulin (aka blood sugar) and glycogen. Also, there are very noticeable improvements in my mid-section: “gut bloat†has drastically reduced, love handles are nearly gone, and I can see my abs again! Who knew all those gym days were actually creating results underneath the yucky-tummy??

INCHES: I did not get full measurements on day 1. I believe the total is somewhere between 5 and 6 for my arms, thighs, waist, and stomach. I should have included my neck, chest, calves and butt but I didn't. Next time I will be more diligent.

CLOTHING: I am down one size in women's clothing (which is really 2 numbers). And I am, in fact, wearing jeans that I have not been able to fit into since undergrad. I purchased these Lucky Jeans, I believe during Summer 2005. So we're talking about 8 year old jeans that now fit again. Woo-hoo!

SLEEP: I am on a normal sleep schedule, for the most part. During the week, my brain begins sending “tired signals†about 1.5 -2 hours post dinner. At that point, I have listened (instead of fighting) and begun the preparations for sleep. Most nights, I have refrained from using electronic devices within an hour of falling asleep, to aid my brain in beginning the resting process. Re-reading It Starts With Food has been a good, easy way to make my eyes (and brain) more tired. Once I am asleep, I rarely waken until morning. I am sleeping a solid 7 to 8 hours per night, which is a gigantic improvement from the 5 to 6 hours (not including the mid-night awake periods) of the previous routine. It seems that my body has adjusted to the patterns of light and dark better than ever before. I have not felt tired or lethargic during the day either, with no thoughts of napping or resting at all.

ENERGY: Let's talk about the energy! When I woke up every morning, my energy was drastically better than it was pre-Whole30. No one would have ever described me as a “morning person,†especially not without caffeine. Things have changed. After the first 4 days of adjustment, I no longer needed a sugary latte in my morning routine. I actually quit caffeine in the morning, because my body wasn't telling me that I needed it anymore. When I did have a morning beverage, it was either (1) water or (2) decaffeinated tea. (Water became a much bigger staple in my daily routine too!) There were a few days during my Whole30 that I did not get as much sleep as I would have liked, which resulted in a slightly different day energy-wise. But I was able to chug through them without using caffeine as a crutch. If you had told me that was possible 60 days ago, I would have laughed in your face. When I got 7- 8 hours of sleep, I did not experience a change in energy during the course of the next day. My energy level stayed stable between meals and even heightened during workouts, which used to be a battle just to “gear myself up†to find the energy. Obviously, the energy began to dissipate after dinner, which is actually the normal pattern of good sleep. So all good in this department!

DIGESTION: Well, no one really wants to talk about this but I'm going to anyway. Because people will wonder about it and have questions

on their own Whole30 journey. I asked questions and had discussions with my girlfriends about the topic. So here we go. My bowels and gut were definitely “irregular†before Whole30. I might have even had an acute case of “leaky guy†as it is so named in the medical community, based on my usual symptoms after eating an unhealthy meal. Bloating, gassiness, distended abdomen, and general heaviness in the stomach are not normal bodily reactions to food. Now, my digestion is normal—stomach never feels nauseous or heavy after eating; my restroom habits are regular and comfortable (Google it!), absorption of water and other liquids is high, and no bloat even when digesting lots of red meat and dense vegetables. And the best result: My brain now tells me when I am full! I don't have to wait until I am miserable for the message to transmit from stomach to brain! IT IS MAGIC!!

SKIN:

Since I have been in middle school, I have (like most women) struggled with one week per month of misbehaving skin. Obviously, this is mostly an effect of the rapid change in hormone levels that surrounds that oh-so-lovely time of the month. *Note: Gentlemen, feel free to applaud us for dealing with this every month for a 40 year timeframe.* The rest of the time, my skin was usually classified as “good†with only a few dark spots, slightly oily in the T-zone, acne scars, uneven color, etc. No matter what I tried—regular facials, new washes/lotions/gels/creams, shower steaming, picking/ not picking—I still had issues. Pre-Whole30 I decided to stick with the exact same skin regiment during the 30 as before, so that the control stayed the same and the only difference was diet.

Over the course of 30 days, I saw an overall improvement in my skin. I decided not to have a facial, to see how my pores reacted to zero elimination. Even during that typical problem week, I had far fewer issues. My skin looks more evenly colored and natural. The typical T-zone oiliness has significantly diminished, although not disappeared. I have heard more than once, that my face and eyes are “glowingâ€. Which has been followed with a question about pregnancy on two occasions (but no, I am not pregnant.)

Maintenance: Here is the difficult part: Defining and maintaining with a successful plan for the future. Like say, staying away from horrible caffeine addictions.

In order to successfully maintain, I will have to constantly remind myself about the positive changes that have resulted from the completion of the Whole30. I will continue to internalize the benefits of the program through self-testing and continued education, focusing on the meaningful and worthwhile information. I will have to be patient with myself, realizing that years and years of bad habits cannot be undone in only 30 days. This lifestyle change will be a continuing struggle and I will not be perfect, but I will continue to push myself and stay committed to the future.

Starting today, I will stay on a Whole30/strict Paleo diet, until a food item that is so delicious and worth the indulgence crosses my path. At that point, I will make a conscious choice to come off plan for that special item. These indulgences will be well-thought, not impulsive, and unrelated to alcohol fueled situations. I will not cave to grocery store cookies, cheap chain fast food meals, not-so-special sandwiches, and other ordinary and easily obtained items. I will be prepared for events and occurrences where off-plan food will be served, armed with back-up snacks and approved food items. I will continue to grocery shop for healthier food when available, while also reminding myself that whole food is better than processed, ingredient added food no matter the conditions. I will not allow myself to be controlled by the lack of convenient, easy food options; I will remind myself that my health is worth the extra effort. Lastly, I will stand strong in my decision to create this lifestyle change even when met with opposition, because this is MY BODY and MY HEALTH. The only person I am cheating by cheating is me.

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@Colleen- I so appreciate the feedback! I was very diligent in keeping track of my emotions, cravings, energy, etc on a daily basis. I wanted to be able to reflect on my W30 with as much detail as possible! Actually, I have recruited several friends and family members to start their own W30 too! It was definitely a journey!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Mrs.KT! Ihave a question about the digestion portion of your post. I also started the Whole30 in hopes of fixing my IBS issues. I am on day 20 and recently found out that I was pretty much doing it wrong. While I stayed compliant with all the foods I was eating, I was not following the IBS protocol/low FODMAP version of Whole30. Did you follow this version or stick to the regular one? With all the info I know now I am going to try and incorporate the two, for the last 10 days. Hopefully my stomach will get better! Great job by the way!

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  • 2 weeks later...

While I stayed compliant with all the foods I was eating, I was not following the IBS protocol/low FODMAP version of Whole30. Did you follow this version or stick to the regular one?

 

 

I am curious about this too!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

@ runninglawyer-- I DID keep a food log of what I was eating!  I literally built and printed lined pages in Word to keep in my "Whole30 Bible" (ie: a 2 inch white binder filled with recipes, grocery list, magazine pages, etc), so I would always have a reference to look back on.  Plus, if I started having "issues" with any types of food during my journey, I wanted to make sure I could try to narrow down and identify what I had eaten in the 24-48 hours prior.  I am starting Whole30 #2 on July 29th and will definitely keep a food log again!

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@sabby5642 and askins....

 

I wish I had better news to share with you, but I was not focusing on the IBS protocal during my first Whole30.  However, I am starting another W30 next Monday and will be MUCH more strict about sticking to it this time.  During the time between the end of my first W30, I have continued to stay "mostly compliant", a term that Dallas and Melissa despise, but my stomach and digestion issues have returned in full force.  I personally believe that I may have jump started the healing process during W30 #1, but made it worse by returning to parts of my diet that I should not have.  Especially relative to my dairy intake, which has been much higher than I had planned during W30 #1.  This time, I will be much more sensitive about my prominent digestive issues.

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THANK YOU ALL FOR THE KIND NOTES! 

 

I was very diligent in keeping detailed notes and journals during my first W30 for many reasons, one of which was to SHARE with others in the forums!  I learned so much and got such great information from the posts of other members before, during and after my W30, so I wanted to give something back.  I sincerely hope that is what I accomplished with this post.

 

If you have ANY questions about my journey, please feel free to ask!

 

Also, a group of us are starting an August W30 on July 29th-- next Monday!  I have created a Facebook group called "Whole30ers!" to post recipes, tips, and other helpful information if anyone is interested in joining.  (Can I promote Facebook on this page?? Please don't kick me out!)  Actually, there are multiple different start dates as well:  July 29th, August 5th, and August 12th.  Of course, I will also be posting here in the forums as well.

 

Good luck to all of you!  Keep calm and Whole30 on!! :) :) :) :)

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  • 5 months later...

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