15 Things I Learned from the Whole30

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One summer evening when we were headed out to dinner with friends I grabbed my “go to” black top…and it didn’t fit. I just about started to cry. Over the last several years, the pounds have been slowly creeping onto my body.   And as my 6th grader reminded me, a pound is 3,500 calories. Apparently, I’ve been eating and drinking a lot. I knew it was the middle of summer but I couldn’t wait any longer.  I had to get healthy.

When I sat down to write this the day after I completed the Whole30, I was ready to tell you that I would not be doing the Whole30 anytime soon. The first 5 days sucked. I was hungry. I couldn’t figure out what to eat. None of the recipes I was finding in cookbooks sounded good. I was avoiding social events so I wasn’t around wine. I was DYING without Natural Bliss creamer in my coffee. This was going to be a once, maybe twice a year reset.   I was happy to lose a few pounds but I was ready to get back to my wine and my coffee creamer!

Here’s what I learned on the Whole 30.

  1. There is sugar in almost everything…even the things we think are healthy. Read the labels!
  2. Organic doesn’t always mean healthy.
  3. Simple meals are often the best. Grilled meat and veggies rule!
  4. I should’ve done more research before I started. There are a lot of websites out there that recommend specific brands of foods that are Whole30 approved. I found great salad dressings, paleo bacon, and a coffee creamer alternative along the way.  My transition to healthy may have been easier if I knew about these items from the start.
  5. All almond milk and coconut milk are not created equal. 90% of almond milk and coconut milk on your grocery store shelves contain sugar.
  6. It is challenging to be social on the Whole30. I didn’t realize how many cocktails and glasses of wine I consume each month. I found myself avoiding social occasions.
  7. The best place to dine out on the Whole30 is a steakhouse. You can always get a steak and a sweet potato. I spent a week on the road and ate a lot of steak.
  8. A salad without salad dressing is not very good.   You can make your own salad dressing at home but on the road you are screwed. If you are lucky, the restaurant may have oil & vinegar. If not, you are eating a dry salad…yuck.
  9. I believe I have a dairy intolerance. My stomach feels so much better without it. Butter has milk in it…and I don’t like the taste of ghee. And cheese is in almost everything.
  10. I like to read labels now. And if I don’t know what an ingredient is, I don’t want to eat it.
  11. I have a lot more will power than I thought I had.
  12. My friends and family are very supportive…including my kids!
  13. I am training for a half marathon and I believe I need true carbohydrates in my life to run distance.
  14. I don’t miss bread and pasta like I thought I would.
  15. When the 30 days was over, my cravings were gone. I thought I wanted all the things I missed back in my life but I am happy without most of them.

Yes, I popped a bottle of Champagne on the day after I finished.  I lost a total of 7.6 pounds in 30 days and that was every reason to celebrate. It’s been a week since I finished and I haven’t gained any of the weight back.   I’ve had a little wine. I’ve had a sandwich. I’ve had butter. I’ve had dessert. None of it tasted as good as I thought it would and even made me feel not that great. I don’t think I will be as strict as I was on the Whole30 but I do believe I will adopt a Paleo lifestyle.

Have you tried the Whole30? What was your experience?  Please share!

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