Woo hoo! I just finished 30 days of no grains, no sugar or artifical sweeteners, no dairy, no legumes, no alcohol, no processed foods at all. This was my third Whole30 challenge, and even though they all basically follow the same rules, each time has presented its own challenges.
My first Whole30 reset came with a steep learning curve. I had never cut out whole food groups before, and it was new to me to check every single ingredient list, make all my own condiments, and cook every meal from scratch. Despite this, the novelty of it all and the extra help from hubs who was working part of the time from home, made this first attempt go pretty quickly.
In my second Whole30 challenge I had a better idea of what I was doing, but hubs was working full-time out of our home and commuting almost an hour and a half each way. I burnt myself out doing almost all of the meal prep and cleanup on my own for the entire 30 days in a row. Healthwise though, I noticed a definite difference in my skin and mood stability, and I lost eight pounds.
This third time started out smoothly. Hubs and I had figured out a routine with meal planning, and we had agreed that I would cook and he would clean up after dinner. Things were going well until the kids got sick. Between all the meal prep and cooking during the day, and sick kids keeping me up at night, by Day 30 I was worn right out. Now, I won’t say never, but for sure I don’t want to do this again for a long time.
But we did stick it out. When I felt like giving up, I kept reminding myself it’s only 30 days. 30 days is not that long in the grand scheme of things. Plus I’m stubborn like that. I did not want to have to come back and publicly admit to you all that I couldn’t stick out a measly 30 days.
At any rate, after those 30 days, the most noticeable results (other than the exhaustion) were weight loss and improved digestive health. I lost eight pounds again, but unfortunately it was weight that I’d gradually put back on since the last Whole30 challenge. (I have to admit I had fallen into some bad habits the last few months.)
And my digestive system? Before changing my diet a few years ago, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is a chronic condition that causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Without going into details, let’s just say I was uncomfortable a large portion of the time. Eating a paleo-friendly diet made a difference in the frequency of episodes, but I had no symptoms at all while eating Whole30. That’s a really striking reminder of the impact that food has on my health.
I don’t want to lose the progress I’ve made in the last 30 days, so my plan coming out of this is to continue eating a clean diet at least 80% of the time. Trying to be perfect will burn me out and just isn’t sustainable. But since I know that late night snacking is my weakness, so my focus will be on staying out of that trap.
If you’re interested in reading about my journey over the last 30 days, you can see all my Whole30 posts here or check out my weekly meal plans below.