It’s been slightly over two weeks since I proudly finished the Whole30. So what’s going on now when things are back to normal? And did anything really change in my life?
Let me say this straight, I’m not a believer in quick fixes. Well, not anymore. I would love if things got better over night, but I’ve learnt my lesson a few times already. It unfortunately doesn’t work like that. And I finally realise it after many years. However I have to say that the Whole30 did a bit of magic in quite a short time. Not over night obviously, but 30 days is not so much after all. I know. It seems like the longest time in your life during the program. But once you are finished, you would most likely realise that it actually went pretty fast. That it wasn’t so bad as it seemed. And that you maybe don’t want to eat all the things that you craved during the month.
If you read my Day 29 journal, you would know, that I couldn’t wait to have a pizza. And guess what, after two weeks off the Whole30 I still haven’t had one. Because I’m actually more aware of what I’m eating and when. And the right pizza time just didn’t come across yet. Not that I didn’t eat anything “bad” or out of the program in the last two weeks. But I thought about what I’m putting in my mouth much more than before. And that’s one of the best things I got out of the Whole30. I am really mindful about my food choices. And I honestly want to eat healthy. Not just for 30 days. For life.
What else I learned from this experience? Is there anything I could pass along?
- 3 meals a day are enough Before Whole30 I believed in eating every two to three hours. I thought that big meals would make me tired and unfocused. And that I would probably die out of hunger if I don’t snack between breakfast and lunch. And for the first week I really thought that my stomach would eat up itself a few times. But then things changed. And I was totally fine with 3 (well, sometimes 4) meals a day. No snacks. And no desserts. So if you are also worried about being hungry, just give it some time. However if it doesn’t get better after one week and the hunger is not going away, try to add more fat into the diet. And for the big portions? Read below.
- Listen to the body Ok, this one sounds like a total Whole30 cliche, I know, but I honestly learned to listen to my body more. I ate when I was hungry, not when I just felt like eating (boredom, cravings…). And like that I figured out the optimal portion for myself. Because being slightly peckish before meals led me to eat enough without feeling bad. I also watched my body after every meal and already during the Whole30 discovered which foods are working for me and which ones I should be more aware of. Because even the combination of healthy whole ingredients doesn’t have to go great with your gut. Everyone is different and can tolerate some of the food groups differently. And like that I found out that I can’t eat white potatoes at all, because my stomach goes seriously nuts after. And I don’t like to look like I am five months pregnant and having cramps and other stomach issues. Also I can only have coconut products (coconut milk, flour etc.) and starchy vegetables in small amounts, otherwise the same thing happens. So I would recommend to be concentrated on these things too, as your gut might be for example totally fine with gluten but sensitive to something unexpecting as capsicums.
- Planning is important That is definitely something I would concentrate on more the next time. If you read my Whole30 story, you would know that I don’t like food planning too much. Few meals ahead maybe, but a whole week? I can’t do that, my taste for certain foods change nearly every hour. But that also meant that I ended up pretty hungry couple times. Because I underestimated the food planning. So from this experience I would recommend to plan the meals few days in advance or at least make sure that there is always something quick (and wholesome) to grab in the fridge or with you when outside. And at least there is the importance of planning enough the actual Whole30. It’s definitely something you should be ready for. Even if you have the strongest willpower, it’s not so easy to decide one day and jump into the program the next one. Make sure you read the book properly or at least study the rules on Whole30 official website. Stock your pantry. And check that there are no big events like weddings or stressful times like exams coming during the month. It’s already hard as it is and this might put you under too much pressure and you could slip easier.
- Socialising might be hard People will ask many questions and it’s better to have answers ready. What is the Whole30 and why is it good to do it? Maybe even write down few points – why are you personally doing this program and what would you like to get out of it. Because after a certain amount of questions from people around you, you might start questioning the decision yourself. And that’s where it’s good to remind yourself why you started in the first place. Another thing about socializing is going out. I found out this part to be one of the hardest for me. I’m not really a party person but I love to eat out. And that turned out extremely hard here in Australia during the Whole30. Except one occasion when we called to the restaurant in advance and made sure they could make something Whole30 friendly for me (and the staff had no problem with that and was actually super helpful and nice), it was a total disaster. Anyway you can read about one of the experiences in Day 20 post. So this might be one more thing to get ready for. As well as for the one below.
- Lots of time in the kitchen is required Now this one really depends on how much time do you normally spend in the kitchen and also how much you mind using leftovers. For someone it can be a huge step, for others nothing really changes. I love cooking (that’s probably why I have a blog with recipes, right), so for me it wasn’t a big difference. However, I have to admit, that even food bloggers have lazy days. And that’s when the leftovers came in handy. Which also means reducing the time in the kitchen. So once you are making for example grilled vegetables or a meat roast, make it a big batch and use it in the upcoming days. But try to switch it up as much as possible, the last thing you want during these 30 days is food boredom. Turn your veggies into a quick soup, cut up some meat roast in your morning hash, get creative. And if you feel lost, go online, there is an ocean of inspiration for healthy recipes. I actually think that despite the fact that it’s little tiring sometimes, this is a great thing about Whole30. Because by cooking your own healthy meals and spending the time in the kitchen you can learn so much. From using new ingredients and cooking techniques, to appreciating the work of restaurant staff more.
So these are the main things that I learned during the 30 days. And I thought it would be good to share, especially with those who are getting ready to do the Whole30, because it’s always nice to have as much information as possible and be ready for some of the situations. But don’t be too afraid, it’s a great thing to do. It might not cure all your health problems, but there are definitely many benefits that the Whole30 can bring. I was surprised when I checked the non-scale victories myself.
But more about that next time. As well as about the transition of Whole30. Because I think it’s simply too early to write about some of that, as I’m still trying to figure out what is good for me and what I should avoid and how I would adapt the new knowledge to my everyday life. But don’t worry, I will keep you updated on that matter too.
Are you planning a Whole30? Or you already finished one? Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions on this matter or add your own suggestions, I would love to hear from you.