Y’all, I gave in and jumped on board the fad diet train. Okay … you’re right, who am I kidding? I’ve been cruising this train on and off for years. But this fad diet is more of a full-body cleanse and about training your body to eat natural foods, rid of gross crap that you can’t properly digest, and making you feel fabulous – not about losing weight.
Ladies and gentleman, I’m talking about Whole30.
If you haven’t heard of it it’s time to climb out from that rock you’ve been living under and join us in 2015. (It’s actually been around since 2009, but just learned about it last year when I started working with a personal trainer at Peak Physiques.) In short, Whole30 is described as a “short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” You do this by pretty much cutting everything delicious from your diet for thirty days. I’m talking sugar, MSG, dairy, starch, soy, legumes, and ALCOHOL (sad, sad days ahead), and eating only natural foods like meats, fruits, veggies, and most seeds and nuts. You can read more about Whole30 and what it can do for you here.
I know, it sounds miserable. But let’s face it – we can do anything for thirty days, so why not something that will make your body love you even more? I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things from people who have completed the challenge, most of which have done this many times since, and I’m looking forward to being another success story. Plus my personal trainer has organized a little support group for her clients, so we all have each other to lean on and turn to for recipes, tips and support.
So with that said, I have decided to log my goals and expectations, experiences, shopping lists, meals, cravings, feelings, etc. throughout the process with you right here, so you can get a real day-to-day look at what this process is like (in case you decided to jump on this crazy band wagon, too).
>> FYI for more frequent updates, meals and progress, follow me on Instagram (@BlakeleyVinicky). <<
Expectations and Goals: I’m going to be completely honest with you: I’m going into this knowing that I won’t get the full benefits because I most likely won’t complete all 30 days of the program. I’m going on vacation (to Wisconsin, mind you) for a week-and-a-half at the end of the month, and following that with a bachelorette celebration in Siesta Key. If you think I am going to be able to resist the Wisconsin bloody Mary’s and cheese on vacation, you are a crazy person. BUT I will stick to the program 100% the rest of the time and as much as I can while I am away, and I plan to start again after the bachelorette weekend and commit for the full 30 days. Think of this as my test run, if you will. While losing a few pounds would be wonderful, I am mainly doing this challenge to rid my body of what it doesn’t need and give it only what it does, and to train my taste buds, too. When I was hard-core watching what I ate the months leading up to my wedding, I felt and looked better than I had in years. Since then, my eating habits have gone downhill and I feel like crap. I am constantly tired no matter how much sleep I get, my muscles are achy 80% of the time (and it’s not from exercise – it’s a different kind of sore), and I’m not liking the way my clothes are fitting. I’m hoping to reverse these symptoms and make my body love me again, and allow me to love my body as well.
Pretty much everything I got was organic, grass-fed or all-natural. Shopping took a little longer than usual because I checked the labels on everything I bought, making sure there were no added sugars of any kind, gluten, MSG, soy, starch, etc. This is probably one of the most important things for succeeding at Whole30. I also purchased the Whole30 cookbook, which details every rule, food you can and cannot eat, and has a TON of great recipes. (P.s. I am cooking for myself and my hubby, which is why I got so much food at once.) I hit up my local farmer’s market store for the fresh foods then headed to a natural food store for the rest, and spent just at $100 for everything. Here’s a copy of my shopping list (I also bought Frank’s hot sauce and Publix organic balsamic vinegar, which weren’t on my list but are approved.):
My Whole30 Diary – The Process:
No-Judgement Day (Sunday, July 5): This is what I call the day before you start Whole30. The day when you purge and eat everything in sight because you know you’re going to be dying a slow and painful death for the next thirty days. I celebrated by No-Judgement Day with Mexican street corn, a bangin’ shrimp taco and a carne royal taco from the fabulous Taco Lu, then polished off half a bottle of Sauvignon blanc (I couldn’t let it go to waste!) while I researched more about the program. I found a ton of great recipes in the book and several blogs that I’m excited to try out and keep up with!
Day 1 (Monday, July 6):
Grocery shopping and meal prep day! Ideally I would have done this yesterday, but my stupid tire decided to become BFFs with a nail and go flat on me, so I was stranded until this afternoon. I spent several hours in the kitchen meal prepping and making the basics for the week: boiled eggs, avocado chicken salad, Paleo mayo, clarified butter, and lunch for the next few days. I also weighed myself, took my measurements, and took before pictures from the front, side and back to reference at the end of this. (FYI I am making my meals on small appetizer-sized plates and perfectly portioning everything out so I don’t overeat.)
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (made with coconut milk) and sautéed spinach, roasted avocado and fresh mango.
Lunch: Spaghetti squash topped with grilled chicken breast and paleo alfredo sauce.
Dinner: Grilled chicken wings tossed in Frank’s hot sauce mixed with clarified butter, and roasted okra. I feel like we’ll be having this a lot over the next few weeks. It’s a staple meal in our household!
* I was pretty distraught to learn that I can’t have any sweetener in my coffee, but then very surprised when I discovered that iced black coffee with a splash of coconut milk is actually drinkable (and quite refreshing)!
* I also had a revelation when I tried a cashew for the first time in years and didn’t hate it.
* By the end of the day, I was feeling good, full and satisfied. I’ve got this!
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “So what’s the big deal?” Yep – that’s what I’m thinking so far!
Day 2 (Tuesday, July 7):
First day back at work since starting the program. I helped soften the blow by packing breakfast and lunch the night before, and setting a timer to refill my water Tervis every hour.
Breakfast: I started my morning with two hard-boiled eggs, a few almonds and a plum. Oh, and a Venti Starbucks iced coffee with coconut milk that I added myself.
Lunch: A cup of avocado chicken salad and 1/2 cup of strawberries and blackberries.
Dinner: Buffalo chicken meatballs and zucchini “pasta.”
* I woke up starving and my tummy was growling extremely loudly. * I have also been hungry every two hours on the dot. This no snacking rule is tough!
* We played beach volleyball tonight and it was quite challenging. The four of us who make up a team are all on this Whole30 thing, so we were all in a bit of a funk. A little tired and reaction times weren’t super “on.”
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “The Hangover.” I guess that explains my fatigue, though it didn’t really start kicking in until the evening, and it wasn’t terrible.
Day 3 (July 8):
Yep, woke up hungry again. And very lethargic. As in it was too hard to keep my arms up long enough to dry my hair, so it ended up in a top knot. I also felt a little bloated when I first woke up, but that seemed to disappear when I started drinking water. Also, I discovered Trader Joe’s coffee concentrate last night and I am in heaven. That over ice with little water and a splash of coconut milk is actually yum!
I sent the Timeline to all of my co-workers this morning as a fair warning, and now they’re all giving me crap about it – knocking and asking if it’s safe to enter my office and asking if I’ve collapsed mid-sentence or killed anyone yet – which is actually making this much more entertaining!
Breakfast (at work): One scrambled egg, scrambled with a splash of coconut milk and cooked in the microwave, one hard-boiled egg (it’s what I had handy), and half a sweet potato topped with cinnamon. Note: I’m pretty much over eggs at this point. Time to get creative and meal prep again tonight!
Lunch: Monday night’s leftovers: Spaghetti squash and grilled chicken fingers topped with Paleo alfredo sauce. Still delish! Also had a serving of mixed roasted nuts (almonds, cashews, and pistachios). About an hour later I was starving, so I had five rambutan fruits.
Dinner: I had a pack of ground beef that I needed to cook but not all of the ingredients for a lot of recipes I found, so I go creative. It ended up being a Thai beef and basil lettuce wraps (ground beef, beef broth, water chestnuts, red pepper, asparagus, yellow curry powder, chili powder, minced garlic, lime juice, fresh basil and S&P stir fried atop a bowl of iceberg lettuce), served with roasted russet potatoes topped with a spicey yellow curry sauce. It was actually an awesome meal! Thank goodness for potatoes on this diet (though I’m going to try to stick to sweet potatoes as much as possible.)
* 10 a.m: I definitely feel hungover today. My body is achey, I’m sleepy and I have a slight headache. Apparently this is my body coming down from Sunday’s binge-eating “high.” Whoops. Seriously, me all morning …
* 3 p.m: I’m feeling much better and have more energy. It could be the cup of iced coffee I just had, but … I’ll take it.
* Poor Jimmy felt nauseous and had a headache all day. Sucks, but hey, at least he’s sticking with it!
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “The Hangover, day two.” Oh yes, now I get it. Totally feeling like I chugged a bottle of tequila.
Day 4 (July 9):
This morning was rough. Not only was it nearly impossible to peel myself out of bed, I also woke up feeling sort of nauseous. I guess now I know how Jimmy felt last night. The good news is that once I had breakfast I felt much better.
Breakfast: Coffee smoothie made with instant coffee, a frozen banana, unsweetened cacao powder and coconut milk. Very good and refreshing on this 100 degree humid day! When I got to work I had two hard-boiled eggs to get my proteins in and help keep me full. (I’m over eggs right about now.)
Lunch: Leftovers from last night – Thai basil beef stir fry, roasted potatoes with coconut curry sauce, and a golden kiwi.
Dinner: Baked chicken breast with a tomato coconut curry sauce, and diced brussels spouts, sweet potatoes and red onion roasted in ghee (clarified butter) and S&P, topped with a balsamic vinegar glaze. Oh. My. Gosh. This was probably the most amazing meal yet, and I got it straight from the Whole30 cookbook. I had my friend over for dinner and she can’t wait to make it for her fiance!
* 10 a.m: Still feeling fatigued and achy, but it’s not super extreme. I am, however, wondering how I am going to survive working with my trainer at the gym this evening. The thought of lifting anything over ten pounds makes me want to crawl under my desk.
* My workout was much tougher than usual since I didn’t seem to have the energy or strength as I usually do, but I made it through. My 7 p.m. I actually felt really good and energized.
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “Kill ALL the things!”
Day 5 (July 10):
Yay – I woke up feeling great today! No more aches and I was full of energy. I don’t know if it’s my mindset or the way I’m supposed to be feeling, but I’ll take it. Like, I even woke up an hour early to make the hubby a smoothie and finish up a project I was working on. That is HUGE for me! Also, I broke a rule and stepped on the scale: 4.2 pounds down!! I know this isn’t about weight-loss, but that’s pretty dang encouraging.
Breakfast: I got a little crazy with breakfast this morning. I had two large portabella mushrooms topped with sliced avocado and an egg, baked for 15 minutes and topped it off with S&P and hot sauce. It was AWESOME and a nice change for breakfast. About an hour later I had my TJ’s iced coffee and coconut milk, which is tasting better and better by the day.
Lunch: I polished off all my leftovers and had the remainder of the beef stir fry and half of a sweet potato mashed with ground cinnamon on top. About an hour later I snacked on a handful of almonds.
Dinner: Another tasty and pretty meal! Jimmy grilled Caribbean lime cedar-wrapped salmon, and I prepared q chopped salad with portabella mushrooms, red onions, cucumber, tomato and avocado with an oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. (He also grilled a plantain but it was super dry, so we didn’t eat it.)
* My stomach has been growling sooooo loud all day. Thank goodness I have an office to myself or my co-workers would be giving me some strange looks.
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “Kill ALL the things!” I’m guessing because you’re hangry?? I’m not feeling angry, though. Thank goodness!
What I’ve learned so far:
– Food is crazy. It’s nuts what eating certain things can do to your body, and what not eating certain things can do.
– I’m crazy, too. I am voluntarily inviting aches, pain, nausea, hunger, mood swings and fatigue into my life. What is wrong with me?! I guess it’s not really any different than one week of every month anyway, so ……
hopefully it’ll all be worth it soon!
– Always have lemons and limes on hand, and have a can of coconut milk in the fridge. They are pretty much staple items in almost every recipe I’ve made so far!
Here’s to the next five days!