CONFESSION: I completely fell off the whole30 wagon over Easter weekend... There were just too many temptations! BUT, I did make it through a full 13 days on whole30 and I DID lose about 4-5 pounds and felt better physically and mentally. So, I do plan to get back on the wagon for another 2 weeks to finish out a whole 30 days, but I would have to start over on day 1 if I wanted to truly stick with the whole30 rules. However, I have learned SO much from just the 2 weeks I was on the diet. Not just about the food I ate, but how to prepare it and my binging 'trigger' foods that I need to try to avoid if I'm trying to lose weight.
You may be asking why I decided to take on the Whole30 challenge. Well, it has been over 9 months since Bennett was born and I was doing really well with loosing the baby weight shortly after having him. I even got back down to my pre-baby weight just about 3 months after he was born and feeling great (thanks breastfeeding!). Then, the holidays rolled around, stress with moving our family across 2 states (again), selling our house, buying a new house, living with my parents for a month in between houses, Bill interviewing for and starting his new job, inconsistent sleep from the kids... the list goes on! Welcome back 'baby' weight. I gained it all back in a matter of 3 months... I noticed my clothes weren't fitting the way they used to. So, I decided it was time to do something now that we are a bit more 'settled.' And in my experience, working out does not equal weight loss. Diet PLUS exercise has shown to be more effective if I want to truly loose weight. I have NEVER been good at dieting. Even when I just 'try' to eat well, I never seem to loose any weight. So, I knew I had to put myself on a strict diet with clear boundaries if I wanted to see any results. I researched a few diets like Paleo, South Beach, Weight Watchers, etc. and came upon Whole30. It seems like Whole30 is the current 'trendy' diet and anytime I saw someone post about it I would just roll my eyes. But, once I started looking in to it and reading this website, it definitely made more sense. I like that it has a start and end date (30 days), I like that you can start to learn and incorporate healthy habits like preparing your food and choosing to cook with whole ingredients. I like that it challenges the body and also cleanses the body of all preservatives, toxins, and inflammatory agents (like gluten, dairy and added sugar). I love cheese and am a Diet Coke addict, so I knew just cutting out those 2 things alone would be tough. I started to plan out my shopping list, pinned a million whole30 recipes, watched a few youtube Whole30 grocery haul videos, and planned to start the following week.
The first few days were tough! I felt sluggish, irritable, had on and off headaches, etc. But, by day 5 I was starting to feel a lot better and started to get into a groove with the routine of making my food and making sure it was prepared ahead of time so I wouldn't get too hungry and fall off the wagon. The days that I was home with the boys were the most challenging. I basically have to eat when they are eating or napping so I had to plan ahead to make sure I had something quick and easy that I could just pop in the microwave to warm up when it was meal time. That meant a lot of food prep during nap time and on the weekends when I had the extra help from Bill to watch the boys while I cooked. Roasting big batches of veggies and pan frying/grilling or baking meats was the easiest way to cook my meals. I also portioned out pre-made salad mixes and added some boiled eggs, bacon and when I was ready to eat the salads, I would add nuts and my home made dressing (recipe for dressing below).
What I eat on a typical whole30 day: (side notes: I'm constantly drinking either water or La Croix all day long. I roast my veggies with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic salt on 350 for about 45 mins to an hour.)
Breakfast: coffee with nutpods creamer, eggs either fried or egg 'muffin' already prepared in the fridge (just pop it in the microwave! Recipe here, but I don't add any cheese and use whatever veggies I have on hand), potato hash (I usually roast a big batch of chopped yukon gold potatoes twice a week and store left overs in the fridge). I like to warm up the potatoes in a bowl in the microwave and add the fried egg on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If I feel like it, I might add a spoonful of salsa. I may also have a slice of bacon if it's available.
Snack: some type of fruit with almond butter OR Larabar. (I love the blueberry muffin and the cherry pie flavors!) I also love these RX bars if I'm on the run and don't have time for snack or if I'm out around lunch time and get hungry. If I have one of these, then I will eat a lighter lunch.
Lunch: dinner left overs OR salad with hard boiled egg, bacon, nuts. Home made salad dressing made of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, yellow mustard, salt, pepper and garlic salt.
Snack: maybe carrots and almond butter OR a Larabar OR fruit bar of some sort and nuts OR hard boiled egg.
Dinner: For dinner I would usually try to roast a big batch of veggies before hand so they are ready to just pop in the microwave at dinner time. My favorite veggies for roasting are potatoes (I like either yukon gold or sweet potatoes or a mixture of both), baby carrots, brussel sprouts, asparagus, onions and peppers. As far as the proteins go, I've tried a few different versions of burgers that I like. I obviously don't eat these with the buns and just add salsa and/or mustard as the condiment. I'll make a batch of homemade baked 'fries' on the side and a side salad or some roasted veggies. Trader Joe's sells chili lime chicken burgers in the freezer section that are really good. I also like the Grass fed angus beef burgers also found in the TJ's frozen section. These are both really easy to just dethaw and throw o the grill or frying pan with some coconut or olive oil to cook. One of my favorite meals was the angus beef burgers and I fried up some onions in the same pan as the burgers which gave them great flavor! Bill liked when I cooked these burgers because he could have his with a bun and cheese.
I also made a few sheet pan recipes like beef tips and roasted veggies, baked chicken breasts, shredded salsa chicken in the crockpot which I added on top of a baked sweet potato! Weird combination, but it was really good and so filling and satisfying! Lots of other whole30 recipes pinned here that I want to try!
With all the protein and nutrient/fiber filled veggies I was eating at dinner, I felt more full and less likely to feel the need to snack at night. Although, I usually would have a glass of La Croix with a splash of 100% grape juice in a wine glass to trick myself into feeling like I was having wine. I sometimes would snack on apple slices and almond butter or have a Larabar at night if I had a bit of a sweet tooth.
That's pretty much it! The main challenges for me was finding the time to make everything ahead of time and grocery shopping for the week to make sure I had enough food to prepare. So, if I have any advise to give if you are planning on starting the whole30 diet... Plan, plan, PLAN ahead of time!! And cook all your meals in bulk so you have extras. It will make your life so much easier!
I hope this was interesting and helpful to those of you who might be curious about whole30 and my experience (so far). Like I said earlier in this post, I'm hoping to complete another 2 weeks of the whole30 diet, so I will update you all at the end of that journey as well!