It all started with a look in the mirror and a step on the scale....and seeing four + people in one day talk about finishing the Whole30.
Back at the end of May, Brad and I were talking about how we really needed a new training & eating regiment. Our next races aren't until November, but we needed something. I still had some baby weight to lose and Brad (who normally is training for a half ironman by this point in the year) wanted to get back in shape.
In one day, I saw 4 people post about finishing the Whole30 and how they felt better, looked better and lost some weight. I did what I always do after seeing results like that - went straight to Google. What I found was the WHY of the program, the HOW of the program and even an entire meal plan and grocery list for all four weeks! I G-chatted Brad and said we were starting the following Monday, June 5th.
We learned that Whole30 meant we would be eating meat, fruit and veggies. And that is about it for the next 30 days. No added sugar, no baked goods, no coffee creamer, dairy, etc. And we had to cook, a lot. We figured the no sugar thing wouldn't be all that bad because we'd been limiting our sugar (or so we thought) to just the weekends since January. "We can do this!" we thought.
Knowing it would cost a pretty penny, I utilized Kroger's Clicklist, Walmart's grocery pick-up and Aldi for our grocery shopping. I ended up saving an additional $50 by shopping at all three stores rather than just Kroger. It was still expensive, but I figured it was worth it. It was time to feel better. We took before pictures and weighed ourselves (results coming on Wednesdsay.) We even put our goal prizes on our bathroom mirror so we could look at what we could buy or get once we completed our "Whole30-ish" journey.
We were pumped.
The first morning wasn't so bad. We ate pretty much like we used to - eggs and bacon. What I didn't realize was the bacon I bought (four pounds of it for the first week) like a lot of pre-packaged food it had sugar in it. Added sugar. WHAT? BACON? SUGAR? WHY?
You see, the title of this post is "Whole30-Ish" journey. Why? Well, we didn't do as much research as we should have to prior to starting. We should have read the book. We should have combed through the website a bit more. But at the end of the day, "shoulda coulda woulda." Am I right?
We learned as we went and the first thing we learned was the bacon you are allowed to have on the Whole30 had to be sugar-free. Guess what is extremely hard to find? Sugar-free bacon. Luckily, after some more Googling, we found ONE type of bacon at Kroger that was sugar free - the Lower Sodium Kroger brand bacon. That stuff still is loaded with nitrates so I guess pick your poison. (According to the Whole30 Additive list, sodium nitrate is acceptable.) But - BAM. It doesn't have added sugar.
We also didn't realize that every time you go to a restaurant, you have to be THAT person and ask how the food is prepared. We didn't get the hang of this until week two or so and even then, there were some outings where we forgot (ahem, Panera) where we ate non-Whole30 compliant chicken on our salad and immediately regretted it.
So, the first week we stumbled. The second week, we also stumbled and guess what, we continued to stumble our way through our "Whole30-ish" Journey. And for us, that was OK. Ultimately, we decided for our family and our "Whole30-ish" Journey, we wouldn't be so hard on ourselves for making a mistake. We would just correct it when we could. (Whole30 calls for you to restart every time you make a mistake...we decided maybe next time we would do that. Otherwise, we would have given up this go-round.) So, that's what we did. We corrected when we could. We researched a bit more, found a bacon that was suitable and trucked on. At the end of the day, we were still eating MUCH better than usual, ALMOST all of our food was Whole30 compliant and we felt good about what we were doing.
We continued to feel OK with what we were doing the entire month. We friends offered us an adult beverage, we politely declined. When our friends brought us an entire Pineapple Upside Down Cake that looked more heavenly than Paula Deen's cooking, we froze it. When we attended parties and had to eat fruit and veggies, we just smiled and joked that we were half way through.
We planned, we prepped, we cooked, and for the most part we enjoyed our meals and our "Whole30-ish" Journey.
But I'll be damned if I am not excited about Wednesday, July 5th, when we are officially done. We FINALLY can indulge (lightly...we don't want to get sick) on that King Family Vineyard Meritage that has been looking at us for a month. And we can weigh ourselves because I'd be lying if I said that wasn't one of my main motivations. I know it's about feeling better, retraining your brain and making better choices, but the weight loss is a definite added bonus.
Will we do it again? Absolutely. We've even decided to be Whole30-ish & Paleo during the week to help us continue to make healthy choices.
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! We want to conclude with what we learned during our "Whole30-Ish" journey:
1. The guilt of saying NO to someone who is offering you a perfectly made Pineapple Upside Down cake isn't so bad.
We had some friends visit and stay with us the SECOND DAY of our "Whole30-Ish" journey and to thank us for our hospitality, they brought us the most delicious looking Pineapple Upside Down cake. I did mention before they arrived we just started our "Whole30-Ish" journey and wouldn't be able to eat it. They were sweet to offer suggestions like "just have a taste," "text me when you eat it after you stop this Whole30 next week," and then "you can freeze it..." We went with the last suggestion and can't wait to indulge once we finish on Wednesday.
We had to say NO a lot during our month. We attended baby showers, birthday dinners and friend hang-outs where we had to say no to a lot of delicious desserts, our favorite wine and beer and even tasty buns (hamburger buns.)
2. You don't have to say NO when someone invites you out to dinner.
You just have to be prepared. Like all Whole30 blogs suggestion, research the menu before you go or even eat before you go. We ended up doing the latter more than the former so we wouldn't be tempted to get something non-Whole30 compliant.
3. Meal Prep and Meal Plan.
We got lazy toward about week 3 & week 4. "We" meaning I got lazy. We didn't enjoy some of the meals from the plan we found so we "went off script." Or as I like to call it, we didn't eat. Just kidding, we did eat, we were just eating BORING meals. Like plain chicken, plain veggies and water. It was the epitome of boring. We were eating eggs because we knew they were compliant and we were eating fruit because it was sweet. (I know, defeats the point of changing our thinking about food and the point of Whole30, but at least I didn't eat cookies and ice cream.) The lesson we learned was power through & plan, plan and plan.
Towards the end, we were getting all kinds of encouragement from friends on social media and in person. A good Nashville friend of ours even sent us the American Test Kitchen's Paleo Cook Book. (Paleo is similar to Whole30, but you have to check recipes and ingredients.) That encouragement helped us get through the last week...or as I like to call it - the longest week of the year.
4. You CAN break the routine of snacking.
Brad and I are routine people. We wake up every morning around 6...when I don't sleep in. We have breakfast and coffee by 7:30 and leave for work by 8:30. We always pack snacks in our lunch for 10 and 3. We spend our evenings watching Strouse House Baby feed the dog her dinner.
Routine is our life.
So when the Whole30 kindly suggested not snacking, we were baffled. 10 and 3 were our two snacking times. We always had string cheese at 10 and a fruit or cereal bar at 3. Always. Everyday.
And then we couldn't.
And you know what? It wasn't that bad. Our breakfast meals on our "Whole30-Ish" journey were filled with more protein so we stayed full. We weren't hungry until lunch. Our lunches were also full of protein and healthy fats so we stayed full until dinner.
We broke our snacking habits! Sorta.
I still enjoy a snack of watermelon...whenever I can. Ha!
5. Saying bye to dessert was hard...and still is hard.
I'll be honest. I missed dessert. I missed chocolate chip cookies. I missed ice cream. And I still do.
We are traveling this week and our vacations normally are "eat what you want, you are on vacation." We always have dessert or enjoy some ice cream right before bed. Welp, not this trip and it is a huge bummer. Not hard, just a bummer.
Just because you've made this life style change doesn't mean you will immediately stop craving your favorite foods, missing your old routine and be magically healed. It is work. The Whole30 website says "It's Not Hard Work." While they have a great point, it's not hard, but it is work. It's self control. It 's a new routine.
In an effort to not be cliche, but totally being cliche. "If we can do it, you 100% can do it too."
We realized you can do anything in 30 days. With a 30 day timeframe, there's an end goal, an end point, a final day to look forward too.
You can do it.
We will make a special little post on Wednesday, the official end of our "Whole30-Ish" journey, with all of our results. Stay Tuned!
What are some Whole-30 tips you can share to make our next Whole30 journey more pure? More on track? More compliant? Let us know below and maybe we can do the Whole30 for real next time!