So I did it. I did all 30 days of Whole30. Without cheating (knowingly!).
It’s quite unbelievable when I’ve always had a hard time completing just 21 days of 21 Day Fix. I always found reasons to just have more wine, or eat pizza and ice cream. But not this time. I started this, and I knew from day one I was going to go through with it.
One reason I could, is because I made a promise to share it on Instagram and Facebook. I wanted to share every day, so I had that accountability with my followers and friends. I can’t stand letting myself down, but letting my peers down is worse.
I wanted to review this journey in a blog post for three reasons. The first is that, because it was 30 days, there’s A LOT to talk about. I didn’t want to skimp on anything, for the fact that I have a lot of people interested in doing this too. The second reason is that everyone is different, and will get different results. I believe that I fell into the group that didn’t see the results I was hoping for, and I feel that it’s important to share why, and what I DID see that’s even more important. The third, is because I came to a very sad realization about 22 Minute Hard Corps that I need to touch upon later on.
“The Whole30. A 30 day guide to total health and food freedom.” Those of you that don’t know Whole30, I will give you a little description, in my own words. IT IS NOT A DIET. Please do not think this is a “diet.” Paleo eating is not a diet plan. Weight loss is just an awesome side result (not everyone sees it – ahem, me). You cannot eat as much as you want of everything that’s Whole30 compliant, without portion control, and expect to lose weight. Because you really won’t. Whole30 is ultimately a detox of items that are known to upset our bodies. These extremely common items are grains, legumes, dairy, soy, and sugar. Those 5 major groups, are huge culprits of irritation, so you cut them out of your diet entirely for 30 days. Some, you don’t even know are bothering you because they are in everything and you don’t know the difference. Doing the Whole30, you can pinpoint what might be bothering you. I’ll explain later, but dairy is my enemy. I didn’t know any better. After you go through your 30 days, you can start a reintroduction stage that you can do quickly, or slowly depending on what you want to do. That way, you can find out for sure what it is bothering you. I have already started planning out my reintroduction stage, starting with grains, and ending with dairy products.
Okay, so first and foremost, it was NOT hard. Yes, it took determination, planning, and a crazy willpower to do it, but it was not hard. I also, fortunately, have been eating well for almost 3 years, so a lot of the things I had to do, I was already in the habit of doing. Reading labels, meal prepping, cutting out sugar and grains, less alcohol… so all I really needed for this was a wakeup call that said, “Okay Bri, you got this.” For those of you interested in doing this, my one piece of advice is this: Yes you can do this. BUT what you need to do to prepare, is before even starting Whole30, practice reading labels and cutting out the things you need to cut out for it ahead of time. Practice meal planning ahead of time. Cut out just sugar for a week. Figure out what is a grain and what is a legume. If you do those things, it’ll be less overwhelming on day 1 of Whole30.
I gave up Shakeology. For 30 days. I did this for one reason only. It specifically states in the book, not to drink Shakeology. Not because it’s bad for you, but because it contains such nutrient dense ingredients, that it hits a handful of things that the Whole30 is cutting out. I know a lot of coaches that continued to drink it while on the Whole30, and still saw great results. As a coach, I chose not to because we have ourselves, as well as others, follow specific nutrition plans to see results. I wanted to do this 100%, and as much as it hurt to give it up for a month, I needed to do it. Fortunately, I had my first shake today after 30 days, and I had no belly issues whatsoever.
I only had 3 “cheat” moments. The first week I was out shopping, I was looking at the nutrition labels to see 0g of sugar. I bought some bacon that showed that 0g of sugar. When I took it home and cooked it up, I was reading in my book (that’ll become your saving grace, I had it on my counter all day every day to reference), and it stated for bacon specifically, to watch the ingredients. Even if the label states 0g sugar, they still might put sugar in it. And this brand I had, had sugar in it and I just never even noticed. I promptly found a new brand of bacon.
The second cheat was an idiot moment. I made taco salads (boyfriend loved them), and I added a small amount of corn to the salads. Thinking it was a vegetable, because it is. BUT it’s a grainy vegetable, and not complaint. I should have known this, as corn is considered a “yellow” on the container system diet. It was too good to be true!
The last was on day 26, we went out to eat for dinner. I ordered a grilled chicken dinner, and I even asked for no cheese to make it compliant. Meal came out, it was not grilled chicken. It was baked with a light breading on it. I looked at it, and decided that I was either going to wait for a whole new meal and this gets thrown out, or I’m just going to eat it. And I ate it. I honestly didn’t regret it either. I made the effort, and stuff happens!
One of the first dramatic changes I noticed was on week two. I travel for work, I am a safety supervisor and I cover the majority of New England. So I spend a lot of time in my car, as well as work some crazy hours. Ever since taking the job, I had developed a serious caffeine addiction. Especially on the late nights. I would be leaving one of my buildings at 8-9pm, and have over an hour ride, and get a coffee. At 9 at night. I would make trips in the afternoon to coffee shops, I was up to 4 or 5 coffees a day to stay alive. And those stops would always be Dunkin Donuts because that’s all I could find, and I’m sorry, DDs is absolute garbage. But I needed something to get me through. It was on either day 10 or 11, I was driving home late from one of my farther locations, and I just remember being like… “Wow, I feel sharp tonight.” I had zero sleepy moments in the car, and had zero thoughts to stop for a coffee. I also realized, I hadn’t stopped for an extra coffee at all for those 10 days. My sleepy time that I was always getting after lunch… just stopped happening. It was incredible. It’s unbelievable that your food can cause you to feel that way.
Another major thing that I noticed that changed was my digestion. Now, I’m going to probably get a little in depth on this, but my digestion issues are major, and have been since I was a baby. I went into this thinking it wasn’t going to change, because I’ve always had problems. I want to go into some detail only because I know there are a lot of people that have issues and don’t think there are solutions. For me, I will ALWAYS have my problems, but changing my diet has made it easier.
I have a hard time “going.” When I was younger, I would go every 3 to 4 days. That was normal to me, the only normal I knew. You can imagine, how painful that was for me. When I started clean eating and drinking Shakeology two and a half years ago, I was able to change the 3 to 4 days to every other day or so. That was my first clue that nutrition can help your digestion in a major way. When I started Whole30, I had little hopes to fixing my issues. I had seen a GI doctor back in the fall of 2015, and then had a colonoscopy, just to make sure there wasn’t something more serious going on. After the procedure was done and all of my blood work came back, they found nothing wrong. My GI doctor basically told me, that the nerves in my intestines don’t fire properly when they need to. That feeling of needing to “go” is caused by nerves firing to contract your intestines. My nerves don’t do that, and there’s really nothing I can do to change that.
Fast forward to winter 2017, and Whole30 came into my life. By week two I noticed a difference. It didn’t change how often I was going, again, there’s no way of that ever changing, but it did get “easier.” I’m trying to not be graphic because this is a family friendly post, but all in all, this past month has been amazing and pain free. My belly feels great, and I have no issues actually being able to go anymore.
So. With seeing a difference in my digestion, I had to look at the things I cut out. What one of those 5 items could help improve my digestion? The only one it could be is dairy. I’ve been consuming dairy products since I was a baby, and growing up, I was the pizza loving, alfredo obsessed, cereal with milk every day, munching on cheese all of the time kind of girl. Dairy has been a staple in my diet since I could walk. This is the first time I have ever cut it out completely for an extended amount of time. As much as I love dairy everything, I would much rather keep my digestion in check and my belly happy than consume a pound of cheese every week. I will find alternatives! And this is not the end of pizza!
I lost all of 3 pounds. My before and after photos literally do not show any difference, which is why I’m not even going to post them. I actually look like I’ve gained weight in my after, but I’m blaming that on the certain time of the month! I think, it even states it in the book, that next time I do this (because there will be a next time!), I will plan for a Whole45, and give myself an extra 15 days. The book says that not everyone will react the way the timeline is in the book, some people need more time for their bodies to adjust.
After doing this I realized that this “style” of eating doesn’t work very well for me. I do much better eating smaller meals multiple times a day, than I do eating 3 large meals. I need the smaller meals to keep my ridiculously slow metabolism going. I have always had a slow metabolism, that contributed to my major weight gain in elementary school when I stopped doing gymnastics. That and my binge eating disorder I struggled with through my teenage years. I plan to go back to my smaller meals a day, but keeping a mostly Whole30 spin on it. I love the container system, it was the first thing that truly worked for me almost 3 years ago, and I need to go back to that to keep my “tiger blood” running strong.
One last thing I wanted to do a quick review on is 22 Minute Hard Corps. I’m going to start off by saying, I absolutely love it. It’s quick, its efficient, and people see results fast on it. With that being said, I need to put it aside for awhile for myself. I saw the best results I’ve ever seen doing Core de Force. Comparing the two programs, the only huge differences are that 22MHC has much shorter workouts, and CdF is more of a HIIT training program that have longer workouts. I was listening to a podcast from Chalene Johnson a few weeks ago about plateauing with weight loss and metabolism in people, and ultimately I figured out that I have the type of body that needs longer workouts with that HIIT aspect to it to see results. I need something that will truly jack up my metabolism, and keep it high for most of my day. 22MHC just couldn’t do that for me to see the results I need. Lastly, I have bad knees. So bad. In short, my knee caps are off centered. They are not lined up properly to the joints, which was caused by my ridiculously flat feet my entire life. It’s just a skeletal thing that I have to deal with for the rest of my life. Because of my knee caps being “off”, the layout of 22MHC doesn’t work with me. The rounds are fast, and there’s counting, and you want to hit all of the reps in a short amount of time. I find myself working a lot faster than I think my body can handle, resulting in swollen knees because I’m not watching my form. Again, amazing program, and I know many people who love it, did it start to finish and saw some rockin’ results. I just know I’m not going to be that person, at least right now, when I still have 25 pounds to lose.
This was an incredible experience. You are always told that food effects so many things in your life; your emotions, your brain function, your skin, your digestion, your all around feeling of being happy – and until you test that statement, you don’t really see it. After doing this, I saw first hand what food can do for my body, negatively and positively. Everyone should do this once in their life. ESPECIALLY if you think you have something going on internally you can’t quite figure out. Sugar is practically in everything. Soy is in almost everything. We consume grains and dairy almost every single day of our lives. You will never figure out what is going on if you don’t cut these culprits out.
Although I didn’t see the “results” I was hoping to see, I think this is just what my body needed to get back on track. I needed a sugar detox badly, and I needed to find out what was going on internally. The weight loss is not a big deal to me, the way I feel is. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring!