It’s been about two months since I finished my Whole30 and I’m finally ready to talk about it! I went into my Whole30 journey looking to curb cravings, reshape my eating habits, gain more energy and lose weight.
So did I succeed? Well, it’s complicated.
Week 1 went pretty well and I felt good about what I was eating and my changing habits. I was surprised that I was able to stick to Whole30’s “no snacking” rule without feeling hungry or feeling like I was missing out.
I learned a lot about myself and how easy it is to add unneeded calories to my day by licking the spoon when baking with my kids or finishing off their plates or snacking when they snack (which is basically all day long!). I learned that snacking was just a bad habit I needed to break, but wouldn’t miss once it was gone.
Week 2 was more challenging. The food I was eating wasn’t appetizing, and I wasn’t enjoying it. Cooking separate meals for me and my family was exhausting, and I was done with spending the entire day in the kitchen prepping food. But I pushed through the challenges and stuck to the plan.
Week 3 and Week 4 were easier because I knew I was on the home stretch. I started to eat more foods that I really enjoyed like potatoes and almond butter, but I was able to put the brakes on and only eat until I was satisfied. That was a totally new thing for me.
One of my unhealthy eating habits prior to Whole30 was definitely overeating and although I mostly ate wholesome, nutritious foods, there can definitely be too much of a good thing. Taking photos of each of my meals helped with portion control because I put the amount I thought I should eat on the plate and 95 percent of the time, it was enough. I let myself get seconds if I still needed it, but it was a lesson in making sure I was thinking ahead about how much I was going to eat.
The day after my Whole30 ended, I wanted to eat a donut…or a dozen. I resisted and eased into the real world by taking Whole30 compliant ingredients and making a grain-free English muffin that turned out absolutely heavenly.
Within a week of ending Whole30, I had eaten a sandwich with real gluten-filled bread, brisket nachos and ice cream. And I’ve spent every day since then eating pretty much whatever I want, snacking multiple times a day and eating sugar regularly. It’s not how I imagined life after Whole30, but it’s my reality.
I’m not usually one to make excuses, but I feel that in this case, I do have a valid excuse for my backward slide into unhealthy habits and even worse food choices than before. Remember during Week 2 when I was so darn sick of eating eggs that I threw up? Well, it turns out that I was pregnant.
I found out during Week 3 and was able to push through to the end, but as soon as I finished Whole30, morning sickness hit me hard all day long. So many foods made me nauseous and the foods I shouldn’t have been eating were the only ones that settled my stomach.
During my Whole30, I lost 12 pounds. I was excited to see that number on the scale, but I was missing things I was looking for that inspired me to do Whole30 in the first place. I wanted more energy, and yet I was fatigued and napping more than ever. I wanted a beautiful glow on my skin and yet I was breaking out like never before. I wanted to feel good, but I felt the complete opposite.
Without the positive reinforcement of feeling good and having more energy, I had no desire to follow the recommendations to reintroduce foods one at a time as the Whole30 book outlines. Without will power and 13 weeks pregnant, I have gained back all 12 pounds that I lost and am now back at my “normal” weight that I can easily maintain without effort. It’s disappointing, but I did the best I could under the circumstances.
How do you measure success with Whole30? It’s not a straightforward answer for sure. So you be the judge- was my Whole30 a success or a failure?