I have officially completed my first Whole30! Feel free to applaud. I’ll wait. 🙂 It’s been an interesting month of experimentation and ups and downs. I’m so glad I went through with this and so proud of myself that I made it through the 30 days! If you did too, congrats! January 31st marked the start of my reintroduction period. I will outline those 10 days here once they’re over but for now, here is my week 4 Whole30 Recap & Results. You can also check out my recaps for week one, week two and week three!
WHAT I ATE
Remember how I said I was getting wiped out from meal prep last week? Yeah, I’m still a little wiped out. Next week I am ordering from a meal prep service because I just need a little break. Anyway, nothing too crazy going on with food. I busted out my air fryer for some “french fries” this week and they came out really good. I’ll have to get that recipe up here for you guys soon. In the meantime, here are some of the recipes I used this week.
Links to some recipes above
I come from a background of life-long unhealthy habits with food. You don’t get to be almost 300 pounds because you make consistent healthy choices am I right? I lost weight and learned a lot about health and nutrition but I think there is always room to learn and grow. Whole30 has taught me to look at food with a different lens. I used to just look at nutrition facts for macro tracking purposes. I now make sure to also check out the ingredients list. It’s crazy how so many things are marketed as healthy but when you really take a second to read, there are sneaky sugars and unnecessary additives thrown in. Why is sugar in EVERYTHING?! I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to find everyday items like sauces, dressings or meat that didn’t have sugar added to it. In preparation for Whole30, I went through my fridge and got rid of a lot of things. Now that those things are gone, I see no need to incorporate them back in. Especially now that I have found other alternatives that don’t have all the extra crap thrown in.
One of the things my husband brought up was that if he really wants some sugar, he’s gonna get it from something like a donut. Something he loves and really thinks is worth it. I believe his specific quote was “If I’m gonna eat sugar, it might as well be something amazing like a donut. I don’t need sugar in my bacon and ketchup”. True that hubby, true that. This is what I am aiming for with my own Food Freedom. I plan to continue looking at the ingredients lists and opting for those with less additives. If I really want something less healthy and I think it’s worth it then I will enjoy the hell out of it. Sugar and gluten and dairy (oh my!) be damned! But the key is, ONLY WHEN I THINK IT’S WORTH IT! And some days that same cookie I thought was so worth it yesterday, may not be worth it another day. And that’s to be expected. What I decide is worth it should be fluid and flexible on any given day.
One other quick note about food. My taste buds have definitely shifted. I’m starting to notice that fruits taste so much sweeter than before. Things like oranges and strawberries were so sweet it felt like I was having dessert. Which is kind of crazy considering my normal treat was a giant handful of whatever chocolate was in the candy jar at work. I’ve even grown accustomed to my daily coffee with nothing but nutpods, vanilla bean ghee and Vital Proteins collagen peptides thrown in. Before I doused my coffee in creamer and felt like I needed the sweetness. So this is a huge win for me! Those things became Whole30 staples during the month.
Macros Vs Whole30
Before Whole30, I was a diligent macro tacker. I weighed out all of the food I ate and aimed to stay within certain macro targets. So the Whole30 philosophy of not counting calories or weighing food was foreign and more than a little scary for me. I attempted one day of tracking just to compare what I was ingesting calorie/macro wise to Whole30. The results were pretty surprising to me! All things considered, my caloric intake was similar to when I tracking macros. I was within about 7 calories of my norm, just with a higher concentration of fats over carbs and lower protein. The picture on the right shows the amount of that particular macro I had remaining for the day and on the left is the caloric difference.
One of the questions I’ve been getting asked a lot on my Instagram account is if I will be going back to tracking macros now that my Whole30 is over. I have really been enjoying the freedom from numbers this month. Both from the scale and from my tracking app. I have been tracking my food in some way since 2012. It’s been 6 years. That’s a long time to let my life revolve around numbers in an app. I had the scale telling me how to feel in the mornings about my day and then the app at night telling me if I had a “good or bad” day. It’s been nice to just…I don’t know, exist. With that said, I won’t say that I think there is no value in tracking macros. I think there is definitely a place for it and for someone like me who knew nothing about what real portion sizes looked like, it was eye-opening. I just know that it will be a tool in my back pocket if I need/want to use it. But for now, I am not going to put a label on how I eat. I’m going to continue eating whole foods that nourish my body and make me feel good. With the occasional fun treat when I think it’s worth it. And by fun treat, I’m mainly referring to wine. I mean, Friday Wine Day is basically a holiday at my house.
The scale still has way too strong a hold on me. I didn’t realize it until the last day of Whole30 when I knew I was planning to weigh myself the next day for my weight results. I immediately felt anxiety. What if I hadn’t lost weight? What if I only lost 2 pounds? I hadn’t felt bad about my body all month long without weighing myself and yet the second I knew I was going to get on that scale, the self-doubt crept in hardcore. Throughout the month I based how I felt on how my clothes fit or whether I felt bloated or lean throughout the day. Why then, did it make sense to let some number on a machine tell me how I should feel? From past experience I know that I could be feeling amazing, eating well, working out regularly and just feeling like a rockstar but then if the scale didn’t reflect that, all the sudden I felt awful about myself. It’s ridiculous. I mean, that absolutely makes no sense when I try to rationalize it in my head, but I’m also human and I’m still working through those issues. It’s not something I can fix in 30 days. But it was an awesome realization to know I felt so much happier without stepping on a scale multiple times a week.
One of the concepts Melissa Hartwig talks about in Food Freedom Forever is the concept of cheat days. Something I used to partake in regularly as a macro counter. I would designate one day a week as a cheat day, free from tracking macros. I usually did this on days I had a celebration or an event to attend when I knew there would be some not-so-healthy food around. I didn’t see the harm in it and I felt like it gave me a mental break from tracking. Well, it did give me that, but it also gave me a self-imposed green light to eat…and eat…and eat. Cupcakes, chips, pizza and beer? Why not? It’s my cheat day! Bring it on! I was either all diligent about tracking or going all out with my cheat days. There was no in between.
Usually after these cheat days, I had a rough time recovering and getting back to normal. I felt so bloated and lethargic for the rest of the day and usually the rest of that weekend. Not to mention the guilt at completely losing control. Now, I know not everyone goes about their cheat days this way and there are very healthy ways to systemically use “re-feed days” without going nuts. But I was always going balls to the wall for my cheat days which isn’t healthy physically or mentally.
In the book, Melissa brought up a simple concept. Why am I telling myself I can have X, Y, or Z before I’ve even decided that I actually want it? I’m already anticipating that I will be craving all the food that will potentially be there without bothering to be even the least bit mindful. I am telling myself I can have it merely because it will be there. Whoa. Mind Blown. It sounds like such a no brainer but that was huge for me. Instead of cheat days, eat whatever you want when you want it. IF you decide it’s worth it. If I know I will feel bloated, lethargic and achey after eating a certain food and I still want it because it’s one of my favorite things, well then I’ll eat it and savor every bite. But if I’m kinda like eh, I don’t really want this but it’s my cheat day so I better take advantage? That’s not a great reason. I can almost see you guys reading this like “um, why was that such a hard concept for you to figure out Jen?” Well, when you have years and years of unhealthy habits, your relationship with food is a little messed up. I feel like I’m finally on the road to mending that.
Tiger Blood & Coaching
When I started reading my Whole30 Day by Day book what I wanted to know was when I would start feeling the infamous Tiger Blood! If you’re new to Whole30 terminology, Tiger Blood is basically described by many as an overall feeling of amazingness, well-being, unstoppableness and kick-assery. Pretty sure a few of those aren’t actual words but you get the point. So when the book told me the day was coming, I waited…and waited…and waited. No Tiger Blood. I mean I felt GREAT, don’t get me wrong. But I wasn’t floating on the magical cloud of bliss or anything. So it could either be that Tiger Blood had been so hyped up my expectations were way too high or maybe I needed more than 30 days to experience it. I was a relatively healthy eater prior to Whole30 and so it’s possible I just needed more time to get there. Not experiencing Tiger Blood did not diminish my Whole30 experience in any way though, so if that happens to you, fear not! You will still experience lots of greatness and non scale victories along the way!
For my first Whole30 experience I wanted to be guided through the process by someone who knew what they were doing. I decided to work with Bailey of Whole Kitchen Sink who is not only one of my closest friends, but a Whole30 Certified Coach. As part of the coaching experience I was added to a Facebook group with others who also wanted some guidance. The group was SO helpful! Bailey was a super active coach and gave daily reminders, suggestions and words of encouragement. The group itself was small enough to be intimate but large enough to gain insight and perspective from so many different people. It helped to have a group of individuals going through the same thing. To celebrate and work through things in the trenches together. Even if working through things just meant we needed to complain about how crazy the first few days of Whole30 was making us! 🙂 I would highly recommend working with a Whole30 certified coach, especially for your first experience. Or if you’ve tried rounds in the past and haven’t quite made it through. You can check out Bailey’s blog here for coaching!
Non Scale Victories & Results
Here are some of the awesome things I experienced this month that had nothing to do with the number on the scale.
- Lowered resting heart rate: 78-63 BPM (beats per minute)
- Clothes fitting better: I wore jeans I hadn’t worn in almost 6 months!
- More mindful when eating: really paying attention to my hunger cues over mindless snacking
- Better sleep quality: sleeping easily through the night and waking up without pressing snooze!
- Sustained energy throughout the day: no 2 PM slump
- Zero digestion issues: less bloating and discomfort
- Decreased cravings: (especially for sugar)
- More focus and productivity: completing tasks more efficiently at work
These are some pretty great non scale victories and even if I had no weight loss results, these reasons would be enough for me to try another round!
And now what you’ve probably been waiting for…the physical results. So here is a side by side comparison from a couple angles. Before I give you the stats, I will let you take a peek at my (super professional) pictures.
So there’s not a BAM in your face drastic change, I mean, it was only 30 days, but I can definitely see a difference in the overall “puffiness” from before and after. Especially in my shoulders and face. In terms of weight, I lost 12 pounds which I am very happy with. I also lost 6.75 inches overall.
- Waist: -2.5 inches
- Arm: -.25
- Neck: -1 inch
- Thigh: -1.5 inch
- Hips: -1.5 inch
I am super happy with my results. Not only physically, but mentally. I definitely think I will be completing another round later this year and I am so excited to see my progress throughout the rest of 2018! For now, I can finally say that YES! I FINISHED THE WHOLE30!
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