Good morning! Thanks for coming back. Yesterday, I wrote about why I chose to do my first Whole30 and provided a recap of Weeks 1 – 3. Today I am going to talk about my final days on the program, thoughts about the W30 in general, and share some tips that worked for me.
Final Days 22 – 35: Yes, I actually completed 35 days. I did this because I reached 30 days and didn’t really want any of the things I had been craving during the program. Ironic, isn’t it? It also felt strange having the freedom to be able to eat anything so I hesitated a bit.
The final stretch went well. I was in a routine and it was manageable by this time. On day 35 I could see the difference in my energy levels and sleep. My inflammation had improved, although I still have tendonitis in my toes. My shins felt relief and recovery time improved. I didn’t notice a change in my hair.
One of the biggest things I realized during the program is there is sugar in EVERYTHING. It’s added to items you wouldn’t even think could have sugar. I had to read everything before deciding whether to eat it and I was shocked and disappointed to learn that a lot of the things I really enjoyed and thought were “healthy” contained a lot of garbage.
I used to read labels all the time, but I got away from that. I am definitely going to avoid some of the processed foods I was eating before and be more careful about reading labels again.
Another thing I realized is what a huge impact food has on my mental state. I was able to focus much more when I removed grains and processed foods. It lifted my mood and a lot of people commented on it. I guess I’m a total B most of the time. 🙂
Tips for a successful Whole 30:
- Do not complete the program during a holiday, vacation, or your wedding/honeymoon. There’s no reason to attempt such a strict program during a time that should be fun and enjoyable.
- Prepare like you would for a test. Take a week or two to read up on the program. I made notes on things I wanted to remember to avoid and ingredi I wanted to buy .
- Go in with a game plan. I knew that breakfast and lunch would be easy for me, but dinners I had to plan out. I used my crockpot a lot. Here’s a link to some great recipes.
- Definitely purchase the book. It was helpful to read and reference during the program. It also has some easy recipes in the back.
- Scale back your workouts in the beginning. The first two weeks I was doing mostly yoga and it felt good to avoid high impact or demanding workouts.
- Figure out where your weak moments are and have a plan. For example, I really enjoy wine on the weekends. It’s a nice way to relax after the work week. During the W30, I began to experiment with different komucha flavors (read the ingredients – not all are compliant). I would even pour it into a wine glass to fancy it up. And I made sure to have other things to look forward to during the week and weekends (taking a bath, watching a movie, getting a massage). Look for enjoyment outside of food.
- Get ready for a lot of prep. A lot. I felt like I was always cooking and preparing food from scratch. It was difficult to do this with the girls around. I would recommend making twice as much of whatever you are preparing and freezing half of it. This would have been a huge time saver for me.
- Incorporate variety. Since I don’t eat red meat, I stuck mostly to seafood, chicken, and eggs for protein. I got a bit bored with my meals at the end. A red meat eater may have more luck here.
I technically didn’t follow all of the rules. I didn’t eat anything that wasn’t W30 approved, but I did some things that aren’t necessarily encouraged.
- I like to snack. The program discourages snacking and would rather you eat three big meals. That doesn’t work for me since my day starts so early. I ate healthy snacks in between my meals.
- I like sweets. You are supposed to be limiting sweets on the program and avoiding anything dessert-like even if it is compliant. The idea is that you appreciate whole foods and that you break the habit of needing something sweet. If I wanted a “dessert” I usually had dates and nut butter or fruit with chopped nuts. Nothing outrageous, but again, not exactly encouraged.
- I didn’t do the reintroduction phase. I already know I can’t digest dairy and grains don’t agree with me.
All said and done, it was pretty enlightening for me to complete the Whole30. It didn’t “fix” all of my issues, but I was happy with the progress I made in just 30 days. I think a lot can be said for switching up your routine and evaluating your food choices, which is why I will incorporate small W30 “phases” (7-10 days) every so often.
I’d be interested in hearing about other W30 experiences!