What I’ve learned from Whole30 + why I’ll never do it again

September 30, 2016
A Fit Mess

Hey, hey. Has this week flown by or what? Things have been busy for us and I honestly don’t know where September went. Like at all. Our weather has started to accept that it is fall (we had a crazy heat wave last week) and I’m looking forward to the cooler temps and crisp mornings. We have some fun things planned this weekend, like a trip to the pumpkin patch and a much needed date night. It’s been forevvvverrr. Who knows, maybe I’ll get crazy and go to yoga. ūüôā


My posts have been a bit lean this week, mostly due to¬†my early (tiny) risers! I skipped writing several times for¬†morning snuggles and I don’t regret it one bit. Today’s post is all about my decision to end Whole30, what I’ve learned this time around, and why I’ll never do it again.


My last day on Whole30

I’m on Day 25 of Whole30 and,¬†after giving it a little thought, have decided to call it quits. I’m ending my Whole30 (or Whole25) early for no other reason than because I’m ready.¬†Sure, I could go the extra few days and make it to 30, but I don’t want¬†to. This is my third time doing the program, and I feel like I got exactly what I needed from it. The reset that I was desperately craving after a summer of indulgences¬†has been achieved. I’m back to reading labels, eating clean, and getting¬†tons of veggies in my diet. Mission accomplished for me.


How I feel today

Overall, I feel great. I’m definitely ending the program on a high note. My energy has been up, I don’t feel nearly as bloated/sluggish after meals, and I once again have a sense¬†that I’m in control of what I eat and how I feel. The most noticeable improvement has been¬†my SLEEP. This seems to be a consistent result every time I do W30. My head hits the pillow and I sleep a solid 8 hours. Sure, I have an occasional kid cry that wakes me (Maddie is a sleep talker), but other than that I get great rest. I typically wake up a few times per night and I always thought it’s been due to anxiety or stress, but I think it could be connected to sugar and alcohol. I just don’t sleep well if I have either of those things late in the day. It’s definitely something I am aware of now and will pay attention to more.


And while the arthritis in my feet hasn’t gone away, I didn’t think it would. But I feel great overall and that’s what matters to me. I have seen a marked decrease in my shin pain, but that could be because I am experimenting with a minimalist shoe (more on that later). I’ve realized I need to be more mindful about properly fueling for workouts and making sure to prioritize my recovery.


One of the central ideas behind Whole30 is by eating clean, wholesome food your body will get the nourishment it needs to heal itself. This leads to less inflammation, a healthy metabolism, balanced hormones, and improved energy. I personally feel like I have experienced each one of these benefits.


What I’ve learned from Whole30

One thing I love about Whole30 is that it forces you to look at your relationship with food. I’ve drawn some solid conclusions about myself this time around.


  • A complete overhaul is needed to break a bad cycle – I was getting into the habit of grazing and snacking all the time. Often, my¬†meals would consist of finishing the leftovers off my kids’ plates.¬†And I was slipping¬†into a routine of having dessert and wine every night instead of one or the other. Unless I actually cut the cord, I’m going to keep having little things here or there. Having grains, sugar, alcohol, and dairy off limits forced me into better habits.


  • It isn’t “hard,” but it’s definitely challenging at times – The Whole30 program is all about “tough love.” There really are no exceptions or bending of the rules. However, in the grand scheme of things, not having sweets and processed foods isn’t a big deal. It’s easy when compared to real hardships that others are going through. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t torture to attend a birthday party and not have a slice of cake. And on those very long days at home with two toddlers, I definitely wanted to throw it all in for a glass of wine.


  • Sugar and alcohol are the devil – We all have our vices. Honestly I could take or leave cheese. Dairy¬†doesn’t do much for me (and I can’t have it anyway). And I already eat mostly grain-free, aside from rice. But chocolate and wine? I need those in my life. The key is balance and to understand the consequences. Sure, I’ll enjoy myself at times, but I will feel like crap after. Some days it will be worth it and some days not.


  • I do much better when I have a plan – The first time I completed Whole30 I spent a lot of time reading ingredients, looking up recipes, and prepping food. It was very time-consuming. It got infinitely¬†easier the second and third time¬†around because I knew what meals I could throw together and how much prep time was involved. If I can prepare in advance I am good to go and I don’t feel deprived or hangry.


Why I’ll never do Whole30 again


I am glad I decided to do a September Whole30. It was exactly what¬†I needed to get back on track. Yet, I’m almost certain I¬†will never complete another one again. I hate sounding so definitive, but it is how I feel. Let me explain…


My first Whole30 was eye-opening. It really helped me understand the effect that food can have on my body and it made me become more critical of the everyday items I was eating. The skills I have learned have continued to stay with me over the last year. And even though I got away from some of those clean habits, once I got back on the program I¬†quickly picked things up. So while I do believe the Whole30 was helpful for me the first time, I don’t think I need to go 30 days to get my¬†reset. I think I would do a Whole7 or Whole10 if I felt like I needed a fresh start.


It’s super easy to let good habits slip away. And with the holidays approaching (seriously, I already see Christmas decorations in stores) I want to be sure I know where my limits are and what works for me.¬†I already know sugar makes me feel horrible. I’m lactose-intolerant so I can’t have large amounts of dairy. And while I do okay with grains, having gluten makes me feel sluggish and tired. But knowing all of this is key.¬†In evaluating ourselves and our food choices, we can decide¬†whether we really want to eat something and what the results will be. Yes, it’s okay to¬†indulge, but are the consequences worth it? Maybe there are times when it is.¬†And I know that I can always come back to Whole30 if I need a reset.


Anyone else on September Whole30? How are you feeling?

Whole30 update + last week’s workouts

September 19, 2016

Heyyyyy. Yep. It’s Monday. The weekend goes so fast, doesn’t it? Ours was pretty low key. Lots of time outside. Some workouts, including Orangetheory, plus lots of meal prep. One thing about Whole30 is you really need to be ready to spend lots of time in the kitchen prepping food. This isn’t as easy for me to do with two littles under foot. But I do what I can!


I’m feeling pretty great on Whole30. I’m now at the half way point *insert hallelujah hands emoji* and I’m starting the countdown. I recently gave an update on my first week¬†so I thought I’d share how I felt in my second week. Days 8 – 10 were the¬†toughest for me from a physical stand point. I felt really low energy, especially mid afternoon. I usually perk up after I get my lunchtime workout in, but I felt myself crashing around 3 pm. And the¬†tendonitis in my foot also flared up which¬†was bothersome. Luckily, it has since calmed down. I also had some annoying breakouts on my chest and back which I NEVER have, but it could have been due to the heat and humidity around here.


Fortunately,¬†I feel like I’m over the hump now and I’m back to high energy and a good spirit.


Here are some of the positive things I’ve noticed:

  • I feel much less bloated and uncomfortable after my meals.
  • Sleep. has. been. awesome. Hit the pillow and sleep around 8 hours per night.
  • My mood has been great. I’ve been able to focus and feel fresh at work.
  • Around day 11 my energy picked up again and I am feeling great.


Things I miss:

Wine. WINE. I’m not sure if this is a parent thing or a just a life thing, but I really look forward to a glass of wine at the end of the day. It helps me relax and close out the day. I’m not gonna lie, I miss having wine the most. Ha Ha!


Dessert. I enjoy having something sweet and settling in with Netflix after the girls have gone to bed. Dark chocolate, a handful of trail mix, or some Paleo-ish sweet. I guess it’s good to break that routine of always wanting a sweet, but I still find myself having fruit and nut butter most nights.


Peanut butter. Because peanut butter.


Recent Whole30 eats:

My meals in week two were really tasty. Most mornings I had either eggs or chia pudding. Lunches were usually a salad with protein, and my dinners were a mixed bag. All really good.



Chia pudding mixed with 1/2 sweet potato and crushed raspberries, topped with coconut and almond butter.

A Fit Mess

Fried eggs with sauteed asparagus and peppers on the side.

A Fit Mess

More eggs. These were topped with sun-dried tomatoes in oil. Sweet potato, tomatoes, and raspberries on the side. I ate eggs A LOT last week. We went through three cartons in our house. OOPS.




Chicken thighs made in the crockpot plus steamed broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes. Strawberries on the side.

chicken thighs

Leftover salad from lunch meeting out, topped with chicken thighs, cooked veggies, and nuts. I also added avocado after this photo was taken.

A Fit Mess

Turkey chili mixed with spinach and served over roasted spaghetti squash. Apple on the side.

A Fit Mess


Paleo turkey meatballs over zucchini noodles. OH MY SO GOOD.

A Fit Mess

Baked chicken sausage over greens.

A Fit Mess

Turkey burger with roasted brussel sprouts and asparagus on the side. I also had a slice of the almond flour crust pizza that Matt made. It was okay, but not as good as his usual batch. It was made with W30 approved ingredients, however, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to eat replacement items like pizza. ūüôā

A Fit Mess



Last week’s workouts


Monday – upper body

2 rounds – triple sets

  • 15 reverse bicep curls
  • 15 standing tricep extensions
  • 15 upright rows


3 rounds – triple sets

  • 15 rope hammer curls (cable should be level with your feet/shins)
  • 15 tricep extensions with rope (cable should be up high)
  • 15 rope face pulls (cable level with face)


3 rounds – triple sets

  • 15 alternative bicep curls
  • 15 overhead tricep extensions
  • 15 lateral raises


3 rounds – triple sets

  • 15 plate hammer curls (I used a 25 lb. plate for all three movements)
  • 15 plate overhead extensions
  • 15 plate front raises



3 mile run


1 hour walk with girls (@ a toddler’s pace)



Friday – upper body

incline dumbbell press 3 x 12

standing shoulder press 3 x 12

Then complete 3 rounds of each super and giant set with no rest in between


  • 12 one arm overhead press (other hand on wall)
  • 15 kettle bell swings (I used a 30 lb. KB, but could have gone heavier)
  • 20 lying leg raises


  • 15 lateral raises
  • 15 upright rows
  • 15 v-ups


  • 12 overhead tricep pullover
  • 12 push ups
  • 24 dead bugs





Hot yoga 90 minutes


How was your weekend? Any September Whole30’ers out there?

My Whole30 Experience – Part 1

January 20, 2016

I’ve received a couple of questions about completing the Whole30, so I thought I’d share my thoughts since many of you may be doing a similar program or are considering doing one. I am going to break this post up into two since I have a lot to say about my experience.


I’m not going to spend much time describing what Whole30 is or get deep into the specifics since you can read about that online. In a nutshell, it’s a 30 day program during which you avoid specific food groups (such as sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes) in an effort to reset your health. The idea is that certain foods could be having a negative impact on your body – in ways you may not even realize. By removing these items for a month you are able to let your body heal and find relief from some of your ailments.


There are a lot of rules and many, many NOs (So.Many.Nos) so if you are considering the program you need to do your research before beginning.


To date, I have done three rounds of W30. My first was back in October and I recently did a 20 day restart. Everyone has their own reasons for doing the program and these could vary from losing weight to healing autoimmune disease.


Here’s what I was hoping to gain from completing the Whole30:

  • More energy during the day and late afternoon to try to combat that afternoon slump.
  • Faster recovery from workouts and training.
  • Decrease inflammation (I have tendonitis in my toes and tend to get inflamed easily).
  • Resolve¬†thinning hair (thank you, post pardum).
  • Better habits with food (less¬†processed foods, sugar, and booze).


I planned to complete the program during October so it wouldn’t interfere with any holidays (priorities!). I would highly recommend this strategy to others.

W30 cook book

Here’s a snapshot of what my meals looked like:


Breakfast: usually 2-3 eggs scrambled with olive oil or hard-boiled and a side of sautéed spinach and a few handfuls of cashews or almonds. Supplements + water.


Lunch: often a salad with grilled chicken, canned tuna, or salmon topped with as many vegetables as possible. I would also add avocado, sunflower seeds, olive oil and balsamic vinegar as dressing. I usually had some fruit on the side, like an apple or berries. Other days I would eat leftovers from dinner.


Dinner: usually chicken thighs or a turkey chili crock pot meal, broiled salmon with lemon, garlic and mustard drumsticks, roasted veggies, sweet potatoes or butternut squash. I would often make spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles as “pasta” on the side. Related note: this spiralizer is easily my favorite kitchen gadget (next to my Nutribullet, that is).


Snacks: most often eggs, nuts, Larabars, chia pudding, carrots or celery with dressing or nut butter, olives, pickled veggies. I also enjoyed plantain chips (Trader Joe’s makes my favorite), dates, dried fruit (with no added sugar), whole fruit (usually post workout).


Drinks: water, coffee (thank God), peppermint tea, seltzer water, tart cherry juice (after workouts), kombucha (LOVEEEE this one).


Overall, my feelings were similar to some the common ones listed on the W30 timeline, however, I experienced mine in a different order.


Here’s my week-by-week recap:

Week 1: I definitely had the¬†So, what’s the big deal? mindset as described by many who start the program. I didn’t think it was very difficult to follow and not much different from what I was previously eating. However, I made a few switches. I drank coffee with full fat coconut milk rather than almond milk since most contain carrageenan (which isn’t allowed on the program). I used olive oil on my salads and coconut oil for cooking. I made a lot of the condiments in the W30 book to have on hand for dressings and dips.


I think the reason the first few days were such a breeze for me was because I was overly prepared. I spent a couple of weeks reading about the program, I purchased the book, and I made sure I had plenty of snacks and food on hand in case I needed them. Don’t catch me when I am hungry.


Noticeable improvements: I slept like a rock. I would fall asleep quickly and stay asleep until my alarm when off. I would get out of bed with a lot of energy, too. I had more drive during the day. And, I didn’t feel bloated after meals like I often do. I didn’t notice any change in my recovery time, but I did scale back my workouts since I wasn’t having as many carbs and just wanted to take it easy.


Week 2: I still sailed along with the program at this point. I started to recycle meals I knew would be easy and tasted good. I was a bit worried I would eat something by accident (I was having dreams about it) and I avoided going out for meals because I didn’t trust that all the ingredients would be safe.


Noticeable improvements: My sleep and energy levels were still great. I felt clear-headed¬Ě and was able to focus more during the day (no fogginess). I noticed that my shins felt better and recovery times were improving, but I was still scaling back my workouts and doing more yoga. No effect on my hair still.


Week 3: Things changed a bit for me here. I was definitely feeling bored with meals and snacks. I was tired of all the preparation and was relying too much on eggs since they were an easy choice. I was starting to feel bloated and uncomfortable because I had increased my veggies so much. My digestion slowed and I began to get tired. I wanted wine badly. I was tired of not having All The Things. This was definitely the most challenging week for me. I was nearing the end of the program and feeling a bit negative about all the restrictions despite feeling physically great. Mostly, I just felt angry and annoyed. At. Everyone.


Tomorrow I will share a recap of my final week, my thoughts overall, and some tips for a successful Whole30!

Anyone doing the Whole30 right now?