Today’s post is just a small departure (ok huge) from statement earrings and self tanner, but weirdly it’s also SO highly requested I couldn’t imagine ignoring this subject.
For the last 29 days, my husband and I have been dutifully climbing the “Whole 30” mountain. If you have never heard of Whole 30, in a peanut-free nutshell (he he) it is a “lifestyle reset” as the official website and founder suggests. (Read more about Whole 30 from the creator here)
Most importantly, it’s designed to strip all the foods out of your daily life that may cause increased stress, irritability, mood swings, swelling/bloat, and general feelings of blah. Oh and of course to rid your body of those NASTY sugar cravings.
But that’s what the website said. Why did my ice cream loving husband and I do it? Because things in our world had gotten OUT. OF. CONTROL.
To backtrack a little, we’ve always loved eating out. It’s been one of our “things” since we started dating long distance. I’d drive up, we’d go to dinner. He’d come down, first stop: dinner! Road trips? Snacks! Long day of errands? Let’s start with bagels and end with a 3 course dinner with lots of snacks in between and ice cream for dessert.
I’m going to break down our experiences with Whole 30 throughout this 3 part series, because we had much different eating habits before this, had a different experience during, and a different opinion of it looking back.
SPOILER ALERT: We both plan on continuing a modified version of Whole 30 forever. Like, forever ever. Hear me out…
Blair’s story – Pre Whole 30
I have been on Weight Watchers since February 2015 and have successfully lost about 65 lbs. I re-gained about 8 pounds over the holidays which stayed on until April.
I LOVE Weight Watchers. It’s an amazing tool to lose weight, and I still used the app to track (loosely) what I was eating on Whole 30, because it’s easy to overeat things like nuts and dried fruits, and that helped keep me in check.
But there are some flaws in the WW system, too. Like “real food” (ie Larabars, which are essentially dried fruit and nuts. Or Rx Bars, which are even more chock full of healthy stuff) are 8-9 points. Each. A Quest bar that has NOTHING recognizable in it? 4 points! It’s unfortunate but sometimes lower “point values” don’t translate into good for you food. Healthy fats are not taken into consideration much, either.
I ate pretty well during the workweek, but on weekends I went CRAZY. Bottomless mimosas, brunch, lunch, snacks. I hate to put it this way, but it was almost a CHORE to eat. I would grocery shop weekly and during the week I’d make home cooked dinners (unless I decided Uber Eats sounded more appealing, which started happening more and more), but I wouldn’t even purchase groceries for weekends. It was just assumed we’d eat out. For everything!
I did some research on Whole 30 and just decided to do it. I made the decision Friday, told my husband (who was surprisingly on board), made a grocery list, and started the next Monday. Before you wonder, yes that weekend we acted like we were on death row and had 3 days worth of “final meals” to eat through.
I was excited but pretty sure I was going to hate every moment. But for me this was necessity: I was feeling fat, sluggish, slow, sleepy, and unmotivated. Which, if you know me, is NOT me. I knew my food choices were the cause and I was inspired to make a change, no matter how strict.
Paul’s Story – Pre Whole 30
When Blair first told me that we would be embarking on this journey, it was a Friday and we were headed to a swanky restaurant not too far away from our place for lunch. Life was good. I agreed, we talked about it and I didn’t give much thought to what I was agreeing to restrict for 30 days. Later that night, we were headed to a Rays game and I began to ask questions. The chicken & waffle cone and beer I ordered and was enjoying at the ballpark were all on the “forget it exists for 30 days list”. Initially, it scared me, but I thought about it and put it all in perspective. I’m going to better myself and feel good in the end. That is always worth getting over some initial uncomfortableness. It was only 30 days. I would look and feel better. I love challenges. Let’s do this.
A little background on me: I’m naturally built small—an average man—but I’d consider myself a definite foodie. A lot of friends and co-workers come to me when they need a good restaurant rec or want to know what I ordered at a specific place. Lately, I had begun to barely read food labels and disregard portion control. Couple that with the desire to order an appetizer, entree, dessert with a couple of drinks and I was clearly a walking zombie when it came to my health. That’s not to say I didn’t care, but that I wasn’t making the smartest decisions. I started to feel like my waist was getting bigger and I no longer had the confidence I once had. This was the perfect challenge to pull the reins in.
If you are thinking of starting a Whole 30 journey, may I recommend Pinteresting the HECK out of Whole 30 recipes!? There are TONS!
A major mistake I made the first week was sticking to what we would lovingly refer to as “boring basic” foods. Chicken, veggies, repeat. I was so afraid of reading labels or putting any actual WORK into it the first week.
But then I got bored to death and couldn’t dare eat another carrot and finally realized there was a treasure trove of Whole 30 recipes. And also that just because I was on this “restrictive” program didn’t mean I couldn’t eat TASTY things like avocados or nuts. Or eggs. You’ll live on them some days…just trust me.
Which leads me to the last part of this post: the FOOD! Below are some meals happy inhaled during the last 29 days, MOST of which I will continue to eat happily well after tomorrow. Well, maybe I’ll skip all the raw carrots. [Apologies for the quality of said food pics, needless to say food photographers we are NOT.]
Want even MORE Whole 30 deliciousness? Check out my Pinterest board allll about Whole 30. I’ve linked it HERE
In my next post, we will detail how the first 2 weeks of Whole 30 were for a couple who list “eating out” as a favorite pastime. Another spoiler alert: it wasn’t all sunshine & asparagus, that’s for sure.