How many of you love grabbing Starbucks in the morning, popping a mid-morning baked good into your mouth, and crave random sugary things a couple hours after lunch each day? Well, that’s me, in a nutshell. I hate that I love sugar so much – I finally came to the realization that it really controls my mood and influences more decisions than I’d like to admit. Humph. If you were to ask me just a few months ago if I would ever want to give the above-mentioned things up, I would have laughed out loud. Shockingly, I have done just that – given up all those sweet treats – for the past 30 days, and today I’m here to tell you my story.
Last year, my sister, Meg completed a Whole30 program. At the time, I had no idea what it was, and when she told me all the restrictions on what you can eat, I scoffed at her. How in the world can you go 30 days without eating processed food? And only eating 3 meals a day? Like no pizza, baked goods, or Starbucks chai tea lattes? It sounded so hard. She was bound and determined to do it, and I commended her for it. Thirty days came and went, and my sister felt great afterword. Her energy levels increased, she slept better, and she lost almost 15 pounds in 30 days. I was so impressed with her results! She actually got me the book, It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, as a Christmas present.
Fast forward to 10 months later, and I’ve finally decided to give it a go and complete my very own Round 1 of Whole30. My sister and our two cousins are doing it, too, so we have an accountability group chat and private Facebook group to share recipes and daily ramblings. Why did I choose to do the Whole30 now? I’m doing it to help break my nasty sugar addiction. I don’t want to have crazy cravings that turn me into a not-so-nice little monster. I want to control my decisions and not let sugar have any say in what I do.
I’ll be sharing little anecdotes for each of the 30 days to let you see a glimpse of my experience throughout this 30-day reset. Let’s gooo.
Take small steps every day and one day you will get there. unknown
Day 1 (W): Starting the program two days after a long Columbus Day weekend was nerve-wracking. I woke up feeling slightly nervous about this day. Mid-afternoon, I wanted a handful of chocolate chips and cashews soo bad. My brain was missing sugar. I let some of my frustrations out at POUND class tonight, which helped relieve some negative stress and get my mind off of food. I felt hungry in between meals, too.
Day 2 (Th): Holy headache. What an unpleasant surprise to wake up to. I had an hour and a half interview in the Financial District with food trucks lining all the streets that I had to walk past (mouth watering). FML. I ran home, ate, then made myself go to my favorite 45-minute spin class. Spin class helped, but overall, today was hard. Excruciating, really. I still felt hungry quite a bit today.
Day 3 (Fr): I took an early morning BARRE class with an instructor I’ve never had before. She killed us over and over again. After class, I didn’t even have one ounce of energy left and couldn’t concentrate if my life depended on it. In addition, my boyfriend’s good friend from home is in town, and we went out to an Escape the Room (so much fun, AND we made it out with 6 minutes left!) and dinner afterward. A side salad with oil and vinegar was what I ordered aka the most depressing plate in the game. I felt starved after dinner, so I decided to go home and eat while my boyfriend stayed out catching up with his friend.
Day 4 (Sat): My boyfriend texted me at 4:30am, and I was in a light sleep so I woke up and texted him back. He got home at 6am, which is not usual for him to be out that late, BUT he was catching up with a good friend so yeah! I was up from 4:30am to 7am, so I slept in until 11am. Then I got up and was seriously productive – I cooked marinated chicken fajitas, made 8 hard boiled eggs, roasted sweet potatoes in the oven, created homemade mayo for the first time, and also roasted butternut squash cubes that turned out AMAZING all before my boyfriend even got out of bed at 1pm! I had a crazy appetite today, wanting to eat anything and everything in sight.
Day 5 (Sun): I took a 9am spin class, came home and ate a hearty breakfast (an egg scramble, roasted sweet potato with cinnamon and crushed pecans, and roasted brussel sprouts with crunchy prosciutto), and felt pretty normal for the first time in 5 days – I’ll take it.
Day 6 (M): The cravings. Ohh the cravings. Today I wanted to eat every carb I’ve ever known (seriously). Why does it all sound so good?! My nicely cooked chicken fajitas and roasted butternut squash weren’t doing anything for me today. Then I got mad. Like really irritated. WHY does sugar have such a strong hold on me? I want to crave and be excited for the healthy food I meal prepped! I want to feel full of food that’s making me more healthy, but today, I just felt deprived.
Day 7 (T): Okay, yesterday was bad. Like, I don’t want anyone doing Whole30 to feel that irritable ever. My mood has been swinging like it’s the 1960s – all over the place, I tell ya! However, today I felt pretty stable. I didn’t have too many cravings. My breakfast and lunch were satisfying, and I had a hard boiled egg and an apple with almond butter for snacks. I did an hour-long POUND class tonight that helped me release a lot of pent-up energy and made me feel AMAZING afterward. I’m going to have to ride this endorphin train more often.
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.Confucius
Day 8 (W): Today has been pretty good – no over-the-top food cravings. I kept myself busy watching my neighbor’s dachshund, Chico and prepping for my job interview tomorrow. I made Stupideasypaleo’s Chick-fil-a chicken for dinner with roasted asparagus and a sweet potato with cinnamon and crushed pecans. My boyfriend was like, “What is in this?!” It was the most satisfying meal that I’ve had since starting the program! Thanks, Steph for the food inspo! I also really tried to drink much more water than I have been lately, and that helped keep me full throughout the day today. Tonight I went to FUSION class, which is a mix of yoga and pilates. It goes from 8:15-9:15pm and is the perfecttt way to end hump day and get through the evening in a peaceful, reset state of mind. It was much needed.
Day 9 (Th): Last night was the best sleep I’ve gotten since starting Whole30. I slept all throughout the night, no interrupted sleep. I woke up feeling like I had been in hibernation, it was THAT good of sleep. Prioritizing my job interview in the late morning, I threw together a quick and simple breakfast of 1 hard boiled egg, half a sweet potato with cinnamon and crushed pecans, and half a banana with creamy almond butter drizzled on top. I also chugged a bunch of water. This was such an easy and TASTY breakfast, although I do need to incorporate more veggies into breakfasts.
Personal story: I’ve mentioned how I’m not doing the Whole30 program to lose weight, instead, to help break my sugar addiction (and I think it’s slowly but surely working!). I have been living a healthier lifestyle for the past couple of years but have NEVER in my life had a really toned body. Even back in high school as an athlete, I was thicker and had a higher percentage of body fat. Well, today’s small win has 2 parts: first, my boyfriend told me that my face was looking slimmer and my cheekbones are more pronounced, and secondly, when I was getting dressed I noticed some more defined lines on my stomach. Like, maybe, just maybe, an ab trying to say hello?! Omigod. I have never seen an ab on my body in my lifeeee. This was incredibly exciting because my other goal besides breaking my sugar addiction is to tone up my body through group fitness classes and eating well, and I think my body is starting to see some results. EEEEK. ?
Around 4pm all the bursting energy I had escaped me. I felt like I hit a brick wall and had to drag myself to an Ed. Tech career fair in the city (I live right outside of NYC). The event was catered – with mounds of Halloween candy, soda, and heaps of fried Chinese food. #wompwomp I talked with a few companies I was interested in and left (with an empty feeling in my stomach to boot).
Day 10 (Fr): There’s nothing better than started your Friday off with an extreme sweat session. I headed to my group fitness studio for a full hour BARRE class and came home pink in the face and drenched in sweat. If I’m ever going to get rid of inner thigh fat, it’s going to be from BARRE class – holy smokes! Pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse….!Before I worked out, I had two scrambled eggs with spinach with half a sweet potato (cinnamon and crushed pecans on top). Once I got home and showered, I made myself a smoothie with unsweetened almond milk, half a frozen banana, cinnamon, and a dash of cacao powder (all compliant ingredients). The frozen banana really helps with muscle recovery and creates the “smoothie” consistency without adding ice to it (it’s essentially a big ice cube).
Before I worked out, I had two scrambled eggs with spinach with half a sweet potato (with cinnamon, ghee, and crushed pecans on top). Once I got home and showered, I made myself a smoothie with unsweetened almond milk, half a frozen banana, cinnamon, and a dash of cacao powder (all compliant ingredients). The frozen banana really helps with muscle recovery and creates the “smoothie” consistency without adding ice to it (it’s essentially a big ice cube).
Day 11 (Sat): Because I have been working out consistently and not drinking enough water, I’ve been getting soo tired right around mid-afternoon, like clockwork. I have to prioritize drinking more water!! The crazy thing is, when I’m working I drink a ton of water, but being at home and job searching and blogging means a lot of time sitting, and I need to just take more breaks to stand and gulp a couple glasses of water down.
I went to the most intense of the group workout classes today – HIIT (high-intensity interval training). The class lasted one hour and here’s what it consisted of:
6 sets of exercises with 3 different exercises per set (i.e. weighted squats, jumping jacks, and lunges as 1 set). We had to do each exercise for 30 seconds and complete 3 rounds of the set before moving on to the next set of exercises. The push-up set was the most challenging set for me – we had to do normal push-ups, then “walking” push-ups, and we ended the set with dolphin push-ups. Whewww, I’m getting tired again just thinking about it. The great thing is I find myself soo looking forward to these group fitness classes, and I also feel like I’m gaining more and more energy as the days go by from the great food I’m eating during Whole30.
This day turned challenging when my boyfriend and I decided to go to the mall and watch a movie without having dinner beforehand (aka I got hangry and didn’t have anything to eat!!!). We got so engrossed in the movie’s plot, however, that we forgot about our hanger. #lessonlearned
Day 12 (Sun): I started the day with a 45-minute spin class (hit a personal record of 13.2 miles!). I came home and had a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and potato hash browns with a side of coffee and a banana.
I got so wrapped up in blogging today that I forgot to eat lunch – my hunger level was low considering I burned a bunch of calories during the morning’s spin class. Late in the afternoon, I started meal prepping for the week and snacked on some cashews and had the last of leftovers from this past week. My energy and mood have been very good today! My concentration level has been the best yet.
Day 13 (M): Today has been a good day – I got great sleep last night, ate a hearty breakfast, worked so hard to finish and publish my ultimate holiday gift-giving guide on my blog (I’m one of those people that shop early for the holidays!), and it’s rest day so I’ve been able to relax and let me body recover. Midday, Cesar made us a nice little snack that I have to share. He warmed up some coconut oil in a skillet, then seasoned whole almonds and cashews with a spicy mixture of seasonings, and sauteed the nuts in the coconut oil for a few minutes. The process only took a few minutes, and wow! Those spicy nuts got me like WHOA. It was such a tasty snack, I highly recommend you try it for yourselves. We had a cooking date tonight and made chicken fajitas with homemade avocado dressing from Stupideasypaleo. I can’t recommend her recipes enough! Cesar is going out of town tomorrow for 3 days for work, so it’s going to be all me, all day killin’ the Whole30 game.
Day 14 (T): WATER. Today my personal goal is to drink at least 8 glasses of water. I used to be so good at drinking water, but I have been slacking during the Whole30. Something I do feel good about is all the prepped food in my fridge – I definitely won’t be going hungry while the boyfriend is out of town! Right now, I’m anxiously waiting to hear back from a non-profit organization that I interviewed with a couple weeks ago. I know they’re checking my references, which is a good thing! I have great references (thank you guys!), and so I sit, and I wait. Ahhh…I am impatient. So I continue to apply for jobs, blog, work out, and eat well. This is my life – a simple one. I went to POUND class tonight and was unusually off balance. I think I sat too long today. My favorite song that we do is Nirvana’s Teen Spirit – the pound rip stick cadence during the chorus is very aggressive, and I love beating the floor as hard as I can during that song. #stressreliever
You need to be content with small steps. That’s all life is. Small steps that you take every day so when you look back down the road it all adds up and you now you covered some distance.Katie Kacvinsky
Day 15 (W): I can’t believe it’s Day 15 of Whole30! This is so exciting. Last night I listened to this guided meditation while laying in bed. It definitely helped put me at ease and in a relaxed state of mind before falling asleep. My boyfriend, Cesar is in Michigan until Friday for work, and apparently, he had a really fun night out with his colleagues because he decided to call me 2 times around 4am. Needless to say, it was an interrupted night’s sleep (although I do appreciate that he likes to call me when he’s out of town ? ). Other than that, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to kick butt today!
For breakfast, I had a sweet potato and 2 hard boiled eggs. During lunch, I ate a jalapeno and zucchini noodle-infused turkey burger with roasted carrots, broccoli, and spiralized sweet potatoes. I’ve had 4 glasses of water so far (yay!) and am about to drink some raspberry & blueberry infused water. My head feels so clear today. Towards the end of the day, I got an official job offer for the education role I want, which was so very exciting, however, the compensation was not what I was expecting, which stressed me out. I’m going to have to negotiate the base salary, and I’m nervous. I want the role (it sounds perfect for me), but I also know my self-worth and hope they’ll compromise. Going to FUSION class really helped calm my nerves.
Day 16 (Th): I haven’t had much of an appetite today – probably due to the job offer and negotiating that I’ve been doing. However, I have drunk a TON of water, which I am very proud of myself for because this entire time I’ve been doing Whole30, I’ve been slacking in the water drinking department. So this is a big accomplishment for me.
On a side note, boy, do I have a story for ya’ll! Tonight I went to spin class around 8pm. When I got home around 9pm, I remembered that I need to take out the recycling so I went around the back of the house to get it and ran into my two neighbors (we live in a single family home that has been made into 4 apartments). They immediately told me that the first floor reeked of gas and asked me if I smelled it. Well, when I left for spin class I didn’t smell anything, but I hadn’t been home in an hour. So I put the recycling on the curb and walked into the house and was immediately taken aback by the strong smell of gas. I had cooked sweet potatoes and made hard boiled eggs right before leaving my apartment, so I went upstairs to ensure the oven and stovetop were turned off. Then everyone from all 4 apartments came out into the hallway and decided to call PSEG. My neighbor flipped the switch off for the heater (the boiler is in the basement), and everyone went into their apartments and opened their windows (it was about 40 degrees and pouring rain outside, mind you).
Within 10 minutes, PSEG came and a man went down into the basement. After a few minutes, he came back up and said that the boiler was immersed in flames and was emitting carbon monoxide! He turned off the heat and isolated the boiler – he made it so we can still have hot water but no heat. He also said that what we were smelling wasn’t gas but carbon monoxide, which I was confused about because I always that carbon monoxide was the silent killer? Like no warnings? The worker said that there wasn’t anything else he could do – that the landlord has to call a plumber and get the boiler and chimney looked at. He said that it was safe for now and not to worry, but we won’t have heat again until it’s fixed. Everyone was so shocked about what happened and how carbon monoxide was being leaked into the air. One disturbing factor was that the carbon monoxide detector in the hallway hadn’t gone off, so that has to get fixed pronto. Super paranoid, I slept on the couch near an open window, froze my booty off, and woke up Friday morning alive! #thankyoubabyjesus
Day 17 (Fr): What a stressssssful day. I have had no appetite due to all the things going on (job offer negotiations, boiler being on fire, and having to communicate with my landlord about how we need everything fixed ASAP while he is currently in China and his handyman is on vacation in Florida). I went to BARRE class this morning and was thankful to get out of the apartment and warmed up through exercise.
My apartment is currently freezing so I’m curled up in two blankets with my space heater running. Humphh. Cesar gets home tonight from his work conference, and I will be so glad when he is home. Dealing with all of these stressful situations by myself has been much harder without him. He’s been so busy with work that we’ve hardly had a chance to talk, and so I’ve been calling my mom for all the advice (thanks, momma!). A plumber is coming at 4:30pm to work on the boiler, so I’m hopeful that we will have some heat by tonight.
Day 18 (Sat): Still no heat! I didn’t sleep so well because of it, too. This darn boiler needs to get fixed – the troubles of having your landlord in China when something major happens (eye roll). I’m so glad Cesar is home now and can help me deal with this fiasco. Our landlord is a bit of a …. let’s just say that I do not enjoy talking with him. Anyway, we had ourselves a nice breakfast (hardboiled eggs and a sweet potato) and lunch (minestrone soup that was frozen from a previous batch I made), then we took off to go thrift shopping so I could find some new WORK CLOTHES FOR MY NEW JOB! I officially accepted the job offer yesterday at about 5:15pm. I am beyond excited and my mood has been so happy ever since (regardless of having no heat STILL).
Anyway, I went to Goodwill in Springfield, NJ – about a 30-minute drive from Weehawken, and I felt like I hit a gold mine. Altogether, I got 12 new pieces (a J Crew dress, Ann Taylor Loft dress, Zara straight leg work pants, Gap dark wash straight leg jeans, a black and white Gap sweater, a Chico’s 3/4 sleeve red and white embroidered blouse, a Bloomie’s pajama dress t-shirt, and more). I was in the store for about an hour and a half. Afterward, Cesar took me to get a pedicure at a nail salon nearby in Cranford, and GUYS, I kid you not, this was the BEST pedicure that I have had in my life. period. end of story. I ordered the “jelly pedicure,” and the lady put salts into the tub. When she placed my feet in the tub, it felt like I was stepping into warm goo – I don’t know how else to put in into words, but it was such a cool, soothing feeling. She rubbed my legs for 10 minutes (while I was sitting in the massage chair getting my back kneaded). She was so thorough, painted my nails perfectly, and then she gave me a backrub while my toes were drying. AMAZING service.
After all that time had passed, however, I suddenly became STARVING. While there were plenty of restaurants around the salon, none of them had compliant food. NONE of them. It blows my mind how hard it is to find compliant food when you’re out of the house. I haven’t been having any cravings for a while now, but when I was out and starving, of course, I am going to want to eat something that’s not compliant – I felt like I was starving. It was my mistake for not packing any nuts or fruit. #lessonlearned So a little hangry, Cesar and I trekked back to Weehawken (a 45-minute drive) and had more leftover minestrone soup for dinner. I was so soo proud of myself for saying, “Let’s get out of here and eat at home!”
Day 19 (Sun): Thank goodness the weather this weekend has been in the mid-60’s because this girl still doesn’t have heat in her apartment. I feel like this has to be illegal on my landlord’s end?? Going to look into the landlord laws in New Jersey…I slept pretty well from such a busy day yesterday, and Cesar got up early to go to paintball practice, so I decided to get my to-do list on and be productive as could be. I made a grocery list, cleaned the kitchen (wiped down the counters, stove, sink, unloaded the dishwasher), calculated how much I used my unlimited monthly pass at my group fitness studio (I went 21 times in 30 days), walked to the store, and then I relaxed a little. Calling my family, friends, and references to tell them about my new job (I start next Monday, Nov. 7th!) made me feel amazing. I have the greatest support system. I ended up being on the phone for a couple hours and then Facetimed my sister to discuss Whole30 meals for the week. She is having a bad moment with sweet potatoes – and I can’t fathom it. I could eat a sweet potato at every. single. meal – not kidding. I was teasing her about it, but to each their own.
Soon after, I started cooking, and man, oh man! I cooked up a storm. Total cook time = 4.5 hours!
What I made: 10 hard boiled eggs, 7 roasted sweet potatoes, Stupideasypaleo’s Chick-fil-a chicken, sauteed prosciutto, a bunch of roasted asparagus, beanless chili, and egg muffins. Whoaa, I’m getting winded just thinking about it. But guess what? We are ALL SET for this week’s meal, and it is the absolute best feeling. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail, ya’ll!
Day 20 (M): I have been over-the-moon excited and happy since I accepted my job offer. My sleep has been pretty deep, and I have been waking up feeling refreshed, which really sets me up for a good day. Because of my 4-hour cooking and meal prepping session yesterday, we are fully prepared for the week with our meals. Cesar and I enjoyed egg muffins with bell peppers, onion, spinach, and prosciutto along with a half of a sweet potato with cinnamon and crushed pecans, AND a sauteed balsamic brussel sprout, potato, and prosciutto hash for breakfast – simply mouth-watering!! We enjoyed Stupideasypaleo’s Chick-fil-a chicken, roasted asparagus, and a pear for lunch, and for dinner, we had beanless turkey chili. Needless to say, I am one full and happy girl.
Day 21 (T): I’ve been sleeping well and been in high spirits for the past few days, and it has felt GREAT. I’ve mentioned this before, but my focus and stamina to push through and get things done have really improved throughout the Whole30. Even with the stress of not having heat for 5 days and negotiating my job offer, overall I’ve been able to remain committed to my clean eating, and I’m very proud of myself for that. One chilly night last week I thought to myself, “Hmm, how could I warm myself up?” and one thought that popped into my mind was wine. A bottle of wine would do it! Then I laughed at myself, curled up with an extra blanket, and directed my little space heater directly towards me, and went on with watching the Amanda Knox documentary sans vino.
Let’s talk about no scale victories (NSV). One NSV that I realized yesterday was definition. This girl has gained some muscle definition. In the past month, I have gone to 21 group fitness classes (a mix of barre, hiit, spin, pound, and fusion classes). The Whole30 has never been a strategy for losing weight for me; it was always about eliminating my dependence on sugar (#sugaraddict). Typically, I am a carb eater – I love tacos, pita with hummus, and peanut butter toast with sliced bananas are a few of my favorites. You realize, though, that SUGAR IS A CARB, right?! When this round of Whole30 is said and done, I want to continue to restrict the carbs that I eat and turn to a more paleo diet where I can make SWYPO varieties of my favorite carb-dense meals (I’m thinking pizza and tacos made with almond and coconut flour).
All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.Walt Disney
Day 22 (W): One aspect of my Whole30 challenge that I think I have forgotten to share with ya’ll up until now is that I have a support group doing this with me. My sister, Meg, and two cousins, Kaila and Lauren are all doing it together. Now, we do not live near each other (I live right across from NYC on the Jersey side, my sister lives in Illinois, and both of my cousins live in Michigan). So how are we supporting each other? Daily communication! We have a group text message. Each day, someone will start the text strand with a photo of their breakfast/lunch. We share our compliant finds from the grocery store/bought online (my cousins and sister have found Tessamae’s dressings at their local grocery stores – I have NOT but ordered 4 of them through Tessamae’s website). BTW, in my personal opinion, the ranch was absolutely nasty, but I love, love, love the balsamic and bbq sauces. My cousins tell me that I have to try the creamy ranch, but I simply can’t imagine anything being up to par with ranch ranch!
Another support group that I am a part of is a private Whole30 group within the Skimm’bassadors group on Facebook. Totally unrelated to Whole30, BUT – If you feel helpless and depressed when you watch the news, I highly suggest subscribing to theSkimm and receiving a daily news newsletter that delivers the previous day’s top stories in a fresh, witty manner. It arrives in your inbox at 6am, and I enjoy reading it before I eat my breakfast. You can subscribe to theSkimm here. You become a Skimm’bassador once you get 10 people to sign up for theSkimm through your referral link. I’ve started to read the Skimm feed before I even glance at my own FB feed – there’s over 8,000 Skimmer’s in this group and offer so.much.good.advice!
I’m going to the Need to Breathe and Mat Kearney concert tonight in the city and have to make sure I eat a big meal before I go (I’m bringing cashews and a Lara bar as my emergency snack).
Day 23 (Th): I am SO proud of myself for how I handled last night’s concert. Not only was the concert AMAZING, but I was totally cool as a cucumber sitting around people eating a ton of junk food and gulping down beer after beer after beer. Trust me, I made sure to be nice and full of good food before I left my apartment. Throughout the concert, I had 2 water bottles worth of water and ate an apple pie flavored Lara bar as a snack. The concert lasted from 7-11pm, and I left there feeling so accomplished. My girlfriend that tagged along with me (Cesar is currently sick as a dog) gave me the sweetest compliment about how strong and determined I am and how she hasn’t not had any alcohol for longer than a few days since she’s turned 21 (girl, I feel you. Ready for a glass of vino…stat).
Today I’m running low of food, so I am thawing some chicken and ground beef to cook later. Everything feels good today (even though I’m totally PMS-ing), and I’m just so happy right now, I don’t know what else to say.
Day 24 (Fr): I didn’t end up cooking last night because I was filling out a stack of new hire paperwork for hours – literally HOURS. I had to call my mom (who works in HR) to ask a few questions because I got confused (EVERY time I have to fill out new hire paperwork this happens – why does it have to be so difficult?!). Because I stayed up so late, I snoozed my alarm this morning and had to scramble to get up and out the door for my morning BARRE class. This was my last Friday morning BARRE class because I’m starting my new job on Monday and won’t be able to go to the morning class anymore. My BARRE instructor is 6 months pregnant and a total beast. She does a lot of the workout with us and just pushes us to 10+ max effort. I always leave that class feeling like a new woman!
Once class was finished, I then spent an hour and a half at the grocery store. I literally had 5 items on my grocery list, and I moseyed up and down every aisle (and ended up spending $70 to boot). I got some ground lamb that I’m excited to make some jalapeno-infused burgers with.
By the time I got home, it was close to noon, and I had only eaten a banana before BARRE because I woke up so late, so by noon I felt famished. My appetite is always ramped up after working out in the mornings, which I typically do Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (I won’t be able to go to my group fitness class on Fridays anymore, though, because of my work schedule). I have to say, pairing the Whole30 with my unlimited monthly group fitness pass was the best decision I could have ever made. It has shown me just how powerful clean eating and consistency in being active are. I am soo much happier. Like, on a scale of 1-10, I’m like a 15. For the past 3 weeks, I haven’t had one negative self-talk comment in my mind about food (because I’ve been eating food that is making my body healthier!). Although eating sweets is one of my favorite past times, do you know how quickly the regret and guilt comes? Typically before I even swallow it. This is something I have struggled with my whole life, and I’ve realized – in a big way – how NOT worth it those sweets are. I typically hate impulse purchases and instantly regret them, so I think I’ll just categorize sweet treats in that category now and choose to walk away from them.
One big goal I have for this weekend is to go to bed between 10-11pm and to wake up at 6:30am to get my body back into a normal sleep schedule and routine. I know next week (the last week of Whole30!) is going to be a huge test with having to have a really set schedule, commuting, working, and making sure I’m fully prepared with my meals (EEEK).
Day 25 (Sat): Man, I’m really starting to feel the difference in how my clothes are fitting! I got my online order from thredUP today (I ordered some clothes for my new job!), and this might sound ironic, but I was a little sad that most of the clothes I ordered were too big (a shame, I know) and I’m going to have to return most of them. I’m in this transition right now and haven’t pinned down my new sizes – a good problem to have, no doubt, but still annoying.
Today I meal prepped a new recipe from Inspiralize Everything – the spiralized red potatoes with bbq sauce (Tessamae’s brand). Then, I sauteed 3 sweet potatoes with EVOO, Flavor God’s Everything seasoning, and some chili powder. I also made 10 more hard boiled eggs and a handful of roasted sweet potatoes. Tomorrow I plan on making egg muffins, roasted asparagus, Chick-fil-a style chicken, beef stew, and jalapeno and zucchini noodle-infused ground lamb burgers. Tomorrow is my last day before I start my new job!! I am going to spin class early in the morning, meal prepping, and maybe getting my nails done.
I’m a little nervous about my new colleagues wanting to take me out to lunch on Monday or offering me goodies while I’m at work, but I’m going to pack a solid lunch and bring cashews and a hard-boiled egg as a snack
Day 26 (Sun): Today was daylight savings, and everyone got an extra hour of sleep. I woke up at 6am feeling really well rested. It’s also my last day before I start my new job! I made sure to take advantage of the extra time this morning by getting up, eating breakfast, and going to my 45-minute spin class. Everyone was in a great mood (and thankful for the extra hour!). Today is the NYC Marathon, and the spin instructor really used that to motivate us throughout the 45 minutes. I ended up doing 16 miles in 52 minutes (I jumped on the bike a little early) – this was a personal record for me, and I felt so proud at the end of the sweat sesh.
I’ve said this before, but living this lifestyle for the past 25 days has really shown me how I can thrive by making very simple, conscious choices about what I eat and prioritizing being active (45 minutes to an hour 5 days a week). I’m getting ready to pack my lunch for tomorrow and am so excited to see how tomorrow goes.
Day 27 (M): My nerves have been so high the past few days preparing for my new job. Well, today was the day! I went to my new workplace and had a whirlwind of a day – meeting everyone, back to back meetings, and fitting in lunch in between. There’s a good kitchen area (really, really important! especially in NYC), so I was very relieved to find that out. Of course, I brought my lunch and enjoyed chick-fil-a chicken, roasted asparagus, and spiralized sweet potatoes. I also had a hard boiled egg and an apple as a snack. Due to my nerves, I hardly slept last night, but hopefully tonight I’ll get some much-needed rest.
Day 28 (T): Today is a big day – it’s election day! I woke up early (I did get good sleep last night!), got ready, and went to my election ward around 7:30am. Luckily, there was NO line, and I was in and out in less than 5 minutes. My stomach is kind of in knots today, too, because it’s such an important election for our country. Unsurprisingly, my appetite is low today – too much pressure over here. I just hope that I can go to sleep tonight in peace.
Day 29 (W): Holy shit. I have no words. If there was any day to emotionally eat during Whole30, today’s the day. I have been an emotional wreck ever since learning the election results. Because I am an emotional eater, I want to eat all the bad things I can get my hands on – pizza, ice cream, cookies – everythinggg. However, today I decided that I will not give away my power and self-control today. No, I will stay in control. I may have emotionally eaten cashews and chunks of pineapple, but I did not go by myself Starbucks and chocolate. Nope, pineapple and cashews were my good “comfort” food today, and I’m okay with that.
Day 30 (Th): What a journey it’s been. 30 days!
For my last day of Whole30, I knew that I had to work late (and there would be pizza around me) so I made sure to have plenty of food on hand at work. I literally ate vegetable soup while my colleagues and students ate pizza and chips – and you know what? I was fine. I was more than fine – I was PROUD that I was mentally strong and didn’t think twice about the temptation.
I got home around 9pm and was like, “Wow, I only have 3 hours of Whole30 left!” and it felt good to say that out loud. I was more than excited to check out my post-Whole30 measurements in the morning. I could tell that my body has gone through some changes – for the better.
I thought it would be interesting to see the difference 30 days of clean eating can have on your body, so I took pre and post body measurements.
1 inch below belly button
1 inch above knee
While losing a few pounds and shedding a few inches on my hips feels exciting and rewarding, honestly I am most excited about the change in body composition that my body has undergone this past month. I now have muscle definition in places I’ve never seen before – hello triceps and baby (like baby, baby) abs. I wanted to show how everyone can benefit by doing this 30-day reset – no matter your health and fitness goals.
My Biggest Takeaways:
What did I learn throughout this past month of squeaky clean eating? In short, a lot.
Sugar Addiction is Real
My expectations going into Round 1 of Whole30 were that by doing Whole30, I would help myself break this relentless sugar addiction. Like I’ve mentioned before, I hate turning into a crazy sugar monster. The first week of Whole30 felt like an entire month because my body was literally aching for sugar. Surprisingly, after the first week passed I stopped craving sweets (I was craving pizza, though, a lot!). I’m scared to even have any sweets because I don’t want to relapse back into who I used to be. To help me get a good chocolate fix, I bought some organic cacao powder to put into my quick workout shakes that consist of cashew milk and a frozen banana, and it’s really tasty without the guilt of say, a chocolate bar.
If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail
If you’re not used to “meal prepping,” you gotta get ready! The Whole30 is ALL about being prepared for every meal, every day. You also need some “emergency snacks” on hand in case you get desperate while out and about. Funny story: my boyfriend was going to do Whole30 with me, and on Day 2, his friend from Arizona came into town. They met up at a restaurant that had absolutely nothing compliant, and his Whole30 journey ended there that night #cryinglaughingemoji
How I planned: I wrote a list and grocery shopped on Saturday morning, meal prepped on Sunday for Monday-Wednesday, and meal prepped again on Wednesday night for Thursday-Sunday.
Eating Clean Isn’t So Hard
So many people that heard about me doing Whole30 commented on how “restrictive” the meal plan is and how hard it sounds. Although It can be incredibly hard to find a compliant option while eating out, I tried my best to eat a filling meal before I left to go anywhere, brought nuts or a fruit as a snack, and generally found it pretty easy to follow the right course.
Work, Work, Work, Work, Work Out
Pairing Whole30 with a monthly unlimited pass to my new group fitness studio was by far the best decision I made for my first round of Whole30. It’s like compound interest – you just grow and grow and grow in so many physical and mental ways. I went 4-5 days a week (I tried to go every Saturday and Sunday and then at least 2 weeknights). It became the one thing I most looked forward to each and every day. Find some kind of physical activity that motivates you and that you can commit to doing, and go for it!
A Support System Makes a Huge Difference
Although my boyfriend technically lasted 1.5 days on Whole30, I did have another support system – my sister and 2 cousins all did the Whole30 together. We created a group chat and shared our meal prep photos, funny cravings, stories, funny moments on Snapchat, and cheered each other on for our small victories throughout the month. I also joined a Whole30 Facebook group where people share great recipes, ask questions, and share no scale victories with one another. We’re all in this together, friends! Like minded individuals rooting for each other and working towards the same goal can overcome and accomplish amazing things.
Say Goodbye to Guilty Eating
This is my favorite takeaway. Say goodbye to the days of feeling guilty and full of remorse while still chewing bits of that candy bar or any other kind of sweet treat, and say hello to feeling actually full by eating food that is nourishing your body to work and perform all the amazing things that it does every. single. day. As someone who has dealt with negative self-talk most of her adolescent and adult life, this past month has been literally life-changing in the fact that I have shown more self-confidence and pride in myself than any other time in my life. It feels good. Like really, really good. Now that I know what that feeling feels like, I don’t want to give it up.
And there you have it, folks! 30 days! I’m still so happy about my experience. I completed my first round of the Whole30 program, and I feel GREAT! I know it seems intimidating at first, but your body will thank you for the reset, I promise!! I know that you can do it. If you’re curious about anything or have specific questions, I’d love to answer them – just leave your questions in the comments below.