I’ve always been an emotional eater. From as young as I can remember food has been either been a “treat” or “healthy”. I’m one of those people who goes out for dinner and drinks when I have a great day, or sits on the couch with a bag of crisps and bar of chocolate when I’m having a rubbish day. Because of my emotional attachment to food I always try to live by the 80/20 rule. However sometimes that 20% becomes more like 30% or even 40% – which isn’t healthy!
I saw someone on Instagram talking about the Whole 30 Program and as a lover of fitness and health I did a little research into it. It turns out that Whole 30 is a strict Paleo style eating program that lasts for 30 days. Whole 30 is designed to reset your body back to it’s healthy functional way. I decided to download the book and read up on the benefits of Whole 30. There was a whole chapter about emotional eating and the endless cycle that your body gets tricked into as a result and it described my eating habits perfectly. As a result I decided that I would start Whole 30 as soon as possible.
I am now on Day 12 and there have been some ups and downs along the way, but some fantastic result – which I’ll expand on below.
The rules to Whole 30 are very simple – EAT REAL FOOD! Eat meat, seafood, bundles of vegetables, a little fruit and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds!
So what are you not allowed to eat? No sugar. No alcohol. No grains. No legumes. No dairy. And do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods or treats with “approved” ingredients.
I started Whole 30 on a Tuesday and as I work in an office I find choosing healthy options for my breakfast and lunch quite easy. For the first office week on Whole 30 I took fruit for breakfast, then made a big salad of spinach, peppers, carrots, cucumber, chia seeds and guacamole. I chopped up all the veg for the week and kept it in a Tupperware at home so in the morning I just throw all the different ingredients together to make my salad.
Dinners are always the struggle, but I planned my meals and made sure I had all the ingredients in the house so I couldn’t be tempted by other options in the supermarket. I had Potato Hash with Chicken, Chicken Stirfry, Fajita Chicken wrapped in lettuce and Garlic Chicken with tomatoes and mash. Thankfully Whole 30 does allow potatoes as long as you don’t eat them in chip form or eat them for every single meal.
Days 1 and 2 passed fine. Day 3 my cravings started – I kept thinking about pizza, crisps, chocolate – so distracted myself by making healthy fajitas as Mexican is one of my favourite cuisines. Day 4 I started to feel very tried and week – I read up on it and apparently it’s a usual side effect to Whole 30 as your body is switching from burning sugar as fuel to using fat.
My first big test came on Days 5 & 6 as it was the weekend, and at the weekend I always indulge in a little treat. Saturday was Valentine’s Day so on Friday night I headed to Marks and Spencer’s to pick up the Valentine’s Meal Deal and realised that most of the options had sugar or cream in them. So chose meals for my boyfriend while I ate the less interesting chicken with veg. On Sunday Matt and I headed into Manchester for lunch – I did a little prior research and we chose to dine at Gourmet Burger Kitchen as I could eat a bunless burger. I chose a pork & chorizo patty topped with spicy salsa and avocado with a side salad with a side of sweet potato fries – I was pretty proud that I managed to eat my first meal out while still staying Whole 30 compliant.
I am constantly reading blogs and searching the Whole 30 hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to discover others on the same plan as I am so I can find tips, recipes and inspiration. While searching and re-reading the book I realised I was probably eating too much fruit so swapped fruit for hard boiled eggs for breakfast but stuck with the same salad for days 7-10.
My mind started to play lots of tricks with me on days 7-10 – this was where my major highs and lows started to kick in. I was having a lot of cravings, and at times a big mental battle with myself to stay on the plan and not just head to the shop and binge eat crisps. This is the cleanest I’ve ever eaten for the longest amount of time so my brain clearly has no idea what’s going on! However, as you can see from my meals I stayed on track and I couldn’t be happier! I started to gain some more energy, enough to be able to workout this week – which has helped my mood!
Whole 30 state that you shouldn’t weigh yourself during the programme as it’s not solely about weight loss however for research and review purposes I have….
In 10 days following the Whole 30 plan I have lost 9 pounds!
I was very shocked! As that is a huge loss in such a small amount of time, but I haven’t starved myself – I eat big portions and am rarely hungry – only just before my next meal which is healthy. I’ve clearly just shocked my system a little by eating very clean, and giving up the food which I’ve tested intolerant to has definitely done my body some good! I expect the weightloss to slow down from now, however it’s not unheard of for people to loose 30 pounds on whole 30.
My current none scale wins are that I’m less tired in the mornings, my skin is clearing up, I feel “clean” if that’s such a thing, I can fit into dresses that didn’t fit me 10 days ago, but most importantly I feel better about myself!
I have 18 more days to go and a few challenges to overcome such as meals out, trips homes etc. But I feel more confident that I will stick to the plan with each day that goes by. I’m enjoying searching for and trying new recipes and am even toying with the idea of trying Whole 45, or even Whole 60!