Awwwwww yeah, my third round of Whole30 is a wrap! And the Whole30 results are in…
Something that was super important to me with this Whole30 was providing as much information and inspiration for you guys as possible, so I’m going to do my best to outline everything from my experience in this post! I’ll be pulling a lot from my previous recaps, so you can also check them out if you’d like (initial goals, week one, week two, week three).
biggest takeaways / advice
Timing is key. Let’s be real – doing the Whole30 will kinda sorta take over your life for 30 days. If you’re going to be traveling, have a lot of social events, etc. it’s probably not the best time for you to embark on this. Pick a 30-day period that you can fully devote to doing the Whole30 the best you possibly can.
Start planning at least a week in advance. Doing a Whole30 challenge isn’t something you want to decide the night before. Give yourself ample time to prepare – meal planning, writing out your goals, etc. I also HIGHLY suggest reading the Whole30 book and doing as much research ahead of time as possible so you know exactly what you’re getting into and what you can expect.
Be prepared to be in the kitchen A LOT. Not only is meal prepping essential, but you’re really going to want to make sure that your food actually tastes awesome. If you go into Whole30 thinking you’ll be able to live on grilled chicken and steamed vegetables, you’re setting yourself up for failure. While I think there’s definitely something to be said about keeping your meals simple, you have to make sure to be switching it up with recipes that have different flavor varieties so that you don’t get sick of the food and tempted to go off track.
Seek inspiration and community. This is one of my favorite things about Whole30 – you basically have a built-in support group. There is a HUGE Whole30 community on Instagram, and if you type in Whole30 on Pinterest you’ll find enough recipes and meal inspiration to last you through about 5827459 rounds.
Focus on the non-scale victories. I know a lot of people venture into Whole30 with weight loss on their mind – and that’s totally fine – but for those 30 days I personally found it even more motivating to focus on the other amazing benefits you can experience. Since Whole30 isn’t a “quick fix,” if you go into it expecting to drop 10 pounds the first week you may find yourself disappointed and give up. Try to remember that weight loss is a natural result of your body getting healthier, and it will come with time. The non-scale victories, though, you may experience sooner and realize they’re even more valuable.
Take it one day at a time. This is so so so important. You’re going to have good days and bad days throughout your Whole30, but you have to remember to just keep moving forward. I found this timeline to be very helpful (and pretty darn accurate) because it reminded me that having ups and downs is totally normal.
Own your Whole30. This is from my How To Maintain Your Social Life On Whole30 post (honestly I could add every single one of those tips to this list, but you can just read them there). OWNING this challenge is a mindset shift you have to embrace from the very beginning. Let it become a part of you to the point that giving up isn’t even an option.
Have goals written out somewhere, and read them every single day. I found that having very specific goals for this round was extremely helpful and led to me seeing more Whole30 results. Heck, having your WHYS for any area in life is such a game-changer. Something I didn’t do, though, that I definitely suggest is reading over those goals as much as possible to remind yourself why you embarked on this challenge to begin with.
Be very intentional about planning your transition out of Whole30. I’ve mentioned previously how this was my biggest “failure” from past Whole30s and something I really wanted to do right this time around. In the same way that you plan the crap out of going into your Whole30, you have to be prepared for the transition out of it as well. This is a great guide for how to reintroduce foods back into your diet after your Whole30.
(personal) lessons learned
It’s ok (and better) for me to let myself get hungry. I addressed this in my week two recap, and it’s something I really want to continue practicing after this Whole30. Somewhere along the line I believed the idea that being really hungry is a huge NO and is going to mess up my metabolism, blah blah. But, actually, we have hunger signals for a reason, and they’re not a bad thing! I’ve found that when I wait to eat until I’m truly hungry, I crave whole foods – full of protein and fats – that will actually leave me feeling satisfied. It’s when I’m not truly hungry that I tend to crave sugar/empty carbs out of boredom.
Boundaries can be freeing. For years and years I’ve been a self-proclaimed “eat whatever I want” person. And, to an extent, I am going back to being that person (more on that below). However, this Whole30 has taught me that sometimes boundaries can actually be incredibly freeing. Knowing exactly what I could/couldn’t eat made meal decisions much easier, and I didn’t have to think “ohhh I shouldn’t eat this now” or “will this keep me full until dinner?” With Whole30 everything was already “figured out” for me, and I knew that there wasn’t really anything could eat that would leave me feeling crappy or still hungry, so I could focus on other more important things in my life.
Exercise isn’t a main focus, but it helps. While I definitely think that the food should be the main focus of Whole30, I personally found that adding exercise into my routine helped me stay on track even more. Knowing that I was fueling my body so well helped me have a different outlook on exercise – like it was more of a special “add on” to my health (if that makes sense?). The result was better workouts and just overall feeling like a rockstar.
My lifestyle is not the best fit for Whole30. No excuses here, just an observation 😉 Life here in New York is particularly social, and even with following these tips for maintaining a social life on Whole30, I found that I just don’t have a lifestyle that works in my favor for such a strict challenge.
It feels good to commit to something (and know that I can do it). I’ve found that the older I get, the less I challenge myself. It felt great to know that I could take on a challenge at my own will and actually see it through. It gave me a great boost in confidence + empowerment that trickled into other areas of my life as well.
When I need a future “reset,” 2 weeks is the magic number. While I’m very happy that I did the full 30 days, I learned that if/when I want to do another reset in the health department, 2 weeks will do the trick. I learned the most and really saw/felt the most Whole30 results by the end of week two. So I think that with my particular goals and where I’m at currently (already a quite healthy eater) the full 30 days isn’t always going to be necessary for me.
I don’t feel like I can take over the world as much as I thought I would. Wait, whaaaaaaat? Now is the point where I’m about to get super real with y’all (and more below). I don’t feel all that much super duper different than before. As I just mentioned, by the end of week two is when I felt like I was at the peak of my experience & felt the most Whole30 results. I felt amazing, I learned so many things about my body/hunger cues/etc, but it kind of stopped there.
WITH THAT BEING SAID, I definitely feel awesome! I wouldn’t take back this Whole30 for anything. It was amazing experience and I really learned a lot. All in all, I’d say I experienced about half of my non-scale victories: improved energy, improved digestion/less bloated, and much more mindful with food. Transitioning back into “real life” is still TBD, but I have a feeling I’m going to do well with that this time (yay).
Oh, and I do think I slimmed down a bit! I was hesitant to share my before/after pix, but I’m all about the transparency here. I’m at least vain enough to cover my dopey face 😉 As you can see there’s not a huge difference, but it’s one that I can notice, and my clothes are definitely fitting looser. My self tanner also works more wonders than I thought…
sooo, what now?
Throughout my Whole30 I was pretty convinced that I was going to continue eating mostly Whole30/Paleo style after the 30 days. Now, I’m not entirely so sure. Here are the things I would like to continue:
- Less dairy. I found that I don’t really need it or even like it that much.
- Definitely less sugar and empty carbs. Maybe a 2-3 times a week sort of thing.
- Eat only when I’m truly hungry and being mindful about what I’m eating.
- Incorporate more vegetables, preferably in every meal.
And then here is where I am going to be more flexible and what I’ll be adding back into my diet.
- Legumes back in – I never really had an issue with them.
- Whole grains (gluten-free as much as possible), but not super frequently.
- Eat mostly “clean” when I’m home/cooking for myself, but be more flexible when I’m dining out. I know a lot of people aren’t into the term cheat day/meal, but that mindset actually works for me.
Overall, I’d say the biggest takeaway and difference Whole30 has made for me is that it shifted me into a truly healthier style of eating. A lot of the foods I ate frequently in the past will now be viewed more as treats, but I certainly won’t cut them out completely. While I love feeling my best, living a full life with no restrictions is just as important to me! And I’m going to do my best to continue to show you what that looks like here on Hungry Blonde 🙂
Thanks so everyone who followed along on this journey! Please please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, either by leaving a comment or emailing me! xoxo GG