What I learned from my Whole 30

DoneThis is actually the 2nd Whole 30 I have finished (and third attempt) and I think I learned more from this one than any other. Part of the reason is because I blogged about it every day. Of course you don’t have to put it on the Internet, but a lot can happen over the course of 30 days and writing it down is critical to the analysis afterwards. I plan to do another Whole 30 next year because I believe that each time is a little different, providing new insights, but for now…here are a few of my take-aways.

1) Steady energy Before I began the Whole 30, I was finding myself tired in the afternoon. That is no longer the case. I am energized all day long.

2) Sleep Daytime energy was great and at night, I would completely crash. For the most part, I slept deeply, rarely waking up in the night at all. I discovered that I do just fine with 7-7.5 hours of sleep, often waking up in the morning without an alarm clock. I would like to sleep another hour, but my body seems happy like this.

3) Mood I naturally have a pretty steady mood, but even that was improved during the Whole 30. That’s not to say I was suddenly all bubbles and cheer every day; it was actually just a more steady feeling. It seemed like nothing much could derail me, and there were a few things that tried. Even when my hormones shifted, I felt almost like I was watching it happen and I was able to adjust and accommodate the change.

4) No more congestion For most of my life, I have carried nasal spray with me. Okay…I still carry it because I can’t stand the feeling of a stuffy nose, but after about Day 15, I no longer needed it. I remember having this same realization when I did my first Whole 30 last year. I am not sure what I’m allergic to, but I might find that out with a more deliberate reintroduction process. Whatever it is that stuffs up my nose, it’s not paleo.

5) Digestive break If for no other reason, I think it was good for my body not to have all the carbs coursing through it. I know that my belief regarding grains and legumes differs from much of society’s views, but in any case, my body loved not having to digest all those things. I can’t see inside me so I don’t know if I have what is called leaky gut or not, which can lead to inflammation throughout the body, but I do know that I gave my body 30 days to do some healing and I am glad of that.

6) Increased body image This is perhaps one of the most surprising and lovely outcomes I got from the Whole 30. I still have some weight that I would like to lose and I would like to be generally leaner. However, during my Whole 30 I felt my attitude towards my body change. Yes, I lost a few pounds and that helps, but it was definitely more than that. I’m not in a new pants size or anything, but I feel so much better about my body. It is strong, it’s working hard to be healthy, and I developed a new respect for it for those very qualities. Not because the scale showed a different number. In fact, I never once got on the scale during the whole month. I think my body image improved as I continued to treat myself better, giving it the right fuel and energy and not judging it for being more hungry or less hungry. Eating this way felt like an act of self-care and my mental state improved because of that.

7) I eat a lot And that’s okay. I tried to listen to my body and understand what its needs were. Some days I was hungrier than others and I let that be okay. I am guessing that if I continue to feed my body what it needs, over time it will adjust to its very own healthiest place. I am looking forward to that.

8) New recipes It’s important to avoid boredom when doing a Whole 30 so I got a new cookbook, experimented with my own recipes, tried new things (sardines!), and all of that factors in to my success. I need to remember that if I feel like I’m in a rut, it’s probably because I am! Experimentation makes it fun again.

9) Confidence I feel a sense of accomplishment after this. I know I’ve done it before and I knew I could do it again. What I haven’t ever done, though, is put it all out there on the Internet for you to see and sometimes that was a little hard. But even overcoming that added to my confidence and many of your comments reminded me that so many of us deal with these issues. When I drank bubbly water instead of a cocktail, when I recognized that I was eating too many nuts and dates, when I had days where I felt hungry…handling each of these scenarios gave me a little boost, reminding me that whatever happens in the days, weeks, months after my Whole 30, I can handle it. I also feel confident that I can always put my health first, even when it seems hard.

Thank you all for sharing these past 30 days with me. Having you out there cheering me on meant the world to me!

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8 thoughts on “What I learned from my Whole 30

  1. I was late to the party & just started following you (and reading some back posts) yesterday. Congrats again! What would you say was the biggest difference from completing it the first time & this time?

    • What a great question!

      The first time I was VERY tired during the initial week. Some days I fell asleep at 6, totally unable to keep my eyes open. This time, most likely because I was already more accustomed to burning fat for fuel, it was not as challenging.

      Now that it’s over, I think the biggest difference is that I feel totally confident that I can continue this lifestyle.

      I learned more about my eating habits this time, but there is more to look at there. I would like to explore snacking and nuts (or reducing/eliminating them), for example, to see if I can make some adjustments.

      How is yours going?

  2. Bravo!
    #4 really caught my attention.. I struggle with nasal congestion.. but I deal with seasonal allergies and the dryness of this place! Anyways, that’s really neat that you were able to eliminate the congestion.
    Congrats again on your Whole 30.. It’s been very interesting and fun following along! You look amazing, as always, but with the new confidence and self esteem, you glow a little more 😉

    Kelly

  3. I am starting to mimic some of your take aways as well. I eat a lot too. And I think I eat of lot if it’s good food and I eat a lot if it’s bad food. I want to keep going with this type of eating and that scares me a little. I LOVED that you put yourself out there. Your recipes are A GIFT! I think we need to get together for a Whole30 meal!!

    • I am thinking we need a Whole 30 celebration meal! We can celebrate with food that our bodies love – and in the quantities that our bodies love. Just enough to be fueled for the next adventure and totally delicious to boot!

  4. Congrats ! I have loved following your whole 30 posts. I completed a whole 30 in May this year and have eaten mostly paleo since however i have found myself slipping back into old habits now, your posts have really inspired me to complete another whole 30 beginning of next year to get back on track ! Thank You. Gwen

    • Thank YOU! And I’m excited for you, Gwen! It continues to be a mystery to me why we fall back into old habits that we know don’t make us feel our best. (I definitely have a few ideas about this…). I think there are a number of us who are envisioning a 2014 Whole 30 – maybe we can all do it together!

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