Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Whole30 Experience: The Good, The Bad, and The Results

After years of promising myself that I'd get in shape, I ordered the Whole30 book on a whim and decided to do the challenge. A month after finishing, I have mixed feelings about the diet — but I'd do it again. Here's my take on the pros and cons of the Whole30. Let's start with the good.

I proved that I can do it. I've never really stuck with a healthy diet before. I'm very quick to give in to my cravings. I proved to myself that I can stare down a steaming hot slice of pizza and reach for a salad. 

I cooked a lot. I'd say that I typically cook a moderate amount, but we're quick to eat out or order in when we don't feel like cooking. For these four weeks, I cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner almost daily, and I really enjoyed being in the kitchen (for the most part). We discovered some new recipes that we'll use moving forward.

I bonded with Todd. He didn't really need to lose weight, but it helped so much to have someone to talk through the challenges and triumphs. And I loved how much time we spent cooking together and eating leisurely meals on the patio.

I lost weight. I'm currently down six pounds, and although it's not as much as I hoped for, I can definitely see and feel a difference.

I changed my habits. I was afraid I'd go right back to my old ways, but it's been a month and I haven't felt the urge to do that. We've started eating out again, and I have milk and sugar in my coffee and the occasional sandwich, but overall our eating habits are significantly healthier, and my weight has continued to drop.

And now for the bad:

It was a lonely road. It's really tough to go out and socialize on this diet. Technically, you can eat out, but it can be difficult to find restaurants that serve truly compliant food. And of course, drinking is out of the question, so there goes happy hour unless you want to sip a seltzer while everyone else drinks wine. Our social interactions were pretty minimal for the entire four weeks.

I spent so much time in the kitchen. Like I said, I loved cooking so much, but sometimes it felt like I was spending all of my spare time in the kitchen either prepping ingredients, cooking, or cleaning up afterward.

My energy didn't increase. In fact, there were a couple of days I was so tired that I had to take a nap. 

My skin got worse. Significantly worse. Usually my skin is pretty clear, but I had a major breakout a week or two into the diet, and it's only now beginning to go away.

Overall, if you're looking to make a major change to your diet, I'd recommend trying the Whole30. I don't agree with all of the rules, but ultimately it helped me go from merely talking about getting healthy and losing weight to actually doing it. Having explicit rules and a specific goal helped me immensely.