I recently completed my first Whole30 challenge, which involves stripping your diet of dairy, soy, grains and sugar, and eating only whole, clean foods for 30 days. The idea is to reset your metabolism and change the way you think about food, while still eating delicious (and nutritious) meals.
I’ll be honest–not drinking for a month was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. However, the healthy eating and meal prepping wasn’t half bad! It helped that Michael and I did it together, so we could hold each other accountable.
It took a lot of preparation and planning, but was SO worth it in the end. Here are five of the coolest things that happened:
1. My sugar cravings disappeared.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a serious sweet tooth. I always keep chocolate and ice cream in the house in case of emergency, but I was shocked to find that I hardly craved those foods at all during the Whole30.
It’s no secret that sugar leads to a whole host of diseases, and although I’m still undoubtedly going to indulge every once in a while, I don’t want added sugar sneaking into my diet in other ways.
2. I realized how much unnecessary crap companies add to their products.
Sugar, preservatives and who knows what else? When I started looking more closely at food labels, I realized how much crap is in the products I was buying. But it’s not just crap, it’s totally unnecessary crap. Why do you need to add sugar to pasta sauce? It’s delicious just the way it is.
Although it sometimes takes some more effort, I’ve stopped buying products with this kind of added crap and started making more of my own versions, searching for healthier brands, and simply eating more whole foods.
3. I annoyed just about everyone I know.
Eating healthy takes commitment. It was extremely difficult to eat out at restaurants during the Whole30 and alcohol is obviously out of the question, which pretty much kept me from doing anything social.
I HATED feeling like that girl who has so many made-up dietary restrictions that she just orders a plate of lettuce and chicken, but that’s literally what I had to do at times. To spare myself and everyone around me the hassle, I meal-prepped like a champ and pretty much brought food with me everywhere I went.
4. I learned to listen to my body.
Paying such close attention to what I was eating helped me tune in to how different foods affected my body. As the pounds came off, my skin cleared and my confidence rose, so I kept chomping down as many vegetables as I could. The best part? I never had that bloated feeling you sometimes get after meals. I really felt like my body was thanking me.
5. I created healthy habits.
Our 30-day challenge came to an end right as Michael and I were moving into our new apartment in Medford, MA. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be going into this chapter of our lives with healthy habits we’ve created together.
Although we’re obviously going to add some things (i.e. cheese, wine, chocolate) back into our diet, we’re going to try to keep the momentum going and encourage each other to make healthy choices.
6. I lost 10 pounds.
Although weight loss is not supposed to be your primary goal during the Whole30, it is a great added bonus and definitely boosted my self-confidence. In fact, since I left for Thailand in October 2015, I’ve lost more than 20 pounds and I feel fantastic!
I am also very curious now to learn more about how different foods affect our bodies. If anyone has any book, article or film suggestions or has a favorite healthy brand, I’d love to hear about them in the comments! I’ll put together a list of some of my favorites too and be sure to share it in the future.