Inside: If you’re considering doing Whole 30, this will give you an honest look – Part 1 is an overview, the good, and the bad. Part 2 is life after Whole 30 as well as helpful tips if you decide to go for it!
(This post may contain affiliate links.)
Life Post-Whole 30
So what happens after you finish Whole 30? Well, I can tell you! 🙂
I am 6 months out from doing Whole 30. So, what has life been like since then?
Well, after I finished, I did reintroduce food groups in one at a time, as they suggest. For most of the non-compliant groups I added back in, I felt negative effects right away. They weren’t overwhelming symptoms, but I definitely felt bloated, crampy, and my sleep was not as sound by any means. I didn’t really see a need to reintroduce those things back into my diet, so I haven’t.
Does that mean I never eat cheese or bread or rice or pasta?
Well, in general, I don’t. Those products aren’t in my house and I don’t make them. The Whole 30 meals were so flavorful that I just stuck with them. I honestly didn’t miss any of that. There are so many good alternatives that I’ve gotten used to and actually really like now!
I’ve since simplified the food prep, which gets easier once you get into a rhythm and have your go-to recipes. I basically eat the same 1 or 2 things for breakfast, the same 1 or 2 things for lunch, and then I make different dinners. That satisfies the need for variety while not making things too complicated.
I’m not a Whole 30 purist when it comes to sugar in certain items. I buy organic ketchup that has sugar, organic salad dressing that has sugar, BBQ sauce with sugar. For me, those items were not my sugardown fall and I never craved ketchup because of the sugar. So, I do allow those in my diet.
If I’m eating out (which isn’t often….Hello! Toddlers!), I try to be as compliant as I can but I don’t worry about how things are prepared, which oil they are using, etc. Or, I may decide that I just want to splurge that night, and I will.
Cheats and Treats Post-Whole 30
I do allow myself a cheat night. For me, cooking takes a lot of work and mental energy, so by Friday night, I don’t want to cook. We usually will order take-out, and that is splurge (and our home date-night). Then, we usually get a box of strawberry shortcake ice creams (There’s just a few in the box and I won’t bring a 1/2 gallon into the house). On Saturday, I might eat my leftovers for another meal and have another ice cream. I would say that out of the 21 meals in a week, about 3 are non-compliant. I’ll also give myself a little wiggle room for special occasions – parties, girls get-togethers…but those aren’t too often in my baby-dominated world.
On a daily basis, I would say that I’m a mix of Whole 30/Paleo. On Whole 30, you aren’t allowed to make ‘treats’ even if they are compliant ingredients (affectionately called SWYPO in Whole 30 – ‘sex with your pants on’ – enjoyable perhaps, but not the real thing); they are trying to break you of those snacky associations. Now, I make myself Paleo desserts and cookies if I feel like a little treat on my non-cheat days.
But those are choices I make. I found it easier not to get off course during the week if I know my treat is coming on Friday night. And to be totally honest, my body doesn’t feel great when I cheat, but it’s a once-in-a-while trade-off I’m willing to accept.
So since then, I’m still tracking with losing weight – another 5 lbs off. I’m still feeling great and sleeping great. I’m still loving the food.
Life after Whole 30? It really did change my life. And I haven’t looked back.
So, if you are truly thinking about Whole 30 (and I hope you are), here are my suggestions:
1| Do it with a friend (or join a FB group)
My friends didn’t join in until after my first week. Things got so much more fun after that. We were constantly texting each other about new recipes we were trying or questions or if we just needed a little encouragement. Phenomenal support. If no one in your world is into Whole 30, there are several Whole 30 Facebook support groups, like this one. and the Whole 30 site also recommends groups.
2| Read the book first
You can get a lot of the information from the website (which is what I did. I glanced through the book, gave it back to my husband’s coworker and then looked online). I was so enthusiastic to start that I jumped in a teeny bit unprepared. Thankfully, I didn’t do any real damage in my ignorance, but I do wish I had read The Whole 30 Book (Amazon affiliate link) first and been more prepared. The book gives a ton of great tips and ideas so you can be set up for success. If you don’t want to commit to the book, get a copy from the library. I ended up doing that, and just recently, I finally bought a copy of the book because it’s so good, and it really is my lifestyle now.
3| Do it when you have time in your schedule to do the preparations and can commit to it
If you know you have a lot of social engagements or are going on vacation, it’s probably not the time to start. Try to find a period of 30 days that will be relatively temptation-free. Not perfect, but one that seems doable. Also, if you can, start at a time when you can dedicate some hours to meal prep. There’s a bit of a learning curve involved, and if you are super-busy with work or other activities, this can be a little tough. Don’t forget – you might feel pretty bad the first week, so consider that in your time.
4| Plan your menu and meals ahead of time
This is another reason I suggest you read the book first. Really take your time to prepare for this 30 day journey. Because I started a little hastily, I was planning meals on the fly, and that was stressful. Plan your meals, get your shopping list, prep your meals ahead of time, as much as is realistically possible. Throwing a meal together might work if you are really talented in the kitchen, but if you’re like me, you are going to need a bit of preparation. (PS – Pinterest = Lifesaver!!! Use those recipes! There is pretty much a Whole 30 alternative for everything you like.)
5| Keep your meals simple, especially in the beginning.
This is a huge lifestyle change, so as much as possible, try to keep things simple in the beginning. There are so many great recipes out there, but trying to make 3 smash-hit recipes every day is a bit demanding and a bit more stressful. Like I mentioned, I kept breakfast and lunch pretty simple (and maybe a little bit boring). I tried new recipes for dinner, and they truly were delicious enough to keep me inspired to keep going.
6| Get your kitchen gadgets ahead of time.
I went a bit wrong on this one. I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been, and it left me in a lurch at time. Whole 30 has a whole list of kitchen gadgets that they recommend and some that aren’t necessary but would be nice. For me, I had 3 that were non-negotiables. First, an instant-read meat thermometer. You will be cooking so many kinds of meats, and recipe cooking times really vary. It was super-helpful for me to just go by internal meat temperatures. Second, a food processor. This Hamilton Beach one is what I have and I love it. You will be making a lot of condiments and other things from scratch, rather than buying them. A food processor is a must. Third, a spiralizer. You can use a handheld one like this or one of the fancier ones like this. This was huge! Since pasta is out, making noodles from vegetables was a new staple. You need one of these!
Just Do It!
Whole 30 has its challenges but every single one of them are worth it. From a person who was a chronic dieter and never a lifestyle-healthy-eater, this is definitely the way to go.
I wish there was such a thing as being an affiliate for Whole 30 because I’ve told so many people about it, they’ve tried it and loved it and are telling other people about it. If this was a pyramid scheme, I’d be sitting on the top. (But there’s not such a thing. I’ve looked.) I get zero compensation for sharing about Whole 30. (Well, if you order The Whole 30 book from Amazon, I get a small commission as an Amazon affiliate, so there’s that). But I get nothing from the Whole 30 people for pushing this. I just totally love it and totally believe in it.
If you’ve been considering Whole 30, you really have nothing to lose and so, so much to gain.
Have I convinced you yet? You can do anything for 30 days. Just do it!
Any other Whole 30-ers out there? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
If you missed Part 1: An Overview, the Good and the Bad, check it out here!