{Thursday Thoughts} My Whole30 Experience

Why Whole30 Didn't Work For Me

So, I had planned on sharing my Whole30 Week 1 Diary today but I’m already off the program. It was not my jam.  Here’s how it went:

Day 1 – Tuesday
Breakfast – Banana and black coffee.
*Forgot to boil eggs the night before, big fail! A banana was the only thing I could quickly grab and get out the door before work. We have a Nature’s Table but a fruit cup was the only Whole30 approved thing they have. STARVING until lunch.
Lunch – Tuna tossed with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar over salad with olives and a whole avocado. This was actually really delicious.
1:30pm – Finished lunch and  still starving!! By 2:15 was feeling much better. I think the food started to digest.
Snack – Grapes and LARA bar.
Dinner – Whole 30 approved Shepard’s pie. I made this recipe (but with regular potatoes) and really enjoyed it. I had a cup of chopped oranges and pineapple for dessert.
*Realized I’m eating way too much fruit and need more snack-able veggies. I know snacking is against the Whole30 guidelines but I didn’t think I could survive without it – I’ve had blood sugar issues in the past and my doctor orders me to snack every three hours. Felt pretty good at the end of the day overall, I am accustomed to eating fairly healthy and organic so it didn’t seem too hard.

Day 2 – Wednesday
*Expected to wake up with “the hangover” but didn’t, just a little hungry. Had a lot of food dreams though – mostly about forgetting I was on the whole30, eating a bagel or cupcake and then remembering that I messed up my diet – the stress was already getting to me.
Breakfast – Two boiled eggs and a banana. Black coffee.
Lunch – Leftover Shepard’s pie & La Croix.
Snacks – Orange, LARA bar, pineapple.
*Started feeling pretty tired around 4pm and starting to think – do I really need to do this? Reading the Whole30 forums was not helping!
Dinner – Pork chops (cooked in coconut oil), baked sweet potato and veggie medley – messed up and remembered that I can’t have corn and it was in my veggie medley. I literally almost cried.
*Wasn’t hungry for dessert or anything before bed. Feeling like I can do this!

Day 3 – Thursday – the day it starting going downhill.
*Didn’t wake up hungry like I did yesterday and don’t remember any dreams. Felt like I slept pretty good.
Breakfast – Two boiled eggs and a banana. Black coffee.
Lunch – Didn’t feel too hungry before lunch like usual. Had leftover pork, sweet potato and veggie medley (without corn).
*Didn’t really feel the urge to snack as much this day. Had a green tea in the afternoon but then I started feeling woozy, like I had low blood sugar right around 4:30 so I had some nuts and a LARA bar. Also started worrying about what to eat out for dinner before my hair appointment. I didn’t have time to go home so I started researching restaurants that had Whole30 approved options. Not much luck.
Dinner – Decided on chili’s – not a great experience, eating out is really, really hard and stressful on the Whole30 program – had a plain burger with guacamole and steamed broccoli.
*Starving and had a headache that night – I ate a baked sweet potato as a snack but it didn’t really help so I had apples and almond butter too. I sent Jeff on an emergency Publix run for more Paleo food. Decided I will never do this again but was still  committed to the 30 days at that point.

Day 4 – Friday
*Woke up feeling a little down because I usually plan happy hour/girls night on Friday but didn’t have a yummy dinner to look forward to. I had done some Paleo Pinteresting and had some new ideas of what to eat.
Breakfast – Made a smoothie/shake with banana, coconut milk and hemp protein powder. Really liked it. Had a Lara Bar and black coffee as a morning snack.
Lunch – Pork chops, sweet potato and veggie medley again. Plus half of an avocado.
*I was starting to get the hang of incorporating good fat into each meal so I didn’t feel as hungry but was getting sick of sweet potatoes.
Snack – Apples with almond butter, LARA bar.
Dinner – We had plans to go to Jeff’s grandparents right after I got out of work so I asked Jeff to grill chicken and Brussel Sprouts to bring with him because I didn’t think I would be able to eat the dinner they made. Jeff cooked dinner but accidentally left it at home when he met me there! So, I ended up have some salad (with no meat) and green beans. Not very filling. Luckily I had some almond butter on me so I also had another apple with almond butter. It was his grandmothers birthday so I had my biggest test so far: resisting birthday cake! But it wasn’t too hard.
*I went to a friends house after and ate a second dinner when I got home, the chicken and Brussel Sprouts, really late.

Day 5 – Saturday
* I hate the idea of making breakfast at home on the weekends but was still committed to the program on Saturday morning. I was starting to have no appetite at all.
Breakfast – Banana with almond butter and coconut milk.
*After breakfast I looked up recipes and made a Whole30 shopping list and then went grocery shopping. I was STARVING by the time I got home from grocery shopping in the late afternoon.
Lunch – Salad with grilled chicken, avocado, Brussel Sprouts, celery, olives and lemon/olive oil dressing.
*This was probably one of the best salads I’ve ever made but I didn’t really enjoy it at this point because I hated all food and just wanted to feel full again.

After this salad I was pretty miserable, I hadn’t felt really full in days, had no appetite any more and just felt crappy. I also couldn’t exercise all week because I didn’t have the energy or was too hungry. And I kept turning down hanging out with friends (which was usually going out to eat). I went on a walk with my best friend that evening and she wanted to grab dinner. I really did not want to cook or eat any of the Whole30 approved food I had at home and after thinking about it more and more I decided this program was not worth it for me. I broke Whole30 with a glorious BBQ dinner. At first, I felt really guilty for quitting but as I ate my pulled pork sandwich on Texas Toast, drizzled with sweet BBQ sauce, around a group of friends, I came to the conclusion that I completely disagreed with the values of the Whole30 program and by the time I finished my Oreo Crumble Chocolate Pudding I was feeling great!

Why Whole30 Isn’t For Me 
I realized I don’t really agree with the foundation of the Whole30 program. I’m not saying that it’s not a great program that can work for many people (and I seriously give kudos to those who can make it work for them) but I’m okay with “emotional eating” – I don’t mean crying your eyes out with a tub of ice cream every night but I like that so many memories are made around the dinner table or sharing a meal with someone. I so quickly grew tired of turning down spending time with friends because I didn’t want to deal with trying to be on the program at a restaurant. I’m okay with food making me happy, I love to bake and try delicious foods, and sometimes I just need a little bit of chocolate to pick me up. I already eat fairly healthy and natural so I felt like I was just depriving myself of stuff. I’m a firm believer of everything in moderation. Also, it was SO STRESSFUL for me, it just made a busy day even more difficult and the fear of messing up was constantly there.

What I Learned From Whole30
I did learn some valuable lessons from Whole30 in the short time I did it which I plan to incorporate into my everyday life.

  • Pay attention to labels – sugar really is in everything!
  • I can survive without dessert or have fruit for dessert – I have a huge sweet tooth so this really has kept me from eating so many sweets and taught me that I can resist the cravings. But I can treat myself on the weekends!
  • I can survive without carbs in a meal – I am still having  a lot of Paleo-friendly meals. Especially with all of the groceries I bought, I actually have had very little added sugar or grains this week. It just makes a world of a difference when the stress is off and I can grab a sandwich or something if I need to.
  • If I ever decide to do an extreme diet again, I won’t go at it alone, I will read all of the instructions thoroughly and I will plan ahead. I think these three things are key to the success of the program.
  • I also can survive a tough work week without red wine. Who knew? I’m continuing this part of Whole30 and doing 30 days without alcohol.

So, I think I got everything I needed from Whole30 in four and a half days instead of thirty. What can I say, I’m an over-achiever 🙂

***This is  my Whole30 experience and Epic Fail. I totally support anyone who does the program and their reasoning behind it. It just doesn’t work for me personally.

Have you ever done Whole30? What do you think about it?

Linking up with Joey, Jessica, Annie, and Amanda.

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  • Brandi @ Java & Sole

    I have considered doing the Whole30 several times, and have many friends who have done it multiple times over the course of a year (taking the suggested break in between “on” months) and they really love it! I always end up committing to eat cleanER for 30 days and realize how much better I feel – but understand my limitations in not being able to, or want to, live without my coffee creamer (though it’s the natural Almond Milk Creamer) and the occasional “treat” Love your comments and day by day diary – there’s a lot of truth in learning what works for you!

    • Thanks Brandi! There were definitely some aspects of it I loved and I have been feeling much better by limiting my sugar and grain intake but I just can’t commit to no treats for 30 days! It was too strict for me!

  • I have debated doing whole30 as well but to be honest, I’m not sure I want to give up certain foods. I’m happy with my current diet and I see no need. I know it works well for some but i don’t think I would be one.

  • Molly Middleton

    I’m so sad that this didn’t work out for you. If you ever try it again, reach out to me I would LOVE to help/coach you….I never did whole 30, but i’m in the middle of a sugar detox and I can’t have gluten or lactose as it is. At least you learned some things too! Hopefully you’ll continue to use some of that in the future 🙂 Love that you tracked and shared all of this!

  • Jennifer Lattin

    I have not done the Whole 30 program, but I have done the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Omg. That program is not for me. First time I did it for about 11-12 days. 2nd time, a co-worker completed the program with me…Otherwise I most likely would not have finished. My co-workers and my husband have told me to not ever do that program again…apparently, I was not a happy person to be around? I think the look of horror on their faces if I mention me and that program explains it all. LOL

    I am very low energy as well. I kept waiting for the “tons of energy” most claimed to have experienced, but, nope, that never happened to me. All I wanted was a piece of bread. 🙂 I workouts suffered due to lack of energy.

    I am not bashing Whole 30 or 21 Day Sugar Detox. I just also recognize that those programs are not for everybody, but work great for some.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • I’m totally with you! More power to those who have success with these programs but they aren’t for me! And I don’t think I was the happiest person to be around by day 3 or 4…glad to know I’m not alone! Thanks Jennifer!

  • thank you for posting this and for being so honest. i feel like there are a million people out there who loved the whole 30 but not enough of posts like these. i know its 100% not for me because it doesn’t allow things like grains or beans, and it’s way too meat heavy for me. i mean, i know i don’t have to eat the meat, but it doesn’t leave me a lot if i’m also not allowed to eat beans or quinoa!

    but anyway, i do think it’s awesome for anyone to stick to a whole 30 so i’m definitely not bashing them, but i already know what i can and can’t eat so don’t really feel the need to. i agree with you on your version of emotional eating, but i also struggle with the other kind – the crying over the tub of ice cream kind haha. so i definitely need to work on balance, and eating healthier, but i don’t think i need to do a whole 30 to get there.

    • Thanks for the support Kristen! I was actually really nervous to post this, because I didn’t want to upset anyone who has had good results with the Whole30 program and I support and admire those who make it work for them. But I did want to share that it’s okay to give up on something that’s not working for you. I felt really torn when I was trying to decide if I should keep going or give up because it kind of made me feel like a failure or I couldn’t commit to it but it just wasn’t working for my body or lifestyle. I don’t usually eat that much meat either and at least need beans and quinoa to survive! For me, it’s all about everything in moderation and this was just too extreme.