Well hey there! As I write this post, it’s officially been 3 days since my epic Whole30 journey came to an end! And yes, I know that I’m using exclamation points at the end of every sentence — but I am just SO darn excited! This past month has been an eye-opening experience for me in so many ways and I almost don’t know where to begin.
If you’re just joining in, be sure to check out the other posts in this series here:
Alright, now let’s dive in to the recap!
MY WHOLE30 RECAP:
* This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love! (Learn more here)
Let me just start by saying that I did not intend this Whole30 challenge as a way to lose weight necessarily. Hence the title of “A Skinny Girl’s Whole30”.
I’ve always been very happy with my weight, but I was definitely feeling lethargic and exhausted all the time. After a LOT of research online, I began to think that the lack of energy and just over-all crappy feeling was due in large part to the food that I was putting into my body.
If you had asked me back then, I would have said that the way I was eating was not terribly unhealthy. I rarely ate fast food. I cooked at home the majority of the time. And my only big splurges were the occasional pint of Ben & Jerry’s and my love for beer ;)
All that being said, when I hopped onto this Whole30 bandwagon 31 days ago I was pretty shocked at the amount of sugar, gluten and grains that filled my old diet on a regular basis. A little lightbulb went off in my mind during that day of cleaning out my fridge & pantry of all the things I would be giving up for 30 days.
Reading the above two books (affiliate links) allowed me to create the Whole30 action plan pictured above. Armed with a wealth of knowledge and a new-found obsession with reading every single ingredient on every single food label, I set out on my very own Whole30 Challenge.
I won’t go into all of the details in this recap post (you can check out my entire journey here), but I can definitely say that Whole30 has changed my entire outlook on the way that I eat. I feel more energized every day. I sleep WAY better at night. My skin has cleared up. And as an added bonus I even lost some extra weight that I really hadn’t been conscious that I was carrying around.
WHAT I MISSED THE MOST:
- Dairy – I was immediately taken aback when I started cooking Whole30 compliant meals by how much cheese I used to put on everything! I would put cheese on anything from my salads to my veggies and everything in between. I also really missed dairy in my coffee. So much so that I quit drinking coffee altogether and decided that I would eliminate caffeine for the rest of my Whole30 as well.
- Alcohol – Now don’t get me wrong here. I was in no way an alcoholic, but I was no stranger to mixing myself up a nice Manhattan or pouring myself a glass of red wine when I got home from work. Eliminating alcohol altogether was not an issue physically, but mentally it was a bit of a stretch for me.
WHAT SURPRISINGLY DIDN’T PHASE ME:
- Sugar – Yes, I had some detox side-effects from the lack of sugar. I went through a bit of withdrawal within the first week (with some pretty nasty headaches to go along with it). But, after the first week? I was golden! I no longer needed that sweet fix after a savory meal. Fruits and veggies started to taste sweeter to me too, so I never really felt deprived of sugar.
- Gluten – I was raised in the south where no meal is complete without a side of bread. I’m a pizza lover, sandwich connoisseur, and a beer snob. However, nixing the gluten from my diet didn’t really phase me. I was completely satisfied with my plates of protein and heaps of veggies throughout my entire Whole30.
WHAT HELPED ME THE MOST:
- Commitment – Besides my commitment to the Whole30 program, I had a renewed commitment to overall health in this past month. I started running again (using my handy *5K Runner: 0 to 5K Trainer App). I also got myself a *Jawbone UP2 fitness tracker to keep myself motivated to meet my step/sleep goals and track my food intake.
- Thrive Market – I signed up for a yearly membership to Thrive Market. Imagine a Costco meets Whole Foods that you can shop online for healthy ingredients at wholesale prices. Thrive offers a free 30 day trial with your first purchase and then is only $59.95 for a one year membership.
My first haul from Thrive Market contained lots of Whole30 compliant essentials – Canned Tuna, Avocado Oil Mayo, Coconut Oil, Ghee, Coconut Aminos (great soy sauce substitute) and more — all for just around $45! I’ll definitely be returning to them time and time again for my healthy food needs!
- Preparation – I can’t stress the importance of planning and preparation on your Whole30 journey! Hopefully you know your schedule well enough to be able to plan out your meals like I did. I knew exactly when I was going to have time to cook and when I would need to have compliant meals ready to reheat in the fridge. I planned ahead when I went to work and brought emergency snacks with me just in case.I also cooked in large batches at one time. If I was making baked chicken breasts and roasted veggies, I made enough to last me 3-4 days. That way I didn’t have to cook every single night. The only meal that I cooked every day was breakfast.
THE BEFORE & AFTERS:
Alright, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for, right? I’ve discussed my NSV’s (non-scale victories) ad nauseum but I’m sure what you are dying to know it how much weight I lost, right? ;)
First let’s start with measurements:
Neck: 13″ to 12.5″ (trimmed 0.5″)
Upper Arms: 11″ to 12″ (gained 1″) I’m pretty sure I must have measured in different spots because this is the only place where I gained inches… weird!
Chest: 37″ to 35.5″ (trimmed 1.5″) No, my husband is not happy with this chain of events ;)
Waist: 30″ to 28″ (trimmed 2″)
Hips: 40″ to 37″ (trimmed 3″)
Thighs: 23″ to 22.5″ (trimmed 0.5″)
Calves: 15″ to 14.5″ (trimmed 0.5″) I think I might have trimmed more on my leg measurements had I not built up all this awesome muscle with my running & walking routines :D
Weight: 138lbs to 128lbs – That’s 10 pounds GONE, y’all!
Can you tell the difference? I definitely can! I feel absolutely amazing and I’m fitting back into jeans that I hadn’t worn for almost 2 years. Pretty happy with myself if I’m being completely honest :)
Let’s just ignore the dog wondering what the heck her weird mom is doing, k? K.
WRAPPING IT UP:
All in all I am over the moon excited about my experience for the last month. I’ve changed the way I look at food, I’ve developed a more active lifestyle, and I’ve re-discovered my passion for running every day!
As far as reintroduction goes, I’ll be easing myself back into dairy over the next week or so being mindful about how it makes me feel. I’ve already treated myself to coffee and a splurge lunch, but I’ll be sticking pretty firmly to my Whole30 roots from now on.
Have you completed a Whole30 too? I’d love to hear your experience. If you’ve blogged about it feel free to leave your link below so we can spread the love!
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Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.