June 13, 2015

Our Whole30 Journey

Welcome! I'm so glad you're checking out how our Whole30 Journey went and our tips on how to Whole30 without losing your mind :) I'm going to break it up into sections and make sure to answer those pressing questions I know everyone has!

What is Whole30 & how did this all start?

If you've never heard of Whole30 or you're not very familiar with it {a lot of people are talking about Whole30 and have NO idea what they are talking about or what they are really in for} I suggest you start here. That will help give you the nitty gritty details and why you should at least consider giving it a shot!

I'm a HUGE advocate of personal development. It's my personal goal to read 1-2 new personal development books every month. Some of them are health related, some are spiritual, some are business, some are leadership. Regardless of what they specifically focus on, I spend time reading them to help grow myself to be a better person in all areas of my life!

I had decided to start reading the book It Starts With Food and I honestly had NO idea that it was about the Whole30 program or anything! I was just looking to expand my knowledge about how food can help or hurt us. I was in for a HUGE awakening. Since I struggle with food addiction, PCOS and adrenal fatigue, I was IMMEDIATELY pulled into the details laid out in that book. It was incredibly eye opening to read all of the details about how the food you eat specifically effects the hormones in your body that MY body struggles with already and how what I thought I was doing to help was really HURTING me. Yikes! I finished the book in two days {that's gotta be some kind of record.. at least for me!} and as instantly convicted to jump in feet first to Whole30. 

{{Check out my post about this photo here.}}

How did you start so quickly?

I am Type A and a planner by nature. I am also the kind of person that once my mind is made up about something, it's done. It's happening. We will conquer it. That's the attitude I had about this too. Andrew {my husband} wasn't opposed, but he wasn't excited either. He agreed to tackle it with me and he agreed to watch the kids so I could go ahead and knock out our dinner meal plans for the entire 30 days. I'm HUGE into meal planning {read more about that here} and this is one of those things that requires you to know exactly what you're doing at all times. I knew that we would have a solid few things we would rotate through for breakfast and lunch but I wanted something different for dinner each night so we didn't get bored.

After I was finished meal planning I went through and cleaned out EVERYTHING. Four bags of trash and a box of food to donate later, we were ready to start knowing we were setting ourselves up for success. Then it was time to SHOP.

I shop weekly and we also have two kids. So for the four of us to eat and eat SO much fresh produce our budget was $200/week. I stayed around $160 the first two weeks and around $190 the last two weeks. Under budget and ON POINT with all of our food choices. Here's the thing though, it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to go out to eat on Whole30. You're eating practically every single meal at home. Which may not be as hard for someone who works outside of the home, BUT as a work-at-home-mom, sometimes going out to eat is the only time that day I'm able to get out of the house! So, it was a HUGE and very difficult change to make.

Why is eating out so difficult on Whole30?

The point of Whole30 is to train your brain to see food for what it really is. Nourishment for your body. Not a reward for anything. It's also to help detox your body from all the CRAP you've put into it {spoiler alert - even if you think you're a pretty healthy eater, you'd be VERY surprised at some of the things you may eat or treat yourself with}. About 7 days in we were DYING to eat out and not have the CONSTANT dishes. Plus, our dishwasher crapped out and our kitchen was a disaster for a few days. So we tried our absolute hardest.. here's a little recap...

We decided to try Longhorn because hey, you can get a steak with vegetables and a salad and be good, right? WRONG.

One of the things you MUST stay away from is soy. Did you know that almost every single restaurant uses soy in almost every single thing they serve. <--- um, hello!? Do I need to say that again? No, just go re-read that sentence. AHHH! No wonder our country is going to hell in a handbasket when it comes to our health! Soy is TERRIBLE for you.. especially for women because it messes with your hormones and the signals your brain sends to the rest of your body.

Longhorn's secret "spice rub sauce" they put on EVERY steak they serve is loaded with SOY. So, we ordered it without the spice rub sauce. You know what we were forced to eat? A nasty hockey puck of meat. All the flavor is in the stuff that's bad for you... ahem, that's how they hook you! Your brain gets accustomed to that and then CRAVES it. Then you end up going out to eat to feed the cravings. It's a never ending cycle.

We ordered our side salads with no cheese and no croutons {because there's no dairy or gluten/grains on Whole30} and no dressing {because only God knows what's REALLY in there -- loaded with chemicals -- and SUGAR, which is one the biggest no-no's on Whole30} and I asked for straight oil and vinegar. Then we ordered sweet potatoes, dry. No butter allowed!

Yall.. it was one of the worst meals I've ever eaten. And definitely NOT worth the $50 we paid. {This is not to bash Longhorn, it's just to prove that in order to place an order that is Whole30 approved.. or really approved for the way we should all be treating our bodies, the food is GROSS and not worth it.} This is pretty much the exact same dilemma every single time we were faced with having to go out.

Then there's always this to just keep in the back of your mind... and laugh.. a lot.

What I did find was "safer" go-to was Cobb Salads. Always dry with no dressing and just added extra avocado and balsamic vinegar.

How was week 1 for you?

I will be 100% honest.. it was awful. Before starting this I was without a doubt addicted to sugar, carbs and caffeine and I was cutting out ALL of those. My body was going through SERIOUS detox. Your brain detoxing from this stuff in your body is exactly the SAME as someone detoxing from drugs. Isn't that crazy? Sugar activates your brain in the same way COCAINE does. If that isn't a wake up call, I don't know what is.

They warn you about what they call the "Carb Flu" and that was definitely me. I was miserable. Terrible headaches. Just wanting to throw in the towel and I was SO tired. Like sleep all night, take a nap every day, go to bed early and still be TIRED every day. Around day 5 things started to get MUCH better. By day 7 I started feeling really amazing!

What did you eat every day?

My husband and I tried our best to document everything we had throughout our 30 days and post it on our Instagram accounts! You can check out my IG here and his IG here. Happy scrolling :)

Some of our absolute favorite meals was the Breakfast casserole, Chicken Chowder and Steak Kabobs with homemade Chimichurri Sauce. Ah.. SO good!

Did you workout? What about Shakeology?

Because my first week was terrible from my exhaustion and detox, I didn't add working out back into our routine until day 15. I honestly didn't feel awake and alive enough to give my all in a workout. When you can't stop yawning, it's hard to concentrate and give 100%. Andrew stayed pretty consistent with his weekly running 1-2x times and workouts with me once I started back.

Shakeology has been a HOT button topic since I'm a Beachbody coach. I KNOW the amazingness and the worth of that incredible drink. I also know how I feel with and without it in my life. It makes a HUGE difference for me with my PCOS and Adrenal Fatigue. However, because Shakeology contains quinoa and peas {both not Whole30 approved} Andrew and I decided we would cut it out for the program, just to be able to say we followed ALL the rules 100%. If there is ONE thing I could change about our 30 days, it would be that decision we made. I'll touch more on that later.

What were your final results?

We didn't take before photos or measurements {ugh! #fail} but we did take our weight before and after. Whole30 challenges you to break your relationship with your scale completely. No weighing yourself throughout the entire 30 days! For some of you, you may think, "ok! no big deal!" and for others, that may be like asking you to cut off your arm. I hear ya! I'm not addicted to weighing myself, but not having a scale for an entire month was pretty hard! I knew my body was changing because I could feel it and my clothes fit differently, but not being able to see the number on the scale was hard.

At the end of the 30 days here is each of our recaps::

Payton - positives::
- I can tell my clothes fit different
- I can tell my body has lost the chronic bloated feeling
- Fruit literally tastes like CANDY now
- I broke my addiction to sugar, sweet tea & soda completely
- All I drink is WATER now
- The mental flog has drastically decreased
- Easier to wake in the morning
- Overall lost 10lbs in 30 days
- Lost 1 dress size

Andrew- positives::
- Slight increase in energy levels
- Slight change in sleeping habits
- Lost another notch in my belt
- Broke addiction to sweet tea
- Established better eating habits
- Lost 15lbs in 30 days

Payton - negatives::
- Struggled with irregularity most of the program
- Struggled with acne flare-ups
- Struggled with energy levels overall

Andrew - negatives::
- Major digestive issues throughout 30 days
- Major issues with chronic heartburn

What would you change/do differently next time? Are you happy you did it?

Like I mentioned above, we did decide to cut out Shakeology because of the quinoa and peas. I knew when we made that decision that we shouldn't have done that, but I figured it was 30 days.. we would survive. Well, here is the God's honest truth -- It wasn't good. As you can see above we both struggled with major digestion issues, heartburn, energy levels and acne flare ups. I KNOW that had we continued Shakeology throughout the Whole30 program those things wouldn't have happened. How am I so sure? Because we already added it back in and we BOTH feel drastically different already. It's only been two days.

If we did it again, we would, without a doubt whatsoever, continue Shakeology in our everyday life. There's just no reason why we wouldn't and I highly regret cutting it out. {I'm not just saying that because I'm a coach.. It didn't benefit me at ALL to remove it from our diets from a month. It's the truth!}

We are both happy to say that we did it. It was intense and there were some days that were really, really hard. If we considered doing it in the future, we would likely use this as a short cleanse. Maybe 5-10 days. But for the most part we are applying the overall theme of Whole30 into our lives going forward.

What are you doing going forward?

I am choosing to stick with the no/limited sugars, dairy and gluten. I won't kick myself for having something every now and again BUT, I'm only comfortable saying that because my body has eliminated all of what was a true addiction {and how the majority of the population live}. Getting that out of my system has now allowed me to respond appropriately when I do have something outside of what our new norm is. I won't kick myself for having some chips and restaurant salsa {which is packed with sugar} but I also won't be there multiple times a month either.

I'm settling for less than Whole30 but more than 80/20 clean eating. Maybe 95/5 ;)

Andrew will do whatever I do, because he knows we can't cater to one person in the house. If it comes into this house it's a temptation that neither of us need. I support him and he supports me.


I hope this has helped give you a truthful and honest snapshot of how this experience was for us! I hope it helped you understand how you CAN complete Whole30 despite whatever issues you have working against you coming into this. If you have any questions about anything, please feel free to ask! We're pretty much an open book and don't mind being honest about how everything was!


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