Sunday, December 27, 2015

Whole30 - My FULL Meal Plan for the past 30 Days!

As I explained in my original Whole30 post here I was excited to show you all my progress from start to finish as well as document all I had for 90 meals for the Whole30 program. If you would like to start the program, I posted my grocery list to help get you started! If you are vegan or vegetarian, you can also follow this program, however I did not go vegetarian/vegan during my Whole30 experience.
Pre-Program: I weighed 139lbs. As this is the only time you can weigh yourself, I took the opportunity to do so! I wanted to see if my dietary changes would impact my overall weight. At my current age of 31, I am a height of 5'4", so my calculated BMI was 23.9, which is in the Normal range (18.5-24.9).  I did quit drinking soda many years ago, and have been gluten-free for the past 4 years. Considering I found out about an artificial sweetener allergy (directly linked to my IBS) years ago, I have stepped away from products that contain it, however, I have not cut out any other sweeteners before starting.
Week 1 - This part of the program is supposed to be the most difficult and most trying on someone who typically intakes soda, sugar, grains and high fat on a daily basis. I found my Day 2-3 were most trying since I was used to having some sugar but no grains or soda. I did experience headaches (similarly to when you are "hangry") during those days. In my opinion, if I was to go back, I would have increased the foods that help reduce headaches to prevent this during the first week.
Day 1 
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
This is actually my meal on Thanksgiving!!!
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Week 2 - This is the week where most people tend to quit. By Day 10, they are bored with the same old boring recipe, vegetable or fed up of having eggs every morning. The key to this week is changing up your routine and trying new recipes. If you eat the same meals over and over, it will drive you nuts. So, if you have a new recipe you have been dying to try out, this is a good opportunity to do so.  This week for me was a difficult one to overcome my urge to "snack" between meals. I had to increase some portion sizes for breakfast and lunch to keep myself fuller longer. Try adding a side salad with meals or dense fiberous vegetables to help keep you full between meal times (keep in mind not all are Whole30 approved). Just make sure it is Whole30 compliant!
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Week 3 - This week is you are just done and say "I'm close enough- two weeks is more than enough time to reset". They see the light at the end of the tunnel get increasingly close. And, the more you think about the end game, the more difficult the last two weeks will be! Just like other Whole30 folks before me, I have thought about what I want at the end of this to be my first meal and the jury is still out (I considered going past the initial 30 days). Even after Whole30 is over, you still cannot just incorporate all the same foods at once you were eating before. It's a day at a time process (the book goes over this in further detail). I argue this program is a great way to find your allergies. If you stick to a more raw and holistic diet during this time, it can help you pinpoint food items you may not have realized prior were problematic. Unfortunately for me, the end of week 2 and into week 3 were the roughest. My gut bacteria was finally starting to reset and there were a lot of foods that just did not settle well. However, after that was over, it was smooth sailing. So, those with IBS/IBD, prepare yourself for these times. It will be a challenge for sure!
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19
Day 20
Day 21
Week 4 - As people grow to a close on Whole30, they already figured they have come so far so why not stop. Whole30 book does go into detail as to why you should complete Whole30 than just 23 days or so. As Whole30 comes to a close for me, I have found I have a great deal more control over my cravings. I have found that most of my "snacking" has been due to thirst. However, if I let my portion sizes get too small, I will end up snacking more. I personally have found if I start with a larger meal and end on a smaller one, I am more in control of my "hunger". I found fruit to be a great way to fill the snacking void if I truly am hungry between meals or craving a slight sweet treat. I really have like having a LaraBar during those days when I am on the go or have been exteremely active at the office or hiking. It tends to be the pick me up I need. I have had tons of energy on this program and I am really thankful for it - since I have not felt this good health-wise in a very long time. No discomfort or unhappy stomach days. Overall, my mood has improved and I have energy. I still struggle with falling to sleep as I did prior to the program, but I sleep a lot deeper than I did before the program.  
Day 22
Day 23
Day 24
Day 25
Day 26
Day 27
Day 28
Week 5 - All though this is not a full week, it is another week of Whole30. This is the final stretch of Whole30, and all though I can see why most people say "eh, why not stop at 21". True, most habits form after 21 days. However, 30 days are the time that it takes your body to truly heal and recover from the effects those foods have on your body. This is why they suggest if you end up having a non-Whole30 item, they recommend you starting over. 30 days of clean eating is a walk in the park compared to a lifetime of over processed and unhealthy foods that give you inflammatory and other disease-based issues. It is like a body reset button. And, as I have personally experienced, it can completely change your gut bacteria, giving your body a healthy ecosystem to break down food properly and easily, as it was made to do. So, cut the chemicals and cut the crap and go back to the basics.
Day 29
Day 30
Post Whole30- It has been 31 days since I stepped on the scale, more afraid than anything to see what progress has been made. Unfortunately during my Whole30, I did not hit the gym- per se. That does not mean I did not get a workout - my FitBit would argue that point easily. For the past 30 days, sans gym, and eating a balanced and health diet, free of unhealthy fats and processed foods, I have never felt better. I told myself prior to this that weight loss would be a bonus if I came out feeling healthier and happier than when I started, and I do. So, mission accomplished! In the 30 days following Whole30, at 5'4", I lost 7 lbs. My calculated BMI was 23.9, which is in the Normal range (18.5-24.9), and now it is 22.7. I have had a lot of remarks regarding lost weight in other areas around the face and arms. And, most notably how looser my clothing tends to fit these days.In the 7 lbs. lost, I also dropped two jean sizes and I feel absolutely great.  I am happy with the progress.
Notably, Whole 30 is not over just yet. Post Whole30 is the second part of the journey. Next up, the reintroduction of food omitted from the first 30 day process. Stay Tuned for the second phase.

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