WIAW #14: Whole30 – Been There, Done That!

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Well, that’s a wrap!  Yesterday marked day 30 of the Whole30 challenge.  That’s 30 days without sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy…and we survived.

Sounds like borderline torture, right?

Wrong.

No, really.  I actually kind of liked it (after the initial shock wore off).  I swear I’m not crazy.

Seriously, once we got past about the 10 day mark, things really started lookin’ up.  Sure, it was hard when people around me were eating pizza and cookies and ordering out…all I wanted to do was dive right in and treat myself like I normally would, but since there was an end in sight, that helped me stay strong and committed to the challenge.

Here are a couple of the meals we ate during the last week, to keep things interesting.  There are plenty more where this came from but I’m trying not to make this the longest post in the history of blogging, so stay tuned. ;)

Sausage, Sweet Potato, Egg and Kale Bake

DSC02005Ingredients:

  • 4 sausage links or breakfast sausage (Whole30 approved, or not if you aren’t doing the challenge)
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 large handfuls of kale, or more
  • 8-12 eggs, depending on how much you like

Directions:

Cook the sausage on the stovetop while you roast the sweet potatoes in the oven for about 20min (until tender) at 450 degrees.  You can also saute the potatoes, I just prefer the texture of them roasted.  Place kale into baking dish, pour the sausage, potatoes and eggs over the top and bake in the oven on 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through and the kale is wilted.

Easy Taco Salad

DSC02014Ingredients

What you see above!  The taco seasoning doesn’t include any sugar and is basically a mixture of several spices.

Directions

Chop pepper and onion and saute in olive oil, or you can cook it right along with the meat.  Add salt/pepper and taco seasoning and you’re done!  Add a little red wine vinegar, olive oil and avocado/guacamole and it’s a super easy, healthy and delicious taco salad!

DSC02016So, why do this you ask?

First of all, I want to emphasize that my intention for this challenge was not to lose weight.  Although I eat healthy 80-90% of the time, I was interested to see how my body would react when I removed processed foods, sugar, etc. all together, without any treats or cheat days.

The result?

We feel great!  We don’t feel lethargic or bloated after meals and we have more energy overall.  Until this challenge, I don’t think we really realized how certain foods affect our bodies.  After week two, I even noticed my post-meal sweets craving had all but disappeared, which I never thought would happen.  I’m interested to see how I think sweets taste after 30 days without them.  Honestly, a cheat meal doesn’t even sound that appetizing to me right now.  Who am I??

I only lost 3 pounds, which was a good thing.  I dropped that much in the first week of the challenge and to be honest, if I dropped any more I was going to think about quitting the challenge all together.  Instead, I tried increasing the size of my meals and that helped me stay even for the rest of the 30 days.  Matt, on the other hand, lost 12 pounds!  He looks and feels great, so I’m proud of him for sticking to the plan with me.  I’m sure some of the weight will come back on once we start introducing certain foods back into our diet, but this challenge was a good jump start to an even healthier lifestyle that we can hopefully maintain.

Now what?

Matt and I both agree that we really like the way our bodies feel with minimal sugar and processed foods, so our plan is to continue to eat this way….most of the time.  It will be nice to have the pressure of the challenge behind us, so if we are running late or just don’t have time to prepare, we can grab a protein bar, smoothie, or order out.   During the week, I’ll cook meals like I have been for the past 30 days and I’m sure we will treat ourselves every once in a while on the weekends.   And dangit, give me my dark chocolate! :)

Thinking about trying the Whole30?

Stop thinking about it and just GO FOR IT!  The whole idea of giving up so much for 30 days can seem really intimidating, but not if you do your homework.  If I can give one piece of advice, it’s prepare, prepare, PREPARE.  That is the absolute key to successfully completing this challenge and doing so with your sanity intact. :)  I constantly searched for new (and easy!) recipes that would keep things interesting and that I could prepare on Sundays for the entire week.

In the end, I’m SO glad we did it.  #1 it’s a great sense of accomplishment when it’s over and #2 I think it has opened up our eyes to an even better lifestyle (NOT a diet) that now we know we can can have.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a glass of wine calling my name….

As always, thanks to Jenn for hosting the WIAW link-up!

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Comments

  1. I cannot believe its already been a month. It feels like just yesterday you posted your first recap when I believe you guys indulged in some pizza? Ha Ha! Great to hear this challenge worked out awesome for the both of you.. especially your man. Congrats on his weight loss. Very impressive.

    • Haha, yep! Pizza was our last hurrah…and now it doesn’t even sound that appetizing! Oh the wonders of the Whole30. Give it some time, I’m sure the cravings will return. ;) And thank you, I’m proud of him too!!!

  2. All of you Whole30-ites are making me want to try it! I am really concerned about losing weight, though. I am always trying to put on muscle and losing weight is not what I want, so I’m not sure my metabolism would agree with Whole30, unless I really upped the portion sizes. Something to think about! I’m glad you had such success with it!

    • You should try it! I was concerned about that too, especially when I saw my weight drop in the first week. I know it was only 3 pounds, but 3 pounds can seem like a lot on my frame. I think it is definitely possible to do this and not drop too much weight and still put on muscle, as long as you are eating enough at your meals and the “right” stuff. It was hard for me to get away from the “6 small meals” concept that I’m used to, but once I upped my portion sizes, my weight stayed the same. I’m sure there are others out there with the same concerns and goals, so you might want to look into it!

  3. Wow, congratulations! That challenge sounds so hard, yet awesome! Also, that recipe looks amazing. I’ll have to give it a try sometime! :)

    • Thanks Heather! I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy, but it got better as the weeks went on and it was SO worth it!

  4. I loved the whole 30 and how it made me feel! I think I need to do another one. I didn’t lose weight. I gained weight. I think my body needed it.

    • I think we will start doing this once or twice a year, just to press the “reset button”. :) Your body must have needed it, that’s why I tell people this challenge isn’t a diet, it’s more about a detox and lifestyle change. It shows us what foods our body really needs, and how much of it!

  5. Thanks for the recap and I’m so happy this worked out for you! I agree with Amy’s comment–I’d be worried I would lose weight which I do not want to do. However, I do agree that after eating “clean”, whole foods for so long, your sweet tooth really does go down! I used to crave dessert after every meal but now, I’ll simply eat maybe 1 handful of chocolate chips the entire day and be satisfied.

    • It’s crazy how taste buds and cravings change! And as long as you are aware of your portion sizes, losing weight shouldn’t be an issue. I think the reason I didn’t lose much is because I was already eating pretty clean beforehand, so you would probably be the same!

  6. Congrats to you!! When I’m finished with my Whole30, all I want is a lime margarita and a chocolate chip cookie. haha! And then I will go back to minimal sugar as well. That’s my biggest addiction. That kale bake with the sausage looks divine! I will be trying that soon!

    • I know! I was nervous I wouldn’t like the taste of chocolate after all of this, but luckily it’s still just as delicious as before. ;) Good luck with the rest of yours!!!

  7. Way to go on completing the full 30 days!!!

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