Yes, I finally jumped on the Whole30 diet bandwagon. It is a month long eating program where you eliminate sugar, diary, grains, legumes, and process food from your diet. Yeah, what was I thinking? I know, before you even read any further you want to know the answers to the 3 big questions; How was it? Tough, really tough. Was it worth it? Hell yeah! Did I lose any weight? Oh yes, 8.2 lbs but let me tell you I didn’t do it for the weight loss. It is merely a good side effect. Is my “after” pic enough inspiration for you to read on? 🙂
So now for the real big question, why did I do this crazy diet for 30 days? For that we need to go down the memory lane….back to my childhood days. Growing up I was one of those folks who had a great metabolism, so great that I could shove anything into my body, not exercise at all, and I would still be stick thin! That continued even after the birth of my second child. Two young kids, pursuing an MBA degree, and a full time job kept me so busy that I didn’t even need exercise. All was hunky dory till about 2012, when I slowly started noticing that I was adding on more pounds. Till then I could easily shed any extra pounds I had gained if I controlled my diet a bit and may be walked on the treadmill a couple of days. But now those strategies had little to no effect. Nothing I did seemed to work. I just gave up and let things slide. On and off trying and giving up.
Fast forward to late 2014….I finally accepted that my metabolism had in fact slowed down considerably and I need to do something drastic to get back into shape. This thought was the main driving force in registering for the American Odyssey Race. I started training in Fall 2014 but ended up with a foot injury and went back into a sedentary life style. Also keep in mind between the blog, work, family, and home life I was getting only about 4-5 hrs of sleep everyday for most of 2014 and 2015. This lack of sleep only made things worse. When I started my American Odyssey Race training in April 2015 I weighed 144.8 lbs. That’s how much I’d weighed one week after giving birth to my daughter!
The race training marked a new chapter in my life. I had never run before and I started to like running and even exercising. Add to that a conscious effort to eat clean aka. low carb when possible led to a steady weight decline over the summer. By September I had lost 13 lbs and was down to 131.8 lbs. Then my grandma passed away and I made a second trip to India, which threw my already messed up routines after a 3 week India vacation) to the wind. Halloween and free candy followed and my junking went out of control. By Nov mid, in just 2 months I gained 7 lbs!!! Crazy, right?
The first time I heard about the Whole30 diet, in 2014, I dismissed it as impossible to follow but then I started noticing a lot of my friends on Facebook sharing their Whole30 journeys. And one fine day I just decided I’m doing it. I know, it is not the recommended route but I’m usually a decision maker that dabbles in extremes. There is no middle ground with me; it is either months of planning or in a momemt’s notice. This one like the American Odyssey Race was an instantaneous decision. Thankfully I have super strong will power when it comes to following through on decisions so I’m good at sticking to these moment’s notice life altering calls. 😛 And thus my Whole30 journey began. Again I stress, the program recommends you do adequate research to mentally prepare yourself and read the “It Starts with Food” book before you jump in.
Did I do it to loose weight? Not really. The diet touts the following benefits ; deep sleep, clear skin, bright eyes, increased energy, overcoming the 3.30 pm sugar slump and the subsequent conquering of the sugar dragon aka. cravings, reduced bloating, less joint pains etc. All of which I was battling from plus throw in a few other problems; severe migraines near or during my cycle, huge zits on the face and hair line. I was tired of being perpetually tired. I also wanted to prove to myself that I still had it in me to follow through on hard decisions.
Disclaimer: I did not follow the diet to a T for practical reasons. Getting more than 4-5 hrs of sleep with my schedule is nearly impossible. It being the holiday season (yes I was on it during Thanksgiving) we hosted a lot of friends. There were several instances where I had to taste the non whole30 complaint food I cooked for the guests. When we were out and did not have a choice I might have opted for the least problematic option. When I bought salads at restaurants I usually went for the restuarant’s balsamic dressing using only a very little amount. No, I did not start over in any of these cases coz if I did I would never be able to do the whole 30 days. Oh and I exercised only the last week maybe for 3 days.
Life after Whole30: I went back to eating regularly after the 30 days but off late have gone back on a quasi whole 30 aka. breakfast and lunch pretty close to whole30 compliant, dinner may or may not be. Why? Coz I miss it! Carbs feel unhealthy to me now so I don’t usually feel like eating those but I do give in when I feel like it. It has been 3 weeks since and I have gained 2lbs and an inch back on my waist.
How did the experience change my life? Though I was the only one who followed the diet, our family as a whole have become more conscious of what we eat, cutting out processed food from our life to a bare minimum. This is huge in terms of the kids as we were big on quick and easy pre-made freezer meals. I’m more aware of my health and eating habits than ever and am making a determined effort on finding time to exercise (45 mins to an hr) at least 3-4 times a week. The plan is to keep up the clean eating, exercising, and go on one more whole30 maybe in Feb.
How am I doing with the cravings? I don’t crave sugary stuff but man Ferraro Roche still tastes divine. A piece of chocolate cake and even Nutella are as great as it was before but I’m happy with taking only small portions, just to get the taste of things. Tea tastes better with sugar and milk. Pineapple Chobani , my go to breakfast previously, while a bit too sweet for my tastes now is still not bad. My overall sugar tolerance has gone down. Yogurt and cheese my favorites taste just the same but again I’m satisfied with much smaller portion or even a small bite. Bread…….one thing I thought I’ll miss the most is not as enticing as before, which is fabulous as it used to be my weakness. So I guess all is good.
Here’s some of the food I ate during the time.
Starting stats on 11/22 —-138.8 lbs and 35.5 inches waist
My Whole30 Diet Diary
Day 1- Great, I can do this!
D2- Severe migraine from sugar withdrawal, by evening feeling dizzy even after naps
D3- Sugar withdrawal symptoms continue. Nagging headache not as severe but clear head
D4- Dizzy the whole day
D5 – Nothing much to write about
D6- Dizzy and tired
D7 – Nothing much to write about
D8- Woke up by myself without the help of an alarm and that too with energy. That hasn’t happened in a long time. As the day progressed got super tired and bloated.
D9- Bloating continues mainly because I had been snacking on a lot of nuts thanks to an almond craving.
D10- Too much cooking from scratch, how will I keep up mentality. Afternoon slump. Out of the blue snapped at family. Serious cheese craving as I was making mac n cheese for kids.
D11- Woke up with a slight headache and still sleepy after 5hrs of sleep. Craving Ferraro Roche, oatmeal. Felt really energetic by evening.
D12 – Woke up with slight headache but clear head, not at all foggy. Tummy feeling great. Tummy is flat again for the first time after day 7. Feels like I’m carrying around less weight.
D13- Nothing to write about
D14- All good but felt tired in the afternoon. Had to take an afternoon nap- sleep and lower water intake might be to blame
D15- Severe migraine
D16- Slight migraine on and off (coinciding with my cycle)
D17- Woke up fresh but felt tired soon. Tired of eggs and hash for breakfast
D18- Nothing to write about
D19- Came home from work and wanted to bake! That’s a first!
D20- Cooking up a storm after work and loving it. On a baking spree; making muffins, brookies, and cookies for the kiddos and I didn’t even feel like tasting a bite. But I did have a craving for an Indian sweet, unniyappam, that I hadn’t eaten in months.
D21 & 22 – Nothing to write about
D23 – After only 5 hrs of sleep still no jumping out of the bed but felt really awake and fresh once up. Was looking forward to the rest of the day! Felt energetic enough for cardio kickboxing in the evening!!!
D24- Again had a hard time waking up with 5 hrs of sleep but once up and catching up on sleep on the train felt free and ready to go. No soreness from kickboxing which is a first. Had energy in the evening to do yoga. Not tired at all.
D25- Again after 5 hrs of sleep, switched off the alarm and after 6 hrs of sleep had to pry myself out of bed. Felt fresh and peppy. Wore a sweater and pants that I have not worn in 4 yrs. By dinner time I’ve had enough of home made food and wanted to go out and eat even if it was a salad!
D26- Less sleep seems to be catching up with me. Tired. Sick of eggs. I want candied walnuts and blue cheese on my salad.
D28- Pizza and cake at a bday was not inviting at all. I stood firm on my whole30 principles. 🙂
D29- Nothing to write about
D30- By evening I wanted to cheat so bad but resisted
Day31 Stats- 12/22 – 130.6 lbs & 33.5 inches!!! That is a total weight loss of 8.2 lbs and a loss of 2 inches around my waist line.
The Best Part– Only 2 migraines the entire month vs 7-8, no bloating, clear skin, only small zits, above al lots and lots of energy. The only issue that didn’t show any improvement was the joint pains. I’ve been doing yoga regularly since then and that seems to be doing the trick.
Have you done Whole30 or similar diets? How did it go?
Thanks for sharing — this was really interesting. It would be helpful if you wanted to share any of your favorite recipes, especially the ones that helped you make it through!
Wow, no wonder you looked a lot thinner the other day. way to go! Wanna try this now!!! Truly an inspiration V
Radhika Thampuran says
Hi Vidya, Congrats on sticking thru with the diet. Can you write what exactly are the items on ur plate (s) above.
Thanks Radhika. I’ll be sharing some of the recipes here soon.
Would be interesting to know the recipes you followed like a sample menu for a week for Bkrfst, snack, lunch, snack and dinner. I hogged during the holiday season starting thanksgiving. Kudos to you for starting this diet during this season. Starting this new year, I am trying to see if I can I can skip diary and carbs until am done with my lunch. Finding it hard to think of what to eat in the morning when I am super hungry.
Yes I will post some of the recipes. Thank you!
Love the shirt that you are posing in and you look great. Where is the shirt from?
Thanks Swathi. It is from JC Penny.
Wow! Very inspiring! I’m thinking of doing this diet. I think this is going to be so effective on me. Thanks for sharing your experience!