In February this year, I made the decision to change my diet and overall approach to food and complete the Whole30. This diet is an extreme version of the more known Paleo diet and asks you to commit to 30 days to change your relationship with food. You are asked to eliminate dairy, grains & legumes, alcohol, gluten, and sugar from your diet. Basically anything that is known for causing inflammation in the body.
You can read more about the Whole30 and my experience in this post, but today I wanted to share someone else’s story.
During the my Whole30, I talked about it a lot and to anyone who would listen. One of those who did listen was Bryanna, a good friend of mine and travel blogger at Discovering New Skies. Unlike most diets, the Whole30 doesn’t focus on losing weight or how you look. It’s primary objective is about how you feel and pressing restart on your body as you look to change your habits and find out how your body reacts to certain foods. This is the reason that I decided to do it and what I believe resonated with Bryanna.
I thought it would be fun to hear her experience because I believe everyone’s journey will be different. So thank you Bryanna for letting me ask you all the questions to get an insight into why you choose to do a Whole30 and the benefits and challenges you experienced along the way.
Sally: What made you want try the Whole30?
Bryanna: You! Haha you talked about it a lot and talked up the benefits. Life has been pretty intense and I’ve definitely resorted to comfort eating. While I found that comfort eating had a short term benefit, overall I was just feeling worse and worse. But eating SO healthy for what seemed like SO long just seemed too hard in that state of mind. But, after reading the intro to Whole30, they list some life challenges that are truly hard. This resonated with me. If you can get through those struggles then eating healthy for 30 days to improve yourself is NOT hard. So I went for it!
What did you hope to achieve from the Whole30?
I really hoped to kick my sugar cravings, to learn to say no, and change my eating habits.
What did your average day of food look like?
Breakfast: Oatless Oats made with coconut milk, zucchini, mashed banana, egg whites and cinnamon, topped with berries or banana.
Morning tea: Sweet potato “toast” with almond butter and banana circles.
Lunch: Homemade beef meatballs with 6 types of vegetables.
Afternoon tea: Cup of organic tea (lots of flavours!), almonds.
Dinner: Lemon and Pepper chicken with 6 types of vegetables.
What was your favourite recipe you tried?
What was the biggest change to your diet/habits?
Meal prepping on Sunday changed my world! I now spend less time in the kitchen, I don’t have to worry about what I’m having for dinner, and by the end I was spending less on groceries too!
My biggest diet change was cutting out refined sugar, in particular chocolate. I LOVE TREATS. Every second day at work there are free treats in the kitchen. And I had no self-control. I also love milo, and would have one at 3:30pm when I’d crash in the afternoon.
What were the biggest challenges?
In my last week I started focusing on all the things I wanted to eat when I was finished my 30 days. Note to self: Don’t do this! It’s very destructive.
I was surprised that the Whole30 challenge was a little easier than I expected and happy to learn I didn’t actually need to change my lunch/dinner meals too much. But I was sooo looking forward to chocolate that my body started craving sugar bad. I had sultanas, and therefore ended up bingeing on them…not ideal. I had to get that in check real fast as I didn’t want to undo all the hard work I’d been doing.
What were your results?
My skin is glorious – it’s seriously so smooth! I’m sleeping better and find getting up for gym in the morning is easier than before. I also don’t crash at 3:30pm – and if I’m feeling a little sluggish, I reach for my almonds. Who would have thought!? If you’d told me I’d be like that at the end I would have laughed at you.
I think I may have lost a kilogram or 2, I’m not sure. I forgot to weigh myself at the start! But that wasn’t a goal for me. I did however lose 2cm off my waist and bum! My calves also grew by 1-2cm, but that’s from hard work at the gym!
What do you think was the biggest takeaway from this experience for you?
That eating healthy is not hard! Yes a little planning is required, but that leads to being more organised and having more time for fun things!
I also learned that not everyone will understand why you’re doing the Whole30…and that’s okay. I had people very close to me saying: but you’re already thin, why are you dieting?
And to be honest, this hurt to start with. Diabetes runs through my entire family and I used to eat ridiculous amounts of sugar. I’ve seen the devastating effects this disease has had on people close to my heart and it’s been a real eye-opener. Doing the Whole30 taught me that I am in control of what I eat and that I can make healthy choices. The Whole30 was the “body re-start” I needed.
I hope you found this interview insightful and maybe inspiring enough for you to consider trying a Whole30 yourself, or just to take a look at your own relationship with food.
Have you tried the Whole30 Diet? If so, please leave a comment as I would love to hear your experiences!