Complete a whole 90 – in other words, eat whole30 for 90 days. It was an ambitious thing to put on my 29 x 30 list, but I was convinced I could do it. I also knew that whole30 tends to be the only eating plan that actually helps me control my weight.
Here’s what I know about myself. I have absolutely no self-control. If there’s a box of ice cream in the freezer, I’m eating the entire thing within two days. So whole30 is the perfect solution – for me. It matches my needs and my personality type by strictly cutting things out. It also isn’t that far of a stretch from what I eat normally, it just removes the junk food I can’t quit.
What is whole30? If you haven’t heard of it, I highly suggest checking out the book, Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom or whole30.com. The basic premise is you eat whole foods and ingredients for 30 days and cut all the extra crap out. No added sugars. No preservatives. No processed carbs. No baked goods. No alcohol. Again, the strict rules are a challenge at first, but for me, I need the set box to work within. Whole foods. I can do that.
To be honest, these past three months weren’t as hard as I thought they would be. I was so determined and I knew if I didn’t do these 90 days, there wasn’t going to be another 90 day window I could achieve the level of strict eating required before my birthday (which would mean I wouldn’t be able to check it off my 29×30 list). Some might say a little insane because I did whole30 throughout the Christmas season. Not a single baked good was consumed, and no Christmas stuffing either. That might have been the hardest part.
So what did I learn? Man, so much! Here’s a list of 10 things I learned or that contributed to my success:
- There are weird unnecessary ingredients in so many things. It should not be allowed. Take for instance, coconut milk. Rooster brand has a bunch of extra chemicals, but only costs $1. Another brand, has simply coconut extract and water, and costs double at $2. For me, now that I am aware of the chemicals, this is a cost I’m willing to accept.
- This barbecue sauce is the single greatest barbecue sauce. Never will I ever buy another barbecue sauce with chemicals and sugar again. It’s great to grill chicken in and to adapt into a spicy cashew nut chicken sauce. I had a mason jar filled in my fridge from the day I discovered it until now.
- Fruit is a powerful cooking ingredient. I started adding pineapples to many beef dishes. Adds a natural sweetness and makes everything so delicious.
- Having Mathew live with me helped significantly. I was already in a routine of coming home and making dinner. I strongly believe this was a huge factor in my success. It’s really hard to cook for just one person. Be kind to yourself if you’re in that situation.
- Blueberry larabars were a lifesaver. I get anxious in certain situations where I exert myself if I feel like I don’t have enough food. Keeping a larabar in my soccer bag or for after OrangeTheory made all the difference and prevented me from stopping for something quick.
- Salsa is a good makeshift salad dressing. It’s far easier to find a whole30 compliant salsa in Canada than it is to find a whole30 salad dressing. I opted for salsa a few times and it was quite tasty.
- There’s finally a breakfast meat that is whole30 compliant in Canada! I’m so grateful Maple Leaf came out with this all natural 25% reduced sodium bacon that has absolutely no added sugar! It is the only breakfast meat I can find in Canada that is whole30 compliant. Literally every other sausage, bacon, pea meal bacon has added sugar or crap in it. I ate so much bacon in these 90 days and I’ve never felt healthier.
- It’s easier to adapt recipes to be whole and natural than you would think. Take for example my mango curry chicken. We used to use the VH Mango Curry sauce that is loaded with crap. Now, I make the exact same dish with a bag of frozen mangos, a tablespoon or two of curry powder and a can of coconut milk. I’d argue the whole version tastes significantly better!
- People are more willing to support you than you could imagine. Make sure you talk to your people about what you’re doing. Help them understand. I may have the best family in the world, but they accommodated my diet restrictions and adjusted our entire Christmas dinner. My brother quite often ensured our Sunday dinners were whole30 for me. Mathew has been so willing to eat what I prepare. The only adjustments I made is he gets pasta if I have zucchini noodles, or actual rice if I’m eating cauliflower rice.
- It’s important to follow the program, but living life always wins in the end. In times where life happens, BE KIND to yourself! There were a few times where the oil at a restaurant was probably not going to be compliant. I could either get caught up in this and throw my whole90 out the window, or recognize that my boyfriend’s boss is only going to retire once (hopefully!). It’s more important to share that moment with my people than it is to beat myself up about the fact my vegetables were probably cooked in an oil blend. Does this mean I didn’t do a whole90? Absolutely not. I firmly believe I achieved my goal – not to mention I’ve never been healthier, more muscular, and I’m back to my weight I was when when I was 22. The key is to save this mentality for unavoidable times and changing your lifestyle to complement your eating habits.
Overall, I am so proud of myself for sticking it out for 90 days. I’m so happy with my body, how I look, but more importantly how I feel. The added consciousness of what I’m consuming and how it affects me has changed my life. I believe the 90 days led to a true lifestyle change, not just a 30 day experiment. I’m excited to splurge once in a blue moon, but I’m pretty sure this way of eating is here to stay! Stay tuned and I’ll share some of my favourite whole30 meals.
Have you ever completed a whole30? What’s your must-share tip or recipe?