Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Whole30 Recap - Part 1: The Good, The Bad & The Weight Loss

Picture this scene in my kitchen this morning: me, dancing around the kitchen holding a tub of greek yogurt, singing "Reunited and it feels so goooood". Yeah, Shaun thought I'd lost it. What can I say, DAIRY I HAVE MISSED YOU.

Anyway! On to the recap I promised. I've talked on and off during the past thirty days about some of the benefits I've been experiencing on the Whole30, as well as some of the negative aspects, so I thought it would be worthwhile to do it all in just one big post.

Weight Loss

First, let's get the weight out the way, shall we? I did this program for a lot of reasons, but obviously weight loss was a big part of it.

Starting weight: 221.6 lbs
End weight: 210.6 lbs

That's a loss of exactly 11 lbs! I'm pretty pleased with that. Especially when you consider that I spent the month eating avocados, ghee, full-fat coconut milk, beef, and all sorts of other stuff you typically have to avoid on 'diets'. Yup, very happy indeed.

Also, I don't know if I'm imagining this or not, but I SWEAR I have less cellulite, especially in my, um, butt area and the backs of my thighs. They do say that cellulite has a lot to do with diet and hormones and such, so I actually wouldn't be surprised. In any case, I really believe that the weight I lost is basically ALL FAT, which is great. I definitely don't think I lost any muscle at all, and in fact, I think I've gained some.

The Good

I'd say the single greatest benefit I've gotten from doing the Whole30 is that it has freed me from food addiction. Or proven to me that I never had one to begin with. It's shown me that my relationship with food doesn't have to be hard. It's not destined to be anxious and desperate and demanding and co-dependent. Under all that sugar and flour, it turns out I'm actually a totally normal human being.


In a weird way, this has been hard to process. I think I'm still processing it. It's such a fundamental shift in how I view myself. It's like finding out you're adopted -- errrr, sort of.  What I mean is, things I thought to be huge, basic, undeniable truths about my life -- turned out to not be true at all, but just a side effect of the food I was eating. That's a mindfuck right there, is what that is.

My mood is also very consistent now. I think this is also related to the 'sugar and carb fog' that I didn't even realize I was in. It's hard to explain -- but I feel MUCH more happy and focused these days. Not small-time focus, like it's easier to do math in my head or whatever -- but BIG-TIME focus, like suddenly all my goals and dreams seem crystal clear and it feels easy and important to pursue them. That sounds super cheesy, I know. Trust me, I KNOW. But it's how I feel -- happy, clear, and like I GET IT NOW.

Priceless. Truly.

The other big benefit is energy. I do feel much better throughout the day. I've totally cut out my afternoon coffee and don't get ANY kind of mid-afternoon slump anymore. Or ever, really. My energy is pretty much consistent right through the whole day. Even when on nights when I don't sleep well (I'll get to that in a second), I feel like I have a pretty normal level of energy through the day. In fact, a couple times I've FORGOTTEN through the day that I slept poorly the night before, that's how little it was affecting my day. No more having to mainline caffeine on those days.

The Bad

Restless Leg Syndrom. Ever hear of it? I hadn't, until I started experiencing it over the past little while. WOW what a pain in the ass.

Restless leg syndrom typically comes on at night, or when you're relaxing. You get these strange feelings in your legs and feet that you HAVE to move them. You can't control it - it's like a sneeze or a cough. You can try to fight it, but you'll only last a few seconds before it just happens anyway. When I lie in bed, my legs start to feel like I have to move them. I have to flex or stretch or shift. I'll just be lying there and suddenly I HAVE to flex my foot. Or hitch up my leg. Or stretch out my thigh. It happens about every 45-60 seconds. You can't fall asleep like this. Your partner can't fall asleep like this. (Your dog seems to be fine, though.) It's not happening to me every night, but when it does it's pretty miserable. The only way I can find to get to asleep is to constantly jiggle my leg until I drift off. Real fun for everyone.

The weird thing is that Whole30 is supposed to be something that actually HELPS people with RLS. It shouldn't bring it on. So I had to do a lot of reading and looking for answers. The most plausible thing I've come up with is a magnesium deficiency.

A lot of my symptoms match with a magnesium deficiency. In fact, all the other things I was going to mention as negative side effects to my Whole30 all seem to fall under that list: muscle weakness, constipation, occasional dizziness. So I'm really hopeful that's my problem. In fact, in my research, I realized that It Starts With Food actually recommends taking a magnesium supplement. I just started taking one on Monday, so fingers crossed that it helps. 

The Neutral

Going into this I had a few things that I thought the Whole30 might help clear up. I've had a stuffy nose for, oh, about 5 years now, and I thought giving up dairy might help with that. But no go. In fact, the last two weeks, my stuffiness has been worse (though I'm wondering if that's just seasonal allergies.) ALTHOUGH today after my yogurt I felt far worse again, so I'm wondering if the dairy may exacerbate existing allergies. Going to play around with this and see how it goes. 

I also hoped that my PMS symptoms might improve. My mood-related symptoms seemed better, but my cramps were just as bad as always. (I get cramps so bad that I'll throw up or pass out from the pain. I have to take prescription medication for it.) I realize that curing this, if it's even possible, is something that may take a lot more time. But I just thought it was worth mentioning. 


Tomorrow I'm going to post Part 2 of my recap, where I detail my weight loss a little more, and talk more specifically about what I ate (in what quantities, carb-fat-protein ratios, etc.) and what I found I had to tweak as I went along. It'll be pretty nitty-gritty, but useful to record, I think. 

I'm happy to answer any questions anyone might have about the Whole30 (as best as I can) or my experience with it. Would you ever consider doing this challenge? I'm glad I did it, but I'm also glad it's over! :) 


  1. Woman. I've been following all of your posts (in fact, you made me crave green curry so I finally made it last night) and you now have me considering trying this. Somewhat for the weight loss, but more because of the energy. I'm constantly exhausted and I shouldn't be...I work at home and can sleep in every damn day. I am starting a new job (so ya, two jobs for me) and I'm super concerned about that mid-afternoon slump. I'm intrigued to try this to see if it works for me!

    1. Ha! Glad the green curry inspired you. :) I looove thai curries.

      I think the program is worth trying. It doesn't work for anyone, but it's kind of amazing how many people find it solving problems they didn't even know were food-related. (Skin conditions, stomach issues, all kinds of things.) Let me know if you ever decide to do it!

  2. I admire you for sticking with something for that long! I know I couldn't live without dairy for 30 days.
    How did you get through the difficult times? What was your thought process to get through the obstacles if you had any?

    1. Thank you! You know what, in all honesty, it wasn't that hard. I thought I would have a lot of cravings and it would take a lot of will power, but it really didn't. After the first week I found it pretty easy.

      There were a few moments that were hard -- like when we went to a baseball game and everyone got Dairy Queen blizzards -- but I just thought of the blog and how I didn't want to admit I'd screwed up! :)

  3. This is so awesome and I'm so glad that you're still learning, that its not "over". And I love that this was about changing major thoughts and habits and not just about losing the 11 lbs. I am so happy for you!

    1. Thank you! And yes, I think it was totally about the habits. Hopefully I can stick with my new good habits now!

  4. You are amazing for completing this challenge! I think it is something I would love to do too one day - it would be nice to have more energy and less cellulite!

    I used to have cramps like yours - I couldn't even take a painkiller as I would throw it up too - they only improved after I had babies - that's a pretty drastic fix!!

    1. Aw, thank you!

      And yes, my doctor thought having kids might help also -- bit more radical than I'm prepared for at the moment! Lol

  5. How great to lose 11 pounds sensibly! Also great is your discovery of your food non-addiction. (I understand what you mean though; my food habits seem like genetic facts, like I got the "sweet tooth" gene).

    RLS is not good; M. Hubby has it. I hope the magnesium helps.

    And finally, I do have a question about the Whole 30. This is just idle curiosity. Why don't they want you to eat peanuts? I've never heard of a diet that restricted peanuts except for those low fat diets of several decades ago.

    1. Thanks Julie! :)

      The peanuts are cut out for the same reason legumes are cut out. Supposedly they have something in them called 'lectins' which can be irritating to the gut for some people. Basically the Whole30 works on the premise that foods either make you MORE healthy, or LESS healthy -- there are no neutral foods. And since the Whole30 is supposed to be essentially an elimination diet, they cut out everything that MAY be problematic for people. Personally I don't think I have a problem with peanuts, so I may start eating them again -- except of course it would be SUPER easy to go overboard on handfuls of salty delicious peanuts!

  6. I'm on day 2 of the Whole30 and am enjoying reading about your experience. I am an emotional eater and love me some sugar!

    1. Thanks Rhonda! I hear you on the sugar. :) Good luck with your Whole30! It's a great experience!

  7. Just came across your post and it's so strange to read it because my husband and I are on day 16 of Whole30 and he just started experiencing RLS type issues. Did you find adding the magnesium helped?

  8. I\m on day 5 of Whole30. Feeling good so far. Thanks for the writings :)

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  10. I admire you for sticking with something for that long! I know I couldn't live without dairy for 30 days.