It’s 7:58am on a Saturday morning and I am wide awake.
I blame Whole30.
I don’t even get up at this time during the week for work. I love sleeping as late as possible to wake up and have to get ready in 10 minutes only to show up 5 minutes late anyway. It’s kind of my superpower.
But here I am.. laying in my bed with my laptop.. WIDE. AWAKE.
Today is day 30 of my whole30 and I have so much natural energy, it makes me angry because I’m awake at (now) 8:01am on one of my days to sleep in. But the anger doesn’t last long.
For those of you reading who don’t know what whole30 is.. http://whole30.com/step-one/ ..read that. I’ll give you a minute.
Great! Now that you’re familiar with the program, you’ll understand the rest of this post.
A good friend of mine asked me a few months ago if I wanted to do whole30 with her. I like a good challenge, and our church wide fast was coming up in January, so I said yes. Our Church wide fast (not the kind where you eat nothing, just the kind where you choose your fast) only lasts 21 days, so I knew mine would need to start early and would end a little later. Spiritually, this has been an incredible month and a 30-day fast was perfect for the season I am with the Lord! It was also a good month for whole30 because I didn’t really have any ‘big’ celebrations that I would run into. (Whole30 people suggest you plan your whole30 around a time you wouldn’t have any big life celebrations). I’d eaten paleo before, so this wasn’t a massive stretch for me, and I’ll be honest, I was super excited about what this could mean for me in terms of weight loss.
Because can we all be honest with each other here for a minute? I’m not exactly the smallest girl around. I’m 5’2″ but my weight doesn’t match my height. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that.
Mom and I in October after a 5k in Philly.
New Years Eve Photo Booth with a couple of my girls.
As you can see, I did my best in my photos to hide my body, but kind of hard to hide it. And can I just be vulnerable with y’all?
Beyond the fact that I wasn’t an ideal size… I FELT gross. Like.. all the time. I felt like a fat girl. I don’t know how else to describe that, and it may not make sense to some of you readers, but I felt my size and I hated it. I’ve learned to love myself and love this temple, through years of loving Jesus and asking him to help me, but I knew there had to be something better than what I was experiencing. And whole30 was like, “Let us help you fix it!” So I was like, “Okay.”
One more note on the Jesus thing (for you non-spiritual folk, stick with me here): 1 Chronicles 28:10 says, “Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” I read this in December some time and it occurred to me that pre-Jesus and pre-Holy Spirit, God’s people built a physical space for Him to reside. Now He resides in us. WE are the ones God chose to live in and that means 1 Chronicles 28:10 applies to me. “Be strong and do the work.” I realized that the Lord chose me to build THIS house (my body) as a sanctuary for God to live. And this temple, this dwelling place should be in it’s tip top condition for the only one who is worthy and it was time to whip my butt into gear and “be strong” and DO. THE. WORK”
So I started January 2nd, and here I am 30 days later to tell you these things about my experience in no particular order:
1. My desire for dark chocolate and tortilla chips never went away. The CRAVING went away, but most people say by the time they got to day 30, they found they didn’t want any non-compliant foods. Not this girl. I’m really excited to eat chocolate. (I think some would say that means I should keep eating whole30 compliant til it goes away, but I’m going to pass on that one.. sorry whole30 police).
2. I did not realize how many things I cannot read on ingredient labels. I was trying to find beef broth for the most amazing chili recipe in the whole world that didn’t contain sugar or added MSG or whatever… I looked everywhere. (Except Whole Foods, because who has a budget for that place?) Okay so I looked everywhere I could afford. BEEF BROTH. It was madness. But mostly it’s kind of gross. All that crap and stuff I can’t pronounce going into my body? Kinda weirds me out. But it didn’t before. and it does now.
3. I learned that it is possible to eat healthy on a budget. Can I tell you what frustrates me? People saying they can’t eat healthy because they can’t afford it. If you want- I will lay out my grocery list for you and how much each item costs. Because I write those things down. I spend less than $70 every TWO WEEKS on groceries. I spend between $20-$35 a week on my groceries. Because I feed one person. And I believe in leftovers and getting the most bang for my buck. How do I do this? Easy.
A. Farmers markets -All my veggies and (sometimes other random items) I buy at a farmers market. Not one of those awesome, European style, outdoor markets that make you feel like you all fancy; but a really sketchy, some people have told me not to go there alone, one time someone started speaking to me in spanish, cheap, nearby farmers market. Anything else is highway robbery.
B. SALES – If pork isn’t on sale. Don’t buy it. If chicken drums are on sale this week, buy those and plan all your meals around it. I use about half my budget on veggies and the other half on meat and fruit. If you like strawberries, but they aren’t on sale, don’t buy them! Buy the kiwi and wait til next week! Also- don’t go to just one store. Yes it’s exhausting, but if you’re single, let’s be honest, what else do you have to do with your time!? I work a full time job, I have 2 small groups, I’m training for a half marathon, I have a regular babysitting gig, and I’m trying to maintain a social life. And I STILL find time to make it to like 3 or 4 grocery stores to find the best deal.
Don’t tell me you can’t afford to eat healthy. That is an excuse.
4. Speaking of excuses. For all you nay-sayers out there telling me you can’t give up bread because you love it so much and you ‘just can’t’
Yes you can. “I can’t” is an excuse. One that I learned that I love to use. “I can’t resist this 2nd brownie because I LOVE BROWNIES. BROWNIE MONSTER” or “I can’t skip dessert! It’s the best part!” or “I can’t say no to the bread on the table.. I don’t wanna hurt it’s feelings.”
Turns out I can. Because I did. For 30 days. When you say “I can’t” you’re telling me you have no self control. And I didn’t. I used to not have any. But I learned A LOT of self-control over these last 30 days. And if that’s not something to celebrate, what is?
5. I believe ANYONE could do a whole30. With the right amount of planning, effort, thought, determination, etc… anyone could do whole30.
6. I really love cooking. I knew that before, but this really solidified it. And if I didn’t love cooking, this would be a good way to get into cooking.
7. Larabars are amazing. Sweet potatoes are my best friend. Avocados are a reflection of all that is right in the world. Chicken sausage makes my mouth happy. CASHEW BUTTER IS BAE.
8. If you’re going to do a whole30- search #whole30 on Instagram to keep yourself inspired and motivated.
9. My post-whole30 journey is mine. I’ve been beating myself up the last few days about how I’m going to eat as I go forward, and as much as I like the whole “meats, fruits, veggies” thing- I really enjoy a small handful of non-gluten grains (popcorn, tortilla chips, oatmeal) and I really hate legumes (beans) (except peanut butter, but seriously- cashew butter). I love dark chocolate, but I can live without all the other candy out there. Turns out I can live without potato chips too, and I don’t even miss them. On the fence about bread and dairy, I can live without it, but I like it occasionally. So I’ll be attempting to reintroduce a few things (but not all) and see how my body feels. I keep reading other people’s posts and feeling guilty that I want to add back in certain things. But it’s MY choice. It’s MY journey. It’s MY body. I call the shots on the food. I know I want to be healthy and I want to eat in a way that makes me feel amazing. I don’t feel like I have the answers on what exactly that means for me yet, but I intend to find them. I just have to keep reminding myself that discovery is okay.
10. I learned about something called a “non-scale” victory. Hadn’t heard of these before, but I like them a lot. Here are a few of mine:
–I DROPPED A PANTS SIZE. – I have been the same size since I was a sophomore in college, and I am finally, finally, finally one down. It was my goal to be one size down before my birthday (March 1st), but it happened way sooner!!! This was my biggest and most favorite non-scale victory.
-All of my clothes just fit better. Or are so baggy it’s annoying. But I can deal with that annoyance.
-I have tons of energy without caffeine. I used to get so tired around 2pm that I was almost useless. I was sluggish and lethargic, and I have had so much energy from the time I wake up for 12+ hours. It’s pretty amazing. Although, it has really cut in on my sleeping in time. But I’ll get over that.
-My nails have been growing faster. Wasn’t expecting that. They’re probably a little stronger than they were too. But mostly I’m noticing how fast they grow.
-2nd biggest non-scale victory: I just don’t feel like that fat girl anymore. I know I still look big for my height, but you know what? I don’t FEEL it. I still have a long way to go and I know that, and I know this is a journey, this is a process. But I FEEL AMAZING. Seriously. I kind of don’t care about any of the other victories… because I just feel awesome. Whole30 helped me take the first step towards feeling this way and starting the process of being the healthiest me.
Me looking all fly on day 26.
Who doesn’t love a good bathroom selfie? Why did I take this picture like I was a 8th grade girl on day 27? Because neither those pants nor that shirt fit me a month ago. VICTORY.
Me on day 28 in my “dropped size” pants with my great friend Shawn who celebrated my win with me!
Me and some of the amazing people who serve at our church on day 29. I think what shocks me the most about this photo is how thin my face looks. Non-scale victory indeed.
So there it is. A few things I learned/experienced on the whole30.
Some of you might be curious about “the numbers” – I was too. I can’t say I’m confident enough to share my “day 1” numbers, but I thought I’d share my “day 30” numbers. I considered waiting til tomorrow to weigh myself and do measurements, but to each his own, right?
Pounds lost: 10
Inches lost on waist: 2.5″
Inches lost on hips: 2″
I sort of feel like the numbers don’t reflect what the pictures show. Which is amazing to me.
That’s my whole30 experience as best as I could sum it up. You know what’s crazy? I’m already planning my next one for June. You should let me know if you’re interested 😉 we could be whole30 buddies!
For those of you interested in what I ate while I was on whole30… please continue with this post. For those of you who just wanted to hear about my experience… there it is. Happy day 30 to me and happy normal day for you!
By request, I’m posting everything I ate for 30 days.
B – Breakfast salad + sausage [I made a whole bunch of small sausage patties from alb of ground turkey that I used throughout the week]
L – Mayo free tuna salad [it was gross] ( )+ Hard Boiled Egg
D – Spaghetti Squash [one of my comfort foods!]
B- Fried eggs + sausage
L – I have no idea- apparently I didn’t write it down. Good job, Liz.
D – Leftover Spaghetti squash
Post-workout: “Cereal” (raisins, cashews, bananas, almond milk)
B- “Cereal” + sausage
L- Leftover Spaghetti Squash
D – 2 sweet potatoes. (This seems unrealistic. I definitely ate more, I just didn’t write it down.)
B – Fried eggs + sausage + fruit
L – Stuffed sweet potatoes [These were AMAZING]
D – Broccoli + Chicken w/ rosemary and oranges [This chicken was so so so yummy]
Picture of lunch:
B – Sausage + Banana
L – Leftover stuffed sweet potatoes
D – Leftover spaghetti squash [this stuff seriously lasted forever and I loved every minute of it]
B-Breakfast salad [see day 1]
L-Leftover rosemary chicken shredded into spinach salad with fruit/nuts [no dressing because I forgot it, but the strawberries were juicy enough to make it not too dry!]
D- Chicken salad [I made homemade mayo (see recipe below), shredded my leftover rosemary chicken, and added almonds, grapes and celery. It was yummy!] on a bed of lettuce
B – “Cereal” [Almonds instead of cashews]
L – Leftover chicken salad on a bed of lettuce
D – Easy Weeknight Chicken [super delicious] + Carrots [frozen carrots sautéed in a pan with coconut oil and some salt and pepper] + Grapes + Hard boiled egg
B -Breakfast salad [Yes, it was still good from Day 1, and I added more fresh ingredients]
L- Leftover easy weeknight chicken + banana and almond butter + HBE
D – Tuna salad [homemade mayo, garlic powder, onion powder], half a sweet potato [cooked in the microwave until soft] + spinach salad [such a simple but satisfying meal!]
Picture of dinner:
B – Banana + sausage
L – Sweet potato puffs. [Not super delicious]
D – Leftover chicken + smoothie [Spinach, almond milk, 2 or 3 random fruits]
B – Sausage + leftover SP puffs
L- homemade burger [in a skillet] + SP [cut into chunks and roasted in a pan w/ coconut oil and sea salt – YUM] + avocado
D – Burger + smoothie [Spinach, almond milk, random fruit]
B – banana
L – Whole Foods salad bar [So random, but the best choice I made on this salad was the pineapple I put on it. Surprising mix of flavors]
D – leftover Whole foods salad [sometimes it’s nice to let others cook for you]
Picture of lunch/dinner:
B – Sausage
L – 1/2 burger + 1/2 avacado + 1/2 orange
D – Salmon + carrots + Sweet potato chunks
B – Grapes + HBE
Snack: Apples + almond butter
L – Spaghetti Squash [someone else made lunch for me on this day! Thank you, Marisol!]
D – Chicken Sausage [I got Applegate brand from Whole Foods] + mashed potatoes [I did my own spin, but it was inspired by the recipe below — another one of my comfort foods!! SO DELICIOUS]
B – Banana + “cereal” [almonds, fruit, almond milk]
L – Leftover mashed SP + chicken sausage
D – Cracklin’ chicken [this felt like cheating. it was AMAZING] + broccoli
B – Banana + “cereal”
L – Moes [I was as compliant as I could be!]
D – Chicken Sausage + fried egg + Smoothie [spinach, almond milk, fruit]
B – SP hash [made up my own recipe]
L – Chicken Sausage + SP chunks + bell pepper
D – Chicken w/ avocado cream sauce
B – SP hash leftovers
L- Leftover chicken w/ avocado cream sauce + 1/2 sweet potato + spinach salad [spinach, nuts, balsamic vinegar]
D – 2 red potatoes, fried egg, assortment of fruits and veggies
B- Banana + Larabar
L – SP Chili [BEST. CHILI. EVER]
D – Dinner at Don Pablos. [Fajita salad w/ steak]
B – Breakfast potatoes
L – Simple rainbow slaw + ginger chicken
D – chili leftovers
B – Breakfast potatoes
L – chili leftovers [seriously, this stuff was life changing]
D – Paleo turkey stuffed peppers + butternut squash [first time trying it- it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t my favorite!] [I didn’t have nutmeg for the recipe- but it was good with the cinnamon and pepper]
Pictures of dinner:
B- leftover breakfast potatoes
L – Leftover stuffed pepper + leftover squash + rainbow slaw
D – Trader Joes Turkey Burger + TJ’s french green beans + red potato
B – Fruit + larabar
L – leftover ginger chicken + red potato
D – Same as day 21 [haha it was yummy!]
B – Twice baked SP [attempted, but didn’t have tons of time so I modified]
L – Didn’t write it down.
D- Balsamic chicken + Balsamic carrots
B- Sweet potato [microwaved until soft] + trader joe’s fruit bar [it was only apple and mango]
L – leftover balsamic chicken
D – Spaghetti squash [I told you I love this stuff]
L – leftover spaghetti squash
D – SP chili over squash noodles
Picture: [I made a big batch of the chili to last me all week for lunch]
B- Larabar + HBE [These last few days, I haven’t been super hungry in the morning and my stomach doesn’t feel great, so a larabar/egg is all I can seem to eat]
L- SP chili over squash noodles
D – TJ’s turkey burger + sp fries + smoothie [spinach, almond milk, random fruit]
B -HBE + fruit + lunch meat [Complaint / from TJ’s]
L – SP chili
D – Turkey Burger + green beans + broccoli + 2 red potatoes [I was really hungry –I had just come back from a workout]
B – HBE + fruit + lunch meat
L – SP chili over squash noodles
D – Chipotle [Steak, lettuce, salsa and guac]
Roomie celebrating with me by counting down!
B – Lunch meat
L – Aidell’s chicken apple sausage + red potato chunks (sautéed in coconut oil)
D – Chicken + kale salad mix + green beans [we had our Dream Team appreciation party- food might have been non-complaint but unfortunately I didn’t cook so I don’t know. I did avoid the rice and bread though!]
Day 30 [on the menu]
B – chicken apple sausage + SP chunks
L – Cheesecake factory (steak and veggies?)
D – whatever I’m in the mood for/is in my fridge 😉