It's funny to think that I almost had a panic attack on Day One of the Whole30... because on Day 31, I also almost had a panic attack. Though I missed my beloved cream + coffee combo, wine and being able to really enjoy restaurants, that was about it. I didn't want to go back, even considering we had two special occasions during our last seven days:
1. The beyonce's 31st B-Day.
2. The MN Twins home opener (aka my favorite holiday).
Instead of celebrating the bey's birthday with pizza and beer, we went to the dog park and grilled up some steaks at home (also, soda water in a champagne flute... it's not really cheating, right?). And as a gal who literally thinks a beer, hot dog and peanuts at a baseball game is the perfect meal, opting for a soda water and a Kramarczuk's brat (no bun, extra 'kraut & mustard) was no big thang.
By the last week of Whole30, I was on culinary cruise control.
Not only that, but I realized I'd only taken Advil once (lady issues. Sorry y'all, TMI) and my former best pal Pepto Bismol stayed in the corner of my medicine cabinet all month long. I only had one bathroom emergency (on day one after eating too many raw veggies for lunch... whoops!). And those upset stomachs that used to leave me rolling around my kitchen floor, clutching my belly as though I'd been shot in some sort of Quentin Tarantino movie? Gone. Really. A lifetime of digestion issues obliterated in just over four weeks.
Well, shoot. Looks like I have a food allergy.
Since the week or two following Whole30 is all about delving into said food intolerances, I'll leave that update for later. But let's focus on what you really want to know:
I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I'd show all of my result pics. I mean, who really wants to put [unflattering] photos of themselves in a sports bra and bikini bottoms on the internet? I decided to be a grown-ass woman and just do it. After all, is there anything more satisfying than a good ol' fashioned before & after photo? I don't think so. And since I love looking at people's before and after pics, I thought I'd throw some of my own skin in the game, quite literally. (Sharing these photos = scary thing #191!)
Here's the most dramatic photo comparing Day One with Day 31... shot in my very patinated mirror (and PS I am in a sports bra and swimsuit bottoms, just so ya know):
I KNOW!!!! I remember taking the photo on Day One and thinking, "Hey, I don't even look so bad!" But holy crap. Where did my belly and butt go? The beyonce accused me of sucking in. I didn't! Really!
This next one has less of a BOOM! factor (and both rather unflattering), but still notable. Also, check out my awesome bruise from Day One. That's what happens when you don't really do a clean & jerk properly.
New rug, same cat, and baby don't got back.
And here's the last in my selfie bonanza! Different lighting, but I'd say my cheeks slimmed out a bit.
In total, I lost 5 pounds-- which I think is great, though to me, the photos tell a more complete story. I definitely look firmer, so I think there was some fat replaced with muscle. I also measured my arms/thighs/bust/waist/hips and lost about 5.5 inches (mostly boobic inches. Figures.) I think the take home point here is eating healthier = looking healthier.
But most importantly, I am feeling healthier. Aside from the aforementioned tummy issues squashed, I also feel more well-rested. I did three Crossfit workouts at Rx (which means as prescribed aka "without modifications." Before, this I'd never done any at Rx). My energy does seem to be steadier and I'm really not craving junk food like I used to. All in all, super psyched that I stuck with this Whole30 business.
As for my Whole30 compadres... Well, they threw up some pretty impressive numbers, too.
Joshy // My beyonce // Whole30-completer.
Josh mostly did the Whole30 to support me & see if he could do it. I can tell you that this guy really missed cracking a beer on Fridays after work (and pizza). But he stuck with it. Over the course of the month, he lost about 10 pounds. His six-pack is back in action. And those teeth? Yeah, they're just always that perfect.
He's mentioned multiple times that he wants to continue eating Whole30-style at home (which hopefully means Whole30 leftovers at work). He also said he thinks eating fruit with nut butter is just as good as eating a candy bar, which is sort of just swapping one form of sugar for another... but fruit is SO much better for your than say, a Snickers bar. So bravo, Joshy!
Liz // Dog Whisperer // Whole30-Completer.
Pre-Whole30, Liz had waistline threesies stacked against her. First of all, this frigid winter kept just about every Minnesotan from getting adequate exercise for the last six months. We had two months that barely ventured out of the negative digits! However, Liz was also in a new relationship (why falling in lurve makes you gain lbs, the world will never know) AND her boyf severely broke his ankle slipping on the ice in January. He was mostly bound to the couch for weeks, which meant lots of time catching up with Coach & Tammy Taylor... plus pizza, obviously.
Over the past month, Liz not only lost 10 pounds (and is still shredding, I think), but learned that she likes cooking and is even good at it. With a mix of healthy eatin' & lots of yoga, the pounds literally melted off this gal. And can we just give her a Hey Eleanor round of applause for saying I could publish her amazing before & after pics? I am jealous that I didn't think to go bike shorts for my photo. Dammit!
Margie & Kev // St Paulites //Whole30 Completers.
Margie and Kev had different Whole30 goals.
The Magster, for example, didn't need to lose an ounce of anything. She's one of those naturally thin kinds of people. However, she did want to gain some muscle mass, pairing her Whole30 with Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workout. Margie explains, "I didn't lose any weight, but that was the plan. I DID gain some major muscles in my arms and legs...I think though maybe I replaced weight, cause the scale reads the same. Totally happy with that and will continue my weight lifting at home with Jillian Michaels (whom i learned to HATE, so there is that). Also - I'm taking time to eat breakfast and just love it. Calms me down, reduces my rushing in the morning - it's so good. Never gonna stop."
For those of you who also don't really dig Jillian Michaels' personality, but like her workouts, Margie's advice = watch it the first time with sound, then mute after that.
Kev, on the other hand, did want to drop a few lbs. As a medical salesguy, Kev spends lots of time in his car. This meant he had to swap out big-ass subs for a cooler jammed with homemade, Whole30-approved goodies. As of press time, Kev is down 14 lbs. Turns out, he didn't even really miss dairy (with the exception of occasional cheese) and isn't really planning on reintroducing it. He's still eating mostly Whole30 and apparently had one or two beers over the weekend, followed by some sort of herbal tea (!). Who'd a thunk?
I should also mention that Kev has a mild case of insomnia (& has for years). Through this thirty-day exercise, he started going to bed earlier and also sleeping continuously through the night. He's still waking up for the day at an ungodly hour (4 am, whereas he'd prefer to sleep until 6-something am), but no more waking in the middle of the night. Notable!
Hilary // Still Sad About the Badgers Final Four Performance // Whole30-Completer.
On the last day of our Whole30, Hilary came over to my place for dinner. She was bummed because she knew she hadn't lost any weight. She hadn't stepped on a scale to check, but she just "knew" and wasn't even going to weigh herself to compare her before and after. I said that's BULL! Two days later, I get this email from her:
"So Thursday morning I went to [my boyfriend's] to weigh myself and lo and behold, you were right, I lost about 9, maybe 10 pounds. That is even after eating a bomb dinner (TJ's rack of lamb on the grill!!) and a bunch of ice cream Wednesday... Today, I had a mixed drink at Icehouse and I got a killer sugar headache almost immediately. This is telling to me, so I am going to be more careful about unnecessary sugars, may be my biggest takeaway from Whole30 - I do not need all that sugar! Surprisingly haven't been craving candy at all, haven't broken into my Twizzlers yet. WTF!"
Between the six of us, we lost almost 50 pounds in 30 days.
That was about what I had expected. Some unintended consequences? I can't speak for everyone, but I know I saved money by not eating at restaurants and not buying beer/wine. I won't name names, but at least one person in our group quit smoking (!) without even giving much thought to it. Many of us now find Whole30-approved foods comforting... for example, if we're feeling bad, we'll now turn to something healthy (instead of ice cream or a burger) to help make us feel better. We proved to each other that social gatherings don't need to be built around drinking. And having a potluck at someone's house is just as fun as meeting for HH at a bar.
Oh, and did you know you could lose weight while literally stuffing your face with amazing, delicious and satisfying food? I didn't believe it until I tried it. It's possible AND doable.