My Last Week of Whole30… with Before & After Pics!

Smoked meat sammy from Andrew Zimmern's Canteen = best new food at the park (so I hear). Strip away the bun, chips & sauce and you might almost have something Whole30 approved!
Smoked meat sammy from Andrew Zimmern’s Canteen = best new food at the park (so I hear). Strip away the bun, chips & sauce and you might almost have something Whole30 approved!

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.

Josh & Patsy, kickin' it along the mighty Mississip!
Josh & Patsy, kickin’ it along the mighty Mississip!

2. The MN Twins home opener (aka my favorite holiday).

Buy me some peanuts and Crackerja... wait, no. How 'bout a water and a pickle?
Buy me some peanuts and Crackerja… wait, no. How ’bout a water and a pickle?

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.

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:

Whole30 Results!

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.

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):

Whole30: Day 1 vs Day 31... taken in a mirror with some serious patina. That's what you get when you live in 120-year-old house.
Whole30: Day 1 vs Day 31… taken in a mirror with some serious patina. That’s what you get when you live in 120-year-old house.

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.

Whole30: Day 1 vs Day 31
Whole30: Day 1 vs Day 31

New rug, same cat, and baby don’t got back.

Whole30: Day 1 vs Day 31
Whole30: Day 1 vs Day 31

And here’s the last in my selfie bonanza! Different lighting, but I’d say my cheeks slimmed out a bit.

Whole30: Day 1 vs Day 31
Whole30: Day 1 vs Day 31

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.

Pre-Whole30 vs Post-Whole30
Pre-Whole30 vs Post-Whole30

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.

Ms. Liz and Ms Patsy.
Ms. Liz and Ms Patsy.

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!

Liz on Day 1 vs Day 31... check out those looooong legs!
Liz on Day 1 vs Day 31… check out those looooong legs!
Day 1 vs Day 31... and she even made her bed for the photo opp. 
Day 1 vs Day 31… and she even made her bed for the photo opp.

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.

Watch this on mute. 
Watch this on mute.
Kev on Day 1 v Day 31... guess the fountain of youth is on the other side of the river. 
Kev on Day 1 v Day 31… guess the fountain of youth is on the other side of the river.

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.

Clearly taken before the Badgers BARELY lost that game to stupid Kentucky. Dang.
Clearly taken before the Badgers BARELY lost that game to stupid Kentucky. Dang.

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.

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Comments (8)

  • Katie 7 years ago Reply

    That is very inspiring and motivating!!! Thank you for (wo)maning up and sharing your photos… You are braver then I! Congrats on completing and I’m so glad your stomach issues are gone. I have a friend who went through the same thing!

    molly mogren 7 years ago Reply

    I’m still kinda like EEEEEEEEEK! about the photos. I figure if that’s the kind of thing I want to see, I better woman up and share my pics. I do wish I would’ve worn bike shorts though… my friend Liz is one smart cookie. mmmm.. cookies… (just kidding).

  • Heather Wiggins Berger 7 years ago Reply

    Thanks for sharing. So great that you were tummy trouble-free for the duration! Looking forward to reading more about the issues you identified through your Whole30 Challenge. (I’ve been contemplating following the diet for the past year or so b/c of some similar issues… Time to (wo)man up, obviously!) ~ Heather in Seattle (former Uptown resident)

    molly mogren 7 years ago Reply

    Thanks Heather! Woman up & keep me posted!

  • marge 7 years ago Reply

    As a clarification – it was actually Jillian Michael’s equally obnoxiously named Ripped in 30 that kept me busy. Which you would know if I had the foresight to take before/afters of my biceps…excuse me, where’s the weight room?!

    Ps. I guess I can’t hate her that much, her vids are pretty great. Just go ahead and hit mute and turn on some tunes.

    molly mogren 7 years ago Reply

    Sorry, Mags.. i thought all Jillian MIchaels videos were the same.

  • Jeanette 7 years ago Reply

    OK, So my Manager and I have decided to embark on Whole 30 on May 1. Throwing a toddler into the mix is going to be a real challenge, because she’s picky and I I can’t deprive her of her much-needed fats, so there will still be lots of cheese in my fridge.

    I’m so stranger to 30-day food challenges (30 vegan, etc,) but I’ve been struggling with this one because of the economic implications of eating more meat than we would typically ever eat, and the ethical implications of racking up food miles. I know, I know. Overthinking way too much.

    molly mogren 7 years ago Reply

    Hey Jeanette! Totally get where you are coming from. I will say a did end up eating a TON of healthy fats on W30 & maybe the kid will like those (avocado, coconut oil & milk, etc). And just put the cheese where you can’t see it every time you open the fridge.

    I know this isn’t a really "easy" or "cheap" solution, but Josh and i bought a 1/8 of a cow last fall… which is A LOT of meat We also have a Costco membership, which saved us a lot on meat and veggies (and it’s not all factory-farmed stuff, either). You can check out other protein CSAs, which can be spendy (but more ethical). We get our eggs for cheap from a coworker of his (hobby chicken people!), but Costco is another great option for that.

    We spent more money on groceries than normal, but A) we hardly threw anything away (you’re going through veggies so quickly that things don’t have the time to go bad). Also, I only had 5 meals out during the entire month and zero drinks. I think Josh and I probably spent, on avg., $12-15/day each on food. BUT it was all delicious, healthy stuff.

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