Well, it is August, so it is obvious our July Whole30 is over by now. But I have to be honest and tell you that we did not end up completing a full 30 days on the program after all. It was a decision I hated making, but it had to be done. So technically, we failed at doing the Whole30 plan, but I still feel it was a success in many ways because of the things we learned and accomplished during the time we were on it! Let me explain why we had to quit ahead of schedule, and then talk about our successes!
First off, I knew at the beginning of the month that eating this way might not work out on our grocery budget. We have been trying to pay down our debts a la Dave Ramsey’s methods, so we have cut back our spending across the board over the last several months. Trying to feed three hungry people healthy, whole foods while excluding less expensive options like grains and legumes is very tricky on a shoestring budget. So, when we still had a whole week left, and I had only $4 left for food, I knew something would have to give. We decided the most cost-effective, sensible thing to do was add gluten-free grains back into our diet so that we could stretch our meals more with baked goods, rice, gluten-free pasta and the like.
Second, we all felt like we were starving! As I mentioned before, we did not start the Whole30 with the intention to lose weight. But we all did anyway, including our 4 year old (as I explained in my last post)! I really did not have enough food in the house for us to do as many full template meals as we all needed, so we were all feeling hungry all the time. It was draining me and my husband. We both started feeling really weak and tired and run down by the end of the third week, when we knew we should be feeling great! So, after discussing it, we decided that at this time, we needed to add in more foods so that we could regain our strength. That first bowl of peanut butter oatmeal I had tasted anazing and instantly helped me feel so much better.
Even though we didn’t finish a full 30 days, we did notice differences from eating a healthier diet, and we do plan to keep some of these new habits going. First, we did lose weight, as I said before. I lost 5 lbs. in 22 days, which is pretty quick for me. Of course, since I am breastfeeding, I was burning lots of extra calories, which is a big part of why I was hungry all the time. Second, I was able to beat back my sugar dragon significantly. I no longer feel strong cravings for sweet snacks all the time, and when I do want something a bit sweet, fruit usually satisfies me quite well! My son has also stopped asking for sweet treats after dinner and will happily down an extra helping of vegetables instead–WIN! Third, my husband’s skin is clearing up at last! Yay! After doing some added research, we think that sugar and dairy may both be triggers for him, so he plans to continue avoiding both. He has a new skin care routine that seems to be working well in addition to the dietary changes, so we hope to see even more improvement as he sticks with it.
Since we did already try adding grains back into our diet, I should add our experience with that. Yes, we were able to feel more satisfied after meals that included some grains. We did, however, also notice some negative side effects, both in slowed digestion and bowel movements and in looking bloated (even though we did not feel it.) My belly had really gotten fairly flat for having not been faithfully working on restoring my post-baby tummy muscles like I should be, but after just a few servings of grains, my stomach started pooching out again. Soooooo, we have decided to cut the grains out again for as long as we can and are adding legumes back into our diet instead. We will see if those have the same effect or if we tolerate them better. I hope so! I have tried really hard to make an affordable menu for the month in which we will repeat each meal once, so I was able to calculate approximately how much we would spend on groceries ahead of time. It might work, if we are very careful! Wish us luck!
How about you? I know some new folks have started following my blog since I posted about our Whole30 journey, so if you have just completed your as well, or if you are just getting started, I would love to hear from you in the comments!