I did it! I actually finished Whole30! More than anything else, I have learned that I can set my mind on something and really do it. There were so many days I wanted to quit and eat a donut (my biggest craving) but I stuck it out. You can bet I gave myself a pat on the back at the end. Now I get to tell you about the last 10 days of this whole experience and share my final tips and tricks!
The last third of my Whole30 was smooth sailing until around Day 26. I was so over it, which probably had to do with Day 26 falling on a weekend. The weekends were the hardest for me, because my husband and I usually eat out at least once. That brings me to my biggest challenge of Whole30: never being able to eat out! I don’t live in a super health-conscious town, so finding restaurants that offered compliant food was nearly impossible. I picked up a Five Guys burger a handful of times, and we went to Cheddar’s once. It was so complicated to order a compliant meal (lemon pepper chicken minus the rice, seasoning, and oil, broccoli with no butter, and a plain baked potato) that it was hardly worth it. That meant I was cooking every single meal! That being said, cooking large batches of food to eat for the week is a huge help. It wasn’t until the last few days that I discovered compliant rotisserie chicken at Kroger, which could give me easy lunch for an entire week without any cooking! Cooking three times a day is really hard, so brainstorm some ways to alleviate all that effort. Plus, my refrigerator looked so organized and healthy with all the veggie-filled Tupperware.
Another thing that made eating out nearly impossible was that I don’t eat salads. Yes, you heard that right—I didn’t eat a single salad on Whole30. I’m not sure if that’s an accomplishment or an embarrassment, but raw veggies just don’t sit well with me. I tend to stay away from all salads to avoid the risk of getting sick; honestly, I don’t even enjoy them enough for it to be worth the risk. So if you don’t like salads, you can still do Whole30! (I used to think it would be impossible.)
Overall, I think the last 10 days of Whole30 were probably the best! I felt the most motivated and accomplished, and I loved being able to see results coming to fruition.
“Oops!” Moment: Okay, I was a little annoyed about this one. I bought a bag of compliant sweet potato chips the first few days of Whole30. I ate them in small batches for the most part, but I will admit it felt similar to my old snacking habits. There was only one time that I was starving and reached for the bag of chips instead of throwing together a small meal—and that was when I finished off the bag. But hey, no shame! For whatever reason, I ended up researching something about Whole30 after that and stumbled upon a new rule from 2017 that made all store bought chips non-compliant. I had literally just finished the bag. I honestly didn’t feel that bad about it since I had no idea the rule existed and the chips were technically compliant. However, I guess this still counts as an “Oops!” Moment since I really did break Whole30 code! Lesson learned is make sure you know all the rules before starting…
- Baked potatoes are still really good without any toppings. Who knew?
- People are really interested in hearing about Whole30 and how it works. It’s a great conversation starter!
- I stand behind any and all desserts, but I can give them up for 30 days (probably not any longer, though).
Spinach Artichoke Twice Baked Potatoes: These are amazing, and my husband agreed! He was grossed out by the words “nutritional yeast,” but he definitely wasn’t complaining after he tried these! We had them as a side, but they would also work as a light meal. They actually tasted cheesy and were just so delicious. They take a little extra effort but it’s totally worth it on a night when you have the time.
Brussel Sprouts: I’m at it again with pretending vegetables are an actual recipe. I know brussel sprouts are nothing new, but they’re just so good! It’s crazy how delicious veggies taste when you give up so many other foods. Toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice, and roast them at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Go a little longer if you want them crispy!
Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: This was one of the many types of stuffed potatoes we made, but they were so easy and really good. Make these on a night that you don’t have much time, but be sure to throw the sweet potatoes in the oven ahead of time or earlier in the day! The recipe made plenty of leftovers for us.
Sautéed Apples & Pears with Coconut Butter: Confession: I made these when I was getting so tired of being on Whole30 and I just wanted something a little bit sweet. They turned out really good! They look like they would be really sweet, but they aren’t so sweet that I’d consider them dessert (not even a Whole30 “dessert”). It’s just a fun way to eat fruit! I ate them with breakfast or lunch for the next few days. They’re still good without the coconut butter, too!
- I slept so well on Whole30. My first night after eating some dairy and sugar, I slept terribly and woke up feeling sick. I totally underestimated the effect that good sleep was having on me!
- I was able to stay focused more easily and felt more motivated to accomplish tasks. After all, I finally got around to starting this blog while on Whole30!
- I actually gained a few pounds since Day 1, which wasn’t a surprise since I had lost so much weight from the flu beforehand. The more important result is the amount of confidence I had. When I eat healthy, I naturally feel more confident! I also felt empowered because I knew I was doing something not everyone has done.
Final Tips & Tricks
- Plan ahead! Everyone says this is their biggest advice, but it really is true. Planning ahead to have leftovers, prepping for busy nights when you won’t have time to cook, or buying everything you need at the grocery store is huge. Do anything you can to simplify cooking, because you’ll do a lot of it!
- Tell several people about your Whole30 before you start. This is the only thing that kept me from quitting at the very beginning!
- Read the book Whole30 Day by Day along the way. It’s so fun to read what you might be feeling each day, and it has some great tips and motivation.
- Limit the LaraBars/RX Bars. I know I admitted to eating one everyday, but I wish I had eaten them more sparingly. At the beginning they didn’t feel like a “sugar fix,” but they starting feeling that way toward the end. I think I would have had fewer cravings if I opted for veggies or nuts as snacks.
- Try lots of recipes! The most fun part of Whole30 for me was learning so many new recipes and tricks in the kitchen. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things.
Whole30 was an awesome learning experience for me, and I definitely plan on doing it again! For me, it was a great way to reset my body and train my taste buds to enjoy and crave healthy foods. It’s amazing what flavors come out when you’re not diluting food with sugar, butter, cheese, etc.! I would highly recommend this program to anyone, and I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience. I would love to hear your thoughts, your own experiences, or plans you have to do your own Whole30. Share in the comments!