Curious what it’s like to do a Whole30? I’m documenting my entire Whole30 experience day by day right here, one week at a time! Here’s week one.
I never in my life thought I’d be someone who could casually mention that I was doing a Whole30. And yet, here we are.
I’m one week into my first ever Whole30!
Don’t know what Whole30 is? It’s an elimination diet, with the goal of finding and identifying which foods in your diet may be causing you issues. It also has the added benefit of helping you break some bad food habits, rewire your brain, and get a reset on the food choices you’re making every day.
On a Whole30, you can’t eat:
- Added sugar (real or artificial)
- Alcohol, in any forms
You also have to really closely watch various additives and specific forms of cooking oils. The idea is, you’re eating whole, completely unprocessed foods for a solid 30 days. Click here if you want to learn more about Whole30!
Why Do Whole30?
I’m mostly doing this Whole30 for my husband. He’s struggled with what we assume are food-related issues for years but has never been able to pinpoint the exact problem. He finally got sick enough of it to try this slightly-extreme-feeling diet, and I’m doing it with him in solidarity.
Of course, I’m also hoping to get some benefits out of it. I have a fierce sweet tooth, we eat out way more than I’d like, and I have some acne issues that I think could be food-related. So, I’ve got enough skin in the game to stay committed to this thing for 30 days!
My Whole30 Experience: Week 1
I’m, unfortunately, a pretty picky eater. So, going into this I was really, really nervous about if I’d be able to find enough food to eat. I’m hoping this will help me get more creative with some healthy options, and maybe give me a chance to try a few new things.
But, one week in I’m finding it much easier than I expected to find foods I like, and most of the time it doesn’t feel too hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I miss chocolate something fierce and I’d give almost anything for a breakfast taco with cheese all over it. But, I can definitely do this thing for 30 days.
I thought it would be worth taking the time to jot down some notes about my Whole30 experience, because I’ve found myself looking at tons of other posts similar to this and looking for ways I can relate to people. So, if you’re also starting a Whole30 journey and curious about what it was like, here you go!
A quick note: I didn’t decide to document this journey on here until about day 5. So, I don’t really have any photos of my first week or the food I ate. I’ll do better next week, promise!
On day one, I was feeling hopeful, a little excited, and nervous to dive in. I wasn’t sure at all what to expect since I’m such a picky eater, but I kept reminding myself that for the next 30 days, food just needs to be fuel. It doesn’t have to be exciting.
I got through the day with minimal issues, although I was desperately missing my near-daily half and half tea from Sonic.
That evening, I went out with a friend to see a play. Normally, I would have grabbed a drink from the bar and even suggested we go to dinner together beforehand. Instead, I ate dinner at home and gazed longingly at all the other people in the theater grabbing pre-show snacks and drinks. I managed to resist, so I’m calling it a major win.
Day 1 Dinner: Pork chops, carrots, and potatoes
I spent most of day two starving, and confused about why I was so hungry because I was eating way more than I normally would! Typically, I follow a loose intermittent fasting schedule, and very rarely eat anything before about 11:30 AM. So, when I ate breakfast and found myself hungry again at 9AM, it was disorienting. I kept reminding myself that it was likely just my body adjusting to the new diet, but I was more or less insatiable.
The “official” Whole30 Timeline says that days 2-3 are the “hangover” days, but I felt mostly fine. A little tired, but that was understandable since my usual sugar-filled caffeine crutches (Celsius drink powder and half and half tea) are off limits.
That evening, I went on a 6-mile run with a couple of friends. It was a slower pace than I’d go on during a solo run, and we tackled a few hills (not unusual at all for me). When I got home, I found myself feeling more achy than I normally would after a run, but I didn’t think too much of it until the following morning.
Day 2 Dinner: Burger bowls with homemade potato “chips”
I woke up on day 3 feeling like I had just run an entire marathon. My limbs ached and I could barely move. I felt like I’d run way more than the 6 miles I ran the day before. I did some Googling and chalked it up to a combination of my body adjusting to the diet, fewer carbs, and not enough post-run stretching.
I had planned on running this morning, but that wasn’t happening. Instead, I took a big ol’ Ibuprofen and made myself a hearty breakfast. I was still completely insatiable and felt like I couldn’t stop eating everything in sight, but it didn’t feel too hard to avoid things that were off-limits for me.
My husband called me midday and asked if I wanted to meet him at Chipotle for lunch, so we tried out their Whole30 bowls. They were fine, but largely unsatisfying because my brain wanted the real Chipotle experience (AKA: a rice bowl with extra cheese!). Also? Still hungry afterwards.
On the evening of day 3, both my husband and I got very touchy and cranky. They say Days 4-5 are “kill all the things” days, so we thought maybe it just hit us early. We had a massive fight over essentially nothing, made up, and then decided to try and get some sleep.
Day 3 Dinner: Breakfast hash
I was heading into my first weekend on Whole30 and feeling a little nervous. We typically eat out more than usual on the weekends, and I love a good Friday night margarita. But, I made it this far and I wasn’t about to let those three days go to waste.
I went for my usual early morning run this morning. My plan was to run 5, but after 3 I could feel my muscles starting to ache so I decided to call it a day. I didn’t want to push myself as far as I had the other day!
Surprisingly, neither my husband nor I felt particularly cranky or touchy this day. He ran out to stock us up on some Trader Joes and Costco Whole30 essentials, and we were both feeling excited about having a few more options in our house!
I think the hardest part of this day was that on Fridays, a couple of my friends and I always pile in a car and take our gaggle of children to a nearby gas station for slushes after school. Their Dr. Pepper slush is one of my favorite things in the world. And instead of pouring myself a large one like I normally do every Friday afternoon, I got one for each of my kids and walked away.
It was painnnnnnful, but I was really proud of myself!
Day 4 Dinner: Tuscan pork loin, squash, and mashed potatoes
My first Saturday on Whole30. This will 100% be the hardest day of the week for me because our tradition of picking up (an unhealthy) Saturday morning breakfast from Whataburger, a local breakfast taco place, or Chick-Fil-A is one of my favorite parts of the week.
To help resist the urge to throw it all away and go grab some tacos and I tea, I decide to indulge in my first grain-free tortilla. It’s technically a violation of the “Pancake Rule” (as is the green smoothie I have later at the soccer field) but I know that if I’m going to survive this 30 days, I’m going to have to allow myself a few small indulgences. I decide that I’ll only eat my Siete tortillas and tortilla chips on the weekends – it will keep them feeling special and keep me sane. And hopefully keep me from running away to my favorite Mexican restaurant for some chips and salsa.
After breakfast, it’s a busy day of soccer games, lunch with my parents, and household to-dos. I feel less hungry than I have the last few days, and my energy levels feel like they’ve mostly returned to normal. I also still don’t feel cranky at all, which I’m incredibly grateful for!
Day 5 Dinner: Leftovers. But, we had some Costco pulled pork lettuce wraps with homemade Whole30-friendly BBQ sauce for lunch, and it was shockingly delicious!
Ok, I know I said Saturday was the hardest day of the week, but Sunday is right after it. We have a family tradition of “Snack Dinner” on Sundays, which we eat while we watch a family movie. It usually consists of things like taquitos and pretzels and pizza bites.
You know, really really healthy stuff.
Thankfully, I’ve planned ahead and have some healthy snack-like options for Corey and I while the kids keep having their fun. Also, I have to catch up on some running miles, so it’s a boys-only movie night and I don’t have to watch the kids eat the dinner I really wish I was eating.
I wake up feeling more or less fine. A tad sluggish, but nothing major (remember, the Whole30 Timeline says days 6-7 are the “I need a nap” days). I manage to get in an easy 5k run, and aside from a bit of crankiness from both myself and my husband, the day is uneventful.
Day 6 Dinner: TJ’s turkey burger with greek goddess dressing, deviled eggs, and some Siete chips with guacamole
After a really slow running week last week, I’m determined to get myself back to my usual 25-miles-per-week. It’s Monday, so I decide to kick the week off with a long run. The 10 miles are painful and slooooow, but I make it and only stop to walk for a portion of the two biggest hills in our neighborhood. Feels like a win!
I find that I’m less hungry than I have been, but I make myself eat a solid breakfast anyways (because 10 miles). I feel pretty clear and focused today, and am really motivated to knock a bunch of things off my to-do list. On the Whole30 timeline, today is listed as the second day of “I just want a nap,” but I’m honestly not any more tired than I normally would be.
I will note, my sleep has been pretty awful the last few nights. I sleep in fits and starts and feel like I’m waking up hourly. Everyone says that you get the best sleep of your life on Whole30, and I’m still waiting for that to kick in! But, despite the bad sleep and lack of caffeine in my system, I feel more or less fine.
Reaching day 7 feels like a pretty big milestone and when my husband (half) jokingly asks if I want to make it a Whole7 instead of a Whole30, I tell him I’m not about to throw away an entire week of eating boring food and not even feel the elusive “Tiger Blood” phase of the program.
Day 7 Dinner: Shrimp with zoodles and TJ’s kale & cashew pesto (it’s delicious!)
Most mornings, I’ve been eating scrambled eggs, some sliced crispy potatoes, meat (either prosciutto, bacon, or turkey), and some avocado. It’s a much larger breakfast than I’d normally eat, but I’m certainly hungrier than normal, so it works.
Most days I either have leftovers, or some combination of meat (a Costco beef stick, a turkey burger, or some Whole30-compliant lunch meat), fruit, pickles, and veggies (avocado, baby carrots, etc). It’s very close to my normal lunch when I’m not on Whole30, but I’d usually also have some cheese (either sharp cheddar or a Babybel) and crackers.
Stay tuned for week 2!