Whole30 – What I Learned the First 10 Days

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard about Whole30 and you’re either trying to see what it was like for others or you’ve already started and are curious about what other people’s experiences are like.

Whole30 - What I Learned the First 30 Days

Most people wouldn’t consider me overweight, but I am not happy with where I am physically and have gained weight and inches slowly, but steadily since 2006. Since then, I’ve gained about 32 pounds and would like to either lose all of this weight or replace the body fat with muscle mass so I can still get back to the size I was in my junior year of college.

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This is my first Whole30 and I actually hadn’t heard of the program before two weeks before starting. I first saw it on social media and was curious and headed to Pinterest to find out all I could. I still wasn’t overly convinced it was something I wanted to do, but I love learning about food, health, and nutrition, so I decided to read (well, listen to the audio book) It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

The book was great and explained a lot about food and how it interacts in our body to cause specific changes like weight gain, inflammation, allergies, and a long list of other “fun” (insert sarcasm) side effects. Check out my review of It Starts With Food!

Still not convinced I’m ready to do this crazy thing people claim will change my life, I head over to Instagram to find some before and after pictures of people who’ve finished their Whole30. This was all I needed to see! Wow! I was so impressed with the results I found, I bought The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, and
began planning to start my Whole30 on Monday, two days later. Check out my Pinterest board, Weight Loss Success, for my favorite success stories and photos!

I went to the doctor three days before starting, so that gave me some data that I’ll be able to compare to when I finish. Here’s my pre-Whole30 stats:

  • Fasting Blood Sugar: 72
  • Blood Pressure: 131/86 (7 days later & 4 days after starting Whole30: 124/88)
  • Calcium: 9.5
  • Cholesterol: 172
  • Triglycerides: 69
  • HDL Cholesterol: 49
  • LDL Cholesterol: 109
  • Vitamin B12: 282
  • Vitamin D: 12

I think my experience was similar to others’. I unknowingly picked a very stressful two weeks to start my Whole30, but I’m not going to let that be the reason I don’t finish. I worked 12+ hours days at work, as well as 4 days in a row of 12-14 hour overnight shifts where they provided us food like pizza, pasta, soda, and sugary protein bars galore.

Whole30 - What I Learned the First 30 Days

Whole30 Food Choices:

  • The pizza at work smelled oh-so-delicious and I considered pulling the pepperoni off so I could at least eat the “essence” of pizza. I know, it sounds crazy. I felt crazy. My coworker looked at me like I was crazy when I mentioned it out loud.
  • Frozen red grapes are amazing when I want to enjoy something a little sweet! This probably isn’t completely recommended by Whole30 & might prevent you from taming your ‘Sugar Dragons’ (aka sugar cravings), but these 10 grapes are usually all the fruit I eat all day.
  • My favorite foods have been avocado chicken salad on baked plantain chips, carrots and guacamole, and hamburger salads.
  • I can’t say I’ve had cravings like I used to where I’ll just keep thinking about food for days or even weeks until I finally eat it. I want things like pizza or cupcakes if I’m watching someone eat them and sometimes think about these foods without being around them and tell myself I want them. But ultimately, I think I’m so used to wanting these foods that I still feel like I should want them.
  • I don’t get hungry for snacks much.

Whole30 Energy Effect:

  • I’ve always been a relatively good sleeper and usually fall asleep at night within five minutes or less, so I haven’t seen any change.
  • Naps are an entirely different story. I used to nap on weekends anywhere between two and five hours and I haven’t been sleepy enough to fall asleep for a nap since starting.

Whole30 Mood Changes:

  • I haven’t really noticed a change in mood.
  • I’m generally a pretty quirky person so it depends on who you are and how you take my comments. Even when I’m being serious, most people take the crazy/sarcastic things I say as jokes, so people generally think I’m happy all the time.

Whole30 Physical Impact:

  • I haven’t been working out at all, simply because I was curious how well this could work without any changes to my lifestyle besides food.
  • We’re not allowed to weigh ourselves, but I weighed myself using my Aria WiFi scale with the display covered. You’re probably thinking, ‘what’s the point if you can’t see your weight?’ but I promise it’s not as crazy as it sounds. I love love love data and wanted to see how my weight progressed over time after I finished, so I took a few sticky notes to cover my display. This scale is super cool and recognizes me from the other people in my house. It then takes my weight and body fat and records it in the FitBit and my linked MyFitnessPal app. Since we aren’t supposed to record food or calories during Whole30, I just don’t look at the app. I wear a FitBit ChargeHR armband that has a display, so I can see all the data I need about my daily physical activity without having to log into either app and accidentally scroll down to the weight area.

Overall Feelings about Whole30:

I am glad I decided to make this change and feel like I’m benefiting from it already. Here’s my list of non-scale victories (NSVs) so far:

  • No need for weekend naps
  • No need to snack during the day
  • No days/weeks long cravings that eventually wear me down
  • Blood pressure dropped 5 points (systolic/top number) within first four days
  • Fewer sugar cravings
  • Fewer carb cravings
  • Feeling like I can now control what I eat and turn down things that I previously couldn’t
  • Learning to read food labels beyond carbs/fat/calories
  • I no longer try to limit my portions (to child-sized amounts) due to fear of weight gain
  • More knowledge about nutrition
  • Tried new recipes (and liked them!)
  • Joined new Facebook groups with like-minded people to discuss anything that I’m excited about, get answers to questions, and help other newcomers

I hope this was helpful to you and you’ll join me in the Whole30 journey. I can’t wait for you to begin changing your life!

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  • Ann

    I’m pretty sure your BP was not 131/36.

    • Shayla

      Lol! You’re so right. I probably wouldn’t be sitting around writing a blog post if that was true. I fixed it. 😉 Apparently, in my world 36 really means 86. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • http://www.leavesandstitches.com Pam

    I just finished whole 30 and am starting to re-integrate foods. It was a really interesting experience and definitely helped me kick my junk food cravings to the curb. I have some health issues to address so I’m planning to continue a modified version of whole 30 for the next several months. It’s always great to read about other people’s experiences with the program. Thanks for sharing!

    • Shayla

      I’ve since finished it and I def learned a lot. I think my favorite part was kicking the cravings, for sure. Also knowing I have the power to say no to soda or dessert, even when others are eating it, when this used to feel impossible was pretty awesome! I’m now trying to get back on plan 3 weeks later and am finding it soooo much more difficult than the first time around. I *did,* however find a really awesome cookbook and have cooked two meals inspired by it. I had a lot of trouble finding inspiration to cook while on Whole30 and wish I’d discovered the (affiliate link) Well Fed cookbook. This week I spent about 90 min meal prepping and have made 2 meals using the prepped ingredients in about 10 mins! #Winning Good luck on your modified Whole30! I’m currently trying to do the same thing. 😀

  • http://www.soveryshay.com/ SoVeryShay