5 Ways Whole30 changed my diet

by: Kelly Leighton
November 7, 2012

From Oct. 1-30, I participated in the Whole30 program. I shared my first two weeks with you, and I promised an update at the end.

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Bottom line: As hard as it was (and there were definitely some tears shed throughout), I am so glad I did it. I feel like I’ve developed a healthier relationship with food, and for the most part, I feel better overall. I’ve enjoyed a few indulgences since the end of October, but I have grown accustomed to eating like this, and I hope it stays.

Click through to read 5 ways Whole 30 changed Kelly’s diet.

Here were my biggest takeaways:

1. I cut out mindless snacking.

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Pretzels were my favorite snack, and I’d often find my hand in the bag because I was “hungry,” especially at night. However, when my only choice for a snack was baby carrots or cucumber slices, I quickly realized that I wasn’t really even hungry.

2. I introduced so many new foods into my diet.

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I am a notoriously picky eater. I’ve always been this way, and I turned my nose up at many, many foods. However, since my options were limited on Whole30, I became more apt to try new things. I now regularly purchase eggs, acorn squash, butternut squash and almond butter (all major NO foods prior). I also tried cauliflower and broccoli for the first time without making a face.

3. I learned how to shop for food.

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The first few weeks on Whole30 were really expensive, because I only shopped at a grocery chain, and produce tends to be much pricier there. I’ve saved so much money by buying as much as possible at farmers markets and Costco. (For example, Costco sells 10 lb bags of sweet potatoes for $6.99. They are $1.29 a pound at the grocery store.)

4. I’ve stopped craving junk food.

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Trust me, I had a wicked sweet tooth. I honestly never even think about candy or cookies or cake anymore. Even if I am at a party or event with beautiful desserts, I have zero interest in it. I finally figured out that eating junk makes me feel awful, and it’s not worth it. As one of my favorite bloggers pointed out, “you already know what that tastes like.” Exactly. I know what brownies and cookie dough ice cream taste like. And while it most certainly is delicious, it’s not a rare or exotic treat, and most of the time, I don’t need it.

5. I’ve learned how to fuel my body.

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My workouts have felt stronger. I sleep through the night, and no longer crash at 3 p.m. Instead of piling carbs and sugars into my body, I’m eating more healthy fats and proteins. I never feel “uncomfortably full” or wake up bloated. I also never feel guilty anymore about “overeating” or “eating too much crap.” I stop when I’m full now.

Ultimately, it wasn’t the easiest experience (sometimes I just wanted to go to happy hour!), but it was worth it. I didn’t do it to lose weight, but I did lose about six pounds over the month, so my clothes fit better and some are even loose. I wish I had taken before and after photos, because I have definitely seen a noticeable change in my body.

It also made me realize how often we use food and drinks for emotional reasons. Had a bad day? You “deserve” to order take out. Received a promotion? Let’s celebrate with happy hour! After my last half marathon in September, I decided I “deserved” sweet potato fries, a hard cider and fro yo for lunch. Yeah, I didn’t feel too great after that.

While it’s been nice to be able to go out to eat and be able to go to a bar again, I still find myself being cautious when ordering. How will this effect my body? Is it worth it to eat that? The Whole30 didn’t just change me physically, it changed my mentally. And to me? That was worth the 30 days.

But I will take another hard cider, please. That’s what I missed the most. I may “know what they taste like,” but it’s damn good.

Have you tried — or would you try — a whole foods or paleo diet?

Kelly is our resident triathlete with a passion for happy hour. Follow her on Twitter.

Categories: Fitness, Food/Drink

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