Yesterday was my last day of Whole30, and I could not be happier that I completed this program!
Today, I’m sharing 7 lessons I learned during Whole30, as well as my next steps, which include a new daily meal tracker.
7 Lessons from Whole30
1. I’ve never felt better
This is not an exaggeration. I honestly can’t remember my digestive system feeling this good even when I was a kid. It’s encouraging to know that I can come back to this program when I need a reset.
With IBS, it can be difficult to tell if my digestive system is reacting to a food intolerance or to stress. With Whole30, everything that might normally irritate the digestive system is eliminated, so it was really easy for me to tell when I was feeling too anxious. My body would let me know, and it was easier for me to listen and make a change.
2. Meal prep is key
I used every Sunday to meal prep for breakfast and lunch throughout the week. Sometimes I would also prepare components of dinners I knew I would eat that week, like chicken for salads.
This was so important because it’s semi-impossible to quickly grab a full Whole30-compliant meal if you’re not prepared. You can buy some fresh produce to tide you over, but if you want to successfully complete Whole30, meal prep is necessary.
3. Snacks are a must
I often found myself feeling really hungry in the afternoons during my off periods (I teach middle school). I use a lot of energy in the morning because that’s when I teach all of my classes.
It’s hard to get work done when you’re hangry, so I got better at bringing snacks to work throughout the 30 days. Carrots were a favorite, and they helped me keep from panic-eating from the snack bucket we have for the kids.
4. Eating out is hard
I already have a restricted diet, so I’m used to scouring menus for no-no ingredients. But to be honest, I’m terrible at always following my regular diet when I’m eating out.
It’s hard for me to eliminate ingredients when a substitution isn’t available because I feel like I’m not getting the full experience (FOMO even though I’m already participating). This most often happens with dairy for me.
I also struggled with this during Whole30, and the few times that I “cheated” on the diet were when I was at a restaurant.
5. Sugar is in EVERYTHING
Having to pay attention to added sugar was eye-opening. I used the Sugar Rush app to scan barcodes on packaged foods. The app then tells you how much natural and added sugar a product has. It was horrifying to me to realize that fruit bark marketed toward kids has a ton of added sugar in it (Why?!). I would say that added sugar was what kept me from eating most packaged foods during Whole30.
I often have a ton of brain fog in the afternoons when I’m sitting down at my desk to lesson plan or write an IEP. It takes me a little while to move through it so that I can get work done. However, while I was on Whole30, that brain fog disappeared, and I believe that sugar is the culprit.
6. I saw some changes in my body
My reasons for doing Whole30 didn’t include weight loss (I don’t actually weigh myself), but I did notice some changes in my body that I didn’t mind. I think the biggest difference, though, was that I had a lot more energy to exercise, and I worked out in some capacity almost every day of the program.
7. Have a little something to look forward to every day
There are some great Whole30 recipes out there, so there’s no reason to compromise on flavor. However, it can be nice to have something special to look forward to each day. For me, that thing has been grapefruit La Croix, which I drank during my 20-minute break in the midst of my morning classes.
It was a little thing, but it was fun to have something that I really wanted to consume, which allowed Whole30 to continue to feel special rather than restrictive.
So, what’s next now that Whole30 is over?
Well, I’m not planning on going crazy and feasting on every food that I’ve been restricting for the past month.
My hope is to slowly add foods back into my diet and then maintain a level of moderation in eating them.
The easiest way for me to keep myself accountable to moderation is through tracking what I eat. I’ve created a daily meal tracker specifically for post-Whole30, and I’m so excited to share it with you!
The meal tracker can also be used if you’ve never done Whole30 but want to make sure that you’re consuming added sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, and legumes in moderation.
To receive the meal tracker, click here to subscribe to Scout & Wiles’ monthly newsletter. I will send you the meal tracker through e-mail, and you can download and print it for free!
The meal tracker is simple and adorable. It comes in 5 different backgrounds – gold, black, rose quartz, gray, and fern.
I’m so excited to continue on this journey of holistic health with everything I’ve learned from Whole30.
If you’ve completed Whole30 before, what lessons did you take away from it? If you’re thinking about doing Whole30, what are you hoping to get out of it?