Whole30 Journey — Close Enough

I haven’t posted an update on our Whole30 journey since the halfway mark for two reasons: we were coasting through the “Tiger’s Blood” stage of the last two weeks with few changes to really speak of…

…and we totally lost momentum.

We made it through to the end of the 29th day and then threw in the towel early and went out to get ice cream. I was epicly burnt out on cooking three meals a day and, despite some major pinterest planning, was running out of ideas for things that my family would eat because they were quickly bored with the repeats. Yes, even just one more day of cooking seemed daunting to me.

And, in the interest of full-disclosure for those of you considering this task, things snuck in that we later realized shouldn’t have been there, despite my exhaustive preplanning. At one point I was really discouraged by that — like I had failed my family.

Case-in-point, I was using plant-based, all natural protein powder in our homemade date bars and the occasional smoothie, only to find out that it has pea protein in it (I’d been using this product before Whole30 and the label wore off before we started, so I made the assumption that it was compliant). Compliant homemade mayo was disgusting, and compliant store-bought mayo was outrageously expensive. So I bent a little and settled for almost-compliant, soy-free mayo that contains, you guessed it, pea protein.

I mean, peas kept sneaking in here but, in reality, they’re one of the least likely culprits to cause my family health problems. So, despite a breakdown one day on not getting this thing 100% right, I let it slide and just stopped using the protein powder until the end.

As far as how we all did on it, we all stuck to plan other than those small blips. Everyone resisted temptation and encouraged each other, which was awesome. The hubs, while at work, resisted eating snacks and cookies folks brought in (and he was the most resistant to doing this in the first place). We even went on a getaway with friends last weekend and I cooked the whole time for both our families with 100% compliant recipes!!

Our “give in” 36 hours early.

My husband lost 15 pounds. The only other time he’s been this thin is when I first met him, over 16 years ago. Unfortunately, I was hoping that this change would give him more energy, but he’s still falling asleep while watching TV with me most evenings. Figures (though he never got the ‘drink more water’ thing down).

Our boys seem no worse for the wear. In fact, I didn’t see any major shifts for them during this entire process. As it stands, we reintroduced dairy on that day 29 evening and have also reintroduced soy inadvertently. So far it appears no one has problems with either.

The kicker — and the real reason I got discouraged (and why I kind of tear up writing this), was me. For anyone that has read my blog, you’ll know that I’ve struggled with constipation and digestive issues my entire life. Four years ago I started working toward improving my gut health and have utilized supplements and water consumption (I drink nearly a gallon a day) to keep things working properly. I’ve been gluten free for three years that has also improved my gastric issues. But the reality is, even those things have not gotten me where I want to be. I still spend many days bloated and uncomfortable, still not going daily (which is how it should be for everyone).

While I wanted to do Whole30 for my whole family, it started out of a desire to find that other thing in my diet that must be causing these problems. The Whole30 reset is just what I needed to cleanse my body and start over so I can find the culprit. Because, with Whole30, your body should regulate it’s digestive system and, in the process, you should lose some weight (and frankly, I’ve been wanting to lose about 10 more pounds since my big weight loss 7 years ago, but have been unable to do it).

So, I kicked sugar, grains, dairy and (most) legumes (dang peas!). Kicking sugar alone should have resulted in some form of weight loss at least. But, the unfortunate reality is I actually gained a couple of pounds and my digestive system never regulated.

We did all the things: plenty of protein, healthy fats and tons of fruit and veggies. I maintained my near gallon of water a day and continued with my supplements. All of those things should have resulted in regulation and yes, even weight loss.

But my body would not budge.

So, maybe you ask why we gave in when we were so close to our goal. But I was beyond exhausted from the process and, frankly, really disappointed. And the rest of my crew was just waiting on the edge of their seat for the end, so when I suggested we call it one day short, they jumped at the opportunity.

I do not believe any less in this system. I think Whole30 is the absolute best way to start toward a healthier, cleaner lifestyle. And we are certainly making lifestyle changes with our food as a family. We’ve decided not to keep bread in our home and only have it when dining out. Same goes for ice cream. I will no longer use butter to cook, only olive or coconut oil. I’ve made another batch of date protein bars for snacks and ordered more plantain chips from Amazon (those things are so so good!). And I did learn for certain that my body absolutely cannot handle red meat unless I take a digestive enzyme prior to eating it, so that confirmation is a plus. Maybe there are more things we need to eliminate completely, but we haven’t reintroduced everything yet to know.

Despite the lifestyle changes and my skinny-mini husband, I came out of this concerned that there is something else going on with my body. Because I’ve done all the things that should work and still can’t seem to get my digestive system working the way it’s supposed to. I had a full thyroid panel done by my OBGYN, but the numbers were normal. So it’s a poke-prod-and-try-to-figure-it-out sort of guessing game right now.

At any rate, I promised full disclosure and there it is. Don’t let me deter you from doing Whole30 yourself. As I said, I 100% believe in this method and will likely do it again now that I have a better handle on what it takes to be successful with it. But not before we do a bit of digging to see what may be keeping my body from reaping the full benefits of the Whole30 reset.

Best of luck to you as you embark on this journey. Chances are, you’ll see the success my husband did. And I will certainly cheer you on (despite my internal — but loving — resentment at your success).

[I know I promised some of my recipes in previous posts on this journey, and I intend to keep that promise. Keep your eyes peeled!]


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