Sunday, 26 May 2013

Whole30 experience

At the start of last month I'd hit a bit of a plateau and felt a bit stuck at 160lbs so when I saw Norma talking about starting up a group of Whole30-ers I thought I'd join in, I started on the 26th of April, a bit earlier than everyone else, as I wanted to be finished well before my 5 year anniversary with my boyfriend on the 29th of March as we're more than likely to drink and eat things outside of the Whole30 rules.

Left me in January '13 around 175lbs, right me in June '12 when I'd just started losing weight around 200lbs
Up until this point I'd used Myfitnesspal as my main weight loss tool as I tracked food and exercise on there (ignoring the exercise calories) and had lost over 50lbs with the use of MFP so the idea of being able to eat anything within certain parameters without tracking was a bit scary but as I was nearing my goal of 147lbs I thought I'd go for it.

Starting stats -

160lbs (11st 6lbs)
Waist - 26 1/2"
Belly button - 32"
Hips - 40 1/2"
Thighs - 23"
Arms - 13"

Ending stats -
149.4lbs (10st 9.4lbs)
Waist - 25"
Belly button - 30"
Hips - 38"
Thighs - 22"
Arms - 12"

I've also lost 3% body fat over this period! The only reason I'm not posting the starting and ending numbers is because my scale measures them so is probably inaccurate but is consistently innacurate so I know the difference is right even if the original numbers aren't.

Left, post-Whole30 about 150lbs right start weight 210lbs

It's safe to say that I'm so pleased with the results of the Whole30! I originally planned to stick to the no scale rule but caved pretty quickly and stuck to all of the eating rules (bar 3 occasions which I'll mention) which, in my mind, were the most important. I'm a little frustrated that I'm still losing from my waist as I feel as though that area is near enough where I want it to be, especially in comparison with my legs, but the extra definition that came with eating this way is great. Although I can't really complain about that as carrying fat around your abdomen is the most dangerous health-wise, I'm just vain.

It has been difficult at times and if you're thinking of taking this on you need to be prepared, for example one day the chicken I'd got out to defrost for lunch was off and I had to rush out to get something. What I really fancied was a chicken sandwich but, obviously, that wouldn't be compliant so I dutifully looked through the cooked meats section to no avail and finally got myself a tin of tuna and an avocado and that was lunch.

As I said, there were three times when I deviated from the Whole30 plan (other than eating green peas which I didn't realise weren't Whole30!) one was eating chorizo with a meal which had added sugar and nitrates which my stomach really didn't like, the second was drinking some hazelnut milk I'd bought which I assumed was unsweetened but it had added sugars and soy lecithin but my stomach was ok with that and lastly was a 9bar I ate while sitting in A&E because I managed to cut through my thumb (the picture is of it 2 days afterwards, I cut right through the nail as well as the back of my thumb which is the white bit that's started to heal)

The most difficulty I had was getting enough fats into my meals so I made my own mayonnaise which was seriously delicious and I also bought some almond butter which was incredibly good but so expensive so decided to make my own, much cheaper and just as good. I think I'll be sticking with almond butter after Whole30 with occasional peanut butter as I've never been a huge fan of PB anyway.

Benefits other than weight loss that I've noticed through the process have been -
1) GREAT sleep! - this one I wasn't expecting as I've not really had trouble sleeping but I found it so much easier to get to sleep and stay asleep.

2) More awake in the mornings - rather than the huge energy bursts others have spoken about which I didn't experience (which I think may be down due to the lack of fats in my meals) I experienced less grogginess in the mornings and I found it easier to convince myself to get out of bed.

3) Skin improvements - for the past two years I've suffered quite badly with acne and scarring although in recent months it's started to improve but on the Whole30 it's been so much better than any time in the past two years, I even went out twice without any foundation on and felt ok about it. I've got a feeling this is a result of being dairy free so I will definitely be experimenting with that and probably massively restricting my dairy intake.

Both photos without make-up left post-Whole30, right pre-Whole30

4) Hungry in the mornings - this isn't necessarily a benefit but I've always been one of those people who can't face food in the morning (but needs to because if I don't eat it I get hugely hungry by mid morning when I can't eat and consequently overeat at lunch) so feeling hungry in the morning has forced me to eat, although I think in future I'll be having oats alongside my banana and nut butter to up the calories.

5) Less stress - through my weight loss I've been tracking with myfitnesspal which I will definitely still continue to do once I'm off Whole30 as I think it's important for me but it was really good to have a brief break and not to have to sit there and type everything I eat in.

6) Few cravings - although towards the beginning I was feeling a bit sorry for myself for being unable to eat xyz, by probably two weeks into the Whole30 I wasn't too fussed and was, instead, genuinely enjoying my meals.

7) Muscle definition - this is obviously a combination of the great eating I've been doing due to Whole30 restrictions and lifting weights but seriously, I  have shoulders and the beginning of abs!!

During the Whole30 I also went shopping (well, window shopping, I had no intention of buying anything regardless of how much I may have wanted to - money is TIGHT) to find out my true size. I was ecstatic that most of what I tried on was a UK 10 (US 6) and I even fitted into a UK 6 dress! (US 2) It was a complete fluke as it was stretchy, but still it was such a confidence boost to look at clothes thinking they'd be way too small and trying them on to see a perfect/slightly big fit.

Moving on from Whole30, as I've said I'm planning to continue to limit dairy (I've already been drinking homemade hazelnut milk - delicious) but I will be reintroducing grains like rice and bread into my meals but will probably have a smaller serving alongside a larger serving of vegetables as this has really helped me to stay full.



  1. Wow!!! Great work, Ria!... love your photos, you are SO pretty :)
    I'll be back to read through your Blog later xx

  2. You are looking absolutely fabulous! Ever since I did the Whole30 in January I've mostly stuck to paleo, and have settled into eating paleo about 80% of the time. I do feel like I've been slipping a bit recently though, maybe another whole30 challenge is needed!

    1. Thank you :) I think I'll definitely be sticking to it but more loosely, already found that bread leaves me feeling headache-y and tired so that's off! It might help, I think I'll be doing another one at some point :)