What I Learned from Whole 30

Michel and Melissa from Cook Slow, Run Fast excited about just finishing a Whole30

Guess who you’re looking at? Two people who have recently finished the Whole30!!  (We’re also mid-run, so there’s that too…)

I completed one last year by myself, and Michel decided to join me for my second time around because: 1. He saw how awesome I felt after finishing Whole 30 last July and 2. He felt ashamed about the ridiculous amount of cookies, cheese, and wine we consumed in December.

Parts of the last 30 days were incredible; I was full of energy, I was stoked on eating delicious breakfasts (eggs again, wahoo!), and I felt stronger at the gym. On other days, I dreamed of pouring Nutella over every single sugary food known to man and couldn’t stand the sight of another egg.

Since reflecting on these ups and downs, I’m here today to share a few things I learned while on the Whole 30.

Food is emotional.

I can’t tell you how many times I told Michel that all I wanted to do after work was order in Indian food or pizza, plop on the couch with a glass of wine, and watch Netflix all evening long. By not being able to just give into that craving right away, each time I realized that I wasn’t even craving the taste of pizza or chicken korma. I had simply had a long, exhausting, or stressful day and just wanted to feel the comfort I’ve come to associate with eating take out on our coffee table. I hope that in the future I’ll be able to continue discerning the desire to enjoy a slice of pizza from feelings of stress, and know how to unwind in a more mindful way, like drinking a cup of tea or taking a long shower.

Cooking at home isn’t as hard as you’d think.

It may seem like a massive pain to get off work, make a stop at the grocery store, and prepare a meal from scratch, but with some foresight, it’s really not that bad. I highly recommend meal planning during the weekend and shopping/prepping on Sunday so that your kitchen is stocked with fully or semi-prepared food options come Monday morning. Write out everything you plan on cooking for the week, then shop for the ingredients on Sunday afternoon. Whip up a big pot of soup, cut up some veggies, hard boil some eggs, or whatever else that evening and your week will go SO much easier than you’d think. And when in a pinch, have a few quick and simple meals to fall back on. For example, whenever I came home late or couldn’t even think about preparing an elaborate dinner, I fried or scrambled two eggs and either steamed some veggies or sauteed some spinach. Boom! A filling meal in less than 10 minutes, and little to no cooking skills required.

Sugar is in everything.

I tend to not do a lot of sweets at home. We don’t keep cookies, candy, or other dessert-like snacks in the pantry, so I didn’t really think I consumed that much sugar (besides fruit, the occasional treat, and cocktails). However, once you go grocery shopping and have to look at all of the ingredient in everything you buy, you would be so amazed at how much food has added sugar in it. From soup, to bacon, to dried fruit, to sauces and condiments, sugar is truly in everything.

Go through Whole30 with someone else.

I went through my first Whole 30 by myself, which wasn’t easy. Nothing was more challenging than being home with my boyfriend while he poured himself a drink after work, or talked about how he had tacos catered in the office that day. It was bad enough to be tempted by coworkers and in social settings, but nothing was worse than living with someone who was eating Oreos on the couch next to you and sprinkling cheese all over your otherwise Whole 30 approved zucchini pasta. I have to say doing the Whole 30 with him this second time has been considerably easier. Whether it’s your husband, best friend, or even a coworker, go through the program with someone else and/or get an accountability partner; you’ll be so much happier.

Carry emergency food.

Whether you plan on hitting the gym after a long day at the office, have a meetup with friends planned for after work, or you’re anticipating a long day of travel, always bring emergency food with you. I almost always had an apple and a bag of almonds in my purse or gym backpack just in case I wouldn’t be getting home on time on any given night. While snacking is frowned upon on Whole 30, there have been several instances where I hadn’t eaten since noon, just had an intense workout, had no plans of going home anytime soon, and simply needed some food in my stomach before getting seriously hangry. In fact, nothing is worse than reaching that state and not being able to find anything Whole 30 approved nearby. You’ll be way less likely to give into temptation and be way more pleasant to be around if you’re always prepared and have emergency food on you.

Waking up while on the Whole30 is refreshing.

While I wasn’t quite waking up hungover on a daily basis before starting the Whole 30, I often did wake up groggy and eager to hit the snooze button on my alarm. I’m no stranger to mindlessly snacking before bed, or enjoying a glass or two of red wine in the evening, but since I haven’t been able to do either the last 30 days, I’ve been waking up full of energy, well-rested, and ready to tackle the day.

We finished the Whole30

Well, those are some of my biggest takeaways from my January Whole 30. Overall, I loved the experience and will likely turn to it again whenever I feel my eating habits are getting a little out of control. Oh yeah, and Michel liked it too! I’m so proud of alllll the veggies he ate over the past month, as well as his ability to pass up his favorite – cheese!

Have you just completed the program and learned anything similar or different? Let me know in the comments below!

Love, Melissa


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