When my prized pair of skinny jeans absolutely wouldn’t zip… and I seriously couldn’t find one outfit apart from yoga pants that I felt comfortable in, I knew I had to make a change. Here’s the real truth though: I’m great at working out – I love taking new classes and going for runs. But when it came to eating, last year, I made some pretty awful choices… over and over again.
Now, I’m not beating myself up too much – but instead of just going on some diet, I wanted to do something that would really, truly make a difference in my life. I didn’t want to stay on a diet for the rest of my life, but I needed a lifestyle kick to put my habits back into check, changes my cravings and get my portion control back on track.
My lovely roommate, Christina, had a brilliant idea: let’s do Whole30 together!
For those of you who are unfamiliar – Whole30 cuts out refined/processed sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, legumes and booze. After the 30 days are complete, you gradually add back in those things to see how your body responds – that way you know what’s good for you and what’s not really compatible with your digestive system.
We’ve both learned so much and seen so many changes in how we feel and look. See some recipes, our inches and weight loss, before/after photos and advice:
What made you interested in Whole30?
Christina: After a December filled with wine, pizza and cookies, I was ready to clean up my diet in January. I’ll be a bridesmaid in May, which is extra motivation! I previously tried Paleo during my stint with CrossFit in 2013. I like the idea of eliminating food groups and removing unhealthy eating triggers like dairy, sugar, wheat and alcohol!
Me: For all of the reasons listed above – and really, I was just ready to cut out all of that booze after the holidays and birthdays. I was experiencing some pretty painful stomach issues when I ate dairy, so I knew something had to be up. Plus: I was putting off any sort of cleanse because I was worried about what it would do to my dating life – but ya know what? I finally got to a point where I cared less about if a date minded if I drank at happy hour and put myself first.
We LOVED brunch after a workout class – so many options! And if it’s fresh-squeezed, you can have OJ!
What was the first week like?
C: The first 3 days I felt constantly hungry and tired. All of a sudden on Thursday -Day 4- I woke up and felt normal! I wasn’t starving throughout the day and didn’t feel drained. It was really fun to plan recipes with Lindsay through our Pinterest board. We spent Sundays cooking and grocery shopping, which was a great way to save money.
L: The first day was terrible – I was starving, I had a really bad headache and I actually went to bed way earlier to just get away from the hunger. But by Friday, I was actually really surprised by how quickly my body adjusted to the new portions and foods. And by the weekend, I loved Christina and I’s little schedule: workout class, brunch (the BEST on Whole30), grocery shopping and cooking!
Breakfast was Lindsay’s favorite: egg and pepper quiches with blueberries and sausage.
What is it like now?
C: After the first week, it became a normal way of eating! By eliminating food groups, you automatically know what you can and can’t eat. There’s no calorie counting or macro counting, just go by the book!
L: It’s really easy now. I’ve figured out how to order and prepare satisfying food that doesn’t break any of the Whole30 rules. I actually look forward to my breakfasts and I’m not starving by the end of the day. There are times when I have cravings but mostly, I’m able to find something to replace it with that’s healthy. I really like the lifestyle!
Almond milk cappuccinos – try them!
What was the single hardest day you had?
C: I can think of two hard days: One was going to a weeknight concert post dinner/drinks with my co-workers. Lack of drinks and food made me pretty hangry when I came home at midnight! It’s a savior having pre-made meals to rely on when times like these come up. The other was this past weekend when I came down with a cold. It was a sad day having to drain the noodles from my chicken noodle soup. Something about eating chicken and broccoli just isn’t appealing when you’re running a fever! Overall, the first three days and the last three days are meant to test your determination.
L: I totally second Christina on that: the first three and last three are the hardest, by far. The first three, you’re getting used to it and by the last three, you’re just finished. I had a few rough days: I helped plan this big gala for my company to celebrate our success and I couldn’t eat anything off of the menu or taste the specialty cocktail we had prepared. Plus, I was hungry, sober and surrounded by happy, adoring couples (#singleprob). When my friends and I had our monthly Supper Club night, I so badly wanted to try all the delicious food, but had to bring my own instead and watch them taste Spanish Wine that I desperately wanted. And another was on a date I was excited about – he had a margarita and actual chips with his guacamole, while I had veggies and meat.
Whole30 Lasagna! Eggplant, zucchini, onions, garlic, spinach, tomatoes
What was a big highlight?
C: Getting a motivational post-it note on my bathroom mirror saying “It’s Day 15! We made it!” It was a highlight to actually live out all of the blog posts and Pinterest boards I’ve been following for years about Whole30. This gives me the courage now to try 3 day juice cleanses or 7 day slimdowns. Nothing compared to 30 days of Whole30!
: One of my sweet co-workers at ClassPass
loves to bake, so she challenged herself to find a dessert that I could actually eat. And she came in on Monday morning with banana nut Whole30 style (with almond flour!) – it was so thoughtful and absolutely made my day. (Plus sugar cravings are awful!) Another highlight was just watching myself work harder in my fitness classes – I had so much more energy and really nailed things I didn’t before.
Two weeks in, I could notice a difference: I fit into my leather leggings!
When did you start noticing a difference in your body, energy level and overall experience?
C: I’d say week one! It was nice to wake up on the weekend full of energy, ready to tackle my workouts and errands. I’ve also noticed that I have no stomach aches from overeating or other stomach issues in general.
L: So many changes – right from the first week! Right away, I stopped bloating or having any stomach issues. I’ve always had some sort of reaction and it was amazing to feel that disappear. I also fell asleep easier, my eyes and skin were clearer and I had way more energy than I did before. Not having one hangover in a month is pretty incredible – you can get so much more done! Also, I first noticed weight loss in my boobs and hips. By the second week, I could fit into leather leggings that I hadn’t been able to wear, and by week three, my jeans fit again.
Having a buddy to do it with is key!
What are some things that helped you stay true and not cheat?
C: Knowing that my roommate was in the same boat. Also, my family and friends knew my goal, and I didn’t want to let them or myself down!
L: Having Christina to do it with was so, so helpful. We would send each other funny encouragements or talk each other through times when we were literally starving. And seeing my body change was really great, too, so it made me want to stick with it so I could see the change after 30 days.
Almond milk and fruit smoothies!
What were some of your favorite meals? Snacks?
C: Paleo shepard’s pie, dairy-free smoothies, Lara bars, tuna and sweet potato cakes, sauteed bananas and Chipotle Carnitas Salad.
L: I fell in love with almond butter, like crazy – with a banana, it’s amazing. Christina and I also discovered this awesome recipe where you use coconut oil, some cinnamon and cook strawberries and bananas until they’re soft – it’s like cobbler. So good! I also loved paleo shepard’s pie, chicken and apple patties, bacon-wrapped asparagus and all of our brunches. It was so easy to go out for brunch on the weekends because most brunches have meat and eggs – the biggest components on many menus. It was such a nice treat after a week of packing breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also kept an apple and a snack bag of veggies (carrots, green beans and celery) at my desk every day to grab when I needed something. And lastly, but not least, guacamole. It’s allowed and it’s awesome.
TITLE Boxing was a favorite of Christina and I’s!
What was your workout regimen like during Whole30?
C: I worked out about 5 times a week with ClassPass! My favorites include Yoga, Boxing, Bootcamp and Cycling. Also, we live in NYC, so walking a couple of miles a day is standard for us.
: I work at ClassPass
(woohoo!) – so I took around 5-6 classes a week, all ranging in intensity. I tried boxing, parkour, trampoline, yoga, dance cardio, bootcamp and more. I worked out probably a little bit more than I did before Whole30, but not significantly. It’s really amazing how much changing your diet makes a difference!
Lucy was unimpressed by this delicious dessert: bananas, strawberries, cinnamon and coconut oil!
What did you miss the most?
C: Ease of eating out. It really is a pain in the ass to sit through dinner and not eat haha.
L: Sushi. I missed it so much! Never realized how often I ate it until I couldn’t have it. And red wine. I also hated being the person at the restaurant that asked ‘What is this cooked in?’ ‘We want the fajitas but no sour cream, rice, beans and please don’t cook it in butter!’
Taco Salad Whole30 is amaze: carrot chips, guac, peppers, grass-fed ground beef and lettuce and tomato!
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to try?
C: Do it! I was shocked at how easy it was. If you put your mind to it, you can do it. Meal prep is key, as well as having snacks on hand. As long as I didn’t get too hungry, I had the motivation to keep on keeping on!
L: Absolutely try it! While I definitely lost weight, I was trying to really put my eating habits in check. If you do it, make sure it’s for the right reasons and that you’re fully prepared to plan ahead. Though it was a lot of work cooking for a few hours on Sunday, it was also great to have everything done for the week. And if you can, I highly suggest a buddy to do it with! I’m not sure I could have done it without Christina!
Christina and I both loved paleo shepards pie – so good!
You have to gradually add back in what you cut out, so what will be your first feast?
C: Right after my morning Soul Cycle class, I’ll be digging into a big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, almond milk and banana. NOMS!
L: My friend Jenn wanted to officially reintroduce me to life post-Whole30, so we’re getting a big glass of wine after a dance cardio class tonight. And then my friend Erin and I are having a Whole30-friendly dinner Thursday, with some nice French wine – so I guess wine is the first thing I’m adding back? As for food? Sushi!!!
Oh just your typical Whole30 afternoon, grocery shopping, banana, almond butter… and daisies!
What will your diet look like moving forward?
C: I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy work events, without guilt, though. It will be nice to not starve myself in order to eat healthy. I plan on incorporating this meal plan into my daily grocery planning. I’ll take a more balanced approach by adding in rice, non-gluten grains, beans and peanut butter. I think some fruit and oatmeal will be a nice switch from sausage and eggs. Overall, it will be like a Vegan + Meat diet! I was shocked at how little I missed alcohol. I’ll probably keep my alcohol consumption to 1x a week now, for social reasons! The biggest struggle will still be sugar, maybe a bite here and there, but I’ll try not to have baked goods too often. If I do, I’ll find healthier substitutes or stick with dark chocolate.
L: I’m going to try to stick with Whole30 during the week, with the exception of some things that I just find silly to keep out, like sushi, hummus, quinoa, etc. However, if I have a happy hour after work or a date, I’ll have one or two drinks. Then on the weekends, I’ll splurge a little if I want to, but still stick to Whole30, mostly. The one thing that I’m going to keep out permanently is dairy. While I’m sad to see cheese go (and I’m sure I’ll have a bite here and there), I feel so much better without it.
Total Fitness Classes:
: 1 inch
: 2 inches
: 6 inches!!!
: 6.5 pounds
Total Fitness Classes
Bust: 4 inches lost (crazy! Boobs go first!)
Waist: 3 inches lost
Hips: 4 inches lost (wow!)
Total inches: 11 inches!!!!
Weight lost: 9 pounds