Whole30 Nutrition Challenge Recap: Week 1

By January 10, 2016Food, Menu Planning, Paleo, Whole30

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If you’ve done Whole30, or any kind of nutrition challenge, you know that Week 1 is largely spent “coming off” your normal routine. Even if you eat pretty healthy normally, it’s much like having a hangover that lasts a good 3-4 days.

This year, Neil is opting to do the strict challenge, while I opted to again do the hybrid, which is three added whole food items to the base Whole30. Whole30 is tough to do if you’re active and with a 4 day-a-week gym habit and the past few months being insanely productive, I just didn’t want to see any of my progress diminish. I chose rice, plain Greek yogurt, and string cheese. The string cheese is random, I know, but KK eats it quite often and I need a versatile and quick go-to food item.

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For us, Week 1 came on a pretty busy week. We were having work done on the house (childproofing the upstairs railing so we can work up there), buying a new bed (upgrading to king), and oh yeah ALL OF MY COURSES WERE DUE AT WORK. Talk about the worst time to give up some of my go-to coping mechanisms.

But we survived.

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We definitely were feeling hungry and deprived early in the week, especially doing the challenge test WODS, but after a grocery deli salad on Thursday and baked hot wings on Friday, I feel like we’re starting to turn the corner a bit on satiety and mood. A quick rundown of meals this week:

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I think satiety (full or satisfied after a meal) is one of the hardest things to achieve on Whole30. Over the past few years we’ve kind of tried different approaches to the challenge, and have come away with a pretty solid weekly plan that involves prepping and having food on hand to reheat, but also trying to insert some “special” meals/snacks in there that feel special or do the trick for curing the hangry:

  • We typically throw steaks and baked fries on the menu once a week. It’s super easy prep-wise, and a little salt goes a long way toward curbing the chocolate cravings
  • Smoked or baked hot wings with sparkling water — I might just eat this the rest of the challenge
  • Over-easy egg on home fries. Okay, over-easy egg on everything is good — pulled pork, salad, you name it
  • Apples or bananas with almond butter are heaven
  • Kale chips

I also feel like satiety comes from the experience of eating and enjoying a meal, which is why we’ve never been huge on container meals. We enjoy cooking and freshly prepared meals, but we also like convenience so we’re still re-adjusting to the Whole30 reality of prepping everything we eat.

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All in all, although we grumble through some of the conveniences we’ve lost or the inability to kick our feet up with a beer, I will say that adjusting to Whole30 this round has been the easiest yet. I contribute it to the fact that we’ve really worked to maintain a good 80/20 balance.

What’s the hardest part of Week 1 for you?