On Tuesday, I mentioned that I had completed Whole 30. Here are a few takeaways and thoughts from doing this, in no particular order.
1. I didn’t follow the book. I had requested it from the library but I was #13 on the list so I never did get it. I read the website and followed the shopping list. So I probably didn’t follow it exactly as it’s intended but I t’s a pretty straightforward plan: no grains, no dairy, no sweeteners. No ALCOHOL! Only whole food. Nothing processed. This from the website:
Your only job during the Whole30 is to focus on making good food choices. You don’t need to weigh or measure, you don’t need to count calories, you don’t need to stress about organic, grass-fed, pastured or free range. Just figure out how to stick to the Whole30 in any setting, around every special circumstance, under any amount of stress… for 30 straight days. Your only job? Eat. Good. Food.
Sounded pretty simple to follow. Sure cuts down on options in the grocery store! Talk about shopping the perimeter. There were whole sides I didn’t even get to.
2. The website was very convincing. It convinced my daughter. When I asked her to do it with me she was resistant at first but then I read her the website and she agreed to give it a try. She admitted to me later that she didn’t think she would make it A WHOLE 30 DAYS! (But I’m proud of her -of us – because we did!)
Here comes the tough love. This is for those of you who are considering taking on this life-changing month, but aren’t sure you can actually pull it off, cheat free, for a full 30 days. This is for the people who have tried this before, but who “slipped” or “fell off the wagon” or “just HAD to eat (fill in food here) because of this (fill in event here).” This is for you. It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.
See what I mean? Pretty convincing.
3. Doing something like this is much easier when you have someone doing it with you. (Misery loves company?) It helped that I had two other friends who had completed a round so I could ask them questions.
You really do get by with a little help from your friends. Join our Whole30 community, and discover the kind of support, encouragement, advice, and accountability that practically guarantees your Whole30 success.
4. It’s amazing how much stuff contains sugar. Or grains. (Did you know that rice bran oil is a grain? And how often that appears in foods? The chicken at Chipotle’s is cooked in it, but. Not the carnitas.) We read every label and were shocked at what ingredients are in “good” food. (“Organic cane sugar” is everywhere. Hello! That’s just a fancy name for sugar!)
5. After 2 years of not eating bananas or white potatoes, it felt indulgent to eat those. I ate quite a few fried plantains.
6. It IS possible to eat this way even if you don’t eat eggs.
Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.
Coffee itself is not banned. Just the sugar/milk/cream that goes in them. I had just decided that if I was going to give up all these other things, I might as well detox from caffeine too. So I just gave it up. One bad day with a headache and then I was fine. I had hot water with lemon as a morning drink most days.
8. You CAN eat out on Whole30! I have a friend who eats raw, plant-based foods and she eats out! You have to ask a lot of questions and make substitutions but it’s possible. I was on the road 13 of the 30 days.
9. I didn’t lose as much as I’d hoped. 3.3 pounds is all. I was hoping for 5. My daughter lost some, I’m sure of it, but since she didn’t weigh in at the start, there’s no telling how much. Although it was challenging, she wants to keep going so I will keep going with her. With the exception of her birthday. And maybe graduation.
10. Although I don’t suffer from low-energy, there were some days that I felt like the Energizer bunny! I wondered if the two were related. But there were some mornings I had no energy. I’m sure it was due to not having ANYTHING to eat beforehand.
Some people have asked me why I did it.
It’s not meant to be a life style. This part convinced me to give it a try.
Established by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig (of Whole9) in April 2009, the Whole30® is our original nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.
Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff.
So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.
I wanted to reset my metabolism and detox from the sugar. I had spent a dedicated month following THM and didn’t lose any weight. It was discouraging. I needed a change and I needed something to follow.
I ate a lot of the same things because it was easy (and I was traveling, remember.) I missed some of the foods that were on the NO list but because it was a finite amount of time (not the rest of my life) I didn’t crave them. In the end, it was a positive experience!