I recently decided to give the Whole30 Diet a try. My husband was looking to drop some weight after several dieting strategies he had tried were not working. I personally didn’t have weight to lose, but I’d begun to realize that I was not eating nearly enough fruits or vegetables anymore. They just didn’t sound appealing for some reason. I used to joke that I could survive on lattes, wine, bread, and chocolate. Somehow, this had become a reality!
The Whole30 diet initially seemed like a great choice. I mean, what could be unhealthy about trying to eat real food? In a nutshell, the Whole30 plan has you eating plants, fats, and animals, avoiding anything prepackaged or processed. You cannot have dairy, but you can have clarified butter (ghee). The diet also omits grains, corn, peanuts, soy, added sugar, alcohol, and beans. They do not allow for making fries, chips, breads, or pancakes even if they are made from legal ingredients. The purpose of Whole 30 is to eventually not want and need foods like that.
Are you starting to see the issue for me? I was living on chocolate, bread, dairy, and wine. All disallowed on the Whole30! And as a homeschooling mom of 3, I love convenience food – seriously where was I going to find the time to prepare and cook fresh food all day?
Whole30 seemed a bit extreme – it allows for literally NO mistakes, no deviations, no cheats….NONE! But it only requires you follow it for 30 days, and then you can become more flexible. As I read more of the book, I understood that the reason for this is so that you can eliminate possible problem foods from your diet, and then slowly reintroduce them so you can watch for sensitivities and reactions. Our goals were pretty specific – I just wanted to enjoy healthier foods again, and my husband just wanted to lose some weight. Neither one of us felt like we had any food sensitivities, so that aspect of it wasn’t very important to us.
To be honest, we were not perfect on the Whole30. We also started our 30 day adventure during a time period that included both our birthdays, Mother’s Day, and a couple other social engagements! Ok, probably not the best timing. But overall, we stuck to the diet pretty closely!
So how did it go? Surprisingly well! Since I didn’t want to lose weight, I intentionally ate lots of fruits and potatoes in my diet to keep my calories and carbs a bit higher. I quickly started enjoying the simple flavors in fruits and veggies again. I realized I felt pretty good and actually enjoyed eating a higher fat diet. It’s been a few weeks since we finished, and I’m still following the Whole30 about 80% of the time. My husband dropped 15 lbs, so he was very happy as well. He also has been able to continue eating Whole30 about 80% of the time, and says he feels great!
If you are thinking about giving Whole30 a try, here are my 4 tips for making the most of your 30 days:
- Buy and read the Whole30 book. It is informative, encouraging, and a step you absolutely can’t skip!
- Figure out your goals. Are you wanting to lose weight? Do you have chronic stomach discomfort? Do you just want to eat healthier? Understanding your goals and motivation is critical for success.
- Google Whole30 recipes and find choices that excite you. This diet doesn’t have to be miserable – it can actually be quite indulgent and delicious.
- Commit to really go for it for 30 days. As the book reminds you – it’s just 30 days of your entire life. 30 days is enough time to jumpstart your weight loss, to make new healthy habits, to reprogram your cravings and your mind. You have so little to lose, and so much to gain!
Stay tuned for part 2 of my Whole30 review to discover my favorite Whole30 recipes, and read about how I ate during and after the 30 days. If you have tried the Whole30 diet, or are thinking about trying it, leave a comment and tell me about your experience!
Sara Pascale is an owner and coach at The Den in Allen. She homeschools her three children, and runs the StrongMom’s Bootcamp here at The Den. Sara has an Exercise Science degree from Wheaton College and 14 years of experience in the fitness industry. She played collegiate level basketball and has competed in several NPC Figure Competitions. Sara loves The Den because she loves to train like an athlete. She regularly attends The Den’s CrossFit and Boxing Classes, and she loves to train alongside her StrongMoms!