Why You Should Try Whole 30 Now
Post-graduation is the time to get your finances, career, relationships and life in order. Your time as a young professional is marked by the attempts (and successes!) of figuring all these things out. Like a lot of you, I’ve been learning how to be an adult. But there’s one part of being responsible that I’ve ignored for most of my life. Getting my health right.
So What is Whole 30?
Whole30 is a diet that promises to “change your life in 30 days.” It’s a pretty bold claim, even for a diet. But what drew me to the program wasn’t the life changing promise. I liked the philosophy. Whole30 isn’t a diet to lose weight; it’s a nutritional reset designed to change your relationship with food. The point isn’t to change your body, it’s to change your mind. It’s also designed to help identify what food may have a negative impact on your health without you knowing it.
These are the rules:
Eat real food. And as much as you want! The point isn’t to make you eat less, it’s to make you eat better.
- Added sugar of any kind, real or artificial
- Alcohol in any form, not even for cooking
- Grains, including the ways it’s added to food in the form of bran, germ, starch
- Legumes (e.g., beans peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, and soy products)
- Carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites
- Baked goods, junk foods, or “approved” treats (e.g., Paleo Pop-Tarts, banana “ice cream”)
- Stepping on the scale or taking body measurement
On Whole30 you’re not allowed cheat days. If you slip up, you start over. The last two rules and Whole30’s tough-love approach are what sealed the deal for me.
What’s it like doing Whole 30?
In the creators’ words, “Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”
Whole30 may not be hard, but if I’m being honest, it sure isn’t easy.
The first two weeks were the worst. Going in to it, I thought going a month without cheese or bread was going to be the hardest part. But it was sugar and legumes that became a thorn in my side. I also didn’t consider for how much time it would take in my life. Eating out is basically impossible, and all of my go-to meals were out.
After reading a lot of blogs and many frustrating trips to the grocery store, I eventually got the hang of it. I found a vegetable broth that didn’t use soy, started making my own breakfast sausage without added sugar, and came up with a couple of quick meals I could make when I didn’t have time to cook. I also started setting aside serious time to prep food for the week. While I did miss my comfort foods, I focused on trying new foods, like zucchini noodles and beets (sorry Dwight, not for me).
Did Whole 30 Change My Life?
Yes and no. Would I do it again? Absolutely.
I did end up losing weight during my 30 days, but I pretty much felt the same as I did before I started. I still have cravings, and I don’t have a new wealth of energy. And once I started eating normal foods again, I didn’t have anything crazy happen to be.
What I did get from Whole30 was a mental change. It’s only a few weeks since I finished, but I’m still avoiding soda, drinking coffee black, and this very morning I turned down a donut.
Dieting is only one part of health, but not having it under control will catch up with you. Eating Whole30 for life isn’t really feasible (Who want a life without pasta?!), but being aware of the food you eat and its effect on your body is something anyone can do long term.
For more information on Whole 30, visit whole30.com.
Allie Martin is a Technical Writer in Dallas, TX.