It’s because I was afraid I would fail that I purposely waited to blog about it.
(Did you catch that? I was afraid. This is supposed to be my year of being brave!)
I’m happy to say I surprised myself.
Last week I completed my first Whole30. If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s a 30-day elimination diet to help detox the body, eat real food, and develop more healthy habits and attitudes toward food in general. The program is outlined in the book It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways and also described on the Whole30 website.
Here’s what I learned from Whole 30 (and why I think you should try it, too!)
1. It is possible to live without Diet Coke.
I’ve been a Diet Coke drinker since high school. It was my coffee. But it’s a definite no-no on the Whole30 Diet. So I quit cold turkey.
I also had to give up my favorite Crystal Light energy drink mix that I used to get myself going in the mornings.
Coffee is allowed on the Whole30, but only without creamer or sweetener and I was a little panicked about not having any caffeine.
How did I survive, you might ask?
Well, first off, I learned to like coffee. I used coconut milk as a creamer, chose a flavored coffee to brew, and made myself drink it. I didn’t have it every day, but on the days I wasn’t going to survive without caffeine, it totally did the trick. And it really wasn’t that bad!
In the first week or so, I suffered from caffeine withdrawal headaches. I took Excedrin, which worked like a charm since it’s aspirin with a dose of caffeine.
I’m happy to report that I’m nearly a week out from the Whole30 and I don’t even WANT a diet coke.
2. “Paleo” eating is not as crazy as it sounds.
My sister has been on the paleo bandwagon for a while now and I have to admit I thought she was crazy. (Sorry, Keri!)
Turns out that “paleo” (the Whole30 is a strict version of paleo eating) is basically just eating real foods. Lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts and meat, with plenty of healthy fats thrown in. I don’t plan to go completely paleo for the rest of my life, but after doing this program, I’m hyper aware of all the junk I was eating before and very leary about what I’m choosing to let back into my body.
3. Processed foods are SOOOOOO BAD FOR YOU! Especially sugar. And sugar is in everything.
I had the head knowledge before I started my Whole30.
Now I have the experience to back it up.
For me, the biggest difference in cutting out all processed foods was the energy boost. There was one day about midway through that I thought to myself, “I feel ten years younger.” The sluggishness that I’ve felt for the last 10 years or so (that I attributed to getting older) was suddenly gone. The afternoon slump I’d become accustomed to disappeared.
My blood sugar used to have me on a roller coaster all day long. The Whole30 made me feel much more balanced.
4. Going cold turkey isn’t such a bad idea.
Before doing the Whole 30, I always balked at the idea of restrictive diets. “Everything in moderation,” seemed to be a better approach, and yet it always opened the door to overeating and overindulgence. The Whole 30 is very restrictive, but it’s only 30 days. I reasoned that I could do anything for 30 days. And I was right.
Plus, the restrictiveness actually eliminated the stress of making choices or having to limit myself to “just one bite.” It was far easier to avoid sugar and bread altogether than it would’ve been to eat it in small amounts.
5. As crazy as it sounds, I will be doing it again.
I’m already planning my next Whole 30 adventure for this summer. I lost nine pounds this go ’round, which isn’t as much as I would’ve liked to lose, but I feel so much healthier. My skin is clear and I haven’t had a headache or indigestion in a month. Pretty amazing really.
I have to say that — like most people who have tried it — I’m now a Whole30 believer. I don’t think there’s a person on the planet who couldn’t benefit tremendously from this kind of eating. There are tons of testimonials out there from people who have not only lost weight but have all but eliminated health problems and illnesses that had plagued them for years.
If you’d like to learn more, try these resources:
Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (such a fun book with great recipes!)
So that’s what I learned from Whole 30. What are your thoughts? Have you tried it? If so, what were your results? I’d love to hear from you!
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.