So, I'm doing the Whole30. If you have been on the Internet at all, you will have at least heard of it. I am on day 9 (whoot, whoot). Before I tell you how it's going (as in, let you laugh at my distress), let me start by telling you what it is, why I would voluntarily decide to do this to myself and some tips I'm using to stay on track. 'Cuz this is hard enough without having to start over.
What is the Whole30?
Check out the Whole30 website, and read the books It Starts With Food and Whole30 for a more detailed description that I will give here. I recommend reading at least one of the books before you start, if you really want to succeed. There is so much more to the Whole30 than what I am about to tell you, but in a nutshell, this is the Whole30:
Yes--Eat: meat, seafood, eats, vegetables, fruit and natural fats. (Preferably grass-fed, organic, pastured, but don't sweat it if you can't afford it.)
No--Don't eat: sugar (not even the added sugars in your ketchup, seasoned salt and bacon), sugar substitutes (including stevia), alcohol (not even the alcohol in your vanilla extract), grains of any kind, legumes (including all beans, peanuts and peanut butter), soy in any form or as a additive, or dairy (including yogurt, goat's milk, etc).
Do not weigh or measure yourself for the entire 30 days (although you should before you start if you want to know the difference at the end). This frees you from being a slave to the scale and letting the scale dictate whether you think the program is working or whether you have a good or bad day. It forces you to look at other victories besides the numbers. Sounds good to me.
No "Whole30-ified" desserts or treats. Part of the beauty of this program is that it retrains how you think about food. If you simply sub a fake dessert for the real thing, it messes with your brain. You haven't broken that need for something sweet. It still controls you. You are far more likely to binge at some point. Let's face it, a little sweet just makes me want a little (lot) more sweet. So, no substitute treats. If you're truly hungry, go grab a real meal.
If you cheat or slip-up, or accidentally consume something from the "No" list, you start all over at day one. (The reason for this is that the Whole30 pulls down inflammation, among other things. It takes time to do that. If you cheat, you are adding an inflammatory food again. Time to start over if you really want results.)
My reasons for deciding to do the Whole30:
I've kind of let my diet slide a little (into the abyss).I have been eating way too much sugar, too many grains and not enough protein and veggies.From experience,I already know that my lifestyle dramatically affects my cravings.If I want to stay out of the cookie jar, I need lots of protein, lots of veggies, and lots of sleep.I also know that a little sugar only makes me want a little more sugar, which only makes me want a whole lot of sugar.For me, the best bet is cold-turkey abstinence.I don't seem to do very well with moderation when it comes to sugar.The Whole 30 seemed like a good way to get myself back on track.
One of my kids might be exhibiting a couple food sensitivities.The Whole30 is a very good way to check for that, and runs a lot shorter than most elimination diets (a very good thing when working with kids).But before I felt like I could ask him to abstain from his favorite foods, I wanted to take it for a test run.If I decided to have him do this, I will have more compliant recipes, be better able to decide if he needs to do the plan as written or modified, and have a much better over-all plan.An added bonus -- if I have any hidden sensitivities, I will know what they are by the time I finish the re-introduction phase.I don't think I do, but now I will be absolutely sure.
Let's just be honest.I would LOVE to lose about a bazillion pounds.Especially without counting calories, stepping on a scale or obsessing.
7 Tips For Doing a Whole 30:
1. READ THE BOOK.This really can't be over-stated.It will make everything go much more smoothly.This isn't like any diet you have ever done -- believe me.I have tried them all.
2. Like everyone across the Internet says, Plan, Plan, Plan.Failure to plan = failure to succeed.I meal plan on one day, get my groceries on another and do meal prep on yet another day.That's what works for me.You might have a totally different schedule.I work from home, so I always have my kitchen close by.If you are working away from home, this will be much harder.It won't be impossible, though.Lots of people who work away from home are doing this.But it will take even more planning.Take the time to plan ahead.
3. Ask yourself some "if, then" questions.If I go out to eat, then I'll order this.If I get hungry between meals, then I will eat this.If I am having cravings, then I will do/eat this.You get the idea.Have a plan for how you will deal with situations that could potentially derail you.
4. Keep your refrigerator/cabinets FULL of good foods that are on plan.The quickest way to sabotage a Whole 30 is to get too hungry and have nothing around that you are allowed to eat.
5. Give yourself time to learn to cook differently. This will be much easier if you are already used to cooking with homemade almond milk, coconut milk, ghee, homemade almond butter and other real food ingredients.If you have been eating the Standard American Diet, this will take a lot more getting used to. Be nice to yourself and give yourself some time to learn to cook differently. M'Kay?
6. Think along the lines of "Protein & Produce".You really can't go too wrong if you are filling up on a yummy grilled chicken breast, an beautiful salad with fresh greens, and lots of chopped veggies, and a side of apple slices dipped in almond butter.It's fast, easy (especially if you cook the chicken and make the dressing on your meal prep day), filling and totally on plan.
7. Don't skimp on the carbs and fats.Your body needs them and they will help you feel full and satisfied.Carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fruits in moderation.Fats like ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado.Trust me.You will have less cravings, more energy and this whole thing will go more smoothly. You won't lose weight faster by skimping on carbs and fats -- you'll just sabotage the program.