In case you haven’t heard, Whole 30 is a pretty big deal. Simply put, it is a program that lasts for 30 days where you cut out foods that can be damaging to the body. The goal is to get your body to reset, heal and feel like it’s meant to feel when it’s eating the correct fuel. Is Whole 30 worth it?
… or is it just another “lifestyle” fad that will wash away with the next diet tide?
I decided to try doing a Whole 30 on my own because who would I be if I haven’t tried a lifestyle craze? I wanted to do a review immediately but felt it was best to take some time to truly grasp the positives and negatives about the program according to my experience.
After my initial Whole 30, I ate for 3 weeks “normally” adding back in all of the foods I eliminated and decided quickly do a mini-reset or a Whole 7 to see if I was a changed woman. To make this simple, let me lay out the positives and negatives in an easy to digest list.
- There is a time and a place for drastic change and sometimes it doesn’t line up. I spent the first few weeks of Whole 30 chugging along until things got a little too busy. In the middle of a shift change, opposite schedules and searching and buying our first house was a little tough to swallow towards the end. There were times I truly didn’t have time to make a meal and I relied on compliant snacks way too much. I believe they touch on this in the book but this could go for any lifestyle change. Try to commit when you have less to commit to.
- Not a lot of restaurant options. I am a chef and my husband and I love date nights and exploring the food scene when we can. It is something that is ingrained in our relationship and as much as I love cooking, most of our date nights were at Chipotle and Five Guys. Sure, you can call restaurants and make sure they are using compliant oils and menu options, but the truth is that most don’t and most of those places are ones you DON’T really want to order a dry salad at. Again, I made it work, it would be a better world if more places served real food.
- Re-Introduction is TOUGH. Sure, the whole change is tough but this one was REALLY hard for me and cemented the fact that I am better as an abstainer than moderator. I totally flopped on this one. I didn’t introduce slowly and for that reason, I wasn’t sure what food was causing me the most issues. I do now…. plot twist: its sugar.
- Compliant food can get EXPENSIVE. Compliant bacon is $6.99 where I live for 12oz and those types of things were a little pricey. Of course you can get around this by not buying expensive items but I truly think variety makes it more fun and easy to stick to. I will say that the food quality DOES make a difference in your overall well-being so choose your battles wisely!
- The return of FOOD ANXIETY. When I ended the program this familiar dark cloud loomed over me. Foods became good and bad again and sugar seemed SO much more attractive now that I could have it. I never binged, but I did go overboard on things I hadn’t ate and it spiraled into the next few weeks. This is nothing I haven’t dealt with before and I had a selfish thought that doing something like this would “fix” such things. No darling… that stuff is still all in your head. When to eat things that have an adverse effect on the body and how much will always be a work in progress for me and if it is for you, you’re not alone!
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- LOTS of support. If your friends and family think you’re a little nutty for doing a whole 30 and don’t know how to handle supporting you, don’t worry. There is a ton of support in the whole 30 community in forums, blogs and my personal favorite, instagram. Lots of people doing the same thing on the same timeline not only help you feel better about your decisions, but you can get inspiring meal ideas and feel like you’re a part of something more.
- I craved REAL food again. At one point, eggs seemed as good as chocolate. That’s a straight up lie… but for the most part I really just craved actual food and not the things that would pick me up for 30 minutes and throw me back down. Because of this, I was inspired to try new meals that I will keep on making.
- My body Changed. But not in terms of weight loss. I mean, I may have lost some but for once I didn’t rely on the scale to pat me on the back. Instead I got validation in the form of less bloat, better digestion and glowing clear skin the whole way through.
- Spending more, for more life. Yes, this kind of contradicts the negative up there but basically I am trying to say that I truly value the food I ate. I was willing to spend more on food that was taken care of better because I knew it was actually taking care of ME. For this reason I realized once again the value of voting with your dollar on the food you would like to see more which happens to be the fuel that helps us become our best selves.
- I walked OUT of the fog. Once you’ve cleared yourself of eating chemicals, sugar and reactive food groups for at least 10 days, something amazing starts to happen. It’s strange because it is really hard to explain to people who haven’t ever been there before. When your body is fueled properly, all systems compliment each other and not only do you notice changes in your body but you notice changes in your BRAIN. When I am fueled with real food, I am MOTIVATED, INSPIRED and I have a CLARITY and ENERGY that only can be described as walking out of a fog I didn’t know I was in. Living in that space allows you to become a more positive person which leads to living your purpose and being your best self. That alone is reason enough to do what it takes to take care of yourself the right way. It may be another program, or a different diet shift, but do what it takes to GET THERE and I promise you’ll “get it”.
Take processed foods out of your diet and your appetite for real food will come easy and natural. You might also notice that your appetite for life and for the best possible expression of who you are will take over as well. And that’s the best possible appetite you can have.
-Psychology of Eating
Thyme and JOY is a parnter with the Whole30 Approved program. For more information about the Whole30 reset and Personal chef services in charleston check out these links: