I have a confession. I am a frequent dieter. This year, I have lost the same 10 pounds, four times. While I like to say that demonstrates my resolve to accomplish what I focus on, I’m a bit ashamed that I can’t stick to my weight loss goals. No matter what I am happy for the new year, as I hope that it will push me to fully achieve my summer body. In 2018, yes, I have started a new weight loss and diet program – Weight Watchers. But before I decided to do that, I considered redoing the Whole30; which brings me to the purpose of this post; what’s Whole30 and why I will never do it again!
*Disclaimer: The Whole30 could be great for you. My friend has done it twice and she always looks and feels good after.
What is the Whole30?
The Whole30 is a nutritional reset to how we eat. According to the program’s site, it’s designed to “help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system”. To do this, you must cut out all food groups that Whole30 deems “unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting and inflammatory”. These food groups are mainly sugar, grains, dairy and legumes (oh, and no alcohol….). The diet only last 30 days, and outside of what’s mentioned above, you can eat anything. Sounds like the perfect diet, right?
I didn’t last the 30 days. I lasted a pretty long time, but Valentine’s Day happened….by Valentine’s Day, I mean the sales on candy the day-after VDay happened. While I didn’t make the 30 days, I was still proud of myself. I felt great! My skin was clearer, my stomach was flat and I had lost 10 pounds. The diet was tough, but worth it.
Within a month, however, nearly all of my progress was gone. I had quickly put that weight back on and I found myself eating more of those “unhealthy, hormone-imbalancing” foods more than I did before. Plus, after doing more research on the diet, I found that U.S. News ranked it #37 of its Best Diets. There were only 39 diets on the list.
Essentially, Whole30 didn’t work for me for three reasons. Elimination diets are bad. Elimination diets are bad. Elimination diets are bad. Well, that was one reason. But this is my most important takeaway after depriving myself for a month. Maybe some people are disciplined enough, but totally eliminating entire food groups from your diet is unrealistic and punitive. I understand why the idea of a full body reset is appealing. You do feel good. But diet and weight loss programs should be sustainable and aid in holistic healthy living. So I do the diet for 30 days…great. But after that I wanted to (over)reward myself. I ate too many of those discounted Valentine Day candies. I drank a few too many cups of wine. I overindulged in every single thing that I had missed out on over the course of the diet. Yes, this says a lot about my self control. However, the Whole30 gods should account for the aftermath of the reset. It’s human nature to want to reward ourselves for after an accomplishment. As such, there should be a caveat in the program that guides participants through transitioning back to realistic daily eating. Let’s call it the Whole30 | Part 2: Back to Reality.
For some, the Whole30 can work wonders. Whenever I obsess about my weight, I think about how I can do it for the month and quickly lose 10 pounds. Then logic prevails, and I realize that at present, this diet doesn’t work. While the many success videos on YouTube might make you think otherwise, Whole30 won’t help you in achieving lasting healthy patterns. And that’s the true ultimate goal, to be healthy and happy, which isn’t based on a pants size.