Let me be the first to admit that I was skeptical about Whole30.
What Is Whole30?
Whole30 is a very popular elimination you typically see all of your friends attempting after New Year’s. The official rules say that for 30 days, you can’t consume any added sugars (real or artificial), alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, sulfites, or MSG. Basically, you’re sticking to fruit, meat, and vegetables.
As if being restrictive weren’t a challenge enough, Whole30 has one other important stipulation. If you cheat and eat one of the forbidden foods, you have to start all over again.
Say what?! Again, I was skeptical. What kind of healthy diet doesn’t allow a person to eat beans or quinoa? Why is there no grace and understanding that sometimes in the middle of a big diet, you just can’t resist the baked goods someone brought to the office?
A Registered Dietitian’s Take on Whole30
“Whole30 is essentially an elimination diet, or an anti-inflammatory diet,” says HUM Director of Education, Sarah Greenfield. “I’m a huge proponent of this way of eating. I think it’s really healthy to try something new and take out foods. What you do in that time period is decrease inflammation in your body. Then, when you reintroduce things, you can figure out if certain foods don’t agree with you.”
Anticipated Challenges & Benefits
Though I love adding lots of greens to my diet, I’m also a verified sugar addict. (Additionally, I’m known to Postmates Shake Shack for dinner semi-frequently.) Still, I consider myself more of an intuitive eater and was curious to see what results I’d see on a stricter regimen.
You need look no further than the Whole30 website to find endorsements by doctors, dietitians, and acupuncturists. They say the diet will help you lose weight, beat fatigue, and help with all sorts of other ailments. Basically, it’s a miracle diet.
During the first few days of Whole30, I was afraid at any given bite that I was breaking the rules and would have to start all over. However, after the first week, I got into a groove with the permitted foods.
Throughout the first two weeks, my skin continued to break out. In fact, it was breaking out even MORE than usual. But by the end, I only had a few blemishes here and there instead of all over.
I thought the worst part of Whole30 would be banning sugar and alcohol. But I was surprised at how easy it was to just substitute something else in and still feel satisfied. If I craved sweets, I had a piece of fruit and that did the trick. At bars, I ordered a seltzer or hot tea. Just having something in my hand was enough.
In fact, the best part of Whole30 was something I hadn’t anticipated at all: saving a ton of money not drinking. Not to mention sparing myself from hangovers all month long. I’m so used to alcohol ruling over my social life on weekends. But it was really refreshing to know I can still go out with friends and have a good time without racking up a big expensive bar tab and suffering the next day.
The Final Results
Whoa! I don’t know about you, but the transformation definitely impressed me. Without adding any additional workouts to my routine—I typically do a few yoga classes a week—I saw way more definition in my arms and waist. Here are the numbers to show the proof:
Weight: -3 lbs
Waist Size: -3 inches
Body Fat Percentage: -0.6%
Though I still had a few blemishes here and there, my skin cleared up significantly. Furthermore, my energy, digestion, and mood all felt like they were functioning optimally. For me, this experiment was a huge success and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to try something new in their diet.