Whole30

Disclaimer: This blog is one of a series of  personal explorations of my own experiences searching for a solution to my compulsive eating. Anything stated here is not a reflection of this organization as a whole. Please take what you like, leave the rest, and investigate for yourself.

 

| Whole30 |

For those of you not familiar with Whole30, it is – as the name implies –  a whole-food program in which participants eliminate dairy, grains, alcohol, soy, chemicals, and sweeteners for 30 days.

After the program ends, participants reintroduce the formerly forbidden foods one at a time, monitoring how their bodies feel. I came by this plan accidentally, as I wrote about here.

This is a great program.

Founder Melissa Hartwig really put together a solid plan backed by research, social media support, personal experience, high-quality literature, and online forums.

There are all kinds of free downloads that make it easy for anyone to start the program. The allowed foods are easily obtained and affordable. In fact, you can do the whole program shopping exclusively at Trader Joe’s.

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I did the plan October through November 2018. So how’d I do?

| What Worked |

This is the plan on which I discovered that my body loves it some fat. For once in my life, I was allowed to eat ample amounts of healthy fat … olive oil, ghee butter, olives.

Guilt-free fat.

And this is where me and avocados started our love story. Oh my God. The two avocados I ate a day left my body singing and my skin glowing. 

Even better, I didn’t feel guilty about it. Since you don’t count calories on Whole30, I was able to focus on just being healthy, listening to my body, and learning when it was full.

It worked in real life.

I had no problem finding food I could eat when not at home. Caesar salads with no croutons or cheese, grilled salmon with vegetables, Lara Bars for when I had to eat on the go – no problem.

| What Didn’t Work |

Like every other diet, Whole30 isn’t a food plan you’re supposed to be on forever.

One of the guidelines of the program is that if you eat a food not on the Whole30 approved list, you start over. You go back to Day 1.

Since I’ve suffered from the virus of “diet/binge” since the age of four as I wrote about here, this plan was a “binge set up” for me.

I did some major Whole30 binges.

I’d make a cereal out of coconut flakes, almond butter, dried fruit, drench them in coconut milk and eat bowl after bowl until I was stuffed.

I ate boxes of Lara Bars and entire packages of almonds and dried apricots, which I’d follow with four or five bananas smothered in almond butter.

And, although Melissa specifically outlines what a portion is supposed to be, it’s up to you whether you want to practice it.

No portion control for me.

As you can imagine, by the time “Day 30” came around, not only did I not lose any weight (not the ultimate goal of the program, but it would have been nice),  I probably even gained weight. (I don’t know this for a fact since I refused to weigh myself but I feel pretty confident about this.)

Oh yeah.

I was also smoking at the time.

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The program rules specially state that until you’re off the nicotine products, you need to not do Whole30 because it’s antithetical to what the plan is trying to do … restore your health.

So I think you can tell from this blog that I really didn’t give Whole30 a fair shake.

| The Bottom Line |

My two key takeaways were that (1) my body needs more healthy fats than I’d previously allowed it and (2) because I am sugar-sensitive, I have to minimize fruit, especially the dried kind.

But the most important lesson I learned is – that as wonderful and life-changing as Whole30 is – right now, at least, I need to stay away from all diets as they just keep me in the binge cycle .. even the good ones.

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