I tried the Whole30 diet and failed miserably by quitting four days in (that's got to be some kind of record). It's not that I didn't want to cut out the processed foods and all the other crap I was putting into my body. I did. Who doesn't want to eat healthier and fuel their body with nutrients that are good for them? If only it were that easy.
See, on the Whole30 diet, you cut out a lot of things. A LOT. The premise is that you are cutting out any food types that are known aggravators of the digestive system in general. For example, sugar, dairy, legumes, grains, AKA all my favorite things. Ok, I lie, mostly I just had trouble with the dairy and grains. UMM HELLO MAC'N'CHEESE. I digress. You cut out these food groups for 30 days and then start reintroducing them one by one into your diet to see which, if any, affect your body poorly. Then, of course, the idea is to leave those harmful food groups out of your diet entirely.
I have to be honest, I really love the idea of Whole30, I think discovering what doesn't work well for your body is a very valid exercise, I just couldn't get through it. Mostly because it was June and I needed to drink my Mojitos on the patio. Did I mention no alcohol on Whole30? Because there was that too. I did, however, find that discovering what doesn't work for you can sometimes lead you to find what does work for you.
This is how quitting Whole30 helped me get on the right track for not only weight loss, but also for a healthier lifestyle in general.
- Pay attention to what is in the food you're eating
I know - it's hard! I don't know exactly what is in my Pad Thai, or anything else I order at a restaurant for that matter. But I do know exactly what is in the meals I cook myself (so long as they aren't out of a box), which brings me to my second lesson.
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
Ever noticed that all the produce, fresh meat, etc. are stored around the perimeter of the store? I know, I was shocked too! So stay out of the grocery store aisles unless you're looking for something specific that will add to the meal you're making in a healthy and beneficial way.
- Shop for less at a time
I used to shop for (at least) two weeks of food at a time. You know what happens when you buy two weeks of produce at a time? IT GOES BAD. Then I would binge eat all the junk in my house because I didn't have any healthy options left. Enter my 3 meal shopping plan.
I get on Pinterest or look in a cookbook and pick out three meals that I want to make over the next week or so. The thing is, I live alone (currently), so three 4 person meals work for dinner, and lunch and dinner the next day for me. Three meals easily lasts me a week and nothing goes bad.
- Don't deprive yourself
I don't believe in diets, every "diet" I've ever attempted I've quit and frankly failed miserably because I felt like I couldn't have what I wanted which is a recipe for disaster for me. I don't buy or really have unhealthy food in my house so making good choices while at home is easy. Since I live alone, I'm in no position to turn down a dinner or drinks invitation but it is possible to make better choices while out.
For instance, if I go to a Mexican restaurant (my favorite) I can order exactly what I want, two chicken tacos. Previously I would have ordered that "with no beans, just rice", obviously this wasn't a great choice. At this point I can get the beans, which I don't eat and all it means is that I eat half the amount of rice I would have previously. See, better choices without depriving myself.
- Go for the non-scale victories
This means, watch how your jeans fit, pay attention to how you look in that dress. Don't jump on a scale too often. Our bodies fluctuate day to day, and even during different hours of the day. From Whole30 I learned to focus on all the non-scale victories, my clothes fitting better, etc. I weigh myself once a month, on the same day each month, and find that it is way more satisfying. You can actually see a difference in a month vs. day to day or even week to week.
I learned all of these things from quitting Whole30 and I can honestly say that it is what got me on track for my weight loss and all around healthier lifestyle. I lost 25lbs in about 5 months and I've held the same weight for awhile now. You can be successful and healthy and lose weight without dieting, depriving yourself, or sticking to some crazy eating regimen that isn't sustainable.
Have you tried Whole30? Did it work for you or did you fail like me? In retrospect I obviously don't think my failed attempt at Whole30 was an actual failure. Have you found other methods that work for you to keep you motivated/on track/healthy?