It’s late at night and I’m thinking about the whole30. I’m thinking about my first whole30 and how I’m still seeking #FoodFreedomForever. And I really feel like I need to take some thoughts off my chest after seeing how much attention the programme has had over the month of January!
I did the whole30 back in September. It didn’t have a happy ending, but it did have lifelong positive consequences. My gut wasn’t happy, but my soul was, and I am so grateful for the experience. I’m also proud I lasted the 30 days without a slip. I know I won’t be doing the whole30 exactly as it is outlined again, but I know that applying the core principles was essential to my mental success the first time around.
But there’s stuff we’re not talking about enough in this community. I still stumble upon whole30ers who just want to “lose weight”. Who think it’s ok to eat almond butter by the spoonful because it’s compliant. Or worse, who stuff dates with almond butter and are cool with that.
No. Don’t be cool.
If these behaviours don’t seem like red flags to you, please don’t stop reading. You need this.
#1. it takes a while to get ready and figure out your boundaries
DON’T jump into the whole30 the same way you jump into your car to get a Starbucks. The whole30 rules are simple, but the work you have to do on yourself is not. So don’t talk yourself out of it and do whatever it takes to make sure that you commit 100%. Write notes to remind yourself, write out all the things you are avoiding for 30 days, and assess your personal needs. This is SO important. What is your weakness? Almond butter? Coffee? What do you rely on the most? What are the foods you can’t live without and turn to for comfort? LEAVE THEM OUT. It doesn’t matter if they are compliant. They have just become un-compliant, because you need them so much. Go big or go home. Set yourselves boundaries that are strict, you’ll be surprised at how strong you can be. There are no hacks, no tricks, no ways to make it easier. The whole30 is not easy, and it isn’t supposed to be. Remember what your goal is – even if it is “just weight loss”, it isn’t just weight loss. It’s freedom from food, freedom from guilt and freedom from all the emotion that is linked to it. You have to work at it to attain it!
#2. trace sugars are not an option
Compliant bacon is hard to source. I don’t know why bacon excites whole30ers so much. Bacon is just pork. By the way, refer to #1 if you think you have a problem with bacon. But if compliant bacon isn’t available, don’t settle for “less than 2% sugar” or whatever the packaging is trying to make you believe. Less than 2% is not compliant. I repeat, less than 2% is not compliant. 0% is compliant. 0 grams is compliant. How do you expect to slash your Sugar Dragon or food sensitivity if you expose yourself to trace amounts of soy/peanuts/whey? You’ll end up thinking the whole30 didn’t do it for you, but you only have yourself to blame. Leave the bacon behind and move on to better, compliant things. This is all very easy to do by buying foods that are in their natural state, or READING THE LABELS if need be. Larabars are compliant, although not recommended. Naked bacon is compliant. So just stick with what you know is simplest (meat, vegetables, natural fats) and don’t make your life complicated by looking for “alternatives”. There aren’t any!
#3. adapting your whole30 is mostly unnecessary
There is no ‘adapting’ the whole30. Either you do it, or you don’t. You are more than welcome to do your own elimination diet, but make sure your reasons are sound. At the very least, remove gluten, alcohol, sugar and dairy. It’s only 30 days – so unless you have other suspicions (FODMAPs or eggs for example), just do it. I feel that a good formula is to do the whole30 the first time around, and upon completion of the reintroduction, assess wether the next whole30 can just be an elimination diet. Dairy or gluten, for example. That’s what it will be for me! The whole30 is well documented and researched and is designed to be achievable and yield the best results in the shortest period of time. It isn’t that restrictive, you know? You’re already committing for 30 days, so why not go all the way?
#4. judging without knowing
It really irked me (and still does) that everyone seems to know what is best for other people. How well do you know your body? As well as your neighbour or that person who just started following you on instagram? I think not. We are all so different. For some, the ideal of health is living grain free. For some it’s living meat free. For some, it’s simply eating whatever they like without feeling guilty over it. Health is personal, and individual, and it evolves. I used to eat lots of gluten but no meat. Now I eat no gluten but more meat. I feel great, as good as I did before. I’ve changed, that’s all. Spread the message about what makes you feel good, but don’t judge others for their choices. If one way truly was the way for everybody, diet books and remedies and programmes would cease to exist. There is no one solution. And telling me that my salad would be healthier without dead flesh definitely isn’t one, either.
We all know these things aren’t easy to hear. We don’t like being criticised or targeted, especially when it comes to something as deeply rooted as our dietary choices. We get defensive and don’t want to change, and that’s ok. Find the problem, find the emotional “stuckage” and let it go. And go kill it on your next whole30!
Lots of love, friends! 💛