On the other side of the Whole30
Saturday, July 14, 2018
To give you some context, I lost 3/4 inch from my waist, 1 1/2 inches from my tummy, and 1 3/8 from my hips. I didn't lose weight and didn't have any of the other NSV I was hoping for. I experienced nothing on the "what to expect at this stage" timeline. Am I glad I did this? Yes, because it was the only way to know if it would help me. Will I be doing it again? Not likely, but I'll see what reintroduction teaches me.
To someone who was considering doing this, here's what I would say now that I've gotten to day 31:
Yes, it is hard. Just because other things are harder doesn't mean this isn't hard. You will "choose not to eat" a lot of things you like. You'll exercise serious willpower at parties, and you'll be amazed at where sugar is lurking. I knew about ketchup and peanut butter, but sausage? (Note: there are very easy sausage recipes, either ground or patties. Homemade chicken sausage was my #1 dietary staple.) There are no cheat days. Do it, or don't do it.
While a vast majority of people lose some weight, that's not its primary purpose. It's meant to rebalance your gut and your hormones, and in the process you may lose weight or learn habits that will help you do so in the future. It's not really compatible with weight loss programs. You have to let everything else go and just trust the plan. And no weighing in. At all. The whole month. I stopped tracking after the first few days because I didn't want to enter all those new recipes in the tracker. It was kind of freeing.
You don't have to buy the books. They'll help you understand the "science" (I put that in quotes because you can find other "science" that says the opposite.) You can find all the information you need to follow the program on line, on and off the Whole30 web site. But if you peruse the forums, you'll see that the rules - or better put, recommendations - are stricter than what the main web site presents. Fruit, zero to two servings per day, and not as a snack. Nuts and nut butters, only once every other day or so. Other nutrition and recipe web sites will give you their own take that may or may not be strictly on plan (like chia seed pudding). If you want to be prepared, go through the forum. Just because something has compliant ingredients doesn't make it compliant.
You will do a lot of cooking. No mixing fruit into a cup of yogurt for breakfast, or slapping sandwiches together for lunch. Everything requires preparation, and even though I make big batches to freeze I was still cooking pretty much every night. By derivation, you will do a lot of dishes.
You will eat a lot of meat. I wasn't used to that and it was an adjustment. I settled in at around day 8, but till then it felt sort of gross. No way around that.
Ladies, many of us have certain hormonal effects, maybe for better, maybe for worse. 'Nuff said.
When it's over, it's still not over. Reintroduction is key; you need to reintroduce the food groups one at a time, or if you have trouble you won't know what caused it. You reintroduce one group, then go back to compliance for two or three days to see what happens before introducing the next one. You're not fully done for almost two more weeks. I didn't factor that it when I planned the timing, which taught me…don't fret too much over the perfect time to do this. Just do it. You will have a social event or business trip or something no matter when you do it, and you'll just have to deal. I had three business trips during mine.
If I were to give a major criticism of this program, it's the same as what I'd say about a lot of others. They see this as the be-all, end-all, perfect solution for everyone. Not that you fix all your problems in a month, but that the plan is always beneficial. That simply can't be true. Yes, eating whole foods is better than eating processed foods, I'll go with that. But if at the three week mark people are suddenly having stomach pains, isn't it just possible that this way of eating caused it? That's not given a thought; the answer is always to remove something else, like nightshades or FODMAPS, or maybe take probiotics. Never once did I see a moderator suggest that this plan wasn't right for someone. And that troubles me.
In another post I'll talk about some things I learned about food habits in general, at least my own.