I am a 40-something middle class “moderator,” meaning I tend to do everything in moderation … except eating crackers, laughing and eating cheese. I have never been what other people would consider fat, but I have had times in my life where I ate and drank more than is generally advised. One of these indulgent periods was the past five years — for bad reasons and good ones: got divorced, single parenting stress, falling in love, celebrating engagement, newlywed-ness, pregnancy, sold/bought/renovated houses, oldest Mom in preschool, it’s Tuesday, you name it!
On July 5 of this year, I was tan and happy yet bloated and tired, and my best friend had been singing the praises of this thing called “The Whole30,” and so I bought the book and let it marinate. Literally. I would get really into reading it after my second glass of wine, but it was hard to turn the pages when holding a cigarette.
By the end of August, as the summer of fun continued and I couldn’t button my pants, I re-read the book.
The Whole30 is not a diet, it is a way to cleanse your body of crap, eliminate some bad habits and ultimately change your relationship with food. Here are the basics: No sugar, no alcohol, no dairy, no grains, no legumes (which is a fancy way to say soybeans, lentils, beans and peanuts), you cannot weigh or measure yourself for the whole month, and you can’t count calories or fat grams. Also, you really need the actual The Whole30 book as you will refer to it and reread it more than you know. Most importantly, do everything they tell you and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! Seriously, do and believe what they say because though it’s hard, it works!
Sounds simple enough, right? Well yes and no. Having completed program, I feel it is my duty as your friendly moderator to share with you the 10 things about The Whole30 that no one will tell you so that you go into it eyes wide open. You’re welcome!
10 Things No One Tells You About The Whole30
- You will drink more LaCroix then you could ever imagine. And you will engage in heated discussions with random people as to your favorite flavor and whether La Croix is better than Spindrift. You think I’m kidding, but by the third week, you will find this odd form of dialog totally normal.
- The amount of nut eating is elephant like. You need to get up close and personal with a lot of nuts over 30 days, as this is one of your only snacking options. Remember, no cheese, no crackers, no pretzels, no hummus.
- The scale will call to you like Bradley Cooper on a tropical island armed with cheese, crackers and pinot grigio. Let’s just say you want to know what all your sacrifices are getting you and you can’t get that usual fix of daily or at least weekly “wins” from the scale. I found Amazon 1-click to be a wonderful elixir to satisfy this yearning for validation. I saw, I clicked, I got. Be warned: No credit card is safe during this time of no crackers and no scale.
- The first week you feel really, really bad. Not only do you have a horrible headache from whatever crap you have been putting in your body for your whole life that your body is now missing, but you are soooo pissed that all your vices have been taken away that it just makes you hangry. I suggest embracing profanity, Netflix binge-watching and aformentioned clicking activities.
- Things you will miss: crackers, hummus, crackers, cheese, crackers, half and half, crackers. Things you miss more that make the sacrifice worth it: clothes that fit, good sleep, crackers.
- Almond milk or coconut milk in any form is the red-headed step-child of half and half and is NEVER going to get put in the grandfather’s will.
- Your dream life will become strong, centered around whatever foods you are missing most and/or your celebrity crushes. I dreamed of Wheat Thins and brie and, in possibly a sexual way, a Five Guys cheeseburger. Always with Bradley Cooper.
- The sleep on The Whole30 is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. You will have the most amazing sleep you have ever had in your whole life, and you’ll wake up feeling like a million bucks!
- By day 10 you’ll seriously be waking up every day ready to kick some ass. Like dance-on-the-table-to-’90s-songs (or whatever your personal jam is) kind of good.
- By the end of the month you’ll feel so good that you won’t care if you lost weight and you won’t even want to get on the scale! Just kidding. You will feel rock-star good, but I am sorry, who is not going to weigh themselves the minute they can after a month of this?
So I did. And I lost 12 pounds!! Why wouldn’t you try any non-diet where you feel great and lose weight? I not only lost pounds, I lost inches all over my body. I feel awesome and I discovered my love of writing along the way as I chronicled the entire journey on my blog. OH! And you also learn how to zoodle, so there’s that.
The Whole30 totally backs up the theory that feeling good, being healthy and ultimately losing weight is 80% about what you put in the ol’ pie hole, as my exercise was limited. One other thing that was a revelation and a really tough mental shift was not counting calories or fat grams, which you’re advised not to do. Again, The Whole30 is not a diet. It’s a way to totally change your relationship with food, and the benefits are amazing!
Brooke Lowry lives in Charlotte, NC, with her husband and two children. When she is not a full-time working HR professional, she writes about her funny, dysfunctional life on her blog, truegrit.biz.
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