When my sister asked if I wanted to do Whole30 with her this past August, my knee-jerk reaction was “No way, not another diet!” While I’m still figuring out what works best for me nutritionally — it changes daily based on what my body needs — I am 100% confident that any kind of diet does not end well, at least not for this girl. Before I could even get my next word out, she said, “Relax, it’s not a diet — it’s a reset.” Not a diet? Ok sister, you’ve got my attention.
You’re likely already familiar with the Whole30. It’s been covered extensively online. But for those who are new or need a refresher, per the website: Whole30 is a nutritional program designed to change your life in 30-days. They say to think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it.
The goal is to eliminate these foods for 30 days, then reintroduce them one by one to see how your body reacts. Perhaps my favorite part of the program: no calorie counting and no restricting. Aside from the banned items — sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and anything that represents something you may be craving (ie: paleo pancakes, which they call “sex with your pants on” — google it), you’re welcome to have unlimited quantities of whatever approved food you want. I’ve counted calories and restricted in the past, and though it led to an enormous weightloss, it also led to weight gain. Restriction, calorie counting, and diets do not work for me.
Their entire approach to program appealed to me. From the resources they provide, to the tough-love-no-nonsense words. One of my favorite lines from co-creator Melissa Hartwig was, “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”
So I did it — the full 30 days with my sister, and here’s what I learned during the process.