It’s that time again.
Another Whole30 started at the beginning of this month, appropriately enough. I am now at a happy weight, one I haven’t seen since early childhood, but the Whole30 isn’t just about weight – even if it’s helped me not only lose weight but keep it off over the last six months. It’s about health and well-being. It’s about changing the way you look at food.
I keep talking about the Whole30 on here and with my friends because it had such a big impact with me, one that I, even five months after the conclusion of my first iteration, simply cannot shake. Bread and pasta are indistinguishable from candy in my mind now, which makes sense if you understand that carbs = sugar and therefore your body treats that bread and pasta the same way it treats sugar. I still don’t quite understand the ban on beans, but I did notice how much I used beans as a crutch to avoid eating more vegetables when I let them back into my diet. I enjoy coconut milk, almonds, and salami on a near daily basis but don’t have to worry about calories. Even when I’m off the diet I make substantially smarter eating decisions so that, even though the diet has only been 60-ish days of the last 150, I haven’t gained back that weight I lost. Despite all the Christmas cookies, the drinks, the lack of exercise when I hurt my adductor muscle and then had a cold for three weeks, my weight only fluctuated by two pounds.
Frankly, it’s pretty awesome. And this is coming from someone who has done the chronic cardio, who was vegetarian for the past eleven years, who has done the severely restricted calorie diets. So now I look around and think about what it could do for those of you who were in the same boat as me, or even in a worse place, if it did so much for me.
This iteration started a week ago, but it’s not too late to join in. Just go an extra week in February, that’s all. It’s the perfect time to get rid of those pounds gained over the holidays. Like those two pounds of fluctuation I had in December? Gone within two days. Granted, it’s probably water weight, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful to see.
So try it. It’s a difficult diet, but it’s only for 30 days. Sure, you can’t really eat out without playing the 20-questions game with your waiter and you cannot avoid becoming thoroughly disgusted/amazed with how pretty much every packaged product in the grocery store contains added sugar. Yes, even that. I’m still amazed, and I’ve been at this for months. My latest surprise? Beef broth. Yes. Beef broth. Trader Joe’s brand beef broth has three different kinds of added sugar.
But I’ll tell you a little secret to make it all easier: plan ahead. Take one day out of your week and make as much food as possible, then freeze it for the rest of the week. My friend and I pooled our resources and made four different meals for the week, which I am still working through. It’s a lot of food, but it has also meant almost zero cooking beyond the microwave and my breakfast eggs.
Another hint: larabars. These were practically made for the paleo diet, and aside from a few with added chocolate chips and peanuts, they are almost all whole30 compliant. They are also great in an emergency and wonderful to have stashed in your purse for a snack.
One more: smoothies. My go-to meal when I don’t feel like eating meat or putting something together is the smoothie. I make mine with frozen berries, a tbsp of almond butter, half a mango or a whole banana, a few tablespoons of coconut milk, a giant handful of spinach, and as much water as needed. But the beauty of smoothies is that there are many different ways to make them, one of which you are bound to love. And you can always adapt the recipe for what you have on hand.
So come on and join me. It’s only 30 days.