It’s almost 2016, which means it’s time for another Whole 30 in the Hassell home. If you have no idea what this means, here is a simple explanation from the creators of this program, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig:
“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...Push the ‘reset’ button with…the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.”
This sounds pretty great, right? But, how do you achieve this? The point is to take certain foods out of your diet, replacing them with all the healthy fats, lean protein, fruit and vegetables you can. But, is it really possible to see changes in just 30 days? Yes! Some of the benefits Daniel and I experienced:
1. I was tired every night at 9:00 and slept through the night. Anyone that knows me can understand that this is a HUGE deal. (Which is why it is number 1 on my list!) I also woke up every morning refreshed rather than kicking and screaming…
2. I had a tremendous increase in energy; I didn’t feel the need to drink coffee or a coke in the afternoon to help me ‘wake up.’
3. My face completely cleared up. No more random pimples that made me feel like I was back in seventh grade. Hallelujah!
4. My teeth were whiter! What?!
5. All cravings of any kind completely vanished by the end of the 30 days. Trust me, there were days along the way when all I wanted to do was dive into a gallon of Bluebell using my hands as spoons. But, those days became less and less frequent and it got much easier.
6. I was strangely happy. Seriously, Daniel and I argued MUCH less during the month of our Whole 30. (Husbands, you might as well try it for that reason alone, amiright?)
7. We were more “regular,” if you know what I’m sayin’…
8. Together, Daniel and I lost over 25 pounds in one month. While this is definitely progress, I made this the last benefit because this is not what the Whole 30 is all about. I’ll come back to that in a minute.
So, what does all this entail? Here is what is/isn’t allowed on the program:
Okay, you may be thinking “That sounds crazy! That’s impossible!” I promise you, it isn’t. Daniel and I love coke and ice cream and Oreos and Reese’s, etc. Who doesn’t? But, we were able to easily complete our first Whole 30, and I know you can as well.
A few more guidelines:
- You cannot step on the scale or take measurements during the 30 days. This can distract you or discourage you if you don’t see results. However, the lifelong benefits and complete change in how you view food far outweigh what you might see on the scale.
- You can’t use “Whole 30 compliant” foods to twist them into the sweets and other unhealthy foods that feed your cravings (such as pancakes, cupcakes, etc.) The point is to teach your body how to handle cravings and other eating habits, changing them for the better.
- You have to stick to it the entire 30 days. Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t allow your mind to let you think it’s okay to slip up. If you do, they recommend starting over completely. Yikes! It’s a better idea to stick with the 30 days than to continuously be starting back at square one after, say, 20 days of following the rules.
If you are interested in learning more about this, I recommend you do these things:
- Purchase the book It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. It is so good! It had a lot of science and other things I usually don’t care much about, but I couldn’t put it down.
- Go to this website and explore all the materials and information available. There are PDF versions of shopping lists, meal plan templates, and lots more!
- Find someone who will do the program with you. It will be much easier and a lot more fun if you have a partner walking the journey alongside you. You can swap recipes, make a meal plan together, whine over how awful it is to not be eating pizza, etc. The support you have is a huge determining factor in your success!
- Pick a start date that works for you! If you know you have a bachelorette weekend, anniversary trip, or family reunion coming up, it’s probably not the best time to start. For us, we literally have a big event that pulls us away from home at least once a month until maybe June. This is obviously not ideal for the Whole 30! So, we decided to go ahead and start on January 1st, continuing with the plan indefinitely. This means we will most likely be eating this way all through the spring, which will hopefully make up for the times it is difficult to choose Whole 30 compliant foods.
- Plan, plan, and plan some more! This eating plan requires a lot of food preparation and work, but it is definitely worth it. You must have a meal plan that works for your family’s schedule or it will be very easy to “just grab something while we’re out.” (I will have a whole post on how I plan for the Whole 30 coming soon.)
So, there you have it! Let me know if you want to join me on this Whole 30 at any time! I’ll be right there with you pining over some pasta, but grabbing the spaghetti squash instead…