Ok, so I announced a few weeks ago that I was doing the Whole 30, but I never mentioned if I finished or how it went. All of these thoughts and feelings are my own. You or someone you know may have had a completely different experience.
To answer the first question of did I finish? No. I did not finish the Whole 30 for a few reasons. First, I want to say it drove me nuts that I stopped. I am a person who loves a challenge, and I like to see things all the way through. So, even though I started to have poor feelings about what was happening to my body and started to question some of the concepts, I still didn’t like that I was stopping.
I stopped the Whole 30 at day 13. In those 13 days I lost approximately 6lbs. I was currently 5’2″ and 112 lbs, so this brought me down to 106 lbs. I really didn’t want the weight loss to continue, but I was at a loss of how to increase my calories without drowning myself in even more nuts, avocado, and eggs than I was already having. Red meat is something I never really had in my diet (I grew up not eating it!); I’m allergic to fish/seafood; and I was already having 2 servings of chicken per day and 1 serving of eggs per day. I felt a little stuck.
Besides the weight loss, I also didn’t like the way I started to think about food. I never think obsession is a good thing when it comes to healthy eating. I have never been a restrictive person with what I eat. That is not how I choose to live my life, and trying this diet just enforced my belief in this concept. I didn’t want to develop a poor relationship with food… everyone has their limits, you just need to know when to recognize yours. This was a big eye opener for me that I needed to continue the way I have always lived my life and keep food something that is enjoyable and a part of my life…. but not my whole life.
Some positives from this experience:
- I realized how many foods actually contain added sugar. Even as a dietitian who chooses a lot of plant-based foods, does a lot of home-cooking, and tries to eat whole foods frequently, I was shocked as I dug a little deeper into some of my basic kitchen staples. I was amazed to find sugar in my pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, and even in a jar of organic salsa. I have chosen since stopping the Whole 30 to make a conscious effort to continue to monitor my sugar intake and look for foods with minimal, whole ingredients.
- I realized what an impact reducing sugar had on my skin. I have always struggled with keeping my skin clear. Cutting back on the quantity of sugar I had in my diet helped tremendously!
- I realized that as a dietitian, my credentials and education have given me the true tools to living and teaching how to live a healthy lifestyle. I can’t stress enough that if you have any type of body issues, whether that be the desire to loose weight, gain weight, maintain weight, or just feel good in your own skin and reduce your risk of health problems, go see a dietitian. Dietitians are trained to meet you where you’re at in your life and create a plan that is best for you, your every day life, and your desires. Dieting is something that is short term in terms of happiness. What I mean by that is seeing the scale go down by a few pounds may be satisfying now, but as soon as the diet is over it can cause feelings of disappointment, sadness, and even depression when he weight trickles back in. A dietitian can help you create a better lifestyle for yourself so that happiness and healthy living is long term.
So in short, would I recommend the Whole 30? I think the decision is up to you. I highly recommend that you know yourself and pay attention to your body if you do choose to try it. I recommend you seek advice from a Registered Dietitian on how to modify the concepts of the Whole 30 to better fit you, your lifestyle, and your goals. Eating a diet that focuses on more fruits and vegetables, proteins, healthy fats such as nuts and avocado, and eliminating added sugars is something that I support. Just remember to give yourself a break, don’t deprive yourself, and know when restriction becomes obsession. Lastly, carbs are not evil. Learn to moderate and choose the right carb sources, and I promise you, you won’t blow up like a balloon after one meal containing whole wheat pasta. 🙂
For any additional questions regarding my experience or thoughts about this process, feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!