Whole30 Weight Loss and My Experience
Ready to try a diet that can recharge your body, help weight loss, and get you in shape? This diet might be for you. Read about my journey on the Whole30 diet and how it helped me lose weight and reset my body to a more healthy me.
What is the Whole30 Diet?
If you have not heard of the Whole 30 diet, it is one of the more popular recent diet trends thousands of people have tried. Developed by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, a husband-and-wife team with backgrounds in sports nutrition, anatomy, and physical therapy, the program aims to reset your metabolism and reshape your relationship with food. The diet helps with weight loss and other diet conditions.
Here is the best part, it is supposed to happen in 30-days! How cool is that, change your metabolism, lose weight, and gain energy in just a short amount of time.
How many diets can do that in just 30-days? Not many, is it a hoax or does it really work? Keep reading for my experience.
The Whole30 framework
Here are the basic building blocks of the Whole30 diet:
-Eat only unprocessed foods
-Eliminate all foods that are known to cause inflammation (peanuts, dairy, legumes, sugar, and alcohol).
-Increase natural fat
Sounds simple, right!
So, as far as diets are concerned you might be wondering what the heck can I eat if I eliminate sugar, wheat, soy, alcohol, peanuts, and processed foods (most foods in supermarkets contain one of those ingredients).
Well, natural meats (with no sauce I should add), vegetables, some fruit, and lots of salad. Yeah, it is hard. It is almost next to impossible to find any packaged foods that don’t contain sugar. Even the most unsuspecting food can contain sugar. Like Bacon, ham, beef jerky, almost every salad dressing, most rotisserie chickens, virtually all lunch meats, and countless other packaged foods.
It really is hard to find foods that don’t contain sugar.
The Whole30 diet also similar to the popular Keto diet and high-fat low carb diets. You will find that these diets are very strict, but strict diets do get results when you are looking to change things like weight lose, blood pressure, cholesterol, or other food-related conditions.
So, let’s just let this sink in for a minute. No sugar, wheat, soy, and peanuts…….95% of the products in a supermarket are off-limits, and no BACON…..Yes, no bacon.
The one nice thing that I should mention is that you don’t have to limit the intake of your food. Eat away, good luck eating enough calories (unless of course your eat 10lbs of prime rib a day,while compliant I would not recommend!)
Why in the world would you do this? Is a form of self torture?
Here is why you would inflict such restrictions and what makes the diet really special.
When you commit to the program, you are feeding your body whole foods that are proven to have very low incidents of causing any negative reactions which allows your body to filter the effects of any negative reactions of food.
Yeah, what does that mean? You feel better – done.
You discover what your body should feel like without the impacts of any foods that might be causing your body to have negative reactions.
I think this is one of the most important aspects of the diet. Food impacts our body in so many ways that we often lose sight of what that means. Most focus on weight loss, but it is so much more than that.
These are just a few of the things food impacts……..
-the chemistry in our blood
-our sex drive
To name just a few ways food can impact our overall health.
The diet in the 30 days you commit, helps you find a baseline without the noise of food.
Is it the magic cure for Depression, Anxiety, and Diabetes? Well yes and no. For example, if you discover on the diet that you feel better mentally, then perhaps you can figure out that the source of your Anxiety is actually coming from some food (sugar, gluten, etc.).
For Diabetes, it is almost a given you can reverse if not eliminate some of the conditions.
Weight loss – yes
Physical Ability and Energy – Yes
Mental Ability – Most of us – Yes
What the Whole30 diet is not
It is important to understand what you get with this diet and what it is not designed for. Here are some things you should know about.
-It is not a long term solution.
The Whole30 is designed to help you find how food impacts your body. Whit that knowledge, you can design a long term diet that works best for your body.
-It is not Sustainable
The diet is very restrictive and can be hard to maintain enough calories to sustain good weight.
-It is not Easy
The diet is not easy. It requires lots of hand made meals, almost now restaurants qualify, and very few traditional snacks fall into the diet.
Does the Whole30 Work? Do you lose weight on the Whole30?
Well, I read lots of reviews about the diet which were mostly positive before I gave it a try. The comments and reviews were good enough that I felt it was worth giving it a try, I mean it is only 30-days right.
I did the diet for approximately 45 days, why more than 30? I was not ready to introduce other foods back in as I had worked so hard to eliminate them. I felt it was worth the time and I learned a lot.
Here is what I experienced from my go at the Whole30 Diet:
-I Lost 16lbs or 9% of my weight in 30 days
-Eliminated Gluten and Sugar
-Eliminated Acid Reflux which allowed me to stop medication
-Improved Cholesterol Ratios to excellent
The weight loss for me was huge considering I ate a small rain forest of salad and probably more meat than most small countries consume in a month. For my lunches, I would make salads from my office cafeteria (have a great cafeteria) that were giant. I put all the veggies and toppings that would qualify and then used simple Olive oil and vinegar as dressing.
At home, I can remember eating an entire costco bag of spinach and kale mix for dinner just to fill me up. I would eat prime rib sized servings of salmon, 4-5 eggs in the morning, and enough carrots that I probably started turning orange.
I ate one apple or one orange a day to satisfy my “sweet” tooth.
For me, I did the diet for approximately 45 days, why more than 30? I was not ready to introduce other foods back in as I had worked so hard to eliminate them.
Diet before the Whole30
Prior to starting the new diet, I ate a lot of carbs (pasta, bread, pizza, etc.). In addition, I had a pretty large sweet tooth for chocolate chip cookies. I did not really eat fast food or heavily processed foods, nor did I eat lots of junk food other than the cookies (my weakness).
My weight depending on how much on any of the foods I ate and the amount of exercise fluctuated between 175-182. Based on my age, height, and sex this puts me in the high end of the normal range for BMI and other measurements. I also tend to be pretty active.
At the time of starting the diet, I was 181. By the time I ended the diet I was 165.
The Benefits I Experienced on the Whole30 Diet
-I lost 16lbs of weight loss
-I was successful in eliminating all sugar (except fruit) for the 45 days
-I eliminated all gluten
-I eliminated all bread
-Eliminated all stomach pains and bloating
What I noticed:
-Increase in energy
-Better thinking and motivation to get things done
-Eliminated my acid reflux and stopped medication
What was hard about the diet
-The first two weeks were painful, I so wanted everything that was not allowed. Went to several family events where cake, cookies, pasta, beer, wine, and every other thing was served and my cravings were playing with my mind.
-Finding and cooking compliant foods. Since the diet is strict on Sugar, most store-bought easy to prepare meets or other foods have sugar. This leaves you to either making a fresh salad daily for lunch or dinner or cooking fresh meats. Most oatmeal, breakfast bars, cereals, and other types of quick foods are off-limits.
-Eating enough food to get enough calories. Tons of salad, carrots, and veggies just does not contain many calories. Especially when you don’t have any dressings on it. I ate a lot, but also lost a lot of weight since my calorie intake was much less under this diet than my normal diet.
-Learning to add flavor with natural methods and natural seasoning. No sauce, no dressings, no marinades, as they all contain sugar. You have to find seasoning and sauces with no sugar or soy, which is very difficult. As a result, you get to experiment with sauces you make from scratch. Lots of trial and error, but you will get the hang of it when you find something you like.
Whole30 Weight Loss – Is this the right diet if that is your goal
Well, the answer might surprise you. If weight loss and keeping your weight off is your primary goal, then I would say the Whole30 diet is not the right diet. Why would I say this after the results I had? Simple, there is no question you will lose weight with this diet, the better question is what will you do after the diet? Keeping weight off is not only about losing the excess weight, but it is also about finding the right balance of food that you enjoy but doesn’t lead to weight gain.
The Whole30 kind of takes all food away, not so much to try to lose weight, but more to reset your body and teach you how certain foods react with your body. From there it sort of gives you a blank slate to start from and design a diet that works better for you.
With that said, however, if you want to know how foods are impacting you, start from a healthy baseline, and then design a diet after the Whole30 that keeps you slim then go for it.
The Whole30 diet is really more of a reset button that you need a plan after the reset button is pushed.
For weight loss, there are many diet plans that have a structure designed to adjust your body to new eating habits and don’t put you through the shock of something like the Whole30.
I fully believe in the Whole30 diet based on my experience is worth it. I also believe it would help many people that have certain health problems discover that food may be the primary culprit. The elimination of certain foods can and will improve your health. This diet shows you that and we can all do something for 30-days if we put our minds to it.
What is next after the Whole30, My Goals
-The whole 30 diet is not meant to continue but you can if it works for you. Since I stopped the Whole 30, I have introduced some food groups that help me sustain the calories I need but do not cause issues such as oats and grains (non-Gluten).
-I have continued to lose weight and have experimented with adding in extra foods mentioned above to start to build more muscle. The weight I would like to maintain is 160. Currently, I am between 162-165. I have gained muscle and lost body fat.
-My next goal is to see if I can reduce my Cholesterol by reducing the red meats and replacing with fish and chicken. During the diet my cholesterol levels in total increased, but my good cholesterol substantially increased and brought my overall ratios to good. This is a big concern for me because I have a genetic issue with cholesterol that keeps my levels above 300. I don’t want to take medication, so I work to keep the ratio of HDL, LDL, and Trigriclytes good. Before the diet, the ratios were normal even though my levels were over 300, after the diet, my levels increased but my Good Cholesterol substantially increased and the levels of Trigiclytes nearly dropped in half. So the overall results were substantially better vs. before the diet.
-Control sugar. The diet helped me understand what sugar does and while I still have my treats now and then, I know what to expect and I can also control how many I have.
My experience of the whole 30 diet taught me how certain foods impact my body. It also expanded my pallet of food. Before the diet, I ate very little vegetables, after the diet I know enjoy squash, green beans, zucchini, and a host of other foods I would have never eaten. The main reason is that once you eliminate processed foods, foods with sugar, and gluten you begin to taste the natural sweetness in foods like carrots, squash, and even spinach.
In my craving for something sweet, I would grab a bag full of carrots which were very satisfying. I also learned to see what ingredients are in the food and now pay attention to what I buy. I still enjoy cookies but now I can have vegetarian and gluten-free cookies and get the same enjoyment I got from fully processed name brand cookies while eating far less of them.
My energy has sustained, my workouts have increased, I continue to lose weight/body fat, and my over health has increased.
I choose to make a commitment for 30 days, I feel anyone could do this. If you try and succeed at the very least you lose some weight, understand your body a bit better, and give yourself a good place to start to build how you want to be. It also gives you confidence in achieving something hard.
The largest complaint that I see about the Whole 30 diet is that it is not sustainable. That is true, but then it is not supposed to be. It is designed to let you see what happens to your body when you eliminate things that are not healthy and then when you know, you can create a new plan that helps maintain the goals you want and satisfies the nutrients your body needs.
Attempting to go on the whole30 diet? Here are some starting resources
Here are some links and resources that helped me:
About the Whole30 program
The rules of the Whole 30 diet
Lists and foods for the whole30
Some Recipes Ideas for the Whole30
Read about Setting Goals
Some compliant Snack Products (use sparingly but helps on those hard days)
Good luck, post your comments below and let everyone know how it worked or did not work for you.