Whole30 Lessons: 6 Months Later

Whole30

By Jillian Stacia

Back in January, I completed the Whole30, a month long program where you eliminate certain foods from your diet. And by “certain foods”, I mean pretty much everything that isn’t meat or vegetables- no dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, or alcohol. The program is not meant to be a permanent diet or lifestyle. It’s designed to help you clean out your system and notice any reactions that your body may have to certain food groups.

And while I was definitely glad when the program was over (hello, cheeseburgers!), I learned some things about diet and nutrition that I still apply to my life today, more than six months after the program ended.

Since completing the Whole30, I’ve made the following lifestyle and diet changes:

I’ve cut back on sugar.

lizzie_cookie

When I started the program, I wasn’t too worried about the lack of sugar and artificial sweeteners- my kryptonite tends to be more of the carbs smothered in cheese variety. But I was shocked when I learned how prevalent sugar was in my day to day diet. Turns out, sugar is in practically everything! Even relatively healthy foods like Greek yogurt, sauces and condiments can be full of sugar. After eliminating it completely from my diet for 30 days, I can say with confidence that I’m a much better, kinder, saner human when I’m not consuming massive amounts of sugar. Now I’ve cut way back, and try to only consumer sugar on occasion, and in its natural form like birthday cakes and Chick-fil-A milkshakes.


I’ve cleaned up my snacking game.

snacks

The Whole30 taught me a new rule: if I can’t pronounce the ingredients, I shouldn’t eat it. Since the program, I’ve tried to eat less of things made in a plant and more of the actual plants themselves. Since you’re not allowed to have processed foods, the Whole30 forced me to find snacks that I enjoy and don’t come prepackaged- a novel concept for me. I have now found some staple snack items including hard boiled eggs, carrots, bananas, and almonds. Since making this change, I’m eating less processed foods and feel more energized on a daily basis.


I listen to my body.

full

Disclaimer: I really, really, really love food. This means I’m not good at the “stop eating when you no longer feel hungry” thing. The Whole30 helped to change that. I took the time to check in with my body and learned the difference between feeling pleasantly satisfied and feeling like a stuffed turkey. It’s not easy, but I’ve made a conscious effort to listen to my body and eat only when hungry. Hint: it involves putting your fork down from time to time.


I’ve ditched the scale.

scale_bye felicia

One of my favorite things about this program is that you’re not allowed to look at the scale until the 30 days are up. That’s because it’s not about weight loss, it’s about feeling better. Your results are not tied to a numerical value. This helped to change my perspective around food and nutrition in general. I’m not trying to eat clean and healthy in order to look a certain way. I’m trying to eat clean and healthy in order to FEEL a certain way. Any weight loss that happens is merely a side effect. I’d keep eating this way even if I didn’t lose a single pound.


I’ve learned that I can do hard things.

hard things

The Whole30 is known for its tough love. One of its most famous quotes is: “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.” And while I love the program, I’m going to have to disagree with founders Melissa and Dallas Hartwig on this one- it is hard. But that’s okay, because the program taught me that I can do hard things. Melissa and Dallas reminded me that everything I eat is a choice. We don’t have to eat things we don’t want to eat. And maybe more importantly, we don’t have to eat things we DO want to eat. We can make a different, healthier choice. We can do hard things. And for the record, not eating popcorn at the movie theatre is a REALLY hard thing.


If you’re looking for a new way to think about health and nutrition, I’d highly recommend the Whole30. There’s no calorie counting or weight measuring, just clean and natural foods. It’s been more than six months since I’ve completed the program, and I’m still reaping the benefits every day. It might be hard, but it’s definitely worth it.

Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, click HERE

{featured image via pexels}

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