I’m starting to get all the regular calls at this time of year from the people who didn’t keep their New Year’s resolutions and realize that summer is about five minutes away.
So I decided I should share with you what i suggest to them for a dramatic and fast change — the Whole 30 Diet. I did it a couple of years ago and lost 17 pounds in 30 days. I read “It Starts With Food ” (the book that breaks down the science of Whole30), and I gave it a serious go!
The concept and instructions for what you can and cannot eat are pretty simple. Putting it into practice is a little tough.
Here are the basics:
–No processed foods (there a very few exceptions if any, I will let you know as I find them)
–Whole foods only: meat, fish, veggies, fruit, healthy fats
–Again, no processed foods
Here’s some science that can help you understand why you want certain foods: There are three basic tastes that we are hardwired to recognize for survival rather than pleasure: Sweet (energy), fatty (dense calories) and salty (to retain water and conserve fluid).
All of the “food” that we have become addicted to has been engineered to play off of these survival instincts, but is devoid of the benefits. There is a huge difference between how our bodies process a cookie or a bunch of blackberries. The blackberries have fiber and are converted more slowly into energy, while the cookie is useless (although delicious) and converts to fat.
Viewing food like this has made it easier for me to stick to the eating plan. But be aware, EVERYTHING smells amazing when you are driving down the street. You suddenly have the senses of a hunting dog and can smell a French fry in the Bronx from the Starbucks in Weho.
I have had many clients have great success with Whole 30, but dropping 17 pounds in a month like I did may not happen for everybody:
–MY WORKOUT SITUATION is not typical. i lifted weights four times a week for one and a half hours each time, hiked four miles EVERY day, and jogged five extra miles on quite a few days.
–DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF OR COUNT CALORIES FOR 30 DAYS. I completely ignored this rule from Day One. i used the MyFitnessPal app for at least the first 20 days until I really understood where I was getting my fats, my carbs, proteins, and in what levels, because I was interested.
it also had the bonus effect of getting me to add vegetables that i don’t normally eat as I became interested in upping my micronutrients from food sources instead of supplements. I also weighed myself every single morning and tracked my progress.
–EAT A LOT OF PROTEIN, FATS AND VEGETABLES. EAT A COUPLE OF SERVINGS OF FRUIT; NUTS SPARINGLY. I did eat a lot of protein! I ate more of my fats from nuts and less from oils than they recommend. I tried cooking with the quantities of cooking fats they recommended, but I didn’t like the taste and I felt heavy.
“It Starts with Food” also recommend copious amounts of olives and coconut flakes, but I couldn’t get into it. I ate a TON of fruit! I have a huge sweet tooth and they want you to break that, but I was weak!
Here’s my take on that: I am alive and I am going to die eventually, and I will not live a boring life. I was bored senseless without the fruit. Even shoveling fruit into this machine was unsatisfying in the first couple of weeks for me.
–DO NOT GO OFF OF WHOLE 30 FOR THE FIRST 30 DAYS, THEN REASSESS. I had cheat days, I think three of them. One day I had pizza, soy milk ice cream and cookies. I learned from that cheat day to take a Nexium when I started the feast to avoid heartburn the next day. It was difficult to want to stick strictly to the program the whole time, especially when I had already hit my goal weight.
Also, my normal diet is pretty close to Whole 30 with the exception of protein bars. But letting go of protein bars was a huge thing, hence the buckets and buckets of fruit each night.