Aug 2, 2012

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Whole30 Truth

I said I was working on a project and I was. That project was me.

Inspired by these amazing ladies, Andrea, Beth and Norma – I decided to try the Whole30 challenge. At first, I only told Andrea because she was doing it at the same time as me but was about 8 days in when I began, then I told my friend Tiffany. Other than that, I’ve been plodding along making each day the best it can be and finding a new way to eat and live. Andrea and Tiffany have been huge supporters and cheerleaders along the way.

Now my 30 days are over and if you like, you can read all about it here. I will take those posts and merge them into this blog in a few days, but I will keep that blog as a record of my Whole30.

For the next seven days, I’ve decided to continue to follow the Whole30 plan except to add back in dairy in very small amounts. I have to limit dairy for other health issues so I’m not worried that I will be consuming 2lb blocks of cheese in one sitting. Wheat, most grains and sugar I have to say no to all the time. There’s no moderation with those and they are triggers for me. Fruit doesn’t affect me the way “sugar” does. Eventually, I’d like to add back brown basmati rice but not for a few weeks at least.

But…one step at a time. Dairy for the next 7 days and then I’ll reassess. Sometimes baby steps are best.

The most important thing I learned?

It was not as hard as I thought it would be to eliminate whole food groups; grains, legumes, dairy, white potatoes, all sugar and sugar substitutes.  The only dairy I did have was isolated whey protein powder (I explain it in my Whole30 blog) which is allowed on the vegetarian version of the plan. When I stopped and thought about it, I found I missed dairy the most; cheese on a burger or salad; sour cream stirred into soup or on a sweet potato; cream in my coffee – but it wasn’t impossible.

My obsession with knowing every calorie count, every weight of every banana I’ve ever eaten has disappeared. I probably will log calories once a week or so just to see where I’m at on average. Since most days the food is pretty much the same, I only need to do spot checks to make sure I’m not creeping towards consuming 2500 calories a day.

I haven’t weighed myself yet and although I did have several momentary panic attacks about how much fat and calories I may have been eating, I managed to bring my focus back to the reason I was doing this. My primary reason was to get off the sugar/carb rollercoaster and to figure out what worked best for my body and what I could live with long term. I didn’t want this to be a Whole30 fad diet, I didn’t want to just jump on the latest bandwagon. I wanted this to be for me, for my health and for my way of life. I really wanted to take the focus off weight loss and put it back on having a healthy body and mind and let weight loss be the by product. And in fact, this is the Hartwigs’ main message both in the book and on their site.

I think I succeeded. I actually very rarely think about food except when I have to plan a meal to take to out with me or about an hour before dinner so I can start cooking. Even eating out is so much easier than it was before Whole30.

This isn’t a cure-all or the latest magic pill. I know I am one glass of Coke Zero away from drinking the whole bottle, or one bite of cake, cookies, bread and I will be back on the carb train.  I know this will take determination and vigilance every single day and some days will be easier than others. But you know what…I don’t need those kinds of carbs. Not physically and not emotionally. I can live without them.

My plan is to weigh myself at the end of the next seven days. Just for reference, I started out at 196.5 lbs which is at the high end of the 193-196 lb plateau I have been in since about mid-April. Maybe I didn’t lose any weight, maybe I did. For this past month, it didn’t matter. It’s the first time in a very long time that I wasn’t focusing on the scale.

But at the end of the day I still have 55lbs or so to lose, so it still has to be about weight loss and the scale. I can’t just eat unlimited amounts of Whole30 foods and lose weight. I’m hoping that feeling better will be my inspiration to move more and to continue to eat clean.

If you’ve thought about doing this, I highly recommend it. The Whole9 website and Marks Daily Apple site were invaluable to me in learning material and the forums were a huge help in seeing that other people were experiencing the same things I was.

You don’t have to buy the book. The program is available free on the website along with lots of helpful tools; shopping list; quick guide; meal plans – it’s a wonderful resource. The Hartwigs often answer questions in the forums themselves.

If you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them if I can. If you decide to do this, let me know – I’d love to support you for the 30 days and beyond.


  1. Enz! I wish I knew, I would have cheered you on! After the kids are in bed, I'm heading over to read your story.

    Yay for you!

  2. Ok, I didn't wait for the kids to go to bed. You rocked that Whole 30!

  3. Wow - you are kicking butt with this journey to health. I'm heading over now to read the Whole 30 report - maybe your experience will kick MY butt into action...I need it. Great work, Enz.

  4. Good for you, Enz. This challenge seems right up your alley.

  5. Think the fact you like a challenge is the biggest asset you have in trying to achieve your long term weight loss goals. And the reason you'll eventually get there.

  6. Great job, Enz!! I can't wait to go read more about your 30 days!