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30 Reasons To Whole30 (Revisit)

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This is a “vintage” post, but with a sort-of official Whole30 starting on August 1, I thought I’d share this with you again. If you have no idea what I mean when I say “Whole30,” head on over here for all the details.

Over the last 4 years or so, I’ve done a handful of Whole30 re-sets, and everyone of them has (a) been different from the others and (b) incredibly eye-opening and helpful in some way. Sometimes I take on the Whole30 because I desperately need to clean up my act (after a European vacation fueled by schnitzel and beer, for example). Sometimes, like now, I go after it because I want to make progress. There are all kinds of good reasons to embark on a Whole30; feel free to share your motivation in the comments below!

If you’ve never tried giving up your evening glass of wine or your Saturday morning pancakes — or you live in a household where other people don’t eat paleo or aren’t taking on the Whole30 — I know it probably seems very daunting. And I’m not going to lie: it can be very uncomfortable at first. But change is always uncomfortable — and we can’t evolve if we don’t ride out the discomfort.

Giving up some of your favorite foods — and having to explain to others over and over again why you’re doing it — might very well be uncomfortable. But I encourage you to do it because you will heal your body; you will learn new things about how and why and what you eat; and you will ultimately, feel so much better than you do right now.

30 Reasons To Do a Whole30

These are the things that I’ve experienced myself and loved about the Whole30. Not everyone’s experiences are the same, and you might not enjoy all of these things during your month (and I can pretty much guarantee you won’t experience them every day of the month… some days are just hard). But I can pretty much promise you, if you tackle a Whole30 and really commit to the spirit of the whole endeavor, it will change you and your perceptions of yourself and the world for the better. That’s a tall order, I know! But it’s also drenched in truthiness.

In no particular order…

1. You’ll sleep longer and more soundly.
When sugar is out and protein/fat is in, you sleep the sleep of the righteous.

2. You’ll enjoy consistent energy.
Forget energy that peaks and drops like a roller coaster, you’ll become a bullet train.

3. You’ll wake up feeling optimistic and alert.
There is nothing, and I mean nothing, better than waking up with a smile and open heart.

4. You’ll say goodbye to digestive distress.
Forget about farts and tummy rumbling and…let’s call them “uncomfortable bathroom experiences.” You might have a little discomfort at first if you’re not used to eating lots of veggies, but after that, smooth sailing.

5. You’ll be happier.
No joke. When blood sugar is stable, life is happier. Period.

6. You’ll be more peaceful.
The swirly thoughts and anxiety that can be brought on the sugar joyride just vaporize and leave calm in their wake.

7. You’ll be more clear-headed.
Goodbye brain fog and tip-of-the-tongue syndrome; hello Mensa!

8. You’ll drink more water.
Sugary drinks are out, so you’ll naturally find yourself drinking more water — which is a brilliant thing. Might I also recommend some lovely rooibos tea?

9. You’ll eat more vegetables.
Get ready to eat like a bunny! You want 2-3 cups of veg per meal. Per. Meal. Think of all the nutrients!

10. You’ll savor your food more.
For me, shining the spotlight on quality food makes me appreciate its nutritive power and flavor more than usual. I slow down, enjoy every bite, and think about how it’s making me strong while it tastes so damn good.

11. You’ll feel the difference between emotional appetite and real hunger.
You know that mindless eating that happens when you’re stressed or distracted? That’s emotional appetite, and it’s junky. During the Whole30, as your body gets off the sugar high and settles into better insulin management, your appetite starts to diminish, but real hunger — the need for quality food that signals when it’s time to eat — kicks in and it feels So Good.

12. You’ll find new favorite foods.
Who knows which vegetables, spices, and meat preparations will become your favorites?! It’s exciting to think about, no? There’s so much room in your kitchen and on your plate for new stuff when you banish the grains, beans, and dairy.

13. You’ll have fun experimenting in the kitchen.
The Whole30 is essentially what got me into the kitchen and playing with recipes. I was inspired to see what I could do with veg+meat+fat… and I encourage you to do the same. Play with your food!

14. You’ll get more organized.
Woot! Free bonus! The Whole30 kinda requires you to do a little bit of planning to ensure your success and that organization can trickle into other areas of your life, too.

15. You’ll get out from under the burden of emotional eating.
Most of us tend to blame ourselves for “lack of willpower,” but the truth is that much of our mindless eating is driven my our hormones. When we manage our hormonal response by eating the right foods, the correct messages about hunger are delivered through our bodies. No more hoovering through the kitchen cabinets!

16. You’ll learn about yourself.
By focusing on your habits for 30 days, you’ll learn all kinds of things, including what triggers your appetite, who’s part of your support system, what you need for self care, what time of day you go to the bathroom, and more!

17. You’ll slay the sugar demon.
Vanquish that bastard! And then, later, if you dance with the sugar demon again, you’ll know that it’s within your power to take a sword to his carotid again when the time comes.

18. You’ll make new friends.
There’s a huge community of Whole30 participants online and offline, and during your Whole30, you can tap into their support, knowledge, sense of humor, successes, and challenges. A great place to start is the Whole9 Forum.

19. You’ll positively influence others.
Yes, you’ll inevitably get the “You need to eat whole grains” argument from some well-meaning acquaintances, and that will be annoying. But if you quietly stick to your program, you’ll also have a positive impact on the people around you when they see your results. I can’t tell you how many people were envious of my Whole30 packed lunches in my office, and that is the perfect way to open the door to a great conversation.

20. You’ll learn more about how your body works.
This is a two-fold win: first, by understanding the principles of the science behind the Whole30, you’ll learn a bit about how human bodies function; and second, you’ll learn how you — a special, special snowflake — work, in particular.

21. Your skin will be brighter.
Sleep + water + vegetables + fat + no sugar = clear, younger-looking skin.

22. Your hair will be shinier.
Sleep + water + vegetables + fat + no sugar = glossy hair. (And stronger nails, too.)

23. Your tummy will be flatter.
The end-of-day bloat from dairy and legumes is gone, baby, gone!

24. Your workouts will feel invigorating.
Workouts fueled by real food are the bomb. That is all.

25. You might PR.
You might. Really.

26. You’ll feel accomplished. (Or maybe even smug.)
I’ve stopped pursuing discipline for discipline’s sake, but I wholeheartedly believe that committing to a short-term program like the Whole30 helps develop mental toughness that is valuable in all aspects of our lives. And yes, I do enjoy feeling smug about that once in a while.

27. You might lose weight — or gain muscle. Or both.
If losing body fat is your goal, a Whole30 can be a great way to start that process. Just don’t cheat yourself out of a lot of joy if you make that your only focus.

28. Your body image will improve.
There is an undeniable connection between treating ourselves well and how we feel about our bodies. If you look at the Whole30 as an act of self care, then affection, love, acceptance, and celebration of your body — how it feels, what it can do, the amazing things it carries you through every day — will surely follow.

29. Food will become both more important and less important.
I used to be really attached to food. I was sad at the end of the day when my eating was over until tomorrow, and when faced with my favorite foods, I wanted to eat them until I was stuffed, lest I never see them again. But when I got my blood sugar under control with the Whole30, that changed. Food is both more sacred — it nourishes and sustains us — and less sacred — we get to eat again in a few hours (!). The emotional triggers attached to the food on my plate are gone. Don’t get me wrong: I still feel deep affection for favorite foods, and I love to eat, but I feel now that there’s a world of abundance out there. Fear of food — and fear of not having favorite foods — is gone.

30. You’ll stop dieting and just eat.
This might be the best reason of all. When you take out the non-food food and replace it with real food, you can stop over-anaylyzing how much you eat, when you eat, where you eat. Yes, quantities still matter to some degree, but you can throw off the shackles of calorie counting and denial… and just eat. Peacefully. Healthfully. Robustly. With joy and pleasure and laughter. And cumin.

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More Ideas & Support: Free

My Whole30 Experiences
If you want to travel back in time, you can browse through all of my Whole30 experiences (in reverse order) by hitting this link. If you’re more interested in specifics, here are direct links to previous Whole30 daily updates and recaps.

Holly Would If She Could: A December to Remember + A Whole30 Level Set
Holly is taking on the Whole30 in January and has invited us all along for the ride. She’s written several prep posts so far and will be cranking out new (awesome!) ones along the way (like this one of 10 Tips to Make Your Whole30 a Success). You can read about her previous Whole30 experience here.

Nom Nom Paleo: A Cruise Director
According to this post from Nom Nom Paleo, “This January, with the blessing of Whole9, I’ll be your cruise director, offering daily posts here on Nom Nom Paleo in support of those of you who are embarking on 30 days of clean eats…” To journey to the past, you can read her summaries of previous Whole30s here and here.

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More Ideas & Support: Invest in some stuff

Once you’re committed in your heart, you might want to load up on some additional resources to help make your Whole30 an even better, more rewarding, more fun experience. Here are some not-too-pricy investments that can make the whole month feel a little bit easier. (But not easy, am I right?!)

Whole30 Daily
Have you ever wished that someone would check in on you every day to see how you’re doing with your goals? Someone to ask… What’s your motivation like today? Did you sleep OK? Are you having trouble with cravings, or are you kicking ass? Someone to offer just the right piece of advice — or a kick in the keister — when you need it?

That’s just what the Whole30 Daily is designed to do. If we want to get all official about it, it’s like this:

The Whole30® Daily is a newsletter and daily check-in system to prepare you, motivate you, and ensure your success, every single day of your Whole30 adventure.

The content in the daily emails goes beyond the rich information already found on the Whole9 website (for free), the Whole30 Success Guide, and the brilliant new book It Starts With Food, although — who are we kidding?! — you should really get yourself all of those resources, too. With Whole30 Daily, you get 32 robust emails — one every day of the 30 days, plus a kick off and close out message — and it costs less than 50-cents a day.


Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat

PaleoCookbook_Cover_Sept29_small My cookbook Well Fed is packed with recipes to make you want to smash in your face with joy and all but one of the recipes are Whole30 approved for use during your Whole30. In addition to recipes for dishes like Shepherd’s Pie, Scotch Eggs, Chocolate Chili, and Bora Bora Fireballs, Well Fed also includes lots of information for how to cook without a recipe — lots of ideas for ways to combine basic protein, veggies, and fats into something special that ensures you won’t get bored and you won’t spend all of your free time in the kitchen. (If you’re curious, the “offender” recipe is a fruit crisp that uses Whole30-friendly ingredients, but is too dessert-y to comply with the spirit of the Whole30. That recipe, however, is just fine for when your Whole30 is complete, and you want a sweet treat.) Help yourself to a free 30-page preview of Well Fed.


Nom Nom Paleo App

NomNomPaleoLogo The Nom Nom Paleo app is packed with the same kinds of sassy straight talk and Whole30-friendly recipes you’ll find on Nom Nom’s web site… all slick and shiny and beautiful in a format you can take right onto your countertop. It’s hard to beat the convenience of digital recipes (hello, integrated shopping lists!), and you know with the Nom Nom touch, all of the recipes and photos are drool worthy. Get it now!


Living Paleo For Dummies

living-paleo-for-dummies I co-authored this book with Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, and while it doesn’t address the Whole30 specifically, the chapters I wrote discuss practical matters like how to stock your kitchen (inclding tips for households where not everyone is paleo), how to safely navigate restaurant menus, and how to amp up your 30 day re-set with journaling. If you’re new to the Whole30 and can only invest in one resource, I recommend you invest in the Whole30 Daily, but if you like to immerse yourself in reading about a subject or you just need more new ideas, you might like the tips included in the Dummies book.

Context Matters

As Melissa and Dallas of Whole9Life are good at reminding us, context matters, so if you’re not familiar with my checkered past, you might want to read these previous posts about my hormone situation and how the Whole30 helps me manage it all:

Are you tackling a Whole30? What’s your motivation?

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11 Responses to “30 Reasons To Whole30 (Revisit)”

  1. [...] Clothes Make The Girl / Posted on: July 27, 2013The Clothes Make The Girl – This is a “vintage” post, but with a sort-of official Whole30 starting on [...]

  2. Cathy M says:

    I will be starting my fourth Whole30, right on the heels of finishing my third tomorrow. I may wait to start until the second, though, just to have a couple of days off. :) This one that I’m finishing has actually be a little challenging, more so than I was expecting, given that the prior two were really surprisingly easy.

    • Mel says:

      Congrats on taking on another Whole30. It feels good, right?!

      It’s weird how they’re all different. Sometimes it’s so easy, and sometimes, every day is a rough ride. Hope your next one is smooth sailing!

      • Cathy M says:

        Hope yours is too. Looking back at my last month, I am thinking that my struggle had at least as much to do with lifestyle influences as anything else. If I can keep that in mind over the next 30 days, maybe that will help me deal with things a little differently.

  3. ARC says:

    What a great list! Thanks for the butt kicking :)

  4. [...] another new month approaches, it’s time for a new challenge! Others around the interwebs are embarking on a Whole 30 for August, but I’m going to make up my [...]

  5. Ulrike says:

    Well, no, I won’t do Whole30. I am not ready to commit to dairy-free yet.

    Currently I am doing my own private 1-month-challenge of eating clean from July 15 to August 15. It’s mostly about cutting out sugar and artificial sweeteners as well as grains. Although I could have choosen the time better. Avoiding my diet coke and any ice cream while suffering a steady heat above 30 degrees Celsius is not funny. (The headaches from the caffeine withdrawal weren’t funny either.) But I haven’t slipped yet and I’m proud of it.

  6. Jules says:

    I laughed out loud when I read the line about cleaning up after a European vacation fueled by schnitzel and beer, because I am exactly in that boat! Been Paleo for almost a year, but it’s next to impossible to stay clean during a whole month of vacation in Austria, Hungary and Germany! This will be my 4th W30 (though my 3rd one probably wasn’t as strict as I should have been), and I still am trying to shake those last stubborn 10-15 pounds. I’ve got two months before I turn 40, and I am MOTIVATED to really make progress. I know what I need to do this time. Thank you so much for your awesome recipe ideas and resources, not to mention your brilliant sense of humor. :-)

    • Mel says:

      Ah, lucky you! I really want to visit Hungary the next time we head to eastern Europe. Congrats on your upcoming 40th… forties are fun. Plus, forty is the new twenty :-)

  7. [...] 30 reason to Whole30 (i.e., go strict paleo for a month) Yes, fruit is good for you! Doctor detective: Fasting thyroid How much alcohol is optimal? Maybe less than you think The feet of people who never wear shoes Other people see your problems more clearly than you do [...]

  8. Claire McKenna says:

    I am starting my 1st Whole30 today! I just read your first week guide and spent the evening cooking.
    I am a little scared by that 1st week – is it really that bad?
    Thank you so much for your tips and recipes _ I will get your book soon!
    Claire

  9. Doris says:

    What should I say to the “Schnitzel-Affair”?
    Im german live here and believe me ist not all Schnitzel what we have to eat, we also dont wear Dirndl and bavarian Trousers, and we dont Schuhplattel, at least only at Holidays gg

    I started yesterday after some Diagnosis.
    Dont find it very hard as Im on Excluding-Diets since Years.

    The Book is really helpfull.
    thank You
    Doris

  10. […] will find 5 reasons to Whole30, but these are not my own reasons I have made up. They are part of 30 Reasons to Whole30 by Melissa Joulwan, author of Well Fed (one of Amanda’s favorites), and you may find some of […]

  11. […] will find 5 reasons to Whole30, but these are not my own reasons I have made up. They are part of 30 Reasons to Whole30 by Melissa Joulwan, author of Well Fed (one of Amanda’s favorites), and you may find some of […]

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