Before Jordan and I got married I was always quick to jump on the bandwagon – whatever it was. Jordan is the most thorough thinker I have ever known, and although it drives me mad when we have a 30 minute discussion about whether or not his snow boots are too big, it has saved us from so much stress because we usually make good decisions. I digress…he’s caused me to be a bandwagon doubter, and that’s precisely why I avoided Whole30 for such a long time. However, when my sister asked me if I would do it with her I decided it couldn’t hurt to try.
There was no chance I was going to do Whole30 during the holidays, and I wanted to enjoy my brother-in-law’s birthday celebrations in early January, so we postponed the fiesta until January 8. That gave me almost 3 months to mentally prepare and plan, and I think that time really helped me. I spent that time reading up on the program and researching (and even testing) meals that I could make during the Whole30. So that’s where it all began, now to the pros and cons:
Pros of The Whole30
- Food Awareness – The Whole30 program is so strict and you have to read the ingredients of any packaged food to make sure it’s compliant. I became so aware of what I was consuming, and what hidden ingredients were in packaged foods. All of the restrictions required us to eat a lot of whole, raw foods – which I think is a great thing!
- Skinner Face, Peace Out Love Handles – I did the very brave thing and started working out the same day I started the Whole30. For that reason, I’m not one hundred percent sure who gets credit for the thinning out, but I did feel thinner when I was on the Whole30 and working out, as opposed to just working out.
…And that’s all I got for pros. The first week was not challenging at all. I really didn’t even have a desire to “cheat”. That ended in week two and I was genuinely hangry, but also very committed to the program. Days 13 and 14 are supposed to start getting easier, and it was becoming more and more difficult for me to stick to the rules every day – but I never cheated. During the second weekend, Jordan was taking every opportunity to convince me to jump ship. To be completely honest, we usually spend our weekends grabbing dinner and drinks with friends, so being on Whole30 made us feel quite hermit-ish.
Spoiler Alert: I went out on the evening of night 15. Jordan saw that someone from our hometown (who is studying to be a dietitian) posted an article about the poor ways Whole30 effects your health. I’m sure my hanger was a factor, but hearing what that article had to say I decided to give it up. I felt proud of my eating behavior for those two weeks, but I also knew that I would not be able to (nor did I want to) sustain that behavior. 30 days of very strict eating just to balloon up at the end? No thanks! And I have no food allergies or sensitivities, and I was starting to be afraid of developing one. I only stayed with Whole30 for the 15 days I did because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something for 30 days. When I was able to let that go, I happily gave up Whole30.
Cons of the Whole30
- Expensive – Man alive, eating Whole30 is so expensive! There are packaged foods that are technically compliant, but you’ll have to pay a lot for them. Compliant mayo is $10 (although it’s really easy to make yourself), compliant salad dressings are usually $7 for a small bottle, and Ghee (which you have to use) is $8 a jar. Ugh.
- Not Sustainable – At the end of the day, this was the thing about Whole30 I liked the least. I cannot sustain that food behavior, and hear me – I DON’T WANT TO – so I was living in fear of ballooning up as soon as my Whole30 ended. If you are doing Whole30 to lose weight, I feel like portion control/everything in moderation is a more sustainable approach.
- Isolation – Like I said, Jordan and I spend our weekends doing dinner with drinks with our friends and family. When you take that out of the equation, it makes for pretty boring weekends. And we love a good board game night! It was a little disappointing when I was reading in bed two Friday nights in a row. Our friends actually cheered when we told them we quit :)
When it’s all said and done, Whole30 has transformed the lives of millions of people. I followed so many people on Instagram for inspiration during those 15 days who had been living in Whole30 for many years and can’t say enough good things about it. I am so, so happy for those people. If Whole30 works for you then DO IT. I decided that it wasn’t in my best interest and that’s okay too – I’m glad I tried.