I have nothing but love for the Whole30 and the way it changed my life!
Now, you might be confused by the sentence above considering this is supposed to be a post about why you should not do the Whole30 (which I promise I will get to) but I warn you now this is not a hate mail post and this is not a post with lots of juicy drama where I tear the Whole30 apart.
I actually write this as a tool for those who may be considering the Whole30 as next step on your journey towards better health. As a coach I want people to succeed, thrive, and I most certainly want to cheer you on with all the enthusiasm I have inside of me! The last thing my heart desires is to see you take on the Whole30 and hate your experience, not feel totally bought in, or worse…fail.
Now on with the show…
Submergence in the Whole30 culture has been a thing for me since July of 2016 when I took on my first Whole30. I have since then witnessed many people including friends, family, and those on social media who I do and do not know choose the Whole30 as a resource to help them with a variety of issues they are facing!
Reflecting on my own attempts at the Whole30 (some successful and some not so much) as well as those experiences of my clients I have come up with the following reasons why a Whole30 may not be ideal:
- You are jumping on the bandwagon
- A solid why has not been developed
- The only reason for doing a Whole30 is scale related
You’re going to bounce into another “diet” right after you are finished
(I took this one out because I dare you to engross yourself in the Whole30 and let it change your relationships and habits around food along with the way you approach bettering yourself and your life!)
First things first: The bandwagon.
I have known far to many people who have attempted Whole30s due to FOMO (fear of missing out). They notice that a corporate Whole30 is taking place (September and January), there is hype and excitement, and they simply don’t want to be the only ones not doing a Whole30.
If you jumped on the bandwagon because your family, church, the Whole30 its self is doing a Whole30 I ask you to reconsider.
A key component of the Whole30 program and one of the many topics that Whole30ers are passionate about is cultivating good relationships with food and living in food freedom.
See this article if you have no idea what Food Freedom is about: What is Food Freedom?
Before starting your Whole30 stop and ask yourself:
- Am I happy with my habits and the relationship I have with food? If the answer is yes…keep doing your thing!
- Am I experiencing anything in my life that would cause me to need a reset at this point and time? If the answer is no…keep doing your thing!
- Am I simply doing it because that’s what the cool kids are doing? If the answer is yes…maybe consider the following:
A strong why!
Cultivating your why is crucial on the Whole30! I can not stress that enough. KNOW. YOUR. WHY. If your why is not convincing (to yourself that is) maybe consider holding off on your Whole30 until a compelling why evolves.
If I am being honest and not only based on my own experiences but the experiences of those around me the Whole30 has the ability to change your taste buds, cravings, habits, mindsets, create victories, and so so SO much more but to get that coveted tiger blood we must go through the valley which means: WORK! Some days you may not be feeling it, other days may have you detoxing from sugar (commonly referred to as Kill All The Things), food boredom can set in, and quitting (days 10 & 11) means you need a strong why to keep you going!
Remembering why you started this journey in the first place is an important tool you at some point will need to call on. It should resonate with you and light you up when you think about it! My most effective whys have been something that makes me grit my teeth and say “Damn it I’m going to finish strong”.
Pause for honesty: there have been Whole30s I have attempted in the past for no other reason than “just because”. These attempts ended badly and by badly I mean they ended before 30 days.
A strong why may be the difference between saying no for the 100th time when a coworker offers you a tantalizing cupcake with the perfect amount of frosting and saying “oh, what the hell?”. Giving in seems to be weakest when our why too is weak.
Speaking of weaknesses for a moment. A weakness of mine that I still struggle through is defining my health through a number on the scale (and I know I’m not alone in this).
Ugh. WTH society?
If you are wanting to use the Whole30 ONLY for weight loss don’t do it!
I know I have thought in the past that if I could just see a certain number on the scale then optimal health will be achieved.
We say things like “Well, i would really like to see ___ on the scale.” or “___ would be my ideal weight” Im guilty of saying these things too and speaking very little about the things I want my body to be capable of.
Hear me when I say the following: loosing weight is not bad. The danger lies when a number consumes us and clouds us from seeing what other possibilities exist for our bodies.
I knew I had extra weight to lose when I started my journey and loosing that was awesome but if I am being 100% honest a number on the scale was momentary happiness compared to the non-scale victory of being able to wear my wedding ring day after day when I spent years not being able to put it on due to weight gain. The number on the scale faded but the pride in wearing my ring lasted far longer. The unfortunate thing (prior to the Whole30) was no one was telling me how exactly to take notice in the ways my body was changing for the better when I did good things for it. If I couldn’t quantify it into a number was it really that valuable?! The Whole30 taught me what a non-scale victory was and those are the things I have began to cherish!
If you are attempting to do the Whole30 simply because you want to lose 5 pounds…DON’T! See point number 2 (your why may not be strong enough).
The Whole30 is an investment and I have yet to meet someone simply wanting to lose 5 pounds who found Whole30 to be their best/easiest option. Most (not all) people I have met with that mindset aren’t looking at the bigger picture. They are so hyper focused on the scale that they can’t see how wonderful they are, how much they have already overcome, and I’ve seen too many people reject killer non-scale victories because it’s not the number they are looking for.
It makes me sad.
As stated earlier I dare you to embrace Whole30 life if you came looking for another diet to try. Why? Because that was me. I thought this would be another 30 day thing and I was looking for the quick fix. The thought of putting another diet under my belt sounded natural because it was what I knew until I dove head first into what the Whole30 was all about.
Read the books
Follow the people
Utilize a coach
Connect to the community
Subscribe to the newsletter
And allow the Whole30 to change everything you once knew about getting healthy!
Wherever your health journey may take you I pray that you learn to love yourself well, that you do not use food as a form of punishment, enjoy the ride, and know that the Whole30 is waiting to embrace you.