I’ve done 9 Whole30’s in the last 5 years… That’s a lot of Whole30’s! I get asked a lot when to do a Whole30 and when NOT to, and I wanted to give you my personal opinion!
First of all, what is the Whole30? For a more in-depth description, you can read my blog post here. But the basics are, it’s a 30-day nutritional reset. You eat meat, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Then after those 30 days, you reintroduce food groups one at a time, in order of least likely to be problematic to most likely to be problematic.
What is the point of Whole30?
The entire point of the Whole30 is to try to figure out which foods work for your body and which don’t.
I personally enjoy doing a Whole30 for one big reason- to get back to the basics. I personally know that I feel best when I eat a mostly Paleo diet. Since sugar can be a raging beast, I find that going completely cold turkey for 30 days is really great for me. It retrains my taste buds and sets me back on the right nutritional track!
Reasons to do a Whole30:
- To find out if eating as clean as possible can help with any of your medical issues
- To figure out which foods work with your body and which foods don’t
- As a reset- to eat as clean as possible, remember how great you can feel eating clean, and to re-evaluate any unhealthy food habits that have popped up.
- To slay your sugar dragon: sugar is a nasty habit, and it can sneakily become a silent issue. Removing sugar cold turkey is a great way to knock your sugar habit and retrain your taste buds.
Reasons not to do a Whole30:
- If it’s not the right time: to do a Whole30 right, you really need around 45 days for the 30 day Whole30 plus Reintroduction. If you have a major life event: a birthday, graduation, party you’ve been waiting months for, big vacation, etc… now might not be the right time! While I want you to get on with it and do a Whole30 as soon as possible, I also want you to be set up for success! Finding the right time is one of the biggest factors of choosing when to do and not to do a Whole30.
- To lose weight: the Whole30 is not a weight loss program, and it never has been. Yes, removing gluten, dairy, sweeteners, and junk food from your diet can definitely result in weight loss. But that’s not the point of the program. Since you’re not counting calories, you may not be exercising, and you can eat a TON of really good food, you may not lose weight. If that’s your goal, this may not be the program for you.
- Because everyone else is doing it. If you’re not excited and committed to doing the Whole30 for yourself, you likely won’t succeed. Peer pressure isn’t a good enough reason to do Whole30. You’ll likely be bitter and resentful doing the program, and you won’t be able to fully recognize the benefits you’re getting.
- If you know you won’t do the reintroduction: if you’re just going to eat Whole30 for 30 days, then eat beer and pizza the next day, don’t do the Whole30. You’ll end up using the Whole30 as a yoyo diet, coming back to it over and over, but not truly understanding which foods work for you and which don’t. Long term, this doesn’t help you at all. This won’t ever help you find your Food Freedom. When you complete the reintroduction process, you’re able to narrow down the foods that have a place in your diet long term.
- If you’ve ever struggled with disordered eating: Because the Whole30 has such specific and strict rules, it’s likely not a great idea if you’ve ever dealt with disordered eating. The lists of foods you can and can’t eat are just meant to be for during your Whole30. Then you’re able to add back in things that work for your body. But if you can imagine that you’d turn these lists into GOOD and BAD foods, and be enslaved to them, it’s not a great idea to do a Whole30. I would definitely suggest you speak with your doctor before attempting the Whole30.
- If you’ve already discovered your Food Freedom: if you’ve found a great way of eating that works for your body, you probably don’t need to do anymore Whole30’s. Food Freedom is when you’re able to eat in a way that works for you while maintaining how you want to look and feel. If you’ve included non-Whole30 compliant foods into your diet, and you feel great, awesome! If you don’t feel like your eating habits are out of control and you don’t need a reset, no need to do a Whole30.
What do you think? How many Whole30’s have you done? When do you feel like it’s a good idea to do a Whole30, and when do you feel like you don’t need to? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!