No alcohol. No sugar. No grains. No dairy. No legumes. No artificial sweeteners or additives. No weighing yourself. For the month of September, this was my diet- and my life. Why would I willingly give up cheese and beer? Because I was road-testing the Whole30: a diet that promises that if you eat only healthy food for a month, you will be rewarded with a huge list of health benefits. Weight loss, more energy, improvement from medical conditions, and more.
But was it worth it? I’ve written extensively about what it felt like to do, so let’s cut to the top 5 end results:
- As if by magic, I became a morning person. This was the most surprising benefit. For the first hour after waking up, I used to be the sort of person who could only scowl and drink coffee. During Whole30, I was happily up and feeling clear-headed at 6am. It was WEIRD.
- I went through a brilliant phase of feeling invincible, like I’d been eating these: Sadly it didn’t last for the entire 30 days but I did feel good throughout.
- I saved money. Mostly because I didn’t really go out, I was so energetic I cycled/walked everywhere, and I didn’t spend any money on lunches.
- My skin became noticeably better – brighter and clearer.
- Oh, and I lost a lot of weight. 6 kilos, to be precise. One stone, if you are the imperial type. If you don’t know me in real life, I’ll say this for context: I’m a short person of average build. I wore a (UK) size ten before and I wear an eight now. I’m not doing before and after pictures. You can go to the Daily Mail website for that kind of thing.
On the flip side: this wasn’t without its sacrifices:
- My social life. Given that I’ve been really busy with other things, it was just simpler to focus on those rather than have awkwardness about the fact that restaurants and pubs are a minefield of things you can’t eat or drink.
- My ability to eat ‘normal’ food with abandon. I’ve been off Whole30 for three days and I completely ignored the instruction to reintroduce things slowly. I’ve had a few things like chocolate, a cheese toastie and beer because I am only human and I missed those things. As a result, I’ve felt noticeably worse (sleeping badly, less energetic, stomach aches) and I think I’ll need to do a bit of experimenting to see whether one or all of these things are the culprits.
The final verdict: The Whole30 makes huge promises to change your life. In many circumstances, people’s promises to change your life are complete rubbish. But I think W30 can justify the claim. If you’d like to learn about the impact the food you eat has on your body and your mind, this is a 30 day experiment you need to do. I’m not sure I’m going to think about food in the same way again.
Would you try a Whole30? I’d love to hear what you think.
Now the Whole30 is over, I have been road-testing some new ‘life-changing’ programmes and tricks. Subscribe to keep up with what’s coming next!