The “You Can’t Outswing a Doughnut” Story & Whole30
Earlier this week, Cris asked me to write a blog post for the gym on Whole30. My first internal thought was “Oh *expletive*, what can I write that someone else on the internet hasn’t already written about this diet?”
So this morning, an email arrived in my inbox from my kettlebell mentor, Delaine Ross (who introduced me to Whole30 years ago), about how you can’t outswing a doughnut. The premise behind her email is that as much as we would all love to eat whatever we want, whenever we want and just “work it off” in the gym, we really can’t do that and reach our fitness goals. Trying to burn off extra meals and drinks doesn’t work in the long run. A vicious cycle starts of thinking of eating something off plan as a sin and exercise as a punishment. The answer is to more consistently make better choices food-wise. And that’s where I find Whole30 to help. I personally complete a Whole30 every January. After football season and the holidays, my diet is usually WAY off track, and I feel bloated and tired, and Whole30 helps me get back on track.
What is Whole30?
It’s a 30-day elimination diet that removes foods that can be inflammatory to your gut. The idea is to remove those foods for 30 days, so that your gut heals, reducing inflammation. Your immune system then has the capacity to focus on the inflammation from other aches and pains in your body. At the end of the 30 days, you reintroduce each of the food groups one at a time to see how they affect you, so that you can determine if they have any side effects, and if they do, you determine when is it “worth it” to consume those foods.
I personally do this annually to re-adjust my taste buds and cravings back to whole, nutritious foods and away from the processed carbs, sugars, fast food, etc. that my body craves right after the holiday indulgence. I also find during each of my Whole30s, whatever injury I had leading up to it healed during the process and by the end of the 30 days, I’m no longer bloated, I usually lose about 7-10 pounds, I sleep better, I am more productive at work, and I feel like a million bucks (called Tiger Blood amongst Whole30ers).
So your next thought is: “Whole30 eliminates which food groups?”. Before I tell you, if you want to try a Whole30, I suggest you read the book written by the creators of the diet, Melissa & Dallas Hartwig, “It Starts with Food”. This book explains WHY they eliminate each food group both using science as well as analogies that are easy to follow. You don’t have to buy the book to do the Whole30 – everything you need to know to complete a successful Whole30 is online for free, but I personally find all the “whys” from the book very interesting and motivating.
So, the Whole30 is about eating real, nutritious food – meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts, and seeds…. And for 30 days, you do not consume sugar or sweeteners of any kind, real or artificial, you do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking, no grains, no legumes, dairy, and a few unhealthy ingredients such as carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites are also off limits.
TONS of resources are available for you at www.whole30.com, the Whole30 Facebook page, the Whole30 recipes page on Facebook, Whole30 Instagram, their weekly email newsletter, and of course I am a resource for you, as well as many bloggers who post yummy Whole30 recipes. We have a couple of other members who do January Whole30s each year – Nathan Harbison & Ned Moore. They are also resources for you (Ned is certified as a Whole30 Coach).
Whatever dietary choices each of you make, keep in mind that we (as coaches) want each of you to improve your health and wellness by making more consistent, better choices to achieve your fitness goals, and we are here to support you during this process!