Over the past few months I have been working on obtaining my Precision Nutrition Sports Nutrition Certification. This particular certification has some great science minds backing it, it teaches a well rounded approach to sports based nutrition and weight loss strategies, and has helped me to take a step back and evaluate some tools I have personally used in the past with clients or people interested in changing their nutrition trajectory.
First off let's begin with a question.
Who has done a Whole 30 and instantly reverted back to their old way of eating?
OK here is another question?
Why did you do it in the first place?
Did your friend, workplace, grandma make you try it? Did you really want to try it? Was it your doctor who made you try it? Did anyone give you support? Did they make you feel like a failure if your bacon accidentally had some sugar in it (GASP)?
The same questions apply in this scenario.
Now how about this question.
Why do I even care? What does it matter if someone does these types of things, and reverts back to their old way of eating. What if gluten, grain, legumes, and dairy are not actually the issue? What if it really comes down to habit change and working toward making positive health choices?
Here is why I care, here is what I have started to notice. Once upon a time I was super strict paleo. I saw Melissa Hartwig speak and loved what she had to say. I still do love her message. I love the Whole 30 as a tool. It is even great as a lifestyle with some modifications to keep it sustainable long term. She is a strong empowering women and mother. However for me in my practice over the last 8 years I have seen the Whole 30 morph into something that as a nutritionist I have begun to dislike "a challenge".
Every Jan 1, Sept 5, or pick a random month someone thinks they can "tough" out, a group of like minded women and men "do" a Whole 30. They go from 0-150. They eliminate everything sugar, dairy, legumes, grains, processed craptastic snacks, snacks period, gluten, and my least favorite some even omit caffeine (seriously I might just die!) In Precision Nutrition we learn about levels of clients and levels of change. Level 1 is where we begin new habits, Level 2 we are pretty darn good with level 1 changes, and can make things more strict for body comp changes or even more improved health benefits, level 3 is often reserved for elite level athletes or people wanting super strict or specific changes.
Wait what? Level 3 is super strict and requires some major diligence and motivation. Here is where my epiphany comes in. Whole 30 is like level 3 work in a level 1 person. Sometimes this is necessary and needs to be done, especially if someone has major metabolic issues, or some food intolerance that we really need to get under control as these can lead to many diffuse health issues.
Here is what I have discovered. Elimination diets and Whole 30's are tools to use in a tool box they are necessary and needed. Does everyone need them, maybe... Is everyone ready to use them, I guess that depends. I use them both with clients. Do I always use them? No. Can we see body comp and weight loss without eliminating entire food groups. Sure we can, it is done everyday. Is seeing how your body responds to food elimination beneficial. Yes generally it is. Guess what?! Your body will tell you if you tolerate that gluten, peanut butter or cream really fast if it doesn't. Is it fun to be part of a challenge with a group of friends. Of course it is I mean seriously don't they say misery loves company? Should changing how you view nutrition, nutrients, and health be miserable. No it shouldn't!
So before you partake in a Whole 30 or elimination diet. Ask yourself why? Ask it a few times. Ask what the benefit might be or why you even want to try it. If you suffer from chronic health conditions give it a try, phone a friend or better yet a professional (did you know I do distance coaching? ) and get the support you need to learn how to change your habits and improve your long term health. Health is not made in 30 days and believe it or not neither is a consistent habit. Weightloss, fat loss, improved health takes time and work.
Recipe O the day or week or month
Roasted Beets and Carrots
1-2 lbs Beets
1-2 lbs carrots
Peel beets, and cut into wedges. Cut carrots into sticks or rounds.
Lay out on a pan, coat in coconut or avocado oil. Roast at 375 for about 30 min until fork tender.