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Whole30... overkill?

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  • Whole30... overkill?

    Is the Whole30 plan really beneficial or is it overly strict just for the sake of being strict?

    Over the last year, I have enjoyed a pretty primal lifestyle and diet and have dropped 80 lbs while adding a bunch of muscle (thanks also to crossfit and too much exercise, too much per MDA guidelines).

    I still have around 8-10 lbs of stubborn belly fat to go - Body Fat Percentage went from 31 to 17 or so, with the last 3-4% that I want to ditch all abdominal. This last bit is going, but slowly, sometimes very slowly.

    I have no problem staying almost entirely off legumes and grains (esp wheat) and avoiding sugar, but moderately enjoy dairy (butter, cream and cheese). Additionally, I'll have 0-15 beers per week, a bottle or two of red wine and, occasionally, Tequila. The quality of meat I eat could be better (I eat plenty of sausage, ham and conventional beef), but I go grass-fed where the option is available.

    The reason for my initial question... It is not a matter of will-power or discipline (while I don't relish the idea of ditching dairy, booze or convenient store-bought beef jerky, I could) I travel a bit for work and don't want to sacrifice needlessly. I don't really need to prove or test anything and think it'd be (a little) destructive and pointless to do a Whole30 month just as a game.

    That being said, I'll start tomorrow if convinced the change from my current diet will SIGNIFICANTLY speed up a LASTING change in body composition.

    46, male, 5'11', 190lbs - BMI says I'm obese, but Body Fat % and blood chemistry and especially the way I look and feel make me think not.
    Last edited by dogfuel; 07-21-2012, 01:13 PM.

  • #2
    eh, lasting change...i wouldn't bet on it. i see the whole30 as a reset button more than anything. it's also great for discovering any food allergies or insensitivity you might have, but i think you can do that without going as strict as they would have you.

    you're clearly doing awesome by just staying primal, so keep doing that.


    • #3
      thanks primalrob - your explanation makes perfect sense (and means I can have a little wine on my birthday next month).

      I'm not looking to reset anything and am apparently insensitive (only one ex-relationship ver accused me of this). I am definitely interested only in lasting change - it looks like a little more sweat and work (no shortcuts )


      • #4
        The whole30 really depends on what you're trying to get out of it. I did a whole30 and discovered a previously unknown allergy to cucumbers and I was able to end a recurring stomach pain for which I couldn't discern a cause. If you're comfortable with your current diet and digestion then don't worry about committing to the additional strictness. It sounds like what you're doing is working for you, so stick with it and enjoy.
        Last edited by PrimallyJenna; 07-21-2012, 01:39 PM. Reason: grammar


        • #5
          I'm with Primalrob. I think it might work pretty good as a reset, but it's not for everyone.

          I tried it and lasted about a week and a half before blowing it with a massive binge on candy and donuts and turning into a raging bitch (I have witnesses). For me, it was just too restrictive, at least for this particular time in my life, though I have heard a lot of people do very well with it, so I'm not willing to write it off at this point.

          If what you're doing is working, maybe just not as quickly as you want, I guess you could give it a try. The only real difference I see is ditching dairy, a few remaining grains (like white rice) and all alcohol. It might help find a dairy issue, or it might just annoy you.


          • #6
            Based on the largely positive feedback I've seen it seems to be very beneficial.


            • #7
              Finished a whole30 in June, but continuing it to a whole60. It wasn't a huge transition for me, but dropping the booze (I like to party) and ditching the occasional dairy have done a lot. I wasn't looking to loose weight, but wanted to see how dairy affected me. I notice a lot less stuffy-ness in my face. I also found I have ridiculous energy in the gym and on the soccer field (just got back from a tournament today, played 6 games full field, scored 12 goals).

              It's really different for everyone and if you're doing well primally, I say stick w what works!! Melissa and Dallas hartwig's book, It Starts w Food is amazing! They also have a great blog. It is super strict, but as people have already said its used commonly as a reset and to decipher allergies and intolerances. Good Luck!


              • #8
                You summed up my experience with Whole30 almost to a T.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by earthspirit View Post
                  You summed up my experience with Whole30 almost to a T.
                  It was not pretty. And a little scary.


                  • #10
                    I like it as a tabula rasa sort of thing, especially after being sick like I was last month, and especially since we're going to be TTC (again) in August-ish.

                    Also, I'm on Day 7 of my third (non-consecutive) Whole30, and it's totally highlighting all the little "cheats" I've been sneaking in over the last six months since the last one.

                    No sugar is honestly the hardest part for me. I like honey in my coffee. I like sweet barbeque. I like maple syrup on my pancakes, paleo or otherwise. I like sweets, period. And I know if I stay off the sweets for 30 days, I'll train my body again to not crave these things.

                    As someone who likes "rules" and challenges and sticking to them, I find the Whole30 useful for that. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't thrive on that sort of thing; I expect it would be disastrous. But sometimes, y'know, you gotta challenge yourself and see what happens.
                    My Primal Meanderings


                    • #11
                      uhm...15 pounds in 20 days?

                      Originally posted by dogfuel View Post

                      I still have around 8-10 lbs of stubborn belly fat to go - Body Fat Percentage went from 31 to 17 or so, with the last 3-4% that I want to ditch all abdominal. This last bit is going, but slowly, sometimes very slowly.
                      I am not NEARLY in as good physical shape as you, but I have lost 15 pounds in 20 days doing my first whole 30. Bear in mind that I have tried and tried and tried to lose weight for the past 5 years. I even spent 6 weeks on the "eat to live" diet, and only lost 6 pounds during that time.

                      Before doing whole30, I spent a month doing paleo--stricter than you but still with butter, a little milk and honey in my coffee in the morning and occasional soy in cooked veggies. Then I started strict whole30 and lost 10 pounds in the first seven days, and lost 4 inches off my waist among other positive changes. There's no way that's fat loss, and 20 days into my whole30 I weigh less than I have in 5 years.

                      And I am 41 years old.

                      My advice? Try for a week. See what happens to you. It doesn't sound like it's that big of a deal to you, it certainly hasn't been for my family and I have a pizza and french fry loving 10 year old boy and a beer loving husband doing it with me! Both of whom are currently more handsome than they ever have been, and I couldn't be more proud!

                      **EDIT***Forgot to add that during my month of Paleo-ish eating I lost about two pounds...then gained it back. Story of my life.
                      Last edited by heatheramara; 08-10-2012, 12:29 AM. Reason: Forgot imortant info.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dogfuel View Post
                        Additionally, I'll have 0-15 beers per week, a bottle or two of red wine and, occasionally, Tequila. .
                        Every week? And you wonder why you have 8-10 pounds of "stubborn" belly fat? Skip the Whole30 and focus on your real problem.
                        5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.


                        • #13
                          I agree on the "reset button" thoughts, however not a reset of your entire eating plan so much as resetting your discipline levels. I know for me I was following primal pretty well for a long time and have a story very similar to the OP, but gradually I started letting in more and more slips and my 80/20 gradually turned into 70/30 then 60/40 and you get the idea. The Whole30 is helping me to get that discipline back and doing 100/0 for a month I think helps out a lot. Just my $0.02.

                          And yeah 15 beers a week is quite a bit I'm a total beer snob and maybe do about 7-8 a week during my normal 80/20.


                          • #14
                            The first time I did Whole30, it was tough. I lost a stubborn 3 pounds and shed inches, but at the time, it was much too restrictive. I became a little obsessive about what food I could and could not eat. I went about 28 days, with scheduled off-30 due to a conference.

                            The second time I attempted Whole30, my moods went nuts -- extreme mood swings -- and I had crushing menstrual cramps. I ditched after about 16 days.

                            Then I spent the next 6 weeks eating SAD - but slowly reducing and then avoiding wheat, and then slowly cutting sugar. I also spend the time slowly increasing my exercise - joined CF and went first 2x, then 3x a week, then started walking daily.

                            I started Whole30 again on July 30. (Whole33?) And this time, it's working. I feel **good.** I'm losing weight and inches. I've got energy. I'm not stressed over food choices. I'm fairly Zen overall. My face is clearing up. So far (this is day 12) it's been outstanding.

                            F, 44 years old, 111.8 lbs, 4 feet 11.5 inches (yes, that half inch matters!)

                            **1st place sparring, AAU TKD regional qualifier, 2/15/15 - It's damn good to hit like a girl!**

                            **First-ever 5K race 11/28/13: 37 minutes, 18+ seconds, no stopping**