Absolutely. In fact, I’m doing it again right now as a way to reset into the New Year. It gets easier the second time around, actually. I already know how to meal prep, and have an arsenal of recipes that I created from the first go-around to guide me through. I kinda miss cheese and chocolate (because, yum), but I’m excited to push that glorious reset button.
People looking for support and community – This is the appeal to CrossFit for me: every CrossFit gym has a really tight-knit community feel to it. You’re not just a membership payment to them; you’re a person that needs support. When Nerd Fitness gyms start popping up (don’t think it won’t happen!), I’ll be drawing a lot of inspiration from CF as to how members are so supportive and inclusive of each other.
I cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact—the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food. It will change your tastes. It will change your habits and your cravings. It will restore a healthy emotional relationship with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. I know this because I did it, and millions of people have done it since, and it changed my life (and their lives) in a dramatic and permanent fashion.
The Whole30 book is the perfect thing to read while you’re visiting your in-laws or don’t feel like telling Aunt Sue for the 100th time what you do for a living. It’s helpful, it’s clear, and it will get you motivated. Want even more Whole30 recipes? Hartwig's latest Whole30 Cookbook may not have the nitty-gritty plan details, but the recipes are baller.
The Paleo Diet: Eating like your ancestors doesn't guarantee you'll lose weight. While the diet emphasizes plenty of foods that are good for weight loss, such as lean protein and fruits and vegetables, you would still need to eat fewer calories to drop a few pounds. So if you're binging on nuts and fruit, you could actually gain weight on the Paleo Diet.
A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the benefits of following a Paleo diet versus a diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association in 24 participants with diabetes. After two weeks, researchers found that the Paleo diet led to greater improvements in blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity than the conventional diabetes diet. (4)
Trying to introduce dairy back into my diet hurt my stomach and would send me into a sneezing fit. In this way, the Whole30 worked as a type of elimination diet for me, without which I may have never realized that dairy isn't my friend. I'll still suffer the consequences if I cross paths with a cheese plate at a work event, but I've made the permanent switch to tofu cream cheese and coconut milk — alternatives I would've never touched before Whole30 that are actually delicious.
I recognize these drawbacks. But I still kick off the first month of each year by waving goodbye to alcohol, sugar, and yes, the aforementioned healthy food groups. While I've kept the majority of the weight off, I'm still guilty of putting on those extra 4 to 5 pounds throughout the year. But while that would've caused me anxiety before, I'm now okay with it. I enjoy some frozen drinks by the pool during my summer vacation and loosen the reigns a bit during the holidays. Come January 1st, my body desperately wants a break from the late-night holiday parties that cram my calendar from Thanksgiving until New Year's Eve, which is why I do another round of the Whole30. Starting the new year this way helps to reset the habits that I tend to lose track of towards the end of year (moderation and meal-prepping) and it reminds me how good my body feels when I'm treating it right.
Former athletes – CrossFit has built-in teamwork, camaraderie, and competition. Almost all workouts have a time component to them, where you either have to finish a certain number of repetitions of exercises in a certain amount of time, or the time is fixed and you need to see how many repetitions you can do of an exercise. You get to compete with people in your class, and go online to see how you did against the world’s elite CrossFit athletes. There is even an international competition for those that become truly dedicated.
Here comes the tough love. This is for those of you who are considering taking on this life-changing month, but aren’t sure you can actually pull it off, cheat free, for a full 30 days. This is for the people who have tried this before, but who “slipped” or “fell off the wagon” or “just HAD to eat (fill in food here) because of this (fill in event here).” This is for you.
^ Ramsden, C.; Faurot, K.; Carrera-Bastos, P.; Cordain, L.; De Lorgeril, M.; Sperling, L. (2009). "Dietary Fat Quality and Coronary Heart Disease Prevention: A Unified Theory Based on Evolutionary, Historical, Global, and Modern Perspectives". Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine. 11 (4): 289–301. doi:10.1007/s11936-009-0030-8. PMID 19627662.
That being said, I wasn't surprised to see Whole30 on the naughty list last year. In case you're not familiar with the program, you cut out all processed foods, grains, legumes, soy and dairy (that includes sugar and alcohol) for 30 days. You're left with meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nut butters and nut milks (as long as there's no added sugar — read your labels).
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In 2011, the Games adopted an online qualification format, facilitating participation by athletes worldwide. During the five-week-long "CrossFit Open", one new workout is released each week. Athletes have several days to complete the workout and submit their scores online, with either a video or validation by a CrossFit affiliate. Since the Open is available to any level of athlete, many affiliates encourage member participation and the number of worldwide participants can be in the hundreds of thousands.