If you've been on the Whole30 and counting down the days until February 1st, step away from the cheese! Before you transition back to your normal diet, here are five solid lessons that I learned from the eating plan that I stuck with even after the 30 days were up. Not only did following them beyond the 30 days prevent me from rebounding back to my higher weight, but they also help keep me on the straight and narrow the rest of the year when I’m not following the program.
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On Ramp/Elements – If you’re interested in joining the regular CrossFit workout, you’ll most likely be required to go through the On Ramp/Elements course. The purpose of these is to teach you the nine foundational movements of CrossFit and all about proper form. No matter how experienced you are, these are valuable and worth the time and money. Even if you think you have perfect form on your squats, deadlifts and/or overhead presses, it’s amazing what can be fixed when you have a trained set of eyes watching you do them.
As far as food goes, you’re simply going to eat a lot of fresh, good-quality eats and ditch the processed stuff. Beyond that, you’re removing all grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol from your diet. All of these foods (especially in excess), according to the authors, have been linked to systemic inflammation, hormonal imbalance, gut issues, and more. The idea is to remove the stressors from your body and give it the nourishment and time to heal itself it needs. This means less inflammation, a healthy metabolism, hormonal harmony, a happy gut, clearer skin, and improved energy! Sounds good to me. (Although if we’re honest, I panicked a bit when I realized no cheese would hit my lips for a full month.)
Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai founded CrossFit, Inc. in 2000. The company was conceived a few years earlier, in 1996, as Cross-Fit. The original CrossFit gym is in Santa Cruz, California, and the first affiliated gym was CrossFit North in Seattle, Washington; there were 13 by 2005, and today there are more than 13,000. Coaches associated with CrossFit include Louie Simmons, John Welbourn, Bob Harper, and Mike Burgener.
No cheating, kids. Hartwig emphasizes the importance of sticking to this plan with zero slip-ups, so you give your body the complete break (from not-so-healthy food) it deserves. If life happens and a glass of wine or a piece of bread gets in the way, Hartwig recommends starting over. She wants you to feel the full benefits of the entire 30 days. We're not gonna lie: We've let a glass of wine slip before, we didn't start over, and still felt on top of the world at the end. (We aren't suggesting you do the same, but we're just being real with you.) For a full list of rules, visit Whole30.com.
Beginners to weight training – If you have NEVER weight trained before (or trained only on machines), CrossFit is a great place for you to start (provided you have a great coach, which I’ll cover shortly). You’ll learn how to do all of the important lifts in a super supportive and nonjudgmental environment. You might even find that…GASP…you love strength training!
And if you have an iPhone or iPad, go download my Webby Award-winning app! With over 100 Whole30-approved recipes, interactive guides, a customizable shopping list, fully-emailable recipes, and a 30-day Whole30 meal plan, this app is an invaluable tool for Paleo foodies and culinary newbies alike. There’s even a dedicated Whole30 recipe category in the app!
Meetup has a growing number of paleo groups, now numbering in the dozens. Each has a local message board. They have a map of Paleo Diet Meetups around the world. Initially I tried listing them all here. The number grew and Meetup wasn't letting me find groups in newest order, except for my zip code. You now have to go there to find the one nearest you.
Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients. Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is totally missing the point of the Whole30, and will compromise your life-changing results. These are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.