I started Week 1 feeling optimistic. This isn't hard at all! I told myself. Wrong. Days 2 and 3 hit, and the sugar withdrawal was so real. In my company's kitchen, I stared at the free M&Ms longingly. "All I can think about are gummy worms," I texted my work friends. Instead of eating candy, I scarfed down a banana with sunflower seed butter and felt slightly better.
First, head on over to Whole30 to gobble up their wrap-up post, including links to articles about living (and eating!) in the days, weeks, and years post-Whole30. If you still need more help, buy a copy of the Whole30 book, the Whole30 Cookbook (which includes a bunch of exclusive recipes by me!), Whole30 Fast and Easy, and Whole30 Day by Day! And if you have a copy of “It Starts With Food” on your bookshelf, take another look at Chapter 20 (“Strategies for Long-Term Success”), or grab a copy of Food Freedom Forever, which teaches strategies for making this new approach to food a sustainable change.
The Paleolithic or “Paleo” diet seeks to address 21st century ills by revisiting the way humans ate during the Paleolithic era more than 2 million years ago. Paleo proponents state that because our genetics and anatomy have changed very little since the Stone Age, we should eat foods available during that time to promote good health. Our predecessors used simple stone tools that were not advanced enough to grow and cultivate plants, so they hunted, fished, and gathered wild plants for food. If they lived long enough, they were believed to experience less modern-day diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease because of a consistent diet of lean meats and plant foods along with a high level of physical activity from intensive hunting. However, the life expectancy of our predecessors was only a fraction of that of people today.
On Day 4, I reached for a beef jerky stick from Epic. I simultaneously took a big bite while turning over the packaging to read the label. When I saw it on the ingredients list, I stopped mid-chew: "honey." I immediately spit the partially chewed jerky in my garbage can. Close one. After that, I always read the labels on my food twice before eating a morsel.
In my first CrossFit experience three years ago, I almost made myself puke because I wanted so badly to finish with a good time. Last year, I did another CrossFit workout that I hadn’t properly prepared for and cranked out 100 pull ups quickly…and I ended up walking around with T-rex arms for a WEEK because I physically could not straighten them. Not kidding.
Some specific foods that fall under this rule include: pancakes, waffles, bread, tortillas, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pizza crust, alternative flour pastas, cereal, or ice cream. No commercially-prepared chips (potato, tortilla, plantain, etc.) or French fries either. However, this list is not limited strictly to these items—there may be other foods that you find are not psychologically healthy for your Whole30. Use your best judgment with those foods that aren’t on this list, but that you suspect are not helping you change your habits or break those cravings. Our mantra: When in doubt, leave it out. It’s only 30 days.
While no independent research has been conducted on the Whole30 diet specifically, diets like this one that eliminate entire food groups are bound to make you drop weight, experts say. That was the case for 96 percent of 1,600 Whole30 participants, according to a survey by the company. Most Whole30 dieters lost between 6 and 15 pounds, the survey found. But experts worry that restrictive diets with no room for error can set followers up for failure and prompt them to put the pounds back on – and then some – once the diet is over.
But listen--we'd both been relatively inactive for years and each about 25 pounds overweight. Between the two of us we lost 34 lbs in 30 days and we are still going to keep up a serious commitment to Whole 30, with a few supplemental treats now and then. We feel better, we have new confidence about getting dressed in the morning, and we're more fit than in years, mostly because we have the energy to do more. The amazing thing is that you will NOT feel hungry if you hang in there and consistently prepare foods as per the cookbook/menus. There is also a very supportive and helpful forum online to supplement the book.
Breakfast: My favorite breakfast during this program was leftovers from the night before — it was easy and usually had all the elements I needed to feel full and jumpstart my day. If there was leftover protein, I might throw it over some greens and make a salad. If there was soup, that was always perfect too. When I was feeling breakfast-y, eggs did the trick with some roasted veggies.
He also makes a concerted effort to avoid new streams of revenue. (See "CrossFit Doesn't Want Your Money.") CrossFit makes most of its money from training seminars: Every weekend, it certifies hundreds of people as trainers, at $1,000 a pop. It also collects registration fees for the CrossFit Games, royalties from Reebok for CrossFit apparel, and annual affiliate fees. The affiliate fees, which top out at $3,000 a year, are locked in at their original rates. Joshua Newman, who runs a big, successful box called CrossFit NYC, told me he pays just $500 a year.
The paleo diet runs on the same foods our hunter-gather ancestors supposedly ate: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts. "By following these nutritional guidelines, we put our diet more in line with the evolutionary pressures that shaped our current genetics, which in turn positively influences health and well being," says Loren Cordain, PhD, professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet. He says the diet lessens the body's glycemic load, has a healthy ratio of saturated-to-unsaturated fatty acids, increases vitamin and nutrient consumption, and contains an optimal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
"CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program, but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of 10 recognized fitness domains," says founder Greg Glassman in the Foundations document. Those domains are cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.