I did my first Whole 30 five or six years ago.
Objectively, it was a wonderful experience (and by wonderful, I mean equal parts frustrating, fabulous, maddening, and enlightening).
Since my first attempt, I’ve done somewhere around half a dozen more Whole 30s. Despite the fact that each one is a little less helpful than the one before, I thought I’d be scheduling regular Whole 30s for the rest of my life.
I’ve since decided that’s not a good idea. I love the Whole 30, but I’m not planning on doing one again.
The problem is the finish line.
By definition, a Whole 30 is a short-term, 30 day nutritional reset. It’s an elimination diet: an experiment of sorts.
I’ve done the experiment. I have years and years of data on how certain foods make me feel: I know what foods make me feel like a champ, what foods trigger bad things for me, what foods I don’t want to live without.
I have the information I need. That doesn’t mean I always put it to good use: I know what to do, even if I don’t always do it.
When I lapse into unhealthy habits (as I recently did when we were on vacation), I know the signs.
When that happened, I used to think “it’s time for another Whole 30.” But now I’m realizing that I don’t need a program to get back on the wagon—especially not a program with an end date. Getting back on track shouldn’t be a special event: it should be something I can do immediately, without planning, waiting, scheduling, or grocery shopping.
I love the Whole 30, and I think most people would benefit from doing one (or a similar plan) at least once. You learn so much about your body, and how to treat it well.
But when those 30 days are over, you need to decide what to do with what you’ve learned. Your Whole 30 is over: now what?
That’s why at this point in my life, the Whole 30 is only a temporary substitute for what needs to be lasting change.
When it comes to what I eat, I know what I need to do, and I can start doing it—today.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about and experiences with the Whole 30 in comments.