If asked to describe my approach to fitness and food, I would say only one word…balanced. As I’ve progressed on my health journey, I’ve realized the best way for me to stay consistent with clean eating and exercise is simply by making sure I maintain balance. I try to workout most days of the week, but I always have a rest day. I know I feel best when I eat clean, wholesome food, but I also love little indulgences here and there…a glass of wine with dinner, a small bowl of ice cream for dessert, and of course, pizza on Fridays.
I don’t set restrictions. I don’t eliminate food groups, so for me, Whole 30 has never been a program that piques my interest. (For those not familiar, Whole 30 is a 30 day reset program that eliminates common inflammatory foods- dairy, grains, processed sugar…) Sure, I enjoy some of the recipes, but on a whole, I’m just not a fan of strict food limitations. I think sometimes when we set restrictions, the stress of finding “compliant” foods becomes more detrimental to our bodies than just eating what most would consider perfectly healthy food…brown rice, avocado toast, oatmeal.
Don’t get me wrong, I think this program could definitely benefit individuals who just need a total reset…those who feel they are truly struggling trying to incorporate fruits, veggies, and other clean foods into their diet. I also believe the Whole 30 is great if you’re trying to identify food sensitivities (though it’s important to note Whole 30 does not eliminate all foods that might be a source of inflammation- nightshades, for example).
I think if you have a healthy relationship with food, and you don’t generally go through major ups and downs with your eating, doing the Whole 30 is probably totally fine. Given my relationship with food, I know I’d be okay participating in a round of the program, but I do think if you tend to get obsessive over food and “rules,” this might just send you over the edge. This is 100% my opinion, and I know many would disagree. I think knowing yourself and your body is most important before embarking on any food (or fitness) journey.
All of this to say…no, this not my favorite program, BUT, I am going to give it a whirl. One of the studios I teach at is doing a Whole 30 challenge for the month of March, and I do love taking on a challenge with a team of people alongside me. I am inspired by our wonderful clients who are eager to try something new, to make a lifestyle change, to challenge themselves beyond the studio. And THAT is something I can get behind.
I promise to be true to myself, so if at any point I feel I’ve created more stress for my body or my mind by participating in this, I’ll walk away gracefully and be on my merry way. But I am up for a challenge…especially one that involves an incredible group of uplifting, supportive women. I am interested to see how I fare in this whole process…perhaps my views of the program will change, perhaps my current beliefs will solidify further.
One thing I made certain of- timing. This is as good a time as any for me to begin this challenge (our PB group started March 1st, I have decided to start Monday, March 5th, as I have a few events this weekend). Beyond this weekend, I know there are no events/outings that would create a real obstacle for me.
I plan to whip out my kindle edition of It Starts With Foods, written by the creators of the Whole 30, which outlines the ins and outs of the program. I also own the Whole 30 guide, which I use on the regular for dinner recipes.
I have a few specific goals as I start this challenge with my Pure Barre family…
1) eat more and a wider variety of vegetables
2) get more creative with snacks (I tend to rely on RX bars or other bars for a daily snack fix)
3) ease up on sugar
I believe it’s important to have your own goals, your own intentions when starting a program such as this- I will keep these 3 goals at the forefront of my mind as I progress through the 30 days. This is not to say that post-Whole 30 I won’t eat RX bars as snacks (I’ll probably even eat them during the program), but I know it’s something I can improve upon.
I’m excited to keep you updated on my experience with the Whole 30…perhaps it will help someone else decide if this is a challenge to take on, or one to steer clear of completely. I look forward to getting creative in the kitchen, to supporting my Pure Barre family as they also navigate this journey, and challenging myself to break some less-than-stellar habits.
Here are a few pantry staples I’ll be stocking up on:
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (to add to my morning coffee)
- Tessemae’s dressings/condiments (Amazon carries a convenient Whole 30 pack)
- Ghee (will use for cooking, but I also love adding it to my coffee)
- RX Bars
- Avocado oil
- Primal Kitchen Mayo (awesome to mix with tuna)
Be sure to check in Monday for my weekly dinner menu. Have a wonderful weekend!
Question of the day: Have you ever done the Whole 30? What are your thoughts/experiences?