2

votes

How important is the Whole 30?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Hi fellow PHers.

I have been paleo for ~1 year now and have never completed a Whole 30. I typically eat about 90% Paleo, 9% Primal and 1% SAD. I have seen great results on my paleo journey to self-discovery but I have a new challenge ahead of me.

My husband has been slowly converting to the paleo lifestyle and I believe is ready to make the jump. I'd estimate he is about 70% paleo right now and 30% SAD and has not seen any weight loss/change in body composition in the months he has been eating this way.

How important is it for him to do the Whole 30 to kick start this lifestyle into full gear? Or is it okay to just transition him on the path he's going and get as close to 100% as possible without the Whole 30?

Greatly appreciate your opinions and expertise!

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on March 23, 2012
at 05:08 PM

This pretty much says everything I would say. I found it enlightening, but also frustrating... it's a journey more than a "must do" sort of thing. Once you get the hang of what to eat, it's worthwhile to focus on sleep & stress.

F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

(457)

on March 22, 2012
at 10:55 PM

Oh my gosh stupid phone! meant to say SOME PEOPLE.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on March 22, 2012
at 10:08 PM

May I suggest "womenfolk" instead of "women people?" I think it flows better off one's tongue (of which, by the way, mine is planted firmly in cheek!).

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:56 PM

"Women people need the gradual some people need the detox"- is this a typo? Sounds really weird, was "women" supposed to be "some"?

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on March 22, 2012
at 05:24 PM

exactly what I was thinking, if he's ready for it, why not! require, no, but could be a fun 'together' type activity for you both!

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11 Answers

best answer

6
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on March 22, 2012
at 05:59 PM

I think the choice of when to do a whole 30 (or similar plan) is personal ... I like the metaphor of getting into a cold pool. Some like to tiptoe in, others like to jump in and get the pain over with!

I am half-way thru what I'm calling my Mat Lalonde-inspired approach for Lent, which is actually going to be 60 days. I've also been eating mostly paleo/PHD for more than a year. For me, doing it gradually was helpful. But I'm also finding the experience of doing it "clean" to be very interesting!

One of the reasons others suggest doing it to start is that it increases your odds of seeing the real benefit of paleo as a way of eating. Doing it 70/30 or 80/20 may show some improvements, but not as much as doing it 100%.

But transitioning is fine. I keep repeating Yoni Freedhoff's maxim to live the life you'll love, not the one you'll tolerate. If having those cheats is important, keep 'em in (they were a big crutch for me in 2011). You can always do a whole 30 later, when it fits into your calendar well or you actually want to see (like I did) whether there's a difference for you between 80% and 100%.

best answer

6
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on March 22, 2012
at 10:07 PM

Honestly, I think it depends on your goals. Does your husband want to understand if some of his food choices are preventing him from reaching his body comp goals? Then yes, it will help make that clear. But. He could get to the end of the 30 days and not be any closer, but you can't know without trying.

For me, it was an extremely enlightening process. I learned a lot about myself and my relationship with food. I got angry at the world, because going out to eat or to friends' houses was impossible. Even commercially made sausages and bacon have sugar in them! I laughed at myself when I got grumpy because I reminded myself that people used to have to eat this way ALL THE TIME.

I think to make it worthwhile, you should also employ sleep and stress-lowering protocols. We're neglecting these other fronts to our detriment. At Paleo FX last week, there was a lot of emphasis on those two factors, especially in cases where body comp isn't where we want it.

So go for it! You can do anything for 30 days, and you might just discover a new healthy habit for life.

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on March 23, 2012
at 05:08 PM

This pretty much says everything I would say. I found it enlightening, but also frustrating... it's a journey more than a "must do" sort of thing. Once you get the hang of what to eat, it's worthwhile to focus on sleep & stress.

2
1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on March 23, 2012
at 06:23 AM

I transitioned from near-paleo (no simple starches, no sugar) into the Whole 30 because I'd read that it was important to honestly assess food sensitivities and unseen/unexpected side effects. After I finished, I reintroduced dairy with no ill effects. I've kept it because it's a cheap, readily available calorie source that I enjoy.

I probably could have just kept doing what I had been, but I would say that if you really want to get the most out of paleo, you should start as strict as possible and then slowly reintroduce other semi-acceptable foods if you feel the need to.

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 22, 2012
at 06:57 PM

I eased into paleo myself, no sudden shock like Whole-30. Still going at it nearly a year later, still gradually changing my diet and observing the effects... So I don't think it's all that necessary, as long as you are aware of what you're doing.

2
C67c08a0fc95e9bd06f33647f70dc64a

on March 22, 2012
at 06:27 PM

I have never done Paleo or anything other than eating healthy. I am now on my 19th day of my first Whole30 and I feel great! I am wearing pants that I never fit into before and I can do more in my pilates class than ever before. I think it is a great way to kick-start a new eating trend - an easy way to change your life.

2
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 22, 2012
at 05:23 PM

If he sets the goal himself, and gets excited to try the Whole 30, then definitely encourage him. He'll have decided this for himself, which increases the chances of his success. After that, transitioning to a generally awesome diet should be a breeze.

Is it required? No, definitely not. Would he find it helpful and a fun challenge? Probably.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on March 22, 2012
at 05:24 PM

exactly what I was thinking, if he's ready for it, why not! require, no, but could be a fun 'together' type activity for you both!

1
A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on March 23, 2012
at 03:51 PM

When I started Paleo/Primal I started with something very similar to Whole30 for six weeks. It was quite strict and I saw improvements immediately after my two-week "carb-flu" ended. After the six weeks, I slowly eased back into eating SAD (because at the time, I didn't know better). Then a few years later (2008), I toyed with that strict Whole30-esque approach again and it was awesome. After THAT, I began an 80/20 approach that has stuck.

YOU GET OUT OF IT WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT.

Only you (or your husband for himself) can gauge the physical, emotional, psychological return on investment for yourself (or your husband for himself).

Is more strict going to garner better results? It depends on how metabolically deranged you are or aren't. And you can't tell that without expensive tests (if even possible).

Only you are going to be able to discover how strict you need to be to see the results you want to see!

1
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on March 23, 2012
at 12:01 AM

I'm not surprised he's not seeing results at 70/30. That's a bit too much free wheeling to get much benefit. This decidion just depends on what he wants. I've been paleo for years and never did a Whole 30 and have no intention of doing one. But I'm also low carb so giving up dairy is not going to happen. I've given up enough already. I have no personal reason to give it up so their program doesn't work for me at all. Mostly I don't like being told what to do, lol.

Clearly some do very well with it others never make it through. You know him best. Or ask him if he has any interest in a 30 day challenge He has to be the one to decide what he's ready for. In the end, Whole 30 is just one couple's 30 day program of how THEY think paleo should be done. It's not the only way. It's just one brand. If it appeals to anyone they should do it. There is no requirement to complete it and you're not eating any less paleo if you don't.

1
89a3eb9e05b04102f0a584e438a7da3e

(1136)

on March 22, 2012
at 11:08 PM

I gained a lot from the Whole30. I had already been "paleo" plus cheats for over a year. The Whole30 helped me move beyond the idea of IF as end all/be all and helped me accept my issues with dairy. I think any strict eliminiation diet is important to eradicate any last issues.

1
A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on March 22, 2012
at 10:20 PM

I can imagine some additional benefits to diving right into a Whole 30 if one deals with any food "addictions" or intense cravings.

I did not do a Whole 30, but I a generally more strict paleo in the beginning, and my desire for sugar and salt dropped rather dramatically after just a week or two. My ability to taste sweetness and salt became so sensitive that I could detect "hidden" added sugar in savory foods (that I didn't cook myself) that no one else considered sweet-tasting. This served as a new tool, helping me better avoid those foods later--or to at least remain mindful of it.

It did, however, increase my risk for going too low on salt--not something the average American thinks of--and I had to learn to add salt to replace some of what I lost to all those salty processed foods I no longer consumed.

0
F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

on March 22, 2012
at 09:50 PM

Either way will honestly be fine. It all depends on the personality. Women people need the gradual some people need the detox. I personally spent about 10 months gradually cutting out each food item one by one. Then one day decided I needed a detox because I was so addicted to sugar.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:56 PM

"Women people need the gradual some people need the detox"- is this a typo? Sounds really weird, was "women" supposed to be "some"?

F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

(457)

on March 22, 2012
at 10:55 PM

Oh my gosh stupid phone! meant to say SOME PEOPLE.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on March 22, 2012
at 10:08 PM

May I suggest "womenfolk" instead of "women people?" I think it flows better off one's tongue (of which, by the way, mine is planted firmly in cheek!).

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