From April 15th to May 15th a group of CrossFit Murrayfield members took on the Whole 30 Challenge and many of us felt that the results made the challenge worthwhile.
What is it?
"The Whole30 is not a diet—it’s the catalyst for a whole new lifestyle. We’re focused on health, not weight loss. In fact, you’re not even allowed to step on the scale for the duration of the program, giving you a welcome and well-deserved respite from the obsession with body weight and freeing you up to observe and appreciate all of the benefits in so many areas of your life—improvements in energy, sleep, cravings, attention span, mood, athletic performance and recovery, self-confidence, digestion, pain, fatigue, and other medical symptoms. There’s no caloric restriction. You are never hungry. There is no counting, measuring, or tracking your food. We start you off with basic portion guidelines, but our program’s structure gets you back in touch with your body’s own signals to help you figure out how much to eat."
And what did we think?
In the early days many of us had a hard time with cravings. Especially on the weekends or if the weather was nice and we wanted to enjoy a special treat or a glass of wine. We had a facebook group for support and encouragement and it helped knowing other people were going through the same challenges. For most of us by the time we were midway through the program the rules became routine and it wasn't too difficult to stick with it.
A programme such as Whole30 is good for someone like me, because I am generally unable to just have a "little treat", I always overdo it ...drastically! Cutting out on food groups completely for the 30days, completely eliminated the temptation as I COULDN'T have them, not even just a little bit. - Pamela
We all felt that preparation was an important part of making the Whole30 a success.
Preparation is definitely key. I have taken 2-3 hours on a Sunday and a Wednesday to make breakfast, lunch and dinner for the days ahead. - Kayleigh
With food preparation comes dishes. Dishes, dishes, and more dishes!!! - Linda
Here are some more comments from the participants...
As a former Weight Watchers addict (a long time ago!) my mind set has been totally fixated on the scales. This challenge and the results has FINALLY changed that. My clothes are looser, my skin is glowing and my eyes are sparkly. I have been going to Crossfit 4-5 times a week, doing my own work outs at home and playing netball once a week and my energy levels have remained high. I am sleeping better and I have more energy throughout the day. - Kayleigh
I would say that the most obvious effect of Whole30 on me was better sleep. During the 30 days I fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep for the whole night. So as long as I turned off all electronic devices early and actually went to bed at a decent time, I got enough good sleep to naturally wake up every morning usually around 6:30am. - Linda
I had thought I would get sick of the breakfast but didn't. I had generally had porridge for breakfast before the programme and thought I would miss it but I didn't really and the bacon and eggs kept me feeling full until I next ate. - Pamela
Another thing that I am so proud of. I used to take 3 sweeteners in my tea and now I will never touch another one ! - Kayleigh
Doing CrossFit workouts and Whole30 together was a good combination. I would do CrossFit in the morning which would wake me up and help me to stay motivated to eat properly during the day. - Jacob
Is it for everyone? Maybe not - but you can still learn some good habits.
I didn't finish it, for a few reasons but largely because I didn't have time to prepare the right meals for the exercise I was doing and was struggling on runs and high intensity wods. I found myself reaching for nuts rather than a banana or some porridge and to me that seemed wrong. I am now doing 80:20 paleo and feeling much happier. - Anneka
I would definitely recommend that everyone give Whole30 a try. Because it is quite a commitment I would suggest finding 30 days when the rest of your life isn’t too stressful as you will need more time for planning, cooking, and cleaning up. By the last week it becomes part of you routine so it wasn’t hard to whip up a meal without lots of planning. - Linda
If you are interested in giving Whole30 or another nutrition program a try let us know as we hope to hold more nutrition challenges in the future. Some other programs you might be interested in if you feel you need a reset of your nutrition habits:
The Paleo Diet - (the basis for Whole30)
The Zone Diet (involves weighing and measuring food)
For more information about Whole30 watch this video or head to Whole30.com