26: What is the Whole30, from Co-Founder MU | Just Melissa

You’ve probably heard of the Whole30 by now. Maybe you’ve thought about doing one yourself, heard rave reviews from a friend, or read about it in your favorite magazine. Now, you’ll hear for yourself how the Whole30 really can change your life in 30 days, and how to get started on your own Whole30 transformation.


You’ve probably heard of the Whole30 by now. Maybe you’ve thought about doing one yourself, heard rave reviews from a friend, or read about it in your favorite magazine. Now, you’ll hear for yourself how the Whole30 really can change your life in 30 days, and how to get started on your own Whole30 transformation. In today’s episode, Whole30 co-founder and CEO Melissa Urban explains the program in her own words, including the Whole30’s inception in 2009, and the unexpected life-changing results she experienced. She shares the background of the Whole30 and why it works so well for so many people; the ins-and-outs of what you’ll be eating for 30 days; and busts some common misconceptions about the program. (Spoiler: it’s not a weight loss diet.) By the end of the episode, you’ll feel inspired and empowered to take the first step, and join the millions of people who have experienced the life-changing benefits of the Whole30.

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Melissa Urban

Whole30 Head Mistress, Co-Founder


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Website: whole30.com
Instagram: @melissau
Facebook: /melissau.author
Newsletter: w30.co/xomu

Episode Notes

The January 2020 Whole30 starts on January 1st! To join, visit whole30.com and click the red button on the home page.

To work with a Whole30 Certified Coach for your Whole30 (January or otherwise), visit coach.whole30.com.

For our Whole30 automated meal planning tool, visit Real Plans


Here are all of the Whole30 books referenced in the episode. Not sure where to start? Try this article.

It Starts With Food
The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom
Food Freedom Forever
The Whole30 Day by Day
The Whole30 Friends & Family
The Whole30 Cookbook
The Whole30 Slow Cooker
The Whole30 Fast and Easy

MU:                              00:00

This podcast presents the research and ideas of its host and was created for informational purposes only. The information content and material of this podcast is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Consult with your qualified physician or healthcare provider before starting any diet or supplement regimen. The Whole30 is contra-indicated for those with a history of disordered eating. If this is your context, only attempt the program with the approval and direct supervision of both the qualified healthcare practitioner and a trained counselor and follow all of their directives with respect to the Whole30 program rules. The testimonials referenced in this podcast are not a guarantee, promise or indicator of results and or experiences while participating in and after completing the Whole30 program, the producer and host disclaimed responsibility for any adverse effects resulting directly or indirectly from any information contained in this podcast. Hi, my name is Melissa Urban and you’re listening to Do the Thing, a podcast where we explore what’s been missing every time you’ve tried to make a change and make it stick.

MU:                              01:18

Welcome to season two of Do the Thing. If you’re a regular listener of Do the Thing you know, this podcast is all about exploring habit change and transformation and finding practical immediately applicable action steps you can take now to build the life you want. We cover a range of topics from self care, finances, relationships to fitness, and of course food. Today I’m kicking off season two with an episode all about the Whole30 you’ve probably heard about it by now, but if you haven’t, it’s a 30 day reset designed to help you change your health habits and relationship with food. The Whole30 has been around for more than 10 years and it’s helped millions of people achieve the results our tagline offers, change your life in 30 days. I know that’s a big claim, but I’m uniquely qualified to make it and explain the program to you because I know a thing or two about changing your life.

MU:                              02:17

Hi, my name is Melissa and I’m a recovering drug addict. Today, I’ve got almost 20 years of recovery under my belt, but I still remember how hard it was to make the changes I needed to make to save my own life. I talk about my past with addiction and recovery very openly and very freely because I want my Whole30 community to know that I know what it’s like to feel out of control because when it comes down to it, food and drugs are not that different and I have experienced what you might be experiencing right now. I know what it’s like to crave something you know isn’t serving you, but give in because it’s easy and it’s rewarding and it lets you out the rest of your life. I know about over consumption because the way this stuff is designed, it’s near impossible to stop it just one or two or three.

MU:                              03:09

I know the guilt and shame that immediately follows getting mad at yourself because you know it is not serving your highest good and you keep doing it anyway. I know the negative self talk, the punishment mindset and the isolation. These behaviors bring, and I know all too well, the stress that follows accompanied by an overwhelming desire for more of the very thing that’s holding you hostage, hating yourself for it, but unable to stop. Am I talking about heroin or am I talking about sugar? In the years following rehab, I made a lot of changes to my life in an effort to maintain my recovery in part beginning to exercise and adopting what I considered a healthy diet. I’ve never struggled with my weight nor with a food addiction, but my relationship with food was not healthy and I was attached to this scale and the mirror in a way that hurt myself confidence and created a lot of anxiety during that time period where I was so desperate to become this healthy person with healthy habits and I was so invested in fitness and wellness culture, I’m betting I felt a lot like how many of you feel right now?

MU:                              04:20

You are tired. You’re tired of feeling out of control with food. You’re tired of being told by the diet industry that it’s your fault that you just don’t have enough willpower or you’re not strong enough. You’re tired of being stuck on the yoyo diet, roller coaster, tired of feeling tired, bloated older than you want to, less confident than you want to. Tired of all these weight loss diets telling you the only thing that matters about you is the number on the scale and until you achieve that goal, you’re worth less and valued less. You’re over it and you’re thinking there has to be another way. I was over it too and kind of by accident more than 10 years ago, I discovered there was another way, not a diet, not a weight loss plan, not a quick fix, a true reset for my health and habits, a shift in how I viewed food and my body, a self experiment that permanently transformed the way I ate and allowed me to achieve true lasting food freedom.

MU:                              05:23

And that brings us to today. Right now, right here, just you and me talking about another way. It’s time for me to tell you about the Whole30 I’m going to take a guess and say that your pretty reliant on coffee for energy, focus and productivity, so much so that it’s probably not working for you the way that it used to. What if you could improve your focus and creativity and decrease caffeine consumption at the same time? Now, what if I told you the magic ingredient was mushrooms? Enter Four Sigmatic, a natural super food company and Whole30 approved partner. Four Sigmatic specializes in mushroom based drinks that benefit our immunity, energy and longevity. Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee with chaga and lion’s mane contains about half the caffeine of a cup of coffee but provides a focus and productivity boost without the jitters or post coffee crash and I know what you’re thinking but it tastes delicious. Just like coffee. My favorite tea is their mushroom tea with Rishi, the perfect after dinner ritual to keep my mind off dessert and help me relax before bed four sigmatic is offering. Do the thing listeners, 15% off your Four Sigmatic purchase. Go to foursigmatic.com/do the thing or use discount code. Do the thing at checkout that’s F O U R S I G M A T I C.com/do the thing for all of their Whole30 approved products and 15% off your Four Sigmatic purchase.

MU:                              07:01

The Whole30 has exploded in the public eye over the last few years. Scoring mentions from celebrities like Emmy Rossum and Kate Hudson and making an appearance on the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and orange is the new black, but the program has been changing lives for more than 10 years. It started in April, 2009 as a two person self experiment. Let me set the stage. It’s 2009 and I owned a CrossFit affiliate back East in New Hampshire, CrossFit603. I was very focused on my athletic performance and I thought my diet was working pretty well for me. I ate a real whole food based approach. I cooked my own meals. I was pretty conscientious about low fat and whole grains. It was a pretty healthy approach based on what I knew at the time. We had just gone to a CrossFit nutrition seminar where I learned about the connection between certain food groups and inflammation in the body.

MU:                              08:01

This information actually dovetailed nicely with what my physical therapist co-founder had been researching on his own, mostly for his sister who had rheumatoid arthritis but also for his own shoulder pain. He had this shoulder tendinopathy that he just couldn’t resolve even with all of his PT knowledge and the more he read about the connection between dietary factors and inflammation, the more he wondered if that was contributing to some of his shoulder issues. So it’s April, we were at CrossFit Boston sitting around after a really difficult Olympic lifting session. My cofounder wondered aloud whether eliminating foods that the research shows can be inflammatory in the body might be helpful for us, particularly with respect to our performance and recovery in the gym. So he says me, what if we do this for 30 days in a row? We pull all of those foods out super strict and see what happens.

MU:                              09:01

Now I will be honest with you, at that moment I was eating thin mints right out of this sleeve. Like one after another because I had just exercised and I had earned them, but I’m always up for a challenge. So I agreed. Yeah, sure. I would love to do that. When should we start? And he looks at me with this like sneaky little grin and he said, how about right now I just rolled my eyes at him cause that was very typical. But I handed my thin mints over to my friend Zach because I’m a Gretchen Rubin upholder and when I say I’m going to do something I do it. And began what was to become the first ever Whole30 really. I went into it hoping to see athletic performance and recovery improvements. I didn’t really have any other expectations. I was already eating pretty healthy.

MU:                              09:48

I was sleeping well, my energy was pretty good and I didn’t have any weight to lose. So you know, I was thinking, okay well I’ll go into this and see if I can get stronger or faster or feel better in the gym. I certainly could not have expected what was to come over this 30 day experiment. After two weeks my energy went through the roof. It was like someone flipped a switch and I hit Energizer bunny mode. My energy was rockin from 5:00 AM through my workout all the way through to the end of the night and I no longer needed that 2:00 PM caffeine or sugar or like felt that slump. So that was remarkable. Also, I was sleeping so much better. I thought I was sleeping well and then my first Whole30 I was falling asleep easily sleeping all the way through the night. Waking up at 5:00 AM, didn’t need to hit snooze with like and energy.

MU:                              10:40

It was incredible. My mood was better. I was more talkative, I was more cheerful. People at work. I managed a group of about 20 employees at the time. People at work were like, what have you been doing? You’re so nice. Lately it was true. I was way friendlier and I just felt like my mood in general was like improved. I was strangely happy and yes, my performance in the gym did get better. I felt like I could work harder, more days in a row and I felt really recovered between workouts. But the best part, the most surprising part of my first Whole30 was how this experiment permanently and profoundly changed my relationship with food. If you had asked me before, I would’ve said my relationship with food was fine. In fact, I never really thought about my relationship with food. To me, food was fuel and I used it to fuel my gym sessions and as long as I ate pretty healthy and didn’t gain too much weight, I was fine.

MU:                              11:43

But this experiment highlighted all of the ways that I was using food in a dysfunctional fashion. In fact, it helped me realize that was using food the way I used to use drugs. I was using food to reward myself or to punish myself. I used it to comfort myself to relieve anxiety, but most of all I was completely reliant on food to numb stressful or uncomfortable feelings. I didn’t know how to deal with them. I didn’t know how to process them, so I just covered them up with food or drink. And I never noticed it before because food and alcohol were so easy. They were what was modeled for me by other people in my life and they were completely socially acceptable and I never had issues with overeating or overdrinking. I didn’t have any disordered eating behaviors, but it wasn’t particularly healthy the way that I was using food and the way that food was, the only coping mechanism I had, but these 30 days without those foods that I would normally use to numb and relieve anxiety and show myself comfort without those foods, it forced me to find other healthier ways to deal with my feelings, to practice self care and show myself love.

MU:                              13:04

I mean talk about game changing. It was a benefit of the program that I never could have expected that I didn’t know I needed and that probably set me up for healthier habits in every single area of my life. The other thing that was so surprising is that my first Whole30 helped me break my mirror and scale habit. I was like many women, pretty body weight obsessed for a very long time. I was never overweight but I still weighed myself daily. I still thought seeing a lower number on the scale was automatically better and I still scrutinized every inch of my body in the mirror basically every single day. I was obsessed with how I looked, how much I weighed and I use those as sort of a bare a metric measure of my self confidence and my self worth. I mean I think a lot of us can relate to that.

MU:                              14:01

It didn’t occur to me that this 30 day experiment might address some of those behaviors and I didn’t intentionally set out for it to do so, but that’s exactly what happened. During my first Whole30 I was so focused on how I felt that for the first time in my life I was able to get off the scale and out of the mirror and I didn’t even realize it was happening until I realized that I had gotten to the end of those 30 days and I had no idea how much I weighed because I hadn’t set foot on the scale at all. To say that this was like a miracle is not an exaggeration. It broke the stronghold I had on my obsession with body weight and how I looked and it let me focus on all of these other factors of health that were getting better and wouldn’t have been reflected by that number on the scale.

MU:                              14:55

That 30 day reset completely shifted how I thought about food, how I thought about my body, how I thought about body weight, how I thought about success with some of my health efforts and goals. It shifted something in me permanently. Not only that, but it totally helped me dial in what healthy eating should look like for me. So when those 30 days were up, I found that brings them food groups back in. Stuff that I used to eat every single day caused me so much digestive distress that they just weren’t worth it. I’m looking at dairy. I was eating so much low-fat cottage cheese and like so many cheese sticks and never realized how sluggish and bloated they made me feel until I did my first Whole30 other foods that I brought back in. It turns out weren’t an issue at all like rice or corn tortillas.

MU:                              15:49

Also, you couldn’t pay me to drink a glass of wine. I had no idea how much alcohol was impacting my mood, my sleep, just how good I felt and it turns out I didn’t miss it anywhere near as much as I thought I would. In fact, after this 30 day experiment, I felt so good that I didn’t want to do anything to jinx how amazing I felt. So I kept most of my meals in line with the Whole30 rules. I didn’t want to go back to feeling the way I used to and at this point it was really easy just to keep eating mostly Whole30 compatible. Now my co founder had a similarly transformational experience with his experiment in terms of energy and sleep, but he also experienced some physical benefits. So his skin, which had always been temperamental, did clear up quite a bit.

MU:                              16:42

But second, the chronic shoulder pain that had been plaguing him for months disappeared. So we both had these overlapping but very different experiences with this 30 day experiment. Fast forward to two months later, I’m still mostly eating this way. I’ve brought some stuff back in that I know works for me, but like the bulk of my mails are still Whole30 and I am still reaping the benefits and telling anyone who would listen about what I had done and how amazing I felt. And I asked a girlfriend, do you think people might want to try this? And she was like, yeah, I think they would. So I had this CrossFit training blog at the time called urban gets diesel. Yes, that’s what it was called. And I typed up a summary of the program and a rough set of rules on this training blog and I invited people to take the program on starting July 1st a few hundred people were like, yeah, I would try that. And so in July, 2009 I led them through what was to become the very first group, Whole30 and the comments of my blog. And at the end, those 30 days when they experienced remarkably similar life changing results to me and my co founder, I knew we were onto something and that was the birth of the Whole30 as you know it. So now that you know that backstory, let’s get into the meat of the Whole30 what it is, how it works and how you do it.

MU:                              18:18

Nothing makes me feel more like an adult than running out of a kitchen staple and pulling up backup straight from my pantry. Problem is, I’m not a list person, which means my grocery store trips used to be hit or miss. Now, thanks to Thrive Market, my pantry has always stopped. My kids’ lunches always include his favorite snacks and I don’t even have to make a list to do it or change out of my pajamas. Thrive Market is an online membership based market on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. Think whole foods versus Costco minus the crowded parking lots are long lines. Shop via Thrive Market’s website or app from the comfort of your home. Save up to 50% off traditional retail prices and your box shows up in just a few days right on your doorstep. With free shipping for every order. Over $49 plus every paid membership sponsors a free one for a low income family. Thrive Market lets you stock up on all your Whole30 approved brands without having to go to seven different stores to find them from primal kitchen to Nutpods chomps to foursigmatic the new primal to kettle and fire shop. My favorite Whole30 picks from the Melissa’s picks page or stock up with one of our Whole30 curated kits and my best how to be an adult pro tip. Put your favorite pantry staples on auto ship and never run out again. Visit Thrive Market.com/do the thing to give Thrive Market a try. Get up to $20 in shopping, credit and shop my favorite products. You can choose the membership model that best fits your lifestyle with a one month, three month or 12 month option. That’s Thrive Market.com/do the thing to become a member today.

MU:                              20:11

All right. Now it’s time to talk about what the Whole30 program is, but actually wait, I think it’s more helpful to first talk about what the Whole30 is not. The Whole30 is not a weight loss diet. It’s not a detox. It’s not a cleanse. It’s certainly not a quick fix. Did I mention it’s not a weight loss diet? It bears repeating. The Whole30 is different than anything you’ve ever done before and getting you out of the mindset of dieting as in calorie counting and restriction for weight loss is going to be really important for your Whole30 success. Think of the Whole30 like pushing the reset button with your health habits and relationship with food. The premise is simple. There could things in your everyday diet, even the healthy stuff that are having a negative impact on your cravings and relationship with food, your blood sugar regulation and hormones, your digestion and your immune system and inflammation. The problem is everyone really is different and the same foods work differently for different people.

MU:                              21:07

So you know how every nutrition expert in the world says there is no one size fits all approach. You have to figure out what works for you and everyone’s like, yeah, yeah, that makes total sense. How do I figure out what works for me? The Whole30 is how the Whole30 is a 30 day self experiment designed to help you figure out how foods work for you for 30 days. You’ll eliminate foods. The scientific literature and our clinical experience have shown to be commonly problematic to varying degrees across a broad range of people. You’re going to pull these foods from your diet 100% for 30 straight days and see what happens. How does the elimination of these commonly problematic foods impact your energy? Sleep, mood cravings, focus, digestion, skin, joint pain or swelling, migraines, allergies, asthma, anxiety, chronic pain or fatigue. Pay attention to everything but the scale as I did during my first Whole30 and see what happens to your health, happiness, and quality of life during this elimination period.

MU:                              22:17

Point of fact, while we call the Whole30 a reset or a self experiment, it’s actually based on the framework of an elimination diet. Elimination diets have been around since the 1920s and most doctors still consider them the gold standard for identifying food sensitivities. One of the most common misconceptions about the Whole30 is that it’s too strict or restrictive, but an elimination diet has to be strict. Unless you completely eliminate the potentially problematic foods you’re trying to test, you won’t be able to accurately compare how you feel with and without them, and that’s the whole point of the Whole30 which brings us to the next phase. Re-introduction. At the end of the 30 days, you’ll reintroduce these food groups one at a time, carefully and systematically and compare your experience. So if you eliminate dairy for 30 days and your allergies improve, but when you bring dairy back in, you get stuffy and wheezy again.

MU:                              23:23

That gives you valuable information about how that food group works in your body. You’ll do this reintroduction for each of the food groups, paying close attention to how you feel and giving yourself a few days of Whole30 in between each group and tell yourself experiment is done. Then you’ll take what you’ve learned and create the perfect diet for you. Keeping what you know works for you and leaving out what doesn’t. We call that your food freedom plan and yeah, that’s another important point of fact. I don’t want you to stay on the Whole30 forever. It’s just a 30 day self experiment. It’s not called the whole three 65 sometimes people criticize the program saying it’s not sustainable, but that’s always super confusing to me because it’s not supposed to be. The point of the Whole30 is to use the framework to figure out what works for you and then create your own set of rules to keep you looking and feeling exactly as good as you want to look and feel while still enjoying the food and drinks you decide are worth it in your food freedom.

MU:                              24:31

Now, sometimes people ask, but why would I bring gluten or dairy back in? Aren’t they bad? It’s important to note that the Whole30 doesn’t eliminate foods because they’re bad. We eliminate them because they’re unknown. These foods can be problematic shore, but I don’t know if they’re problematic for you and neither will you until you eliminate, re-introduced and compare your experience. I don’t believe any food is good or bad. In fact, attaching morality to food is part of why we have such an unhealthy relationship with food and our bodies in the first place. I also know that you are not good or bad based on what you eat. Changing your language around food and eating is an important part of your new Whole30 mindset. You’ll find more about the Whole30 mindset and our language around food. In my book, food freedom forever, so let’s get to the nitty gritty.

MU:                              25:30

What the heck am I eating on the Whole30 but before we get into what you’re eating, it’s important to note how you’re eating without counting, without measuring, without weighing or tracking a single darn thing. We don’t count calories on the Whole30 we don’t restrict calories on the Whole30 and we don’t encourage you to track your macros either, which is delightful because nobody wants to bring a calculator to dinner on the Whole30 you’ll be eating three or four nutrient dense satisfying meals a day following our general meal template. That means you’ll never be hungry. Another point of difference between the Whole30 and every weight loss diet out there. So let’s start with what you will be eating on the Whole30 real whole nutrient dense food you’ll be eating moderate portions of meat, seafood and eggs, lots and lots of vegetables and fruit, natural healthy fats like olive oil, avocado and G, and a variety of herbs, spices, dressing, sauces and seasonings.

MU:                              26:35

So your meals will always be flavorful and delicious. The Whole30 is not a meat heavy approach. Our portion recommendations are moderate and balanced with a plate full of plants at every meal. We do require that you eat animal protein, however, so the Whole30 isn’t appropriate for vegans. If that’s your context. See the vegan reset outlined on page 50 of food freedom forever. We’re also not afraid of carbs. Unlike a ketogenic approach which strictly limits carbohydrate intake on the Whole30 you can eat all varieties of potatoes, winter squashes, beets, and any and all fruits. If you’ve ever had a veggie scramble, crispy bacon, avocado slices, and a fruit salad for breakfast, you’ve eaten a Whole30 meal. Once you peak at the recipes in one of our four Whole30 cookbooks or the delicious meals, our Whole30 recipes contributors put together for Instagram, you’ll see that eating Whole30 is far more satisfying, delicious and creative than you ever imagined.

MU:                              27:40

All right. I like to paint that really pretty picture first cause now we’re going to talk about what you’re not eating on the Whole30 don’t let this be intimidating. I promise we’ve got your back. What we eliminate for 30 days on the Whole30 includes all forms of added sugar, real or artificial, all forms of alcohol. Even for cooking gluten, grains like wheat, rye or barley, non-gluten grains like oats, corn or rice, even pseudo cereals like keenwah. We also eliminate legumes like beans, peas, peanuts and soy, and almost all forms of dairy. Now, if you’re a Gretchen Rubin question or someone who needs to understand the why behind what you’re doing before you do it, it would be really helpful for you to go back to my first book. It starts with food. That’s where you’ll find all of the sciency background behind the foods we eliminate and the foods we’re eating on the Whole30 and more than 400 references in the back of the book.

MU:                              28:40

Okay. Back to the no list. If that sounds scary. Remember a few things. First, it’s only 30 days. If you eliminate, re-introduce and decide your favorite foods are worth it, then go back to eating them in your food freedom too. We have hundreds of resources to help you navigate challenges on the program. Like what to put in your coffee if you can’t use cream, how to recreate your kids’ favorite meals like spaghetti and meatballs or chili and how to navigate travel and dining out. There are dozens of free resources on whole thirty.com and in our flagship book the Whole30 there’s a fully automated meal planning tool available at realplans.com/Whole30 and more recipes than you could ever hope to make in 30 days in one of our four cookbooks and if you’re worried about staying social on the Whole30 don’t, I wrote a whole book called Whole30 friends and family designed to help you navigate any social situation with ease, whether you’re hosting or attending as a guest.

MU:                              29:44

I know at the outset the Whole30 can be intimidating, but focus on what you will be eating. That’s my best tip. Your only job for 30 days is to put Whole30 food in your mouth and if you flip through some of our recipes or scroll through Whole30 recipes on Instagram, you will quickly realize there is no deprivation, no starvation, and no boring diet food, but we still have to discuss two more Whole30 rules. Okay. Back to the Whole30 program rules. We have two more to talk about. The first is that you’re not allowed to recreate junk food, baked goods or treats using technically compatible ingredients. There are ways to make a Whole30 compatible muffin or pancake or tortilla and these are not allowed on your Whole30 some of these foods are super clearly spelled out in the rules themselves.

MU:                              30:41

Cookies, muffins, brownies, ice cream or store bought chips, none of that on the Whole30 there’s also a little bit of gray area in this rule. It’s actually the only rule that has a little bit of gray area. Take, for example, fried chicken. For most people, you could recreate a pan fried chicken experience on the Whole30 and that would be a delicious addition to your Whole30 meals. But if you have a wicked KFC habit and fried chicken is your most favorite comfort food in the whole wide world, maybe recreating fried chicken on the Whole30 isn’t going to serve your program. This rule is designed to help you truly change your habits and emotional relationship with food. Just like I did during my first Whole30 your brain doesn’t know the difference between coconut milk ice cream and regular ice cream. All it knows is I had a hard day at work and I want ice cream.

MU:                              31:36

One of the biggest reasons people come to the Whole30 is that they feel out of control with food and want to reduce cravings and emotional eating. But if you spend your 30 days continuing to eat bread, cookies and ice cream, how much are your habits really going to change? We didn’t have these recreations when I did my first Whole30 in 2009 but now there is a huge industry around recreating essentially junk food and treats and slapping a label on it like paleo or keto or low carb, but that doesn’t make them healthy. If we had these foods around back in 2009 I wouldn’t have had the incredible mind shift I did, nor would I have learned healthier ways to process my feelings. So just because you can make a Whole30 compatible brownie doesn’t mean you should. So for 30 days like it or not, these recreation’s are off limits.

MU:                              32:33

My rule of thumb, when in doubt, leave it out. It’s only 30 days to read more about the specifics of this rule. See the section on treats, food fixations and the scale in the Whole30 book. Now the last and final Whole30 rule, no stepping on the scale for 30 days. This one may prove the hardest one of all, but it just means that it will be the most valuable for your Whole30 success for 30 days. No taking measurements or weighing yourself and also personally I frown on daily selfies or daily mirror photos to remember the Whole30 isn’t about your body weight and the most powerful lesson I learned during my first program was to focus on all the non scale victories I was seeing as a result of changing the food I put on my plate. If you must take measurements before and after, but not during, this rule is just as important to follow as the others.

MU:                              33:35

Now, if you’ve heard or read anything about the program, you may have stumbled across what is perhaps the most famous line of the Whole30 I wrote this back in 2009 and it hasn’t really changed much sense. The line goes like this. This is not hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black is not hard. That line is meant to empower and inspire you. It’s meant to remind you that you’ve done harder things than this lifetime and that this Whole30 program is for the greatest cause on earth. The only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime. But no, this in the Whole30 book the line immediately following that one. But I know this is hard. I know that changing your habits and your emotional relationship with food is hard. I know giving up foods you love for 30 days is hard.

MU:                              34:33

I know addressing some of the feelings that you’ve been trying to numb with food or drink will be hard, but you know what? What you’ve been doing is also hard feeling out of control with food is hard over consuming and the guilt and the shame and the isolation that brings which leads to more stress, which leads to more over consumption is hard. Wanting to change your habits and not knowing where to start is hard. Feeling tired all the time, waking up with aches and pains, walking around bloated all day, not being able to keep up with your kids, taking pills you don’t want to. All of that is hard too, so yeah, I know this is going to be hard, but you know what, it will also be worth it and so are you. You are worthy and deserving of this experience and I really want you to have it.

MU:                              35:19

Not to mention that we will be with you every step of the way. There have never been more resources, more Whole30 approved partners, more Whole30 certified coaches, all of whom are here to help you do just one thing. Change your life with the Whole30 and discover true food freedom, and if there’s one thing I can say about the Whole30 with a pretty good degree of certainty, it’s this, this can change your life. I know that sounds like a big promise, but if I had a dollar for everyone who said, Oh, I read that line about changing your life and I totally doubted it, but now I’m done my Whole30 and it really did change my life. I’d be recording this from my private Island in The Bahamas. The Whole30 has the potential to change your life. It can change the way you think about food.

MU:                              36:07

It can change your tastes. It can change your habits and cravings. It could quite possibly, as it did with me, change the emotional relationship that you have with food and your body. It has the power to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. I know this because I did it and millions of people have done it since and it changed my life and their lives in a permanent fashion. The most commonly reported results, better energy, better sleep, improved focus and mental clarity or return to healthy digestion, improved athletic performance, clearer skin, fewer aches and pains, less joint pain and swelling and that strangely happy feeling that I reported from my first full 30 this psychological benefits may be even more dramatic. People report changing longstanding unhealthy habits related to food, developing a healthier body image and dramatically reducing or eliminating cravings, particularly for sugar and carbohydrates and fine.

MU:                              37:08

We’ll talk about weight loss. I know you’re going to ask about weight loss even though the Whole30 isn’t a weight loss program. I can say those a full 96% of participants report losing weight or improving their body composition without counting or restricting calories. I think your weight loss goals are entirely your business and it’s not my job to tell you what you should or should not want for your body. The Whole30 is not and will never be a weight loss diet, but I can’t tell you not to come into the program with a mentality of I would like to make changes to my body composition. What I will say is this. For 30 days, trust the process. Remove body weight and body composition from the equation. Go into the Whole30 with a health focused mindset. Pay attention to those non scale victories and see what happens. Trust the process, trust the results reported from millions of Whole30 years and give yourself a much deserved long overdue break from a preoccupation with the scale and body weight. That is my wish for you said with so much love.

MU:                              38:15

Okay, phew. We have talked about how the Whole30 began, how it works, what you’re eating and what to focus on for the 30 days. The only thing that’s left is to tell you how to get started cause I know you’re ready to get started. Here are three ways to get started with the Whole30 today. First, the entirety of the Whole30 program has always been and will always be free. You don’t need to buy a darn thing except the food you eat to do the Whole30 that’s something that’s always been really important to me and to my team. We want the Whole30 to be as accessible as possible. So right now as soon as this podcast is over, you can visit whole thirty.com and see the full Whole30 program rules, preview some recipes and meal prep tips, read our blog articles and print off our PDF resources.

MU:                              39:07

That’s where you’ll also find the free Whole30 forum to answer questions, provide guidance or support during the program or you can just click on do the Whole30 on our website and we will walk you through every step of the way. Planning and prep, securing social support, elimination all the way through re-introduction. If you’re the kind of person that wants everything you need all in one place. Then our flagship book, the Whole30 is your how to Whole30 field manual. It’s packed with all the info, planning and prep you need, including an extensive FAQ, basic cooking tips, a seven day meal plan, and more than 100 simple recipes using ingredients found at any grocery store. If this was the only thing you bought or checked out from the library, you could rock your Whole30 using just this resource. Although I might recommend the companion guide, the Whole30 day by day to help keep you motivated and accountable.

MU:                              40:04

The final way to get started with the Whole30 is to hire a Whole30 certified coach for accountability, support, resources and guidance. Our certified coaches are experts in the Whole30 having completed many programs themselves and leading friends, family members, clients or patients through the program. To think of them as your phone, a friend, or for Gretchen Rubin obligers, your external accountability. We also have a number of medical doctors, licensed mental healthcare practitioners and registered dieticians and our coaching staff. For those who require more guidance, visit coach dot whole thirty.com to find a coach in your area or join a virtual Whole30 group led by a certified coach. So I’ve been talking about the Whole30 for more than 10 years now and I have a confession to make. I still love walking people through the program. It’s been so fun to introduce you to the Whole30 in my own words and in my own voice, but this is just the tip of the Whole30 iceberg.

MU:                              41:07

It’s time for you to dig in and start planning and preparing to change your life and the Whole30 team and I are standing by ready to help answer your questions and keep your Whole30 on the right track. Stay connected by following all things at Whole30 on social media and subscribing to our free Whole30 newsletters. All of the resources I mentioned on this podcast will be in the show notes, so keep listening for the link and use what you’ve learned today as prep to get you started with the January Whole30 our biggest group Whole30 event yet starting January 1st, 2020 visit whole thirty.com for resources and feel free at the end of your program to send me a voicemail or a DM letting me know that the Whole30 really did change your life. I won’t even say I told you so. Okay. All right. I might.


Thanks for listening!

Continue the conversation with me @melissau on Instagram. If you have a question for Dear Melissa or a topic idea for the show, leave me a voicemail at (321) 209-1480.

Do the Thing is part of ‘The Onward Project,’ a family of podcasts brought together by Gretchen Rubin—all about how to make your life better. Check out the other Onward Project podcasts– Happier with Gretchen RubinSide Hustle School, and Happier in Hollywood.

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