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The Whole 30 is Over, Now What?

The Whole 30—that’s what we’ve heard about the most this year. It seems to be one of the big diet trends right now. That’s right, we called it a diet.

Many don’t think the Whole 30 is a diet. The truth? Lots of programs out there are diets in disguise. We recently came across a meme titled Diet Buzz Words: Words that signal you’re still on a diet: cleanse, cheat meal, clean eating, quit sugar, challenge, and detox were just a few on the list.

There are amazing teachers and healers in the world preaching “sugar free” and posting about their latest “juice cleanse”, unaware that they are part of the problem, not the solution. The ideology that is nutritionism has a strong hold on our culture. Most programs marketed as “lifestyle change” are still rooted in the dieting mind—a mindset that is not possible to heal when we look to external sources to tell us what, when and how much to eat. The dieting mind makes decisions from the head with little reliance on the body for feedback. The dieting mind believes people should pursue thinness at all costs. The dieting mind is the one who believes there is a plan out there that works, and it definitely feels “better” and “more together” when a plan is in place.

Well, it’s February 1st and the “Whole 30” is over, so now what?

For many, the backlash eating will come next (if it hasn’t already). Some of our clients are surprised when we tell them this is a natural, healthy physiological and emotional response to dieting. This reaction sends a big message about just how sustainable this rigid and perfectionistic way of eating is. The biggest danger: you will interpret backlash eating as a failure message thus creating more internally directed anger. What’s wrong with me?

The truth: there is nothing wrong with you! This is sooooo not your fault. This happens to nearly everyone who goes down this path.

The majority of things people do to try to control the size, weight, and shape of their bodies (under the guise of health) are not sustainable. And on the rare occasion when the changes are sustained, they can look an awful lot like an eating disorder.

Executing a plan that originates from an external source just causes another trip around the diet cycle. There is always a honeymoon phase, but eventually the newness wears off, the reality of doing this long term sets in, and we realize that this program/plan is not sustainable. And then there’s the shame, the body blame, and the pathologization of eating behaviors. It’s a challenging, demoralizing cycle.

Following someone else’s plan distances you from what is truly need for healing—time to develop a relationship with yourself that you can stand to be in for the long haul. You need time to get to know your shame triggers. You need time to develop the resiliency needed to live in a world filled with weight bias. You need time to explore food as metaphor—how your needs, desires, thoughts and feelings guide your choices and experiences in this world. You need time to get to know when your body—YOUR UNIQUE BODY—needs to eat, along with what and how much food satisfies it. You need time to find out what you really like to eat, what kind of self-care makes you feel your best.

If you’ve had a tumultuous relationship with food and you feel like it consumes you, it is likely because you’ve been handing the control over to so-called “experts”, and this is only resulting in more pain and frustration. For food to take its rightful place in your life, time is needed to heal that relationship by giving your body the consistent and predictable message that food is available (especially foods you love). Healing requires us to turn towards the body and listen with kindness and curiosity—to become familiar with our inner cues, our inner world. This is the only way to cultivate body trust. It is not possible to do this when our choices are dictated by the latest diet/health trends.

We believe in healing your relationship with your body and food.

The bottom line: Your body benefits most from what you do consistently over time, not what you can do for 30 days. For change to be long lasting and pervasive, it has to be connected to pleasure. Shift your focus to developing sustainable self-care practices rooted in weight-neutrality.Body Trust® work is a long game—not a quick fix. When we root change in shame, it doesn’t last. When we begin to root change in the worthiness that lives at the center of our being, that’s the kind of change flexible enough to last a lifetime.

Body Trust® work is a long game—not a quick fix. When we root change in shame, it doesn’t last. When we begin to root change in the worthiness that lives at the center of our being, we create the kind of change flexible enough to last a lifetime.