A lot of Whole30iers ask what do I do after Whole30? Where do I go from here? What do I eat? So many questions and so many answers.
You are here because you have just spent the last 30 days eating by the Whole30 program rules and guidelines and you are scared you are going to blow it and fall back into your bad habits. Where do you go from here?
The goal of Whole30 is not to eliminate all the foods forever, but instead it is to eliminate the most inflammatory/allergenic foods for a period of time, so that you after your Whole30 you can reintroduce them and determine how they affect your body.
Before we get to what to do after whole30, you need to know that there are three main phases of Whole30.
Phase 1 - 30 Days of Eating by the Book
30 Days of eating a restricted diet of foods as per the Whole30 guidelines and program rules
Phase 2 - Reintroduction
Reintroduction where you can choose to do a quick or lengthy reintroduction.
Phase 3 - Food Freedom
Food Freedom where you understand which foods adversely affect you and make a conscious decision to avoid them or eat then and suffer the uneventful consequences of your body's reaction to them.
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Options After you Finish Whole30
Day 31 is here and I bet you are feeling great. Maybe you have lost a little bit of weight and your proud of yourself because not only have you been eating healthy but you have reaped the rewards of slimming down.
For some, completing 30 days of eating restricted foods is good enough - no need to proceed further.
But for others, this is the time you start add restricted foods back into your meal plans. But wait! This phase doesn't mean that you celebrate by throwing a party and eat all restricted foods that you were avoiding for the past 30 days.
You see for some, it's about the non scale victories (NSV). You'll see this acronym a lot. Some do whole30 to determine whether certain foods cause them inflammation or allergic reactions.
And if you gorge yourself on every restricted food on Day 31, then you have no way of knowing which foods are those "trigger" foods.
Continue doing Whole30
For some, the fear of failing is real. 30 days just is not enough to curb their sugar dragon. So the easiest path is to continue on for another 30 days. Many people either continue for another 30 or 60 or 90 days.
Some continue on as a lifestyle.
But, be warned because a Whole30 lifestyle is rarely sustainable. Not trying to be negative here. But, would you have the will power to never eat birthday cake or Halloween candy or a glass of wine?
Maybe you are capable of continuing Whole30 indefinitely and if you are, I commend you and you should be proud.
For many others, Whole30 is about finding inflammatory foods that adversely affect their body and health. So it is very important that they complete phase 2.
There are two methods of doing re-introduction.
Method 1: Fast Track Re-introduction
With the fast track re-introduction you complete the re-introduction within 10 to 20 days. Which means you get the Phase 3: Food Freedom faster. The drawback of doing a quick re-introduction is that by adding in all restricted foods so quickly might make you not feel so good or not be able to pin point a food that triggers a health issue.
The basics of a fast track re-introduction might look like:
- Day 31: Re-introduce legumes
- Day 32-33: Back to Whole30
- Day 34: Re-introduce legumes
- Day 35-36: Back to Whole30
You continue this pattern until you have re-introduced all the foods you restricted. Hopefully alternating you will be able to identify any foods that cause you health issues, allergies, etc.
Method 2: Slow Re-Introduction
Slow re-introduction doesn't have a schedule per say. Instead of a schedule, you continue eating whole30 on day 31 and onward. On special occasion, you indulge in one food item that is typically restricted.
Since special occasions don't occur often, the theory is that there are enough days in between special occasions for you to observe how you reacted to the food you re-introduced.
For example, it's your birthday and you have continue to eat whole30 right up to your birthday. You have a birthday cake and you introduce cake only. Following your birthday, you are back on track eating Whole30 but observe how eating that cake has affected you.
This type of slow re-introduction will be different for everyone, because not everyone likes cake. You might want a glass of wine on your birthday and indulge in that instead.
This longer method of re-introduction will take some time to get through. That's probably why many people refer to it as doing an 80/20 Whole30. But, to do re-introduction properly, you only introduce 1 item at a time. It's not a cheat day or weekend!
Of 29 people surveyed, Whole30iers stated that when they reached day 31, they would plan to continue on as follows:
|After 30 Days, I'm going to..||# of People Survey||%|
|Continue for another 30 days||8||27.55%|
|Eat Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, |
|I don't know, I'm Not Sure||2||7%|
You can see that that not everyone goes into re-introduction after day 30. Some continue on Whole30 longer, some go straight into a specific diet life style and others just aren't sure.
What's After Reintroduction?
After re-introduction, you may want to start over again because you feel like crap and you just need another reset. You can only achieve that reset by doing another restricted 30 days.
Or, after re-introduction you might feel really good about your self, your health, your weight and you really feel like you are in control of your food choices.
That's great that you feel in control of your food choices because that's where you should be after re-introduction. Feeling good about yourself and your food choices isn't just about your weight. The program was designed with non scale victories in mind.
A non scale victory might look like having control to have only one cookie, instead of eating the whole box. Or not having that piece of cake because it's not a special occasion. It doesn't mean that you will never have a piece of cake ever again, it just means that the occasion wasn't special enough to indulge. You remain in control and your sugar dragon isn't out of control.
Ultimately, what you do next is up to you. No two people are cut from the same cloth, so what you do next isn't going to look like what the next person does.
If you have reached the stage of being in control, then you have reached the third phase: "food freedom". Congratulations!
Ready for Food Freedom?
Ready for Food Freedom?
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