Week 5: A Bio-Hacker's Approach to Maintenance
Welcome to the final blog of Whole30. You officially did it! So what now? It’s Carly’s team here, and we’re bringing you a little something special to answer your questions of “I’m finished with the Whole30, so what now?”
The next phase in your life starts with a Bio-Hacker mindset. Not sure what that is? You can get a little more information here. But basically, Bio-Hacking is taking control of your own health, and optimizing your potential, in the greatest bounds of the word. Carly is all about Bio-Hacking, and it’s the foundation of everything we do here at Clean Coach Carly. So this week, we’re interviewing the best Bio-Hacker we know to get a little of her perspective on the steps you should take following a detox like the Whole30, and all the best ways to maintain your progress from your hard work. Tune in!
Team: So Carly, how do you celebrate the victory of accomplishing all 30 days of the Whole30?
Carly: I’m pretty low-key. I actually usually see how long I can keep going past the 30 days. I definitely don’t do a big binge, because I don’t think that is in keeping with the theory and principles behind Whole30. This time around, I will probably celebrate by making a no-sugar apple crisp with homemade whipped cream.
Team: What do you hope to maintain after the Whole30? How do you keep track of this?
Carly: I’m always trying to keep processed foods out of my diet. They are so sneaky and so convenient that I easily use them as go-to foods. I keep track by doing a seasonal cleanse or detox program. When the seasons change, I always make room for a program because it’s time.
Team: What keeps you motivated after your eating habits are no longer a “challenge?”
Carly: The way I feel and look keeps me motivated to stay off of processed foods. It is so easy to grocery shop when I am eating whole foods, because I don’t have to take the time at the store to look at every single sentence of every single label. When I’m just buying whole foods with no ingredient list, it takes less than 15 minutes to shop for a week's worth of fresh produce and protein. Efficiency is an added bonus of the entire Whole30 experience. Throughout, I am fast to plan meals, cook, and shop because I don’t need a bazillion ingredients. Just regular whole food. I strive to make everything else in my life very minimalistic, so it just makes sense that my eating plan is simple and focused on minimalism also.
Team: How often should you do a full detox like the Whole30?
Carly: One time per quarter at least. When the seasons change, so should the foods that you eat. It’s also a good idea quarterly to evaluate what you should have been eating, and if there are things you would be better off x-ing out of your life.
Team: What do you do if you start to revert to “old habits?”
Carly: Old habits die hard, especially hand-to-mouth syndrome. That’s what I call that thing, where you just keep eating, and shoveling more and more food down the hole without thinking. It usually happens with a bag of chips. You know exactly what I’m talking about. If I’m reverting to an old habit like that, I catch myself and give myself permission to make a different choice or a new habit next time. My eating will never be perfect and neither will yours. Everything in life is a work in progress.
Team: How can you integrate the habits you learned during the Whole30 outside of the challenge?
Carly: Keep the same “rules” of Whole30 going 365 while recognizing you won’t be perfect. Give yourself permission to cheat for 1 day or 1 week, but choose a specific timeframe for the cheat and stick to it. Completing a Whole30 is hard during the holidays, but I choose to initiate it right around Halloween so that I don’t even start to eat that cheap Halloween candy. I enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas so much more when I’m not eating treats and then suffering from rollercoaster blood sugar and moodiness. I am able to focus on family, friends, and fun, instead of food. It is much more convenient to follow a strict Whole30 during the holidays because the decision about dessert has already been made. I don’t have to think about it, or argue with myself about “if” or “how much” or “when.” The answer is “no thanks,” no matter the occasion.
Team: Final thoughts about the Whole30?
Carly: This is the best eating plan I know of. (And trust me, I know a lot about diets and eating plans.) What you put in your mouth is the basis for your health, and healing from any disorder, whether that be physical or mental. Some time ago, I was looking for an easy way to teach my clients how to eat a whole food diet as a lifestyle, and not make it weird or hard to understand. Having been subjected to elimination diets for some time out of necessity, when the Whole30 Diet started popping up all over social media, it made me happy to see that someone (Melissa Hartwig) had found a way to make an elimination diet that was not only effective but easy to implement and follow.
I think more than anything, I love the Whole30 Diet because you don’t need to be a nutrition nerd like me to understand how to do the program. And it’s completely sustainable. You can eat like this for the rest of your life. (Trust me, I eat this way 90% of the time.) Benefits from a Whole30 will vary by person, but one thing doesn’t change: We should always be eating whole foods. We’re not giving up anything when we go the Whole30 way. We’re returning to our natural human diets, and our bodies breathe a sigh of relief because finally, everything is as it should be.