As students of dietary science, we are educated daily on multiple ways to inform clients and patients about the correct food choices. I’m sure we have all realized at this point that there is not one correct way to “diet”. What works for one person may not work for another. As a future nutrition professional, I think it’s important to practice what we preach to some extent. I recently did a food experiment myself, and I am here to tell you about my personal experience.
I heard about the Whole 30 diet plan through my cousin, who had currently been on the plan for over a month when I spoke to her. I was immediately intrigued since she raved about how much more energy she had and how great she felt. The next day, I made a trip to the bookstore and purchased the book in which the diet is formed around; It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The food plan is inspired by the paleo diet and emphasizes nutrient dense unprocessed food. It seemed like an interesting/healthy way to approach a “diet”. Nothing seemed too radical about the plan so I decided to get my fiancé on board so I could have a little support throughout the 30 days of no alcohol, gluten, carbs or dessert!
My fiancé lasted a whopping 4 days, and that’s when I knew I was on my own for the rest of my experiment. The most difficult thing I encountered on the Whole 30 was finding the time and energy to prepare all of my food at home. Some people may be super stars at this process (attention…. mothers), but it took up nearly a whole Sunday to plan, go to the store and prep. I enjoy cooking and eating new foods, even planning for meals but I always had assignments, family or work in the back of my mind. I found it stressful in the beginning to cut out time for myself and my new food regimen! The process got easier with time and I got better at preparing my lists and my food. Generally, I enjoyed the experiment but could sense that my body was lacking some nutrients. I would get horrible foot cramps frequently, and before you say it, YES I was drinking enough water. I promise!
Multiple studies have been conducted to determine what is the best diet, and the best way to drop unwanted pounds. From my personal experience of cutting down (almost totally out) carbohydrates, I did manage to lose a couple pounds. It was more important for me to prove to myself that I could see the commitment through! But, what should we tell our patients when they ask us “What is the best way to lose weight”? It will obviously be a question we will need to answer by assessing the patient and their personal plan.
Many of our professors and nutritional professionals emphasize healthy carbohydrates and fats! Could the answer possibly be to not do anything drastic and just eat healthy carbohydrates and fats? Filling our diets with fruits, whole grains and healthy oils as opposed to completely cutting out a major source of food? Our ideas will solidify as we go on to practice in the field of nutrition, but for now I am just eating balanced meals that make my body feel healthy and happy.