Get the skinny on the ‘Whole30 Challenge’

SAVANNAH, Ga. – With summer officially starting in a few weeks, many men and women are getting serious about healthy eating just in time for trips to the beach.

While many diets and trends have made their way American society, the latest one causing a buzz on social media is the Whole30 Challenge.

Started in 2009, millions have tried the short-term diet in order to achieve major results.

Morgan Paddock, 36, says she struggled with her “addiction” to food for her whole life. She says her lowest moment came in April, when she says her weight was at its highest that she decided to make a drastic change in her eating.

“There was just a night  when I was like that’s it, that’s enough, we’re going to start tomorrow,” Paddock said.

The next day, she and her husband, Glenn, began the Whole30 challenge.

The diet consists of 30 days of the following diet choices:

  • YES to lean meat, seafood, eggs
  • YES to lots of vegetables
  • SOME fruit depending on the season
  • YES to natural fats like avocado and coconut
  • NO to artificial, real, or added sugars
  • NO alcohol in consumption or cooking
  • NO grains in consumption of cooking additions (read food labels)
  • NO legumes including beans, peas, chickpeas and soy products. Snap peas and green beans are allowed.
  • NO dairy
  • NO MSG or sulfites
  • NO baked goods, sweets or junk food.
  • FINALLY no stepping on the scale for 30 days

During her Whole30 challenge during the April and May time, Paddock says she lost between 15 and 20 pounds which allowed her to come out of the pre-diabetic range.

“I could literally stick my arms down on both sides of my jeans,” Paddock says.

She kept a public food diary on Facebook to encourage accountability. She says on the worst days it taught her about her unhealthy use of food as an emotional crutch.

“Like something good happens you go out to eat, something bad happens you stress eat,” she said.

Savannah registered dietitian, Pam Hoffstetter, says that while she sees benefits in the healthy eating offered through the Whole30 Challenge, she says there is more risk than reward.

“When you restrict your eating you’re really limiting the nutrients you’re putting in your body,” she said.

She recommends people with high cholesterol, food allergies, and other health challenges not partake in the 30-day diet plan.

For her, the diet comes with too many exceptions and loopholes. When observing the guidelines for fruits, she observed, “You can only eat two servings, but in the summer you can have five.”

To her, it seems more like an opportunity for financial gain than lasting diet changes.

“It’s not clear, it’s not a well defined diet and I feel like people were being taken for a ride being taken for a ride. The two people who have written it, they’re not licensed dietitians, they’re certified nutritionists, sports, nutritionists which any one can get for $499 dollars,” she said of co-founders Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.

For her, the biggest disappointment comes in the lack of stressing the need for physical movement along with a healthy balanced diet.

“I encourage people to really see exercise as the dessert in their day you know something that can make you feel joyful, something to look forward to,” Hoffsetter said.

Paddock says she realizes Whole30 is not meant to last forever, but embraced it as a springboard to finally embrace healthy eating and reset her ‘relationship with food.’ She said she and her husband now plan to focus more on exercise now that they both have a better grasp on their eating. She hopes to one day finish a 5K race.

“My goal is not a number. My goal is to shop in a normal clothes store that is not necessarily a plus size store,” Paddock said.

Paddock has started a Facebook group, Journey to Whole Living, to advocate and encourage others who want to transform their life and mind.

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