Ever wondered about whether or not the Whole30® and Weight Watchers® can work together. Here's everything you need to know and how it worked for me.
Let's dive right into a question that's on everyone's minds - can I do the Whole30® and Weight Watchers® together? Plus all the other question that raises - Will it work? Does it make sense to do both? What are the benefits of doing both?
A few months ago, I did just that. I committed to the thirty-day elimination diet prescribed by the Whole30 but continued to track my WW points and stay within my daily target. And just in case you are wondering - I loved it! I saw amazing results (shared at the end of the post) and felt amazing. It's a great way to learn kickstart a diet, break cravings for sugar and carbs, and identify any problem foods that may be in your diet.
To start, let's tackle the question most people want to know...
Why do WW® and the Whole30® together?
The primary and most important reason for me, I needed a kickstart in a major way. After a rather indulgent summer of carbs, sugar, and alcohol, it was time to shake things up. We had just spent a month visiting family and although amazing, I definitely indulged. Now, I don't regret that one bit, it was a much-needed break, but I came back needing a major reset. I also needed to break the cravings for sugar and carbs. And although I could have done this on WW alone, I wanted something that would really push me.
The Whole30 seemed like the right way do just that. I have always been curious about the Whole30. I know so many people who have gotten amazing results. And I don't just mean fitting in smaller jeans - although pretty much everyone I know who has completed a Whole30 lost weight. I mean the other benefits - glowing skin, tons of energy, sleeping better and just feeling great overall. Pretty much everyone I know who has tried a Whole30 loved the results. I wanted to see if it would work for me.
With that said, WW works for me and I was a little scared of gaining weight on Whole30. Before WW, I struggled with portion control and over-eating. The unlimited eating scared me. Especially since it includes things I can easily see myself overdoing like nut butter, bacon, and fattier cuts of meat. Trust me, I would be the one eating almond butter right out of the jar for dessert at night and making steaks and fried chicken constantly. The idea of using WW as the way I didn't over do it on Whole30 made sense to me. Again, if WW already works for me, why not keep doing it and add in all the great benefits of the Whole30 at the same time.
Lastly, I am someone who is slow to build a habit and I didn't want to break the habit of tracking. Again - it works for me, so why stop doing it?
With that, I decided to start. But before we dig into what that looked like, let's quickly talk about what the Whole30 is for those who aren't familiar with it.
What is the Whole30®? How does it work with WW®?
The Whole30 is an elimination diet that focuses on eating meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats. This includes almost all meat and seafood, most vegetables including potatoes and sweet potatoes, all fruits, nuts and most seeds (except for peanuts and soy), and healthy fats like ghee, olive oil, and other oils/fat sources. What's off limits? Everything else. On the Whole30 you can not eat any grains, legumes, pulses, corn, soy, peanuts, dairy, sugar, and alcohol. This even includes things that are normally thought of as healthy like quinoa, lentils, beans, and yogurt.
How does that work with Weight Watchers? Since WW allows you to eat anything, it just means that you will continue to track and count points but only eat Whole30 compliant food. One great thing is that many of the Whole30 options are actually zero points on WW. This includes lean proteins like chicken breast and ground turkey, eggs, veggies, and fruit. However, you will be saying goodbye to some of your other favorite zero point foods like beans, lentils, corn, edamame, and tofu.
One important note, you are not supposed to count calories (or anything else) while doing a Whole30. For me, it worked great to do both together, but it isn't in the "spirit" of a true Whole30.
Before we get into the details of how I did the Whoel30 and WW together, let me share my results.
After a month of doing these two programs together - I felt really great. A few of the major changes I experienced:
- Sleep: I was sleeping so much better. I never really believed that my nightly dessert habit was messing with my sleep, but I now suspect that it was. Eliminating sugar really improved my sleep. Not only did I fall asleep easier, but I slept more soundly and woke up more refreshed.
- Energy: After the first week (which some refer to as a Whole30 hangover), I defintiely felt more energetic. Between waking up with more energy and avoiding that dreaded afternoon slump, I just felt like I had more energy to get through the day. This included in workouts, which was a great bonus.
- Weight: Now everyone is always curious about weight loss. I was at a healthy weight before the Whole30 and I still ended up losing 9 pounds. I went from being at the top end of the healthy weight range for my height to the bottom. All my clothes fit better and I also noticed my stomach is flatter and less bloated.
- Other benefits: Another big part of the Whole30 is learning how your body interacts with particular foods to see if there is anything you should be avoiding. I have always suspected I may have a bit of dairy intolerance and this was confirmed by the Whole30. Although cheese and yogurt don't bother me, straight milk is an issue.
- Mindset: One of the biggest wins for me was the change in mindset. Doing the Whole30 really broke my daily dessert cravings and carb cravings. My overall diet has remained much healthier and I learned how much better I feel when I make good food choices. I also learned that it's not as hard as I thought to go out for dinner or out with friends and avoid alcohol. Alcohol definitely messes with my sleep (plus all the points and empty calories) and it turns out, it's not as hard as I suspected to turn it down.
With that said, if you are looking for a reset to your diet or just want to kick things into high gear, I highly recommend doing a Whole30 and I think it works perfectly with WW. If you can, I would also recommend reading, It Starts with Food by the creators of the Whole30. It really showcases why this works.
My Go To Whole30 and Weight Watchers Recipes
One thing you will quickly realize on the Whole30 is that you will need to do a lot of cooking, prepping, and meal planning. In fact, we created a Whole30 Meal Plan with points, for just that reason. It includes breakfast, lunch, dinner snack ideas and weekly shopping lists. After doing this myself, I knew just how much time I spent searching for Whole30 recipes that were WW friendly, building shopping lists, and figuring out meal prep. This meal plan takes all the guesswork out of that. Plus it is packed with really delicious recipes that will work for your whole family.
Whether you use our meal plan or not, here are some recipes that are WW and Whole30 friendly:
- Thai Basil Beef Bowls with Cauliflower Rice
- Whole30 Breakfast Salad
- Baked Chicken Fajitas
- Zero Point Cabbage Soup
- Turkey Apple Burgers
- And so much many more!
Have you done a Whole30 before? What were your results? Would you do it again?
Want to learn more about our Whole30 Meal Plan with Freestyle Smartpoints?
This meal plan makes successfully completing a Whole30 easier than ever! All the recipes you need, complete shopping lists, meal prep, snack ideas, and more.