The actress did the Whole30 as a pre-holiday reset, but learned some surprising things about her body along the way.
One of the many reasons we love Busy Philipps is her candid and often hilarious Instagram, where she frequently posts about her fitness exploits (remember when she tried to sweat out her post-Oscars hangover in a trampoline class?). So we weren’t surprised to see the White Chicks actress recapping the highs and lows of her experience on the Whole30 diet this week.
Philipps announced in a post yesterday that she had successfully stuck to the diet for an entire month, “despite a few days that were rough” when she “really wanted tequila or gummy bears.” The Whole30 rules are simple but daunting: 1) Cut out all legumes, dairy, added sugar, baked goods and treats, alcohol, and a few processed food ingredients (MSG, sulfites, and carrageenan) for 30 days. 2) Don’t weigh yourself. 3) Don’t cheat.
Philipps, 38, said she decided to try the Whole30 diet because, well, everyone she knew was doing it, and she thought it would help her get “back on track before the holidays.” Plus, she was up for an interesting challenge. “Which it was,” she wrote.
In a follow-up Instagram story, the mom of two went a little more in-depth on what she learned. For example, cutting out sugar cold turkey showed her how addicted to the sweet stuff she really was. When she felt stressed, she craved her go-to treat: cinnamon gummy bears. “[Sugar] was really hard for me to get rid of,” she said.
But Philipps did eventually learn healthier strategies to cope with her emotions: “Because I haven’t been able to alleviate feelings through eating food, it forced me to sort of find other ways to deal.”
The first five days of Whole30 were the toughest, Philipps said, then it got a little easier. Also helpful: that her husband, screenwriter Marc Silverstein, did the diet with her.
Not everyone is as successful on the restrictive plan, however. Health‘s contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, has warned that banning certain foods can trigger a sense of panic that leads to obsessive thinking, followed by rebound binge eating. In “3 Ways to Clean Up Your Diet Without Committing to Whole30,” she recommends a more flexible eating strategy that you can actually stick with long term.
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As for the results? Philipps said that while she hasn’t weighed herself (she swore off the scale a year ago), she can tell from her face that she’s “definitely smaller.” She also noted that her husband lost “too much weight.” (Weight loss isn’t an actual goal of the Whole30 program, though many dieters do slim down.)
Other effects: Philipps said she feels less bloated, and her joints don’t hurt like they typically do. But Whole30 didn’t make any difference in terms of her irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, which surprised her because she always thought her digestive issues were diet-related.
Philipps ended her Whole30 recap with a few tips. For one, she recommends cooking at home as much as possible, to keep your meals exciting and varied. (She searched Instagram for fun Whole30-approved recipes.) When she did eat out, she ordered lean protein and vegetables, and asked the kitchen to leave out butter. Overall, Philipps says Whole30 was a positive experience—and she would do it again.
Feeling tempted by her review, but wary of adopting so many restrictions? Try simply eliminating processed foods, says Sass. Making this one change is a great compromise because it can slash calories, boost your energy, and seriously upgrade your nutrient intake.