Meet Melissa Hartwig, Co-Founder and CEO of Whole30

Taking a natural approach to weight loss and wellbeing

There are hundreds of fad diets out there on the market all promising amazing results and often quick fix solutions. As we get older and especially for women as our bodies change, our general health, well-being and diet become increasingly important. Allthough weight loss or weight maintenance is often, for many, a major factor in adopting a particular diet, it is
vital that it is only one component and that any food fad you follow has your overall health as the primary objective.

Melissa Hartwig, Co-founder and CEO of Whole30, a diet and wellbeing program aimed at encouraging people to eat ‘clean’ for 30 days, is a big advocate of adopting a big picture approach to your diet and to focus on overall health and well being rather than specific weight loss – especially for older women.

Whole30 focuses on eliminating certain food groups that could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even knowing it. The program is based around the idea that certain foods can actually cause inflammation in your body and as a result cause many symptoms and ailments. The ethos is simple – eliminate the foods and you will  eliminate the symptoms, and as a result you will look and feel better.

Here we sit down with Melissa and find out why the Whole30 approach has been such a success for women and why it has them feeling and looking so good.

Hi Melissa, we are hearing some amazing things about how the Whole30 approach is transforming the lives of many woman
in their 40s and older. Can you tell us about some of your success stories?

The fastest growing Whole30 demographic over the last two years are women in their 50s and 60s, and the transformations they are experiencing with the Whole30 are nothing short of life changing. Just last week I heard from Victoria, who discovered on her Whole30 that certain foods trigger her hot flashes. She was having 15-20 per day, but by avoiding these
foods, she’s been able to sleep completely-flashfree. While no diet “cures” menopause symptoms, we also regularly hear that participants have fewer headaches on the program too.

Wow that’s amazing. What are some of the other health benefits women are experiencing as a result of adopting the Whole30 approach?

Almost everyone who does Whole30 reports increased energy, deeper sleep and less bloating, heartburn and digestive distress. But women in their 40s, 50s and 60s also consistently report a reduction in chronic pain, especially joint pain and swelling. But perhaps the most widely touted benefit is a dramatic shift in participants’ emotional relationship with food.

Well that makes us need to ask you why do you think food has become such a complicated thing for people and why do so many of us have such an emotional relationship with food?

First, we have complicated emotional relationships with food that go back to childhood. We cleaned our plates so we’d earn dessert, we got treats when the grandparents visited, and as we grew up, we were bombarded with messages of rewarding ourselves with chocolate, sweets and later alcohol. This carries into adulthood, leaving us feeling enslaved to certain foods and unable to break the cycle through “moderation” and “portion control”. Secondly, the highly processed, food scientist-
created foods we have today combined with “diet culture” (where your self worth is based on the number on the scale) are trapping us in a cycle of craving, over consumption, guilt, shame, and stress. Which leads to more cravings. Lastly, we have access to more information than ever now thanks to the Internet and social media, and the messages on “good” foods and “bad” foods is always conflicting.

Can Whole30 change how women think about food?

This is why the Whole30 is so valuable. It’s not prescriptive, like “you have to eat like this forever.” We’re not saying “these foods are bad for you.” We aren’t focused on weight loss, or asking you to restrict or count calories. All we’re saying is, “These foods are commonly problematic. You wont know if they’re problematic for you until you do our self-experiment. Once you’re done, you’ll have a blueprint that works for you.” And along the way, we’ll help you test your habits and emotional relationship with food so you come out on the other end feeling in control of your food for the first time in a long time.

Finally, are there any particular types of food that you recommend women 40 plus should be including in their diets?

The most important recommendation for anyone, but especially women in their 40s and older, is to try to eat an anti inflammatory diet. Chronic inflammation is at the root of so many lifestyle related diseases and conditions. The Whole30 is designed as a self-experiment, to help you figure out which foods work best for YOU. This allows you to create the perfect, sustainable diet for you – one that includes mostly anti-inflammatory foods, to keep you looking and feeling your best.

For more information of the Whole30 approach visit
FB – @whole30
IG – @whole30