It’s a simple weight loss rule Aimée Lutkin embraced after trying the Whole30 diet. The freelance writer says the diet trend, which involves eradicating added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, baked goods and junk food from your diet for 30 days, helped her eliminate dairy from her plate without having to think about it.
“A lot of the things that I would overeat had dairy in them, so I was like, ‘I’ll just stop doing dairy,’” Lutkin told NBC News BETTER.
Lutkin lost 10 pounds in only a month, she says.
“I managed to make it through the first 30 days — that’s how long the Whole30 lasts — and it was just a moment of willpower that I hadn’t experienced in a long time,” Lutkin says.
Lutkin says she doesn’t recommend the Whole30 diet, which she describes as an extreme elimination diet. But after losing 10 pounds, she says she realized the benefits of experimenting with a new routine every 30 days, whether it’s a new diet trend or exercise regime.
“It was the first time I had gone down on the scale in years,” she says. “So I wanted to keep it going. I think seeing that little bit of progress made it feel possible, and once it felt possible, it felt doable, if that makes sense.”
Lutkin says she also tried 30 days of the Slow-Carb Diet, 30 days of weight training, and 30 days of biking. Experimenting with different diet and exercise routines every month challenged her body in new ways and prevented her from getting bored, she says.
After a year, she lost 45 pounds.
“Maybe the first 6 months, like every month, [I] tried to set a goal for myself because it just made it a lot easier for me to just stick with things,” she says.
I think, psychologically, it is very much easier to say, ‘Ok, I’m only going to do this for 30 days,’ than ‘This is the thing I’m going to do every day for the rest of my life,’ and that’s a very hard thing to grapple with.
“I think, psychologically, it is very much easier to say, ‘Ok, I’m only going to do this for 30 days,’ than ‘This is the thing I’m going to do every day for the rest of my life,’ and that’s a very hard thing to grapple with,” Lutkin explains.
If you have a sedentary lifestyle, for example, Lutkin recommends making a goal to do something active each day for 45 minutes. Every month, try something different. The first month you can go for a 45 minute walk each day, the next month you can switch to bike riding, followed by swimming the next. The change in routine will continuously reinvigorate weight loss by challenging your body in new ways and will give you something different to look forward to, says the writer.
“I think we are more in tune with the cycle of the month than we realize,” says Lutkin. “For each month starting, it feels like a brand new thing, and then the month coming to a close, you’re in a new place.”
I think we are more in tune with the cycle of the month than we realize. For each month starting, it feels like a brand new thing, and then the month coming to a close, you’re in a new place.
“If you’re like ‘I am miserable every moment of this, it makes me really unhappy, it stresses me out,’ you can’t do it,” Lutkin says. “It’s not going to go anywhere. And I think we tend to think of taking care of ourselves as it’s supposed to be grueling and horrible, and it doesn’t have to be.”
She also recommends making weight loss a group experience. For instance, you can plan exercise date nights with friends who are also trying to change their lifestyles, she says. If you don’t have friends who are interested, there are plenty of weight loss support groups online, she says.
“I mean everyone is different, but if you’ve never tried it, I would definitely say try to do your weight loss practice or diet plan or exercise plan with other people,” she says. “Because, also, you want to talk about it, and your friends don’t want to hear about it, your family doesn’t want to hear about it, but because it’s taking over a big chunk of your experience on a daily basis you just need to vent and discuss what’s happening.”
Losing weight “feels great,” says Lutkin. But for her, it was about getting healthy through hard work, she says, not an obsession with looking good.
“Physically I have a lot more energy, I’m a lot stronger,” she says. “I love going and doing exercise classes [more] than I did before because I feel like I can keep up with them and challenge myself in a way that’s fun.”
Lutkin warns that weight loss, however, isn’t “a magic cure to all sorts of things.”
“But it can feel good to know that you can change yourself if you want to through slow and deliberate work, and that applies to all areas of life, it’s not just your body,” Lutkin concludes.
How it works: Every 30 days, try something new. Whether it’s a new healthy diet trend or a new exercise regime, switching up your routine will prevent boredom and challenge your body in new ways.
Make sure it’s fun: Don’t force yourself to do things or eat things you don’t enjoy. If you hate what you’re doing, you’re not likely to stick with it. If possible, make your weight loss journey a group experience with friends who will motivate you to stay on track.
Don’t think of weight loss as a cure all: There’s no magic solution to losing weight.Weight loss should be about getting healthier, not an obsession with looking good.