Karlene Cameron takes part in Dry January along with 5.1 million other people.For a few years now, my husband and I have dedicated January as “Sober January.” Apparently, we’re not alone. Over 5 million people take part in “Dry January!” I guess we’re not the only ones who want to give their liver a holiday!

This year, we upped the stakes and decided to expand “Sober January” to “Live Well January” and embark on a Whole30 diet to cleanse our systems and begin to take off some of those unwanted holiday pounds.

So, with good intentions in hand, we rid our house of all the deliciousness (and poison) that crept in during the holidays. I’ll admit I was skeptical, especially when my creamer and the butter headed for the trash, but I promised my husband I’d commit to it with him. So there I sat, staring at a nearly empty pantry and fridge now bursting with produce and vegetables.

How boring.

You know what would go great with Lemongrass Chicken Bok Choy? A nice bottle of sauvignon blanc…sigh…

My husband ordered a Whole30 Cookbook online and I poured through the book the first day, trying to find a recipe where I’d heard of at least half the ingredients, and that didn’t span two pages. After all, my cooking skills are rudimentary at best (hence why I have a sign in my kitchen that says, “I kiss better than I cook.”).  I finally settled on four main dinners that seemed possible. I made our grocery list and we took off for the store(s). (Yes, I said ‘stores’…plural).

And this is where it all started to go south and why I’m convinced the Whole30 diet came in near the bottom on USN’s best diets list.

Whole30 takes expensive to a whole other level

Nevermind that I’d never heard of several of the ingredients and staples we were asked to buy, but the prices were absurd! Apparently, squeezing sugar out of your favorite foods is not cheap! Not only were several of the ingredients difficult to find, but catsup suddenly jumped to $10 a bottle and bacon was nearly $20 for 1.5 lbs. (Try finding bacon that hasn’t been cured in sugar!).Why the Whole30 Diet doesn't work and why you should avoid it.

Not only were we spending more at the grocery store, but we also found ourselves visiting multiple stores to find what we needed. We started with Whole Foods, then moved to Trader Joe’s and finally finished off our list at Natural Grocers. The whole process was exhausting and consumed far too much of our valuable weekend time!

My parting thought: If you want to be on this diet, you will need to ask for a raise or win the lottery!

Physical energy never did peak

One of the reasons we selected Whole30 was to give our bodies a reset. Many advocates of the diet state how much energy they gain and how much better they feel. I never did feel an increase in energy and while I do think I felt healthier (maybe it’s nothing more than suggestive thought), I don’t think I felt any different than I did on Weight Watchers or any other diet plan for that matter.

While my husband said he felt like he had more energy, the food caused him stomach issues (as it did me). By day 13, we both hit a wall. Nothing we were eating was very satisfying. It all felt like a variation on tomatoes and meat. (Put a pig in lipstick, it is still a pig!)Karlene Cameron gets active on Weight Watchers.

On top of that, I was having severe stomach pains.

One plus is that the hot flashes I’d been having were nearly non-existent. Since I’d read that sugar, caffeine and alcohol can make hot flashes worse, I can only assume the absence of sugar and alcohol had a lot to do with this. (I will NEVER give up coffee!)

My parting thought: Find the dietary foods that help you feel the best. Just because someone says you should feel good, doesn’t mean you will.

Never saw any significant weight loss

With rafting season five short months away, I know I have to start now if I’m going to lose the holiday weight (and then some!). If there’s one thing I’ve learned on our week-long wilderness raft trips … you’d better be in shape; it’s hard work.

After 2 weeks on Whole30, I had lost only 1.4 lbs. Now some of you may be saying that’s not so bad, but in comparison to Weight Watchers, the results were appalling.

Karlene Cameron and Weight Watchers.I know – those of you who swear by the Whole30 diet are rolling your eyes and saying it’s not a weight loss plan, but let’s face it, if you eat like a rabbit for a month, you expect to see something for your sacrifice!

My parting thought: Find the weight-loss plan that fits your lifestyle and stick with it.

Whole30 is Too Restrictive

I only made it 16 days on the Whole30 before I crumbled like the Berlin Wall. (Creamer in my coffee never tasted so good!).

Between the lengthy grocery trips to find obscure items and the restrictions against dairy and grains, I felt that I was being exiled to the Island of Blah. I think it’s one of the reasons DASH and Weight Watchers are so popular. Rather than restricting what you can eat, they simply help you stay within your daily allowance of servings or points. Win, win for those of us who enjoy eating and dining out!

My parting thought: For this busy sci-fi romance writer, the Whole30 Diet simply didn’t work. I’ve since switched to Weight Watchers Freestyle and the weight is coming off. I’m eating the foods I love (in moderation), and I’m getting active once again. The point is this…if you find something that works for you, something you can stick with regardless of what life throws at you, then you’ve got a keeper. Don’t stop despite what the pundits might tell you.

What weight loss program has been your favorite? Do you find it easy or hard to stay committed? Drop me a line below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.