Eat To Perform 365 Solution and Reset (What Food Freedom Means to Me)

Eat To Perform 365 Solution and Reset (What Food Freedom Means to Me)

So Whole30 put out a post the other day and started a conversation about what Food Freedom means to them.  This was the initial post:

From Melissa Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole30: The term so many people use to describe their #Whole30 results is “food freedom.” This is what food freedom means to me: Going out to dinner, deciding I’d love some dessert, looking at the menu, and passing when nothing looks incredibly delicious to me—even though I told myself I could have something. Ordering dessert, taking a few bites, savoring every one, then setting it aside because I just don’t want any more—even though it’s sitting right in front of me. Walking out of a long Sunday brunch feeling just as energetic as I did walking in, because pancakes are never, ever, ever worth it anymore for me. Craving things like sushi, blueberries, and hot tea instead of French fries, candy, and wine. Having sweets in the house (I have a variety of dark chocolate bars sitting in my pantry) and not having to wrestle with temptation every single night. I actually haven’t touched them in weeks. Realizing if I decide to have some, I really CAN be satisfied with just a square or two. Yes, I am now that annoying person. Knowing if I ever fall off track (hello, stress), I have a structured plan guaranteed to get me back on track quickly and effectively. Thank you, Whole30. What does achieving Whole30 “food freedom” mean to you? I want to hear your thoughts. -Mxx #whole30 #foodfreedom #changeyourlife #health

A photo posted by The Original Whole30 Program (@whole30) on

First let me say that I am all for eating whole foods.  In fact, we have a list of foods that we think should be included in a healthy diet (assuming there are no allergies or sensitivities).  Our list is not a “don’t eat this” list though, so if you think of it like “You should mostly eat these foods, most of the time.” then you have the right idea.

Since Melissa asked, I thought I’d show you guys what Food Freedom means to me and give you some insight into what I’m talking about when I mean “mostly whole foods”.

What Food Freedom Means To Me

Food Freedom is about going out for breakfast with your wife without a silly list getting in the way.


Food Freedom is about eating to expand your work capacity eating energy dense foods on occasion.


Food Freedom is about eating real food, paying some attention to the amounts and portions, and having choices.  That way, if you are gaining fat, you have some idea why.  If you are losing muscle, you also have some idea why.  If you are just reliant on a food list with no information to back it up, that’s not freedom, that’s confusing as hell.

Food Freedom is about having dessert every day for the last seven years while becoming the leanest version of myself (not to mention the most physically capable).


Food Freedom is also about eating 85% Dark Chocolate (more than one or two squares) while at the Whole30 seminar and having to explain to Melissa that the insulin from the fruit that was providing the sugar would be blunted by the overwhelming amount of fat in the chocolate.  And that it’s basically a great low carb snack.

dark chocolate

Food Freedom is always, always, always worth it to eat pancakes when you want to PR.  #prpancakes

breakfast can wait

Ultimately, Food Freedom (for me) means that I am free to eat any food I choose as long as I seek out understanding and enlightenment.  The way I work is that I would rather not be told by the food purity gods that the way I eat is somehow inferior.  Paleo as a framework is fine, so much so that we have a whole portion of our site devoted to it – check it out.  But just because I am fine with whole foods being used as a framework doesn’t mean I am fine with setting up random rules that could lead to a disordered way of eating.  Trading unhealthy habits and behavior for another approach to unhealthy behavior isn’t the goal.  The goal of dieting should ultimately be to not have to diet and frankly, a list of foods without context will not help 98% of the people get where they ultimately want to go.

The Eat To Perform 365 day Solution (with a reset)

I borrowed this from a friend of mine who is one of the strongest people on the planet.  This person deadlifts 4 times his body weight, so I started asking him questions (his name is David Hansen, Dave is about 6% BF at 198 pounds). 

Me:  “How often do you workout?”

David:  “4 days a week.

Me:  ”What foods do you eat?”

David:  “I don’t have rules like that but honestly, I eat mostly the same stuff each day.  At 6 p.m. I will probably have the same thing I had 20 years ago at 6 p.m., I just like routine”.

Me:  “Why are your workouts so hard?”

David:  “They have to be hard or you won’t change.”

Me:  “How long have you been working out?”

David:  “If you want the truth my whole life, I was always active, I have an active job and I just enjoy lifting.”  (Don’t get caught up in the word lifting.)

Me:  “How much do you eat?”

David:  “Honestly I have no idea but it’s a lot.”

Dave has the metabolic fire of a volcano because he is all muscle, and muscle is the main driver for your metabolic rate.  Don’t get lost in the fact that Dave’s a man, if you’re woman and you don’t have a lot of lean mass your goal should be to get more lean mass because it will change your metabolic rate dramatically.

Here are The Guidelines for The ETP 365

1.  Eat an appropriate amount of food for the things that you do.  If you don’t know what an appropriate amount of food is for you, we have a calculator that can help you figure it out.

2.  Do things that are hard sometimes, but don’t beat yourself into the ground.  The strongest people in the world rest almost as much as they workout.

3.  Eat mostly whole foods but don’t let that cripple how you enjoy life.

4.  If you have some fat to lose, you should have a good understanding of how much you have to lose and why.  Today, I body fat tested over 50 people.  I only recommended that 3 of them needed to lose weight.  The overwhelming recommendation for a lot of people was to get their lean mass up.  Without an appropriate amount of lean mass your body is going to cling on to fat (or you will be playing a game of attrition that could lead to some unhealthy behavior).

5.  Assuming you have a good amount of lean mass and you have some fat to lose go at it in short bursts.  A good rule of thumb is that you should almost never be dieting – you should be thriving more than half the time.  A 3:1 ratio is good even for people with a good amount of fat to lose (an example being that if you should not be dieting for 3 months for each diet month).

6.  Once your 365 days are up, reset and do the next year even better.