Two days to go! And while I am not jumping for joy at the thought of my Whole30 coming to an end, I am looking forward to the moment where I can finally say “I did it!” What a wild 30 days it has been! Never in my life did I think I was going to be someone who was all about primal eating and pro cutting out certain food groups, but here I am at the end of 30 days and I have never felt better! Consider me changed. It’s simple – I could never imagine going back. But for those of you contemplating starting your first Whole30 or those already underway, here is a list of my top 5 tips for a successful Whole30.
- Download the Whole30 Program Rules and print out the PDF version. Read it. Read it once… read it twice… set it down… come back to it and read it again. I want you to be able to tell me exactly what you can and can not have without any hesitation. Know your facts before, not after.
- It Starts With Food is also a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with the benefits of a adopting a primal lifestyle. ISWF also outlines the program and describes in detail the theories and science behind the Whole30.
- Read your food labels. Pull out a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the center of your paper. On one side write “Throw Away/Give Away” and on the other write “Whole30 Approved”. Then read every single food label you can find in your house! If it is currently in your fridge or pantry, big or small, I want you to read the food label and write on the list if it is a “Throw away” or “Whole30 Approved.” Next step… follow through. If it’s not approved, get rid of it.
- Search and collect Whole30 approved recipes before you start! Create a Whole30 Pinterest board to keep all of your Whole30 inspiration ideas in one place. Search for Whole30 variations of foods that you love such as cauliflower rice, or Whole30 approved humbuggers. Think outside the box! Try to find new flavors… try new spices… and try cooking a meat that you have never tried before! It’s going to be a long 30 days if you only eat chicken and broccoli. So do your homework – find 5 breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas that you know that you will like and that are practical for your current lifestyle. Meaning, if you hate eggs for breakfast don’t pick 5 ideas for breakfast including eggs. Make sure that the recipes that you select are easy to make and big on flavor!
2. Practice Makes Perfect
- You would never expect to run a marathon without practicing first… nor take a final without studying… so why jump into the Whole30 without running a few test-runs. If you are worried about not having dairy and grains at breakfast, try out a few Whole30 breakfast ideas that you think might interest you. Most likely… it’s gonna be great! Same goes for dinners and lunches. Test your food ideas, recipes, and menus before your start date – this will give you more confidence and help you expand your repertoire of Whole30 meals.
- Worried about going cold turkey – well don’t! Yep. You heard me right … don’t. Start early with small steps. Plan your start date in advance, and STICK TO IT. Each week before your start date, cut out 1 or 2 of the Whole30 no’s. For example, 2 weeks before your start date, if you happen to run out of milk that week… don’t buy anymore. Easy as that. Learn to get on fine without it. Give yourself time to come up with a solution, so that on day 1 not having milk is no big deal. I suggest you do that same for all of your bad habits… such as soda, processed sugar, tobacco, and any of those other no’s that have you panicking before you even start.
3. Food Prep
- Letting yourself get crazy eyed hungry on your Whole30 is the quickest way you can sabotage yourself and your Whole30 experience. As you will soon find out, once you are hungry there is a limited about of Whole30 options that can be quickly thrown together – and nope… not many quick fixes that you can buy when you are out and away from your kitchen. Yes of course nuts, fruit, and raw veggies are all great snack options but gorging on nuts will only satisfy you temporarily and its always best to eat a real meal vs. snacking throughout the day. Feel free to check out Pinterest #Whole30 or #Paleo for more snack ideas if you know that your someone who needs their snacks! (This goes back to point 1 – Do your homework!)
- Plan your meals ahead of time. If you are a busy bee like me… coming home after a long day of work, workouts, and helping clients, it often feels like I have nothing left to give by the time I come home. I also work odd hours sometimes I eat all my meals at work, and other times I have time to come home and have a sit down meal. Planning my meals ahead of time allows me to eat healthy while on the go and enables me to keep my Whole30 going strong when I get into a time crunch. Every sunday I go BIG grocery shopping. You would think by the look of my shopping basket that I had an army of teenage boys at home eating only health foods in large amounts! Seriously. I stock up on meats, veggies, some fruits, and nuts. Making sure that I buy enough to last me until Friday just incase the week becomes seriously hectic and I do not have time to return to the store. (Here in Uppsala – this can be a big deal as most of us do not own cars and biking to the big grocery store with bags of food attached to your bike can be somewhat of an event… to say the least.)
- Finally – get cooking. After my big trip to the store its time to start cooking. On any given Sunday I might cook 2 kg. of chicken filets, roast a butternut squash, and grill some veggies for a salad. This gives me some options for meals come Monday and Tuesday. The chicken saves nicely in the fridge and if I decide to eat something else, I can always throw the left over chicken into the freezer to save for another day. I am telling you… after a long day coming home to dinner already made for you in the fridge is seriously a life saver!
- Keep a few extra lunches and dinners ready just incase. You never know when you might want to take a food box to a friend’s house, or to the park to enjoy your meal outside. Having a food box ready could be a game changer in helping keep your life spontaneous and problem free when on your Whole30.
- Think ahead. If you have been invited to go out to a restaurant with some friends, instead of saying no… rather be proactive. First, read the menu online. Is there anything Whole30 approved that you can eat even if you have to make a few changes? Second, call the restaurant during non-busy hours. Ask to speak to someone regarding the menu and proceed to tell them about your concerns regarding your meal. If it helps… just say that you have certain food alleriges and that you cannot eat gluten, dairy, etc.
- If you know that you are going to your grandmother’s house, and you know that your sweet granny does not cook anything Whole30 approved – B.Y.O.L.B. That stands for Bring Your Own Lunch Box. This goes for all social situations when you feel there will not be a Whole30 approved option, or if you feel that it is easier to bring your own food rather than having the host prepare something special for you. I promise! No one is going to care what you eat, just as long as you do. Sitting at the table with nothing on your plate is far more awkward, and off putting than simply joining the group in the act of sharing a meal. If your concerned with making a scene, be proactive. Call ahead. Talk to your host and try to bring a meal that is as close to your host’s menu as possible. B.Y.O.L.B and problem solved.
- Going out shopping for a day? Going to a tailgate? Going to a little kid’s birthday party? Be proactive! Give yourself a game plan, prepare snacks or pack a food box to take with you if needed. Don’t be a victim because you failed to plan ahead. Be proactive and you won’t have any problems during your Whole30.
5. Get Support
- I am not going to lie. The Whole30 is certainly not a walk through the park and you are going to need someone else to help give support. Even the best super hero’s have a sidekick for those tuff days and battles against the BAD GUYS. Find your sidekick for when you are feeling the temptations creep up on you, or for when you have reached day 12 and just can’t imagine continuing to day 30. Someone close to you is a great start. For example your significant other, your mom, your best friend, your bestie from work, or perhaps your gym buddy. Whoever, it’s ok if they are not doing the Whole30. Just but be sure that they can help keep you on track and are not going to persuade you or temp you with non-whole30 options. For example, your best friend who loves to go clubbing every Saturday night and often guilts you into going out with her… is probably not your #1 choice for a sidekick. You will need strength, support, and tough love along the way. Make sure this person can give you a kick in the ass when needed, if needed.
- There is an entire website dedicated to Whole30 Support. Check it out. It includes forums, Q&A, articles, suggested reading, guidelines, and pretty much anything that you could possibly need for your success on your Whole30.
- Get involved. Jump into social media, join a Whole30 group at your gym! Or even better start your own Whole30 group with friends, colleges, or your gym buds. Make it a group effort. Or a family effort. Whatever… find power in numbers. Find someone you can share your experience with, get excited and get involved.
And while that might have felt like the longest read ever… I promise you can do this! You can be successful on your Whole30. I’ve done it… and thousands upon thousands of individuals have done it before us. Remember it’s 30 days, and it’s a chance to reset your body. In fact I felt as if it was a second chance to learn about food, to learn about what you need to feel good, and what food really means to you. It has been a very personal 29 days and I know that if you remember my 5 tips you will walk away with a positive Whole30 experience.
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