We’ve all been there.
“I’m going to start Whole30 on Monday morning!” And it’s Sunday night.
But you’re miserable.
You want to eat everything, but your fridge and pantry contain Greek yogurt, chocolate covered dried cherries, and honey roasted peanuts – foods that aren’t exactly evil, but they completely break the rules.
You’re off to a rough start, and your family doesn’t get it. They’re offering you lemon meringue pie and vanilla bean ice cream. Seriously, go away.
Your friends invite you over for dinner and it’s pizza night. Deep dish with 25 types of cheese. Dude, why did you even go?
Then you realize you were born this month. What the…? How can you celebrate your birthday without dairy and sugar?
Let’s say you finish 30 days of torment without losing all of your friends. It’s inevitable that you’ll sit down to reminisce the accomplishment, glance at your budget, and have a mini heart attack as you realize you just spent $1,700 on groceries (okay, okay, I’m exaggerating a little). You sink a little lower when you contemplate the fact you could have purchased two more homes at that monthly cost. Where did you even get that money?
Seriously, why did you need to eat that many organic, raw nuts? Who among us couldn’t just starve a little more for 30 days in order to save the life of our grocery budget?
Get a hold of yourself.
But there’s a way to win at Whole30. I promise. You just have to start with a bit of prep.
Keep these tips in mind as you start the new year with healthy resolutions. Whole30 can actually be a good experience. Those who do it right often find that they want to hold on to some of the guidelines of Whole30. The Whole30 diet is very natural and finds its roots in the foundation of the human diet, while illuminating problem areas and sensitivities in our bodies’ abilities to process. It’s not a fad diet, and it’s not a weight loss diet. Whole30 shows us a way to nurture our bodies with healthy foods, allowing us to discover new foods, new ways to prep familiar foods, and new levels of energy and health that we don’t typically experience without good, informed eating habits.
10 Tips To A Successful Whole30
Let’s get to it.
- Consider the calendar. It’s helpful to look ahead to the next four weeks and determine if now is the best time for Whole30. Around here, July is swarming with birthdays. Do I really want to bake birthday cakes for my husband and son and not actually eat them myself? I’d like to avoid that. Check for major holidays, upcoming vacations, or other events that would throw off your Whole30 rhythm. Also, you might consider the season and the produce that is available.
- Whole30-proof your kitchen.
Give your refrigerator and pantry a quick sort and toss. Now’s as good a time as any to trash the Halloween candy, push the peanut butter to the very back, and make room for your new stock. Keep in mind, now’s a big opportunity for temptation. You could eat the last three Oreos and savor their memory, or you could jump right into the Whole30 mindset and make your start date a little less miserable when the sugar is shockingly absent. This one’s up to you.
- Meal plan.
Take it a week at a time. Look up tasty Whole30 dishes and get excited about them (here are 20 Whole30 Dinner Ideas). Know what you’re making for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and have what you need to make them happen. There are thousands of great ideas online, so check Pinterest, the Whole30 website, Google, and ask friends who’ve completed Whole30. More than likely, your friends have a favorite recipe from their experience. Research your snacks ahead of time, too. Sometimes you need something to fill the space between meals. I’m not saying we should actually be eating every hour or two, but rather, we can be healthfully prepared for when our haphazard, poorly planned salad doesn’t completely satisfy our hunger.
- Shop with a list (and a budget).
And stick to it. Your list should include ingredients for your meal plan and snacks that comply. Overspending is a major issue for most who participate in Whole30, so watch your budget. I enjoy complex, creative Whole30 meals, but the fancier and the more involved the ingredients, the more you’re likely to spend. Find the right balance.
- Join a group.
Most people taking on Whole30 would be appreciative of a partner, but that doesn’t always work out. Instead, start a group on social media, at work, at school, or at church. Plan for everyone to begin together, and build up some excitement for a celebration after successfully completing Whole30. The more the merrier! Share your progress as you go: what’s your energy like? how grouchy were you this morning? has your skin cleared up? did you stay alive?
- Be accountable.
Whether it’s your spouse, sibling, friend, or coworker, check in with one another.
“Guess what I had for lunch today?”
“Check out this recipe I found on Pinterest.”
When you’re feeling discouraged, share those feelings with each other. You’re certainly not the only one feeling that way. Encourage one another and, once again, share your progress.
- Expect resistance.
Chances are, you’re going to encounter some pretty harsh cravings and a certain measure of backlash from your body. Your body is used to carbs, so like a toddler throwing a tantrum, you’re going to experience your body throwing a fit at some point. This may be in the form of irritation (or hatred towards the world and everything in it), drowsiness, headaches, and more. It’s been called “carb flu” before. Don’t let it catch you by surprise. Instead, have a plan of action: try exercise or a tasty, Whole30-compliant drink or a shopping trip with a friend.
- Lose the scale.
This isn’t about the weight, so don’t monitor your pounds. You might be pleasantly surprised by dropping a few pounds, but you also might be shocked to see a big +3 on the scale. If you’re grouchy, tired, and hungry and find an extra pound or two, I can’t imagine how that would be very beneficial for you in terms of determination and perseverance. We’re all very different, but your body will love you for this in the end.
- Be creative.
Season, season, season. Salt is your friend. Pepper, fresh herbs, and flavorful foods are going to help you through this. Make your own mayo, guacamole, or sauces. You aren’t limited to bland meat and veggies, but rather, now’s your chance to hone your seasoning skills and make your meal magnificent.
- Don’t be a jerk about it.
Don’t force your Whole30 on everyone around you. It’s great to talk about it and be excited for what you’re tackling, but if it’s going to cause someone else to feel embarrassed by their own grocery shopping or eating habits, then simply be careful with your words. Whole30 is about improving your health and awareness. Stomping on someone’s feelings as you go won’t set them up to desire better eating or shopping habits. Rather, work to educate with kindness and humility.
I was invited to birthday parties and other events during Whole30, and in the beginning, I just refused to eat. This resulted in hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Your best bet in such a situation is to quietly find the best Whole30 option and make the most of it. Do your best to follow Whole30, but don’t trample all those in your way. If you’ve offended your family and caused enmity between you and your closest friend, but you finished Whole30 having perfectly followed every rule, I don’t think we can call that experience a success. Do your best, but remember to treat others well.
Happy Whole30ing, friends! Let us know if these tips proved helpful, and share your own tips and experiences in the comments below!
Here’s a short compilation of Whole30 recipes we made a while back, and one of my favorite dessert recipes that is technically Whole30-compliant. Melissa Hartwig even posted about it on the Whole30 website.