For many of us, it’s time for the January Whole30 for the first, 6th or 16th time. Many of use enjoy the holidays with traditions and with food. When tradition meets food, we relax the mindset that guides us most of the year. A new year with a fresh restart of Whole30 is just what we need. Here are my 8 Tips Brutally Honest Tips for Whole30.
If I had to pick only 1 tip/rule/non-negotiable, it would be meal prep. I don’t mean checking your favorite Pinterest board at 5:30pm on the way home to see if you can find a recipe for leftover chicken wings and celery. Tough love with this one. You HAVE to plan your meals.
You have to spend some time making food and making it ahead of time so you can be ready. It can be as simple as batch-cooking ground beef, roasted chicken thighs, sheet pan vegetables, pre-chopping vegetables, and throwing some pork loin in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.
With these few things, you can get a meal on the table in a few minutes and have leftovers for lunch. There is no winging it with the Whole30.
Read the Book
This should be first, but I really wanted to hammer home the meal prep thing. Next is READ THE BOOK. Pinterest and Instagram are NOT the book. Your friend with good intentions is not the author or creator of the rules.
If you have some time, I highly suggest the first book, It Starts With Food, because of all the science stuff. Knowing the science behind the rules actually helps me a LOT when I want to add some beans to my soup. But the important part of this is to READ and highlight and book mark. (Don’t turn down the page corners, you monsters).
If you are reading the book on Kindle, HIGHLIGHT. Write down the important parts. Download some important stuff from the Official, Never-to-be-Duplicated, Whole30 site. Do not depend on rule information from one of your Facebook groups. Check that information with the book or site information.
Have an emergency stash
Snacks are frowned upon.
That stings a little, doesn’t it. And if you read the book, you know why. BUT, keep some compliant easy-to-peel/eat/store foods with you at all times in your bag, car, desk, office, partner’s car (been there, glad I had a random Larabar in his truck).
If you are as busy as most of us, there will be a time when you’re juggling kids or bags or only 12 projects at once. You will miss a lunch break. You will leave your beautifully packed lunch bag on the kitchen counter. You will have “carb brain” and literally fall asleep at 9pm without even making your lunch and oversleep so you rush out the door just hoping your pants are zipped…..and you’re wearing pants.
There are a few packaged “Whole30 Approved” items and companies on the Whole30 site and in the back of the book. Arm yourself. Derailing your progress on day 17 is not a good feeling.
Have a plan for plans.
Get out your calendar. Look at the next 30 days.
Check out the family events, work, events, birthdays, celebrations, random Girls’ Nights, bakes sales, etc. Decide how you will manage these events. Put some time into thinking ahead about what you can eat OR what you can eat before the event and which cute water cup you will tote around to keep your lips off the cupcakes.
No lie, I once dug out a Halloween insulated tumbler to use at a school event in September because I refused to give in to enchiladas on Day 9. Do what you have to do in order to take care of YOU. Have a plan for plans.
Acknowledge the suck change.
The Whole 30 is not just a 30 day challenge to see if you can do it. MAJOR changes are taking place in your body. You will be depriving it of junk that it likes, like sugar. It will get you back in not-so-pleasant ways. It will not be a cake-walk (such a bad metaphor but I’m leaving it). Know ahead of time that true and lasting change…a mindset change, heart change, world view change, is not going to be easy. But it will be worth it!
Don’t sabotage before you start.
This ties into reading the book cover to cover. Do not go into this thinking about all the things you will enjoy after it is over. Go ahead and quit now. Save yourself the carb flu fun. Do not assume that following a cute Instagram graphic and 30-day challenge is going to give you great results. You are already failing.
Don’t cross off your days knowing you will soon enjoy your chemical stew of creamer in your coffee on Day31. Read the book. Get your mind in the right place. This is so much a mental journey and it really is an amazing journey. It’s one reason I love January Whole30.
Don’t count on losing weight.
This is not a weight-loss plan.
But..but..but… all the INSTAGRAM pictures!! There are SO MANY. I know. I have a few. I had fantastic results on the scale. However, I was extremely inflamed and most of what I lost was not fat. It was inflammation bloat.
Don’t do this if your eye on the prize is a smaller scale number. Don’t make me pull out the 2 pics of a woman on the scale showing the same number but polar opposite body composition. There is so much more I plan to explore and share about this, but for now, focus on a healthy relationship with food. Focus on returning back to the family dinner table. Find your ways to handle stress by cooking a healthy meal.
Weight (fat) loss is the result of getting your ducks in a row. Honestly, that was the biggest lesson I learned from my first Whole30. Smaller clothes were the icing. By the time I started dropping scale numbers, I didn’t care. I mean I wasn’t neurotic about it. I was no longer “waiting” to be happy. I wasn’t putting my life on hold until I lost weight. I was legitimately happy mentally and physically, THEN the weight started coming down.
Reintroduction is a Thing. It’s not a suggestion.
Spoiler alert: The Whole30 is not over at Day 30. There are some days for Reintroduction. This is not the Whole365. It is a restrictive elimination diet, so there are some foods to add back into your eating plan to see how your body works with or against those foods. Don’t ignore this step. THIS step is when you learn a lot about your body. Dairy products, nightshades, beans/legumes/, are some of the foods you will slowly add back and there is a schedule. This isn’t some dart-game schedule. There is a reason and again….read the book.
Here’s to a Successful Whole30! If you have ANY questions about compliance, food products, “is this normal??” (short answer…yes), etc, please refer to the Official Whole30 site and forums. There are moderators that know the program and will correct any misinformation. If you have not signed up for the mailing list, you should. The Wholesome bi-weekly newsletters are full of great info. Did I miss any tips?