5 Tips for a Successful Whole30

As promised (almost a month ago! Yikes! Where has the time gone!?) here is my post about how to have a successful Whole30. I’ve been pretty open about how many times I’ve attempted and failed a Whole30 since my first successful one in 2014. I’ll be completely honest… It is tough! I have now done it successfully twice, and here’s what I’ve learned from both my successful and unsuccessful attempts! If you want to read about my most recent Whole30, you can read about here with Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, and Week 5 with my overall recap.

#1) Mentally Prepare

If I could only tell one thing to do to set yourself up for success, this would be it! Do your research. Get to know the program, and figure out exactly what it is you’re hoping to gain from it. I definitely recommend reading their book “It Starts With Food” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. They give you all the information you need to get started on the website, but for me it was really helpful to read the book and understand how different foods interact with your body and subsequently why you’re cutting them out.

I personally found it really helpful to write out all the reasons why I was doing the Whole30 in a notepad file on my phone. Then when I was really questioning why I was making myself crazy with all the restrictions, I realized that I had some pretty good reasons for doing it, and yes, figuring out what was causing my horrible headaches was indeed better than eating that cookie. It could also be really helpful to post your list of reasons in areas where you’re normally tempted-fridge, cupboards, in your car (obviously don’t read it when you’re driving)… wherever you normally feel your major cravings.

#2) Plan Ahead

Before you even get started, come up with a list or create a Pinterest board of at least 20 recipes that you’re really excited to try. (Here’s mine!) I recommend having at least 10 go-to recipes that are really easy to make for those nights when you’re just really not feeling it. I suggest 10 because if you’re like me, you will want options!

The first time I successfully completed a Whole30, my planning ahead was just creating a detailed meal plan for the week making sure to have a couple of no fuss recipes just in case something came up or I was in a mood where I just really didn’t want to cook. I had a lot more time back then, so this worked for me.

This last time I was successful, my boyfriend and I actually made all of our main dishes for the week on Sunday, and then just added whatever sides we wanted with vegetables during the week. It worked out really well because I never had to think about cooking at night or worry about what I was bringing for lunch. All I did was grab one of my containers out of the fridge and heat it up. Obviously this limited us a little bit in that anything that needed to be crispy or just didn’t reheat well was out of rotation.

#3) Find an Accountability Buddy, or Better Yet, Someone to Do It With You

The first time I was successful, I knew of several people who were doing it and convinced a few more to join. It was so helpful to know that others were in the same boat, and it was great to get encouragement when needed. I will admit that I’m also a little competitive, so there was that challenge in it for me too that I wasn’t going to be the one to fail.

As I mentioned several times, my boyfriend joined me on this last one, and that was so, so helpful. We made all of our meals together, so we were always eating the same things. The several times that I was unsuccessful, I was going it alone.

#4) Keep It Interesting

As I said earlier, it’s a good idea to have some easy go-to recipes; however, if you keep eating the same foods over and over, you’re going to get bored. Pinterest is a great resource for finding new recipes, but there are also plenty of awesome sites out there that have some unique and tasty foods if you want to go right to the source. Some of my favorites are nomnompaleo.com, againstallgrain.com, meljoulwan.com, and obviously whole30.com. I have found plenty of delicious recipes that I never would have thought to make just by browsing around on their sites.

#5) Keep Track of Your Progress

As a rule of the Whole30, you’re not supposed to weigh yourself until the 30 days are up. This is because so many people are obsessed with the scale, and also because your weight will fluctuate quite a bit during the 30 days as you are adjusting to the changes. I think it’s great to take a break from the scale because it is just one measure of your success and so many people rely way too heavily on it. Personally, I used to weigh myself multiple times a day while I was actively trying to lose weight. Some days would feel amazing, but other days, my weight would be up, and I’d get really down on myself. I often used it as an excuse to just let loose, get really emotional, and binge on junk food. I’d get way too focused on the number on the scale and forget about all the other good I was doing for myself.

There are so many other (and, in my opinion, better) ways to measure progress. It may be hard to notice the changes as you’re going through them, so for me, it was really helpful to keep a journal of how I was feeling day to day. I would write down how my clothes were fitting, what my energy levels were like, and how I was feeling physically.  That way on days where I was second guessing whether or not going through all the trouble of a Whole30 was really worth it, I could look back on my progress and see that my headaches were becoming fewer and far between, my clothes really were fitting more loosely overall, and my energy levels were through the roof and much more sustained. I definitely had my bad days where I felt like I regressed, but it was so helpful to be able to look back on where I came from and know that throwing in the towel would really be a big mistake.


 

Anyway, these are the things that I learned over the last couple years on my many, many attempts at the Whole30. I am by no means an expert, but I figured I’d share my experiences with you so that if you’re planning a Whole30 or are in the midst of one, you might be able to use some of what I’ve learned to help set yourself up for success as well.

Additionally, if you’ve done a Whole30 or attempted and didn’t quite make it all the way through, I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments below. Maybe we can learn from each other!

Weeks 5 and 6 Progress

Last week I was in fabulous Las Vegas for my industry’s big expo which is why there was no progress update. I was gone Sunday-Thursday, and then I had a bad weekend, so I didn’t feel like posting a delayed update like I normally would have. My normal weigh in day is Wednesday, but I was at the expo, so I couldn’t weigh myself. I did weigh myself on Friday when I got back though, and I am a bit ashamed to admit that when I saw the number on the scale I got pretty upset, and I ended up having a bit of a “diet temper tantrum” as I’ve been calling it.

Mandalay Bay, Foundation Room, Las Vegas, NV

View from the Foundation Room at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

I’ve been feeling pretty frustrated lately with my progress. I’ve thought that I’ve been working pretty hard, but I keep seeing the same 2-3 lbs going away and coming right back. I was especially upset last week because I worked pretty hard to stay on plan while I was in Vegas-limiting my alcohol consumption and passing on the truly decadent dishes for the more healthy options. I was also walking a ton (like 3-4x what I get on a normal daily basis), and I even managed to get in a morning yoga workout every day. I could have totally gone off the deep end and indulged in all the cocktails and treats and terrible-for-you meals, but I didn’t. I was the good little dieter. I had a couple cocktails, and a treat here and there, but I managed to not totally overdo it. I tracked my calories and exercise every day, and according to my tracker, I should have had a couple pound loss because I was at about a 7,000 calorie deficit for the week. So what happened!?!

Honestly, weight loss is such a fickle, complicated, finicky jerk! You can do everything right and not see the numbers on the scale sometimes because of other factors that you may not even consider or may be completely out of your control. For instance, I have a feeling that I was retaining water when I weighed myself. I don’t think I was drinking enough water in the arid Las Vegas climate, so I’d be willing to bet that I was a bit dehydrated. Then when I got back and was downing the water, my body was probably holding onto it. That’s my hypothesis anyway, but I really have no way of testing it, so who knows?

Anyway, this “diet temper tantrum” is what I know that many others have experienced. I was frustrated with the results I’ve been seeing, so I threw up my hands and said “screw it! My weight has been staying the same no matter what I’m doing, so why not just indulge? I’m going to eat whatever I want and not bust my butt working out because what’s the point?!” So I indulged for a few days and let myself be a couch potato, but after getting some of the frustration out of my system, I woke up.

“What’s the point?” I was asking myself… The point is making healthier life choices, so I can live a longer, healthier life. Ultimately that’s why I’m doing this. Yes, I want to lose the weight because being 115 lbs overweight really isn’t healthy, but if I’m doing everything else right, and the weight wants to be a clingy little jerk, well, then it is what it is. I need to be moving everyday, and I need to be eating the right foods because ultimately that’s what’s best for my body. Yeah, it sucks when doing these things should be reducing my gravitational pull, and it isn’t, but I just need to make sure that I’m truly giving it my all and doing everything I should be doing and be confident in that.

Another reason I think I’ve been pretty frustrated is actually that I’m frustrated with myself. I’ve been lying to myself by saying that I’ve been doing everything that I should be doing. I haven’t. I haven’t been giving 100%. I’ve been giving maybe 60% and pretending it was 100%. Every time I’ve been stepping on the scale and not seeing the results that I wanted, I know that mostly I’m to blame. Don’t get me wrong-giving 60% is still challenging, and I should still be seeing a loss that I haven’t really been seeing, but I know that I could be doing more, and I probably would be seeing better results.

All that said… I do have to face reality now and realize that I am not going to get to my birthday goal. I would have to lose 2.5 lbs a week until my birthday to get there, and that’s not a realistic or healthy goal, so I will have to amend it. I’m still determined to get as close as I can, so now it’s time to really buckle down and get serious about it. No more “one-cheeking” my attempts and calling it working hard. I want to see the results, so I need to do the work. I’m really giving it my all now, but like I said earlier, I’m going to ease up on my scale frustrations. I know I’ll be doing as much as I can do, and the rest is in God’s hands.

Have you ever had a “diet temper tantrum?” How did you deal with it? How do you normally deal with it when you’re not seeing the results you feel like you should be? I’d love to know, so let me know in the comments below!


Week 6 Progress Update

Week 6 loss: 0 lbs

Total loss: 0.5 lb gain

NSV: Being honest with myself-admitting that I could be doing better.

Adjustments for next week: Focusing on making healthier choices because it’s the right thing to do and not just because it will help me see the right numbers on the scale. I will be at another conference from Tuesday-Friday of next week which will be challenging, but I will do my best to make the healthy choices. 🙂

Week 4 Progress

Today’s post will be super short because, well… this week sucked. I’m basically back to where I started 4 weeks ago. I am just finally feeling better today. My cold or whatever it was completely drained my energy and congested my lungs, so there was no working out last week at all. I also had very little energy to cook, so my meals consisted of whatever was fast and easy. Not really healthy.


Week 4 Progress Update

Week 4 loss: 1.5 lb gain

Total loss: 0 lbs

NSV: None this week

Adjustments for next week: Now that I’m finally feeling better, I’m back on plan. Goal for this week is to get one serving of fruit or veggies with every meal and 8 glasses of water every day.

Week 3 Progress

This will be a quick one today. I didn’t do my official weigh in, but I’m sure it’s not great. I’m ok with it though because this week has been unusual. I weighed myself yesterday, and I had a gain of 1.5 lbs.

The breakdown: My week started with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day-my two favorite days of the year. Last week I said I was going to try to track, but I wasn’t going to be super strict about it, and that ended up not happening. I tracked my breakfast each day, but by lunch, I was busy enjoying company, so I didn’t want to stop and take out my phone to track it all. I was pretty good with my main meals, but I definitely overdid it by grazing. I also gave myself a pass on working out because I didn’t really have time in between all the family stuff. I could have made time, but again, I was enjoying family time.

Saturday and Sunday I did fairly well keeping myself on track. I didn’t work out on Saturday because it’s my rest day, and I don’t really have any place I can work out at my boyfriend’s house. Sunday we did manage to go to the gym which felt pretty good after my days of overdoing it and being lazy.

Then Monday morning I woke up feeling like garbage, and I’ve been sick since. My head and chest have been really congested, and I just have zero energy. Obviously working out has been off the table the last few days since all I want to do when I get home from work is lay down, and my eating has been crap. I don’t know about you, but when I get sick, I don’t feel like cooking a huge meal, and all I really want is comfort food. I’ve been overdoing it on the soups and breads the last few days, but again, I’m ok with this minor setback because it’s unusual. If it becomes my new norm, then I’ll worry about it. As soon as I am feeling better, I can’t wait to get back to my workouts and eating better! Hopefully by this weekend, I’ll be back to normal or at least to the point where I don’t feel like death.


Week 3 Progress Report

Week 3 loss: 1.5 lb gain

Total loss: 1.5 lbs

NSV: I did intervals on the treadmill on Sunday, and I was able to run for a full minute 4x. 🙂

Adjustments for next week: Again, sticking to my plan! Hopefully I’ll kick this cold soon and can get right back to business!


 

How do you handle sticking to plan while sick? I think this would be and instance where freezer meals would come in handy…

Have a safe and happy new year!

Week 2 Progress

I am 2 weeks into my weight loss journey, and honestly I haven’t been doing that well with staying on plan. I’d say I’ve stayed within my ranges about 25% of the time. I could make excuses and say that it’s because of all the holiday treats scattered around the building at work, but I won’t. I’m sure it doesn’t help to have the added temptation, but ultimately, it’s my choice whether or not to have some, and I’ve just not been making good choices. As I said previously it is in my plan to allow myself some treats in moderation, but consuming between 250-1000 calories a day in treats is not even close to moderation. (It’s usually closer to the 250 than the 1000, but there was one day that I hit the candy hard!)

One thing that I have noticed that I struggle with quite a bit is staying on plan during my free time. I joined the Sparkpeople Spark Coaching, and one of the things they have you do is assess how you did over the last 24 hours with sticking to plan. You mark on a scale of 1-5 how well you feel you did, and then you write a couple sentences about why you feel that way, and I have noticed a major pattern. I can stick to plan pretty well during the day (even with all the treats out), but when I get home, I go off plan. I end up going out for dinner because I don’t feel like cooking, or overconsuming on the snacks in my cupboard.

I think this is due to the fact that during the day I have a somewhat regimented schedule, and I’m distracted by my work. I eat my breakfast in the morning when I get to work, around noon I eat lunch, around 2 I have an afternoon snack, and then around 4:30, I go home. When I get home though, it’s a different story. I usually try to get a workout in, but then after that, I don’t really have a schedule. Maybe I’ll clean one day or watch TV another, and I think it’s this lack of a schedule or distraction that sends me to the kitchen. So in an attempt to combat this, I am going to work on making up a schedule for myself after work, and I’m going to find a hobby. Last week I colored while I watched TV, but it made my hand hurt, so I’m not sure that can be an everyday thing…

I’m also finding that weekends are difficult for me as well for the same reasons stated above. We don’t really do a whole lot on the weekend, so it leads to boredom which leads to overeating. Last weekend I had a really hard time staying on track. First on Friday, I was really snacky by the time I got to my boyfriend’s house, and we couldn’t eat right away because we had to get to a bunch of stores before they closed. By the time we got to the grocery store it was after 9, and we were hungry for everything and nothing at the same time. It was hard to find something to eat that we agreed on, and after much wandering and some arguing we ended up getting the stuff to make Philly cheese steaks. They definitely put me over my calorie budget, but I’m not gonna lie… they were worth every calorie. Normally I’d be fine and just call that my worth it meal for the week, but I knew I had a Christmas party the next day that I’d probably be overdoing it at.

I tried to compensate for my previous high calorie day on Saturday by eating light all morning. I had a Chobani Flip for breakfast around mid morning, and then I didn’t eat anything for lunch. This was not a good idea.

My parents got me tickets to see the traveling Broadway performance of Beauty and the Beast at the Performing Arts Center, and I went to see it with my mom. Before the show started we had a bit of time to kill, so we ordered some glasses of wine, and then preordered some for during intermission. I was completely not thinking about the fact that I hadn’t eaten much all day, and after my second glass, I was pretty tipsy. An hour after my second glass, I was still feeling it, and we had to stop and grab dinner before heading to the Christmas party. The closest thing on the way was Wendy’s, and being famished and a little tipsy, I did not make good choices. I had a gooey cheesy bacon cheeseburger, fries, and a lemonade. I’m pretty sure that meal was my entire day’s worth of calories right there… and then some… About an hour later, we got to the party, and the usual party snacks were laid out on a table, and I way overdid it by grazing throughout the night. I also had a couple more drinks… I did really well sticking to plan on Sunday though.

Beauty and the Beast Traveling Broadway Performance

Best birthday present ever! Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite Disney movie, and the live show did not disappoint. 🙂

The rest of my week was pretty boring. I just had work and came home. I did well sticking to my food goals with the exception of Monday night. My sister had a bunch of candy that she was eating while we watched TV, and she shared with me. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to eat it because I was almost at my max calories for the day, but I did it anyway. That was my 1000 calories over goal day… The sad thing is, it didn’t take all that much candy to get me to that point…

Best dinner ever, broccoli, pizza rolls, and oatmeal

Best dinner ever… I was feeling lazy last night, but I didn’t want to go over goal, so I had some pizza rolls, oatmeal, and steamed broccoli. 😛

I am a little worried about tomorrow and Friday being Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I have family parties on both days, so I’m sure there’s going to be plenty of high calorie foods and adult beverages. I am going to try my best to track, but sometimes when other people are making the food, it can be difficult. My plan is to try to stick to the lean meats and veggies and have just a sampling of anything else that looks good.

 


 

Week 2 Progress Report

So all that said about how I didn’t do well this week, I must have done something right because I still managed to lose 2 lbs this week for a total loss of 3 lbs!

Week 2 loss: 2 lbs

Total loss: 3 lbs

NSV: I am noticing that my clothes are just ever so slightly more comfortable. 🙂

Adjustments for next week: Sticking to my plan! This week I adjusted my calorie levels down a little from week 1 because I looked at a few different calculators, and I was just a bit high for reaching my goal. Now, I just need to be more diligent about sticking to it.


I probably won’t be posting tomorrow or Friday, so Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Let me know in the comments below how you are planning to handle/have been handling any holiday parties.

Week 1 Progress

Well, this should be interesting. I’m typing this post on my phone because I forgot my laptop. It’s a short one, so hopefully it should be ok. Bear with me on any typos. 😉

This week was pretty good. On my Wednesday weigh in, I was down 1 lb. I’m on a 10 day streak of working out every day. 🙂 And today when I did my morning pilates workout, I was able to do all the moves.

The first move we did was a dogging cobra, which if you aren’t familiar, you start in downward dog and then without moving your hands or feet, you shift down into plank position and then dip down into cobra. Then you pull your butt back into downward dog and repeat. We’ve had to do them in videos before, and I never could, except today! The second move I was never able to do was the boat teaser sit up. Again, for anyone unfamiliar, you start laying flat on the ground with arms and legs extended. Then you sit up in a v with your legs bent into boat position. Then you straighten your legs so you’re in a full v for the teaser and then lay back down. I never could do these before, but today I could, and they didn’t even feel that difficult. 🙂 The final move I conquered today was called a windshield wiper. I only managed a couple, but it’s better than the none I could do before. 🙂 For this move, you go into a bridge and extend one foot parallel to the ground. Then you move it out and in. It’s still very challenging, but I’m so excited to see the progress I’ve made over the last 6 weeks, and it makes me more motivated to keep it up!

Well that’s my progress update for this week! I’ve been trying to write more, but this week has been crazy! Hopefully after the holidays things should settle down. 🙂

Please let me know in the comments below if you’re on your own journey, and what you’ve accomplished this week.