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!


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.

Whole30 Day 3

I have now successfully completed 3 days of my Whole30! I know it doesn’t seem like much to be excited about, but considering how many times I’ve failed in the past, I feel pretty good about it. I think the biggest difference this time around is my mindset. I’m excited to be doing this. I’m up for the challenge instead of dreading it and feeling like it’s something I have to do. I really feel like having a solid plan in place with visible reminders of why I’m doing it have really helped.

I’m also really proud of myself that I worked out this morning even though I wasn’t feeling very well. I feel all congested, I had a terrible headache, and I had zero energy. I’m not even exaggerating… I had to sit down a couple times while I was taking my shower this morning. I think what got me through was that I just reminded myself that it was probably just Whole30 flu, and the only way I’m going to get through it is to get through it. Exercising would probably even help.

We tried to pick an easier workout today because neither of us was feeling very well, but it still ended up being pretty challenging! I can definitely tell that I’m getting stronger though. We’ve been doing our morning workouts for about a month now. Honestly, it’s been pretty sporadic, but it’s been enough that I can tell there’s a difference. I really noticed it today when we were doing our double leg lifts. They were by no means easy, but I was able to do more than I could a couple weeks ago.

I have started utilizing my standing desk more regularly at work too. Today I downloaded a widget for my computer that you can set to tell you when to sit and stand. I currently have it set for 45 minutes sitting and 15 minutes standing. Eventually, my goal is to reverse those. I feel like it might be annoying to my coworkers that I keep shifting, but whatever. I have to do what’s right for me and my health, so they’ll get over it. 🙂

I did have a bit of a funny moment today… My bf and I always call each other weird pet names to be funny, and today when I was trying to swype the word “sugar” my phone changed it to “diabetes.” Well played phone… well played…

Today’s meals:

  • Breakfast-veggie omelet from the caterer.
  • Lunch-just a honeycrisp apple… I know, shame on me, but I just really wasn’t hungry.
  • Dinner-Chocolate Chili from meljoulwan.com. (This is seriously one of my all time favorite Whole30 recipes. You’d never guess it’s Whole30!) I’ll probably have some veggies or something too though I’m still not feeling that hungry.

At some point I’ll post my whole Whole30 meal plan. It’s pretty simple because I’m only cooking for myself. I always end up with a ton of food leftovers, but that works out really well for saving money and cooking time. I make sure to get at least 3 servings out of my meals, and I eat the first serving for dinner the night I make it, I eat the second serving for lunch the second day, and I eat the third serving for breakfast the next day. I like to space them out like that so I’m not eating the same meal twice in a row or twice in one day.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Take It Easy!

I don’t know about you, but I can be really hard on myself sometimes. I set absolutely unrealistic goals, and then I get upset when I don’t reach them. It’s completely ridiculous! I had one of those moments this morning until I made myself really think about it logically. After that I was actually feeling pretty good about myself!

I’m on day 14 of my second Whole30. I’ve made it 2 whole weeks, and I’ve got willpower up the wazoo to make it the full 30 days. I woke up this morning feeling awesome! I looked in the mirror, and instead of the usual picking and poking and focusing on my trouble spots, I thought I looked pretty good. Then I stepped on the scale… Because I was feeling so hot and light and thin, I was expecting a number that was reflective of my mood. It wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome number! I am at my lowest weight since my junior year of college back in 2007, but it wasn’t the number I was expecting and hoping for.

I felt pretty down about it all morning until I really stopped to think about it. I started my first Whole30 on September 29, and since that day, I’m down 22 lbs! That’s 12 lbs from the first one and 10 lbs from the second at only 2 weeks in! That means that I’ve lost 22 lbs in 2 months which is really great progress, so it’s completely ridiculous that I was upset this morning that I wasn’t down more than I am. Also, I mentioned in a previous post that I had to go down a pant size the last time I bought pants, and well… they’re starting to get big on me!

These ridiculous high standards have got to go! Especially because they’re based on numbers that tell me nothing more than my gravitational pull… My weight does not indicate how healthy I am or what kind of person I am. I am not the number on the scale. I’m getting healthy, and I’m feeling amazing. That’s what I should really be holding myself to. I’m honestly getting to the point where I’d really just like to get rid of my scale altogether. Unfortunately because of the 6 month Diet Bet I’m in, I won’t be able to until May, but at that point… I’m thinking it’s gone, or at the very least hidden away in my closet so I’m not tempted to pull it out all the time.

So back to my second Whole30! As I said above, I’m on day 14!!! That little mental shift I had a couple weeks ago was exactly what I needed to kick my butt back into gear. It’s not about losing weight. It’s about my health, and making my body feel good by fueling it with good foods. The weight loss is just a natural side effect of fueling my body the right way. (It sure is awesome though! 😉 )

In full disclosure, I’ve been slightly more lax on this Whole30 than I was on the first one, but I really don’t think it’s going to do too much. I’ve had a little bit of sugar here and there because it was in foods that I was using for cooking, but honestly, I’m ok with that because I don’t really feel my sugar dragon breathing down my neck anymore, and it was in such low quantities that it really wasn’t going to do much anyway. The little bit of sugar that I’ve had has not led me running into my kitchen for the Reese’s trees I have hidden in my cupboard. (I think that alone speaks volumes to how far I’ve come. I have some Reese’s in my cupboard… I’m well aware they’re in there, but I haven’t been tempted once to break into them before my 30 days are up.)

I am feeling really good this go around. Now that I’ve figured out that I can’t eat eggs, my stomach is feeling mostly back to normal! I’m eating only until I’m full, and I’m not ravenously hungry between meals. It’s weird because I’ve tried the whole “listen to your body’s cues. When you feel full, stop,” thing before, but I always felt like a failure because I could never figure out when I was full. I know now that it’s because I was never getting the proper cues because the types of foods I was eating were blocking them. Crazy how that works…

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I’m planning to stay strong! I’m making a couple of sides that I know I’ll be able to eat, and my dad is making the turkey and ham in a way that I can eat it. I was a little sad that I wouldn’t be getting all the traditional favorites that I usually enjoy, but honestly, I think I’ll be happy to not be walking around uncomfortably full all day! And, if I really, really want the turkey dinner with all the fixings, I can always get one somewhere when my 30 days are up. I really doubt I will though.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve been lazy…

I will be the first to admit it… I’ve gotten lazy… It’s amazing how when you’re busy, it’s easier to get things done, but when you’re not as busy, it seems that much more difficult!

I had been doing really well sticking to my routine. I planned out my meals ahead of time, cooked at home almost every night with leftovers to take to work the next day. I worked out almost every night-not the most intense workouts, granted, but it was something to get me off the couch. I was getting all my cleaning done every night, so I had a clean house to come home to every day… And on, and on the list goes…

So what happened? Well, it was a couple different things, really, but I can pinpoint it back to a specific night. I had gotten home from work, and I had a run on the schedule for the evening. I had to force myself to go out and do it, and it was a terrible run. My legs were heavy, I couldn’t get my breathing right, and I was just exhausted! Normally when I have to force myself to go work out, I usually get about halfway through and my energy picks up, and I realize my dread was all in my head. Then when I’m finished, I feel amazing. This was not the case, however, for this particular night. I was even more exhausted than when I started, and I just never got that post workout high.

I blame my crappy workout on the fact that I was majorly sugar detoxing, and I was really lethargic. I’m a self-proclaimed sugar addict, so coming down from my sugar high really did a number on me. Now, it’s completely fine in some cases to take a day or two off if you really need it, and in this case, I needed it. The bad part though is that I let this excuse hang on for a little too long, and it took root. I let one day turn into two turn into three, etc. Then, because I wasn’t working out, I wasn’t regimented about eating right, so I let myself have one little piece of chocolate which turned into two pieces of chocolate and then a whole cookie and so on and so forth. It was really just one thing that led to another until I reverted back to where I was tonight, sitting on my couch watching TV with a bag of potato chips and a pile of dishes in the sink that desperately need washing.

It wasn’t something that happened all at once, and that’s the really scary part. It happened so slowly that it was hard to even realize that it was. One thing started slipping, and then the next part went, and it just kept going because I was too comfortable in my laziness to stop it. It’s sad how it takes so long to build up your good habits, but then then it takes one or two small things to make you stumble and end up right back where you started.

Now this really isn’t meant to be “excuses for why I’m lazy,” I promise. Really, it’s more my way of making a confession. I’ve been lazy. I haven’t been doing what I know I should and need to be doing, but no more. I’m making a conscious decision right now to derail this lazy train and get back on the good health track. (Woo… that’s a few too many railroad references there, and, for that, I apologize…) Life’s just too short to be anything but your best self!

If you’ve got any tips or suggestions for how you keep yourself from devolving into a couch blob, I’d love to hear them!