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!

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Whole30 Week 3

Today marks day 27 of my Whole30. I’m almost there! If you missed my recaps of the first 2 weeks, you can check them out here and here. I can’t believe it’s almost done! I’m contemplating what I’m going to do once the official 30 days are up. I’m feeling so good on the Whole30 that I don’t want to go back to the way I had been eating previously, but I just don’t think I can be so strict 100% of the time. I’m thinking I’ll do the reintro that they suggest on the Whole30 website, and then once I figure out what foods work well with my system and those that don’t, I’m going to go back to a relaxed Whole30 and add in the foods that are ok for me on occasion. I’ve got a few other ideas I’ve been toying with though, so we’ll see how it goes. Only 3 more days!

Anyway, here’s my recap of week 3…

Day 15:

Day 15

Breakfast: Italian Beef from Slender Kitchen, frozen veggies with olive oil and Mrs. Dash, clementine, V8 Spicy Hot

Lunch: Chocolate chili from Mel Joulwan, salad, clementine, Cranberry Lime Seltzer

Dinner: 5 spice slow cooker pork ribs from Mel Joulwan, green beans with olive oil and Mrs. Dash

Snack: Banana applesauce pouch

Notes: My energy was pretty good today, but I did have a bit of some stomach upset in the afternoon. I didn’t want to eat dinner, but I made myself, and I felt a lot better after eating.

 

Day 16:

Day 16

Breakfast: Chocolate Chili, salad, apple

Lunch: 5 spice ribs, green beans with olive oil and Mrs. Dash, clementine

Dinner: Paleo chicken and dumpling soup (minus the dumplings) from A Healthy Life for Me, coconut water with pineapple

Snack: no snack

Notes: My sleep has been great lately. I fell asleep right away last night and didn’t wake up at all during the night. I have been having a lot of cravings lately, but they only last for a little bit. It’s usually when I see something that my mouth starts to water, and I really want it or something similar, but I haven’t had too many cravings where they just came up from nowhere.

 

Day 17:

Day 17

Breakfast: Coconut water with pineapple, chicken soup

Lunch: Italian Beef, Romaine salad, apple

Dinner: Banana Bread Larabar

Snack: no snack

Notes: I had a pretty busy night tonight, so I didn’t feel like cooking anything. I also wasn’t very hungry, so I just grabbed one of my Larabars out of my emergency stash for dinner.

 

Day 18:

Day 18

Breakfast: Italian beef, clementine, romaine salad, coconut water

Lunch: 5 spice ribs, green beans

Dinner: Eggs, roasted potatoes

Snack: no snack

Notes: This morning I woke up right away with my alarm. I did some foam rolling before my coworker got to work to join me for our morning workout, and it felt amazing! I mean it hurt like hell while I was doing it, but my muscles felt pretty loose for the first time in a couple weeks. As soon as I was done with our workout, they felt like they had seized back up, but for about a half hour, I felt good. 🙂

 

Day 19:

Day 19

Breakfast: Italian Beef, chopped broccoli, clementine, V8 spicy hot

Lunch: Chocolate chili

Dinner: Eggs, chicken apple sausage

Snack: no snack

Notes: I woke up pretty easily this morning. I felt good all day. I got in a good foam roller workout that felt amazing. It was painful at the time, but my muscles felt so much better after.

 

Day 20:

Breakfast: coconut water

Lunch: no lunch

Dinner: Steak, baked sweet potato with ghee, grapefruit Izze

Snack: no snack

Notes: Busy day again, so I really didn’t eat breakfast or lunch. We had a date night, so we grabbed some takeout (we were supposed to actually eat at the restaurant, but the wait would have been way too long, and we had to catch a movie.)

 

Day 21:

Breakfast: coconut water

Lunch: blood orange

Dinner: a slice of carne asada, plantain chips, nibbles of the food we were cooking

Snack: no snack

Notes: Another busy day, so I didn’t eat much. The meat we made for dinner didn’t smell right, so we tossed it, and I didn’t feel like making anything else.

 

Week 3 Recap:

Week 3 has been great. I’m not really feeling any of the negative effects of the first couple weeks. I can tell I’ve lost some weight, and I’m definitely feeling the tiger blood! I have so much energy during the day, I can get through my workouts without a problem and am even starting to look forward to getting them done in the morning to get my day going. I’ve had a few stomach issues here and there, but I think that I’ve really confirmed that eggs do not work for me. I know I’ve written about them being something I shouldn’t eat in the past, but I had been eating them on occasion without any ill effects. This week I had some, and I had the worst stomach cramps a couple hours after eating them. It makes me pretty sad, but I know that I can still eat them occasionally if I want to if I’m willing to deal with the consequences.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today! Again, if you’re on a Whole30 journey, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below! And if you’re interested in starting the program, you can read all about it on their website or get the book here!

 

(Full disclosure: I use affiliate links on my site, so if you buy through my link, I get a little kickback. Thanks!)

Whole30 Week 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently doing a Whole30. Today actually marks day 20, and I’m still going strong! I think one thing that has really helped has been the log I started on day 1. I have written down everything I’ve eaten and drank, and I wrote about how I was feeling for the day. I started it as just a log for myself to keep track of my progress (to see that I am actually making progress!), but I’m going to share it with you as well, so if you’re doing a Whole30 or thinking about it (Get the book here!), maybe you can get some meal ideas or just hear what my journey was like.

Day 1:

Whole30 Day 1 Sausage, Eggs, Salad, Tuna, apples

Breakfast: Italian sausage link, 2 hardboiled eggs, green beans, seltzer

Lunch: Tuna salad made with pickles, olive oil, and Mrs. Dash on Romaine lettuce leaves, green beans, apples

Dinner: Chocolate Chili from Mel Joulwan (I usually love this recipe, but I cut corners this time and just dumped everything in my crock pot. It turned into the gross gray-pink mush by the time I got home. It hadn’t developed it’s usual smokey caramelized flavor, and the texture was awful. I will not be cutting corners on this one again!)

Snacks: Handful of Kalamata olives, handful of pistachios

Notes: Day 1 went great. I stuck to my plan and didn’t slip up at all. I almost absentmindedly grabbed a cupcake that someone brought in, but as I was walking over to them, I remembered I was on Whole30 and stopped myself. I had a bit of a headache, but it went away after I ate dinner.

 

Day 2:

Chocolate Chili, turkey sausage, hardboiled eggs, Poor man's stew

Breakfast: Turkey Sausage, 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 clementines, green beans, black coffee, seltzer

Lunch: Chocolate Chili, Romaine salad with olive oil, balsamic, and Mrs. Dash, carrots, celery, pineapple, strawberries

Dinner: Poor Man’s Stew from The Magical Slow Cooker (This is one of my favorite recipes. It’s so easy to make, and it tastes amazing! You’d never guess it was Whole30!)

Snacks: Handful of Kalamata olives, handful of pistachios

Notes: I woke up pretty easily this morning. I only snoozed a couple of times as opposed to the normal 30-45 min of snoozing I usually do. The day went pretty well- no real cravings or health side effects.

 

Day 3:

Chocolate Chili, Poor man's stew, pineapple hawaiian pork burrito bowl

Breakfast: Chocolate chili, lettuce with oil and vinegar, 2 clementines

Lunch: Poor man’s stew, lettuce with oil and vinegar, apple, 2 clementines

Dinner: Hawaiian pork burrito bowl from With Salt and Wit (This turned out amazing, and it made a ton of pork!)

Snacks: No snacks

Notes: I set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier today and actually got up no problem. I hit snooze a couple times, but I still managed to get up before the time my alarm usually goes off. I got to work nice and early and got my workout in. I felt great throughout the whole thing. My stomach did feel a little off in the afternoon, but I’m sure that’s just because I’m adjusting to this different way of eating than my body is used to. I went to bed nice and early and fell asleep right away after reading for a little bit.

 

Day 4:

Poor man's stew, hawaiian pork burrito bowl, chicken fajita bowl

Breakfast: Bowl of stew, lettuce with oil and vinegar, 2 clementines, V8 Spicy Hot, Cranberry Lime Seltzer

Lunch: Hawaiian pork burrito bowl, 2 clementines, handful of Kalamata olives

Dinner: Chicken Fajitas from She Talks (These were not my favorite. I subbed chicken for the steak, and I wish I would have marinated the chicken before cooking it. I also overcooked my veggies, so they were kind of slimy and wormy.)

Snacks: No snack

Notes: I woke up right away with my alarm and didn’t go back to sleep. I hit the snooze a couple times because I wanted to lay in bed for a bit to wake up a little before starting the day. Today is day 4 that I have been working out, and I feel great! I actually have the energy and motivation to get the whole thing in and challenge myself a little. I lost all the great energy I’ve been feeling around 4 in the afternoon, but I made myself keep going and doing what I needed to do.

 

Day 5:

Hawaiian pork burrito bowl, chicken fajitas, pan roasted chicken thighs

Breakfast: Hawaiian pork burrito bowl, 2 clementines, V8 Spicy Hot, Cranberry Lime Seltzer, Black Coffee

Lunch: Chicken Fajita Salad, 2 clementines, apple, handful of pistachios

Dinner: Pan roasted chicken thighs, oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower, cranberry lime seltzer

Snacks: Apple with almond butter

Notes: I had a really hard time waking up this morning. The energy crash from last night has not gone away. I felt really slow and sluggish all day.

 

Day 6:

Turkey Italian sausage, roasted potatoes, eggs

Breakfast: No breakfast

Lunch: No lunch

Dinner: 2 eggs, turkey sausage link, roasted potatoes, V8 Spicy Hot

Snacks: 2 clementines, a pickle, handful of Kalamata olives

Notes: The energy crash has gone. I woke up pretty early this morning for a weekend-around 8. I was busy cleaning and KonMari-ing my house all day and didn’t really take the time to eat. I was so busy that I really didn’t even think about being hungry. I did have a couple snacks throughout the day, but never sat down to eat an actual meal until dinner.

 

Day 7:

Spatchcocked chicken and roast root vegetables

I didn’t take any pictures of my meals today because I was really busy again and just didn’t think of it, but here’s a picture of the beautiful spatchcocked chicken I made. 🙂

Breakfast: Woke up late-no breakfast

Lunch: Poor man’s stew

Dinner: No dinner

Snacks: Grazed on the food we were making for the week

Notes: I was really busy again today, so I only ate lunch. We woke up pretty late, so it was almost lunch time. Then I made our meal plan for the week, made the grocery list, we went grocery shopping, and then we cooked all evening. The chicken was supposed to be our Valentine’s dinner, but it was getting so late that we didn’t want to stop and eat and just kept cooking.

 

Week 1 Recap:

Overall the first week went pretty well. I didn’t really have any strong cravings, I was feeling more sustained energy throughout the  day, and my motivation was through the roof. I did have a bit of an energy crash around day 4 and into day 5, but it only lasted for a day, and then my energy was back. I also noted that even though for the most part, my cravings were minimal, on day 5 I would have killed for some pizza. Other than that though, I think week one went pretty well!

 

Anyone else on the Whole30 journey? How has it been going for you?


Full disclosure: I use affiliate links on my site. If you’re interested in something I recommend, and you buy it through my link, I get a little kickback. Thanks!

 

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.