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!

Advertisements

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!

Whole30-Day 12

I made it through another work week, and what a challenging one, at that! Lots of treats all week, but I stayed strong. I didn’t have any of the sugar laden treats, and I’m still standing. Imagine that! I’m sure I’m actually in a better position than if I had had them. 🙂 Now the real test begins… the weekend…

I don’t know about you, but I find it fairly easy to stick to a healthy eating regimen on weekdays when the rest of my schedule is fairly regimented, and then on the weekends, all bets are off. I’m either not doing anything and want to eat out of boredom, or I’m doing so much that I have to just grab what I can. Weekends are also the time when I see friends and family, and what goes better with socializing than food? This weekend will be no different.

Tomorrow I am going up to one of my favorite places in the world-Door County. It’s peak week for the fall color, and we’re going to go enjoy it by hiking at some of the parks up there. It’s going to be an awesome day! The one thing that is going to suck though is that I won’t be going to any wineries which is one of my favorite things to do up there. There are also several treat shops up there I like to visit any time I make it to the area, but I won’t be visiting them this time around. I’m sure I’ll be fine though. It’s not like I’ll never go up there again, and it’s not like I really need those treats. I’m sure I’ll be able to find something I can have that will be good and good for me! Regardless of all the things I won’t be doing, I’m still really excited for the hiking!


I think I was right about all of my symptoms coming at me all rolled up into a two day stretch. I got way too lucky not having any of the negative side effects, that it was just a matter of time before something caught up to me. I had a hard time waking up this morning, and I had some slight GI discomfort after eating breakfast this morning, but I feel so much better. The one thing I’m really struggling with right now is wanting to weigh myself!

I feel like I’ve lost some weight; I can see it in my face, and I can feel it in the way my clothes fit. Even though I’m feeling amazing, which is what should really matter, I’ve been so conditioned to rely on the number on the scale that I feel this intense urge to weigh myself for reassurance. However, I’m not going to give in. I’ve committed to going all 30 days without weighing myself or taking any measurements, and I intend to stick to that. This process is not just about eating better, it’s also about breaking the unhealthy psychological ties we have related to food and health, and this need I have to weigh myself definitely feels like an unhealthy psychological response that needs to be taken care of. Because it’s something I’ve been conditioned to do for as long as I can remember, I feel like it’s going to be a really hard habit to break. My goal is to only weigh myself once a month at work with the health coach. Maybe I should just get rid of my scale… Haha that probably won’t happen!

So what did I eat?

Breakfast: a banana, 3 eggs cooked with spinach, and 8 oz. Cosmic Cranberry kombucha

Lunch: Leftover Lazy Pot Roast with potatoes, carrots, and sauteed green beans

Dinner: Leftover Lazy Pot Roast turned into soup