Amazing, you’ve decided to start a Whole30, buuuuuuuut you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed! This is normal. I wanted to share the top things I have learned since I did my first Whole30 in 2013.
- Don’t Overthink It
You do not have to eat 90 perfectly curated, advanced recipe meals. Your Whole30 will not happen in a vacuum, life will happen and sometimes your meal will be a meat stick, a handful of nuts and maybe a piece of fruit. Is it Whole30 compliant? If the answer is yes, you’re doing it right — let good enough be good enough. Make leftovers to stick in the freezer and/or buy some frozen meals at Walmart or another favorite pre-made meal company (I really like Model Meals if they deliver to your area.)
- This is not a diet
Do not treat the Whole30 as another diet. Meaning, if you’re will powering your way through, promising yourself the pizza on day 31 and just generally miserable — you’re likely treating the Whole30 as a diet — and diets don’t work. Diets are not sustainable long term and the Whole30 is not meant to be done long term, it is a temporary reset. It can be enjoyable IF you’re willing to shift your mindset. Instead of a restrictive mindset try saying – you’re choosing to fuel your body with whole, unprocessed foods for 30 days, followed by a proper reintroduction. You’re counting nothing except your non-scale victories.
- Commit & make a promise to yourself
Write down all of the reasons that you want to complete the Whole30 + Reintroduction; what non-scale victories do you hope to attain? Once those are written down, write down IF/THEN statements. If/then statements help equip you with a plan when life happens and plans don’t go as expected. Write down those things that could happen. For example: “If my kids want candy / treats, then I will…..; If I crave something sweet after a meal, then I will…” Write as many as you think you need or even more. If those situations happen, you’re already equipped with a plan and less likely to eat something non-compliant. Remember, the Whole30 doesn’t work unless YOU do. Click here for a free downloadable Whole30 commitment form that I created.
- Embrace thyself and take (imperfect) action
Know what you like and don’t like; know if you’d rather spend 1-2x per week doing a longer meal prep session (3-5 hrs) or multiple shorter sessions; Do you like recipes or not so much?; Can you handle going out with friends who might drink and eat off-plan items or would it be better to wait for life after Whole30/Food Freedom?; Are you ok with the same foods or do you like a lot of variety?; Anticipate how you will self-sabotage in the future – no guilt or shame – accept that reality and still take action.
- Plan, Prepare and Prioritize
Stock up, meal plan (if you’re into that sort of thing), meal prep(yes, you must do this) and prioritizing yourself & your Whole30 commitment. This can look different depending on your ‘Know Thy Self’ strategies and other commitments. You might have several smaller chunks of time throughout the week or 1-2 larger chunks of time, plan accordingly. Eat before going to parties and gatherings Cook things you ENJOY, you never have to eat anything you don’t like. You know the saying “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others” ? Prioritizing yourself and putting yourself first is exactly this.
- Use neutral and positive language
I know it may seem like a small thing, but we talk more to ourselves more than anyone else! Rather than say or think about everything you can’t have, think about all you CAN have. Don’t even give cheating or failing a second thought – You.Are.Going.To.Do.This.
- Have emergency food on hand, at all times
There are two kinds of emergency food – having some quick items like meat sticks and on the go items are great for your bag, car and desk. It’s also a great idea to have some of your favorite meals in the freezer or premade frozen meals like the Good Value brand from Walmart. This will save you on the days when you get home and you’re exhausted with no food in the fridge. No Whole30 is perfect, remember you’re one job is to eat Whole30 complaint foods, it may not be exactly according to the template everyday and that’s ok! You’re doing the best you can.
- Don’t white-knuckle and will power your way through the 30 days
If you’re on edge most days, one meal away from being out of food or skipping meals, replacing sugary or junk foods with fruit and bars – take a moment to re-evaluate your commitment. If this is another check on the list of the ‘diets’ you’ve done, to hop on the scale immediately to see if it “worked” or eat alllll the things on Day 31 — this is not the intention of the Whole30 . Please, grab that Whole30 emergency meal out of the freezer or grab a few Walmart Whole30 frozen meals or grab a Chipotle or Zoe’s approved meal, regain some energy and momentum and meal prep some things you love. Remember: the first 30 days is only the beginning.
- Don’t skip reintroduction
I cannot stress this enough – there is no Whole30 without a proper reintroduction. Many people (including me!) do not go on to manage their Food Freedom well and/or yo-yo on and off the Whole30. It’s not only about the food! It’s about the habits and the awareness. The Whole30 is meant to be done short term, not forever — I know many feel the comfort within the black and white rules, but life is not black and white. There’s plenty of gray area to get used to. Reintroduction is a way of testing the waters – taking the “training wheels” off for a day and then putting them back on for 10-15 days then fully taking them off.