Tips to Start Your First Whole30 / Kick-Start the Next !
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Tips to Start Your First Whole30
I understand, undertaking the Whole30 can seem daunting. Heck, I’ve done it three times and have had a few false starts myself.
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Nowadays I have to avoid egg, which complicates my
relationship with the Whole30/way of eating. In my other Whole30 ventures I had
my BFF (best food friend), Egg.
We all have good reasons to push off changing bad habits…
time… schedule, the work involved, not having all the family on the same page,
that evening glass of wine…
But WHY the Whole30? For me… it works. It hasn’t only helped me slim down, but I feel better. The aches in my joints diminish, mental clarity returns, hot flashes nearly completely go away, and that foggy mental cloud – dissipates. I think it’s worth a try. It’s an effort-filled try. Results do vary, but I think it’s worth a try to discover what foods work for you and what foods work against you.
Tips to Start Your First Whole30
Get the book:
The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. It has an entire timeline section… basically a “what to expect to feel day-by-day” section. It gives depth to the WHY. You will want this info to reference, particularly in your weak moments. Reading through the book fortified my resolve. (My own favorite two cookbooks are Well Fed and Well Fed Weeknights. You can find a more complete list of my favorite resources here.)
Don’t binge the days before your planned start!
Slowly start weaning in the days prior to your beginning. Instead of 3 Cokes, drink one. Instead of a whole row of cake, try eating just one piece. The “last supper” approach is probably the worst way to head successfully into a new way of life.C
Get rid of the stuff that makes you weak.
You WILL crave as you come off the crap. Empty the fridge and cupboards. Sure you feel strong and resolved now, but there will be a moment(s). Be ready for those moments. Don’t be an optimist. You’ll have time for that later 😉
Acknowledge the hardness.
Know it will be hard. Prepare your mind. Change is hard. If it was easy, you would have done it years ago. But then? It gets easier and one day you just might find your craving for a fresh donut for breakfast has turned into a craving for a big bowl of leftover cinnamon beef stew for breakfast.
In the book, Melissa does say, “Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”
She is so right. But it sure ain’t easy either. I need to be having the right kind-of pep-talks with myself, and if I keep telling myself something will be easy but it’s actually NOT easy… sometimes my resolve just can’t weather that storm.
Find a handful of recipes you love and prep, prep, prep.
I created this post here (7 Delicious Got-To Whole30 Meals) with my favorite go-to recipes. I have created an Instagram account (@thewholeavocado) where I follow only clean eating accounts… check it out. Follow the accounts I follow there – many give entire recipes right in their posts!). I share my own meals there too. Aaaaand I have created my own Whole30 Pinterest Board loaded with Whole30 inspo.
Warning: don’t confuse Paleo with Whole30. Not everything Paleo is Whole30 compliant. This is where reading the book will help. A leading example that stands out to me is that Paleo baked goods are a big NO!
I am one of those people who can eat the same thing over and over, and I have a handful of recipes I make to freeze. Most of these meals are my breakfasts and lunches. MY SUCCESS AT WHOLE30 CENTERS AROUND THIS TIP.
Freezer-friendly items/meals I individual package:
- Sweet Potato Chorizo Hash
- Carrot/Veggie Soup
- Pumpkin Porridge
- Chicken (this recipe is THE recipe, yo), pulled pork, grilled pork chops on salad or paired with veggies. All of these options are awesome when dipped in guacamole!
- Taco Meat (taco salad anyone?)
- Bacon (chop it up, and sprinkle it on anything to kick-up the flavor!)
- Stew (THIS is my favorite recipe , this and most of my favorite Whole30 recipes are in this book here)
- Sloppy Joe meat from the Whole30 Cookbook. The WHOLE family LOVEs this recipe!
And if you love Trader Joes, here’s a list of 25 Whole30 compliant items you can stock-up on on your next visit!
Keep quick-cook options on-hand…
- Whole30 compliant hot dogs…
- Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausage is GREAT in a pinch! For a quick breakfast, since I usually have steamed broccoli on hand (yay, leftovers!)… I pair the Aidell’s sausage, broccoli, and avocado (or guacamole). I sometimes add a little salad for an extra dose of greens!
- For those of y’all who can eat egg, hard boiled eggs are AWESOME.
- My own veggie go-to’s are broccoli and cauliflower. I blanche a whole bunch of broccoli, and drizzle it with orange-infused olive oil. I add the brocooli it to salads and even tuna! Cauliflower is a great way to fluff-up a meal that’s looking lack-luster. Cauliflower is so easy and widely available already riced!
Let-go of traditional breakfast-dish mentality.
Salads for breakfast are AWESOME YOU GUYS! If you have stuff prepped (veggies and individually frozen serving of chicken or taco meat) salads can be a faster option than making a bowl of oatmeal. Don’t forget soup! Soup is a great way to kick-off a morning too – especially a cold one. Stew doesn’t suck as a day-starter either. I would never have the time to make stew in the morning, so this is where I lean on leftovers or my frozen meal stash.
Recruit a buddy, particularly a buddy who lives with you.
A partner can be strong when you are weak. A buddy can help with the prep, and add their own food ideas to the mix! If you don’t have that, social media is a GREAT place to track down other people just like us! I have found so much support and inspiration on my @wholeavocado Instagram account!
I strongly suggest reading through the book as soon as you can so you can start rolling. It gives you the background to the WHY… which helps you in the moments you find yourself wanting to give up. The book gives the science and reasoning why the effort is worthwhile.
Potential benefits to keep in mind during the hard times:
- Better sleep.
- Lessening joint paint (like when getting up from sitting or out of bed) due to reduction of inflammation.
- Increase in energy.
- Mental clarity.
- For my pre-menopausal & menopausal peeps, I feel a HUGE reduction in hot flashes. I never realized how much food impacts hormones before hitting my first WHole30, and hot flashes are alllll about hormones…
- Reduction in cravings, possibly even post-Whole30. There are some foods I have never returned to. I lost certain taste preferences, I suppose. Overall, my craving for sugar diminished. DOn’t get me wrong… I love me my sugars, but my desires and cravings changed.
- Possible weight loss. I tend to lose between 8-10 pounds, however I have a friend who lost zero. But she felt better, so…
Though weight loss can occur using this program, that’s really not the aim with the Whole30. The aim is to take 30 days (or more if needed) to get sugars and processed foods out of your system in order to learn what fuel works best for your body. It’s not that dairy is bad, but is it right for you. Gluten is not the enemy… unless it is for you. Eliminate, then add back to discover what works for you. That’s the aim. The goal.
Why did I ever stop? Well, finding out that eggs are highly inflammatory for me, was a hard blow. I took a blood test for that. I had given up cream in my coffee, chocolate, and all alcohol with surprisingly little fit and weeping… but eggs had become my BFF (best food friend). They were my WHole30 comfort food. My best little buddy. I lost sight of how to do the prgram without my Whole30 BFF.
Since my last Whole30, those pounds have returned. My hot flashes are back IN FORCE, and my joints don’t like me to get out of bed, and not because of exercise… but because of the inflammation. I have grown more tired, and cranky, and struggle to “feel” motivated. So, my season of grieving the loss of my beloved eggs is over.
This way of living… the whole, clean eating way of life is work – compared to pre-package conveniences. It can be a challenge to be social (appetizers, movie popcorn, and pints of beer), and to eat out whole doing the Whole30 can be a special mountain to not tumble from; but on the flip side it is a quite the challenge to feel so damn crappy all the time.
It is also quite the challenge to squeeze into my jeans these days. *ahem*
I wonder how much time I waste feeling crappy and wandering the kitchen in guilt, lacking satisfaction. Following the Whole30 plan feels like so much effort, however what if the time spent eating clean is a wash with all the time lost living in a foggy-minded, unmotivated, inflamed state of mind and being? What if eating clean actually ends-up giving back time?
Drop me your thoughts!
Does this sound like a diet or a lifestyle change to you? I am in the “lifestyle” camp… adding back what works, and leaving behind the yummy, but bad stuff.
Have you tried Whole30 before? Do you think it’s a crock or a gimmick? What do you think about Keto or some of the other trending programs out there? I have read this Keto book. It is something I am mulling over. I’d have to to a dairy-free Keto and getting the fat/calories without dairy feels like something I am not ready to take on. I have also done The Plan, which was even tougher than the Whole30, but I learned a BUNCH about food and inflammation going through that process. It is a great system for super-slow reintroduction, but I think I needed more detox time than the program prescribes to fully discover my own food intolerances.