I’m on day 29 so I am definitely not a Whole30 guru by any means. But, I’ve had many friends say they are going to start and have asked if I have any tips. This is my lazy way of not having to repeat myself as well as having a reminder that I can always look back on for myself.
This blog really isn’t intended to be devoted to Whole30; it’s about life in general and my observations as I move through it. But Whole30 is what’s top of mind for me these days. I promise one day soon you’ll be bored to tears by musings of weeds in my garden or how I’m battling my toddler and teenagers. In the meantime here’s my very unofficial Whole30 Top 10 List – and I know true David Letterman style I should start with 10 and go backwards but I never have been a rule follower.
1. Read the book. There are two books that are written by the Whole30 folks; It Starts with Food. and The Whole30. Don’t just look at this as fad diet like Atkins or South Beach. In fact don’t look at this as a diet at all. These books really help to understand WHY you are doing this 30 day thingy and helps keep you focused. Also, there are great recipes.
2. Safety in Numbers. I cannot emphasize this point enough. For me, having a village of people who I know are doing it at the same time is priceless. We aren’t all from the same city even, but we formed a little online village and have cheered and roared and groaned and celebrated each other. Knowing I am not alone in this is amazing. If you don’t have a buddy, get on Facebook and find the Whole 30 support group.
3. You are not a lazy person with no will power. Until I started W30, I just thought I wasn’t strong enough to lose weight. I thought I lacked willpower and just didn’t exercise enough to be attain the BMI that the chart says I am to be. After educating myself through this process, I’ve come to the happy and gratifying new conclusion that I am none of those things. Food has changed so much since the beginning of foodism (yes I like to make up words), that it is no longer just purely sustinace and nutrition. Food has become a drug that has literally altered our brains. This is detox folks. It’s not about conquering your willpower issues or laziness.Be advised – You most likely will experience some sort of detox symptoms – headaches, flu like feeling, rash. Just be prepared. You’re addicted and you not only really really want this junk, your body thinks it has to have it and is going to fight back a bit. Don’t worry. It doesn’t last long.
4. Eat, I say! You don’t want to let yourself get ravishingly hungry. There’s no reason for it. There is so much you can eat, and you’re making big enough changes – don’t go uber on portion control. Stop eating when you’re satisfied (not FULL) and eat when you’re hungry.
5. Plan ahead. Make Bulk. Once you download the Whole30 shopping list ( a MUST – I keep mine on my phone for quick reference), review it and write a list to post on your fridge of all the things you like and will buy. This will remind you of all the food you have to choose from on those “what the heck am I going to eat for dinner” nights. Then make bunch of make ahead things that you have on hand to quickly eat as needed. When you’re hungry and tired and doing something new like W30, the last thing you want to do is labor over what you’re going to eat and slave away for hours. Make a bunch of chicken salad, tuna salad, chopped up veggies, hard boiled eggs, roasted sweet potato chunks, fruit salad, clarified butter, Etc etc etc.
6. Homemade Mayo. I’m a dip girl. Love me some Ranch dressing or Yum Yum sauce. So the thought of having nothing to dip gave me anxiety. This is where homemade mayo comes in. It’s super easy to make and you can create lots of dips and sauces out of it. Plus it’s essential for number 7.
7. Chicken or Tuna ~ Salad that is. A friend who had done W30 advised me as I started to make a big container of chicken salad and keep it on hand. This was sage advice. Lunch always seemed a bit challenging to get out of the lettuce salad rut and chicken or tuna salad was often a welcome departure. Use your homemade mayo and throw in your meat and what ever veggies you want. Maybe even some nuts and raisins. I used mustard in mine but that’s totally a preference thing. I made a big tub of this every week. Even the kids eat it.
8. Holy Guacamole. Like I said, I’m a dip girl. Just as I made homemade mayo each week, I made homemade guac too. It’s so good on… well… ANYTHING. I realize this too is a matter of preference but hey, these are my tips. Plop it on salad, grilled chicken, steak, hamburger, fish, sweet potatoes, your eggs in the morning. You name it. Remember Cinco de Mayo is coming up and guacamole extravaganza is only fitting.
9. Snack attack. I always have food with me. As I suggested before, you never want to get starving hungry. Inevitably at those desperately hungry moments, you’ll end up in the Walgreens candy aisle staring at Reese Peanut Butter Cups or passing by your favorite fast food joint and getting a good wif of the grease of the day. So pack snacks. I swear I probably look like a crazy person with all the options I carry with me. Raisins, cashews, cutie oranges, apples, sweet pepper slices, Lara bars (which true W30 would tell you to avoid or have only in moderation). Be a Boy Scout. Be prepared. Pack snacks people.
10. Don’t be tempted by the scale. The Whole30 guide says do not weigh or measure yourself during the 30 days. Don’t do it. I did and I regret it. I weighed myself after 7 days and had lost 6 pounds. I weighed again 4 days later (after our auction dinner and my cheat) and I’d gained 3 back. I was devastated. I haven’t weighed since but those numbers have haunted me. I know it has taken me a lifetime to create these habits and be the way I am – I am not gong to be Kate Hudson after 30 days. But regardless of those numbers – I feel amazing. I am not exaggerating in the least. I’m a more energetic, happier, healthier person. And the way I view food is so different than it was 29 days ago. Seriously, I watched someone eat a sandwich today and couldn’t fathom eating the bread myself. This is not a race [for me], it’s a journey. Don’t obsess about numbers – focus on conquering your addiction and getting healthy. The numbers will fall in line.
There are so many other tips I could write like; drink lots of fluids, cranberry juice and lime seltzer water is amazing; or throw away everything in your fridge/pantry you cannot have. (if that’s not realistic because of other people in the house, try moving it all to a different fridge in the garage or basement. That’s what I did.) But, these are my main suggestions. There’s great reference material out on the world wide web. Search it up and use it. There is a great post about The Whole30 timeline. So enlightening. So GOOD LUCK. You can do this. I promise you can.