As many of you saw, I recently did a month of Whole30. Ever since finishing and sharing my experience, I’ve been flooded with messages from friends and followers saying they’ve been inspired to start a journey of their own. As you carry on throughout your Whole30, or begin to plan it out, here are some of my top tips to help make it as seamless as possible.
1) Find friends to do it with you
I cannot put in to words what a world of difference it made to have people on their Whole30 journey with me. I actually did not have any immediate friends doing Whole30 with me, but I joined a group led been Instagram babe Everything Erica, who organized a large group along with her friend Brett from Her Tasty Life. We had a Facebook group full of women supporting each other, sharing recipes, and venting through our experience. It made it so much easier to have people to talk to who understood what I was going through and could help me get through the tough times and celebrate the good ones. If you don’t have friends who want to join you, a supportive online group is the next best thing.
2) Meal Prep
Meal prepping is one of the best ways to stay on track with Whole30. By preparing all your foods, you’re able to control the ingredients and be certain that your meals are 100% compliant. Not to mention, it helps you feel empowered in the kitchen and fully in charge of your diet and life. I recommend setting a routine that works for best for you to do a grocery haul and prep for the week. I typically recommend Sundays for anyone who works full time because it helps you get ready for your weekday lunches, but any day can be prep day!
3) If you have to go to a party or happy hour, eat beforehand
This is one thing I learned early and fast. There is nothing worse than leaving work and heading to an event only to find there’s nothing you can eat or drink. (Well yes, you can have water, but it doesn’t look as fun as those fancy cocktails your fellow part-goers are sipping.) I would always head to these with a full stomach so that there was no temptation to try a small bite of anything.
4) Adjust your portions
Remember – you are cutting out grains, legumes, dairy and more. These are calories you’re used to consuming, and things that probably filled you up enough that your typical veggie portion was smaller. But on Whole30 you need to make sure you are eating enough to keep from getting sick or undernourished. There is a great guide that shares the recommended portion sizes, but a general rule of thumb is a palm sized protein and filling the rest of you plate with veggies. At first I couldn’t get the hang of eating so many veggies on my plate, and I could feel myself suffering for it. The first few days I felt sick and weak, but after re-evaluating my portion sizes I quickly bounced back to my energetic self.
5) Keep approved snacks hand
OK, so snacks are not necessarily coveted in Whole30 – you’re intended to strive for 3 meals a day, but sometimes things get in the way. You have a big workout, have kids to wrangle around and lack time for big meals, you’re used to six small meals a day, or something happens and you’re starving and need something to hold you over. This won’t ruin your Whole30, as long as you don’t indulge on things that aren’t approved. I kept a bag of cashews at my desk at work for emergencies. If I planned a post-work trip to the gym I’d eat a half a handful of nuts to get me through my gym since my dinner was now going to be eaten around 9pm. Or some days my lunch was smaller than I’d thought it was going to be and I just needed something to ease my headache. It’s better to have something available than to have no options and cave into something that isn’t approved. Another great options is to keep carrot and veggie sticks ready to go in the fridge. Add some Primal Kitchen Ranch and you’re good to go!
6) Find new ways to ease your emotions
One thing that Whole30 really opens your eyes to is how much our eating habits are driven by our emotions. You may celebrate successes with a big meal full of cocktails and treats. Or you may eat away sadness with a pint of ice cream. Whatever your vice, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have at least one emotional eating habit. Mine were celebratory margaritas, stress beers, and sad pints of Jeni‘s Goat Cheese and Dark Cherries ice cream. Now I celebrate success with present for myself (think manicure, new shirt, or new candle), ease stress with a massage (I love seeing what Groupons are available), and when I’m sad I hit the gym and work it out. Instead of having food as a crutch I’ve found new ways to replace healthier forms of wellness into my emotional responses.
Have you tried Whole30 yet? What is your biggest piece of advice for a first timer?