Right now I look at that title and think – wow Em aren’t we being a little dramatic? Except I know when I started 30 days ago – I thought that was a perfectly acceptable way to feel. Through the grapevine the Whole30 sounds absolutely terrifying – think of everything you CAN’T have!
There for you is tip number 1 – you have to go into this thinking of everything you CAN have. But we will get to more tips and tricks later…To start – why did I decide to start?
Well for a lot of reasons, I love fitness and nutrition and am always interested in what is going on in that sphere. But even bigger than that I was struggling – I wasn’t in a great place with myself. It’s like when everyone around you tells you how great you look in something and for the life of you, you can’t see it – yeah I was not in a good place. So I decided to do something that challenged me, change up my day to day and make me focus, whole-heartedly and 100% on something else – and by the end I realized that was myself – 30 days of being all about me.
To start here are the basics of the Whole30 Challenge if you are unfamiliar:
- No added sugar or artificial sweeteners
- No alcohol
- No grains
- No legumes
- No dairy
Fairly straightforward- but to explain it quickly to people? I sum it up with ‘if it comes in a package – you can’t have it.’
A few other not food related rules:
- You can only weigh yourself twice, once when you start and again on the very last day. And for some people this might be scary, especially if you weigh yourself everyday. But from my experience, giving this up – was one of the best parts! Seeeing positive changes – Non Scale Victories – far outweigh any number that could pop up on that scale.
- If you cheat you must start over – like from Day 1. Now I have accidentally eaten added sugar because I didn’t read a label to closely. Some would argue that would require a start over. But through research there is a difference between truthfully not being aware – and ‘not being aware’ where you just carelessly don’t look as closely as you should. Don’t sell yourself short – if it was a real cheat – start over.
- Lastly no SEX WITH YOUR PANTS ON. Now that I have your attention…Something that at first sounds silly, but once you start getting creative in the kitchen you start to want to pull this one more and more. Simply put, no recreating sweet treats or healthy version of desserts. An example they use is that you could combine compliant ingredients, such as eggs and a banana, to create a pancake but that defeats the purpose of the program. It all seems very strict, but trusting the process is one of the most important parts of this plan!
Anyone who has completed a Whole30 will tell you one of the other major keys is meal prepping – this will truly make or break your journey. Before I began I was already in the habit of meal prepping. I would do all my grocery shopping on Sunday morning (which I actually love, quiet Sunday mornings in New York ) and then cook some food for the whole week. However with this I kicked it a bit into overdrive. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all ready to go for the week – another major key!
So if you have made it this far in this ramble – here are a few things I would recommend before you start:
- BUY THE BOOK – It Starts with Food outlines all the rules and recommendations but also the science and objective of this entire experiment. Also take full advantage of the great resources online, whole30.com itself has everything you need to follow the program, including a forum where everyone has asked every question you’ve probably thought of.
- Prepare your kitchen – hide the evil things. I don’t like to waste, and in an effort to not throw anything out I had to shove all the crackers, cookies and chocolate into one cupboard and just hope I wouldn’t need anything out of there causing me to open it. For you, this could even be getting rid of them, because when your sugar dragon comes, he is fierce and it will be easier to fight without these treats in arms length (but more on that later). Also if you don’t have proper meal propping containers – essentially tupperware – stock up! I promise its worth it.
- Find Friends – whether that is someone in an online Facebook support group, your bests from home (shoutout to y’all <3) or your mom (for me it was my mom, I would call her every time I wanted to dive straight into pizza, she talked me off the cliffs). Find someone who can help support you and talk you off the cliffs when you want to quit, because you will – support matters!
- Pick a good time – this is seriously key. If you commit to this – there aren’t ‘off days’ or cheat meals, because the rule is if you cheat you start all over at Day 1. So pick a time where you have no major events, birthday parties or the holidays, because that truly sounds like a nightmare to me.
- Also in picking timing, consider your social calendar – if you think you are going to be having a lot of work events or outings with friends, pick another time. At an age where grabbing drinks is a common social activity, you will get bored of asking for water with lemon at the bar. It’s not terrible, and honestly the few times you do gives you a major confidence boost, but sometimes you just want a damn mojito and the more times you tempt yourself you might crack.
- Lastly – but perhaps most importantly – right down your why (s): Write down the real reasons you want to do this. Sure you could write lose weight or for that summer bod. But the deeper you dig for those real answers, the more of a service you are doing for yourself later on. When it gets hard and you want to dive face first into pizza – a feeling that will come – you will want that list or maybe singular sentence as to why you started in the first place! It will keep you motivated and on track, and most of all remember that you are doing this for yourself.
And there we are to start. These are a few things I wish I had known before I started my Whole30, but it doesn’t end there. In my next post I am going to talk about the during – where the real fun begins. For your convenience and for my lack of organization I decided to break this into 3 parts The Beginning (see above) The During (see it soon) and The After (Food Freedom here I come )
If you made it this far – thanks for tagging along and feel free to leave any questions or comments below!
See ya soon