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I’m sharing my Whole30 tips for those who are thinking about taking the plunge! It’s not that scary guys… trust me! You CAN definitely do this!
It’s official – I have completed my very first Whole30! And guess what? It wasn’t even that hard. Seriously. We are all guilty of telling ourselves silly lies. That we can’t live without CHEESE (won’t somebody think of the cheese!). That our husband’s father’s cousin’s nephew’s birthday party is coming up and will have cake and wine and we just won’t be able to stop ourselves. That it’s all too hard and expensive to eat healthy.
But I completed the 30 days without one slip up or cheat meal (no wine or cake or CHEESE). My food budget stayed the same both on and off the Whole30. In fact, I saved money during my Whole30 because I rarely ate out. And whilst I won’t lie and say the entire month was a walk in the park, I found it to be a lot easier than I expected. If you think this is something you want to try, stop telling yourself why you can’t do it and just do it. You’ll be fine, and it isn’t HARD to eat good food for 30 days!
Why the Whole30?
Some of you may be wondering why me, the anti-dieter, embarked on the Whole30 journey in the first place. As much as I hate diets, especially fad ones, I saw the Whole30 as something entirely different. It wasn’t about “dropping 5kgs in 5 days” or counting calories. Instead it focuses on spending 30 days nourishing your body with good food and trying to heal the negative relationships and habits we can form around food.
I personally wanted to try the Whole30 because:
- I was curious about whether food was the culprit of some ongoing acne issues.
- As much as I hated to admit it, I was a slave to my sugar dragon & needed a way out.
- I liked the idea of only eating fresh and whole foods for 30 days.
- I wanted to know if I could do it (30 days without bread & peanut butter especially!).
I found that once I got over the initial hurdle of week one, which was punctuated with headaches, fatigue, mega crankies and crying over donut pictures, most of the journey was smooth sailing. I really enjoyed my meals and found that I wasn’t even tempted to deviate on the no good very bad days. That was a big improvement from just a few week’s ago when I’d find myself head first in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s when the slightest trivial thing interrupted my day.
Even now that I’m out of my Whole30, I’m still not inclined to pick up the ice cream tub or a packet of chips. My body is craving real food and I only want to indulge when it’s truly worth it, not because it’s Cheryl’s birthday at work or someone was rude to me at the store. That’s slaying the sugar dragon for you!
My skin has been clearer than ever before. That’s not to say it’s completely clear but redness and breakouts are at an all time minimum. And I found that whilst I don’t have any specific intolerances, I am keen to maintain a mostly Whole30 diet because I like the food so much!
But did you lose weight?
I want to preface this by saying I did NOT go on Whole30 to lose weight. I was already at a healthy weight range and did not have very far to move. Having said that, I weighed myself for the purposes of the experiment, and I lost 2.5kgs. That’s without calorie counting. Without crazy workouts (I walked & did light weight training 5 days a week). And without restricting the amount of food I intake.
Should I do the Whole30?
I would recommend the Whole30 to anyone who’s looking to change their relationship with food. Maybe you are stuck in the endless eat clean all week and binge on weekends loop. Maybe you can’t say no to a piece of cake at work, and there’s ALWAYS cake at work. Or maybe you just can’t kick that chocolate bar a day habit. The Whole30 can help with that.
It’s also a great experiment if you think there are certain foods that are causing you issues. The reintroduction phase allows you to monitor how these foods affect you and you can decide whether to continue eating them or not.
Or maybe, like me, there’s that competitive part of you that just wants to know if you can do it. There certainly isn’t any downside to eating well for 30 days, so why not!
If all this sounds like it’s up your alley, then here’s a few Whole30 tips I’ve learnt along the way that will help you complete your round with *relative* ease!
6 Tips for Surviving a Whole30:
1. Start on a weekend:
We all tend to gravitate towards Monday as the holy grail of starting diets. But trust me when I tell you the first few days of the Whole30 are brutal. You’ll be tired and cranky and starving and then tired again. You’ll have headaches, and did I mention you’ll be really tired? I was expecting all this and started on a Saturday, so I could nap at my leisure and could at least be miserable on my couch in my PJs. Best decision ever!
2. Join a group:
There are SO MANY Facebook support groups out there, so make sure you join at least one before your Whole30 journey. I recommend finding one that’s at least in your country. I found a Whole30 Australia group that was awesome because we could discuss local ingredients and ideas for eating out. You won’t get that from an international group, but you could still get some helpful tips.
Just a word of advice – leave a group if you find it’s full of “Whole30 Police”. You know, the kind of people who nit-pick EVERYTHING rather than encouraging people who are having a go and trying their hardest. You need a supportive environment filled with people who want you to succeed, and I am so lucky I stumbled upon a group like that first go!
These groups are the perfect place to chuck a picture of the back of an almond milk to ask if it’s compliant or ask people for their favourite Whole30 chilli recipes or just brag about how good your clothes are fitting cause damn girl you look fine!
3. Be Prepared (for everything):
When I say be prepared for everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Don’t believe? I was 3 days into my Whole30 when we lost power for 36 hours unexpectedly! All my food perished and I had to try and come up with some meals on the fly.
I’d recommend finding one eat out option that you could happily eat that is somewhere close by, so you are prepared for all types of emergencies. We ended up going to a chain restaurant and having grilled chicken with avocado on top, steamed veggies and a plain baked potato. Was it the tastiest meal? Certainly not. But it did the trick and helped me in a pinch.
4. Meal Prep & Leftovers are lifesavers:
Meal prep will be your saviour. No really, it will save your butt on those nights where you don’t feel like cooking or those mornings when you realise you forgot to buy eggs. Meal prep is where it’s at!
If nothing else, try and make at least an extra serve of your lunch and dinner meals so you have some meals on hand. If you are unlikely to want to cook regularly through the week, try batch cooking 3 larger meals on a Sunday and portion out for the week.
5. Be Basic:
In the immortal words of Avril Lavigne – why do you have to go and make things so complicated? Whilst there are lots of delicious looking Whole30 meals out there that have a list a mile long of ingredients and take forever to prepare, you’ll want to try these sparingly. Trust me when I say that your best friend through this experience will be simplicity!
Keeping it simple will help you maintain your sanity and save you from those moments you start to think it’s all too hard. This will also help if you aren’t a natural born chef or normally fear the kitchen. Just go back to basics. Meat and vegetables. Meat and salad. Scrambled eggs. Throw a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts on your plate. Quick and easy ALWAYS trumps complicated for me.
6. Snack’ers gonna snack:
I can’t go more than 3 waking hours without food. Even if I eat a mega jumbo meal before. And that always seems to be the magical answer when people are hungry between meals – eat more at meal times. WRONG! Some people just need snacks. Others can subsist off 3 meals. Everyone is different and just because snacking isn’t encouraged on the Whole30 doesn’t mean you should starve yourself. Or in my case turn into evil Cassie who will punch you in the face for saying good morning. If you fall into the need some damn snacks category, get yourself some damn snacks. I ate fruit, nuts, carrots & grape tomatoes. And I don’t feel one ounce of remorse for it. Take that Whole30 police!
HAVE YOU TRIED THE WHOLE30?
WHAT’S YOUR BEST TIP FOR GETTING THROUGH?