My husband and I have been living the Whole30 lifestyle for six months now. WOW did that go fast! Probably because we had a baby nearly seven months ago. Everyone told us to get ready for time to start flying. They were right. I mentioned in my previous post that we did a lot of preparation before beginning our first round of Whole30. Well, I did a lot of preparation. Andrew was content to let me make a plan for us, and I was happy to! I love planning for things like this, especially when food is involved. I read a ton and took lots of notes. Here are the things I believe were most helpful to us as we completed round one- I hope they might be useful to you, too!
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1. Educate Yourself
Don’t rush into this. Take the time to learn the rules of the program. And then learn WHY it works the way it does. We read The Whole30 book before we began and referenced it nearly every day of our first round. Not only does this book explain the program clearly and efficiently, it also has delicious recipes to get you started and carry you through (can you say Whole30 mayo… yum). If you, like me, are into reading books about nutrition, I definitely recommend picking up It Starts With Food. You will learn all sorts of thrilling information about seemingly innocuous food choices that may actually be harming your body and mind. It’s riveting.
2. Plan Your Meals
I cannot even tell you how many hours I spent on Pinterest, newborn happily nursing away, reading Whole30 recipes and making a giant grocery list. This part can be overwhelming if you are not one to plan meals. Do it anyway. Otherwise, you will stand at the fridge on Day 6 and wonder how on earth you will make dinner from some limp lettuce and a long forgotten bell pepper. And then you will want to order pizza and we all know what pizza cravings can do to us. Or is that just me? When planning your meals, make sure you buy enough food! You are not meant to go hungry. I recommend finding some recipes that are simple and quick, and making enough for leftovers. Make a few fancy recipes if you like to spend time cooking, but have some go-to meals that are always on hand. For us, this was (still is) a sheet pan of roasted veggies, some kind of protein, and salad greens. We eat this several nights a week and we are not even a little bit tired of it.
3. Prepare Emotionally
I am genuinely curious to know if anyone else was as fretful about drinking black coffee as I was in the days leading up to Round One. It turned out to be fine, by the way. I don’t sweeten my coffee anymore at all- but I do add canned coconut milk and it’s delightful. What I mean by preparing emotionally is that a lot of us have some kind of attachment to certain foods/food habits that may not be good for us (that likely will not be Whole30 compliant) and giving up those foods/habits isn’t easy. But if you actually reflect on the program guidelines and what that will mean to you personally as far as changing your everyday eating habits, you will not be shocked when you crave something and realize you can’t have it. A big part of this is throwing away everything in your kitchen that is not Whole30 approved before Day 1. You are getting ready for the battle, so to speak.
4. Have Some Fun With New Food
We found a Whole30 compliant salad dressing at Costco and it was *literally* the best thing I have ever tasted on lettuce. We enjoy it so much! Find a few specialty items like these that sound tasty to you and make you look forward to trying new things within Whole30 compliance.
5. Talk To Someone
Andrew and I had a great conversation about this Whole30 before we began. We both shared what we were excited about, what we were nervous about, and which aspects we anticipated as being the most difficult. It gave us a chance to voice any anxieties and allowed us to really be a support to each other. If you do the program with your spouse I would definitely recommend having this conversation! Whether or not anyone is joining you in the program, tell your support system that you are doing this. Just knowing that someone else knows is a great motivator for when you feel like quitting.
Okay, there you have it! These are the five things that really helped us to succeed when we began our Whole30 journey. Have you done a Whole30? What was most helpful to you? I would love to hear about it!