I may be done with Whole30 (for now), but I still have a lot I want to share about it, particularly what I learned and would have found helpful knowing going into the program. So if you’re thinking about or planning on trying out Whole30 yourself, definitely keep the following advice in mind:
1) Give yourself time to mentally prepare: I don’t know how some people can just all of a sudden decide to start Whole30 and then start that very same day. I feel like that’s setting yourself up for failure to make such a huge change to your eating habits on such short notice. I gave myself 3-4 weeks to mentally prepare, research the program, and indulge in the non-compliant foods I knew I was going to miss during my Whole30. (Hellooooo, birthday week!) So by the time June 1st came, I felt truly ready for the month’s challenge.
2) Do Whole30 with a significant other/family member/friend: I think what helped me the most during my Whole30 was the fact that Chris was doing it with me. I had someone to keep me accountable. I had someone to complain to on the hard days. I had someone who knew what I was going through physically, mentally, and emotionally. I had support. I honestly think that if Chris hadn’t done the program with me, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did.
3) Try not to do the program during a month with a lot of big life changes/special occasions going on: This might go without saying, but since a big life change is the reason I wasn’t able to complete my Whole30 (new job), I thought I should still throw this in. Try to schedule your Whole30 during a time when you don’t have a lot going on, so not during your wedding, your vacation, or your 30th birthday month. And obviously, don’t do Whole30 during the holidays, BECAUSE TEMPTATION. I personally feel like the perfect time to do Whole30 would be in January after the holidays, or during the months of March and April.
4) LaCroix, Larabars, and Chipotle will be your best friends: LaCroix flavored sparkling waters were my go-to when I got tired of green tea and regular water. Larabars were a life-saver when I was hungry but wasn’t home to cook. (Warning: not all Larabar flavors are Whole30 compliant. Read your labels!) Going to Chipotle once a week and ordering a Carnitas Salad ensured that I got at least one night off from cooking and doing dishes. If I didn’t have these drinks/foods to rely on during the program, those 30 days would have been relatively more difficult.
5) Keep in mind that Whole30 takes time and dedication: This program is not something you can just squeeze into a crazy busy schedule. During Whole30, you’re going to have to dedicate time to cooking multiple times a day, making multiple trips to the grocery store every week, meal planning, and cleaning up your kitchen. If you work crazy hours, are in school, have a ton of life commitments, or all of the above, you might want to reconsider whether or not you have the time to dedicate to the program.
6) Follow Whole30 social media accounts for motivation: Instagram is my social media platform of choice, so before I started the program, I started following a ton of Whole30 accounts to inspire and motivate me. Doing this was also great for getting new recipe ideas!
7) Keep in mind that added sugar is in almost everything: This is where learning how to read food/nutrition labels comes in handy. Just because a nutrition label says there are 0 grams of sugar in something doesn’t mean there’s no sugar in it. Check the ingredient list! You’d be surprised at how many nutrition labels state there are 0 grams of sugar in the product, but there is still sugar listed in the ingredients.
8) Your friends, family, and co-workers might not be interested in hearing about your Whole30: This is one thing that really stood out to me during my Whole30. There were a few times throughout the month when co-workers noticed my change in eating habits and inquired as to why. As soon as I would say “No dairy, no sugar, no grains…” they’d cut me off and say, “Oh my god, why would you do that? I could NEVER do that!” and change the subject or run off to Taco Bell. I didn’t mind that they didn’t care, I just found it interesting that a lot of people don’t want to talk about healthy eating.
9) Eating healthy is expensive, but it’s still cheaper than eating out: Chris and I spent way more on groceries last month than we ever have. Buying grass fed meats and organic produce is not cheap! Sometimes, spending so much on groceries might get annoying, but remember that eating at home will always be cheaper than eating out, organic or not. And while we’re on the topic of eating out, it’ll be hard to do during Whole30, but if you research a restaurant’s menu online or call and ask about ingredients ahead of time, you’ll usually be able to find something compliant and you won’t feel like too much of a picky customer when it comes time to order.
10) Keep in mind it’s just 30 days of YOUR ENTIRE LIFE: This is what convinced me that I could do the program. “It’s just 30 days, not forever. If I don’t like it, I’ll go back to my old eating habits.” Luckily, I ended up liking this new lifestyle change and have no intention of going back to my old, unhealthy eating habits!
Would you do Whole30? If you’ve already done it, what advice would you give to someone about to try it for the first time?
Check out my other posts on Whole30 here.