Are you thinking about trying the Whole30 program? Have you wondered what you could do to be successful at the Whole30 program? Pete and I are getting ready for our second Whole30 round so I thought I would share some of the things we did that helped us be successful with our first round.
The Whole30 program is designed to force you to rethink your relationship with food, which can be a very daunting concept to think about. Before the wedding, Pete and I decided to do a round of the Whole30 program as way to lose that last bit of unwanted weight. What we didn’t realize was just how much of an impact the program would have on our overall relationship with food. When Pete and I completed that first round of the Whole30 program, the results that we saw were exactly what we were hoping for and then some. However despite reading several books and studying the website, I still felt overwhelmed about how to actually prepare us for a successful round of the Whole30 program.
Tip 1: Out with the old. In with the new.
The first thing to do when preparing for a successful Whole30 is to clean out your pantry and fridge of everything, especially the foods that don’t comply with the program’s rules. Removing all of the food that doesn’t meet the program’s rules is an absolute must. There will be moments throughout the next 30 days when your willpower will be tested. If you don’t get rid of that pint of ice cream now before your get started, then you will be setting yourself up for failure. Once you have gotten rid of the old food, you will need to stock up on the foods that follow the Whole30’s rules. That means you will need plenty of veggies, plenty of protein, some fruits, and some healthy fats. You are also going to want to make sure that you have plenty of spices in your spice rack.
Tip 2: Focus on the foods that you CAN eat.
When people start looking at the Whole30 program, one of the first things they realize is just how many rules are associated with it. The most intimidating of those rules is the list of foods that you can’t eat. When I first tried explaining what the program was all about to Pete, we kept getting lost in the list of foods that we weren’t allowed to eat. He absolutely loves cream in his coffee. I have a serious sweet tooth, especially at the end of a really rough day at work. Not eating any sort of bread or pasta was daunting just to think about, especially considering that I use those foods as fuel for my long runs. Understanding the “why” behind the list of foods we couldn’t eat really helped us come to terms with the rules of the program. Once we had a better understanding of the “why”, we were able to change our perception of the program and open our eyes to the much larger list of foods that we could eat. It was no longer about the foods we couldn’t eat. Instead, we looked at all of the foods we got to eat. The truth is that the list of foods that you can eat is much longer than the list of foods you can’t.
Be sure to check out It Starts With Food (<— affiliate link) if you are interested in knowing more about the science behind the Whole30 program. This book provides a ton of information about the “why”.
Tip 3: Know your baseline.
In order to truly understand all of the benefits of the Whole30 program, you are going to want to know exactly where you are starting from. Before you start the program, it is a good idea to take some initial measurements including your weight and body measurements (biceps, chest, waist, hips, and thighs). Knowing your baseline is not just about your measurements though. You should also make some notes related to how you are feeling in general (i.e. your mood, energy levels throughout the day, sleep patterns, etc.). Having an overall understanding of your current health will help you to better understand the specific benefits and health effects that you will experience after completing the Whole30. At the end of the day, the Whole30 program is not about losing weight. It is about your overall health and well being as well as improving your relationship with food.
Tip 4: Meal Planning will be your new best friend.
Before our first Whole30 round, Pete and I never understood the importance of meal planning or prepping. Our routine consisted of going to the grocery store and simply getting food that looked good. We didn’t put any thought into the meals we were going to be eating each day or week. That thought process changed very quickly as I continued to do more and more research into the program. We realized that taking the time to actually create a meal plan for the week was essential to setting ourselves up for success. Going to the grocery store with a list of the items that we needed helped us to avoid the aisles containing foods that don’t comply with the Whole30 program. We also learned just how important it was to have a collection of simple and delicious recipes that complied with the rules of the program.
The Whole30 (<— affiliate link) is a great resource for recipes and even has a sample meal plan for the first week.
Tip 5: Be open to new things and stay positive.
As I mentioned earlier, the first time you look at the list of foods that you can’t eat will more than likely overwhelm you and make you rethink whether or not the program is even worth it. Pete’s first reaction to the Whole30 program was just that and there were several moments when I was sure that I would be doing it alone. His turning point occurred when he convinced himself to that he could do anything for 30 days and that trying new things isn’t always bad. He realized that focusing on the list of foods that he could eat was the best way to get through those 30 days. Staying positive and being open to new things is what helped us get through the challenges of that first round.
Tip 6: Don’t do it alone.
The Whole30 program is a very personal journey but it is so much easier to complete when you have a partner, someone to check in with, to gripe about the program with, and to celebrate the victories with. There were days when I was so overwhelmed with stress from work and planning our wedding that I would have cheated if I didn’t have Pete doing the program with me. On those days, I would send him a text message griping about how much I desperately needed some chocolate and he would manage to talk me off of the ledge (or away from the office candy jar). Pete needed to be convinced on more than one occasion that the program was worth all of the effort we were putting into it. We truly needed each other to be successful with our first round of the Whole30 program.
The true secret to a successful round of the Whole30 program is being prepared, which doesn’t need to be difficult. When Pete and I decided to try the Whole30 program, we spent two weeks planning menus, finding recipes to try, and doing plenty of research so that we would be truly prepared for a successful 30 days. We made sure to get rid all of the foods in the house that would be tempting and stocked the house with the essentials. Preparing for a successful round of the Whole30 program requires careful planning and a good understanding of the basics of the program.