If y’all recall, a couple of months ago, I decided to do Whole30. I started the fascination with the “diet” (lifestyle? I’d say it’s a diet as it is a bit restrictive, but it’s a lifestyle to some.) when I discovered it on Pinterest.
If you’re asking yourself now, “What the heck is Whole30?!”, read this post here!
I kept on seeing Whole30 recipes pop up, and the diet sparked my interest. Part of me has always had a fascination with nutrition. I don’t know when this started, maybe in the past year or two, but it’s been eye-opening.
Nutrition is such a wide and open world. There are hundreds of diets, many claims to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s honestly really hard to know what is right. If there is a diet claiming this and that, but the next diet claims just the opposite, how do you know what is right?!
Before I started Whole30, I was stuck. How are you even supposed to eat? What are you supposed to eat to be healthy? What food even classifies as “healthy” and what does “healthy” even mean?! Y’all, these questions have come up so many times in my mind, and I still wonder what “healthy” is. We are constantly told so many opposing views and “facts” that it’s really difficult to differentiate fact from fiction.
Aside from being confused about the health world and what “healthy” meant, I was also having some stomach issues and indigestion after I would finish a meal. I felt terrible, I was bloated often, my skin wasn’t clear or pretty, and I just felt yucky. You know that feeling? It was a daily occurrence for me and my tummy.
After doing some research about Whole30 on blogs and on the internet, I decided to buy this book that supports the diet.
This is step one for making it through Whole30.
Buy the book. Read the book. Keep the book.
Y’all, this book is so informative and it’s really one of my favorite books of all time.
My favorite thing about this book is that while it is super informative (with citations and footnotes of the research- peer reviewed and scholarly articles (legit) y’all), it also has a tone that is relatable. Every single sentence in this book has me nodding my head while saying, “Yeah, that’s how I feel,” or “Yeah, me too.” Isn’t is just the best when you can actually relate to a book and there is an immediate connection?
That’s how I felt on page one of this book.
After you finish the book, you should have a pretty good understanding of what you have to do. The book gives you information on how food affects your brain, your body, your nerves, your stomach, etc, but it also informs you how to work towards issues you are having- bloating, IBS, acne, you name it.
This book then goes into how Whole30 works and what it looks like.
Know that Whole 30 is hard.
Going into Whole30, I knew that it was going to be hard. I am someone who loves vegetables, so I suppose I might be on a better boat than those who despise vegetables, but regardless, Whole 30 is hard for anyone, vegetable lover or not.
The basics of Whole30 is this: No dairy, no sugar (no natural sugar either- only fruit is allowed. Yeah, no honey), no alcohol, no grains, no cheats.
Sounds pretty restrictive, huh? It is. I’m not going to sugar coat it because there’s no sugar allowed (haha funny?), but truly, it’s difficult and it’s more of a mental mind game than anything.
I’ve said this before, but in all aspects of life (or at least most), I am someone who is an “all or nothing” gal. I either go all in or I don’t do it at all. This mindset and characteristic I possess really helped me with Whole30 and it helped me pull through when Whole30 got really tough.
Here’s how you’ll start off
When you first start Whole30, you will probably be super pumped up and ready. You will fly through the first day and you will feel incredible. Then the second day comes and you will have a little bit harder of a time getting through it. From here, it’s downhill.
Your sugar cravings will kick in, the headaches will start, etc. This is when you need your will power and strength. The first few days are hard, but I think that once you make it through week one, mentally, you know that you can do it.
When you want to quit, tell yourself you can do it.
As I said, Whole30 is very mental. For me, while I did reap great health and physical benefits, the biggest triumph was the mental impact.
Once I finished Whole30, I felt invisible and I felt like I could do anything. I just made it 30 days on a very strict diet eating whole foods that were good for me and I survived.
When you want to quit, tell yourself that you are fueling your body, you are nursing it back to health, and then pull out that book you read and reread some of the success stories. Jump on Instagram and get inspiration from the Whole30 community.
Have lots of avocados on hand.
Something that’s different with Whole30 is the eating and portion requirements. Instead of telling you that you can only have 1 cup of greens (for example), it says that you MUST have certain amounts of certain foods in order to meet your nutritional requirements. This really threw me for a loop.
These nutritional requirements are for every meal, which they encourage to have three main meals a day with little to no snacking. For example, for getting your minimum healthy fat intake, it was either olive oil in the size of your thumb, equaling 2 Tb (I think… Look it up and read the book first), or eating half of an avocado.
Needless to say, I bought tons avocados to have on hand.
Be okay with eating a lot of vegetables.
In the same respect, vegetables took over the majority of my plate.
While there is no vegetable “requirement” per say, the guide does tell you to fill “ the remaining space on your plate with vegetables” after you have your protein and fat there. I was eating a lot of vegetables. Good thing I love vegetables, because I was basically living off of them!!
Before you go into Whole30, know that you will have to eat vegetables for breakfast to do Whole30 “right” and correctly. Make sure you look at their list of foods, as well, because some foods that you wouldn’t think twice about are excluded from Whole30, as in they are off limits.
Meal prep when you can.
I wish that I had meal prepped better on Whole30. There would be times where I had to eat before going out with my friends, and I therefore had to have food on hand to eat before.
If you are able to, try to set a day for meal prepping. I find that Sundays are the best to meal prep. Honestly, I didn’t set a time to meal prep and I really wish that I did! I ended up spending a lot of time cooking and prepping food.
One snack that I loved on Whole30 that I didn’t have to prepare was carrots and guacamole. I bought my guacamole (with clean ingredients- check your labels!) at Target and just paired it with some baby carrots! It was the best snack and still to this day I love it!
Have an accountability partner
Another thing I wish I did was have someone do it with me. Only after I started did I realize that I could have asked some of my friends to do it with me!
Having an accountability partner is great for the times when you want to give up, or your cravings just seem to take over! Next time, I am definitely going to grab a friend to do it with me!
Drink lots of water
Since soda isn’t really on the list for Whole30, it’s vital to drink lots of water! I think that even off of Whole30 it’s important to drink water, but when your body is detoxing from all of the sugar and bad stuff, you need more water!
At the time, I didn’t like La Croix, but now I’m obsessed, so this would be a great option for a soda replacement!
It’s okay if you don’t exercise
I typically love to exercise, but during Whole30, I had no motivation to exercise. Know that it’s okay if you have no motivation to exercise- I sure didn’t!
Just take it slow, realize that you are doing better than you think you are, and you are doing your body a big favor by detoxing and eating healthy! If anything, try to go on some walks!
Don’t look at the timeline
So there is this thing called the Whole30 Timeline. DO NOT LOOK AT IT.
It is basically a timeline of what **should** happen while you are on Whole30. It basically assigns days saying “Day 1: you will fly through it!….. Day 10: You will feel super tired…. Day 15: You will start craving foods you don’t even like….” ETC! (Those dates and the corresponding emotions/feelings are not accurate- I just made them up for my example.)
If you look at this timeline before you actually do Whole30, you will probably be expecting things to happen and when/if they don’t happen, you will FREAK OUT. You will be questioning the whole process and you will ask yourself if you are even doing it right… I honestly don’t think that it’s possible to do it 100% correctly because there will be one time when you accidentally eat something and it had an ingredient you didn’t even know wasn’t allowed.
You can’t do it perfectly. Nothing in life is perfect. Just keep on doing what you’re doing, and if you’ve read the book, you’re good to go.
Have a plan for when you finish
Haha I DEFINITELY did not have a plan for when I finished. When I finished, all I wanted was a cookie, so that was the end of that healthy eating cycle. Actually, funny enough, the second I ate sugar (my cookie) for the first time in 30 days, I felt so faint and lightheaded! It was the weirdest thing ever.
Whole30 recommends that you gradually introduce items into your diet (I wish I did this) every couple of days, but I definitely did not do this. I went straight for the sugar. Now that it’s a couple of months later, I’m actually starting to eat semi-Whole30 style.
I am currently eating a Paleo eating style (I’d be happy to do a post on it if y’all would like!) and it’s very similar to Whole30. Before you start Whole30, have a plan in place for after you finish. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did.
Thank you so much for reading, y’all! I hope this helped y’all! I really love Whole30 and I am a big advocate for it! If you have any questions or want to pick my brain some more, please feel free to do so! I have recently become very interested in the whole world of nutrition and I think researching is so much fun! I’m thinking about doing Whole30 again sometime soon! I’ll keep y’all updated! :)