It is January 2nd, are you starting a Whole30 Challenge? If so, you are not alone! I am embarking on my second Whole30. I completed my first one back in January 2017 and it was life changing. Below are things that I did that helped me successfully complete the challenge. Hopefully, these tips will help you, too!
Ease into It
I love my coffee. Literally, it gets me out of bed in the morning. For years, I used a Splenda and fat free half and half in my coffee. In 2016, when I considered doing a Whole30, I stopped using the Splenda. Fast forward to January 2017, I had broken myself of the sweetener habit but was still using the fat free half and half. My coffee wasn’t AS sweet but it was definitely creamy. I was DREADING giving up my creamy, caffeinated goodness and I knew that on a daily basis that would be the hardest part of the month. So, when I ran out of the half and half a few days before my scheduled start date, I didn’t buy more. Instead, I played around with some Whole30 compliant options. Yes, it took some getting used to but it was so much better to ease into the change while still being able to indulge in non-compliant food.
I also opted not to pig out on foods that I knew would be banned in the days leading up to my start. That’s not to say that I didn’t eat them. I did but in a normal, controlled way not in a last-supper kind of no holds bar binge.
Take away: If you have a food/drink/habit that you anticipate being SUPER difficult to give up, don’t wait until Day 1. Try to reduce your intake or slowly break your habit in the days leading up to your start date.
Plan, plan, plan
Before embarking on my Whole30, I took time to read the book, look at websites and pin some recipes. Typically, I make a weekly dinner menu for my family. Leading up to Day 1, I also planned out my own breakfasts and lunch. I work three days a week so I needed to plan things that I could easily take with me on those days.
Take away: Do your homework. Know the rules. Have some meals planned or even cooked in advance.
Clean Up, Stock Up
I started my first Whole30 on January 2, 2017. My house was full of leftover goodies from hosting both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, I made sure that we ate or gave away a lot of the things that would tempt me most and that my husband and kids would be likely to not eat: namely cheese! The cakes and cookies, I put in the freezer. This way the rest of my family could still eat them but I wouldn’t constantly be staring at them.
I also read the labels on all of our condiments. Holy sugar! I expected it in ketchup – of course – but Siracha? Pickles? Salad dressing? Yikes! I didn’t throw anything away unless it was past its prime but I did quarantine all of the non-compliant items to a specific shelf.
Not only did I stock up on vegetables and meat from Costco, I also bought some compliant condiments, broth, almond butter, Larabars, coconut milk, ghee and oils. Having only had one, not very positive, experience with coconut aminos I was skeptical but bought it anyway. Thank goodness! Because it is a necessary ingredient in some of my now favorite compliant recipes!
Take away: Get rid of (or at least put out of sight) any non-compliant foods. Stockpile non perishables that you will use on a daily basis and have lots of fresh vegetables and compliant meats on hand. If you live in an area where it is hard to find compliant staples, order some online in advance.
Timing is Key
Timing is key. For me, it was so much easier starting in January. Our social calendar is usually lighter than at other times of the year. The big eating and drinking holidays are over. And lots of people in my social circle are either starting diets or dry January challenges or just trying to recover from the eating/drinking/spending gluttony of November and December.
Take away: Best advice, don’t schedule a Whole 30 when you know you have a lot of social or work functions, when you will be away from home for an extended time or will otherwise be busier than usual.
The Buddy System
I tried to get my sister to join me on this adventure but she balked. Luckily, my friend Leslie was more than game. We texted daily to share ideas, recipes, challenges and successes. Nobody else wanted to hear me bitch and moan about not being able to chew gum for an entire month!
Take away: Have a friend, co-worker or family member do the Whole30 Challenge with you. If you can’t find anyone, seek out support online. There are so many resources and forums for people doing the Challenge. It will help to have someone there to help you overcome challenges and share your successes.
And by all means, READ THE BOOK! I have been amazed by how many people try to do a Whole30 Challenge without reading the book first. There are great tips, answers to lots of frequently asked questions, shopping lists, recipes, and all the rules you will need to get off to a great start.
Are you doing a Whole30 Challenge? Have you done one in the past? I’d love to hear your tips for success!