I remember learning about the Whole30 for the first time about 3 years ago. I was just starting to learn what it meant to eat real, whole foods and was playing with the idea of going back to school for Holistic Nutrition. I started following a ton of different Holistic Nutritionists on Instagram and I loved learning all the things they were doing for their health. I noticed a post from one of the nutritionists I was following, about a breakfast frittata she had made for her Whole30. She explained that she was giving up gluten, dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, alcohol and the scale! All the things I was just starting to learn about, and how they could be negatively affecting my health.
Although I was definitely intrigued by her post, and interested in learning more about what this program was all about, I was also thinking that it sounded a little intense. Curious to find out just a bit more, I typed Whole30 into good old Google, and fell down the rabbit hole of alllll things Whole30. What I started to realize was that this crazy intense program wasn’t at all about dieting or weight-loss, or looking a certain way, or cutting out a particular food group once and for all. What I learned was that it was more about doing an experiment on my body for 30 days, to determine which foods are best for ME! One person might be hunky dory eating beans and legumes, while it might make me feel bloated and uncomfortable. That was interesting to me! So I thought, what the heck – I can totally do this. I went to Chapters that night, bought the book, and started just a few days later. February 15th, 2015 Whole30, Day 1. Here’s what I learned.
# 1. You Have to be Prepared
The book warns you about being prepared, but until you’re in the thick of it, you have no idea what that really means. To be completely honest the very first time I did the Whole30 I was scared sh**less, so I was pretty prepared. The second time I did it, I was thinking I was a total expert and didn’t really prepare as much, but that was a big mistake. The issue with not being prepared is that it makes everything so much harder, and you risk either eating something off-plan, or eating 2 cups of cashews for dinner because you don’t have time to make something compliant. When you take the time to fully commit, plan what you’ll eat for the week and prep as much as you can, you’ll be much more likely to succeed.
#2. Food and Alcohol Are a Crutch
Until I completed my first Whole30, I didn’t realize how often I was reaching to food or alcohol for some form of comfort. I thought I was pretty good at making healthy choices – maybe a couple of TimBits here, and a glass of wine there, but overall I thought I wasn’t doing too bad. But when these things are off-limits for 30 days, it really gets you to notice just how often you would have said yes to these little indulges. Glass of wine after work? Sure! Grab a pizza for dinner on Friday? Sure! Piece of birthday cake? Why not! Bonfire S’mores? Absolutely! Now I’m not suggesting that you should never live in the moment and treat yourself to the foods you love. I’m not suggesting that at all. I just learned from the Whole30, that once you’re really tuned-in to how your body feels when you eat certain things, you start to not even WANT those things anymore. Bold of me to say… I know! You also start to really like the feeling of eating “clean” and your habits slowly change. For example, if you’re really full from dinner, three s’mores might not sound as delicious. If you know that the gluten and dairy from a pizza are going to make you feel six months pregnant, you might suggest something else for dinner. My point is that until you cut these foods out for a while, you don’t REALLY know what life is like without them. And although we think we want to live in the moment and eat a damn pizza if we want to, you might start to feel otherwise after 30 days.
#3. People Will Have Questions
I’ve literally heard it all.
Oh ya, Amanda can’t have that because she’s on a diet.
One glass of wine won’t hurt you!
What kind of diet are you on that says you can’t have hummus? I thought hummus was healthy?
These are all things people have said to me while I’ve been on a Whole30, and you’ll want to be prepared to deal with some opinions and questions. First off, this isn’t a diet. I don’t get offended when people call it that, I just explain to them that I’m actually just eliminating certain foods for a small period of time to see if they’re having any negative impacts on my health. Some people will totally get it, and some people won’t, and you just have to be ok with that. Just try to be confident in knowing why you started the program and remember what you want to get out of it. Also try to remember that it’s your body and you don’t have to put anything in it that you don’t want to, no matter what opinions other people will have about it.
#4. Sugar. Is. Everywhere!
Another thing I learned you have to get really good at while doing the Whole30 is reading your labels. Since almost all food additives are out for the Whole30, this is one of the main things I started looking for when I was reading the ingredient lists on things like coconut milk, chicken broth and salad dressings. Yes, I found a lot of additives in these foods, but what shocked me the most was that sugar (in some form or another) is in basically every packaged food. Even things you wouldn’t even think of! Like I said chicken broth, salad dressing, and basically every single condiment out there (eyeroll). It’s no wonder we crave the stuff so intensely at times. We’re pretty much consuming it all the time without even noticing! So moral of the story is to read your labels really carefully, and if there is sugar or anything ending in “ose”, it is out for your Whole30.
#5. It’s Totally Worth It
The truth is sometimes things can feel tough and you’ll probably want to quit and head straight for a bag of chips, or a bowl of ice cream. That’s one of the reasons I wish I had a Whole30 coach and the support of a group for my first Whole30! By day 12 you’ll probably be starting a mental list of all the things you’ll be eating as soon as you’re done. Do you want to know the good news though? By day 31, I can almost without a doubt, guarantee you will say it was 100% worth your efforts. Your clothes will feel looser, you’ll have more energy, you’ll feel totally in control of your eating habits, and you will love the way you feel so much that you won’t even want those foods you were missing so badly just a few weeks before.
#6. You’ll Want to do it Again
One thing that I always tell people about the Whole30 is that it’s not a magic program. It’s not something you do for 30 days and then you never ever crave a bite of sugar again, and you’re forever healed from your poor relationship with food. That would be really nice, but trust me it’s not the case. I’ve done the Whole30 four times now, and each and every time I start it again, I know I’m in a place where I need to feel back in control over my food choices once again. Life can get busy and it can be challenging to stick to your healthy eating habits during times of high stress. Or if you go on a holiday and let your eating habits slip while you’re away it can be difficult to get back on track when you’re home. And sometimes all it takes is a challenging week or two to de-rail your healthy habits and put yourself on a slippery slope back to eating all the things. And you know what? That’s totally normal! You just have to recognize when you’re falling into this pattern and doing another round of Whole30 is the best way I know how to get myself right back to where I want to be.
Whole30 With Me!
If any of that sparked your interest, and you’re interested in doing your first Whole30, I’d love to have you join me in our next round. I’m so confident in this program and all the health benefits you’ll notice, that I’ve designed my own 30-day program around helping men and women complete their very first Whole30. Plus, I always find it easier when I know there are other people doing it with me, and you’ll have full support from both me and your fellow Whole30ers.
Here’s what you’ll get when you sign up to Whole30 with me:
- 6-weeks of Coaching
- Private Facebook Group
- 30 Day Meal Plan
- Whole30 Resource Package
- Weekly Facebook Live Calls
- Daily Motivational Email
- At-Home Workout Guide
If you think you might be interested in joining us, but you still have some questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email here. I’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you might have 🙂