There’s one diet that seems to have taken the world by storm: Whole30. Maybe you’ve heard about it from a co-worker or seen it trending on your Facebook feed. It’s a nutritional reset program that aims to cut out all grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes and added sugar from your diet. Sounds tough, right? Well, unlike most fad-diets, Whole30 is designed to last only 30 days.
My Whole30 Experience
I decided to embark on Whole30 for a few reasons. First, I was tired of feeling tired and sluggish all the time. It was like I had that 2 p.m. feeling all hours of the day. But the final straw was when my doctor expressed concerns about my weight. Something needed to change. I knew a few friends who completed Whole30 and raved about how much better they felt as a result. I decided to give it a shot.
During my first round of Whole30, I lost a whopping 13 pounds. But the experience was truly life-changing. My migraines I used to have weekly? They disappeared. I learned how certain foods affect my body, and I tweaked my diet. I gained energy and a lot of self-confidence because I did it! And you can, too.
My Top Whole30 Tips
Starting your own Whole30? Here are my top tips for success.
1. Time It Wisely
Eating the Whole30 way for a month is a commitment, and it may require some planning. I purposefully started mine after the holiday rush when I knew there wouldn’t be too many celebrations, holidays or Grandma’s cookies to work around. Find a time that works for you, but don’t use Thursday’s happy hour as an excuse to put it off.
2. Make a Plan, and Stick With It
The key to a successful Whole30 diet is to plan so that no obstacle comes as a surprise. Get sweet cravings at work? Pack your meals and plenty of snacks ahead of time so you’re not going hungry. Know you’ll be eating out with a friend this week? Scope out the menu for Whole30 compliant options before you go. I went on vacation for the final five days of my first Whole30, so I did my restaurant research ahead of time and knew what I was going to order.
3. Don’t Think of It As a Diet
I’ve done the yo-yo diet thing for most of my life. The reason Whole30 was such a life-changing shift for me was that it wasn’t a diet as much as a reset. Whole30 simply forced me to say goodbye to foods I knew weren’t that healthy so I could instead learn to love fruit, veggies and wholesome proteins. And I have good news: Roasted vegetables are an instant win.
4. Take a Closer Look at Nutrition Labels
Sure, it’s easy to avoid the junk food aisle—but what’s eye-opening about Whole30 is the number of artificial–read: not Whole30 compliant–ingredients lurking in inconspicuous foods like processed meat. Spoiler alert: There are tons of added sugar hiding in your sliced ham. Print out this list before heading to the grocery store and carefully inspect your food for sneaky sugars like sucrose, dextrose and maltodextrin. Unsure of an ingredient? Say hello to Google search.
5. Give Yourself a Break
For most people, completing Whole30 successfully will come down to a choice of what is most important to you: spending less money on groceries or spending less time in the kitchen. For me, given my schedule during the week, I decided I would rather spend more money on time-saving ingredient shortcuts, such as pre-cut vegetables and rotisserie chicken.
6. Discover New Recipes
Whole30 is the perfect time to have fun by trying new recipes. I discovered so many new favorites during the course of my Whole30. For breakfast, I’d be sure to start my day right by eating on-the-go egg cups or sitting down for a quick breakfast hash with eggs. When lunchtime rolled out, I’d often turn to a main-dish salad I packed for work. I’d make tacos with lettuce leaves (in place of tortillas) or fish with zucchini noodles for dinner. Over the weekend, I’d let my slow cooker help with my prep work. Sometimes I’d try a new recipe, like this amazing pork and cabbage meal, or I’d go the super-simple route and throw some skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the crock with a compliant sauce–I’d often use Frank’s Red Hot sauce to make Buffalo chicken.
Have a totally awesome Whole30 recipe you want to share with the world? Send it to us here.
7. Remind Yourself It’s Only 30 Days
We’re friends by now, right? And as your friend, I’m just going to be real with you: There are days you’re going to want to quit. I just finished my second round of Whole30 recently, and I had forgotten how tough the first few days of sugar detox are for me. But then it got better. It was worth it. As inspiration, I would go back to these words from the Whole30 website:
“Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”
You are worth 30 days of trying something new. Armed with these tips, I know you can do it.