33 Tips for Whole30 Success (And Healthy Eating in General)
If you're not familiar with the Whole30 Challenge, we encourage you to visit their website for more information. Basically, it's 30 days of eating good quality meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Yup, that's right; no sugar, no dairy, no alcohol, no grains, no legumes, and just a few more things for those 30 days. A lot of the 'no no' list on the Whole30 is because those things wreak a lot of havoc on our beautiful bodies and can make it easier for us to get sick, gain weight, have allergies, experience sleep loss, be in bad moods, and much more! So during the Whole30 it really allows your body to fully detox, reset, and feel alive.
We whole-heartedly believe in the power of the program and that when you eat these whole, nutritious foods for 30 days, you get a snowball effect of wellness. Many people experience a wide variety of health benefits including weight loss, clear skin, emotional balance, mental clarity, improved sleep, flatter tummy, and more!
Transitioning from the Standard American Diet to a program like Whole30 is not easy, but let us tell you, it's worth it!
Here are 33 tips for a successful Whole30 experience, or really just healthy eating in general:
1. Be intentional and know your why.
What is your goal with completing a Whole30? It may be to reset your taste buds, or discover food allergies and sensitivities, get healthy, or lose weight. Get clear on it and be intentional with the choices you make throughout the 30 days.
2. Read and research.
Read up on the Whole30 website to know and understand the program. Also, see what others think about it. There are a multitude of bloggers who have written about their Whole30 experience, so take some time to read about what they have to say.
3. It's only 30 days, you can do it!
The first week may be difficult and it may seem like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things, 30 days is a small amount of time to dedicate 100% of what you eat, to truly nourishing your body!
4. Have a support system.
Get a group of loved ones who will route you on and support you so around 3pm, when those cookies at work are staring at you, you have someone to help you through a potential weak moment. If you want to join an online support group, you can join our Whole30 Facebook Group!
5. Get your mind right. Lose the diet mentality.
Many of the people who fail the Whole30 are unsuccessful because they enter it with the mindset of lacking. They are so worried about all of the things they can't have. Go into the Whole30 with a mindset of abundance. Focus on all of the wonderful and nutritious foods you can have, because it's really plenty!
6. Get rid of all the junk.
No explanation needed here, ditch the crappy foods! It will reduce your temptations.
7. Read your labels.
Sugar is one of the trickiest ingredients to stay away from . . . it's hidden in almost everything! Sugar is in most salad dressings, sauces, drinks, dried fruit, and more. Other sneaky ingredients are dairy and grains! The only way to really stay away from these nasty things are to read the labels. And if you are unsure, do a little research.
8. Try new, fun recipes.
You don't need to eat the same things over and over again, and it doesn't have to be boring! Find some different and fun Whole30 Recipes to spice up your life!
9. Master a few recipes.
You also don't have to be overwhelmed with all these new recipes. Just master a few of them, and move on to a few more.
10. Focus on one day at a time.
Like we said above, 30 days isn't that long of a time period, but we totally understand it may seem like it's forever, but just focus on one day at a time. Focus on today, and then when tomorrow comes, focus on tomorrow, and so on. No need to make it complicated.
One of the most important success tips for completing a Whole30 is to believe in yourself. If you doubt yourself, it will be harder. You are an amazing human being and you are more than capable to do anything you set your mind to!
12. Make a plan to make a plan.
If you are like a majority of us and struggle to plan ahead, then you may have to make a plan in your calendar, to sit down and make a plan for your Whole30. When are you going to the grocery store? What meals are you eating and when?
13. Exercise, but not at first.
Exercise is an important aspect of wellness and can really help you detox and shed some excess pounds while on the Whole30 program. However, at first your body is adjusting to this new way of eating and figuring out where it's going to get it's energy from so you may experience low energy at the beginning. Since this could be a shock to your system, it's best to focus on stretching and breathing exercises during the first week, and then introduce exercise into your plan as you see fit and what makes sense for your body.
14. Listen to your body.
Similar to #13, listen to your body, it tells us what we need to know. If you are low on energy, only you will know if resting or exercising will help you. If you are hungry, eat. But make sure you are actually hungry and you aren't bored. If you are under some stress, try to find the root cause, fix it, and help yourself heal from the damage it caused.
15. No cheating.
My best friend reminded me the other day that if you're going to commit to something, you have to give it your all. It's almost never worth it if you don't. If you are going to commit to the Whole30, do it 100%. You will thank yourself later that you did!
16. Don't be afraid to go simple.
If you are ok with eating the same 5 meals repeatedly, do it! It will save you time and will make for a very simple plan. If you want a meat and veggies cooked in the oven every night, great! No need to make it complicated if you don't want. (Side note: make sure you are still getting a variety of foods in your diet)
17. Don't be afraid to go 'complicated'.
Just the opposite of #16, if it doesn't work for you to go simple, then make it as diverse as you would like! It would be a fun goal eat every food on the shopping guide at least once in your 30 days!
18. Dine out. It's ok!
It's impossible to be 100% compliant with the Whole30 program if you are going to eat out. Every restaurant has it's own kind of 'cooking oil' it uses and it's not usually compliant. The program does allow for this and understands that it's unrealistic to cook all your meals yourself for 30 days. So, it's ok to eat out, just make your meal compliant outside of the oil it's cooked in.
19. Find inspiration.
Find some motivating words to help get you inspire you to keep on keeping on. Save them as your screensaver or write it on a post it to put on your mirror. Surround yourself with inspiration!
20. Don't be afraid to tell people about Whole30.
I (Taylor) was originally coordinating a Whole30 with about 4 or 5 people, but I made the decision to be open about it and start telling people. Once I did that, between the email sign ups and the Facebook Support Group, it grew to 100+ people! I have had multiple people tell me that they feel so good and are so excited to make this healthy change in their life. So, it never hurts to tell people. If someone doesn't understand it, or understand why you choose to eat this way, don't worry about it! Remember, you need to do what's best for you babe!
21. Don't just drink water.
Water has incredible health benefits and you should drink as much of it as you can, but it's not the only drink that adds to your health journey. Add in tea, kombucha, and cold-pressed organic juice for increased benefits. Also, add some fruit to your water.
22. Remember why you're doing this.
You may lose track of what's really important. Revert back to #1 and remind yourself every day of your why.
23. Keep motivated.
Check out the Whole30 Testimonials every once in a while to see real life examples of people who have successfully completed one or more Whole30 programs. Seeing these examples are sure to keep you going!
24. Plan ahead. (Especially if you'll be busy)
Ideally, it's best to meal plan each week for the week to stay on top of things and make sure you have the groceries you need to get you through.
25. Keep compliant snacks on hand.
Snacks are not highly encouraged on the Whole30, but let's face it, we are going from our not so healthy diets, to a very healthy diet and for a while, 3 meals a day probably won't fill us up. So be sure to keep some compliant snacks on hand in case of emergency and so that you don't snack on something that doesn't nourish you.
26. Be patient.
You most likely will not see the health or weight loss results you are looking for until 10+ days in since your body is getting accustomed. So be patient, it will happen.
27. Don't be that person at a restaurant.
We all know who THAT person is, and let's not be them. Restaurants are usually more than helpful at accommodating it's customers, however, it can get difficult and annoying. For this short period of 30 days, it's best to pick a dish that you only have to change 1-2 things about it to make it compliant, otherwise it gets confusing.
28. Spices are your friend.
You may be making some of the same meals and when you add various spices to each meal it can taste completely different!
29. Have dessert.
For dessert, fruit is best. Freeze some grapes and eat them or blend some coconut or almond milk with some frozen strawberries and a dash of cacao powder to make a delicious, frothy, strawberry chocolate 'milkshake'.
30. Do the reintroduction.
Here is the plan to reintroduce the eliminated foods back into your diet to see how each of the foods really make you feel.
31. In social situations, fake it!
No, I don't mean lie to people, but you know how those things go...if some people catch you drinking water, they will try and encourage you to drink or buy you one. (We all know that guy!) Instead, drink club soda, with a lime, and some fresh mint. People will assume it's an alcoholic beverage. More reasons to do this? People may think you're pregnant (if you're a girl) if you are drinking water, plus, it's something fun instead of water for a change. Not to mention, you will feel loads better in the morning not having drank alcohol.
32. Consider continuing.
Are you nearing the end? You have 3 options: start eating crap again and potentially lose all you worked for, reintroduce foods back in (#30), or you can continue! Many people continue on to do a Whole45, Whole60 or even a Whole90. The plus side? You will continue to see results!
33. Have fun!
This may be easier said than done, but just have fun! Know that you are doing a truly amazing thing for your body, mind, and spirit by eating whole foods for 30 days.