So, you’ve made the commitment to take charge of your health via The Whole30 Program – or maybe you’re still thinking about starting Whole30? Either way, you may find yourself wondering at one point or another …
Can I really do this?
I’m here to encourage you … Yes, you CAN do it! And not only can you do it, you can THRIVE – not just survive – during your Whole30 Journey.
The key to successfully completing the Whole30 program is not only to maintain a positive can-do mindset, but to also be sure to follow these five simple tips for success!
P.S. You don’t have to fly solo! I’ve put together an incredible collection of free helpful resources and support on my Whole30 resources page to help make your 30-day journey a delicious success!
Tip 1: EAT!
Yes, I know that you’re supposed to work toward eating just three meals a day (plus an extra bonus post-workout meal for those who are exercising). But it may take you a week (or even two) to get to that point. So don’t completely overwhelm and shock your body with just three meals a day the first few days or week of the program, especially if you’ve been a “grazer” your whole life.
Yes, I know some of you want to lose weight. But how many times does the Whole30 team have to tell you to stay off of the scale? So I’m going to remind you too – stop weighing yourself and just eat the healthy foods on the program. If you start starving yourself in an attempt to lose weight, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. So don’t do it! Walking around hungry all day is not going to help you.
When to eat / How much to eat?
If you eat a meal and then find yourself hungry before the next meal, ask yourself this question to determine if you’re truly hungry or just craving:
“Am I hungry enough to eat some grilled fish and veggies right now?” If the answer is yes, you’re truly hungry, go eat a healthy snack. If the answer is no, you’re just having a craving, so go find something else to do to take your mind off of it.
Then, at your next meal increase the amount of food you eat, particularly fat and protein and see how it goes? Are you hungry again before your next meal, then you’ll know that you need to increase the amount of food a bit more. Are you not feeling hungry when your next mealtime arrives, then you need to eat a little less next time. But always make sure to eat the minimum requirements to ensure adequate nutrition. (See “How to Plan a Healthy Whole30 Meal.”) By making simple adjustments as you go, you’ll eventually get to three (or four) meals a day.
What to eat?
You probably already know what to eat (and what not to eat), at least I hope so if you’ve started Whole30. But just incase, be sure to print out these two documents and keep them handy:
• What to Eat/What Not to Eat on Whole30
• How to Plan a Healthy Whole30 Meal
• And if you still have questions about what you can and can’t eat while on Whole30, be sure to check out the “What Can I Have on Whole30 Guide.”
P.S. Don’t miss the incredible collection of free helpful resources and support I’ve put together on my Whole30 resources page. Each of these are provided to help make your 30-day journey a delicious success!
What about snacks?
So I’m basically giving you permission to eat a snack if you’ve determined that you’re truly hungry. But it’s not just my opinion, the Whole30 team agrees. Again, walking around hungry all day is not going to help you.
However, you need to rethink snacks! Here’s what we typically think of when we think “snack” – lots of carbs and empty calories, such as crackers, chips, bars, cheese sticks, commercial fruit yogurts, etc. Wipe those from your memory. You now need to think of snacks as small Whole30 meals.
So think instead about snacks as smaller-sized whole food meals, such as
• Leftovers from dinner,
• A boiled egg and some raw veggies,
• A half of an avocado with cherry tomatoes and drizzle of olive oil and vinegar,
• A spoon of almond butter with some celery sticks,
• A plum with a handful of nuts,
• Apple slices wrapped with sliced turkey meat,
• Raw veggies and homemade guacamole,
• A cup of warm bone broth with a little diced leftover meat (bone broth is a wonderful way to promote a healthy gut)
These are just a few examples of the types of snacks I’ve eaten when I’m truly hungry, and you know what, it’s helped me tremendously to not cheat and actually enjoy the Whole30! So remember to first evaluate if you’re truly hungry, and then choose a healthy whole food snack with a good balance of protein, fat and carbs.
Health Tip: If you’re experiencing sugar withdrawal, you will find yourself feeling especially “hungry” – but again, not for something healthy like a piece of grilled fish and veggies. So what can you do? A healthy way I’ve found to beat intense sugar cravings is to sip a cup of warm tea. My personal favorite is Rooibos Tea because it’s soothing vanilla scent and flavor calms cravings. Rooibos, also called “red bush tea,” is naturally caffeine-free, and provides many health benefits since it’s rich in antioxidants, minerals and flavonoids, which help to reduce inflammation.
Tip 2: DRINK a lot of water!
There is no magic formula for how much water you should drink! As a general guideline, some suggest about half your bodyweight in ounces a day. So if you weight 120 pounds, that would be 60 ounces of water. Again, this is a guideline and should be treated as such since this may not be accurate for every person. There are many factors that determine how much fluid a person should consume a day in order to stay well hydrated. (For example, individuals who are exercising, nursing, living at altitude or in hot temperatures may require more fluids to maintain proper hydration.)
The point is, you want to avoid becoming dehydrated, since dehydration leads to headaches, fatigue, constipation, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Plus, you want to help your body flush out the toxins it’s releasing due to your pure whole food diet.
But don’t go crazy and start forcing yourself to drink excessive amounts of water, as that can lead to extremely low sodium levels in the blood and cause a dangerous condition called hyponatremia. Fact is – most of us could benefit from drinking more water, just be sensible about it!
Health Tip: Create “spa water” by adding slices of lemon, cucumbers and berries to your water. This will not only naturally flavor your water, but also provide added nutrients and enyzmes to aid digestion and help flush out toxins.
Tip 3: SLEEP!
You’re body is being put through the wringer – toxins are being released due to your new pure whole food diet, your brain is reeling trying to figure out what happened to its emotional and physiological comfort foods, and you’re therefore suffering both physically and mentally, especially if your diet previous to the Whole30 wasn’t very close to how you’re eating now.
So get to bed early and get some sleep – at least 7-8 hours a night, if possible. Sleep helps the body heal and it will provide you with more energy for the energy drain you may be feeling (especially during weeks 1-2) as your body learns how to properly fuel itself without the bad carbs and sugar it may have been accustomed to previously.
Tip 4: EXERCISE!
But go easy the first week. See number 3 above and cut yourself some slack, especially if you’re one of those ultimate-exerciser types. And if you haven’t been exercising at all, taking a daily brisk walk will get your body moving, which will help you feel more energized (counter-intuitive but true), and get your blood pumping to better help your body flush out those toxins.
Tip 5: PRAY/MEDITATE!
Slow down and take time to pray and meditate on God’s Word. Studies have shown over and over again that meditation relaxes the body and reduces stress.
And by the way, meditation doesn’t just refer to sitting around chanting a word or phrase over and over, the word “meditate” simply means “to think on.” So think on why you’re doing this and even more important express your thoughts to God and ask Him for help and guidance. You’ll be much more successful in everything you do as you seek the Lord first and His will for your life.
Bonus Tip: KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT!
Knowing what to expect during your Whole30 journey can be a source of great comfort, validation and encouragement to keep moving forward. So be sure to print out this document and keep it handy. It can be very helpful to remind yourself “I’m not the only one.” Hang in there! You CAN do this!
• What to Expect on Whole30
Let’s THRIVE together!
So, there you have it … my five tips for not just surviving the first week of Whole30, but THRIVING during the entire 30-day program.
I’m so happy we’re doing this together! Be sure to share your thoughts as well (in the comment section below) on how to not only survive, but thrive on Whole30!
Build Your Own Custom Whole30 Meal Plans!
Exciting news! … Of course you always have access to my free Whole30 meal plans and resources. But now, our friends at Whole30 have teamed up with Real Plans to offer you the option of totally customizable Whole30 meal plans that you can create based on your own unique tastes, preferences and schedule. How cool is that?
Plus, some of my own personal Whole30 recipes are included in their custom meal planning database of over 500 delicious Whole30 recipes! Woot! [Click here to learn more about this brand new customizable Whole30 meal planning resource.]