Tips for Surviving Your First Whole30

Last month, on a whim, I decided to start the Whole30 diet.  I hardly had enough approved food in my pantry/fridge and had several days to go before grocery day, but it wasn't as tough a diet to follow as I thought it was going to be.  I made it through the first few days and it wasn't so bad - aside from eating chicken and broccoli for practically every meal - and things got much more delicious and easy after going to the grocery store.  Ten days in, Jack and I got super sick, and I had to forego the diet for saltines and gatorade.  Fast forward to today and I've decided to give the Whole30 thing another try.

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In case you don't know what Whole30 is, here's the tl;dr:  for 30 days you only eat meat, veggies and fruit.  No added sugar (real or fake) including honey and agave nectar, no grains including wheat, rice, quinoa, corn, or any other grain you can think of, no beans, no dairy, and no alcohol.  But potatoes are ok (that may be what finally sold me on the program).  Read the official overview of approved foods here.  The first time I looked up Whole30 my reaction was, "You've got to be fucking kidding me!!!"  But I read enough about it and followed enough bloggers/IGers that the idea slowly steeped into my subconscious and before I knew it, I was starting the Whole30.  And you know what?  It really isn't that hard.  Since I'm starting the Whole30 again today, I thought I'd share a few tips I figured out the first time around.

Tips for Surviving Your First Whole30

1.  Focus on what you can eat instead of what you can't eat.  Whole30 isn't really all that difficult.  It sounds horrible and impossible when you only think of what you can't have, but when you shift that focus to what you can eat, the program starts to sound feasible and even delicious.  Also, keep some approved Larabars on hand in case you're caught in a pinch and need something to eat!

2.  Take it one meal at a time, one day at a time for 30 days.  Thirty days isn't a very long time, but when facing down such a restrictive diet it sounds like a lifetime.  Twenty-four hours, on the other hand, is a much more manageable amount of time that simply contains three meals and a snack.  That's all you have to think about at one time - three meals and a snack.  Easy.

3.  Make a plan (or don't).  I'm terrible at meal planning.  One of my big hang ups to starting the Whole30 was the idea that I needed to plan all three of my meals and all my snacks for 30 days.  This is just not how I operate and was almost more overwhelming than the idea of cutting out all those foods from my diet.  Instead, I just made sure to have approved Whole30 foods on hand and ate as I went along.  If you're more of a planner, then do that!  

4.  Pick a start date and tell someone.  If you tell someone your plans in a very specific way, you're more likely to see them through, and if you give yourself a specific start date, you're less likely to put off starting.

5.  Have a support network - do the Whole30 with someone.  Doing Whole30 alone is much more difficult than doing Whole30 with someone.  It's easier to commiserate on the tough parts and celebrate the successes with someone who is going through the same thing.  If you can't find someone to do Whole30 with you, find a support network.  Dennis decided not to do Whole30 with me, but the entire time he's been encouraging me and applauding my efforts.

Getting through a Whole30 isn't really that difficult if you break it down and don't psych yourself out.  If you're thinking of trying the Whole30, I say go for it!  It's really not that bad, I promise!  Have you done a Whole30 and have any tips to add?  I'd love to hear them!  And if you haven't done a Whole30 yet, what's holding you back?  Let's support and encourage each other - we can get through this together!!!


I got all the way through my Whole30 and I survived!!!  Check out my results post here to see what I learned and whether or not I'd do it again.  Spoiler alert:  I'm totally going to do this again!

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