How to Complete a Whole30 with Your Sanity Intact

My last post generated some great questions from readers.
To follow up, I’m sharing my top tips for completing a Whole30
without losing your mind.

But first, let’s get the tough stuff out of the way. For 30 days,
you will not eat dairy, grains, legumes, vegetable oils, added real
or artificial sugar, processed foods or consume alcohol. I know
what you are thinking. . . what the heck can you eat? You’ll eat
platefuls of delicious, nutritious whole foods.

1. Study the program. Read The Whole30 book before you begin or research
the Whole30 website. They cover every possible question and scenario so
you know what to expect. Contact a medical professional if you have any
questions particular to your health.

2. It’s ALL about preparation. You can’t wing it. Gather simple recipes and
create your shopping list. Remove all non-compliant food from your house
if you can. If not, designate shelves in your fridge and pantry for compliant
food. It’ll make it less tempting to cave and cheat. Research local sources
of the highest-quality meats, eggs and produce. Read every label.
Plan, plan, plan.

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3. Stock up on items online. Most of the non-perishable products are cheaper
online. I price check and order from Amazon, Vitacost and Thrive Market to
save money. It’s a bummer to run out of staples and it gets expensive to buy
everything at health food stores.

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4. Seek support. Try to get a close friend or family member to do the program
with you or utilize resources online. Connect with others who understand the
process. Declare your commitment to someone you trust to help keep you
accountable. Then you can text or post to your Whole30 buddy before you
devour an entire pie.

5. Meal prep. Choose one or two days a week to prep some ingredients.
Cook meat, hard boil eggs, prep vegetables and wash fruit to keep in the
fridge. Spiralize some vegetables, if you want to get fancy. Make your condi-
ments. (Almost all store-bought varieties have ingredients you can’t eat. The
homemade versions are easy to make and taste better anyway). Your prep
will help you get quick meals on the table during busy times. You know, like
every single day of your life.

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6. Take it easy. Take it easy. *It takes major dedication to stay on track, but
don’t take it too seriously. Laugh stuff off. Find ways to treat yourself be-
yond food. Take a long hike. Plan a night out at a local coffee shop. Catch
some live music. You may feel compelled to isolate yourself to reduce
temptation, but Whole30 is all about making healthy choices in your real
life. Stay active.

7. Get creative. The Whole30 plan doesn’t outline what to eat for each meal.
I prefer this approach to a plan that dictates what to eat for each meal. There
are endless meal options within the restrictions. Start with foods you enjoy
and get more adventurous as you go.

8. Embrace the dirty dishes. Preparing three meals a day leads to full sinks.
There’s no getting around it. Do your best to keep up and try not to sweat it.

fe.feat.whole30.sanity-intact4

9. Always have compliant food handy. Don’t create obstacles. Nothing is
worse than being hungry with nothing to eat. Nuts, unsweetened dried fruit
and jerky are easy to carry around. I always have a compliant Larabar or
Epic bar in my purse. Don’t rely on these for meals, but have them for an
emergency. There’s a helpful Whole30 approved list if you are unsure if a
product complies.

I attended two parties during my Whole30 and brought food with me. I was
nonchalant, and no one cared. If it makes you feel more comfortable, inform
the host you need to bring your own food to comply with your elimination
diet. Or just eat before the party, and while everyone else dines, entertain
that kid who refuses to sit down and eat. However you decide to handle it,
don’t preach to the guests about food. Just don’t be that girl or guy.

10. Research restaurants in your area. I preferred to cook during my Whole30,
but I did go out to eat a few times. I researched the menus and called restau-
rants with questions ahead of time. I also brought homemade salad dressing
and snacks in my purse, just in case.

11. Take your reintroductions seriously. After you’ve put in the hard work
for a month, follow the Whole30 guidelines for reintroducing foods. You may
find, like I did, that you don’t miss certain foods and continue not to eat them.
Or you may decide you can’t live without a food. (Cheese, perhaps?) Follow
the process to reintroduce it to determine how the food affects you. Then you
can make an educated decision regarding when and if you want to eat that
food. This is the beauty of Whole30, so don’t miss out on it.

12. You are stronger than you think. If you are considering doing a Whole30,
then you probably have a compelling reason. I’ve never been a dieter, so I
thought having food restrictions would be torturous, but it wasn’t nearly as
difficult as I anticipated. What you discover about your body is priceless,
and well worth eliminating foods for a short period of time. If you commit to
it, you can rock it!

I’d love to help with any questions or hear about your results! Leave a
comment below.

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