What I learned my first week of the Whole30 Lifestyle


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I looked around and couldn't find a topic quite like this, but I apologize if there is one already. I thought it would be helpful to share things that we've learned during the first 7 days of Whole30. I believe this will be helpful to people considering, debating, post-poning, beginning and going through their first Whole30.

Planning Ahead - Don't go too far?

I am a planner extrodinare! I love to plan, I LIVE to plan. I am organized (some say to an obnoxious point) and thorough. When I started planning for Whole30, I took off like a rocket. I was so sure I was going to plan every meal, every protein, every vegetable, every fruit, every fat for ALL 30 days. I'm organized and I typically like it that way. But after day 2 on Whole30, I was losing my mind! And I didn't know why. Then it dawned on me as I was reading my meal 2 plan for day 2 "eggs.... kale.... carrots... OMG I NEED TO BE CREATIVE!" And that was that. I realized I had bored myself with all my planning. Since then, I have thrown the plan to the wind (like literally forgotten where it is kept), because I need to be creative in the kitchen. I need to MAKE something. Not just throw things from a list on a plate and call it good. I need to test the waters and see what I find. So now I do it just like the book says. Start with your protein! Once you have a protein in mind for your meal, the rest will come together. After my protein, my goal is at least two (but mostly three) veggies of different colors. Keep your plate vibrant - it makes it more fun to eat. And after the protein and veggies have hit the plate, decide which fat goes what you have going on. Then occasionally throw in a fruit.

***Disclaimer: I'm not saying all my planning was bad. From my plan I made one EPIC grocery list, which helped me A. stay focused at the grocery store and B. know just HOW MUCH food to buy.

How much to buy - Is there ever too much?

When I first committed to Whole30, one of my biggest concerns was knowing just how much food to buy at the grocery store. This concern was amplified by how quickly my produce turns bad. Luckily I had worked long and hard on an EPIC meal plan (which I threw out on day 2). My meal planning allowed me to SEE how many servings of various veggies I was going to need, how much protein would make a weeks worth of 3 meals a day, and what a serving of the various fats would look like. It gave me a great visual, so when I was grocery shopping and I held up a bag of carrots, I could estimate how many servings I could get out of it (which told me how many meals it would last me). It was very helpful for me. And, this gave me a great sense of confidence, as I was so nervous that I would constantly be hungry while on Whole30. Obviously you don't want to buy the store out of the produce section just to throw it away in a week because its gone bad and you didn't eat as much as you thought you might, but over-purchasing veggies on your first week isn't the worst thing you could do.

Recipes - To keep it fun.

As I write this, it is Day 7 for me and today is the first time I tried a Whole30 compliant recipe I found online. And can I just say, it was so much fun! Having recipes on hand is a great way to mix it up when you get too bored. Please note, most of them are not quick, with the chopping and washing, and prepping and simmering and stirring and... you get the point. But every once and a while it is nice to be able to try something someone else created. It may even give you some ideas on ways to use ingredients you haven't thought of before. Additionally, make a big dish of something at the beginning of the week. This can be your go to when you are short on time and can't whip something Whole30 compliant together.

Timeline - What it means to you.

We've all read it about 4 times. Maybe even printed of a calendar and written down which days we should have which experiences. But as the disclaimer in the book says, not everyone will have every symptom, feeling or experience mentioned. Which means you might not feel everything described on the timeline, and thats OK! It took me till Day 5 to ask about the timeline, becaue I hadn't felt any of the things it talked about. No carb hangover, no kill all the things. But Day 6 hit me like a ton of bricks! I was so exhausted I couldn't string a line of words together to make a sentence. Everyone will be different. Your lifestyle pre-Whoel30 will have some things to do with it, your body will have other things to do with it, your family, personal, social and work life will have other effects. So is this feeling you have on Day 4 normal? It could very well be normal for you. Listen to your body and you can't go wrong. There is just one thing I would recommend to those deciding when to start their Whole30 as it regards to timeline. Schedule your Whole30 so that on day 6 and day 7 you can take all the naps you need. I really wish I hadn't had to work long full days during the busiest time for my department on my day 6 and 7. If your body doesn't react with the timeline schedule, hopefully no harm no foul. But if it does, you'll truly thank me.

Sharing Whole30 - It's not as crazy as it sounds, I promise!

When I started Whole 30 I felt all kinds of emotions. Wanting to share it with the world, was NOT one of them. I think (especially with overweight folks like myself), people are afraid to be labled as a crazy diet-er or a health freak, or accused of jumping on board with the latest fad. People want to be respected, and its hard to share something you think might get you judged. It was hard for me to share with people what I was trying out. But as the week goes on, it gets easier. It gets easier to say "I'm not eating sugar" or "no thank you, I don't want that delicious looking homemade banana nut bread that may still be warm from the oven" or "I won't go out for bar food with you because all they serve is crap." But please know that eventually it gets easier to share with people. It may not happen all at once, but it does get easier. It also REALLY helps that its not a diet and its not a fad. Eating Whole, good-for-you foods is just plain good for you!

Designate a Cheerleader - They may just be the push you need.

The hands down best thing I did (besides commit to the Whole30) was to ask my best friend to read the downloads and be my cheerleader, even if she wasn't going to do the Whole30. Find someone who truly cares about your wellbeing, who loves you unconditionally and who will support you through the craziest thing you've ever done (and who has proven it), because even though the Whole30 isn't some crazy radical idea, women on PMS giving up chocolate may be both crazy and radical. That is the person you need to go ask to be your cheerleader. Have them read the downloads section of the Whole30 website, this will give them an understanding of what you are about to go through. Reading the downloads will help them know, what you should eat and what you should not eat. It will help them be able to cheer you on when things get tough and remind you that YOU CAN DO IT! And if this person is someone you occasionally or frequently go out to eat with, then they will be more understanding and work with you to find places you can eat at (Note: the local dive bar is no longer an option).

I hope others will feel like sharing some of the things they learned in the first 7 days. And I really truly hope this Forum will help people who may be on the fence decide that the Whole30 is the change they need in line.

Happy Whole30!

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