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Since starting eating the Whole30 way, many of my friends have asked questions, and for advice as they consider it too.
 
Here's a getting started summary, based solely on my own experience.
 
First, you are considering this for any number of reasons... for some it's the hope of weight-loss, for others, health issues such as allergies, inflammatory responses and other ailments that might be addressed by learning through the process which foods your body does not do well with.
 
I can tell you that I don't think I have any allergies to foods and didn't have any digestive issues plaguing me.  But I have terrible eating habits.  I love healthy food, but also ate way too many snacks and foods that were just empty, very tasty, but empty calories.  I have been successful with Weight Watchers in the past, several times.  Get that?  SEVERAL times.  So, I was tired of the yo-yo weight issue I lived with as a result of not changing my HABITS, and that was my real motivator for trying the Whole30.
 
I didn't want to count calories or points all my life, but understood that weight was a direct result of too many calories in and not enough burned off.  What I didn't understand is the way a healthy body burns calories, and mine was way off wack from a lifetime of splurging and self-denial.  The process is that the body goes first to sugars for fuel, and I had plenty of those coursing through my system!  Some of it, it turns out, I wasn't responsible for, or even aware.  It wasn't just the sweets I chose to eat, but I've learned that sugar is added to the craziest things you'd never dream of, and as a result, we ingest way more of it than we should, all day long.  I wasn't choosing all of that, but it was going in my body every day!  So, the short of it is, our body uses those sugars and leaves the rest of it, until needed.  And the way I was eating, the rest was never needed, staying on as extra pounds unless I deprived myself for a period of time - in a DIET.  After that time, of course, it would all come back because I was going back to eating the way I'd known for all my life.  
 
So, for ME, and for my husband Dan too, we lost weight just by eating compliant to the Whole30 Plan of healthy proteins, vegetables, healthy fats and some fruit three times a day, and being sure that we were not leaving the table hungry.  I'm talking measurable, significant amounts of weight.   Also, I lost some of the hip, knee and foot pain that was pretty much with me all the time.  Is it just that the lower body mass was easier on my joints, or was I eating in a way that kept those areas inflamed?  I don't know.  But I know I'm eating compliant still most of the time, with small indulgences here and there, and I don't miss the weight OR the pains!!  (lol)
 
It's not a once and done, either.  I was looking for something I can live with, forever.  And I think I found it.  Eating well, feeling satisfied, and never having to DIET again.  It's a learning process of eating mindfully, sliding back into old habits, and bringing yourself into check again when you see it happening.  I think of it as a re-structuring of a lifetime of habits and way of thinking about foods as "good or bad", or worse yet, yourself for eating them!  I am still learning, and it will take many cycles before I can achieve what Whole30 calls "Food Freedom Forever", but I am closer now than I've ever been in my life, and I feel great too along the way!
 
OK, some tips to make it easier: 
  • BUY these books and read them.  They will HELP YOU on this journey. 1)  'It Starts with Food',  2) 'Whole30 - 30 Day Guide to TOTAL HEALTH and FOOD FREEDOM', and 3) 'Food Freedom Forever'.
    • You CAN do this without the books, but they are great resources, and isn't your health worth a little investment?
    • NO, I am not a spokesperson for them and I don't get any commission if you buy.
  • Book #2 has a sample week's menu that I used as my base when I started new.  It also has many recipes, some for some things I've never done before, like making my own mayonnaise!
  • Participate in this Whole30 online forum.  There are many there who are more experienced than me, who are very generous with their knowledge, get you through some tough moments, and, most of your questions have probably been asked and answered there.  It's a great resource and source of support! 
  • PLAN your meals.  Failure to plan = a "screw it"  attitude when your belly is talking to you and you don't know what you are going to put on your plate.
    • Consider utilizing a meal planner.  I subscribed to RealPlans.com, which integrates with Whole30.  This has a shopping list feature that is fantastic, tied to the menus selected for the upcoming week, has a supported facebook page/forum, and it lets me import my own favorite recipes too.
  • PRE-COOK as much as you can, weekly or bi-weekly.  
    • This is especially important for those that really hate to cook.  I don't hate it, but I hate to use my time cooking.  Some, really HATE it.  But we've got to eat.  Might as well make it as easy on yourself as possible.
    • You've got to have 3 good meals x 7 days/week... in my mind...forever, which means I wanted to learn as much from this first 30 days experience as possible.  But only concern yourself about the next 30 days for now.  Some of what you are eating for dinner can be in breakfast tomorrow, or lunch the next day, or a full meal that you cooked double or triple of and froze for dinners next week, or weeks from now!  Cook large portions of protein, parcel them to servings, and freeze.  You can change up the menu by serving them as part of another grouping of vegetables and whole different set of spices, and it won't have to be the same-old, same-old.
  • Speaking of spices - there are many good sources online for mixing up new combinations to keep your tastebuds VERY happy.  I'm loving this part.
  • I rely on what I call "skillet meals" a lot - I love bringing raw or pre-cooked proteins and veg's, even fruit sometimes, together in layers in a pan on the stove, cooking in a healthy fat.  I never get tired of them, and Dan loves them too.
    • Fritattas, started on the stove and finished up with the eggs on top and browning under the broiler - YUM!!!!  This recipe is SO versatile - anything goes!!
  • TRY NEW FOODS that you thought you didn't like.  Be open-minded.  Once you start eating un-processed foods, you will be surprised at what fills you up, and what tastes good together, and you want to have as much variety of healthy, satisfying foods as you can get your hands on, so you won't ever get hungry or bored.
  • PLAN your meals... and don't think of them as breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
    • They are meal #1, #2 & #3, and all foods are good at every hour of the day, not only the way you've been thinking of them your whole life.  Yes, even salmon (for me anyway)... great left-over in an egg frittata first thing in the morning!
  • Don't give in and snack while on the Whole30 - just don't do it.
    • Eat to fullness at each meal, and you won't.
    • Plan and serve foods that you like at each meal, and you won't.
    • Try not to snack AFTER the 30 days too - keep that bad habit from coming back.  Let your body work to process in a balanced nourishment cycle rather than peaks and valleys of too much/too little food intake.
  • Staples in my pantry - reading labels to be sure anything packaged, canned or bottled is compliant to Whole30:
    • Coconut Aminos
    • Chicken and Beef Broth
    • Coconut Oil
    • Olive Oil
    • Coconut Milk
    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Russet Potatoes
    • Canned Sliced Potatoes
    • Shredded frozen Potatoes
    • Unsweetened Apple Sauce
    • Canned Diced Tomatoes
    • Salsa
    • Canned Tuna
    • Vinegars
    • Nuts!  (Yum!!  Great, & healthy in recipes!)
    • Vegetables of all kinds - fresh when possible, canned and frozen also though!
    • Spiralized vegs - yes - it makes a difference - these are GREAT sauteed in a skillet!
    • Riced Cauliflower - I've bought mine frozen from Whole Foods - usually 10-12 bags at a time, because I'm not there often.
    • Onions
    • Mushrooms
    • Peppers
    • Avocados (didn't know just how much I loved these!!  Yum!!)
    • Eggs
    • Spinach (fresh baby spinach - great nutrients and cook down from a big pile into tasty bites in your meal - I use it in fritattas, always)
    • Squashes
    • Turnip
    • Poultry, Pork, Beef, Fish, Frozen Shrimp
      • Some becomes smoked and shredded, some cooked fast in pressure cooker, some cooked in slow cookers, some pre-assembled in patties, often with portions frozen for many, MANY future meals.
    • Bananas
    • Grapes
    • Clementines
    • Melons
    • Berries
    • Apples, and any other fruit in season!!
  • Have an open mind.  This is not a punishment, but a gift that you are giving to yourself.  Anything worth having takes a little work, and so does this - at first.  Until it becomes second nature.
    • If you are doing the Whole30 - it is only 30 days, and you can do THAT, right?   Of course you can!  Embrace it, and decide later whether you have learned anything useful about foods and your body, then use what you've learned to work towards a lifetime of good eating that keeps you healthy. 
 
Hope this helps.  Good luck my friends!  

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I think we're the same person- so many similarities with past history - love healthy food - AND sugar!  I haven't started the Whole30 yet - love that you and your husband did it together but don't think mine's on board.  Hoping this will help get me back on track and feeling better.  thanks for your post - very helpful!

 

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Thank you for posting this! I haven't started yet, my start date is May 20th. I am so happy you said that you finally found a way to eat for the rest of your life because that's what I've been wanting for so long. I can't wait to get started and I can't wait until I can just let go of all of the "diet" mindsets I've built up over the years! Congratulations on finishing, that is so awesome and you should be very proud. 

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Thanks everyone, for your positive feedback on the post.  I'm glad you found it helpful!

It's 2018 (already!!) and I am on Day 21 of my 5th Whole30... still working on those habits.  It's a work in progress, but it is certainly not an unpleasant one.  It never feels like a diet, just as described... a reset.  I am feeling good, and have learned much about myself, tried so many more different foods and spices and methods of cooking than I ever did before this journey, and it's pretty easy for me to put together compliant meals now.

How are all of you doing with the goals that brought you to Whole30?

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My husband has Stage 3 arthritis in his left hip (age 51) and I have MS (age 47). We are now on Day 1 of our 1st Whole30 and have great hopes this will be a lifestyle change. We love to drink and eat but more importantly we love to cook. Giving up drinking will be hard but we are determined to not be in pain all the time and possibly drop some of the "happy" weight we've gained over the years.

I have been reading and doing research for weeks and today we excitedly began. Good so far as we had mushroom, kale, and shishito pepper omelets, made chicken breast with mushrooms, onions and garlic saluted in olive oil for dinner. Side of steamed carrots and brussel sprouts. No lunch :-(  We have become accustomed to drinking coffee till 10am then starving as we head to eat a large lunch and then snack or drink in the evening. BAD!

Thank you for your post and we will be following these forum posts.

-Jennifer

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@JLHill - Jennifer, congratulations on your decision to take control of the things you can make better in your lives through the foods you eat!  The Whole30 can be very challenging, but I have no doubt that you can both do it.  As I'm sure you read, focus only 30 days.  That's not so hard, just 30 days.  This immediate challenge/goal can be motivational for any tough moments you might face.  You may not have any... you might sail right through!  Being prepared with your reading and research is wonderful and can make ALL the difference.

If you find the meal planning to be overwhelming, I suggest you look into Real Plans online.  It made such a difference for me in planning, shopping for, and preparing meals in my 2nd Whole30, and every day since(!), instead of my white board, lists and notes in the kitchen.

Good luck!!  You can do it!!

Bonnie

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We are on Day 8 now and other than some constipation issues my husband is having, we are doing great! Found a recipe for how to make soy sauce (our favorite) but left off the molasses. Not the same but still good on our stir fry with pork tenderloin. We used lightly steamed cauliflower crumbles as "rice" and it was very good.  Thank you for the support as I read so much.

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