I had great success with my first Whole30. Considering the fact I have NEVER had a good experience with any type of change in my eating and I would consider myself addicted to certain types of food, I think my success with this plan shows that anyone can do it.
My suggestions for making your first Whole30 a success are:
It Starts With Food…No Really…It does!
Buy the book “It Starts With Food.” You can buy it on Amazon for your iPad or other Kindle devices for just $9.99. Learn from my experience…even though I was successful, I would have understood so much more, and perhaps would have lost more than 12 lbs if I had read the book FIRST. I started reading it in my last week. Don’t do that. Just get it. Read it! Another MUST READ by the same author is the Whole30 Timeline. Know what to expect physically and emotionally day by day.
Keep It Simple
I am THE QUEEN on analysis and complication! Fortunately, I approached this challenge completely different. I read the list of Whole30 compliant food, and that is what I bought. Simple, simple, simple. MEAT (including eggs). VEGETABLES (they added the white potato–baked only). FRUIT. It’s TRULY that simple.
Don’t even go down any of the other aisles. I ordered my Organic Coconut Milk (I get the 6 pack and so glad I did. I use it in almost everything. It takes the place of heavy whipping cream for me or milk in my Green Thickies) and Ghee (two items that I feel are an absolute must for me–they are so awesome) from Amazon (although you can make it yourself, and I will be doing that and posting the recipe as a post also), so I didn’t even go looking for them anywhere in a store. You can get Coconut Oil at WalMart, but since it’s on the baking aisle, you can get it from Amazon if that would be a trigger for you.
STAY OFF THE AISLES! and check the ingredients NO SUGAR or any sugar substitutes. There are other things to avoid such as SOY and MSG, but just check the Whole30.com website for more on “Can I Have…”
For those who like to look at meal plans for ideas, I highly recommend following the author of Well Fed and Well Fed 2 (if you’re Kindle subscribers you can read it free). I bought Well Fed 2 for my iPad (another great book for a great price for your Kindle devices). I’m not all that great at following recipes because I tend to just do it my way using some of the core suggestions, but Melissa Joulwan does an awesome job with these recipes. They are meals that she’s eaten herself throughout her Whole30 journeys and the books are really more than cookbooks. There is a lot of information in them to help with a Whole30 or Paleo type eating lifestyle.
Also check out her website for some awesome recipes and articles, one of which I recommend you read before you shop.
Set Your Mind to Succeed & Close Your Mind to Food Porn
It’s 30 days. You can do ANYTHING for 30 days, so just go ahead and tell yourself, this is what I am going to do. End of story. No need for therapy. 30 days. You can do it!
To be successful in that mindset, you need to let something go. Yes, you. If you’re like me and totally love food, your FB, Pinterest, etc is FULL of food porn. Trust me, I know it’s hard. I love looking at those awesome dishes, but it is dangling a carrot when you will be at your most vulnerable. Although I must admit after day 3, I had no problems with saying no, but I still didn’t want to just sit and look through food that I couldn’t have. I would, however, look through Whole30 compliant food which was awesome!
Prepare by the Week
I thought of the meat that I wanted for the week, and on Saturday or Sunday, I would take a couple of hours preparing it. Of course, the time was only in seasoning and browning it. The oven did all the work.
This is also a great time to wrap up several sweet potatoes and cut open a butternut squash (put Ghee and salt on it) and put it in the oven. They all take right about the same time. Try to get potatoes that are all the same size, so they will all be ready together. No lie…within 40 min – 1 hour all of your food for next week will be ready. The hard part will be not eating it right then while it smells UNBELIEVABLE!!
Spice It Up
If you already use spices, then you know how much flavor they add to food. If you don’t use spices, my suggestion is to go buy the basics (the cheap stuff is just as good to me and since I put it on everything, I buy the less than a $1 bottles).
My favorites are:
I actually premix some to just have a quick shaker of my favorite spices. I use the same amount of onion and garlic powder each as I do salt. By ratio, I do maybe 1/4 for pepper and ground ginger, and an 1/8 paprika with a light layer of cayenne.
Of course there are some spices I may use on occasion like celery seed, mustard (wet and dry), and Thai seasoning. I just add them separately because I don’t use them as frequently. Be sure to check the label for sugar or flavor boosters of any kind. They are sneaky and try to slip it past you by naming is some crazy name. You want items in as close to their basic form as possible.
Another seasoning that I find in my local health foods store (also at Amazon) was Coconut Aminos. They are your substitute for soy sauce.
One thing I have learned from Gordon Ramsey is if there’s no color, then there’s no flavor. It doesn’t take long to season your meat (most people go light handed on the seasoning–remember that seasoning has to get to the middle of the meat, so don’t skimp–just watch the salt) and brown it in an oven proof pan, and then slide it in the oven to bake (of course you can take it out of the pan and put in an oven safe pan if you don’t have stove to oven cookware). There is a TOTAL difference in taste when you take just 5 minutes to brown the meat, AND it will be SO moist because you sealed the juices in by searing it.
Oh yeah, this is a good place to mention, storage containers and zip lock bags. I know you think you have enough storage containers. I did, too. For some reason, I couldn’t find THE FIRST lid! That’s SUCH a pain in the … you know. So go ahead and buy some stackable containers. My larger ones for meat actually use the same lid for all containers regardless of their size. Awesome. I got some smaller ones too of varying sizes.
Get gallon and sandwich size zip lock bags. When the meat has cooled, you can slice it up into serving size portions and put in the refrigerator for quick meal prep. Large bags are very helpful for cut up watermelon or other types of fruit that you’ve prepared for quick access. This is what will save you when a craving may hit. Have it ready.
Say Goodbye to Cravings
As soon as I reached day 3, I had no further cravings. I passed up free, frozen hot chocolate, candy, all of the fried foods I used to eat, ice cream, hamburgers, you name it, I was able to pass it up–WITH CONFIDENCE. I even baked a cake and cupcakes for a customer without even tasting it (fortunately I trust my recipes). I’ve never baked without baking some for our house, too. It was a challenge, but I was victorious. I didn’t really “crave” it, but it was more about habit. I just pushed past that habit. It was a nice feeling to be in control of it.
Be Prepared to be Pleasantly Satisfied
Have you ever eaten and just felt so — underwhelmed? Not satisfied? You go through the house SEARCHING for that hidden bag of candy? or you just keep eating because you don’t feel satisfied? That feeling will completely go away. After each meal, I felt satisfied. As the program continued, I actually felt FULL. When you read “It Starts With Food,” you will understand how that natural feeling is connected to weight loss and overall good health.
When I finished the Whole30, I went to bed early. I started getting up naturally before the clock. I didn’t feel like I was going to fall asleep after lunch, and I even had the desire to start a workout regimen. I feel like Whole30 completely changed my life. Besides getting all of my hormones in check, I am now in control of my nutrition and my health. I don’t plan to go far from this platform. I will add some things back, but sugar and junk food in general will not be on the list. Eating clean has become a permanent part of my life. I hope you find the same to be true after your Whole30 experience.
I’m planning my second Whole30 for October 1 – Oct 31st. Want to join me? I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions about my experience that I haven’t covered here, I will be happy to answer any questions. Just hit that comment link and leave a comment for me.