Whole30 experience...halfway through!
Hello Beautiful People,
Thanks for reading for the first time or welcome back!
My husband and I decided to start the Whole30 program on the 3rd and final week of our magical honeymoon in the Philippines. Frankly, he decided that after 2 weeks in Japan with rice, soy and sake galore that we needed a reset, so I was ultimately supportive of starting the program sooner than expected (we had originally planned for June 2017)!
Today, we are halfway through the program and are both feeling great! Aside from some headaches and digestive rumbles in the first week, we have found it overall pretty easy and enjoyable. The hardest part for us is probably giving up that decadent glass of red wine with dinner or butter in general, but overall we're thriving and feeling strong.
I do Barry's Bootcamp/interval training often and my husband plays intense tennis frequently, while we're both building our own businesses. If you eat 3 full meals a day and follow the meal plan for pre and post-workout, you too can maintain a busy lifestyle on this program without feeling depleted or discouraged.
Should you be deciding to embark on a similar system reset or the Whole30 program specifically, here is my advice below:
1. Support - I'm lucky to have my husband to do the program with and for these few weeks we've been together for all of it. I strongly suggest that you engage your significant other to hop on board and support you or enlist some friends or family members to help encourage you through it. It's imperative when embarking on anything new to have support and accountability, especially when having to retrain your habits. You want to have as much support as you're comfortable with, so please feel free to reach out to me too for any advice, support or questions. I am absolutely happy to help and support you on this wonderful but inevitably challenging journey!
2. Prepare - Preparation is key when it comes to eating healthy, working out and fitting in healthy habits in your already crazy busy schedule, and this program is no different. You may already be eating clean, as my husband and I largely were, but to cut out sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes, MSG and baked goods (and not weigh/measure yourself), you have to be extra diligent. So even before you start, mark your calendar and make sure there are not any key social events that could derail your program. You should also weed through your kitchen to eliminate any "temptations" and carefully read the labels to make sure you have only Whole30 approved brands; even some fish sauce for example has added sugar (yuck!) so I swapped one sugary brand for Red Boat fish sauce (sold at Whole Foods) that only has anchovies and sea salt as its ingredients.
I also made some trail mix in individual snack size bags for pre/post workout snacks and stocked up on vegetables, a variety of lean proteins, and spices. I also decided to use Sunday or Monday as my meal prep days, enlisting a friend (who is also a chef) to help me prep dinners for the week to simplify the mental process of the program and to ensure it would work best for our schedule over the next 30+ days. Essentially, the more you can do to eliminate the "what should I eat" question the better. Prepare your mental and physical space for the program and you'll be well ahead of the game. It truly has felt like a breeze (aside from wine, really) and I believe that's because we both knew what we were getting into and were prepared 110%.
Just don't forget about the 10 days following the program, where you'll be reintroducing each food group back into your diet to see how your body reacts (see here for the reintroduction schedule or a slower approach)--make sure that time is also on your calendar and will work for you. With that said, please don't put this off simply because there is something social on your calendar, there will always be a birthday to celebrate or a cheers to be had with girlfriends, so please prioritize your health and get started as soon as possible!
3. Be Strong - One of my favorite quotes from the Whole30 program founders' book It Starts with Food is, "It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your ‘struggles’.” This sums it up pretty well. It is 30 days, 30 days of of the rest of your life and for the insights you may potentially gain about your overall health and digestive system, it is so worth it!
Before you start the program or any new venture in life, have a 'why' in mind. Why did you decide to do this [program] in the first place? Was it because you've been dragging at work or in life and heard a friend rave about newfound energy after recently completing the Whole30 or another similar program? Or was it because you've struggled to lose weight for years, yo-yoing up and down and back up again and want to finally figure out what works for your body versus what is trendy or working for someone else? Or is it simply because you want a 30-day goal that you can most definitely achieve and want the joy of accomplishing something new? Whatever your 'why' is make it known, post it on your mirror or fridge and have it accessible when you need it most (before meeting up with friends or going to a dinner party). Remember that "when you're going through hell, keep going" because if it does not challenge you it will not change you. So stay strong, stay true and remember that you are so much stronger than you think!
4. Enjoy - I've found that in keeping my Instacart/grocery orders to mostly the meat/seafood counters, fruit and vegetable sections of the dashboard I'm able to get more creative elsewhere. So, don't be afraid to use spices you haven't in a while or ever before and leverage the many resources online to try new [Whole30 approved] recipes. A few of my favorites lately are on Kitchn, Greatist (breakfast and dinner) and Laughing Spatula. Whole30 also offers a blog with plenty of recipes as well. Don't look at this as a deprived, boring 30 days, but rather a reinvigorated chance for you to try new things, challenge yourself in the kitchen and truly make the most of it! Besides, this is for YOU, no one else. So, get out there and really enjoy it :)!
5. Random - Protein powder is not allowed on the Whole30. Therefore, make a batch of hard boiled eggs weekly, and have nuts and canned tuna handy for pre/post-workouts, rather than your typical morning smoothie or whenever you may turn to protein powder for convenience purposes.
When dining out, you never really know what is in your food, so check out the menus beforehand and if they don't disclose ingredients call the restaurant in advance and talk to a manager about your needs to ensure they can be met. There is nothing worse then arriving at a restaurant hungry and then having to go back and forth with the waiter and kitchen about what will and will not work for you, only to learn you should probably just wait to eat when you get back home. Ugh! I would also print out a cheatsheet or card to hand to the waiter to specify exactly what is okay so they don't overlook the butter that cooked your veggies or the added sugar in the aged balsamic vinegar that's in your salad dressing. This goes back to being overly-prepared, but again, make sure to eliminate any added stress for yourself throughout the program. Whole30 also touches on this topic, dining out, on their blog with some additional helpful advice.
Okay, that's it. Simple, right?! Well, kind of. Also, Whole30 is just the program we chose and is meant to be a program/learning tool, not a lifestyle. So, whatever you decide to embark on, do your research and make sure it is right for you!
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions about the Whole30 experience or related health/fitness/wellness topics. I am happy to help!
Thank you again for reading and hope you have a wonderful rest of your day!