Whole30 Tips and Tricks

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When you’re trying something new, even if it’s just for 30 days, you can have a lot of ups and downs. There are endless things that can help, and an equal (if not greater) number of things that can set you back or make you think like you should probably just quit. Now that I’m finally done with my Whole30, I can look back and see what was really helpful during the process and what was, umm, less helpful. There are lists like this all over the internet, but here are my tips and tricks for surviving your very own Whole30!

Meal plan your heart out!!! Knowing what you plan on eating will help SO MUCH! You’ll get excited about the food you’re going to eat, which can help you stay on track. I usually try to plan out my entire Whole30 meal plan at the beginning knowing that I can always change it if need be.

Make a grocery list and stick to it. Seriously. Write down every little thing you need and don’t even look at the other stuff. It will make you sad to walk past the fresh tortillas and the donut holes and the frozen pizza. Yes, I’m very much speaking from experience, here.

Meal prep like your life depends on it. Your success sure does. I made ALL my meals for the week on Sundays and just had them ready in the fridge or freezer. It was nice to not have to cook as much during the week when I was already tired from work.

Get rid of the best junk you’ve got. If you haven’t exercised your willpower in a while, just get rid of whatever might tempt you. Throw it away, give it away, or have a friend hold on to it until you’re done. Out of sight, out of mind.

Have good snacks on hand and ready. Hopefully you’ll be filling up on good food and you won’t need to snack, but better safe than sorry. If you have carrot sticks or apple slices or almonds on hand and ready, you won’t feel the need to get that Snickers bar from the vending machine.

Use the buddy system. The Whole30 can be hard and tiring and kind of lonely if you’re doing it alone… so force ask a friend politely if they’ll do it with you! I forced asked a friend politely to do it with me here in Dallas and it was so nice to be able to complain, swap recipes, and complain some more together. I also had 2 friends doing it in other states, so we got to complain together over text, too. There was also some encouragement, too, I should add.

Read the book. I guess technically you don’t have to, but it will definitely help get your mind in the right state if this is your first time doing Whole30. Or even if it’s your 14th time, I bet you’ll still be glad to read the reasoning why you can’t eat peanut butter for a whole month.

Get a cookbook. There are specific ones out there with ONLY Whole30 recipes, and that can be super helpful! I got a paleo cookbook and modified some of the recipes to be Whole30 compliant (but I probably wouldn’t recommend trying to do that if this is your first go-round. It can be tricky and VERY tempting to see recipes with things you can’t have!)

Get on Pinterest! Have an account? Great! Don’t have an account? Get one! There are THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of Whole30 recipes on that thing. I made a secret Pinterest board and shoved all the recipes I wanted to try in there for easy access.

Make a countdown calendar. Specifically one to track the days you’ve completed so far. Seeing all the days I’d rocked it thus far kept me motivated to complete the remaining days!

Make a list of all the reasons you wanted to do this crazy experiment in the first place. Maybe you want to lose a bit of weight, or clear up the acne that just won’t go away, or see if you can have better quality sleep, or relieve some weird stomach pain you’ve been living with for way too long, or even just to see if you can stick to something for 30 days straight. Whatever your reasons, physically write them out and keep them visible!

And there you have it – I think I’ve finally said everything I can think of about doing the Whole30! If you’ve done one (or attempted to do one) before, what tips and tricks worked best for you?

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Recent Reads

It’s time for the next installment of what I’ve been reading lately! I feel like my recreational reading has slowed down a bit as things have changed at work. My job has… shifted… a bit and I’m doing a LOT more editing now than I was before. Because I sit and read all day, I don’t necessarily want to read more when I get home. Does that make sense? Anyway, I still at least read on my morning bus ride to work, and here are the books I’ve finished recently!

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Peter and the Starcatchers – Have you ever wondered how Peter Pan became Peter Pan? How is he able to fly? Where did he come from? How does he know the lost boys? Where does Captain Hook come into play? Well then, have I got a book for you! Yes, this is technically a children’s book, but since when has that stopped me? This book was turned into a Broadway play (which I saw when I was in New York a few years ago) and it is fantastic!

Crazy Love – I have actually read this book before… it was probably 4 years ago and it was seriously calling my name from my bookshelf! I’m glad that I picked it up and read it again- this book is AWESOME! It made me think about my faith, REALLY think about it, and make some realizations about how I live my life every day. Go get it now!

It Starts With Food – A very informative read if you are thinking about doing the Whole30 or just curious about the effects that different foods can have on your body. They do a great job of explaining all the complicated science in an easy-to-understand way. Plus there are a few delish recipes in there, too!

Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn – A great read if you have always loved Audrey, if you’ve seen any of her films, or even if you just want to hear about an extraordinary life. Man did she have some hardships, but she was also a kind, caring, and compassionate person. It made me want to also find my passion (hers was not acting!) and be a better person.

Dark Places – Yeah. No. No no nope. Nope. I knew that a movie version of the book was coming out this year, so I wanted to read the book first to see if I wanted to see the movie. Ummmmm no. I can say with 100% certainty that I will not be seeing this movie. Nope. The book was a bit too intense for me at times, I’ll be honest. The whole book was a giant build up and then it had an underwhelming resolution in the last few pages. Meh.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – More magic, more awesomeness, more fun. It’s interesting going back now and re-reading all of these now that I know how it all ends. Like Snape- it’s interesting seeing how he acts and trying to piece together how he plays into everything as the story progresses. Oh Snape…

I am really excited about the next few books that I have lined up to read! I can’t wait to share them once I finish reading!

Whole30 Week 4 (Plus 2 Days)

Day 22: I don’t really miss many of the ‘old’ foods, but I do miss my peanut butter! I’ve often said that pb is my favorite food, and I feel like my friend moved away. (Actually, it just moved to the back of the pantry… but same thing.)

Day 23: Still going strong! I’m not surprised that I’ve made it this far… but yeah, I’m kind of surprised that I made it this far.

Day 24: Grocery shopping definitely goes a LOT faster when I’m just shopping the perimeter of the grocery store for fruits, veggies, and meat! (Looking for this gif gave me major flashbacks! I vividly remember watching Supermarket Sweep. At 5:30. On channel 12. Why do I remember these things?!?)

Day 25: A bunch of my coworkers went down to Klyde Warren Park at lunch today to go to the food trucks… I opted to stay inside and eat the lunch I brought with me, knowing there would be zero things I could have in the park. So sad.

Day 26: I’m going on a camping trip with my college girlfriends in a few weeks and I’m hoping that eating all the food we bring doesn’t give me a headache or make me feel sick while out at the lake! Maybe I’ll try to bring something healthy like carrots, or chicken, or rice krispie treats… oh wait….

Day 27: I watched the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and now I feel like I need to buy a juicer! I wouldn’t want to have only juice fore very meal, but there are so many juicing options! And the nutrients!

Day 28: I think I fell asleep within 5 minutes last night. That was amazing. That is a great perk from this process!

Day 29: I already have a day planned at the end of the week to go to lunch with some coworkers. It will be nice to have a little more freedom of choice and be able to eat something that I didn’t cook myself! Hopefully we go somewhere with healthier options!

Day 30: I made it- and I didn’t cheat once! (At least not that I know of!) Now I’m looking forward to trying some of the ‘old’ foods again and seeing how I react to them. First up, peanut butter! Oooh that better go well or I will be Up.Set.

Favorite meal of the week: Almond crusted chicken, steamed veggies, and a little golden potato! This is by far my favorite meal that I’ve had this whole time. It was obviously because of the addition of the potato. For sure.

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My final thoughts on this whole process:

I feel pretty darn good, but… I honestly don’t feel that much different than I did before I started this thing. Maybe because people go crazy talking about the Whole30 I expected to feel some super magical transformation? I don’t really know. I’d say that the main difference is that I sleep better and fall asleep much faster. That is well worth it to me!

So… am I glad that I did it? Yes! I might not feel all of the great things that happened in my body of the last 30 days, but I know that it was a good reset on all the crap that I eat on a regular basis. I was also glad that I set a goal and finished it. Yes, it was only for 30 days, but it would have been SO easy to run out and grab fast food, grab that candy bar at the checkout in the grocery store, go out to happy hour after work with friends, etc. I feel like I accomplished something! I also accomplished my goal of not annoying everyone around me (I actually had a few friends thank me for having the mental capacity to talk about normal things, and not try and work the Whole30 into every single conversation. Go me.)

So… will I ever do it again? Sure, why not?!? I don’t think I’ll do it in like…. July… but maybe in a few months or next year I’ll give it another go and do this whole crazy thing again!

Whole30 Week 3

Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Day 15: Friendly suggestion: don’t go to the Food & Drink section on Pinterest. No good will come of this. It will be all desserts and breadsticks and cheese and you will feel a strange mix of nostalgia and sadness. Your broccoli is waiting for you.

Day 16: Sigh. I don’t really like the meals that I made for the next few days… but I don’t want to waste food. If I were going to give in and just go drive through Taco Cabana instead, this would would be the time. But I won’t! I have some delicious sounding recipes coming up though, so hopefully those will be delicious!

Day 17: I went out to dinner with my sister and her family tonight! My eating restrictions choosing to eat healthy food and not cheat certainly limited what I could have. Thankfully we went somewhere that had a few delicious options for me! (I had a HUGE salad with shredded beef at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop! Yum!)

Day 18: I just watched the documentary Fed Up and I never want to eat sugar again. I know I’m going to, but man. I’m also glad now that I mostly brought my lunch while going to school. Yeesh.

Day 19: I went to a concert tonight, and normally concerts mean that everyone around is drinking some sort of something alcoholic, which is definitely not allowed while doing the Whole30. Thankfully, I knew that the buddy I went with doesn’t drink, so I didn’t feel out of place for  just ordering water. (The concert was really great! I won free tickets to see Mae!)

Day 20: Allergy update- they have gotten better! I can’t tell if it is just because of all the rain or if they are actually starting to go away, but I’m a fan!

Day 21: Oh I just realized I’m halfway done! Go me! This is actually going by pretty quickly! (I am counting the 12 day re-introduction period as part of the process, so instead of just 30 days, it becomes 42 days. Halfway woot woot!)

Favorite meal of the week: a delicious omelet with chopped green peppers, spinach, ham, and bacon! And don’t forget the La Croix! I got the Cran-Raspberry flavor and it is so good. These just might be my new addiction.

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Things were definitely getting easier in week 3, but be sure to check back tomorrow to see how the last week (plus a few days) went!

Whole30 Week 2

Week 2- here we go!

Day 8: People at work have started commenting on my ‘healthy lunches’ and I told them that I’m doing the Whole30 and at least half of the people had never even heard of it! I didn’t go into super great detail (because I don’t want to be that person that won’t shut up about their new diet or eating habits… that person is the worst) but they were all supportive. Actually I don’t think they cared, but I’ll say they were supportive.

Day 9: I kept hearing and reading that the first week-ish is horrible for some people. They get “carb flu,” horrible headaches, extremely cranky… I honestly didn’t feel any of that. I’m ok with that!

Day 10: I started listening to the nom nom paleo podcast (they’re only a few episodes in, so you haven’t missed much) and their two little kids are adorable! I hate the term paleo (it just brings to my mind a crazy, cult-like following, just like the term crossfit does) and will refuse to use this term in the future. The end.

Day 11: I have been in a pretty regular exercise routine so far and feeling pretty good with it- I’ve been doing a mix of HIIT, LISS, weights, and yoga! Go me!

Day 12: Unfortunately, the foods that are good for you aren’t always the cheapest and most affordable. I’ve meticulously planned each meal for these 30 days so that I don’t waste food and therefore waste money. My first grocery trip was more expensive that I would have liked, but I guess you’ve gotta start somewhere.

Day 13: Sugar dragon, you found me. I’ll fight you with…. carrot sticks!!! (That sounds so sad when I would much rather bake cookies!)

Day 14: Sweet potato fries are officially my favorite. Delicious.

Favorite meal of the week: ham, sweet potato fries, green beans, and strawberries! Sooooo good!

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