I Finished Whole30: 10 Tips That Helped Me Survive

I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself around here.  Earlier this week, I completed Whole30.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s not a typical diet.  It’s a way of eating that is healthier and helps you “reset” your body.  What are we talking here?

•No grains

•No sugar

•No legumes

•No dairy

Did I lose weight?  Sure did.  Seven stubborn pounds and happy with that considering I didn’t exercise (I know, I know, that’s next).  One reason that this worked for me is that I was never hungry.  I ate three meals a day and had a snack every once in awhile.  This girl does not do hungry.

BUT

It’s a lot more than a way to lose weight.  My allergies have disappeared (think the seasonal, sniffy kind.  I live in Houston, so all year is allergy season.)  My skin is a million times better.  My energy level is even, so no wanting to fall asleep at school at 2:00 but being wide awake at 10:30.  My intestines are happier.  I won’t go into that, but you can make any conclusions you want there.  It’s also the first time in my entire adulthood I’ve eaten guiltlessly.

If you’re looking for a Whole30 guru, I am not your gal.  You will want to read the book, It Starts with Food (do it or fail).  You’ll also want to check out this post, How Not to Suck at Whole30, from Rachelle at For Blogness’ Sake.

Here are some things I learned along the way:

Read the Book

Read it, read it, read it.  It’s the only way you’re going to make this work.  Otherwise you’re just saying no to all the things you like.  The book is a brain switch to start saying no to all the things that make you feel bad.  And they are making you feel bad.  You don’t even realize it.  How bad?  My Whole30 is finished, but I’m staying 95% compliant because of how good I feel.  I don’t want to lose that.

Join Instagram

Even if you do nothing else with it, the hashtag #whole30 was is a great go to for inspiration.  I saw yummy food, inspirational before and afters, compliant brands of food, basically a whole lot of good to keep me going.  Posting something?  Include the hashtag #teachersofwhole30, so that we can find and support each other.

p.s.  If you do this, do not take a picture of cupcakes or pizza that you’re not eating because of Whole30.  I did NOT enjoy it when I was scrolling through those pictures, feeling all good about my choices.  You don’t want to sabotage someone else in a weak moment.

Meal Plan

Next to not reading the book, not planning meals is going to be the biggest thing to derail you.  I made this cute little planning sheet to motivate me.  You’re welcome to download and use it.  My husband and I sit down ever Sunday and meal plan for the week before going grocery shopping.  Which leads me to my next tip . . .

Pinterest

Go to Pinterest.  Search Whole30.  Pin every food that looks good to you.  When we meal plan, we sit down at the computer with Pinterest pulled up.  We just keep scrolling until we find enough yummy looking food for the week.  Otherwise, we just stare at each other and have this conversation:

Me: “What do you want to eat this week?”
Him: “I don’t know. What do you want to eat this week?”
(This continues back and forth about 12 million more times.)

Here's my Whole30 board if you want to check it out.

Lettuce Scoops Are Your Best Friend

Yep.  Lettuce Scoops.  It’s how you can still eat tacos, chicken salad sandwiches, hot dogs, etc.  Pretty much anything can go on a lettuce scoop.  You’re welcome.

Up Your Data Plan

Grocery trips in the beginning take a looooot longer.  Mainly because you will spend half of your time googling things like “Guar Gum Whole30”.  This doesn’t really bother me.  It’s like being on a mission.  I don’t want anything to sneak past my “I Feel Good Barrier”.  It annoys the heck out of my husband though.

Quit Drinking Cokes Early

This is a big change for your body.  You have trained your body to like certain things.  Did you know sugar effects the same part of your body as heroine and cocaine?  Your first week is not going to be easy.  A lot of people have headaches the first week.  I think that has as much to do with caffeine as it does sugar/carbs.  I gave up drinking Cokes while I was still in the book reading stage because I knew everything else I was going to do was going to be hard, and I didn’t want to do all the hard things while seizing on the ground begging my family for a can of Coke Zero.

“I could never give up my Diet Coke.”  Yep.  Meth heads say the same thing.  Guess what?  You can.  You need it because you’re addicted.  After a few days or a week, you’ll be fine.  This is coming from the girl that drank three cans of Coke Zero/Diet Coke a day for nearly two decades.

Get a Nice Family and Some Good Friends

You need some support here.  My husband was very supportive.  Possibly because he agreed to do it with me then only lasted 3 days.  (FYI-He didn’t read the book.)  He helped me meal plan, shop, and cook.  He’s a good guy.
If your family is not supportive, ask them why they’re being turds.  Basically, you’re trying to make life changes so you can be healthier, live longer, be happier (food does CUH-RAZY things to your hormones), have more energy, and look sassier.  Can they not help you with that for 30 days?  I’m not saying my kids ate spaghetti squash, but we all had meatballs in tomato sauce.  Mine was on spaghetti squash, their’s was on pasta.

I had a lot of support from some blogging friends who were starting Whole30 also.  Find a tribe.  We shared successes and places to find compliant bacon.  That’s right, bacon.  Any diet that includes bacon is doable.

Like Eggs

If you don’t like eggs, breakfast is going to be hard.  Start liking eggs right now.  Search a million different ways to eat them on Pinterest.  There are going to be a lot of eggs.

Cook Too Much

Cook more than you need.  Enough for lunch the next day and hopefully a serving to freeze.    It’s nice to have those extra meals to grab when you end up without enough for lunch or a new recipe is an epic fail.

Was it hard? Yep.  I am I glad I did it?  Yep a million times over.  Because my family is supportive but not to the point of listening to me obsessively discuss how great Whole30 is and whether I will ever find compliant breakfast sausage or not, I started another blog to ramble on about this stuff.  If you want to follow along with me, I started another blog, Clean Eating • Messy Kitchen.  {I was originally going to call it Clean Eating • Dirty Kitchen.  I think it sounds catchier, but I was concerned the Dirty Kitchen part was going to give people Hoarders visions.}

Are you trying Whole30?  Thinking about it?  Or just think I’m crazy?


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11 comments

  1. I tried starting last week - and failed epically! Didn't have enough in a meal and then hadn't planned enough.
    RE-read the book, and I'm officially finished day one! only 29 to go, and I'm looking forward to it!

    Erin
    Learning to be awesome

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  2. Today is Day 30 for me! These are definitely great tips! Before Whole30, I have never been successful at dieting or even "watching" what I eat. Whole 30 was the thing I needed to get my mind and thoughts straight around food!

    Lindsey

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  3. I am on day 39, and will probably eat compliant the rest of my life, but maybe switching to just paleo in a few months so I can make a compliant tortilla or baked good. I've lost almost 15 lbs, feel better than I have in a long time and had other victories similar to yours. My boyfriend is not doing it with me but had also been supportive. During this whole 30, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and switched to the whole 30 AIP, with NO EGGS, lol. That's a struggle. I'm doing sausages and sweet potato latkes instead, yum. Glad to see other teachers doing this and I'll look for that hash tag and check out your Pinterest board.

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  4. I am on day 39, and will probably eat compliant the rest of my life, but maybe switching to just paleo in a few months so I can make a compliant tortilla or baked good. I've lost almost 15 lbs, feel better than I have in a long time and had other victories similar to yours. My boyfriend is not doing it with me but had also been supportive. During this whole 30, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and switched to the whole 30 AIP, with NO EGGS, lol. That's a struggle. I'm doing sausages and sweet potato latkes instead, yum. Glad to see other teachers doing this and I'll look for that hash tag and check out your Pinterest board.

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  5. You totally nailed this post!!!!! Yes! Yes! Yes!

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  6. I love that your family was so supportive. And I think your new blog sounds great- I will have to go check it out. My husband is anti-green vegetables. Or yellow, or orange, or any vegetables, so I don't think this is in the cards for us!

    -Maria

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  7. It was a great 30 days! I learned so much during this journey. I love this post, Megan! I never knew that I could live without Diet Coke and sugar. It feels great! Now I'm shifting to mostly Paleo, but I think I'll restart another 30 soon! It was great to be focused. Thanks for the menu planner. I'm sure it will help out my next 30 :)

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  8. I just finished as well! I even had a blood test the third week in, and got the results the other day. My doctor was absolutely giddy with my results! Food is powerful and the whole 30 sets us in the right direction.

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  9. I need to find some compliant bacon for reals! What brand do you get?

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  10. Your posts are SO delightful to read! I'll have to start reading your new blog too. =)
    And you have my interest piqued now.

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  11. Great read Megan! The book is in my Amazon cart!
    Deirdre
    A Burst of First

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