I completed my first Whole30 a few months after having my second son, Emerson. Truthfully, I was looking for a simple and fast way to lose weight; but in the end, I walked away with skills that have reshaped my entire relationship with food. Long before the days of ready-made condiments, and Nutpods, there was the hard work of truly sifting through every bite and ounce you were consuming, ensuring you were eating whole and clean. I had to actually start looking at the ingredients that were in my food, and not just take the word of those advertising just how “healthy” their foods were. What I found was astounding. EVERYTHING has sugar in it! Okay, maybe not everything, but it probably would not be an exaggeration to say about 80% of foods I was regularly purchasing. And I thought I was actually eating healthy foods, yikes!

Tips And Tricks For A Successful Whole30

Not only had I started to really look at the ingredients that were in my food, but I was learning to listen to my body and better understand how certain foods were negatively impacting my health. Further, I was able to work on an awareness around emotional eating. It was the first time I was eating to be nourished, and it felt amazing. Since that very first round, I have continued to read my food labels, research healthier alternatives and sought out ways to continue to improve my relationship with food.

Whole30 Has:

  1. Changed my relationship with food
  2. Made label and ingredient reading habit
  3. Removed guilt when I chose to eat things that are not as nutrient dense or “healthy”
  4. Given me a way to reset eating habits when I feel I am falling back into old patterns or have overindulged
  5. Helped me create an example of healthy eating for my family
  6. Encouraged my passion for cooking and creating in the kitchen
  7. Helped me become aware of how my body reacts to certain foods, making it easier to decide if these foods are “worth it.” So long vanilla soy lattes!
  8. I no longer need endless amounts of cream and sugar in my coffee. Hello, Nutpods!

I do not live in a constant state of Whole30, or even paleo. I am working toward an 80/20 lifestyle. For me, I find that I feel my very best when I am eating clean and whole. However, I also enjoy new restaurants and food experiences, holidays and other non-compliant events. The good news is that I am getting better at identifying when it is worth it for me to use my food freedom. More on the concept of food freedom here.

When I Know It Is Time To Reset?

  1. My skin. I have always struggled with sensitive and acne prone skin. However, over the years, I have seen just how much diet (and water) plays a role in healthy skin. Reoccurring breakouts likely mean I have been consuming too much dairy (likely ice cream) and sugar.
  2. My patience. I am more irritable and quick to feel frustrated by simple things. Shoutout to my husband and kids. Eeek!
  3. Bloating. My fingers are swollen, my face feels/looks puffy, and my pants are a bit too snug. No fun.
  4. I feel less creative or inspired. Another way I know it is time to take a look at my diet, is when I feel less creative with photography, organization, cooking, and even playing with my kids.
  5. Exhaustion. Sleep is less deep and restful. I am more likely to stay up too late, making it easier to skip my early morning coffee and work sessions.
  6. I have no desire to workout. Like. Zero.
  7. Feeling lazy in the kitchen- leaving me more likely to choose less heathy options (most likely Thai take out).
  8. A general blah feeling. How’s that for specific?! Basically, my mind and mood are foggy.

How I Prepare For A Successful Whole30 

How I Prepare For A Successful Whole30 filmstrip
  1. Make a list of goals- what is my why. This is what I need to reflect on when I feel like I’m totally over it, and want to dive head first into a big bag of carbs! And remember, it is only 30 days. And as Melissa Urban has said over and over, you can do anything for 30 days. Hashtag, word.
  2. READ ALL THE BOOKS! Yes, I know, it is a lot. Just “winging it” on the opinions and suggestions of others is not going to cut it. You need to have a full understanding how the program works, what foods you can consume (list here), how to speak about the program (not a diet, but a reset), and even a timeline of how you might expect to feel. All The Books.
  3. Let people know. This helps with accountability. And better yet, see if a family member, friend, or your partner wants to join you. There is strength in numbers! If no one is down to join, there is a huge, welcoming community online of people supporting others choosing to reset. Be sure you are following: @Whole30 @Whole30Recipes @Whole30Approved
  4. Have compliant snacks prepared. Be sure to plan for 2 of the 3 macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, or fat). Check out my 26 Whole30 Snacks for more details about snacking while on Whole30, as well as delicious ideas.
  5. Have ready-made meals on hand for days you can not/do not feel like cooking. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail! I refer to these as “pantry meals” because they are items you can keep in your pantry or freezer, and are more or less nonperishable. Things like canned tuna or salmon, tomato sauce, potatoes, onions, mayo, frozen veggies, etc. My go-to’s include: Whole Foods plain rotisserie chicken, Chipotle, Applegate hotdog served with a microwaved sweet potato “bun,” steamed broccoli, tuna salad or salmon cakes.
  6. Have something to look forward to. This is one of my most favorite things in life, the anticipation of something good. Whether it is a fun new recipe, cooking gadget or food item, it adds a little interest to the monotony that can happen when you are spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
  7. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN this includes ALL my meals- I use this planner, which is very helpful when doing a round, as it includes space for all your meals and snacks.
  8. JOURNAL. It is NOT about tracking every bite you eat, or how many calories, it is about how you are feeling throughout the process. It is a great way to notice patterns, gaps and where you need to push harder, give yourself some grace, and most importantly, the small, seemingly unnoticeable steps happening toward a bigger change. I have used this Whole30 Day by Day for the last 5 or 6 rounds. I have found the routine of reflection every day immensely helpful.
  9. Map out all social engagements. Look at your calendar and plan how you will approach those events. That being said, I have been know to bring my own food just about anywhere. LOL Things like salad dressing, salt, coconut aminos, and other condiments are easy to bring along. And for parties and get-togethers, offer to a bring a dish to share. There are SO MANY side dishes and appetizers you would never even know are even Whole30!
  10. CLEAN. Yes, clean. Cleaning out your pantry, freezer, refrigerator, and even your cabinets makes a world of difference. I also use this as an opportunity to take inventory of items I already have on hand. I make the following categories: condiments, compliant pantry items, proteins, vegetables/fruit, and other. Once you have this list, you are ready to create from items you already have on hand. It’s a great way to skip a large grocery bill right off the bat.
  11. Give yo-self some grace! As you read through all the books, you will see that the idea of a perfect Whole30 is unrealistic. Stay compliant, and remember this is learning process. This whole program is meant as a reset, a way to identify what foods may not be doing you any favors, and even more, work on how you view food and the emotions and feelings that often get caught up with it.

After having completed more than thirteen rounds (one while pregnant, and one postpartum), I can safely say, I am forever changed. I learn something about myself with each round. Things like, I REALLY need to make drinking water more of a priority, sleep gives me more motivation than any Instagram post ever could, and if I choose to have technically compliant snacks that feels like a lot like dessert, I am more likely to bend the rules and reap less benefits.

I am so happy you took the time to read through this post. Life is meant not only to be lived, but to be lived well. My hope is that you found something of value, and are more motivated to attack your next round of Whole30. As always, please reach out with anything, I am here to help.


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Tips And Tricks For A Successful Whole30