Holy Moley! Recapping My Whole 30 and My Tips for Success

WHOLE30.
A little over a month ago, my friend and I embarked on a Whole 30 together. 30 days of eating only vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, and natural fats. It’s basically just following a strict Paleo diet, which I’ve talked about before.

Why did I do it? To make myself feel good, duh! I’m a very mood dependent eater and will probably always struggle to control my sugar cravings. It something I’m always working on improving, but I thought doing a challenge might be a great push in the right direction.

What were my results? I know that most people who recap their experience give exciting stats like inches or pounds lost. However, I didn’t weigh or measure myself either before or after, so sorry, you’ll have to forgo the thrill! The challenge was about my overall health and I was worried about getting too caught up in the numbers, which can be a slippery slope. The most noticeable difference for me was actually qualitative. About a week in, my moods really stabilized. Upset clients, doggie accidents at home, and just unexpected changes seemed to faze me less. I also felt more rested and energized. I was sleeping better and wasn’t as dependent on an afternoon iced coffee or Diet Coke, which for me is unheard of. It was great! Because it was a concentrated period of super healthy eating, I was able to clearly see the pay-off from eating this way.

My experience was good enough that I’d recommend giving the Whole 30 a try, whether it’s to improve your mental or physical health. Here are my tips for success:
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1. Keep it simple (stupid)
The hardest part about sticking with this diet is the cooking and prep work involved. Almost no prepared or packaged foods meet Whole 30 standards, so I made almost all of my meals at home. With so many Paleo blogs and books out there, it can be easy to get to get stressed out about what to make.

The strategy I found the most useful was finding a few simple recipes I liked and sticking with them. Different staples that could be mixed and matched to create multiple meals. This significantly reduced the prep work and general effort. Here are a few of the recipes I kept going back to:
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meatballs

I made a lot of meatballs. This recipe from Nom Nom Paleo is particularly good.

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honey-cinnamon-roasted-sweet-potatoes-recipe-4

Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes were a weekly thing (without the honey).

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zucchini noodles

I always kept zucchini “noodles” or spaghetti squash in the fridge for a quick meal. They’re a great base for any of your favorite sauces, including this delicious avocado cream version.

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2. Be kind to yourself
Let me be real with you. I have a stressful job and I’m a stress eater. Fighting my eating impulses was tough and there were a couple days I slipped-up. One thing I learned throughout the month, was that it wasn’t productive to beat myself up for grabbing a mini-Mars Bar after an hour long phone call with an angry client. The more I focused on my mistakes, the more I wanted to throw in the towel and eat some delicious chocolate. So I gave myself permission to eat some quinoa and vegan ice cream for Mil’s birthday, and didn’t fixate too much when I went overboard with dates and almond butter one night. Overall I probably followed the program only 95% of the time, but you know what, for me that’s still a huge win, and next time I can focus on making it to 96%. It should be about incremental gains and improvements, not absolute perfection. From the beginning know that you may slip up or choose to eat something off the list once or twice, but bottom line, one mini-Mars Bar is not the end of the world. Keep your perspective people!
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3. Use the buddy system
The hardest part of the program is sticking with it. Having a friend hold me accountable was huge. I saw Alaina every day. We made lunches for each other and texted throughout the day if we were having a hard time stepping away from the candy jar. Before you start, I recommend having a couple people you can reach out to for support.
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alaina

Me, Alaina, and our co-worker Chris. #porchinit

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Have you done a Whole 30, or thought about doing one? I encourage you to give it a shot. If you blog about it, share the link below, so I can support you along the way!
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XOXO,
Jules
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Photo source: 1

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One response

  1. Love your recap on the Whole30. I’m doing it right now, I’m on day 3. What I find the most challenging is being prepared ahead of time, I have been to the store so many times since starting. I’m going through produce like crazy. It’s good though. 😀

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