This is one of the most asked questions in our Whole 30 Facebook group. It is exciting, but it can also feel totally overwhelming to get all your ducks in a row to feel prepared for Day #1!
There are definitely some things you can do to feel like you are more in control and I want to share what was most helpful for ME before I took the leap into the land of Whole 30.
First, and most importantly, read and research!
Do your homework and be sure you know the rules and recommendations of the program. Everything is free online on www.whole30.com and in the books (It Starts with Food, Whole 30/Whole 30 Day by Day and Food Freedom Forever). There are so many amazing resources available to you. The Whole 30 website offers cheat sheets for sneaky sugars, approved and non-compliant additives, and a handy meal template that you can save to your phone. DO IT NOW. I will wait…OK! Now that you have that easily accessible, you can practice reading labels and make sure you know exactly what is #whole30approved and what will make you cry into your dump ranch when you realize you need to restart because you’ve been eating something with a form of sugar you thought was compliant.
For me, this meant about 2 weeks of “practice.” I tested out compliant recipes, made batches of all the sauces and condiments I thought I’d want to use during my round, and started being more aware of what portion sizes helped me get to the next meal without snacking. This was critical information so I didn’t hit Day #1 and feel like my head was spinning.
Part 2 of was to consider my weekly meal plan.I love a good spreadsheet, so I made my own weekly meal-planning template, which outlined Meal #1 (breakfast), Meal #2 (lunch) and Meal #3 (dinner).Some people like to plan the entire month at a time, but I really feel more comfortable thinking about a week at a time.My suggestion is to use a combination of tried and true basic meals that check off the protein, veggie and healthy fat boxes, and some new, exciting recipes to keep the Whole 30 spark alive!
Pro Tip: plan for leftovers. Leftovers are life and awesome for a quick breakfast or no brainer lunch. Burgers for breakfast are amazing, you guys. I’m not joking.
Prepare your life, Get organized in the kitchen
Shop for the ingredients and pantry items you need and get ready for making compliant meals. Prep will look different for everyone. Prep day for most people is the weekend, but I do most of my food prep on Mondays. I have young kids and a husband who works long hours, so weekend is family time for me and my guys. I have nap times on Monday morning where I might make an egg bake, roast some veggies or prep meat for grilling that night. If you work out of the house, you might want to do more on Sunday. I know people spiralize a ton of veggies to have on hand, make a big batch of meatballs, cut raw veggies, make breakfast sausage patties to freeze for easy breakfasts, make mayo, ketchup or dump ranch, etc. You will learn what works best for you.
You also want to keep an eye on the Whole 30 calendar and remind yourself the tough parts are just a phase and it’s only 30 days. Get your ‘head in the game’ and be ready to be comfortable with being uncomfortable for a little while.
Come up with an emergency meal plan
Know what you have in your fridge that can come together quickly for those nights that you are just tapped or those mornings where you woke up 15 minutes later than you should have. (I highly suggest hard-boiled eggs! They are super portable and filling.) I always make sure to buy a couple cans of compliant tuna or a package compliant of hot dogs or chicken sausage — and not put it in the weekly meal plan so it’s available just in case.
Rally for support
Find your people – either in real life, or online. It’s fun to have an in-person accountability buddy, someone you can call or message when you are feeling stuck, but I realize that’s not always an option for everyone. There are lots of social media support options. I happen to know a really fantastic Facebook group you could be a part of. WINK WINK. With a group of more than 40,000 members, there is bound to be someone doing a round while you are and we will always be there if you need support (or a little tough love!) to ensure you have the very best possible results. I also highly recommend following Melissa Hartwig and Whole30 on Instagram and Facebook. Program updates and useful information is always shared through those accounts.
Finally, pick a date and watch the NSV (Non-Scale Victory) list grow
I promise if you do me a favor and stay present just one day at a time, you will be amazed by the end of your 30 days. We hear a lot of ‘Nothing is happening! I’m on day 9/15/20!’ As Melissa Hartwig says ALL the time, ‘it’s a 30-day program so don’t be so focused on the destination that you discount the journey’.
You are going to nail this. You are ready. You are a ROCKSTAR! Put in the work, and the payoff is going to make you so proud.
I can still remember the pride I felt after finishing my first round. Everything changed. My eyes opened to the continued work I needed to do, but I knew it was just the beginning of the rest of my life. It totally sounds dramatic, but I assure you, on Day #31 you’ll come back to this post and say you get it now. I can’t wait to read that comment.