Read this Before Starting the Whole30
I like to consider myself pretty savvy in the world of healthy cooking and living a healthy lifestyle. When I first read through the Whole30 by Melissa Hartwig, it sounded like something I could complete no problem. No sugar? No Problem! No Carbs? I really don’t love bread or pasta anyway. I dabbled in the recipes, but as someone who already ate a copious amount of Zoodles, switching to vegetable based options didn’t sound like it would be life changing or very difficult. For the record – I was very wrong.
1. Actually set a conscious date to start. DO NOT wake up sick one day and go, well, I guess today is the day I start. That is exactly what I did, and honestly, I think it was a big portion of my downfall. The Whole 30 takes time. It takes meal prep, mental prep, conversations with your s/o about what is going to be changing over the next 30 days. I decided on a whim, when I was sick, without taking into account that my anniversary, Easter, and a race would all fall within my 30 days. That was just poor planning on my part.
2. Added sugar is in…. EVERYTHING. It is added to lunchmeat, bacon, chips, hot sauces, dried fruit, mayo, almost all jarred pasta sauce, broth… E V E R Y T H I N G. I went into my planning stage thinking it would be a piece of cake to cut out the sweet treats I had every few evenings, but didn’t realize the impact of cutting all added sugar. My husband ended up buying a very expensive pork belly, curing it himself without sugar, smoking it AND slicing it JUST so I could have bacon.
3. Coffee and Sugar withdrawals are real. The headaches are real. Wanting to rip the heads off your entire family while you scream at the top of your lungs is real. Regular chiropractic adjustments can and do help! The headaches wouldn’t have been tolerable without them. Also take this into account for your start date. I was fortunate enough to start mine during Spring Break, so sleeping in and lounging was acceptable. Going from 5 cups of heavily sweetened coffee to 1 cup of black a week wreaked havoc on my body.
4. If you are doing excessive aerobic exercise, training for a race of any kind etc., there is a possibility your workouts will suffer. I am a big runner. I generally run between 25-40 miles per week. Over the 3 weeks I participated in the Whole30, I found that no matter how many potatoes, figs, meat or fruit I added into my diet the day before a run, 3 miles was my max between mental and physical fatigue. The first 2 delicious, wheat-y IPA’s I drank after work on a Monday, produced my best long run in nearly a month. I need running in my life or I become insane. Part of my deciding not to continue was based off this realization.
5. YOU CAN DO IT. I had so much self doubt during my Whole30 experience, and while I didn’t fully complete the 30 days, I can tell you for sure, it gets easier. Every day after the first week I discovered I had more energy, my skin was clearer, my clothes fit better. Giving up sugar has stuck in my diet since I discontinued eating fully Whole30, and it really hasn’t been very hard. Keep it up, you can do it!