I’ll be starting my second round of The Whole30 this weekend. As described on their website, “The Whole30® is our original nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”
The best way for a successful Whole30, or to make any diet change, or any change at all is to keep it simple.
My old way of making healthy lifestyle changes went something like this …
- research it to death
- make all of the excuses
- buy all the things to be sure I’m ready
I’m excited for this 30 day challenge, but I’m not suggesting the Whole30 or any other way of eating is best for you. Experimenting with what you eat, choosing to really listen to your body, and making changes accordingly is an important part of creating a simple life. A healthy, happy body simplifies everything.
These 10 simple rules for a successful Whole30 will help you with almost any diet change, and most of the rules can be applied to other lifestyle changes.
1. Eat the same meals
Maybe variety is not the spice of life. Until you establish a new routine, eat the same meals, or similar meals. This will simplify the grocery shopping, food prep, and thinking about what you are going to eat next. It might be a little boring, but that’s ok. Shift your interest from food to a new project, relationship, or hobby for a little while.
2. Create a morning routine
Fuel your body, brain, heart, and soul first thing. It will give you strength and focus to stay committed to your new eating plan. My current morning routine includes writing, meditating, and running.
3. Stay home
Give yourself permission to really focus on you and your new diet changes for 30 days. You aren’t ready to go into the wild and deal with menu choices and party favors until your cravings dissipate. It’s only 30 days.
4. Hide the scale
One of my favorite Whole30 rules is no weighing yourself for 30 days. We tend to put a lot of pressure on the scale to tell us if our diet changes are working, but there are so many other ways to measure. Hide the scale and give yourself an opportunity to notice what’s going on with your body, your emotions, how well you sleep, and other important metrics.
5. Drink tea
Instead of snacking, create a tea ritual.
6. Modify the rules
Challenge your nevers. Instead of deciding you could never give up sugar, or never do the Whole30 as a vegan, modify. Add tofu or your favorite protein source as a vegan.
I ate a vegetarian diet for 5 + years but decided to eat fish during my first Whole30 and plan to do it again this time too. I won’t be eating chicken, pork, or other meat but a small piece of fish 5 days a week works for me. That said, what works for me may not work for you, and honestly, it might not work for me in 5 years. I’m willing to listen to my body and make changes accordingly.
7. Read books to support the changes you are making
During my first Whole 30 Challenge I read Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers, a fascinating book that refers to Alzheimer’s disease as Type 3 Diabetes and shares research that directly connects the gut to the brain. Reading the book while doing the challenge reinforced my habits and helped me stick to my 30-day commitment.
Other books to consider, especially while giving up wheat and sugar
- Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
- It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways
8. Remove temptation
If you usually put sugar in your coffee, remove sugar from your kitchen. If you like a piece of chocolate after dinner, give your leftover holiday chocolate away. Use your energy to focus on your new healthy habits instead of fighting temptation all day.
9. Celebrate daily
Make a chart so you can check off each succesful day. See and celebrate your progress every day instead of waiting until day 30. Share an image on Instagram or Facebook, call a friend, or write about your successful day. If you are used to celebrating with food, find new ways to reward yourself.
10. Do it with a friend
Accountability and connection will really help when you are making big changes like abstaining from sugar. Check out hashtags like #whole30 and #simplewhole30 to connect with other people participating in the challenge. Ask your friends and family to join you, even if they are doing something different. I’m really lucky to have my parents, husband, sister, and lots of great friends join me. I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone!
If you want to join me for a round of the Whole30, I’ll be sharing my progress and simple tips on Instagram for the next 30 days, 3-4 times a week. Even if you aren’t doing the Whole30, but are considering a diet change, feel free to tag along and we can support each other.