Good afternoon friends! And Happy 1st of May! It’s going to be a great month. Wanna know why?
Because my Mom, my brother, and I, are all hopping on the Whole 30 train!
What is this “Whole 30” business I speak of? Well my friends, it’s a 30 day challenge…and it’s unlike any other 30-day challenge you’ve ever witnessed before. It’s not a diet or weight loss plan, but rather a life-enhancing program that is meant to touch in all areas of your life — health, fitness, social, sex…There’s soooo much more behind it than your typical “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” kind of thing.
Here’s some of the many benefits, or expected outcomes, from the plan:
–Increase energy levels
–Better sleep habits
–Better focus and mental clarity
–Better relationship with food
–Improved digestive system
–Improved skin complexion
–Improved athletic performance
–Decreased chronic inflammation
–Plethora of new recipes to experiment with and improved skills in the kitchen
I mean do I really need to keep going? If that alone doesn’t entice you the least bit, I don’t know what will! .
But let me turn down the hype just a teeny bit…
Yes, knowing that so much of your life can change gets quite exciting, but this program takes a lot of mental preparation, meal preparation, effort, and discipline. It’s one of the reasons I’m embarking on this journey. I really want to test my self-discipline, fix my relationship with food, decrease my cravings, and stop being a slave to sugar.
The Whole 30 Rules
If this program has grabbed the slightest bit of your attention then I’m thrilled! However, I want to be very clear again: this is not a weight loss program. Although many participants do find an improvement in body composition, it’s not meant to be focused on losing weight because that’s how you miss out on the other beneficial factors of this program. In fact, throwing out your scale (or at least not using it for the next 30 days) is part of the rules!
These are the official rules as listed on the Whole 30 website:
- Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial.
- Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking.
- Do not eat grains.
- Do not eat legumes.
- Do not eat dairy.
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. .
- Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients.
- You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program.
(You can get fuller detail on these rules here.)
Now you might be thinking like me…”WTF. NO DAIRY?!”
Or you’re thinking, “WTF am I gonna do without bread, oats, or rice?!”
But maybe you’ve already created the conclusion that legumes, grains, and dairy are bad, or unhealthy for you. This is not true, but there is a good chance that they can be affecting your hormone levels and metabolism, over-working your immune system, causing you’re gas/bloating/constipation, giving your chronic inflammation, and/or contributing to one of many lifestyle-related disease (things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, allergies, joint pain, arthritis, inflammation, thyroid dysfunction, acne, and so much more).
So the question comes to: what can you eat?!
Oh my darling, you may think the cup is half empty, but I assure you – this is merely an illusion. The cup is full, and I mean filled-to-the-brim-full…with awesomeness. You are allowed fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, nuts, and a whole lot of opportunity to get creative.
Additionally you’re allowed:
- Clarified Butter or Ghee. (Plain old butter is NOT allowed)
- Fruit juice as a sweetener.
- Certain legumes. (We’re fine with green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas.)
- While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean,” and green plant matter is generally good for you.
- Vinegar. (Most forms of vinegar, including white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, and rice, are allowed during your Whole30 program.)
My mom has already experimented with homemade breakfast sausage and coleslaw recipe from the Whole 30 Recipe Book…and it was nothing short of a success.
The Key: BE PREPARED
I cannot stress this enough (and neither can the book!) It is absolutely mandatory, if you want to be successful. Being a meal-prepper prior to this program, I already know the importance of having a plan; however, this program is a lot more strict than the meal plans I used to create; therefore, now it is crucial to my success, especially when I’m running short on time.
Think about it. Consider those days when you pressed the snooze button one-too-many times, and have 20 minutes to get dressed and make it to work or school. You don’t have time to assemble your lunch; therefore, you’re forced to order something for lunch. No problem, right? You can grab a take-out salad. But wait! There’s a staff meeting, and they’re offering pizza or sandwiches, with chips and a soda. Now you’re tired, hungry, and more than likely, ready to succumb to the temptations of stressful every day life. This is why you need to be prepared.
Now, I am extremely lucky that my mom has been by my side from the beginning. She is my workout buddy, my number one supporter, and a pro meal-prepper, too. So while I’m studying, she prepares our staples: baked chicken, roasted potatoes and veggies. I honestly would have the hardest time if I didn’t have her. However, that’s not to say I wouldn’t get it done if I had to!
Pick a day where you can reserve a good few hours to cook for the rest of the week. Get creative and try new recipes! The support system on the Whole 30 website is phenomenal. Me and my mom are already talking about the recipes we want to make…(especially the ones I can make once I’m finished with finals!)
This program is a challenge, but another secret to being successful: make this fun! Get excited and start planning things to look forward to!
Get People Involved
Another way to stick to something successfully? Tell people what your goals are, and ask them to join in the fun with you. It’s good to have other people in on the plan as you can all motivate each other. And what’s more, you can act as one another’s support group when the going gets tough – because it will get tough.
Your best bet is to first get those who you’re living with involved. So if you’re living at home, make sure your family knows what you’re trying to accomplish. Maybe they will join you! If not, no problem. Ask your mom not to bake your favorite brownies for the next 30 days because you don’t want to be tempted. Instead, ask if she would mind baking you some sweet potatoes or butternut squash. I’m sure she will be more than happy to help!
If you’re living with dorm mates, get them in on the challenge. It will be much easier if you all commit together, and it will promote healthier options in your kitchen in the future!
Going solo? Not a problem. There’s plenty of social networking groups you can join! You can talk to people who have already done the challenge, or you can speak with those who are just starting with you. Either way, there are great numbers of people who are taking the plunge (or already have) that are willing to work with you, support you, and guide you.
Read the Book
A lot of the information I’m telling you is what I gathered from the book. And remember how I stated how phenomenal the support system is through all the social networking sources? Well the book is number one. It’s extremely informative, helpful, and makes the process much easier.
The way its written is amazing. It’s to the point, disciplined, and honest. It’s encouraging, but it tells you just how this stuff goes. It’s helpful, but it emphasizes that you’re in this for the long run; you’re doing this for yourself. It’s very clear that this challenge is not by any means easy; in fact, they specifically tell you when and how intensely you’re going to struggle (especially if you don’t use the resources they provide!), but they put a spark of confidence in you. They know you can do it, and it motivates you that much more.
One really great takeaway that automatically made me say yes…I can and I will do this is when I read the quotation (paraphrased):
“This challenge is not hard. Battling cancer is hard. Having a baby is hard.
Eating real, whole, healthy food for 30 days is not hard.”
And how true that is! It really put things into perspective for me, so I hope it does the same for you!
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Don’t think to yourself, “Oh my gosh, I can’t live without bread, cheese, and my coffee creamer.”
First of all, yes you can.
Second of all, think this instead, “This is totally doable! 30 days? Pft, let’s do this.”
You’re a lot more likely to get that butt moving in the right direction than starting with an “I can’t” mindset. YOU CAN DO IT, YES YOU CAN.
Don’t forget about all the ways this is going to affect your life, you health, your happiness, and your well being.
I’m beyond excited because I truly believe in the potential of this challenge, and I truly believe in the potential I have to complete it!!
When it comes to the naysayers
Quite often I hear people belittling others when they make a goal to eat healthy. Things like, “Really, you’re gonna eat that? There’s no flavor!” or, “How’s that bird food tasting?” The remarks made are rude and discouraging.
These statements are created by people who are intimidated of their own choices, which is why they make such remarks. They lack the willpower and effort that goes behind making healthier choices when surrounded by crowds who choose the less healthy, “better tasting” food. Those are negative people that you need to stay away from.
Don’t allow other’s remarks to discourage your attempts at bettering yourself and your lifestyle. You are doing this for you, not for them. What they decide to do (or not do) is completely up to them, but keep your goals in mind and steer clear of people who don’t support your efforts.
Just do it
It is 30 days. You can do anything for 30 days! And improving your health for the better is unquestionably the best thing you can do for yourself. Don’t wait “until your ready,” or “until someone does it with you.” Do some research, get comfortable with the foods you can and cannot eat, set a game plan, and jump in. What do you have to lose?