I was a sugar addict and I survived Whole30 and so can you!
So many of you are still in the midst of your own #JanuaryWhole30 but I am now on Day 33 and I'm reluctant to stop.
If you are still in progress, or you are wondering how anyone can eliminate gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, soy, etc for 30 days then check out some of my tips for Whole30 survival.
As a pretty much confirmed sugar addict, I never thought I'd be able to make it. I hoped I'd be able to do it but it is so easy to fall off the wagon when you are trying to eat healthier especially when you start in the midst of the holiday season. But really, if you can do it during the holidays then you can pretty much ensure success at any time.
Why is Whole30 different and in many ways easier to follow than a low-carb diet? For me, it is the black and white nature of the diet. There is no gray zone - a food or ingredient is either compliant or it isn't. Yes or No. Doesn't get easier than that.
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My top 9 tips for Whole30 Survival:
- Get a partner or friend to do this with you. It is so much easier if you have someone to commiserate with in the early days and to keep you committed when you are still having sugar cravings or you really, really want to put a big cup of milk in your morning coffee. My husband and I did this (or are doing it…since we are still continuing) together. Usually, when trying to eat healthier I'm doing it alone and having to watch him enjoy a butter tart or eat a bag of chips and that is really demotivating. The only, slightly annoying thing has been his constant questioning of "can I have this?" and using me as the rulebook rather than referring to all the trusty pdfs I've sent his way from the official Whole30 website.
- Find a really great local butcher that you can talk to when buying your meat. You are going to want to ask questions about how they make their bacon and sausage and what ingredients go into their marinades. We were so, so lucky to have a new butcher open up right before the holidays just a few blocks away. Not only is the meat delicious, but they also cater to various food allergies and are really clear about what is in their products. If I look at my bank statement most of our food budget has been spent at this one store.
- Read every single food label. Seriously. Read them and don't make any assumptions. You will be surprised about what contains sugar or sulphites or peanut oil. Even savory foods and spice blends can have non-compliant ingredients. We made our own ketchup and we used our food processor and blender almost every day.
- Clean out your cupboards and fridge before you start and remove temptation. We have a young daughter who wouldn't be following the diet completely so we kept a shelf for her "extras" in the pantry and in the fridge. Every other shelf only contained items that were Whole30 friendly. This also helped limit my irritation in #1 because my husband knew that if it was on one of "our" shelves he could eat it.
- Keep a couple of emergency snacks in your bag. Being in Canada with limited access to some of the great Whole30 friendly packaged goods, we had to rely on compliant trail mix and Lara Bars but always a good idea to have something accessible. You just don't know when you are going to be called away unexpectedly or have an extra long work day and if you are hungry with no options you will stray. Just don't rely on these as day-to-day meals.
- Plan ahead. We typically buy groceries in one to two-day increments. We still did this on the diet but we bought and made more than we would normally so that we'd have leftovers that we could easily reheat for breakfast or lunch during the week. This was a lifesaver especially once I returned to work from the holidays during Week 3. We aren't normally leftover people but this really, really worked for me.
- Just avoid eating out if you can. When I returned to work in January I had a bunch of "lunch" catch-ups with friends and coworkers booked. I knew that I wouldn't be successful if I didn't reschedule them until after the 30 days. Yes, I may have been able to make it work but there are just not that many options nearby the office that would allow me to eat 100% compliant and I was really committed to seeing the 30 days through.
- Create a Pinterest board or bookmark a whole bunch of recipes that are Whole30 or Paleo-friendly for inspiration. At some point, you will think damn, not another egg for breakfast. Be prepared and have some ideas at your fingertips.
- Listen to your body and what it is telling you. Whole30 is not a proponent of snacking but if you are truly hungry then feed your body. Just make sure that you are in fact hungry. One of the best parts about this diet is that you will start to learn what is a craving and what is your body saying "feed me". It took me about 5 days to make a clear distinction and now snacking is at a very minimum. If I do need something to keep going then I ensure it has protein and fat included to keep me feeling full.
If you've done Whole30, what is your favourite personal tip for success? Would love to hear about it in the comments.
For more of my Whole30 posts: