10 Tips To Succeed On the Whole 30 Diet
First I would like to start by stating that I am not a professional nutritionist, dietitian, coach or fitness instructor. I am a regular mom who tried something, made it work and saw results. I want to share my experience with other moms (and people in general) who have struggled for years to lose weight without succeeding. The opinions are my own and should be taken as is.
Now that I have all of that out of the way, let's get to why you're here. When I became pregnant with my first born, who is now 5, I gained 20 pounds. I told myself I would lose that weight right away, and I tried, I really did. Since then, I had a second child, and only gained about 12 pounds with him, lost those 12 pounds quickly, but yet those stubborn extra 20 pounds, from when I gave birth to my first born, were still there. I don't know why I was stuck at that weight for so many years, but I was and thought it would never come off.
Now fast forward to 2 months ago, my cousins had told us about a Whole 30 diet that they had been on and was successful for them. My husband and I really wanted to try it and decided to do it together. Now, I don't know why this time was different than any other, but it was. He and I were both committed mind, body and soul and in less than three months he has lost 20 pounds and I have lost 15. I can't believe I'm even saying this, but I am only 5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, my college weight!
Besides weight loss, my husband and I were also discussing how we wanted to change our lifestyle, eating habits and become healthier. There's something about turning 30 that really makes you want to re-evaluate your life, so now that I think about it, I guess that's why this time it was different. With that being said, not only have we seen results on our weight, including the two of us going down a size, but we have also seen results in our overall health. Some of the benefits I have noticed are more energy, clearer skin, the digestive issues I had are almost gone, and I don't get so dizzy and lightheaded like I use to.
So, what is Whole 30 you ask? I'm not going to go into full details here because this could take all day, but here is a small description straight from the Whole 30 website.
Before we decided to jump into the diet, we researched a ton. We got familiar with the rules, what we could have, couldn't have, and the suggestions vs. actual rules. We cleared our fridge and pantry from all of the bad stuff (minus the boy's stuff), made a plan, and stocked up on everything we could have. I suggest you check out the Whole 30 website and Pinterest (Pinterest helped me a ton). Keep in mind, you are welcome to purchase books, programs, etc. but we did not purchase anything. Everything we learned was right off the internet, for free!
So now, I am not going to sit here and lie and say we have followed every single rule because it's not true. My husband and I decided to go strict with the rules for a couple of weeks to detox our body, decrease our appetite and train our minds. After a couple of weeks we decided to reintroduce the "bad foods" again and start incorporating it back into our meals, but this time in smaller portions. So as my husband would say, we are on the Whole30ish, meaning that we do not follow every rule, all the time, but have changed our lifestyle enough to not go overboard all the time. Does that make sense? With that being said, here are the tips I have that might help you be successful when doing the Whole 30 diet (or lifestyle change as some may say).
1. Think of the things you can have vs. the things you can't have
When you think about all of the things you can't have, it gets overwhelming and may feel impossible to do. Instead, think of the things you can have that you really enjoy. For instance, we love plantains and potatoes, including fries, yes you can have fries! So rather than focusing on not being able to have rice or pasta, I focused on plantains, potatoes and french fries. Also, what is different in this diet vs others is that you can have as much as you want, as long as you are following the rules, so you aren't necessarily counting calories or going to sleep hungry. That was definitely a positive for us.
2. Accountability Partner
Get yourself an accountability partner, preferably someone who is doing it right along with you. Having my husband on the diet with me made it so much easier. During the beginning, especially when we were having sugar withdrawals, we would call each other up and tell each other that we were struggling with the craving. Luckily, we didn't both have bad cravings at the same time and would talk each other out of giving in to those cravings.
Find replacement foods for some of your biggest cravings. For example, I was obsessed with ice cream, would eat it every day and still have a weak spot for them. What I do now is that I have frozen pineapples in the fridge at all times (including my mom's house who I visit often). Whenever I am having a craving for ice cream, I eat frozen pineapples instead. We also replaced soda and juice with flavored seltzer water and rice with shredded cauliflower.
4. Get rid of food you are not supposed to have
We like to host often, which means desserts, sodas, and all the food we shouldn't have. At the end of the day, I make my guests take everything home with them and whatever is left over, I throw out right away and don't let it linger in the house.
5. Eat a lot of fruits in the beginning to help with sugar withdrawals and cravings
I somewhat covered this with the frozen pineapples, but eating fruits all day really helped us with our withdrawals those first two weeks. They suggest limiting your fruit intake, however, it is a suggestion and you gotta do what you gotta do to survive.
6. There's a difference between Whole 30 suggestions and Whole 30 Rules
When you research you will see all of the rules and suggestions. The suggestions go above and beyond and are good if you want to see results faster. However, they are a little overboard at times and we wanted to be realistic with ourselves and incorporate the rules that would help us be successful in the long run.
7. Incorporate greens in all or most of your meals
This is really going to help you feel fulfill and help with your energy level.
8. Green Juice in the morning
So, although this might be a Whole 30 no, no, I have my green juice in the morning because it is easy and fast. I am usually running around and rushing to get the kids to school on time so green juice in the morning has really helped me out.
9. Packing snacks when going out
Let me start by saying that I do not meal prep. I know all the professional say you need to do it to be successful but I don't, at least not in the way I have been told to do so. I've tried it and it's not for us. However, I do try to plan my day out. If i know that I am going to be out running errands for a few hours, I'll take snacks and a seltzer water with me in the car in case I get hungry or thirsty. That is the closest I get to meal prep.
10. When you are going to cheat, don't cheat all the way and limit it to small portions
Finally, during those moments of weakness when I don't follow the rules now, I don't cheat all the way. For instance, I might have rice, but I will keep the portion small and not go and eat dessert and and have soda with it too (except for special occasions or in social gathering, I might cheat a little more there). I feel like a lot of times we tell ourselves, screw it, I'm already cheating so I might as well have everything I want. Well, that mentality is not going to help you see results. If you are going to cheat, give yourself a bit, don't go all the way!