A little over a month ago my mother told me that she was going to be trying the Whole 30 Challenge after the New Year. Her goal was to create better habits when it came to food as well as working on controlling her blood sugar levels as she is diabetic, Wanting to support her and also see what it was all about Coach Leah, my brother, and myself all decided to go along for the ride.
So let's start off by explaining a little bit about what the Whole 30 is......
- A 30 day nutritional reset in which your goal is to break bad habits and create positive new habits regarding food.
- Eat real foods that are not processed
- Stay away from sugars, alcohols, dairy, and artificial preservatives
- No counting calories, or stepping on a scale.
- Here is a little cheat sheet --->
If you'd like to read more about the Whole 30, here's their webpage. ---> (The Whole 30)
There is also a book and a calendar that are very helpful and will help to explain the processes happening in your body during the 30 days and it's crazy how accurate it is.
Here are some of our tips to being successful during the Whole 30 Challenge:
1. Find lots of Whole 30 approved recipes. Pinterest was great, there are also Whole 30 cookbooks. Try new things! The more flavor and spices the better, you do not want to get tired of eating the same foods over and over. We linked some of our favorites at the bottom.
2. Buy in bulk and meal prep!!! Costco was huge. The crockpot is your friend. We were definitely hungrier than normal and since we are super busy, meal prepping made it easy to grab a meal on the go or to come home after a busy day and not have to constantly cook every night.
3. Don't substitute Whole 30 approved foods for your normal treats. Try your best to stick to this one. If you absolutely can't stand it, there are ways around this rule... There were a couple days where we needed something a little extra so rather than cheat we found cassava and almond flour pancake mix, which was a life saver. Just don't make this a habit because it falls right back in with the negative relationship with food.
4. Snacks are everything! Nuts, Fruit, eggs, whatever works. Once again we were often hungry and on the run so having compliant snacks was essential in helping us stick to the plan.
5. You don't have to only drink water. We tried many new types of tea, sugar free kombucha, La Croix, but mostly water lol.
6. Make it a group challenge. There were times throughout the month where if we didn't have other people doing it with us, we might have cracked. Accountability is everything, plus you can share recipes, food, triumphs and horror stories.
7. Note your progress. While the Whole 30 recommends not stepping on a scale, we did do pre and post weight ins. We also tracked how we felt day by day and having the calendar to look at really did help.
Stay accountable to yourself. If this is something you are interested in, definitely read up on it before you attempt it. It is all or nothing, if you are not able to stick to it unfortunately you will not see the full benefits as your body will have to restart the process each time you cheat.
Our biggest takeaways:
For me this is one of the most beneficial programs that I've tried. While I'm not a believer in dieting, this has helped me tremendously. I almost feel changed psychologically. During the 30 days, I lost a little over 10 pounds, got over my sweets cravings, and feel ready to continue on making healthier choices. I have never had more energy in my life than I did during the last 10 or so days of the program. My brother lost weight as well, my mother lost a little weight but more importantly was able to lower her sugar levels and in turn able to lower her medication dosage. We learned so many new healthy recipes that we will add in to the mix. Our will is strong and although we are not going to stay as strict as the Whole 30 moving forwards, we do plan on continuing to eat very close to it.
Some of our favorite recipes:
Basil Coconut Curry Chicken
Roasted Lemon Chicken Thighs and Potatoes
Creamy Taco Soup
Dairy Free Pesto
Whole 30 - 30 Day Menu