Embarking on your first Whole30 can be intimidating, but I have made it through to the other side to tell you that it is 100% worth the 30 days of work. I finished the Whole30 with a deeper understanding of my body and how food effects it. Use these 10 tips for surviving your first Whole30 to help you not only make it through the 30 days, but also thrive during the 30 days and beyond.
Choose and Clarify Your “Why”
It’s easy to say that you want to embark on a Whole30 in order to lose some weight and look better, but I believe you will be more successful on your first Whole30 if you have a deeper “why”. Your “why” might be something like, “I want to have more energy to spend time with my kids” or “I want to find out which foods trigger the symptoms of my autoimmune disease” or “I want to take 30 days to commit to cooking healthy meals at home”
For me it was really about my health and my autoimmune illnesses. When I wanted to quit, which happened many times throughout my 30 days, I always came back to my why for starting my first Whole30. If your “why” is centered around your physical appearance, you may find it difficult to keep going on the tough days because the outward changes come slowly.
2. Select Your 30 Days Wisely
A key to surviving your first Whole30 is to select your 30 days wisely. Most people chose to do the Whole30 in September or January because both of those months are a “fresh start”, but those might not be the best times for you.
Keep in mind that your first Whole30 is really like a whole 45 if you take the time to properly reintroduce all of the foods you have cut out. Therefore, you need to pick a time of the year that you can commit to nearly a month and a half of cooking and eating at home.
Of course, there are some Whole30 friendly restaurants, but I would advise against a Whole30 during a time where you have a trip planned, a loved ones birthday, a major holiday or a wedding planned.
3. Shop as Though You are Already on The Whole30 the Week Prior to Starting
Another tip for surviving your first Whole30 is to start shopping at the grocery store like you are already on the Whole30 about a week before starting. There are 2 reasons I tell people to do this.
First, it gets you in the habit of reading labels for Whole30 compliant ingredients. Second, it allows you to start Whole30 with a mostly compliant fridge and pantry.
It takes me more than a week to get through some groceries. The week before Whole30 I ate a mix of Whole30 and non-whole30 items, but took care to eat up most of my non-whole30 items so that I did not have them in my fridge as a temptation when I embarked on my first Whole30.
4. Have a Partner In Crime or Tell as Many People as Possible
This is a top tip for surviving your first Whole30. You will need someone to support you through these 30 days. It is harder to cheat when you know an accountability buddy.
You can find many Whole30 groups to join on the Coach section of the Whole30 website. If you cannot find a buddy to do Whole30 with and don’t want to work with a coach, tell as many people as possible that you will be doing a Whole30.
My Instagram account was the best accountability buddy I could have asked for. I knew that people were following along and waiting for updates about my Whole30. I suggest making a fun, food Instagram to post on for the 30 days. Even if you never post on it again after your first Whole30, its a great way to document the experience and stay accountable.
5. Keep Emergency Snacks on Hand
To survive your first Whole30 you need to keep snacks on hand. Mindless snacking is discouraged on Whole30, but I am talking about those times when you get unexpectedly stuck in traffic or have an unplanned late night in the office and you have to eat something.
6. Eat Breakfast Everyday (Even if its Not Breakfast Foods)
This tip for surviving your first Whole30 is one that I had to learn the hard way along my own Whole30. Starting the day with a Whole30 compliant breakfast allows you the confidence to stay compliant all day. I found that it was easier for me to make good choices all day if I’ve started with a filling first meal.
If you don’t love breakfast foods, you don’t have to eat them. Many Whole30ers call breakfast “first meal” to emphasize the point that it doesn’t have to be breakfast food. When I was on the Whole30 I loved doing a snack plate with a homemade Whole30 dipping sauce.
7. Eat Foods You Actually Enjoy
I cannot stress this enough. Surviving your first Whole30 will be much easier if you are choosing foods that you actually like to eat. For example, I love to eat my no bread turkey clubs. I started feeling weird that I was having one nearly every single day, but then I reminded myself that IF it helps me keep on Whole30 then its okay!
I’ve heard people complaining that they miss their comfort foods while on Whole30. You can still eat comfort foods on Whole30 for sure you may just have to shift your focus. Instead of your usual french fries from a fast food restaurant you can make homemade fries in your oven with just potatoes, a drizzle of oil and salt.
8. Stay Hydrated!
This survival tip is pretty self explanatory, but drink your water! Staying hydrated will help you you feel better overall which will in turn help you stay on track with Whole30.
9. Don’t Expect Immediate Results
You won’t make it through your first Whole30 if you are expecting to see results overnight. I highly recommend reading the book The Whole30. It is a 30 day guide that teaches you basically everything you need to know to be successful during your first Whole30.
One of the best parts of this book is a sample timeline of how you should expect to feel throughout the 30 days.
10. Be Kind to Yourself 🙂
You are doing something amazing for yourself and your health!!! The Whole30 is NOT easy so if you need to take care of yourself by skipping the gym during the first few days or getting some extra sleep, don’t beat yourself up. Your body is adjusting to the new fuel you are feeding it.
Remind yourself that you are a bad ass and doing something incredible! Also, remind yourself that it is only 30 days and not a lifetime of restriction. The result of embarking on the Whole30 should be a lifetime of food freedom.
Some Helpful Resources to help you get started on your Whole30:
Review the program rules here
Get a list of Whole30 approved food companies here
A whole bunch of Whole30 101 information here