Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Things to Know Before you Start Your FIRST Whole30

Guys, I finished Whole30! I cannot believe that I did it. When I first started I was SURE I was going to want to quit at some point or at the very least cave and sneak a little summin summin in. While I did have a tough weekend after week 3, I pulled myself together and finished.

I have to say, I feel very proud of this accomplishment. If I ever wondered what kind of willpower I have, I certainly found out. A bonus, I feel freaking AWESOME. I haven't felt this good in as long as I can remember.

Now, I don't think I would have been as successful as I did if I didn't do my research. I looked at blogs, I read reviews, found recipes, planned meals, had a game plan, the works.  For those of you starting Whole30 for the first time, here is a (lengthy) list of things that helped me before I started & something things that I wish I knew.

Either way - no matter your age, lifestyle or gender, I really recommend this program if you're looking to get yourself out of a bad eating rut & want to jumpstart your body & eating habits.

Things to Know Before you Start Your FIRST Whole30:
  • BUY THE BOOK - it's only $10 for the eBook or $20 for the hardcover
    • The program creators have an amazing way of explaining WHY certain foods are off the list and HOW these foods can impact your body negatively
  • If you're not going to buy the book - read the whole website
  • Pre-Whole30 PLAN
    • This program takes A LOT of planning - it is not something you can just start the next day 
    • Know what you can & cannot eat, find recipes that sound interesting to you & understand what you're getting into
  • Have a game plan for each week:
    • Know what is coming up (events, long days, dinners out) so that you can plan accordingly
  • Do yourself a favour and buy ALL new spices 
    • If you can't remember when you bought fresh spices last, chances are, they're old. Go get new spices
    • The ones I used the most - Cumin, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Sea Salt, Fresh Black Pepper.
  • Don't do this program if you're looking to loose a lot of weight quickly - that is not the spirit of the program
  • Do not do this program if you're going to have a lot of occasions in which you will want to "cheat" (weddings, your birthday etc)
  • The first couple of weeks are expensive - you need to buy some things that you don't have immediately 
  • It's not hard to eat out
    • Just make sure you look at the menu first before you go & decide ahead of time what you're going to have
    • The safest bet is grilled chicken w/ greens & oil/balsamic dressing
  • Figure out your triggers
    • For me, watching TV or a movie at night after a long day - I want to reach for a snack. Now, I do my nails, read a book, drink herbal tea, CLEAN. Just need to keep my hands busy
  • It is HARD sometimes
    • Most days, I loved the program. There were a couple where all I wanted to do was buy a bag of chips and stuff my face 
    • These days SUCKED. I was irritated, emotional and angry. Jon was awesome and told me to keep going & that it was going to be worth it. He was right.
  • Have a support system - it is SO much easier to do this with someone else, especially when you have days like the above.
    • Even if it's your partner who is at least eating the same meals as you - that's what Jon did and it was SUPER amazing
  • For the first week or so, you will be hungry
    • It takes awhile to figure out how much food is enough to fill you up between meals
  • Prepare snacks for when you get hungry so that you're not reaching for junk
    • I had a jar of almonds on my desk at work and a piece of fruit
  • It's a challenge to explain the program to others
    • Most of the time, when I tell people about the program I see a lot of scrunchy noses and a lot of "Ohhh, so like you can't really eat anything?"
    • The best way I've found to describe Whole30 is a "Healthy Lifestyle Challenge"
  • Don't deprive yourself
    • Make sure you eat as much as you need - there is no need to count calories or fat. Just pick good food to eat and the rest will follow 
  • Have an exit strategy - think about what you're going to do at the end. 
    • It's all well and good to do this for 30 days, but the whole purpose is so that you can change your habits for life, have a plan for that
There you have it! It's a lot to take in and a lot of things to consider. If it helps, I enjoyed the experience so much that I think I'll be doing this program once a year, after Christmas & New Years and all that. It's a perfect way to re-set. 

Have you done a Whole30? If so, do you have any tips to add? I'd love to hear from you!

If this is your first time, feel free to reach out, I'd love to talk to you about it!

Good Luck!

- Lisa

Monday, 2 February 2015

Whole30 Week 3 - Trials & Tribulations

Follow my Whole30 adventure here: Week 1 & Week 2

Guys...I'm almost done my Whole30 Program! I won't's been a long haul. A lot of planning, prepping, shopping and dish washing. That being said, it's also been a lot of good food, healthy mind, healthy body and education.

 Update: Week 3

This week was a big challenge for me. It's hard to say why exactly, but this week, more than ever, I was craving junk. And I don't just mean I wanted some chips. I mean, I was going through serious withdrawal. I was cranky, upset, moody and at one point felt sick about turning down some leftover Christmas chocolate. While this may sound funny, food is my drug. I use to to help make me feel better, relieve stress, celebrate and console me. I use food the way addicts use drugs. I can feel it physically when I have to turn down food that I really, really want. My stomach tenses and my lungs restrict. It takes ever single fiber of my being to turn away.

Here's the kicker - you can't just give up food. You need food to live. It's not like cigarettes where you can just stop (not, by any means, belittling quitting smoking. That is a horrible beast all on it's own). All I'm saying is, I cannot say "my food consumption has become out of control, I am going to detox and stop eating." It's just not that simple. This was the reason I started Whole30 - to kick my reliance on "bad" food and up my love for "good" food.

Needless to say, I was very frustrated this week when all the cravings I'd manage to stave off for 2 weeks, returned. I suppose it was inevitable. For the rest of my life I'm going to have to fight the "urge" to binge. Like my anxiety, this is something I will have to embrace and figure out how to deal with the cravings as they come. Even now, just writing about it, makes me feel on edge.

Anyway, I did "cheat" a little bit on Saturday - I bought a bag of chips that were, for all intents and purposes, Whole30 compliant. They were just potato slices, baked & salted. This wasn't the cheat. One of the big no-no's in the program is no snacking to fuel an emotional need and that is where I cheated. I was feeling down & depressed and bought these chips to console myself.

I'm not going to felt amazing biting into the first few chips. The crunch and the salt was a beautiful combination. Also, it did make me feel better. I hate to admit it, but it really did. The good news is, I only ate a handful, them put them away. So while I was frustrated with myself for breaking the "no emotional eating" rule, I did feel better knowing I could put the bag aside after only a few chips.

Here are some recipes that I LOVED from this week:
  • Naked Bruschetta Turkey Burgers (from SkinnyTaste)
    • I've made these MANY times before, but to make them Whole30 compliant I used almond flour instead of breadcrumbs and no mozzarella - AHMAZING
    • Served with sweet potato fries & side salad
    • For lunch the next day - ground up the cooked burgers and put remaining bruschetta topping in with spinach for an awesome salad
  • Paleo Butter Chicken (from My Heart Beets)
    • I love me some butter chicken & this was pretty damn close to restaurant quality
    • This was a great Sunday night meal - took a little extra time & care but was totally worth it
  • Lime & Coconut Cauliflower Rice (from meatified)
    • I needed something to go with my butter chicken & had heard SO many good things about cauliflower rice
    • SO easy to make & was quite delish - J really liked it too which was a surprise
 My next post will be when I'm done the program (a week and 1 day from today!)

Catch ya on the flip side!

- Lisa