16 Helpful Tips for a Whole30 Reset
1. Mindset is everything.
You’re going into this gung-ho, ON FIRE and in the driver’s seat. You’ve committed- with your mouth, your mind and your money. There is no doubt in your mind. There are no ‘What if’s’ or“I can’t’s.” It’s not easy, but it’s happening. This is NOT a punishment. This is a privilege. You’re going to eat so many amazing, delicious, colorful, beautiful foods. Your pet project this month is your long-term health, and that starts with a short term sacrifice of things that are most likely not serving your highest,healthiest self. You have support, accountability, and this. is. Happening. Rally!
2. Replace ‘weight loss’ with ‘health gain’, every single time.
Example: ‘I want to lose weight’ → ‘I want to gain health’. Move your scale out of sight. No, seriously. Move it to the basement. Make a family member hide it. Not weighing yourself IS a program rule, and for good reason. Whole30 is an incredible, powerful step towards both objectives, but if your emphasis is on weight loss you’ll miss out on all the health gains you’re making that the scale doesn’t measure. This is not a quick weight loss diet, and the sooner you accept that the closer to your goals you’ll get.
3. Resist the urge to binge your way into day one.
The amount of suck you’ll experience during the first 4-5days will be directly affected by your ‘need’ to eat 1 dozen cookies // multiple bottles of wine in the days leading up to Day 1. Keep your habits high vibe, practical, and in line with your normal. You’re about to give yourself the best gift you can, and you should be getting excited to receive this gift.
4. Organize your fridge/ freezer/ pantry for optimal success.
For most of us, you’ll likely have roommates,kids, spouses, and to consider and tossing/donating all non-compliant things isn’t practical. But it is practical and kind to your future self to organize your space so that you have a Whole30 section in the fridge, freezer and pantry where every single thing is ‘fair game’.
5. Don’t Overthink it.
Stock your fridge/freezer and pantry with whole, real food that is in season, on sale and that you like. Cook/ Chop/ Flavor those things in familiar ways sometimes and in new ways other times. Repeat forever. Seriously though, I find that so many people overthink this and burn out quickly.Simple is sustainable. If you’re staying organized and meal planning each week and that works for you,great. But I encourage you to shop the sales instead of paying top dollar for skirt steak because you picked that recipe for next Wednesday. *see more in my Shop the Sales guide.
6. Be kind, rewind.
Think back to situations you’ve been where you are surrounded by temptation. If you’re considering going to a social event, office potluck, or <enter the situation here> and you ate and drank all the things – decide what this time is going to look like. Do you need to/ want to go? Would it help to eat beforehand? Can you bring something to the event that’s compliant? Can you envision yourself proudly proclaiming your Whole30 reset this month is awesome, and you’re on an unstoppable freight train to healthy?
7. Decide what foods are ‘off limits’ for YOU and you alone.
Some people can have compliant Larabars, dates, and almond butter in the house and others cannot. Some people can eat ‘cassava flour breaded’ chicken strips as part of the meal template, and others cannot. If you find yourself calming your sugar dragon with a date packed in almond butter than you’re short changing yourself. If you eat 1 pound of ‘breaded’ chicken fingers as dinner, you’re missing the point. You’re here anyway, let’s do the real work during this reset and cut the cord between you and your food with no brakes. Stick to the template, be honest about what you’re doing and why you’re reaching for a certain food.
8. Try new things, but not all at once.
1-2 recipes a week, no more. It’s not the time to cook 7 recipes a week with special ingredients, rules, methods and tools. If you keep it simple, you can sustain it. When you try to shop, cook and follow too many things at once you’re a lot more likely to burn out. Simple means: Cook multiple servings of 2-3 vegetables and 1 protein per day, and reinvent them in new ways.
9. Find joy in the kitchen.
Play music, turn on a show, obsess over a new podcast. Tune in or tune out. Whatever is going to make you happiest in the kitchen, do it. You’ll likely be spending more time there. Dishes are my meditation and I have learned to love hot soapy water, making things clean and tidy, listening to my favorite podcast or singing with my snacky toddler. 10. Learn to love leftovers, period. My theory is that people who don’t love leftovers don’t make good food. While a pretty accurate working theory, it’s not researched so don’t get mad if you’re the exception to this. This practice will save you more times than you can count especially if cooking isn’t your happiest place. Goal: make food good enough to call dibs on!
11. Always make more than you need. Just do it.
This is your kindest act toward your future hungry self. Why bake 1 potato when you can bake two or four? They keep well, can be shredded, diced, fried, or spiced to supplement something nice. However, I’m sticking my big BUT(T) in here because some people are completely fine making an 8 quart pot of soup and eating it for the next 10 meals, others (myself included) are NOT. You’ll find your happy medium to ensure you make more than you need, but not too much to the point of burnout and waste. If you’re approaching burnout, freeze soups, stews, and meats for your future hungry self.
12. Multitask your time in the kitchen.
As a private chef, and aspiring efficiency expert – I am always thinking, what else can be happening right now? While something is roasting, can I be chopping veggies for a salad, or to have on hand as convenience food? Washing dishes? Emptying the dishwasher? Mindlessly be steaming a spaghetti squash in the IP? To get EXTRA meta – if you’re roasting chopping vegetables for a salad – can you keep the momentum going while the cutting board and knife are in hand to cut a melon to have ready to go in a container in the fridge? You get the point.
13. Fridge Forage.
Use everything. Waste nothing. Making a meal from odds and ends, bits and pieces is a lost art form that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers would be proud to see revived. Channel your inner Gram, Nana, Oma, Yaya, Baba, Nonna, Savta, Mamie and make something from ‘nothing’. We will discuss this much more over the course of the month.
14. Mini Meal vs snack.
If you’re hungry between meals and need fuel – eat something! As much as possible, try to make it a mini meal – with protein, fat and carbs VS. chomping down a larabar and being even more hungry in 45 minutes. Quickly take stock of what your previous meal was. Did it have enough protein/ carbs / fat? Have you had enough water today? Were you extra active? Try and adjust your proceeding meals accordingly to get from one meal to the next without a mini meal. Our appetites vary based on so many factors, and tuning in helps you learn to better read your hunger cues and needs.
15. Trend towards ‘Dinner for Breakfast’.
Really this is a life hack, not just a Whole30 one. Once you break your ‘eggs for breakfast’ stigma, you’ll be living large. Breakfast is just a meal, and it has no stipulations other than including protein, carbs and fat. Soup, stew, leftovers, stir fry…they are all perfect breakfasts.
16. Always be defrosting.
It’s helpful to stay a day or two ahead. I usually always (strive) to have something marinating, and something defrosting. I keep two plates in the fridge as visual reminders. For example, at this very moment, there are two pounds of ground beef defrosting in the fridge, and 2 pounds of chicken thighs marinating in olive oil, garlic, shallots, and dried oregano. Do I know what composed meal will come from the chicken or the beef? No. Does it matter? No. I have protein, and I know I have vegetables – I can make whatever suits my mood/energy level and I am not stuck to a meal plan.