Whole30: What I Learned the First Time and What I'll Do Differently This Round

Sunday marked Day One of Chuck and my second round doing the Whole30 program. Our first round was back in October. (See Why I'm Doing the Whole30 and my Whole30 Recap). It was the same month that my sister and I were dealing with my Dad's major health crisis. This was a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because it scared that shit out of me and was a HUGE motivator in sticking to the program and addressing my unhealthy eating habits.

A curse because the stress of it all, combined with being on the road, caused me to breakdown on Day 25 and I never actually made it the full 30 days.

When I wrapped up my first Whole30, I was on the fence about doing it again (for reasons you can read about it my recap post). However, after some time and distance, I've decided that the Whole30 works well for me. Right now, I'm reading Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food, written by Whole30 co-founder, Melissa Hartwig. Its basically answers the question "Now what?" after people have finished their Whole30 and start to reintroduce non-compliant foods into their diet. In reading the methodology behind the program, as well as the practical steps for maintaining "food freedom" after the 30 days are up, the Whole30 reset just makes sense to me.

It's much harder for me to eat in moderation than to say "I can have this, this, and this, but not that." Chuck and I are both kind of "all or nothing"-type people. So, this works for us. However, having been through it once already, there are definitely things I plan to do differently this time around.

*Side note: I would normally never post a picture of my face like this (sans makeup and/or photo editing), but it's one of the things that I'm sincerely hoping will improve after my Whole30 Round 2. I wanted to document a "before" in order to note any change in my skin issues. So, with that out of the way...


MEAL PLANNING. I had a really good system for my meal planning and grocery shopping. Each week, I created a different Google Doc. I would plan out all the week's meals in one column and then all of the ingredients I needed to buy in the second column. Because I felt a little overwhelmed by some of the new foods, I used Kroger Clicklist to do my shopping online so I wouldn't freak out in-store.

I feel more confident this time, so I don't feel the need to use Clicklist again. However, I definitely plan to stay organized in my meal planning and grocery shopping. That was a huge help!

SUNDAYS ARE FOR PREP WORK. I did a lot of prep work on Sundays. It helped us feel prepared for the week and not cave into gorging on non-compliant foods when we were too tired to cook after a long workday.


USING PINTEREST FOR RECIPES. There are so many recipes in Pinterest-land where someone slapped a "Whole 30" label on, but they're not technically compliant. It makes searching for recipes really overwhelming and confusing. I bought The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom and The Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook at Costco and that's where I'll be finding the bulk of my recipes. We'll also continue to modify our own family favorites using compliant ingredients.

NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER. This is just a problem I have in general- sometimes I go until lunchtime only drinking one cup of coffee. It's something I really need to work on.


EATING LESS MEAT. I was a vegetarian for five years and I'm just not a huge fan of meat. This was something I struggled with during my first round. I cannot eat meat for every meal. It really made me want to puke after awhile. So although the traditional Whole30 reset calls for eliminating legumes, I'll still be eating beans and peanuts. The reason for the elimination of legumes is because they're known to cause inflammation, particularly for people with arthritis or joint issues. Since I don't have these issues, I've decided it's worth it for me to include them in my reset. I won't however, be eating soy or other non-meat substitutes. 

After my last Whole30, I lasted for about 3 weeks eating healthfully until Thanksgiving. I accidentally ate one non-compliant food at Thanksgiving dinner and it all went downhill from there (sooo many Christmas cookies). Chuck and I want to go into the new year as the happiest, healthiest versions of ourselves, so we're giving it another go! Wish us luck!

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