Guest post by Whitney Stuart, RDN.
The Whole30 reset is wonderful, but let’s be honest, September is a busy time of the year! Vacations come to a close and everyone is trying to restart their normal schedule before school starts and your inbox has a permanent red bubble in the corner. But, when is there not a valid excuse to throw our health on the back burner, right? I am constantly on the go between my own part-time practice, full-time endocrinology clinic, September Whole30 Dallas duo events and sometimes even being a wife, leading a Bible study and maintaining a social life. Real talk: I have mastered some legitimate Google Calendar time management skills and my life runs in 15-minute increments much of the week. But, I am highly aware of the importance of self-care. If I don’t prioritize my own health, blocking out some “Me Time” (Google Calendar from 4-4:30), how am I able to provide quality care to others? That’s right, I can’t. My health comes first.
In my food freedom, I have a huge list of restaurants on rotation that have balanced and better-for-you options where I pick up food each week for my sanity. Zoës offers something to fit both of our preferences, needs and palettes (my husband absolutely loves the Lamb Kafta Pita!). Zoës is also conveniently located next to my go-to spin studio! This allows me to place my order (online at the office, or on my app while at the traffic light), hit the gym, shower, let my hair air dry in the Texas heat as I walk to pick it up, and make it home in a 60-minute productive round trip. That’s my style!
Keep this principle in mind if/when you’re starting a Whole30 reset; your relationship with food and prioritization of yourself before anyone else is a vital ingredient to the process being a beneficial one. And, simplifying the reset where you can. These tips are for my BUSY people. That’s you, right? Note: I didn’t say they were the prettiest, trendiest, or most Instagram-worthy. But, they are effective and guaranteed to help you succeed. I’ve never NOT been busy while completing a Whole30 and have always seen the non-scale victories (NSVs) pile on.
Don’t deprive yourself. Still go out, still get take out, have a date night or take a picnic to the park. Do not restrict yourself, outside of the Whole30 reset template. Do not change your other enjoyed routines- see the rest of my tips below!!
Don’t just try to wing it because- bars aren’t meant to fill your poor planning gaps. Whole30’s focus is on whole and real food. The condensed concentrated versions of whole food; bars won’t benefit your relationship with food during these 30 days. They’re meant for emergencies. Emergencies include a snowstorm, being stranded on a 4-hour hike where you detoured and are now lost and hungry, stuck in rush hour traffic for 5 hours, or an unforeseen plane-layover where no nuts, fruit, or hard-boiled eggs are available. Slightly dramatic? Yes, but you see my point. Prioritize real food first! Plan ahead with compliant snacks.
Be realistic about the next 45 days (yes, it’s actually, at least 45 days with your systematic reintroduction!). Modify your social calendar as needed. Going to a concert? You better believe there’s a Spindrift and snacks in tow. Prepare your talk tracks for social outings with friends. No one wants to hang around the chronic dieter with a poor attitude. This is your time to shine and be a Whole30 billboard. You’re eating well, feeling well and can still rock your social life! Well, aren’t you amazing?!
Accept the ugly and simple meals. There’s a whole lot of Whole30 meal FOMO on Instagram. It’s there to inspire you, not enrage you! 20 ingredient recipes that will require 3 different grocery trips? No, thank you! During my first Whole30, I ate this spinach, sweet potato, egg, cashew butter scramble almost every day. Sometimes, I would exchange the nut butter for avocado. I loved that ugly meal, even if Instagram didn’t.
Do life! Let’s just say you decide to spend an hour cooking each meal, eat 3-4 times per day and meal prep for 2 hours each week. Whole30 would still only affect 17% of your day. Don’t dwell on it! Read, paint, get a manicure, shop, knit, volunteer, see a movie, travel, cuddle a baby or a puppy – just stay busy!
Note: I’m usually in Food Freedom mode. The Whole30 is just a reset, despite those demonizing articles saying that is a restrictive lifestyle. You’re right, it would be restrictive as a 24/7 lifestyle, which is why we only do it for 30 days. A strategic 10-day reintroduction (there’s longer options available) occurs to determine if common inflammatory foods fit well within your diet. Some do! I know I can tolerate legumes, specifically chickpeas and black beans. I continue to enjoy Zoës Basil Pesto Hummus with cucumbers in my Food Freedom while maintaining my health and a body I’m proud of.
Whitney is a holistic dietitian-nutritionist; she’s a real food master and loves whole vegetables along with pronounceable and minimally modified ingredients that fill the stomach and satiate the soul! Her practice accepts both local and distance patients. Join her and Whole30 Dallas Duo this September for a social & interactive month of group coaching that kicks off September 8th!