While the January Whole30 tends to stir up the most buzz and attention at the start of every new year, it’s the February Whole30-ers that get to reap the benefits. Learning from those that came before you – especially if you’re gearing up for your first Whole30 rodeo, can give you stable footing to take off from, provide confidence during a time when confidence tends to be low, and set you up for success for your 30 day food adventure.
As we slide into February, we called on our Whole30 community to share their experience of Whole30s past. From vets to newbies, they share their takeaways and advice for those of us embarking on the February Whole30.
MEET EBONY | THE TALE OF 2 WHOLE30s
Whole30 is great if you want to strategically understand how to eat better and how foods impact you personally. I’ve done Whole30 twice and each was different. Both experiences brought different results and gave me a deeper understanding of my body.
The first time I did a Whole30, I was working at a gym and my co-workers wanted to do the Whole30 as a group. I must admit, doing this with other motivated people is highly recommended. You get accountability partners to help keep you on track as well as cheerleaders who want to see you grow.
I was nervous at first (I always get nervous when I change my diet or dive into something new). At first, I thought I didn’t need Whole30 because physically I looked great! On day two, I realized that there’s more to a healthy lifestyle than body composition.
Whole30 helps reset your system by teaching you how and what clean whole foods to eat to nourish your body. During my first week, I experienced withdrawals from sugars and unhealthy fats that I was used to consuming. One of the most shocking discoveries for me personally is that I didn’t realize how many foods I was eating that contained sugar, inflammatory oils, and other ingredients I had previously overlooked, despite them being labeled a healthier option.
During my first Whole30, the most notable victory was conquering my sugar cravings. Turns out, I had a real addiction – candy, cupcakes (especially red velvet!), my sugar tooth was not messing around. Sticking to the Whole30 rules, I kicked the habit in about two weeks (though the timing is different for everyone!). At the half way point, my body truly wanted to eat cleaner. With a much cleaner diet, a side benefit is that I lost about 10lbs and a few inches around my waist.
It was a great experience and my coworkers at the gym were by my side every step of the way!
During my second time doing Whole30, I fully immersed myself into Whole30 and wanted it to be more than just a 30 day food challenge this time around. I wanted it to be a lifestyle shift, I wanted to make healthy decisions consistently, and not just because I was doing a 30 day challenge.
While I didn’t lose weight this time, I could see a difference in my muscle composition. I was able to see better muscle definition and my stamina was through the roof! I was able to compete in various 5ks WITHOUT the use of my inhaler.
And the craziest thing for me, I fell in love with vegetables. Eating them no longer felt like a chore.
ADVICE FOR FEBRUARY WHOLE30-ERS
- Do it with friends: It’s great to do things alone and be independent but having a support system and accountability buddies, makes for an easier lifestyle change.
- Clean out your cabinets: Cleaning out your cabinets and refrigerator will give you space for all your new delicious foods and take away the temptations that can and will distract you.
- Fully read through the program rules and expectations: Beyond just learning what’s in and what’s out, it’s important to know why. It will help make the tough moments (like sugar cravings) along your Whole30 easier if you know more about how those ingredients negatively impact your health.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ebony is from Alaska and with many stops along the way, now calls Los Angeles home. A former radio and television personality who is now producing and directing her own scripts. Ebony works at CBS and enjoys every moment of being back in broadcasting with a break from being on the screen. She’s a fitness lover and is known for her healthy recipe hacks. You can find her on Instagram at @ebonyonair.
MEET RUMER | WHOLE30 CERTIFIED COACH
I first decided to try a Whole30 because of joint pain from knee surgeries. By the time I reach the end of my Whole30, I noticed an ease in movement that I hadn’t felt in a while. No stiffness in the mornings and increased recovery after workouts! But what was unexpected was the change in my everyday energy level.
As a Pilates Instructor, and now studio owner, my schedule is all over the place and I never felt like I could get enough sleep. In my third week of the Whole30 I found myself falling asleep easily and waking up without feeling groggy almost every day. It was something I hadn’t felt in years and wasn’t even expecting because I was so focused on conquering my joint pain.
All the non-scale victories (aka NSVs) you gain during the Whole30 are great – and in some cases, really great, but what followed my 30 days is where I found the biggest long-term impact. A new relationship with food.
This new relationship with food is where your Food Freedom comes in. Food Freedom is the way you approach food post Whole30. You learn the difference between hunger and boredom. The difference between actually wanting certain foods or just being bored and reaching for the chips that you always eat when you are bored watching TV. You learn which foods are “worth it” for you, and which just aren’t any more given how they might negatively impact you.
For me, it doesn’t mean I’ll never eat the chips and queso. It just means that I’m now aware of the temporary joy it’ll bring me, and then it won’t make me feel so great tomorrow. So, while I still have it from time to time and enjoy it when I’ve decided to go for it, it’s no longer part of my weekly routine.
After my Whole30, I’ve found it way easier to make small decisions that have a big impact on my health long-term. Like, I don’t order chips every time I eat Tex-Mex, and I sub in carrots for pretzels as a snack. Eventually, these small decisions, once you start making them consistently, start to become a habit and happen naturally.
ADVICE FOR FEBRUARY WHOLE30-ERS
I think the most important part of any Whole30 is planning. The hardest time to stick to your Whole30 is when your schedule is crazy, work hours are long, and you find yourself starving with nothing Whole30 compliant prepared. This is where Territory Foods comes in to save the day.
With Territory I can have a whole week of Whole30 Approved meals ordered or even just a few to have on hand for emergency situations. The meals are flavorful and there are plenty of ever-changing compliant options to keep you on track.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rumer is a Whole30 Certified Coach and participated in the January Whole30. Rumer owns BEYOND Studios Dallas, a pilates hybrid interval training studio. Find Rumer on the ‘gram at @RumerRichardsonPilates or come see her at BEYOND Studios Dallas!
MEET BRANDON | A WHOLE30 NEWBIE
I went into my first Whole30 this January because I wanted to reset my relationship with food and overall make better food choices that felt right for me and my long-term health goals. Specifically, I wanted to eliminate added sugar from my diet and thought the Whole30 would be a great way to teach me how to do so.
ADVICE FOR FEBRUARY WHOLE30-ERS
- Stock your fridge ahead of your first week with Whole30 Approved foods to start off on the right foot. I loaded up on Primal Kitchen dressing + sauces, Territory meals for lunches, fresh vegetables, salmon + meats, fruits, etc.
- Keep an open mind. There are some things that may even surprise you that are Whole30 Approved. Did you know you can have some sparkling flavored water, like La Croix?
- Don’t forget carbs! I gravitated to an extremely high-protein, low-carb diet on the first few days of my Whole30. Which may work for some people, but didn’t work for my body and the energy I needed. There are still plenty of carb sources to eat on the Whole30. I came to develop a real appreciation for sweet potatoes.
- Learn some recipes you like cooking. Even if you tag in Territory, part of your Whole30 experience will involve some cooking. Especially when you start, find a few recipes you are excited about. The @Whole30Recipes Instagram is great and my girlfriend pointed me to @TheDefinedDish, @PhyscialKitchness, and @paleorunningmomma as well.
- Host people instead of going out as much. January is football season and I still wanted to enjoy games. Instead of going out to restaurants, I learned to just invite people over, make my own Whole30-Approved chicken wings and other apps to have more control and comfort during my first Whole30.
- Weekends around the first week are tough if you have nothing to do. Plan activities to keep busy so you’re not so focused on the cravings.
I started my January Whole30 on January 2 and I’m excited to continue on my Whole30 journey beyond January with reintroduction. I did not weigh myself in the beginning, but I’ve noticed some Non-Scale Victories, like having less bloat, finding it easier to get to sleep and waking up well rested, my clothes fit better, and I feel like I have sustained energy throughout the day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brandon Steir has been eating Territory for a year, but brand new to the Whole30 world. Brandon enjoys playing video games, traveling, and cooking. You can find Brandon on Instagram at @bsteir17.