With this surge of interest, I have gotten a lot of questions as to how to even start such a transformation. So, I thought that putting all of that information in one place would be beneficial.
I'm interested in how many of you are already following a Paleo or Whole30 nutritional plan -- and how many of you plan to start. Please leave a comment if you are already or if you are contemplating joining me on this adventure.
But before we jump to the comments, let's first talk about some tips for going Paleo or starting the Whole30 Challenge. :)
1. Read/research as much as possible: there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to making a huge lifestyle change.
Because I personally jumped straight into Whole30, I did a ton of research on that website in particular. If you don't look at anything else on the site, I strongly recommend you check out the Eight Steps for Beginners, the Program Rules, and the Meal Planning Template. There are also a ton of other downloadable documents that will assist you in getting started.
In addition, I found it helpful to read about the why along with the lists of what I couldn't eat (As in all aspects of my life, I need my nutrition to make sense, and I need the rationale behind excluding/including various items in order to really get behind it myself.) So, I read some books. First, It Starts With Food was written by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, the founders of Whole30, and includes the science (and oftentimes psychology) behind every single component of the program, but all of the jargon and explanations are put into layman's terms. It also includes several personal testimonials, as anecdotal evidence (and individual research) is a key component of the program. I also read parts of Wheat Belly (prior to starting Whole30 and when I was contemplating going gluten-free).
This is not an optional step. Seriously, go through your cabinets and your refrigerator item by item and read the labels. If you have things that are compliant, keep them. If you have things that are not compliant, either throw them away or donate them to a food pantry or a friend: get rid of them. I don't care how healthy they seem (quinoa, Greek yogurt, string cheese, peanut butter, Lean Cuisines, etc.), if they are non-compliant, they do not get to stay in your possession.
Do your best in clearing your kitchen of "bad" food.
I have talked at length about how to plan for meals and create grocery lists based on those meal plans, so I am not going to go into too much detail here. Please just know that this is not an option, and it is definitely not advisable to try and plan meals day-by-day; obviously plans can change, forcing you to revise your original meal plan, but counting on that only sets you up for failure.
What I haven't talked about much on the blog is spending a day (or a couple of hours) prepping meals. The reason I haven't mentioned this strategy is because I do not personally partake in it (I actually find chopping veggies and cooking meals meditative, so I opt to do that each day); however, it is very advantageous for some people, so discussing it here is relevant.
If you have a hectic schedule or dislike spending a heck of a lot of time cooking, spending an hour or so each Sunday preparing for the week can be very beneficial. For instance, you could dice all of your veggies at once and store them in separate resealable containers for easy access throughout the week. You could grill or pan-fry all of the meats you are planning to use so that you just have to reheat everything when you want to use it. You could make full crock-pot meals, store them in freezer bags, and pull them out when you need them.
One thing I must say in regard to meal planning and grocery shopping is to read labels. Sugar, for example, can be disguised as a thousand and one different things. Preservatives are generally hard-to-pronounce scientific mumbo-jumbo. Things as "basic" as packaged taco seasoning, containers of minced garlic, and store-bought bacon can contain ridiculous amounts of sugar, preservatives, and other non-compliant ingredients.
4. Tell your friends and family about your healthy-living adventure: the more people who know, the better off you will be.
First, if your friends and family know you are embarking on a new challenge and understand that you will not be eating sugar, hopefully they will not gift you with cookies, cupcakes, or ice-cream dates within the next 30 days.
Second, if your friends and family know what you are doing (and, more importantly, why you are doing it), they are likely to offer you ample support throughout the program. And, there will be days that you want nothing more than to face-plant into a truck full of cookies, but this support system will hopefully talk you off the ledge.
|Kumbaya, my friends, kumbaya!|
It is so, so, so important that you have a purpose for doing what you do in life, especially when what you do is such a significant life change. I discuss my personal why in the blog entry entitled Just Me: essentially, I wanted to, needed to complete this challenge to show myself that I was worth it.
Maybe your why is similar. Or, maybe your why includes improving or eradicating various ailments. Or, maybe your why pertains to strengthening your athletic abilities.
These are tips and tricks that have worked for me in overhauling my unhealthy lifestyle and making my way to a happy, healthy life.
What advice do you have in regard to making such a big lifestyle change? And, how many of you are with me on this Whole30-Paleo-Healthy Living adventure?