If you are looking for 2018 to be the year when you become healthier from the inside out, I recommend kicking off the new year with the Whole30 program. Never heard of it? Whole30 is a 30-day tough-love "nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system," according to creator Melissa Hartwig. Remember, this is not a diet. You can get the full breakdown on the Whole30 site, and keep reading for eight tips for tackling this 30-day life-changing program.
- Buy the Whole30 book. Head to your local bookstore or Amazon and pick up a copy of The Whole30. The book lays out the program step by step and includes recipes, success stories, and tons of content that will help you successfully complete your own 30 days. Oh, and don't forget Hartwig's newest additions to the Whole30 family: Whole30 Day by Day (a daily handbook that allows you to track your personal Whole30 journey) and the Whole30 Fast & Easy cookbook.
- Start on Jan. 1. I mean it. The hardest part in all of this is taking the first step. You can't just dip your toe into Whole30; you must dive all the way in. Yep, some of Melissa's tough love has rubbed off on me too. Mark your calendars — your life is about to change forever.
- Invite family and friends to join you in the January Whole30. Everything in life is easier with the support of your friends and family. Ask your husband, wife, workout buddy, coworker, or anyone you want in your corner during this 30-day program who is willing to join in on the fun! The bigger the support system, the better!
- Stock your refrigerator and pantry with Whole30-approved items, especially fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and all types of meat (read your labels). Instead of making from scratch a slew of Whole30-compliant condiments, sauces, and snacks, you can now find hundreds of Whole30-approved items at your local grocery store, Costco, Amazon, and other online retailers. Save yourself some time and stock up on a few of our favorite brands like Tessemae's ($7-$24), Primal Kitchen ($8-$45), Epic ($3-$50), and RX bars ($2-$60). Pro tip: if you have a bunch of food in your kitchen that might tempt you while you're doing Whole30, consider donating it to a food bank or local shelter.
- Prep your food. We mean it. If time has always been an obstacle, we advise taking one day a week to bulk food prep (I like Sundays). Wash all your produce. Cut all your fruits and veggies. Roast, steam, or boil your vegetables, potatoes, and plantains. Prep your protein by hard-boiling eggs and baking or poaching your meat. You will then be able to reach in the fridge and create a satisfying meal in no time at all!
- Join the Whole30 newsletter and online forum You might find yourself googling whether or not something is Whole30 approved or wondering if you can have raw honey or maple syrup during Whole30. You won't be alone. There are thousands of people who have completed Whole30 not once but multiple times. They share their stories on this thread, and they give helpful insights and answers to common Whole30 questions. This online thread will be a lifesaver during these 30 days.
- Create accountability. This is similar to tip No. 3, but in case you decide to tackle Whole30 alone, we advise finding some form of accountability. It could be as simple as posting your meals on Snapchat or your Instagram Story or checking in daily with an accountability partner (significant other, best friend, parent, or child) or another January Whole30er on Facebook. And for the most disciplined, simply posting on social media that you are participating in the January Whole30 may be enough to hold you accountable for the full 30 days!
- KISS (keep it simple, stupid). When in doubt, eat real food and drink some water. Eat endless amounts of vegetables, give your body the protein it needs after a workout, fuel yourself with good healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, and enjoy the sweet, delicious fruits of the season. Oh, and don't forget to drink some good old-fashioned H2O!
Now it's time to tackle Whole30 and meet the new, healthier you! Want more insight into the Whole30 program? Check out It Starts with Food, Whole30 Cookbook (over 150 new recipes), and Food Freedom Forever.