The No. 1 Mistake People Make On The Whole30 (And How To Fix It)

Written by Cameron Linville

Photo by Nataša Mandić

If you are about to embark on a Whole30 January, congratulations—you have taken the first step and set a specific start date! Don’t downplay this; it is a huge deal.

If you do research on Whole30 before your start date, you’ll notice that a lot of the articles focus on the idea that "it’s not that hard." Yes, there are much harder things in life that people overcome, but let’s be real: doing the Whole30 is hard. You are most likely about to make some very serious changes to your day-to-day life. Most importantly, you are now going to be required to analyze every single piece of food that enters your mouth; this means reading labels, asking questions, second-guessing, and paying attention during each meal. One of the most eye-opening experiences that I took from Whole30 was the realization of how many "off-limits" foods are hidden in items that you would never question eating.

Due to all of these changes in your eating habits, it is imperative that you are always prepared.

Hands down, without a doubt, the biggest mistake people make when embarking on Whole30 is being unprepared. I say this not to scare you but to make you aware of the type of work you are going to have to put in outside of actually eating. So many people focus on the foods that they're not going to be able to enjoy instead of making sure there is approved food on the plate in front of them for the next 30 days. The best remedy? Meal prepping. Each weekend you should look at the week ahead, plan out your meals, go to the grocery store with a detailed and organized list, and get cooking! I personally find Sunday meal prep to be the absolute best way to guarantee I have a successful and healthy week ahead, whether participating in Whole30 or not. Not sure what to make? Head over to my blog and find a slew of easily preppable meals that are majority Whole30-approved!

As much time and effort meal prepping may take, being prepared doesn't end in the kitchen.

It's equally imperative to always have snacks on hand, no matter where you go throughout the day. There will be a time when you ask yourself, "How is it possible that I am this hungry?" And, most likely, this will occur at the most inconvenient time possible. I strongly suggest that you always have some type of Whole30 snack on hand. Some of my favorites are mixed nuts, individual almond butter packets, beef jerky, fruit, homemade nut snack balls, or chopped vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cucumber, and bell peppers. Think outside the box! What you may never have considered a snack before may now be your new favorite go-to. As part of your Sunday meal-prep session, be sure to also prepare and pack your snacks. They won't go uneaten!

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You also need to be prepared during the ultimate Whole30 challenge: dining out.

While you will most likely be cooking 90 percent of the meals you eat over the next 30 days, there are inevitably going to be times when you are not the one doing the work in the kitchen. When this occurs, whether it be at a restaurant or a friend’s apartment, don’t go in without doing your research. The conversation you must have with the waiter or waitress regarding what you cannot eat (basically everything on the menu) is an extremely lengthy one and not always well-received. Instead of forcing your entire table to succumb to this back and forth, call the restaurant ahead of time and ask to speak with someone regarding the ingredients on their menu. The staff will be much more attentive and receptive if you call beforehand at an off-peak time rather than if you try to have the conversation tableside in the middle of their rushed dinner service.

The main take-away from all of this? Whole30 is hard—but there are ways to make it easier. In order to overcome these lifestyle changes that Whole30 brings, be sure to always be prepared and remember these three major points: meal prep, always have snacks on hand, and research and call restaurants before dining out.

Want even more Whole30? Founder Melissa Hartwig came on mbg's podcast to talk to Jason Wachob about her drug addiction, how she hit rock bottom, and why the Whole30 changes lives. Listen in here.

And are you ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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