I imagine there are some people who can decide, “Today, I’m just going to do x”, and they go out there and do it. But the other 99% of us need to psych ourselves up for something; we need to spend time removing barriers to our goals.
Here is the prep work I found helpful to do in the week or so leading up to my Whole30.
- Prepare Mentally—Making a change as fundamental as the Whole30 can be shocking on your entire system. In addition to reading through the forums at whole30.com to see what people are experiencing, check out the Whole30 timeline to see what you can expect to feel at points throughout your Whole30. You might also give the people you live with a heads up that the first 11-ish days are going to be a roller coaster (and they are). If you know there are things that are going to be really hard for you to give up, consider prefacing your Whole30 by giving those up a week or two in advance. That can help you feel less stressed in the beginning as you fight the thoughts of, “I can’t eat ANYTHING” (which, you can, you can eat a LOT of things).
- Conduct a Social Media Blitz—This is probably a continuation of preparing mentally. We live in a very social media-centric time, so why not use that to your advantage? Surround yourself with motivation by filling your feeds with images and posts specifically related to your goal. For a Whole30, consider:
- Facebook: Whole30 and Whole9 (same people, different focus)
- Instagram: Whole30 and Whole30Recipes
- Twitter: Whole30 and Whole9
I also follow to a TON of general Paleo bloggers on those sites, so I saw a lot of pretty plates of food to keep me on track. Annnnnd, I already had a several Paleo cookbooks, so I scoured those for Whole30-approved or easily convertible recipes.
- Alert the Loved Ones—This is a tough one. Chances are that there are plenty of people you interact with on a daily basis who aren’t going to understand, really, what you are doing and why. But I found it was important to my success that the people I live with actively support me even if they didn’t participate. I’ve tried to make changes in the past, and was always a little timid in explaining why I needed to enact the change. Because of that, I didn’t give people the information they needed to support me. Off-handed remarks by loved ones to others about “that thing” I was doing or impatience with me saying “No, we can’t eat there; I won’t be able to” was always enough to slam the breaks on any initiative. I don’t like inconveniencing others. This time though, I sat down with my husband (the kids are too young) and explained that I wasn’t happy with how I felt, giving concrete examples, and described how this change would help me. I also addressed specific needs like asking that no one make fun of what I might be eating. I suspect that it was a combination of directness on my part and the already-existing a slow movement toward Paleo that was the foundation for my family’s support. If you are contemplating your conversation being a difficult one, consider writing down and practicing your points.
- Describe the change you want to make. Offer to provide more information if they want to understand it better.
- Let them know how you hope your life will be impacted by this change. Give concrete examples.
- Let them know how they might be affected by the change you are making. In most cases they will be affected in some way, acknowledging that is good. But you can find ways to minimize how they are affected if they aren’t comfortable making the change too.
- Let them know what concerns you have about things that might derail you and tell them the specific needs you have for how they can support you.
- Ask them what questions and concerns they have and answer as honestly as you can. “I don’t know” is always an okay answer, just strive to give a full answer as soon as you can.
- Prepare Your House—I didn’t trash all the non-Whole30 compliant food and drinks in the house, mainly because not everyone in my house was Whole30ing with me. But I did significantly pare down those items. For my kids, I offered them less choice in their non-Whole30 snacks (one option for each of them in the pantry) and upped the variety of Whole30 snacks (a rainbow of fruits and veggies to choose from at snack time). That helped me to not be tempted by things (I really don’t have a desire to eat Goldfish or baby puffs) and it helped them make better choices. I also made sure that the things that I’m most tempted by were not in the house. So, I ate all the chocolate and chips and drank all the wine before I began. Haha!
Before you embark on your Whole30, make a plan to remove barriers and psych yourself up! Let me know if you find other prep work that is useful!