Whole30: 6 Tips Before You Start Your Journey

What is Whole30? 

The Whole30 is a “reset”, not a diet. It’s a 30 day program designed to reduce your cravings while improving your metabolism, digestion, and overall health. It’s not about weight loss: there’s no calorie counting, targeting grams, or blah blah blah. You eliminate commonly problematic foods from your diet for 30 days, then reintroduce them for 10 to identify any trigger foods. Try the Whole30 if you want to improve your energy, sleep better, reduce fatigue, improve joint swelling and pain, slim down, or find a meal plan that works for you and your family. 

This doesn’t sound easy, and it’s not. 

My husband and I said we were going to do Whole30 months ago. We failed. Fell flat on our faces kind of failed. Neither of us read the book. We didn’t have a plan. We didn’t grocery shop. Optimistically we said we would “follow the best we could”. It didn’t work. We had no idea what we thought we were committing to or even trying to do. When I started looking at the program again, I decided this time we were going to put in the time to plan and do it right.

6 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success with Whole30: 

1. Buy the book (and journal).

There are a handful of books by the authors that describe the science, program, and next steps to sustaining this food lifestyle. However, if you only read one book, it should be the one that describes the program. It is full of what is and isn’t included in the program, outlines a meal plan, and gives you many great recipes. I also bought the day-by-day journal, which has been very helpful. It takes you through each day with what to expect, testimonials, motivation, and a place to log your sleep, cravings, energy, NSV (non-scale victories), and meals. I’ve been using it every night to reflect, and it really is helping me stay the course. 

whole30 whole 30 tips
I’ve been spending time reflecting and journaling about this journey every night. (With a cup of compliant tea–no honey of course!)

2. Set a start date.

I’m sure you’re anxious to get started, but set the date when you know you won’t have major conflicts, and give yourself at least a week to do everything listed below. Start on the right foot, don’t over-complicate the planning process, but make sure you are set for success before you start. 

3. Create an accountability plan.

Will anyone be doing the challenge with you? What measures do you need to put into place to hold yourself accountable? Here are some ideas: 

  • Have someone you can text/call to give you recipe ideas and encouragement.
  • Log in your day-by-day journal.
  • Create a countdown calendar.
  • Figure out your start date. You need 40 days (30 for the challenge + 10 for reintroduction), and highlight any days you have conflicts or will encounter situations that will be hard or require more preparation.
  • Do the “If ______, then ______” scenarios so you can imagine how you will handle temptation. 

4. Clean out your pantry/fridge/freezer/cabinets. Be ruthless.

Whether it’s expired or has sugar in it, it needs to go so you’re not tempted to cheat. If you feel bad about tossing food, you can post to your local “Buy Nothing” page on Facebook or donate what’s acceptable to a local food pantry. It doesn’t all have to go in the trash! 

5. Create a meal plan.

This can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Some people will choose to make the same thing multiple days in a row. You may decide to make a ton of freezer meals so you only have to defrost and throw in a crockpot. Figure out what will work for you, and focus on these areas: 

  • Breakfasts, Lunches, Suppers: Try to make a meal plan for just one week to start. Most of what you will be eating is fresh produce, so it’s best to shop more often and see how the first week of your plan goes, then adjust. 
  • Snacks: Create a list of snacks to help you get through the first couple of weeks. 
  • Emergency Meals: Choose 2-3 meals that you will always have ingredients on hand for, love to eat, and are compliant. 
  • Leftovers: How often will you eat leftovers? Or do you prefer to make each meal fresh? 

6. Go grocery shopping.

NOW you are ready. Once you know all of the above, you will most certainly spend less money and be much more focused on your grocery shopping excursion. 

What helped you prepare for your Whole30 journey? Do you have any favorite recipes to share? Please leave me a comment below! 


Mandy welcomed her Rainbow Baby, Brooke Lynn, October 2016 and has been enjoying all that motherhood has to offer since. A North Liberty native, Mandy has spent almost her entire life in the Corridor. She took a brief hiatus and lived in Chicago for 5 years where she met her fun-loving husband, Tom. For work, Mandy is building a Corporate Innovation program to give Iowa businesses the tools they need to digest and implement new concepts. She recently named her passion for helping others by founding Huddle Line, a side hustle consulting company that works with local businesses to create unique game plans to achieve their goals. Mandy loves to spend time with loved ones, play and watch sports, hours of euchre, crochet, and bonfires. 2 things that will always win Mandy over? Cupcakes & corny jokes


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