My Whole30 Experience: Week 2

Before you can heal from a complicated relationship with food, you have to learn how to read food labels. Whether or not you’re a fan of Whole30, this is a lesson that you can use for the rest of your life.

If I’ve learned anything from my second week of Whole30, it’s that I now drink, and enjoy,  Trader Joe’s 100% black iced coffee in a can…AND that this program is for everyone!

It doesn’t matter if you love or hate this program. It doesn’t matter if you finish a day, a week, or all 30 days. Whole30 shines a light on something that everyone needs to know how to do — read food labels. This is why I’m annoying on Instagram and to my clients when say over and over again, DO THIS PROGRAM. I know that the education you can glean in just 30-days (heck 2 weeks), could literally change your life.

Understanding how to read food labels is something Melissa will teach you early on in this program, and understanding this will help you make healthy food choices the rest of your life.

I’m talking about knowing how to choose the healthiest meats, seafood, and eggs.

Whole30’s guide titled Good Meat: Understanding your labels breaks down every category of protein you can imagine and helps you choose your best option. Don’t know the difference between cage-free eggs and free-range or free-roaming eggs? Don’t worry, you’ll learn that in this guide.

I’m talking about spotty sneaky sugars in products marketed as healthy.

Companies sneak sugar into their products, and most of the time they make it sound as if their sneaky sugars are actually healthy! Whole30 makes sure you aren’t fooled and teaches you how to catch these hidden sugars that otherwise might have snuck past you. You can read more about this in the Whole30 Sneaky Sugars: practice your label reading guide.

My biggest takeaway from week two, and the lesson I want to pass on to you… is that education is essential to achieving food freedom. Before you can heal from a complicated relationship with food, you have to learn how to read food labels. Whether or not you’re a fan of Whole30, this is a lesson that you can use for the rest of your life.

Now, let’s take a look at week two of my Whole30 experience and my top five tips for success in week two.

#1 The Importance of ‘Leftovers’

Eating real food, every day, all day, is tough! This week Ashley and I made double-batches of each dinner to last the entire week.

As Melissa would tell you, “not every meal has to be a religious experience.”

The key to Whole30 is doing what works for you. That means it’s OK if is dinner grass-fed hot dogs one night and leftovers the next. Whole30 isn’t some crash diet. It’s a lifestyle change. The only way any of us have a chance at choosing healthy living for the long term is by making it simple.

I’m not talking about living off convenience food. I’m talking about planning ahead and cooking in batches. I’m talking about making a breakfast casserole on Sunday morning with real-food ingredients and eating it all week long.

And, while you’re at it, don’t try to reinvent the wheel each week. Don’t be afraid to repeat the recipes you love time and time again to keep things simple.

Ashley and I prepared the same way for this week as we did the previous week. Last week went well, so, if it’s not broke, why fix it? We went to Whole Foods and bought every ingredient for every meal this week. We incorporated 4 unique Whole30 dinners that lasted us 7-nights with leftovers.

#2 Hacking Your Busy Schedule

I went into this week know that I was going to be busy.

Generally, I work 8 to 10 hours each day. I’m always on my feet. I see one client after the next. Time is not always on my side. So, if you’re busy and struggling, I get it!

But, if you plan right, Whole30 isn’t that difficult. This week, I planned ahead. I had chicken, salmon, fresh bell peppers, sugar snap peas, grapefruit, sliced apple, Lacroix, nuts, and DNX Bars with me each day at work. I mixed these foods up for meals, snacks, and pre-and post-workout options.

It worked well for me. I’m not one that needs a ton of variety, and sometimes too much variety is a great way to fail when you’re trying to eat clean. I think we all enjoy mixing up our food choices, but a lot of the ‘need’ for variety is because sometimes we put too much emphasis on combining food with pleasure or enjoyment. Sure, you can enjoy your food, but sometimes you’re eating to fuel your body and keep yourself feeling good. This is a mindset I’ve learned to embrace, and it’s worked for me.

Your mindset will ultimately determine whether or not you ever attain your goal of food freedom. As Melissa preaches in her program, there is a lot of psychology when you’re trying to change your health habits for the long term.

#3 Avoiding Temptation

The third big lessoned I learned during week two was how crucial it is to avoid temptation. Melissa Hartwig talks a lot about this in her Whole30 Day by Day guide:

“The habit research term is called ‘pre-commitment’: limiting your choices while you’re in a safe space away from temptation. It’s telling the waiter not to bring the dessert menu, or avoiding the break room leftovers after a birthday party. Don’t be fearful or obsessive—just think ahead, and give yourself a planned ‘out’ where you can, increasing your self-confidence and willpower for future temptations.”

Research on smoking and willpower has taught us something valuable about cravings. In order to resist temptation, we simply need a plan to outlast the cravings. Those cravings last three to five minutes.

In my opinion, the best way to avoid temptation is finding a distraction.

Prime example: my caffeine cravings aren’t going away. In fact, I’m certain it was easier to resist my caffeine cravings the first week than it is now. The first week, the program was exciting and new. Today, all I was thinking was, “just give me a monster already.”

Of course, I didn’t make things easy on myself. In a moment of weakness, I went to Wal-Mart and took a drip down the energy drink aisle!

The good news was, I didn’t fall into temptation. I distracted myself by walking down the ‘other’ drink aisle and chose Lacroix without falling victim to my caffeine cravings.

The belief that you deserve a reward is another way that temptation sneaks in. It’s easy at this point to tell yourself, “I’ve put in a lot of effort, I deserve a reward!”Personally, I found days 10 and 11 the most challenging. Who knows exactly why? Maybe because the newness had worn off. Maybe the prospect of another 20 days. The good part is, by day 12 I found myself feeling a lot different. Day 11 was the peak of the roller coaster and the height of my cravings. By day 12 I had that “I can do this feeling!”

#4 Whole30 Takeover

This week I found myself always thinking about food. Planning food, taking pictures of food, preparing food, cleaning up food, looking at others’ food, and dreaming about food.

By week two, if you’re like me, you’re going to feel like Whole30 has taken over your life. And, in some ways, it has! This is how you form new habits. If you’re doing this program with me, think back to week one when you felt unsure about everything.

Now that you’re in week two, you’re probably noticing that you’re in auto-pilot. Planning and preparing for the next day each evening feels normal. You effortlessly pack a lunch, grab a healthy snack, and head straight for your black coffee or favorite tea.

#5 Whole30 Inertia

By the end of the week, I found myself having pretty significant inertia. Creating new, healthy habits is hard. But, once the habit is formed and you begin a new behavior, the tendency of an object to stay in motion works in your favor.

I love how Melissa puts this, “People spend so much energy on ‘getting started’ that they struggle to sustain the change long-term.”

Whole30 is a significant habit change for most people, don’t worry about changing everything at one time. Let the change happen naturally as you go through the entire 30 days.

Day 12: Melissa’s Motivation

“Your good feelings today are also the result of a boost in self-efficacy —your belief in your own ability to succeed. In order to complete all 30 days of your Whole30 totally by the book, you first need to BELIEVE that you can. You may have felt like this in the beginning; on Day 1, your reflections were probably full of self-affirmations, encouragement, and positive thinking. But look back over subsequent days. Were you expressing doubt, anxiety, or fear about the program or your capacity to see your commitment through? (If so, that’s totally normal!)
Today, you’re feeling better, but more importantly, you’ve got 12 days of Whole30 behind you, boosting your belief that you can (and will) finish strong and successfully change your life. Embrace it, and be proud of yourself. I always knew you could do it . . . and now you do too.”

– Melissa Hartwig, Whole30 Day by Day 

NSV’s Week 2

Energy levels dramatically improved this week, so did sleep quality. My workouts went great! I found the second week harder than the first, but that’s for reasons described above. I’m writing this on day 15, so I’m now officially HALFWAY THERE! Check back next week as I walk you through Week 3 on my Whole30.

Here are a few of my meals from week 2: