Food for Thought: 5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Whole 30 (Without Even Realizing It)

I’m super thrilled to see so many people starting off with Whole 30 programs this month! I don’t go in for fad diets, detoxes or any of the other New Year Resolution-type things that happen in January, but I LOVE the Whole 30 as a nutritional reset, a grounding tool and just a way to feel my absolute best.

Sometimes, though, I see people freaking out about whether they’re doing this Whole 30 thing right, or wondering why they can’t stick to the plan. So I’ve put together a list of the mistakes I see people making most often – I hope it helps you on your way to a successful Whole 30!

You don’t know why you’re really doing the Whole 30, anyway

I’ve written a little about this before: one of the best ways to follow through on a Whole 30 is to know why you’re doing it in the first place. And as odd as it sounds, lots of people don’t actually know!

What do I mean by that? It’s easy (and perhaps common) to think of a Whole 30 like yet another fad or diet. Or to just file it under the age old resolution to “get healthy”. But I like to think of it more as a tool. For me personally, it’s the tool I use to get back in touch with my body’s needs and wants. It’s how I relearn intuitive eating and feel more connected to myself. What are you hoping to gain from YOUR Whole 30? Maybe you want to identify food intolerances or allergies. Maybe you want clearer skin. Maybe you want to get off those heartburn medications.

Figure out what you want to achieve, because without purpose, it’s easy to meander off the Whole 30 path. Stay focused!

You’re not eating enough

I think this is probably the most common mistake I see. It’s so easy to bring old “diet” baggage with us when starting out on a Whole 30 and what do most of us expect to be while on a diet? Hungry. And bored. And maybe a little resentful.

When you subconsciously expect all those things to be true, you tend not to eat enough to function well. Before you know it, you’re hangry and probably hating life just a tad. And you’re considering eating that pizza or cookie – talk about a train to temptation town. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You’re avoiding food that isn’t nutritionally optimal, not going on a 300 day juice fast. (Blargh.) Eat as much Whole 30 compliant food as you need to eat to be truly satiated. Listen to your body and it will tell you what to do. If you’re hungry, eat up!

If you need help with working out how much to eat, check out Whole 30’s meal planning template here.

You’re not eating enough fat

This, I suspect, is another little detox / diet habit we sneak in with us. We’re so used to years upon years of pushing “low fat” as synonymous with healthy. Not to mention the demonization of saturated fat.

Most people simply aren’t used to the idea of eating fat for health and nutrition, especially when it comes to grass fed or pastured animal fats. Tallow and lard can be intimidating! But if you’re constantly hungry between meals, add in a few sources of good Whole 30 friendly fats. Put some coconut milk in your curry, saute your veggies in some coconut oil, add some avocado to your meal. Go on, you’ll feel better for it, I promise.

You’re trying to do too much at once

Since you’re already cutting out all grains, added sugars, soy, dairy, beans, legumes, processed “foods” or treats, you may as well go low carb, too. Right? And start Crossfit for the first time. Oh, and maybe try that Keto thing, too.

Now maybe you ARE superhuman, but that’s an awful lot of change trying to happen at once. If this is your first ever Whole 30, it’s probably quite a shock to your system, depending on what your habits were like before. So perhaps now is not the time to overhaul everything at once or to pile more requirements onto your Whole 30 – and yourself. Stop chasing after a perfect model of “health” for a second – because that looks different for all of us. Take a deep breath and remember that focus we talked about before: take one thing at a time, starting with your Whole 30. Your body will thank you for it and you’ll get to hold onto some sanity, which makes it easier all around.

You’re just a little bit of a perfectionist

I get it. I really, really do. You want to do everything right, including your Whole 30.

You’re grilling all providers of food on what type of cooking oil they use and if it’s organic. You’re taking pictures of your food. You keep checking if x, y or z are Whole 30 compliant. In short, you’re probably driving yourself and everyone around you slowly insane.

I see plenty of people tracking macros, counting calories or writing food diaries while on the Whole 30 – even though the creators of the program explicitly say here that they “don’t think weighing, measuring or tracking your intake facilitates a healthy, sustainable relationship with food.” Take a step back and stop worrying! If you are eating nutrient-dense whole foods, your body will TELL you when it needs more food and when it’s had enough. You don’t have to rely on empty numbers or figures to make this work – YOU are all you need!

What’s Yoda got to do with your Whole 30?

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Well, we’re not quite so serious over here, but one of the key things about doing a successful Whole 30 is about being prepared – both in terms of ourselves AND our kitchens!

Why? Because being hungry leads to poor choices. Which often leads to guilt. Which leads to quitting.