3 Tips for a Successful Whole 30 Challenge

"The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options." —Melissa Hartwig

So as of Friday, I have completed the Whole 30 challenge.

Of which, in full disclosure, I realized I only completed 28 days before devouring a chewy bar in celebration. (I know, of all things…a chewy bar?!) But, progress over perfection, ammiright?!

I have to say, after reintroducing the forbidden foods (gluten, dairy, soy + added sugar ((in all the wrong ways…more on that later)) ) over the weekend, I can’t believe how good good can feel. (Because I felt bad, really bad this weekend.)

The number 1 benefit I found from doing the challenge was the complete mental clarity I had. It was easy for me to introduce + maintain new habits. Easier for me remain positive, easier for me to focus on my work + get shit done. 

Aside from all that, I was never bloated, didn’t have to unbutton my pants at the table (if you know me, you know this is a regular occurrence (#overeatersannonymous) ), didn’t have gas bubbles the size of russia wreaking havoc in my stomach (TMI?!). You get the point

My system was smooth sailing for 28 days.

Well, 26 actually. I had two near fatal instances that only furthered my belief that I was doing this elimination challenge for the right reasons.

One involved a delicious chicken cacciatore that went rogue + prevented me from seeing the remaining 1h 45mins of La La Land (again, tmi.) + the other was a suspect meatball. Which I knew going in was going to be disastrous because #gluten + #stinkycheese. But I was Ill prepared + ravenous AF. 

I wanted to do an update post to look back + note where I went wrong + what I could’ve/should’ve/would’ve done differently.

Note #1
Take thy meal prepeth seriously.

Forreal. This has got to be the biggest fail for most people. It seems so simple + something you can easily work around. But. it. is not. 

My biggest mistake of this process was not eating enough

It wasn’t because I wasn’t hungry necessarily, but it was because I’m lazier than I let myself believe. Also, I let the excuse of having a smaller kitchen to cook in get the best of me.

We all have our weaknesses, right?!

Meal prepping for Whole 30 (err 28-ish) is an absolute necessity. It will not work without it

If I were to do this challenge again, which I fully plan on doing, I would use a meal prep service for at least the lunches.

I felt that’s where it was easiest for me to skip a meal + “snack”. Tons of meal prep services now specialize in Whole 30 based programs. Check em out!

Note #2
Find your script + stick to it. 

What I mean by this is find your “why?” (why are you doing this? why does it matter to you?), know it like that back of your hand + then rehearse it till you’re blue in the face because you will have to answer a shit ton of questions

Things like “why are you depriving yourself of food?” (unlimited meats, vegetables + fruits hardly sounds like deprivation) or “I think eliminating foods is extreme, you should practice moderation” (well, gee, thanks Janice but no one asked you.) or the fan favorite, “but you’re already so skinny, why are you trying to lose weight?”

Aside from my blood boiling every time I heard these...let’s call them “remarks”...I realized how little people actually know about food + the severe lack of mind/body connection there was.

I wanted so badly to pull out my scroll + show them the light but realized it ain’t my circus + they ain’t my monkeys.

Note #3
Do this for yourself.

Stick it out. People will want you to fail because it lets them off the hook of whatever they’re trying to achieve.

When someone else can’t do something they want others to join them to prove to their ego they were wrong for even trying. They don’t do this on purpose, most aren’t even consciously aware of it + instead just continue to believe they are weak or that they didn’t want to do it anyway. 

This is a challenge. Its meant to make you step up your game. Show yourself what you’re made of. You’ve got one body, show it some love. 

Now, peer pressure is a psychological phenomenon that I could spend all day talking about but won’t because I ain’t got all day, BUT, if you choose to do this challenge, make sure you let everyone know that they are to hold you accountable, that you are counting on them to help you accomplish your goal. 

When people understand your why + know that it means something to you, they will likely be helpful + encouraging along the way. 

So all in all, Whole 26 (minus the cacciatore + meatball days) was great. I realize I’ve completely gone off the reservation + did not execute according to orders (I can feel Melissa Hartwig shaking her head as we speak) (as if Melissa Hartwig would be reading this.)

But, for me, it was mission: accomplished. I solemnly swear dairy + I aren’t as friendly as I thought we were. Gluten is only worth it for napoletano style pizza + homemade pasta...+ wine is divine (but I already knew that).

After reintroducing the foods over the weekend, albeit wayyyy too quickly, I was reminded of how shitty it feels to be uncomfortable after eating. Hey, you may be the lucky one with the iron clad stomach, but I am not. 

If you’ve ever struggled with stomach issues like I have, I would really suggest checking out the challenge.

In the meantime, I think I’m gonna head back + read their first book “It Starts With Food” to be even more mind blown.

If you’ve just started the challenge for February, congrats! You will forever be changed. If you have any questions about the process or any specific questions, feel free to email me or reach out on insta @KendallMarieZ.


With a big hug + lots of love, 

xo Kendall