Whole30 and Beyond: How to Be Successful with a 30-Day Dietary Reset
After the holidays, you may be feeling like your diet could use a reset, and a month of clean eating is likely to be appealing, particularly now. A 30-day timeline is ideal because it’s enough time to notice a difference in how you feel but still realistic to be willing to cut out foods you typically enjoy in order to try out some new habits.
Whole30 is an example of a popular 30-day dietary reset, and many have tried and had success with this dietary style. With clear guidelines and devoted followers, it’s no wonder this diet is catching on so quickly. But, this dietary style isn’t for everyone.
An abundance of non-starchy vegetables, seafood, eggs, and meat are the main components of the Whole30 diet, while grains, dairy, most legumes, and – most importantly – added sugar, highly processed foods, and artificial ingredients are removed.
Some may find eliminating nutritious foods like whole grains and legumes difficult to maintain, particularly if they tend to limit animal products. As bio-individuals, there isn’t one diet that will work for everyone, so experimenting and customizing can help determine the dietary reset that works best for you.
If you’re looking to try a dietary reset to help start the new year off feeling great, the main foods you’re going to want to avoid are refined grains, added sugar, and alcoholic beverages.
Regardless of whether you decide to include animal proteins (like Whole30) or follow a more vegan/vegetarian reset, diets low in refined foods and high in whole foods can help improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of chronic disease.
Here are a few tips to help whether you’re following the Whole30 diet or considering your own 30-day reset!
Set Yourself Up for Success
Committing to a 30-day dietary reset is a challenge, especially if it is significantly different than your typical eating habits. To set yourself up for success, a bit of planning can go a long way.
Leaving your meals up to fate – or last-minute decisions – will make it much more difficult to stick to clean foods. Plan your meals and snacks well ahead of time to be successful. Consider when you’ll have time for food prep and choose meals that align with your schedule. If you need to pack meals for work, prepping the night before so they’re ready to go will make it easier in the morning.
Take It One Day at a Time
Try not to be hard on yourself if you have an off day or you eat something a bit indulgent. Acknowledge it, explore its origins, and simply move forward – taking it one day at a time.
If you’re going to stray from the reset, do so mindfully. It’s important to consciously enjoy the meal, snack, or drink and refrain from overdoing it. Similarly, try to focus on how the nutritious whole foods you’re eating are supporting your health and nourishing you rather than spending time fretting about a food you “shouldn’t” eat.
Trying a 30-day reset with a friend, partner, or family member is a great way to support each other and make it more fun.
The people we surround ourselves with significantly impact our food choices, so having someone who is focused on similar goals can make it easier to choose nutritious options. You can share recipes, cook together, and even check in to see how the other is doing.
Be Open to Reevaluating
The reset should be about nourishment rather than restriction, so if it begins to feel stressful or like it’s negatively affecting your food relationship, it’s time to reevaluate.
If something isn’t working for you, don’t stick it out just for the sake of not wanting to quit. Check in with how you feel during the reset: What’s your energy level like? How’s your digestion? Are you sleeping more restfully? How about your emotional state?
Consider this as an experiment and continue to refine what supports your health and wellness and works best for you.
No matter what type of reset you choose, be gentle with yourself. If you decide to continue with this dietary style, great! If not, it’s also great!