Prepare your Environment

So you're going to join me for a Whole 30 beginning on January 1st? Excellent! But in order to be successful, you might want to start thinking and planning ahead.

I suggest making your environment Whole 30 friendly. Don't worry, you've still got a few weeks before the first of the year. Plenty of time to scarf down the last couple of cookies in the bottom of the jar. But now is the time to start counting down the days and making some lists.

What are the foods most likely to trip you up? Are there some treats that you simply cannot resist? For me, it is baked goods: cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, anything that combines butter, flour, and sugar is my nemesis. I also have a very hard time throwing anything out. I am not a waster. So if it's in the house, I'm either going to eat it or try to force someone else to eat it. This could get ugly. But planning ahead is very helpful. Don't buy or bake more than your family will consume by New Year's Eve. Plan to have zero leftovers of a sugary nature come January 1st.

Time to clean out those cabinets. Use up the jar of preserves, the honey, the syrup, the peanut butter. Another possibility is to hide the things that are not going to go bad. You could move jars to the very back of the fridge. Or out to the garage. (We have an extra small fridge out there!) However, if these foods might go bad before February, the best choice might be to give them away. (God forbid you throw anything out!)

Besides getting rid of the no-nos, the second half of the equation is to stock your pantry and fridge with the healthy whole foods you will need on the morning of January 1st. Make sure ahead of time that you have done some excellent meal planning and grocery shopping. This is where most people fall down. Even with the very best of intentions, if January rolls around and you don't have the foods you want to eat in the house, you will most certainly go off the plan.

Some staples you will need are: a wide variety of veggies, both fresh and frozen; fresh fruits that are in season; eggs, fish, meats and poultry; coconut, olive, and avocado oils; nuts and seeds of all kinds. Stock up on things that are easy to prepare. You might even want to do some cooking ahead of time so you have prepared foods that are quick to heat up for convenience. Veggies come first on this plan, so expect to eat a boatload of them!

Remember to read labels carefully. No added sugar or sweeteners of any kind is allowed. (Exception: fruit juice as a sweetener.) No additives such as thickeners, preservatives, artificial colors, flavorings, etc.

Another goal of Whole 30 is to eliminate snacking. Eating a snack is not against the rules, but a snack should be more of a mini-meal, a well-balanced small meal which includes protein, fat, and carbs. When most of us snack, we mindlessly stuff our faces with high-carb junk food like chips or cookies. This is the habit we are hoping to transform. So make sure you have prepared foods on hand which will be easy to combine to create a mini-meal, such as hard-boiled eggs, tiny guacamole cups, slices of cooked meats, nuts, apple slices and almond butter, etc.

Today you might want to start making some lists of foods you'd like to have on hand, meals you plan to prepare for your first week on the program, and foods you need to use up or remove from your environment. Don't let a lack of preparation trip you up!