Note: today is the last day to sign up for the Whole30® Daily in time for a January 1st start date. Visit http://daily.whole9life.com for registration, or to preview the content of our daily newsletters.
Welcome to the January Whole30®, kicking off Tuesday, January 1, 2013, with help from our friends at CrossFit Love.
The Whole30 is now in its fourth year, and this January event is our biggest worldwide Whole30 ever—thanks to the enthusiasm of gym owner Joe Petrusky, and the community he’s built at CrossFit Love. Remember to check the CrossFit Love blog every day in January for awesome guest posts, recipes, and helpful hints from your favorite Whole30 and Paleo nutrition experts, and use this article to make sure you are fully prepared for tomorrow’s Day One.
Whether it’s your first Whole30 or your tenth, today we’d like to share with you our thoughts on commitment to the Whole30, versus perfection on the Whole30. There’s often a misconception that we expect your Whole30 to be perfect—the best Whole30 anyone has ever done ever. And that’s simply not true.
When it comes to the Whole30, there’s a difference between 100% commitment and perfection… so let us break it down for you.
Follow the Rules of the Program 100%
You may think this one is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people go into the Whole30 already compromising the rules. “I’m doing the Whole30… plus red wine when I really need it.” “I’m doing the Whole30, but I have two special occasions in the middle where I’ll definitely treat myself.” “I’m doing the Whole30, but I can’t give up my post-workout whey protein shake.”
These “small” concessions are a slippery slope—one from which your brain may have a hard time recovering. After all, if you allow yourself wine on those bad days, what’s to say a little dark chocolate wouldn’t help, too? And those “special occasions” mid-Whole30 can literally erase all the benefits of the program in one fell swoop—weeks of effort, wasted on one probably-not-even-worth-it meal.
Having “black and white” goals (no slips, no cheats, no excuses) are actually easier for the brain to process, and takes your decision-making out of “effort” territory and into “automatic” (translation: habit-building) territory. Following the letter of the Whole30 law will actually make your program easier, not harder.
In addition, you are selling your results short if you don’t give it 100%. Trust us on this—and if you don’t trust us, trust Whole30 veteran Anne, who found out the hard way that half-assed efforts yield (duh) half-assed results. And why would you put yourself through a program as challenging as the Whole30, only to reap a tiny portion of the rewards?
Don’t Pursue the Perfect Whole30
What? But you just said to follow the program’s rules 100%. What gives?
There are many reasons why you should commit fully to the program’s guidelines and rules—all of them. (We’re talking to you, scale addicts.) But that doesn’t mean you have to pressure yourself into the most perfect Whole30 ever. Here’s what we mean.
The rules are the rules. No grains. No dairy. No weighing yourself. No SWYPO. But we also offer helpful suggestions to make the program as easy as possible, and help you maximize your results. In our free Meal Planning Template, we encourage you to eat three meals a day, and minimize snacking. In our Good Meat Guide, we encourage you to look for animal protein sources raised in their natural environments, and fed their natural diets. In our Pantry Stocking Guide, we talk about finding pantry items with as few whole-food ingredients as possible.
But this doesn’t mean you fail your Whole30 if you have a snack, eat a conventional burger, or buy canned tomatoes with citric acid.
The Whole30 can be intimidating enough in the beginning. Just figuring out what to make for breakfast if you’re not rolling out your bowl of Kashi is tough! So if this is your first Whole30, be patient with yourself. You don’t have to be perfect… just follow the rules.
If you find yourself cracking out on (approved) nut butter or fruit one day, no harm, no foul. Just realize you’re probably trying to satisfy a craving, and make a plan to do better the next time you’re stressed. If you accidentally ate something off-plan (despite your best efforts!), it’s okay. Lesson learned, either move on or start over—it’s up to you. If you can’t afford organic or grass-fed at this time, you’re still nourishing your body with whole, healthy foods—and that’s something you should be immensely proud of.
Follow the rules, but don’t self-impose perfection. Changing your life doesn’t happen in just 30 days, so think about this as “kaizen” (continual progress or improvement), not “flip the switch” to Paleo perfection by Day 30.
Best of Luck on Your Whole30!
From all of us at the Whole9 team and CrossFit Love, we encourage you to learn, share, and most of all, enjoy this life-changing experience! Have a great Whole30!
Are you committing to the January Whole30? Stake your claim and share your reason for taking on the Whole30 in comments.